In what felt more like a State of the Union Speech than one on policy, President Obama stood before a joint session of Congress to talk to those gathered and the nation—at least, those that weren’t tuned in elsewhere—about what he envisions health care insurance to look like under his plan.
A few observations:
Who’d Want to Be In The Insurance Business?
At times, you’d have thought the President hung out with Insurance Company employees—stating that they were our neighbors and good people. At times they were the cause of the problem—trying to make too much profit.
I left his speech wondering why anyone would want to get into the health care business with the restrictions that he was placing on them.
It’s not that I think that they are perfect, it’s just that insurance is a numbers game. It’s the statistical average of any person going to the doctor, which factors in age and fitness along with other risk factors. The insurance company takes in money, but makes profit when you don’t go to the doctor. The fewer times you go in, the bigger their profit.
So, they want to rule out people that are going to potentially cause them to go out of business because they haven’t paid enough into the system in order to warrant the amount of money that would be coming out for their illness.
One of President Obama’s desires is that no one with a pre-existing condition would be refused care. But if that means that someone that chose to skip insurance early finds out that they have cancer so they go get coverage, which they can no longer be refused, how does that effect the bottom line—and more importantly, how does that effect others that have been in a policy their whole lives.
If you have to give people coverage, and you have to make it affordable (no one goes bankrupt with costs) and you take away risk factors, you’re essentially hurting that business model.
Now, some profit may be expendable. The fact that these companies compete on the Stock Exchanges and have to show increasing profits is, to me, a problem. That should have been a part of reform—some way to make companies not choose profit over good customer service/care.
I just wondered whether there would be an insurance company left in business if they had to sacrifice any limiting factors simply because there are some companies out there that were misbehaving. There should be recourse if coverage is dropped, etc., some judge you could go before. No need to take away all limiting factors.
Who is Telling the Truth?
President Obama wants you to believe that he is, calling his opponents liars. The Republicans want you to believe that they are, calling the President (even audibly during the speech) a liar.
To me, I don’t know how President Obama can promise no future problems caused by this bill. Anyone who follows government knows that government doesn’t have a problem changing legislation to spend more money. Even if he were to have a trigger that would say “if we spend a dime more in deficit, this program shuts down” whose to say that the provision will not be stripped later on.
And that’s a big part of this whole thing. It’s not that I’m opposed to health care reform—I’m not. It’s not that the plan doesn’t sound good—there are some really interesting elements to it. It’s that the foundation, the logic behind the base of this thing, reeks of government intrusion and waste. The fact that Medicare is as wasteful and is as bad as it is should tell you that government isn’t really good at doing this kind of thing.
So, why should we trust it this time?
See, I don’t believe this “health care is terrible and we have to fix it NOW!” That’s baloney. It’s been like this for a while, and could be fixed through incremental steps.
The economy is a bigger issue than this. When the economy was good, employers gave better policies to their employees and things were good. As the economy goes down, companies have to cut costs to survive, and they pass along the cuts to their employees.
In fact, companies are a whole lot better at managing the cycles of the economy than the government is. Government does the exact opposite—piling on obligations when times are good, and then piling on the debt when things go south.
Just say no to this health care bill. We can do better.