Tag Archive for 'universal healthcare'

SBA Poll: Some broken promises have more consequences than others

The Question:
What do you think about President Obama’s promises since 2009 that you could keep your existing insurance?

2% - Whatever he said was for the greater good.

6% - Whatever he said was no worse than any other politician.

27%- Whether intentional or not, he misled the American people.

65% - The president lied to the American people.

My Comments:
Every president makes campaign promises. Some they keep and some they don’t. Most of the time when they don’t keep a promise it doesn’t amount to much. It’s politics, after all, right?

But sometimes a promise is so prominent that, when broken, it becomes quite momentous. President George H.W. Bush ran afoul of this truth when he broke his promise of “No new taxes–read my lips–no new taxes.” When he did, in fact, increase taxes during his first term, this breach of trust with voting Americans was definitely one of the reasons his reelection bid was lost to the unlikely candidacy of Bill Clinton.

Now fast-forward to the 21st century. “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it–period!” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor-guaranteed!” These are the promises President Barack Obama made to Americans on dozens of occasions during the debate about the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, and in defense of the law after passage when he was running for reelection. Now, barely more than a month after Obamacare went live, it’s becoming obvious that there are problems with those promises.

Most people agree that Bush 41 was faced with issues that caused him to change his mind about taxes a few years later. The price he paid was for breaking his promise, but no one ever accused him of lying. But at this moment President Obama is in a whirlwind of public opinion about what he knew and what his motivations were when he made his promises. We asked our audience in a recent online poll what they thought with this question: “What do you think about President Obama’s promises since 2009 that you could keep your existing insurance?” Here’s what we learned.

Just 2% of our sample said, “Whatever he said was for the greater good,” with another 6% choosing, “Whatever he said was no worse than any other politician.” A little more than one-fourth allowed that, “Whether intentional or not, he misled the American people.” But almost two-thirds of our respondents believe, “The president lied to the American people.”

One thing is evident from this most recent presidential breech: Americans have very definite feelings about the cost and availability of their health care. And anyone who presumes to impose their will on this personal and intimate dynamic is putting their political prospects in harm’s way.

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The war between Universal and Market-based healthcare

In the world of health care, a war of philosophies has been raging for almost two decades – some could argue longer. If you’re scoring at home, the two sides of this battle are the government solutions warriors and the market solutions champions.

The team fighting for government to control America’s health care system identifies the ultimate goal of their plan as “universal health care.” So we’ll call them the Universals. If they win, all Americans will receive their health care as an entitlement from the federal government, which by definition will be paid for with tax revenue. If you’re looking for an example of this plan in action, consider the European model.

The other team is fighting for market-based solutions, where provider competition and patient portability prevails. We’ll call this team the Markets, and they want individuals to be able to make their own health care coverage decisions, pay for insurance coverage and treatments with before-tax dollars and become health care consumers, not just patients. The fans of the Markets think individuals, not the government, should be able to determine what’s best for them. The best example of success in support of this philosophy is Health Savings Accounts.

The difference between the two teams is actually quite simple: If you want to become a ward of the federal government regarding your health care services, root for the Universals. If you want to have more choices and control your own health care, cheer for the Markets.

Ironically, in 1997, a Republican-controlled Congress, typically on the Markets’ side, passed a bill called State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This provides coverage for children in families often called the “working poor,” households whose family income puts them in a kind of Never-Never-Land between Medicaid and an income level where they could afford to purchase insurance on their own. One argument against SCHIP is that families at the high end of eligibility may drop their own coverage, even when they can afford it, and let the government cover their children.

The health care war is heating up again, this time over SCHIP income eligibility - the Universals want to increase it. If passed as proposed, as columnist and Markets fan, George Will, reported recently, in some states the new family-of-four income eligibility level for SCHIP could grow to over $84,000, which is more than 400% of the poverty line and $30,000 more than the U.S. mean household income.

Adding irony to irony, the Democrats, a.k.a Universals, are using this Republican creation to do an “end-run” around the Markets to accomplish their ultimate goal. Indeed, Universal co-captain, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, called this increased coverage “a down payment on President Obama’s promise to provide universal health care to all Americans.”

If you favor the Markets’ philosophy, as I do, these are fighting words. Beside greater federal intrusion into my life as my primary objection to universal health care, there is also the prohibitive tax increases on small businesses that would ultimately result to pay for it.

Recently, Grace-Marie Turner (www.galen.org)joined me on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to talk about the health care war and the Universals’ SCHIP weapon. Grace-Marie is one of the world’s top thought-leaders on health care public policy, president of the Galen Institute a long-time member of my Brain Trust and a co-captain of the Markets. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear what this important expert has to say about the future of the American health care system. And be sure to leave a comment.

Obama’s proposed cabinet appointments

Observing president-elect Obama’s preparation for taking office, the classic political scenario seems to be playing out: campaign with one set of strategies against his own party’s opponents in the primaries, then tack in another strategic direction against the other party in the general election, and finally, once elected, become the pawn of political reality.

Count me as one of those who warned about the choices and policies that would manifest based on Obama’s campaign rhetoric and historical liberal leaning. But I would be less than candid if I didn’t acknowledge the pragmatic and reasoned process that seems to have been followed in making the cabinet choices announced thus far by Mr. Obama..

Today I had another outstanding interview with that great American, Governor Pete du Pont. We talked about this early Obama behavior and the various implications; giving credit where credit is due but still concerned about the president-elect’s plans for nationalizing our healthcare system. Take a few minutes to listen — Gov. du Pont’s wisdom never disappoints.




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