Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama lies about his health care plan to sell it

I got to hear a good deal of Obama's health care speech last night, much to my wife's disapproval. She especially disliked when I started shouting back at him after he commented on how little his plan would cost (only $900 billion). He said that cost was on par with wasteful spending like on the Iraq War or tax cuts for the rich. It was the "tax cuts" line that set me off. "It's my money! It's not the government's money that they can choose to give back to us! Why should I bother earning it if it belongs to them!" (with lots of salty f-bombs tossed in for emphasis).

The scare tactics line bugged me, too. He very obliquely tells us we're all liars and that he will "call out" those who misrepresent the plan. I am not accustomed to being threatened by my President. Is that bullying threat not meant to scare us into silence?

This man has no connection to American ideals. He believes gov't has the right to control us (and, most of all, determine how much of our money we get to keep). He will allow us to keep our doctors. Really? Is that his option? He could have chosen not to allow us to keep our doctors, but he is being nice to us? Where in the Constitution does it give him the power to determine which doctor I will see or which insurance company I will use? Nowhere! You would think a requirement to defending the Constitution, as per his oath, would be the reading the thing and understand how it limits Federal gov't power.

I don't believe his cost estimates. I don't believe him when he says the plan will be entirely paid for by spending cuts (yeah, right -- and he's also not going to raise taxes on the non-rich). I don't believe that the gov't plan will not be subsidized, nor that the final goal is not a takeover of all health care in America.

He says we need a gov't plan because the for-profit insurance companies will always have too much of an incentive to rip people off. He does not mention that:

  • There are already not-for-profit medical insurance companies -- if they are not "keeping the insurance companies honest", why would his insurance plan do so?

  • The profit motive provides an incentive for efficiency, since inefficiency diminishes profit -- without the profit motive, inefficiency swells (as can be documented in Medicaid and Medicare and just about every gov't enterprise) as well as fraud and corruption (Fannie? Freddie?).

No, he did not mention these things. Does he think we're too stupid to know it? Of course he does, who are we kidding?
Insurance executives don't do this because they are bad people. They do it because it's profitable. As one former insurance executive testified before Congress, insurance companies are not only encouraged to find reasons to drop the seriously ill; they are rewarded for it. All of this is in service of meeting what this former executive called "Wall Street's relentless profit expectations."
What is that if not a declaration of war on profits. Do you know what prolonged the Depression more than anything else? FDR's relentless war on profits. When he stopped battling American manufacturers and enlisted them (for profit) in the war effort, the country finally rebounded. War on profit => Depression.

He complains that 75% of the insured are insured by just 5 companies. Well 70% of all cars sold in America are made by 5 companies. 40 years ago, 3 companies dominated the American market. The shift away from the big 3 automakers was not forced on us by gov't -- the market shifted because of the voluntary choices made by individuals. Did we need a gov't automaker? Don't answer that, Obama. We know your answer.

There was a time when 90% of all PCs were made by IBM. Did that change because of a gov't sponsored PC plan? Industry dominators Microsoft and Intel are losing market share. Is this because of a secret gov't plan? Still, Microsoft and Intel dominate their rivals. Is this a bad thing? Do we need a Federal department of computing to rectify this situation?

So why do we need gov't to increase competition in a market that has thousands of companies and is dominated by no less than five major companies?

He pretends to be mortified that almost 90% of insurance in Alabama is sold by only one company. But it's a free market in Alabama (I hope). They can choose any of the competing companies (if the state let's them). If 90% choose the same company, good for them and good for that company. Why exactly is that bad? A gov't run alternative is not necessary, nor necessarily better.

He says:
...the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers.
He wants us to believe that this gov't program would be efficient -- more efficient than the privately run alternatives. That would be a first in history.

Then there's this beaut:
It would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities.
Why are public universities cheaper than private? Why is that, do you suppose? It's because they are heavily subsidized by the taxpayer! Who writes his speeches, kindergartners? They are as thin as tissue paper and about as intellectually heavy.

He claims, "It's worth noting that a strong majority of Americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort I've proposed tonight." That cannot be true. I think that is a load of horse hockey. I doubt it is a majority, much less a strong majority. The last poll I saw showed a majority did not trust him to solve the health care problems, much less support any particular private option.

He is the liar-in-chief, as Thomas Sowell points out. He is attempting to rush this through, even though it will not take effect until after the next Presidential election, because he knows if we see it before it passes we would not buy into it.