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Health Care: Obamacare - Lies and Distortion

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer's perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

Unlike what he did as a candidate, President Obama is now unwilling to tell the American people -- straight up -- exactly what he intends to do. He is burying it under a cloud of gobbdy-gook... over 40 speeches so far -- nonsense, creating false demons (the Republicans, the insurance companies, radio talk show hosts, Fox News), distortions, false promises, and outright obfuscation. Because the more people learn about his desire and his plan... the less they like it.

This essay is available in its entirety to all visitors. Enjoy!

September, 2009:

In his national speech on health care in September, 2009, President Obama railed against the lies and distortion that have become part of the health care debate. On that point, I heartily agree. It is one of many generalities he employed. However, like most the content of his speeches, he failed to provide substantive specifics. I would like to fill in the details on perhaps the central, re-assuring feature of his plan.

The Wall Street Journal offers a revealing “fact-checking” story of the president’s speech. If it is still online, you can read it here.

In dozens of speeches on the campaign trail in 2008, and since he became president, Mr. Obama tried to assuage our concerns. "Under my plan, If you like your present health care plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep him.” (That is very important, since many surveys indicate that about 75% of Americans are satisfied with their current health care plan.)

But this key feature, like most of Obama’s promises, is a fraud — an outright fraud.

Yes, fraud.... from my college class in business law, I remember the definition of fraud: “An intentional misrepresentation of a material fact...

In fact, Mr. Obama’s concept for health care will guarantee that what he promised will not be possible. Let’s explore that.

Now... I could make the argument that you cannot keep your doctor if he closes his family practice and goes to work for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). And I could argue that that might be a direct result of Obama’s re-design of health care. But you might not be convinced.

A survey by Investors Business Daily indicated that 45% of all practicing physicians would consider eliminating their private practice if Obamacare (as promoted) becomes a reality.

I could make the argument that when you switch employers, you cannot keep your current health care plan. But that is not President Obama’s fault, you would argue. And I would agree. Still, it makes what the president said wrong... though not fraudulent. Fraudulent comes next.

Suppose the company for which you work drops its health care plan. You can’t keep it then, can you?

"Again, you pose a hypothetical that President Obama cannot control,” you respond.

This time, I’ll challenge you. My neighbor owns a large auto dealership which employs over 250 people. While it is a solid, comprehensive plan, he says that the health care plan is a huge drain on him, his time, his company, and his company’s finances. He plans to drop it the first reasonable chance he can. Obamacare provides that opportunity.

87% of Employers to Reduce Benefits if Health Care Reform Increases Costs

A Towers Perrin Survey came across the Business Wire on Reuters this morning stating that a majority of employers surveyed will reduce benefits resulting from the proposed Democrat Health Care Reform bill that is working its way through Congress if it increases costs.

    — http://newsbusters.org/blogs/terry-trippany/2009/09/17/87-employers-reduce-benefits-if-health-care-reform-increases-costs

But the insurance company that covers my neighbor’s employees may be ahead of him — they may discontinue his plan before he has a chance to cancel it. Why would they do that? Well, because of the very thing that Obama says his plan will encourage: competition. No private insurance company will be able to compete financially with a plan offered by the government. “Why?” you ask. “Are they that inefficient, compared to the government?” No, but the government’s health care plan will be subsidized by taxpayer dollars. It’s like a blank check. Like most government “entitlements,” (and completely unlike the real, business world) money is not a serious, constraining issue. (Does the notion of an 11 trillion dollar federal debt bring the point home?)

2013 update: Now it’s 17 trillion dollar federal debt.

Absent employer-provided health care, you will be forced into the government’s plan, subject to whatever limits, rules and restrictions the government may impose. Can you imagine what that would be like? Well, imagine the level of service provided by the division of motor vehicles, with the accuracy, sensitivity, and ruthlessness of the IRS.

With the inevitable exploding costs (like most government spending programs), the government will surely impose restrictions that we would not find acceptable today. But by that time, what choice would we have?

And if that is not enough to convince you, let me add this: under the current proposed bill in the House (H.R. 3200), if you make any change to your existing plan (drop or add a dependent, or change any aspect of coverage) ... you’re out. It is no longer your “current plan.” You will be then forced into the government plan.

Nice touch, huh? “Keep your existing plan”? Hardly.

“Well, that’s just the way the fine print is written,” you reply. “That is not fraud.”

Really? Allow me to add one more scene to this story. Several years ago, Barack Obama said that he prefers a single-payer health care system — the single-payer being the government, of course. He also said that it may take five or ten years to move everyone out of their private plan and into the government plan.

Yep; it’s on video (below). Undeniable. That is clearly his intent. He has never indicated otherwise.

Now, isn’t that exactly the way this health care plan is evolving? Isn’t it exactly what he said has wanted and how he thought it would happen?

Exactly.

The only difference is that Mr. Obama is now unwilling to tell the American people — straight up — what he wants. He is burying it under a cloud of gobbdy-gook... over 40 speeches so far — nonsense, creating false demons (the Republicans, the insurance companies, radio talk show hosts, Fox News) and obfuscation. Because the more people learn about his desire and his plan... the less they like it.

And that is precisely why the president is in such a hurry to get his plan approved.

Fraud: “An intentional misrepresentation of a material fact...”

Fraud... in the literal, legal sense... fraud against every living American and hundreds of millions of Americans as yet unborn.

And you are going to let him get away with it?

Two weeks after I wrote this essay, the Wall Street Journal caught up with me:

If it is still online, you can read their column here.


Robert Samuelson writes about President Obama’s lack of candor in an essay titled, “Give it to Us Straight.” You can read it here.


The Promise:


“If you like your plan, and you like your doctor... you keep your plan; you keep your doctor.”

“If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you’ve got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor.”

“The only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be [up to $2,500 per year] less than you are spending now.”

“Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange, including a public option, to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest.”
   
The Real Plan:


2003: “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care plan.”

“But I don’t think we’re gonna’ be able to eliminte employer coverage immediately. There’s gonna’ be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out.”

Congressman Barney Frank on a single-payer system:
“I think if we get a good public option, it could lead to single-payer. And that’s the best way to reach single-payer.”
View of another Congress member:

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky:
“A guy argued “against the public health insurance option, saying it wouldn’t let private insurance compete... that a public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer... He was right. The man was right.
   

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