Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sixth Graders Have it Way Too Tough

May 12 Editorial

In Tuesday's article "The Obama Plan: ObamaCare plan worth a national donnybrook", the Editors stated that “...120 million Americans with private insurance could be shifted to the public option under Obama's plan...” and went on “...Most Americans like their current health care insurance setup."

There were a handful of reactions from readers who had questions about these claims and even belittled them in the comments section, ("Mombocat" stated: “Most Americans like their health care setup? ... the conservative media is whipping up hysteria out of lies.”) however I believe this fellow and others are being too harsh on The Oklahoman Editorial writers, and let me explain why.

A column in The Weekly Standard written a couple of days ago by DC Lobbyists/Employees of The Ethics and Public Policy Center, James C. Capretta and Yuval Levin, and shortly after the Luntz memo was released stated:

“... the Obama plan would involve a profound displacement of currently insured Americans, who for the most part are happy with their coverage and will not appreciate being dumped into a program that could end up resembling Medicaid. A recent study by the Lewin Group estimates that almost 120 million Americans could be forced from employer-based coverage into government-run insurance by the kind of two-step strategy the Democrats envision.”

If former School teacher Sally Kern were ever handed a paper by a 6th grader directly copied from Darwin's theories on evolution, it is safe to assume she would first reprimand the child for plagiarism. Later, she maybe say some things about the subject at hand, but probably not before it was understood it is not good to copy from others.

I don't think we need to attack The Oklahoman as harshly as a Teacher would Jimmy or Billy, as The Editors were merely copying the talking points given to The Weekly Standard which were Given to Frank Luntz by the nice folks at The Kaiser Foundation, and a host of other folks paid to think by the makers of tanks. These are tactics children are either too naive or innocent to engage in, plus, even if they are friends with the school's biggest bully, no way is said bully as big and mean as the friends of The Oklahoman who will defend them.

Before I go on, I would like to mention something about The Kaiser Foundation. the ones who provided the “people enjoy their plans!” via a study they conducted that found “well over 80 percent of insured Americans rated their health insurance as excellent or good!”. If these numbers are true, health care in other countries is absolutely amazing and we might be well served to find out why.

I say it must be absolutely amazing, and base this statement on a study done with residents of 30 rich countries polled by Gallup. Americans came in 18th in terms of satisfaction with their care, despite the fact that we out-spend everyone else on the list by an incredibly significant amount. Ireland, Switzerland, and Belgium topped the list. We trailed Iceland, Denmark and Finland and some others too depressing to name.

This Gallup study, put together with The Kaiser Study makes me believe another study mentioned in an article on Politico.com on 08/01/07 which stated:

"...74 percent in a recent Democracy Corps poll say they are dissatisfied with the cost of health care, a number matched in a Kaiser Family Foundation poll from 2006 (80 percent)."

Putting aside the “People are quite happy with things, no need for change we can believe in or any of that!” talking point and any questions as to why the other kaiser study was ignored, I would like to briefly touch on the “ ...120 million Americans with private insurance could be shifted to the public option under Obama's plan...” point The Oklahoman Editorial writers took from The Weekly Standard piece, who took it from others and eventually end up at a group by the name of The Lewin Group.

On this, I would like to defer to Jacob Hacker, author of “The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream”. Note this commentary is from early June and he accuratly predicts that “fear mongers will seize on these false numbers”. Have a look:

So as you see I was able to find sources on the “120 million” and “things are fine!” references from multiple sources, however there is another statement in The Oklahoman's piece that I only found in one place. In “their” editorial, they go on to state “Concerns appear across the board. Federal subsides could cost $150 billion a year and more than $1 trillion over 10 years, analysts say.”

The place I found information on these number was ...brace yourself... in The Weekly Standard column! Here is what they write:

“Most analysts expect the subsidies for expanded coverage to cost at least $150 billion per year. Even if phased in over several years, the ten-year price tag will easily exceed $1 trillion.”

