Setting the Record Straight

04 Aug

With the misinformation continuing to swirl around “out there” I’ve gathered a few excellent sources from the past few days and am stringing them together here. I’m providing the links to the full stories so you can go read them in their entirety–which I highly recommend.

The first point may seem like a concession to my anti-reform friends, but it really isn’t. It comes from Obama’s TIME magazine interview. The President is quoted as saying:

“…[T]he final part of this, which we knew was always going to be contentious….has to do with the issue of how do you bend the cost curve, because you can’t say we’re going to control cost inflation except nothing changes; something has to change if health care inflation is going to be reduced.”

But, he goes on to clarify that this means nothing that you would miss will change:

“There is nothing that would make you healthier that health reform would prevent you from getting.”

And asked about the case of being denied care for something that might yield minimal gains to health at a large cost, Obama replies that this is already the case under the status quo.

“There are all kinds of things that people want that would make them a little bit better and they don’t have….Every single person who is denied reimbursement for something by an insurance company is going through that.”

He’s absolutely correct.

As for government plans restricting choice and telling people what’s good for them, Timothy Noah takes aim at this and rightly proclaims that:

“Under a single-payer system, the government doesn’t care which doctor or hospital you use because none is going to be more expensive than the others….By definition, a single-payer system would deny consumers…the opportunity to choose a health insurer. But choosing an insurer, [Allan] Brett says, is ‘not an end in itself.'”

Besides, employer-based insurance already limits your choice of insurers and plans. It’s not like you have whatever coverage you’d like. Your boss offers a select menu of options at best, often just one option, and all too often, no benefits at all. Of course, no one is talking seriously about single-payer at this point because it is politically infeasible as discussed by David Brooks and Gail Collins in the New York Times.

For those who still don’t grasp the potential of rolling back some portion of the tax break on employer-based health plans, or the way in which the current benefit is essentially a government subsidy of private insurance and a textbook form of regressive taxation, I point you to an excellent article by Lester Feder.

All of the misinformation comes to a head in the types of blatant propaganda I have been receiving via email from certain friends and family, even before the election, but now more prominent than ever. Fortunately, there are some good investigative types out there doing the fact-checking that so few people do before hitting “forward” and spreading more off-target remarks. One source is the St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact and the other is posted by Linda Bergthold. If you’re at all interested in knowing exactly what is and is not in the proposed House legislation, both of these are a great start. Hopefully the truth can make some inroads in this debate.

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Posted by on August 4, 2009 in Uncategorized


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