When you’re sick, you have a lot of free time to sit and do nothing. Instead of doing nothing, I spend some time watching all SIX hours of the Bipartisan Photo Op for Elected Officials to Hear Themselves Talk Health Care Summit that President Obama held a few weeks ago.
If you are bored, it’s located at www.whitehouse.gov.
It was really interesting to watch, although my wife’s eyes are still rolled back into her head four days later.
A few things I took away:
I genuinely believe that President Obama has the best intentions in trying wrangle an indomitable congress into passing this legislation. You can disagree with his personal beliefs, political party platform, or his philosophical idea of the role of government, but really think it’s unfair to characterize him as personally trying to really pull an evil “socialist plot” or “government takeover” of Health Care.
His motives seem pure and are driving by an indisputable crisis of numbers and facts. In a few years, with the rate of growth of Health Care costs, the amount of money that the US spends on Health Care will exceed our entire Gross Domestic Product.
This is not debatable, like climate change or the effectiveness of Hillary’s pantsuit combinations. The fact that the health care industry is single-handedly breaking our entire economy and threatening our future is indisputable.
You should really take the time to see that man work the room. He was really trying trying to negotiate by finding common ground, pointing out areas where they had fundamental differences, and areas where they had negotiable differences. Everyone in the room acknowledged how much the legislation has already morphed from the single-payer government run plan that Pelosi wanted to a market-based approach that still safeguards from a “race to the bottom.”
He sat there patiently as people from both sides used their allotted time to grandstand to the CSPAN camera, adding nothing to the discourse in the room and just blabbing on with meaningless and counterproductive rhetoric to try to bolster their own radical argument.
In the end he tried to summarize. We agree that:
- Health Insurance needs reform and the insurance market should be regulated.
- Allowing small businesses and individuals to pool and purchase group insurance together in an insurance exchange is a great idea (and a Republican idea that the bills have adopted). (This is how Wal-Mart does it… drive cost down by being the biggest elephant in the room)
- We should allow the purchase of insurance across state lines. (With the noted exception that some baseline, mandatory standard of coverage would be required to prevent a race to the bottom, and to prevent insurance companies from offering junk plans that didn’t cover anything and shifted most of the cost back to the government and tax payer anyway.)
- Continue to work on Medical malpractice, acknowledging the facts and figures cited that malpractice reform actually only represents a fraction of 1% of the cost of medicine today, and that malpractice claims have actually gone down by 50% in the last decade.
The place where there is absolutely no agreement is on coverage: whether the government should mandate coverage and what types of coverages should be required.
Without reform, Republicans will GET exactly what they think they are fighting against: a government-run, single payer system. This will come to pass as more Americans rely on the government medicare and medicaid systems than ever before. At a startling rate, Americans are being priced out of the medical insurance market, especially as they lose jobs or change jobs, and the government is absorbing them at an alarming rate. Add to that the already anticipated burden of the aging baby boomer children, and we have a perfect storm.
Without significant medial reform that focuses on cost containment and universal coverage, America will continue down the current path of more and more Americans who are part of the CURRENT government-run, single payer system.
Is that what we want for our country?