Saturday, July 25, 2009

Obamacare Doublespeak

The doublespeak coming out of the White House regarding the healthcare nonsense that our "leaders" in Washington are attempting to foist off on us is certainly confounding, but truly breathtaking in its depth and breadth of.... well.... audacity.

From this CNNMoney report today, we are treated to the following: (emphasis added)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House has criticized the Congressional Budget Office's findings that the Obama administration's proposal to control Medicare costs would yield a moderate savings of $2 billion over the next decade.

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said the CBO's analysis -- which it relayed to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Saturday -- could feed a perception of the office's bias toward "exaggerating costs and underestimating savings."

"The point of the proposal ... was never to generate savings over the next decade," Orszag said in a letter posted on Saturday.

"Instead the goal is to provide a mechanism for improving quality of care for beneficiaries and reducing costs over the long term."

Is not a reduction in cost the same thing as a savings? Why.... Yes! Yes, it is!

This is but one example of the doublespeak coming out of our current Administration. The frightening part comes in this little tidbit: (emphasis added)
Achieving Obama's goal, say Orszag and other experts, requires covering every American, digitizing records, encouraging healthy behaviors and, perhaps most important, rewarding medical teams that deliver evidence-based care rather than those with the highest volume. It means focusing on chronic illnesses, reducing costly hospital and specialist visits, and nudging doctors to work in teams.
Backed up by this even bigger one: (emphasis added)
The grants [to organizations like ACORN] are designed to fund groups that will "measure" people's health-related behavior on the community level, including whether they are gaining or losing weight, eating the right foods, getting exercise, using tobacco, or engaging in other personal behaviors targeted for federal monitoring by the secretary of health and human services.
Federal monitoring of personal behaviors? Crazy, since I thought this was still America (for a little while, anyhow).

Why must we have yet more legislation rammed through both chambers of Congress and rushed across the President's desk without being read (or even being written before being passed, like Cap and Trade was passed in the House) now, now, now, even though a majority of Americans are against "reform" plans being flung about? What is the dire urgency? Well, according to President Obama, the urgency is because:

This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job. It’s about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive. And it’s about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.

So let me be clear: if we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we do not act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day. These are the consequences of inaction. These are the stakes of the debate we’re having right now.

Our national economy is at stake (in Obama's opinion), but so is our personal financial status - all because of health insurance. Not health care, mind you, as has been promoted for ages as the catch phrase of the day, but health insurance. There IS a difference.

Each and every American (and illegal aliens who find themselves upon our soil) are entitled by law to health care. This fact cannot and should not ever be disputed.
  • If you are a pregnant woman with no insurance and you show up in the local emergency room in labor, you and your newborn will receive care - by law - regardless of your ability or inability to pay.
  • If you are a drunk teenager having just become intimate with a telephone pole at 92 miles per hour and show up in the local emergency room, you will receive care - by law - regardless of your ability or inability to pay.
  • If you are a homeless man suffering a heart attack or stroke and show up in the local emergency room, you will receive care - by law - regardless of your ability or inability to pay.
  • If you are an American citizen, legal immigrant, or illegal immigrant with a sniffle and show up in the local emergency room, you will receive care - by law - regardless of your ability or inability to pay - or even your citizenship status.
Health insurance, on the other hand is an entirely different story. Some have it and some do not. Some have better coverage than others. Some people have deductibles and copays and others do not. Some policies are provided by an employer, some are provided by the individual, and many are provided by both.

Obviously, there is a limit on the care provided in an emergency room. For example, showing up (with or without insurance) will not get you infertility treatments, cosmetic surgery, or a sex-change operation. However, if you are seeking those types of treatments, would it not seem fair and reasonable to expect you to seek those services out at your own expense anyhow? On the other hand, does it not seem fair and reasonable that there should be limits placed on what health insurance covers, as well?

