Thursday, July 23, 2009

Always the Health Care Demagogue

President Obama and his "team" are promoting health care reform principally by demonizing doctors, the rich, and Republican members of Congress. He continually uses the "straw man argument" setup when he declares, "Some say that we should stick with the status quo, but I say ..." when no one is making that argument at all.

In his press conference Wednesday night, the president claimed that doctors are so fixated on making money that they will routinely prescribe unnecessary surgeries (he cited tonsillectomies) rather than pills (allergies). He does the medical community a great disservice in saying so, and he twists the facts all out of phase with reality. Pediatricians might advocate removing the tonsils of a child who has repeated problems in that area, but he (or she) will refer the patient to an ear, nose and throat specialist, who in turn might well enlist the services of a surgeon to do the actual operation.

Profit to the pediatrician? None. Unless, of course, Obama is suggesting that there are professional kickbacks being paid. That is something that, as a member of the Chicago school of politics, he undoubtedly has much more experience than the rest of us. Still, you think someone -- like an insurance company -- would have discovered such a nefarious practice and would have raised a big, public stink.

No, the probability is that doctors advise surgeries because they believe them to be in the best interest of their patients. And therein lies the danger of ObamaCare: he wants to take this kind of decision away from trained medical professions and put it into the hands of an "expert" in Washington who will render a decision based on regulatory guidelines and budget numbers.

Obama will demagogue doctors because the public's perception is that they are rich, elitist and driven by profits. Except for your own doctor, of course, who you know to be a caring human being, and you would hate to lose. But lose your doctor you may under ObamaCare as everything is on the table about how care is administered.

The president continues to push for a tax surcharge on the "wealthy" of America, while Democrats in the Congress fret that this might include some of their small business political supporters. It is fitting that they should worry since you do not have to be a very large business owner to run into the $280,000 floor on the surcharge, not to mention the 8 percent payroll tax you will incur if you do not offer your employees a government-certified health care plan.

The politics of "soak the rich" has always worked. The "us versus them" of class envy stirs the populist fires of the would-be socialists who think that their lives would be perfect if only those damn rich would share!

But not even America's rich have enough money to pay for ObamaCare, whose initial costs of $1.5 trillion are just the beginning of the cost to the American people and the American economy.

Finally, let's talk about Obama's Republican bashing. First he declares that "there are those who want to stick with the status quo," and he then will specifically point to Republicans. These GOP members, for all their past faults, are in the unenviable position of having insufficient numbers to do more than beg for their views to get a hearing. Between the hard politics of Pelosi and Reid and a mainstream media that would rather demonize Republicans than actually report what they are advocating, the GOP can do little more than point out that, if Congress will only allow two choices -- the status quo and Obama's Big Health Monstrosity -- then the better choice is to stick with what we have.

What we have is not perfect, but it is still the best health care system on the planet. Could it be improved? Absolutely, but not in the direction that ObamaCare will take us. Socialized medicine has never worked well, and what he has proposed will incorporate all the worst elements of government command and control.

The Republicans have some good ideas on health care reform. Unless you do your own research, you probably won't hear them.

Obama's main opposition right now are the Blue Dog Democrats, the congressmen who were elected from conservative districts across the country. They are looking for political cover, and thus negotiations are ongoing. My guess is that the Blue Dog Democrats will accept a couple of "compromises" with the president (which will be ignored later, or will be irrelevant to the big issues) and will give him his "victory." Then they will proclaim themselves to be tough, fiscally responsible public stewards who went head-to-head with The One and prevailed, assuming that you and I are just preoccupied enough, or stupid enough, to buy their act.

The Blue Dogs are a mighty thin reed for us to pin our hopes of defeating ObamaCare. We cannot for a day let down our guard and our opposition. ObamaCare, aka HR 3200, is a fatally flawed bill that deserves to go down in flames. A few cosmetic amendments will not make it look or smell any better once it becomes law.

This is why Obama is not attacking the Blue Dogs, but Republicans. The political strategy is brilliant. If the Blue Dogs cave, Obama gets his health care bill, government control of one-fifth of the economy. He wins big.

If the Blue Dogs don't give in, Obama will claim that the Republicans delivered the fatal blow, and with every economic disaster that takes place in the next 15 months before the 2010 elections he will tell Americans that he tried to save our economy with health care reform, but the Republicans would rather see American's jobless and without health care.

And if we are preoccupied enough, or stupid enough, to buy his act, we'll elect another Progressive Congress in 2010 and the march to socialism will continue.

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At 10:23 PM, Blogger Red S Tater said...

My caption for the "photo"...

"cough please"


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