Once again, 6th Graders Billy or Jimmy would no question be in deep trouble for copying something directly for someone else's writing, but to hold The Oklahoman to such standards would be way out of line. Therefore, I will just point this out and let the readers decide what to think on this matter.

I must wrap things up, even though there is a ton more to say. But I will go ahead and conclude with this. I have a friend who is in DC for awhile, and I asked him to attend A talk at The Heritage Foundation given today on these issues. It has been scheduled for awhile now, and I figured they wouldn't have time to alter their discussion away from the leaked Luntz memo. I was correct on that. Read what my friend Kevin has to say about what he witnessed there:

The Lack of Conservative Principles of Health Care Reform - Kevin Bogle

This morning I attended a lecture given by The Honorable Mike Enzi (R-WY) at The Heritage Foundation. The talk was brief and titled “Conservative Principles of Health Care Reform: The Road Ahead.”

What I learned about the republicans plan is not shocking, incendiary, or even that radical—because I had read the speech the day before. I’m speaking, of course, of the leaked Luntz memo called The Language of Healthcare 2009.

Rep. Enzi spoke at times directly from the talking points memo calling for a “search for common ground” with Obama, yet deriding the Washington “bureaucrat or healthcare lobbyist” who would stand between the patient and his doctor. He blamed the White House for not talking when he and Coburn, Burr, Cochran et all have been working for two and a half years on a bill and claimed that the “Democratic plan would deny Americans” the access to the help they need. This language is all directly from the talking points memo—a memo that was the basis for the Oklahoman Editorial this morning.

Beyond the memo, Enzi said that the Republicans have no cohesive plan. He claims that between the 40 Republican senators, there are at least 20 different plans (Coburn, Burr, Cochran have one, Limbaugh another, his office a third) and they have no solid plan to oppose the Democrat’s bill. His solution to this is easy—don’t fight the democrat bill. Instead, he claims that there has never been a health care bill this complicated and is confident that the Republican minority can befriend moderate Democrats and slip in their bill as amendments and additions instead of having to directly confront them.

This is exactly where we need to step up and hound them—ask them for their alternative, ask them to show a plan that is better than Obama’s, and force them to put forward a real alternative package. This is something that Mike Enzi could not do today, and, to be honest with you, he didn’t seem that worried.

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed at the claim that people will be "shifted" into the proposed government plan.
    NO ONE gets moved if they want to keep their current insurance.

    Here are the basics of Obama's PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE OPTION, which can all be verified at:::

    1. CHOICE and MORE CHOICE: If the public health insurance option passes, Americans will be able to choose between their current insurance and a high-quality, government-run plan similar to Medicare. If you like your current care, you can keep it. If you don't,—
    or don't have any, —you can get the public insurance plan. NO ONE is forced to give up their current plan.

    2. HIGH-QUALITY COVERAGE with A CHOICE OF DOCTORS: Government-run plans have a track record of innovating to improve quality, because they're not just focused on short-term profits. And if you choose the public plan, you'll still get to choose your doctor and hospital.

    3. EVERYONE SAVES MONEY: The public health insurance option won't have to spend money on things like CEO bonuses, shareholder dividends, or excessive advertising, so it'll cost a lot less. Plus, the private plans will have to lower their rates and provide better value to compete, so people who keep their current insurance will save, too.

    4. PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE WON'T KICK YOU OFF THE ROLLS: It will always be there for you and your family. A for-profit insurer can close, move out of the area, or just kick you off their insurance rolls. The public health insurance option will always be available to provide you with the health security you need.

    5. IT'S UNIVERSAL: No longer will sick people or folks in rural communities, or low-income Americans be forced to go without coverage. The public health insurance plan will be available and accessible to everyone. And for those struggling to make ends meet, the premiums will be subsidized by the government.

    Does the Oklahoman just make up their falsehoods, or is it simply ignorance?