But Barack Obama is going to make sure this healthcare utopia is realized, even if it means exerting "pressure" on those representatives we send to Washington, DC, to represent our interests:
Obama’s political operation has dispensed with its post-inauguration cocktails for Republicans – or more often, ignoring them outright — in favor of the old politics of engage, attack and cajole. Obama’s even engaging in a little Democrat-on-Democrat politics, as his ex-campaign arm is beaming TV ads into the home states of moderate fence-sitters on health care.
* * * * *

What is the premise behind insurance, anyway?
Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a premium, and can be thought of as a guaranteed small loss to prevent a large, possibly devastating loss.
A protection against a loss that may occur in the future, secured by payment to the party expected to reimburse against that loss, in an "equitable" (fair) manner.

For example: I buy a car and secure a loan to make the purchase. The bank requires me to carry insurance to protect against risk of loss, protecting not only the bank but me, as well. I do not want to pay for something I no longer own that was lost in an accident, and the bank does not want to lose their investment, so I pay Company X a fee to insure against that risk of loss. The case may well be that I never file a claim over the life of that loan and the insurance company gets to keep that money, having paid out nothing on my behalf. Is it a waste? Certainly not, since it bought peace of mind and protected me (and my bank) - just in case. I may even choose to continue that policy even after the bank releases the lien, if the value of the car is significant enough to warrant, to continue that peace of mind "just in case."

The same principle applies to homeowner's insurance. Short- and long-term disability insurance. Life insurance. Countless other types of coverage, to cover countless kinds of losses.

Then we get to health insurance. Goy has a great analysis on this, so I will let you read his insights on the monster health insurance has become - and solutions: (excerpt - please read the entire article, well worth it)

There was a time – not so long ago, for some of us – when people payed out-of-pocket for all of their health care. They either wrote a check at the time of service or they paid a bill that arrived in the mail. If they needed an expensive operation, they took out a loan, or worked out a payment plan with the vendor.

One day, some entrepreneur got the bright idea that if one could purchase insurance against such huge expenses, one wouldn’t need a loan. And the big selling point to the potential customer was this: by paying a nominal premium, one could get expensive health care at far less than what it would cost out-of-pocket, because others in the plan were helping to pay for it. Early plans, therefore, were the equivalent in many respects to today’s catastrophic health care plans – plans which cover medical expenses after they’ve reached a specific – usually fairly high – total (or “deductible” to use the insurance term).

In the meantime, we deal with double-talk, half-truths, and outright lies coming out of the White House. We are facing the potential loss of liberties and the pursuit of happiness, but also our very lives or the lives of loved ones. We will be burdened further with a complex and unnavigable system that costs more than it should and returns less than "equitable," appropriate, or even moral and ethical.

This is it, folks. THIS is the end of the line.

3 comments:

Lew Waters said...

engaging in other personal behaviors targeted for federal monitoring by the secretary of health and human services.

The one "personal behavior" that will remain un-targeted will undoubtedly be homosexuality, where in America, the overall largest incidence AIDs remains.

CDC: Basic AIDs Statistics

Male-to-male sexual contact 487,695
Male-to-male sexual contact 71,242
and injection drug use

High-risk heterosexual contact 176,157

Angie Lee said...

What about personal behavior like criminality? The spread of STDs in jails and prisons is a pretty significant risk factor, too, not to mention the fact that an inmate's every "medical necessity" is covered, from routine medical care to dental and psychiatric care to hormone therapy, requests for breast implants and surgery for gender reassignment. If they don't get it, they sue.

What about refusal of able-bodied individuals to work and instead collect public assistance or abuse Social Security? They're not only abusing the money and goodwill side of the coin, but putting themselves at risk for health issues from sitting on the couch all day (or whatever it is they do, since they're not WORKING).

John said...

One of the biggest mistakes I've seen is people believing they're covered by disability insurance from the Social Security Admin. 70% of claims are denied and most of those that finally get approved only happen after a lawyer gets involved. I worked through Disability Insurance Update to find affordable coverage for myself. for less that $40 per month, I'm covered at 70% of my regular salary if I ever can't work because of being sick or injured. Now I don't care about the federal program.