Obama’s plan for healthcare malformed


Summer is often a time for reflection, relaxation and rest.

While most Americans vacationed, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats faced a sea of angry constituents, allegations of “death panels” and floods of concerned Americans jam-packed into town halls across the nation, where Democrats wrongfully vilified opposition as superficial and stupidly canceled open-forums.

This summer marked the first appearance of trouble for Democrats since 2006. Since the summer recess, Obama’s job approval has plummeted from 57 percent to a mere 49 percent, and many politicos now anticipate double-digit losses for Democrats during the mid-term elections.

Everyone agrees that health care costs are out of control—spending $2 trillion in the next decade is unsustainable—and reform is a must.

Attempting to redefine the debate, Obama addressed Congress to outline his plan for an overhaul of the health care system Sept. 9

During the speech, Obama again reiterated, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.”

But this is not entirely true. Many argue that punitive taxes with health care mandates will see a decrease in private employer-based plans and push costs onto the government’s public option.

Obama praised preventive care measures and called for patients to be responsible for their lifestyle choices, as smoking, unhealthy diets and a lack of exercise all currently contribute to higher insurance premiums.

Additionally, the president cautioned against quantitative care, promoted quality care and admitted that doctors, in fear of malpractice, order excessive tests, which result in higher health care costs.

Obama’s statistic of 46 million uninsured Americans is dubious. The number itself is subjective—Obama’s 46 million includes those who had insurance part of the year and then regained insurance—and is thus an overestimation of the number of uninsured.

Furthermore, between 18 and 22 million of those uninsured are undocumented aliens, who should not be insured with taxpayer money.

Millions of those remaining are Americans who make more than $250,000 and have the means to pay out of pocket. And of those remaining, many are qualified, but do not apply for medical aid provided by federal and state governments

Last week, Obama made clear his support for a public option, but such an option dooms health care reform economically. The Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, admits punitive measures in the bill will create a disincentive for private employers to keep workers on their plans instead forcing them onto the public option.

The CBO also states that the government will not decrease health care costs if a public option is implemented. So why wouldn’t Americans be upset to pay $1 trillion for a program that won’t have any effect?

Government-run programs will also be given endless taxpayer subsidies, creating an unfair advantage against privately run insurance companies and ultimately forcing them out of the market.

Make no mistake—the GOP has done a horrible job selling their alternative to the American people. Republicans have yet to shed their “Party of No” label, but market-based solutions are at their disposal.

Many have advocated purchasing health insurance plans across state lines. For example, in California, only six major insurance companies are available to purchase insurance from, while nationwide, over 1,300 companies that could compete in California are barred from doing so.

Smaller businesses could also band larger pools to enhance purchasing power, granting them the ability to purchase plans at the same rate of bigger corporations.

If Obama and congressional Democrats are to regain any traction from their summer of hell, it is crucial that they gain bipartisan support on an opinion to which most Americans agree—reduce the health care costs of our nation’s citizens while avoiding an overhaul of the health care system.