Monday, November 23, 2009

The Daily Herald Shanks Its Health Care Manifesto

It's time to head back into the Utah County psyche and contemplate the gymnastics of logic and and reasoning of the Daily Herald. With the Senate voting to allow full debate over the health care reform bill, conservatives are apocalyptic. In a robust showing of a lack of undemocratic principles, every single Senate Republican voted against allowing debate of the bill. They don't even want the bill debated. The Daily Herald tackled the health care reform discussion with: Outright Fraud in the Health Bill.

So what is this outright fraud to which the Herald is opposed?
Consider the literal bill itself: the Senate version is numbered HR 3590, a tag that normally refers to a House Resolution. Confused? Harry Reid and his minions gutted an already passed House bill and crammed their own scheme into it.
Why? Because if the bill is OK'd by the Senate, it would go back to the House as if it were the original bill, already passed. That could bypass a conference committee and speed its passage.
It's outright fraud.
The Merriam Webster definition of fraud: "an act of deceiving or misrepresenting." This is such a common tactic in legislation that it barely warrants a sliver of a thought, and it certainly, under no detonation or connotation of the word, amounts to fraud. No one is disguising anything from anybody. If the lowly Daily Herald can spend two minutes surfing the web to come up with this open-for-all-to-see tactic, then it isn't fraud. Daily Herald: look words up before using them. Moving on:
Now consider the costs. The Democrats and some in the media will say the bill cuts costs. Baloney. Any "cuts" are achieved by shifting costs into other bills, or pushing them down the road a few years.
Now, I understand that the Daily Herald has a team of crack economists crunching numbers and sussing details, but lets turn to the fair and balanced Fox News to rebut this:
The Senate bill, which includes a government-run insurance plan that would allow states to opt out, would extend health care coverage to more than 94 percent of the population, or 31 million additional Americans. It also would cut the federal deficit by $127 billion over the first 10 years and as much as $650 billion over the next 10 years, according to the analysis by the nonpartisan CBO.
It will cut the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. Hundreds of billions. Over the next twenty years. Why is this so hard to accept? Why does this blind spot exist in the collective conservative field of vision? This is a bill that will extend coverage to nearly all Americans and cut costs. Extend coverage. Cut costs. The Daily Herald is either lying to its readers or has a basic reading comprehension disability. Which is more charitable to assume? Anyway:
You will become a statistic, an unwelcome expense for a flat-broke U.S. government.
This is oddly placed off by itself with no further reasoning or explanation. One thing I will miss about our current system, though, is the way my insurance provider treats me like a true human being. How I am called regularly just to see how I'm doing and to ask if they can do anything for me. How they send cards and flowers for major life events. How they don't run actuarial tables to determine if I am eligible for certain rates or coverage at all. Oh, and the government is not broke, and this bill will save us hundreds of billions of dollars.
Health-care rationing has been pooh-poohed. Well, a government panel announced this week that women younger than 50 or older than 75 should no longer should get routine mammograms. Why? The panel says the mammograms are not necessary -- an interesting change, and coincidental. It also saves boatloads of money.
This is a harbinger of how you can expect the government to whittle away at your health options once bureaucrats run things.
First, a recommendation based on scientific studies from a non-partisan panel is not rationing or whittling away your health options. Go and have as many mammograms as you'd like, no one will stop you. But if you want to use your resources wisely, you may consider following this recommendation. Second, it is an interesting change, and is in no way coincidental of anything. This is a study that has been going on for years and is in no way linked to the health care reform bill. Third, of course it saves money, with very few risks to women. The entire health care system is built on inefficiencies and bloated costs, so we should be applauding when a careful, thoughtful study of the system comes up with ways to save money while not endangering our health. But, whatever, Daily Herald, if you can only see rage in regards to all things government, continue on and don't let facts get in the way.

The principle concern from conservatives, it seems to me, is that the government is going to start forcing health care decisions on Americans. But we have Medicaid, Medicare, and the health insurance system that all federal government employees use that show otherwise. There is simply no evidence, beyond the bad feelings conservatives are getting about a public option, that any of this will occur. The Herald points to none, in any case.

The Herald then quotes the dean of the Harvard Medical School, who opposes the current bill. There are dozens and dozens of equally impressive people who support it. The AMA endorsed it, for instance. Quoting one smart person does not end the debate.

Then there is some talk of a Republican health care bill which no one has ever heard of, which, get this:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the Republican House alternative would lower Americans' insurance premiums, while also cutting the federal deficit by $68 billion.
Thank goodness we have the Republicans to introduce a bill which would save Americans hundreds of billions of dollars less than the current bill. Nicely done. And thank you to the Herald for ignoring the CBO when its studies are inconvenient, citing when its studies are convenient, and undercutting your entire argument. The Republican bill would do the following:
It would let people shop for the best values by allowing companies to sell policies across state lines. It would put the brakes on runaway malpractice awards and bolster the private insurance market while encouraging employers to offer cheaper policies for people who follow healthier lifestyles. It would expand Health Savings Accounts.
Bottom line: give people more control in a free market while reining in costs.
Malpractice costs make up less than two percent of health care costs. Maybe tort reform is something to consider, but to make it the basis of health care reform is like walking into a room full of murderers and asking the teenage shoplifter to please leave because he's making you uncomfortable.

Encouraging employers to offer cheaper policies? I laughed out loud when I read that. Problem solved, America! We're going to encourage employers to offer cheaper policies! That is sure to fix the problem. Please, employers? I mean, come on, health insurance is expensive. Please lower costs?

Finally, the underregulation of the insurance companies to begin with was what created the crisis we're facing right now. Insurance companies have proven themselves to be completely irresponsible and manipulative, so I don't think giving them more freedom is the answer. They need tight regulation and Americans need true choices, which includes the ability to opt into Medicare before age 65. This will lower costs and cover nearly all Americans. This is the Democratic plan, and it represents real progress in America's health care.


Laurel Nelson said...

I am soooo glad I don't live in Utah anymore. Wow. What a bunch of idiots who wrote that piece!!! They had absolutely nothing of substance to say, and everything has already been shown to be false in their arguments! Not to mention the non existent Republican plan cuts the deficit by LESS than the one passed already and going up for debate. Oh also, one big hole in a Republican plan to allow plans to sell across state lines - all that would do is encourage companies to headquarter in states that are less regulated so they can cover less without having to tell the consumer. Oh you live in a state that requires their plans to cover a certain thing? Too bad cause you picked a plan that is from another state that doesn't require it, so boo on you. That is exactly what will happen because that is the loophole there and you better believe the insurance companies will find it.

Reed Winters said...

I'm glad I never read this article. I might have died of frustration.

You should do a new post: Your thoughts on the health care bill in it's current state.

I had really high hopes for the O. Administration's first 4 years. I had really high hopes for this bill! I mean, I'm for full-fledged universal health care, but a public option was a good start, and I approved.

But at this point the bill has been gutted of everything it had going for it: Public option? Nope. Okay, Trigger? Nope. Okay, how about we allow people to buy into medicare at 55 instead of 65? Nope. Alright, well. . . Now what do we have?

It's incredibly unfortunate.

You seem like an intelligent guy. I'd be interested in your thoughts. This is a call for a more active blog ;) It's great, I want more.