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Obama’s health care reform is a lie

By
September 11, 2009

Dive in just about anyplace you like in President Barack Obama’s health-care speech the other night, and you bump into something abrasively wrongheaded, so much so that the whole thing can almost be summed up by Rep. Joe Wilson’s shout: "Lie!"

It was unquestionably out of line to do what the South Carolinian did, of course, as uncivil as when Democrats booed President George Bush during a State of the Union speech four years ago.

But wait, I am sorry, Bush surely deserved it and Democrats can do no wrong. Wilson, on the other hand, insulted mass-media hero Obama and will pay dearly while too few focus on the remark that inspired his ire.

The president had said that illegal immigrants would not be covered by his plan, when as a matter of fact millions almost certainly will be unless Democrats change their mind about what they have so far done on the issue. I know, I know — you have seen the fact checks saying differently from NBC and others as they inform us that draft legislation specifically prohibits the inclusion of illegals. It doesn’t matter.

The Democrats have bent over backwards to make sure there is no way to verify whether someone applying for insurance under a public option is a citizen or not, meaning that the legislative language is more subterfuge than substance. TV networks ought to figure out as much, and they and other media ought to get out of the "fact check" business until they learn that a fact is a discrete, objectively provable piece of information, not a laughably gullible analysis that leaves out crucial context.

The president’s other missteps include his emotive outburst that people will die if he doesn’t get the plan that he wants, that we are trailing behind every other advanced democracy in the world, that the costs won’t swamp us, that the attacks on the program lacked constructive alternatives and that people happy with their circumstances need not worry they’ll be upended.

The first thing I’d like to see is for all those who went after Sarah Palin for her talk of "death panels" to concede that Obama is just as intellectually amiss when he tries to scare people with the insinuation his opponents are on the side of the Grim Reaper. Under every health-care system known to humankind, some people will die prematurely for lack of proper care, not least in the systems of those other advanced democracies that make the terminally ill wait interminably to see a doctor.

Slowly but surely, scholars and astute journalists have been dismantling the statistical palaver about how much worse off we are here, observing that most of the data that shows us living shorter lives or being less healthy are associated with personal lifestyles, societal factors, accidents and homicides, and that our medical treatment outstrips that of most nations in saving people from serious illness.

Our medical costs today are out of hand, but would be worse under Obama’s massively transformative ideas. The previous estimates of runaway costs come from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office headed by a liberal economist chosen by Democrats. Talk of how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq cost as much is not an excuse for this expenditure, as Obama seems to believe. It’s another reason to reduce spending to save us from economic mayhem that itself would have adverse health consequences.

Despite Obama’s protests, some people would likely lose their employer-based insurance under his plan. Meanwhile there are more prudent, less intrusive alternatives that have in fact been put forth by Republicans. Obama did hint he might look at GOP suggestions for capping excesses in suits for medical malpractice, but left himself wiggle room not to follow through, pretty much in keeping with an exercise that from its rush-rush, hide-the-details inception has been one of political malpractice.

(Former newspaper editor Jay Ambrose is a columnist living in Colorado. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay(at)aol.com.)

One Response to Obama’s health care reform is a lie

  1. Michela

    September 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    You are contributing to the disinformation of the public. Illegal immigrants shouldn’t even be discussed in the same sentence as healthcare. Let’s try to focus on The Issue:HEALTH CARE FOR ALL. We have 47 million Americans without health insurance and many more millions with inadequate health insurance and you are worried about an occasional illegal immigrant who might get life-saving care in the emergency room! Yes, some could get care, but should this be what prevents us all from getting good health care? And, don’t you think that if insurance companies were the answer to our healthcare problems, they would have done something by now? Why haven’t they done anything to cut costs? Answer: it’s not in their interest to do so. They exist only to make a profit, and as long as that is the bottom line, people will never have proper health care. And, as long as congressmen can be bought by the insurance companies, we will not get Single Payer. And, as long as stupid people can be duped by corporations and their media whores, we will not have universal health care.
    When I was teaching and took students to Europe, I had occasion to experience the helth care system in France. One of my students twisted her ankle. The ambulance arrived within minutes of being called. At the hospital, my student was treated immediately. She was dischanrged quickly with her Xrays in hand and a pair of crutches. No one talked about money. And, by the way, she brought the crutches back to the US. No charge. Thanks to the French! And you are worried about an occasional immigrant getting emergency care???
    You also don’t seem to have a problem with the trillions we’ve been spending on wars. That’s OK with you, but not spending money on health care? Killing is fine, but saving lives is too expensive?
    Just imagine what we could have done with the money we could have saved from the wars. But then, Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, etc., would not have made so much money, would they?