Monday, August 10, 2009

Snake Oil

The reason that this health care reform argument has become so chaotic, and the reason why so many people are angry, is because Obama has not been honest.

RealClearPolitics has an excellent article describing how past healthcare measures have always expanded benefits, while cost spiral out of control. This will be what will happen here, but on a much larger scale:

No president has spoken more forcefully about the need to control costs. Failure, he's argued, would expand federal budget deficits, raise out-of-pocket health costs and squeeze take-home pay (more compensation would go to insurance). All true. But Obama's program would do little to reduce costs and would increase spending by expanding subsidized insurance. The House legislation would cut the uninsured by 37 million by 2018, estimates the Congressional Budget Office. The uninsured get care now; with insurance they'd get more.

"You'd be adding a third medical entitlement on top of Medicare and Medicaid," says James Capretta, a top official at the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004.

What needs to be done first is to establish cost control.

Congress wouldn't create new benefits until it had disciplined the old.

How is it possible that we are talking about such a radical overhaul in health care when we are looking at Medicaid going broke in 2017? It's like we are ignoring this big elephant in the room. Is it any wonder that so many are having to yell to get people's attention? I've said it before and it bears repeating. In 1965 when Medicaid was established the government said that by 1990 it would cost 9 billion. The actual cost? 66 billion and about to go broke. Now the government is telling us that this health care reform will cost 1 trillion over ten years (which is completely mind boggling). Does ANYONE really believe that that will be the cost of this?

Congress has a nasty habit of passing bills and worrying about the actual costs later.

In addition I found this interesting article by Robert Reich (secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton). Reich loves Obama and loves the idea of universal healthcare, but......

But I'm appalled by the deal the White House has made with the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying arm to buy their support.

Last week, after being reported in the Los Angeles Times, the White House confirmed it has promised Big Pharma that any healthcare legislation will bar the government from using its huge purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices. That's basically the same deal George W. Bush struck in getting the Medicare drug benefit, and it's proven a bonanza for the drug industry. A continuation will be an even larger bonanza, given all the boomers who will be enrolling in Medicare over the next decade. And it will be a gold mine if the deal extends to Medicaid, which will be expanded under most versions of the healthcare bills now emerging from Congress, and to any public option that might be included. (We don't know how far the deal extends beyond Medicare because its details haven't been made public.)

Let me remind you: Any bonanza for the drug industry means higher healthcare costs for the rest of us, which is one reason why critics of the emerging healthcare plans, including the Congressional Budget Office, are so worried about their failure to adequately stem future healthcare costs.

I find it amusing that so many on the left imagine that it is the right being funded by insurance companies and lobbyists. Why do you think those same people stood by Obama when he got the health care debate started? He made a deal with them. He knew he needed big pharma on his side to pass this boondoggle, and as you can see, they will make out like bandits. Does this make you feel like the American people's best interests are being considered?

Keep all this in mind when you see the onslaught of pro government run healthcare ads soon. It wil big pharma urging you to be on the side of Obamacare. After all, it's in THEIR best interest. Reich's continues:

Big Pharma isn't just supporting universal healthcare. It's also spending lots of money on TV and radio advertising in support. Sunday's New York Times reports that Big Pharma has budgeted $150 million for TV ads promoting universal health insurance, starting this August (that's more money than John McCain spent on TV advertising in last year's presidential campaign), after having already spent a bundle through advocacy groups like Healthy Economies Now and Families USA.

Are we getting this? This isn't some rightwinger telling you these things. This is a former Clinton cabinet secretary who loves Obama.

The truth that so many of you who supported Obama will have to face sooner or later, is that you were sold a bill of goods. He is the finest of snake oil salesmen. And we all know that the snakeoil never works and it never makes us feel better.

Wake up people. The future of your health depends on it.