July 24th, 2009 at 12:59pm
Sean Hannity’s daily email sums up the speech nicely in its subject line:
Obama Care: No Specifics…No Plan…
The speech was almost completely devoid of any details, which is amusing considering the 1018 page Obamacare bill is being pulled to bits by the media. The bill is available from the House of Congress website by clicking here, and I’ve mirrored it here just in case it disappears in the future. (Thanks to Heather Kydd for the link). Well worth a read if you want to see what an utterly ghastly, choice-and-standard-of-care destroying piece of legislation this would be if passed.
The Associated Press’ Calvin Woodward, Jim Kuhnhenn and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar have put together an excellent “fact check” piece on Obama’s speech. I’m just going to quote the whole thing because it is brilliant.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s assertion Wednesday that government will stay out of health care decisions in an overhauled system is hard to square with the proposals coming out of Congress and with his own rhetoric.
Even now, nearly half the costs of health care in the U.S. are paid for by government at all levels. Federal authority would only grow under any proposal in play.
A look at some of Obama’s claims in his prime-time news conference:
OBAMA: “We already have rough agreement” on some aspects of what a health care overhaul should involve, and one is: “It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it.”
THE FACTS: In House legislation, a commission appointed by the government would determine what is and isn’t covered by insurance plans offered in a new purchasing pool, including a plan sponsored by the government. The bill also holds out the possibility that, over time, those standards could be imposed on all private insurance plans, not just the ones in the pool.
Indeed, Obama went on to lay out other principles of reform that plainly show the government making key decisions in health care. He said insurance companies would be barred from dropping coverage when someone gets too sick, limits would be set on out-of-pocket expenses, and preventive care such as checkups and mammograms would be covered.
It’s true that people would not be forced to give up a private plan and go with a public one. The question is whether all of those private plans would still be in place if the government entered the marketplace in a bigger way.
He addressed some of the nuances under questioning. “Can I guarantee that there are going to be no changes in the health care delivery system?” he said. “No. The whole point of this is to try to encourage changes that work for the American people and make them healthier.”
He acknowledged then that the “government already is making some of these decisions.”
OBAMA: “I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it.”
THE FACTS: The president has said repeatedly that he wants “deficit-neutral” health care legislation, meaning that every dollar increase in cost is met with a dollar of new revenue or a dollar of savings. But some things are more neutral than others. White House Budget Director Peter Orszag told reporters this week that the promise does not apply to proposed spending of about $245 billion over the next decade to increase fees for doctors serving Medicare patients. Democrats and the Obama administration argue that the extra payment, designed to prevent a scheduled cut of about 21 percent in doctor fees, already was part of the administration’s policy, with or without a health care overhaul.
Beyond that, budget experts have warned about various accounting gimmicks that can mask true burdens on the deficit. The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget lists a variety of them, including back-loading the heaviest costs at the end of the 10-year period and beyond.
OBAMA: “You haven’t seen me out there blaming the Republicans.”
THE FACTS: Obama did so in his opening statement, saying, “I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to ‘go for the kill.’ Another Republican senator said that defeating health reform is about ‘breaking’ me.”
OBAMA: “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”
THE FACTS: The facts are in dispute between black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the white police sergeant who arrested him at his Cambridge, Mass., home when officers went there to investigate a reported break-in. But this much is clear: Gates wasn’t arrested for being in his own home, as Obama implies, but for allegedly being belligerent when the sergeant demanded his identification. The president did mention that the professor was charged with disorderly conduct. Charges were dropped.
OBAMA: “If we had done nothing, if you had the same old budget as opposed to the changes we made in our budget, you’d have a $9.3 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. Because of the changes we’ve made, it’s going to be $7.1 trillion.”
THE FACTS: Obama’s numbers are based on figures compiled by his own budget office. But they rely on assumptions about economic growth that some economists find too optimistic. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in its own analysis of the president’s budget numbers, concluded that the cumulative deficit over the next decade would be $9.1 trillion.
I suppose it’s a tad unfair of me to call the speech laughable. From this distance it is laughable, but for the people directly affected by it, it’s downright scary…but not as scary as the bill.
Meanwhile back in Australia, New South Wales Government hospitals once again prove their ineptitude.
A Liverpool Hospital manager is refusing to say if his staff did the right thing by turning away a pregnant woman who later gave birth on her bedroom floor.
Natasha Ramirez was bleeding when she arrived at the hospital last Thursday, only to be told to go home because there was no room.
“She told me to go back home because I wouldn’t be in labour for another 24 to 48 hours,” Ms Ramirez told News Ltd.
She gave birth on her bedroom floor five hours later.
Sydney South West Clinical Director of Women’s Health Dr Andrew Child says the staff followed protocol.
“Many, many, many mothers every day present to obstetrics units and are assessed. They’re not in labour so they’re advised to wait at home.”
Ms Ramirez was already four days overdue when she went into labour at her Liverpool unit at 3am.
She and her partner Ricardo Hermosilla decided to call a taxi to take her to the hospital. When they arrived, Ms Ramirez claims she was taken to the birthing unit but was assessed by a nurse, not a doctor.
In her previous birth Ms Ramirez needed anti-D injections because of her o-negative blood type and was worried there may have been similar complications.
Despite this, she was told to go home.
When was the last time you heard of this happening in a private hospital? You can’t remember it happening…precisely. It’s about time that we privatised the entire medical system in this country. The increase in use of private healthcare would prompt an increase in the number of truly competitive health insurance funds catering to the needs of their clients, and hospitals would no longer be constrained by the limited (albeit large, but still limited) amount of funds available to them from the government, which would have the double benefit of freeing up a heap of taxpayer funds, and maybe even producing tax cuts.