There’s nothing more insulting than the hokum connected with staged performances advertised as something else. The latest good example was the president’s grandiloquent effort on 03 March, held in the East Room of the White House before a throng of folks whose identities it would be amusing to discover. Did they come out of the woodwork in the building or were they invited to attend this presidential production (cronies or cronies of cronies?) billed as his description of HIS health-care plan?
The expectation here was that the president was to hold something more like a press conference at which he would lay out his details – that’s DETAILS – and then take questions in order for any matters to be cleared up. Instead, as shown by one camera-shot (probably by mistake) as the president made his grand entrance, a teleprompter had been set up. The president then launched into yet another speech, apparently never straying from that word machine in front of him, giving his head the usual in-your-face-toss once in a while, and generally making himself look foolish. It wasn’t even great theater.
It boggles the mind that Obama had actually lined up a bunch of folks in white lab-coats or hospital-garb to stand behind him in light of that silly distributing of – yep – white lab-coats during that famous health-care affair in the Rose Garden last year. That was probably something that the cameras were not supposed to catch, also, but the hokum was so blatantly obvious that one could only laugh at such sophomoric antics. Doctors and nurses have a right to be offended by such an insulting effort to use them as props for a speech. That was sorta like using expert witnesses at a trial.
His speech was notable for its vagueness, like most of his speeches advertised to lay out HIS plans. It seemed to say more than anything else that the president was declaring war on insurance companies, mentioning one in particular, and that (gasp and three flutters of the spleen!!!) he had found common ground with republicans on a number of issues, ergo, that blessed PARTISANSHIP had been reborn, as if he gives a fig about any such thing, proven conclusively by his promise that health-care reform would occur as the result of using the reconciliation protocol, the republicans be consigned to where the heat is gangbusters.
Actually, as noted over and over on media productions, the president has no plan. His only plan is that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid get on the ball, whip their respective constituencies in shape and do whatever he wants, that is, assuming they know what he wants, i.e., assuming HE knows what HE wants, which is assuming maybe the impossible. Okay…maybe that’s too harsh. HE probably wants the House to get on the ball and pass that pesky Senate health-care plan, so reconciliation can get started, though maybe he figures that if the House does that he can count that as the end of the conference process and just sign it into law and be done with it.
Admittedly, some insurance companies have pushed the envelope. Their perfidy is not different from a host of other corporations – think Enron and World-Com and Freddie/Fanny – that do this all the time. But placing premium-caps by fiat on these companies will do what the president said would not happen, i.e., drive them out of business, thus forcing everyone to accept the public option, which would not be exercising an option at all. Or, if the government forces such action, the companies could engage in collusion and keep prices high…until the inevitable breakdown.
In the early 1990s, the democrat governor and democrat-controlled legislature in Kentucky legislated what the health-insurance companies could and could not do. The result was that some forty-odd companies (all but one or maybe two) simply left the state, leaving the citizens to pay the premiums set by the remaining company. In other words, there was no competition, the only thing that drives prices down. Companies operate on state-by-state licenses, meaning that national competition is foreclosed and a handful of companies in each state set the prices. A more recent example of “universal health-care” is Hawaii, forced to give up its program.
This isn’t to say that efforts to repair a less-than-adequate health-care system are not needed. Obama’s actual plan – HIS plan – is government-controlled health-care top-to-bottom, cradle-to-grave. The media folks who talk about consequences connected to a government takeover of 17% of the nation’s GDP need to be carefully heard. The cuts in Medicare, especially in payments to doctors, for instance, could mean that doctors will stop seeing Medicare patients, desert the profession or that potential doctors will not enter it. The threat that doctors will also bypass Medicaid in the states is also serious. Result: rationing of health-care account shortage of doctors, thus medical decisions being ultimately made by bureaucrats, not doctors and citizens.
The republicans have insisted that the well-over 2,000-page bill is too complicated, far too coercive, and that the effort should be re-started from scratch. Just the transparent and well-documented corruption involved in “buying and selling it” are reason enough. It’s doubtful that most legislators understand it and may not have even read it. This is the way to go, and no ostentatious/intimidating ceremony complete with teleprompter and human props fools anyone.