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Deconstructing Obama’s HealthCare Town Hall

By Cassandra Effect, July 2, 2009 7:03 am

 Obama held an online town hall meeting on healthcare Wednesday.  Weirdly enough – I can’t find anywhere to actually watch it  - only questions were used in the “online” portion of the title.

The President uses his favorite debate team tactic – the Straw Man argument throughout the speech.  “Some believe…..but I believe”  This tactic is used to great effect by him to frame the debate to his advantage, and misrepresent the opposing point of view or simply cloud the argument with bad logic.

Obama played  on peoples economic fears by threatening that our economy will sputter if we don’t adopt his socialist plans.

He misrepresents statistics; first claiming insurance premiums have risen at 3 times the rate of wages.  The real story is that since most people receive insurance as a PART of their employment package, the rate of increases on wage has been lowered BECAUSE of the premiums.  You can’t lay these two statistcs side by side.  Rather you must trend wages + benefits = Total Compensation.  The VALUE of total comp has been increasing, but its been WEIGHTED on the BENEFITS side of the equation rather than the wages side.  You can see that quite clearly here:


From the Bureau of Labor and Statistics:

75% of  private industry and government workers  had access to medical care    

Employers paid 83% of the premium cost for single coverage and 71% of the cost for family coverage

This is one reason a major reform should de-link the employer based coverage and allow individuals to buy their own policies.  People would shop around for the best policy for themselves. They will have a greater interest in getting the maximum value out of their healthcare dollars.  This solution would also allow for portability and free people to make career changes without fear of losing their healthcare.

This solution will allow market forces to drive down the cost of care, as it is likely more people will buy higher deductable policies rather than the current first dollar coverage that so many people have right now.  First dollar coverage in essence becomes pre-paid healthcare.   No one expects first dollar coverage for their car or home insurance.  In fact you are wise to buy a policy with as high a deductable as possible since that drives down the premium costs.  The fact is healthcare INSURANCE should be just that – INSURANCE designed to protect you against catastrophy.  There is no reasonable expectation that is should pay for your very first doctor visit or prescription.  THAT is why healthcare INSURANCE costs as much as it does. 

Naturally existing law would have to change to expand cross state sales of insurance to create this greater level of competition. 

The Healthcare “crisis” allegedly affects 46 Million people.  With the majority of workers covered, it makes no sense to blow up the system by putting the government in competition with private insurance.  It would only lead to employers dumping healthcare so people would go on the public plan.  What is needed is a simple elegant solution to allow those people without insurance who wish to PAY for insurance to be able to get it.  Obama claims that we are already apying for these uninsurable folks – if that is the case, then insurance companies should be able to cover them for a normal fee.   If they won’t then perhaps we really weren’t paying for it, or we will ALL have to pay a little more otherwise.  Pick your poison.

Obama does finally admit that it is MEDICARE that is the problem when he states that 90% of the projected increased in entitlement program costs are from Medicare.  Could it be the baby boomers maybe getting old?  Gee they might live a long time now that we have good medical practices and drugs that make cancer a manageable condition versus a life sentence.

“Already we’re seeing that when we put pressure to reform the system, then these industries are going to have to respond.”

Imagine that – companies who have watched other firms get taken over by the feds or simply allowed to go out of business are desperate to keep the evil Fed at bay – whatever it takes.  It’s Atlas Shrugged come to life!

“Now, one-third of it we’re going to have to pay for by increased revenues.  And what I’ve proposed is, is that if we capped the itemized deductions that very wealthy people do — the top 2 percent use on their income tax — so that they’re getting the same tax breaks as everybody else, as opposed to getting higher tax breaks because they’ve got a bigger house, then we can pay for the rest of reform.”

Obama will pay for this by taxing “the wealthy”  no specifics on who qualifies as wealthy.  Must be you and me.  Got to love how he doesn’t say tax – rather “increase revenues”.  WEASEL!

“And if we can do that, then, A, we can cover more people with the savings; and, B, we have more leverage over the insurance companies and the drug companies so that they give a better deal.  That’s what we’re trying to do.” 


He then misrepresents John McCain’s health care proposal but suggesting  that “…. if you completely eliminated the exclusion, there is no doubt that what would happen is, is that a lot of employers would stop providing health care.  And so a lot of people who currently get health care through their employers wouldn’t be able to get it.”

 Somehow I doubt that employers will be able to willy nilly drop benefits, which are a part of compensation without having people move to employers who DO continue to offer benefit.  What a BS argument.  

Continuing ..”The second thing — remember what I told you earlier about how if you are on your own shopping for health care you’ve got no leverage with the insurance company.  Well, the problem is, is that if suddenly now you get a tax credit for $5,000 or $7,000, you try to go buy some health insurance for your family, and it costs $14,000, you’re a lot worse off than you would have been.  You’re out of luck.  And you’ve got no leverage; they’ve got no incentive to give you a lower price because you’re on your own”

The leverage people have is the ability to SHOP AROUND.  There is MORE THAN ONE insurance company.  Does Obama not understand how the free market works?

There’s so much nonsense here, but the average person doesn’t understand or pay atrtention.  This is why his messaging is focused around “YOU CAN KEEP YOUR DOCTOR.”

Of course – only so long as your doctor is willing to run his business under the new rules.

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2 Responses to “Deconstructing Obama’s HealthCare Town Hall”

  1. [...] This post was Twitted by cassandratweet [...]

  2. [...] He blames to “special interests” and continues to obfuscate about comparing the rising cost of healthcare with the trends in wage increases as I reported in Deconstructing Obama’s HealthCare Town Hall [...]

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