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More Analysis of the President’s Speech To Congress

From Greg Scandlen

The more I think about Obama’s speech to Congress the more mind-boggling it is.  Here are a few highlights.
“There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”
Right at the start of his speech Obama says he will cover 30 million people. 30 million?! What happened to the 46 million uninsured we have heard about for years and years?  What happened to the universal coverage goal?
“I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.”
Can he possibly mean that he will solve every problem for now and all eternity? What about the remaining 16 million uninsured? This is pathetic. The fact is, no solutions are final. New problems always arise.
“Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”
Simply not true. Later in the speech he talks about cutting Medicare Advantage. There are over 10 million people with a Medicare Advantage plan and in most cases they can go without Medigap coverage because of it. The added costs to beneficiaries will be substantial.
“We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of- pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick.”
The worst offender here is Medicare. There is absolutely no limit on out-of-pocket expenses under Medicare. Will he change that?
“Businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care (but) 95 percent of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements.” 
Wait, business will be “required,” but 95% will be exempt? What kind of requirement is that? Is he aware that the vast majority of the uninsured work for these small businesses?
“In 34 states, 75 percent of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies.”
Are five competitors inadequate? By what theory of economics? For many years the United States had three big automakers, three big networks, three big cereal manufacturers, three big newsmagazines. If five is inadequate, allow cross-border shopping.
“In Alabama, almost 90 percent is controlled by just one company.”
“All of this is in service of meeting what this former executive called ‘Wall Street’s relentless profit expectations.'”
Yet, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, the company that has 90% of the market in that state, is and has always been not-for-profit. So, “profit expectations” were not a motivator.
“The only thing this plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud, as well as unwarranted subsidies in Medicare that go to insurance companies.”
There goes Medicare Advantage. As noted above that means that many people will indeed lose their current coverage.
“And we will also create an independent commission of doctors and medical experts charged with identifying more waste in the years ahead.”
Here is where the concern about “death panels” comes from. One person’s waste is another person’s essential service. Is it “waste” to give anti-cancer drugs to a 90-year old?
Transcript of speech


September 11, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , ,

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