Obama and Health Care: a Pinocchio Tale
By: Guest Authors
By: Greg Halvorson
Boy, itâ€™s thick out there. My ears are still ringing from the joint session of Congress and Joe Wilsonâ€™s, â€œYou lie!â€ Grand theatre it was, especially when Pelosi, the Wicked Witch of Utopia, pulled an ostrich impression and almost moved her face. By my tally, the president, establishing himself as an inveterate liar, verbalized mendacity on 30 occasions. Iâ€™m conservative, however; while ranting, I likely missed several whoppers. Post-speech, after pulling the cat from the ceiling, I pondered how RE-form may DE-form the country. In 1965, Medicare costs for 1990 were $12 billion, came in at $107 billion, and today are $400 billion, but when the president says he wonâ€™t sign a bill that adds to the deficit, weâ€™re supposed to believe him? Social Security payroll taxes, when first implemented, were 3%â€”a FIXED number. But last I checked, Americans were being nailed at six-and-a-quarter and the fund had been pilfered. Given this record, by what discipline will the next program be sleek?
That the president portrays those who question him as liars (heâ€™s going to â€œcall them outâ€) is at best fantastic, at worst farcical, and at baseline hypocritical. During the campaign, he railed against business:
â€œWeâ€™ll tell the pharmaceutical companies thanks but no thanks to overpriced drugs.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll let Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll stop the drug companies from blocking generic drugs that are equally effective and less expensive.â€
â€œWeâ€™ll allow the re-importation of low-cost drugs from countries like Canada.â€
Yet, come to find, every word is untrue. During the â€™08 campaign, Obama impugned Bill Tauzin, former Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee (he now heads phRMA, the most powerful drug lobby); yet we come to find Tauzin negotiated with Obama (it wasnâ€™t on C-span) and that the result is a portrait in corruption and lies. Under the deal, the pharmaceutical industry promises $80 billion in savings over ten years. For this, they receive protection from generic competition and assurance from the president that price-concession is moot. Eighty-billion, culled from the $3.6 trillion projected spending over the span of the deal, is around TWO PERCENT. That Obama lies is, thus, obvious; that media allows it is insane.
Take Obama’s rail against Blue Cross of Alabama. â€œIn 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies,â€ said Obama to Congress. â€œIn Alabama, almost 90% is controlled by one company. Without competition, the price of insurance goes up and quality goes down. It makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers badlyâ€”by cherry-picking the healthiest individuals and trying to drop the sickest; by overcharging small businesses who have no leverage; and by jacking-up rates.â€
More lies. (Sense a pattern?) After the speech, BC-BS of Alabama stated for the record that its share of the market is 75%. And, wouldnâ€™t you know, the same people who jack rates and â€œtreat customers badlyâ€ rank #2 in customer satisfaction out of thirty-nine national providers. The rate-jackers the president derides make .6 (thatâ€™s POINT-six) percent profit on premiums. In other wordsâ€”theyâ€™re NON-PROFIT. But to listen to the man aspersing their integrity, youâ€™d think they were evil, capitalist ghouls.
So it is with Obama. Respect is something earned (in my America, at least), and there is no disputing the mendacity of his claims. Last month, he went after physicians, claiming, erroneously, that they make $30-to-50,000 per/amputation, and that they steer diabetes toward achieving this end. That they make roughly $1000 per/amputation, and that the Hippocratic Oath is sacred, doesnâ€™t matter. The presidentâ€™s claim that an Illinois patient was dropped by his insurer and that he died as a result is another example. The insurer, in response to complaints, reinstated him, covered a stem-cell transplant, and the man didn’t die at the behest of profiteers.
Puppeteers are another matter. Big Pharm pulls Obamaâ€™s strings, Geppetto pulled Pinocchioâ€™s. The difference between these puppets, however, is that the presidentâ€™s nose doesnâ€™t out his Grand Scheme.