A few questions on the healthcare bill, starting with the post office
Considering how the postal service is one government service that is huge, is losing money hand over fist, and is tremendously inefficient, a governmental takeover of healthcare, which is such a large percentage of the economy and at the same time when Medicare is such a disaster, is reason to worry. Obama even brought up the analogy yesterday
I mean, if you think about — if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems. (Laughter.)
In that case, why resort to yet another government service?
As Scott Johnson points out,
Obama acknowledges no competitive advantage accruing to a plan that will obviously draw at will on public funds and has no need to turn a profit. Private insurers should have no problem competing with a government plan, Obama said. “They do it all the time,” according to Obama. “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine…. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.”
What a joke. While the President sells citizens on his “post office” health care plan, the Heritage Foundation offers a few questions to consider:blockquote>1.) The U.S. Post Office is the only entity allowed by federal law to deliver first class mail to your mailbox. In fact, Fedex and UPS are strictly prohibited from delivering “non-urgent” letters. If the government can fairly compete and is setting fair rules, wouldn’t the post office be open to competition at your mailbox?
2.) If Americans were offered “free” postage paid for by massive government spending and tax hikes, would Fedex and UPS still exist?
3.) The Post Office is on track to lose a staggering $7 billion this year alone. How will a government-run health care plan manage taxpayer resources more efficiently?
4.) Postmaster General John Potter says he lacks the “tools” necessary to run the Post Office effectively like a business. Would a government-run health care system have the tools it needs to run as effectively as the private sector entities it is replacing?
5.) On the one hand, the President remarks how great his public health care plan will be. On the other hand, he notes it won’t be good enough to crowd out your private insurance, i.e. the Post Office comparison. So which is it Mr. President? Will it be so great that private insurance disappears or so awful that it isn’t worth creating in the first place?
6.) But the most important question is this: if you have an urgent piece of mail you need delivered, life or death, who are you going to call? Everyone saying the government…please raise your hands. (crickets).
The president wants you to believe the government’s going to treat more people for less money. As it is, the healthcare bill will shift medicare costs to the states, many of which are broke. But Obama insists it’s all going to work out well,
What’s more, the president insists his plan won’t hurt a bit. At his July 23 news conference, Obama was asked, “Specifically, what kind of pain, what kind of sacrifice, are you calling on beneficiaries to make?”
“No, no,” the president answered. He would not reduce anyone’s Medicare benefits, Obama promised, but rather “change how those benefits are delivered so that they’re more efficient.”
Government, in charge of delivering benefits “so that they’re more efficient”?
When has that happened?
While we ponder those questions, have you heard about the Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research?
The oversight committee, called the “Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission” will disseminate “the findings of research conducted and supported under this section that enables clinicians, patients, consumers, and payers to make more informed health care decisions that improve quality and value.”
King has questions, too:
- What will you do with the results of the Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission?
- Will these results be used in redefining the qualified insurance package I can get? That is, suppose my insurer looks at those results and doesn’t change funding for certain treatments. Will the government make them do so?
- There are private groups doing comparative effectiveness research. Insurers no doubt do much of this. Why do we need a government agency to do it? Is this a good use of our money?
- Relatedly, wasn’t there a billion spent on this in the stimulus act?
- To what extent will the commission consider cost in its analysis? Uwe Reinhardt, an advisor during the Hillarycare debate, wrings his hands over people spending too much on their health care. Do you worry about this?
- Do you have any evidence that this will save money? CBO says not before 2019.
Senator Tom Coburn, who’s also an MD, has 10 more questions: Pay close attention to what he has to say on question #6, regarding the Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission,
1. Why do we need to increase spending on health care by at least $1.6 trillion and steal prosperity from our children and grandchildren when we spend nearly twice per person what other industrialized nations spend on health care?
2. What programs will you cut and whose taxes will you raise to pay for health-care reform?
3. What earmarks or pet projects that you have sponsored will you sacrifice to help finance the cost of health-care reform?
4. Will you vote for a public option that requires taxpayer-funded abortion?
5. If the public option is so wonderful, will you lead by example and vote for a plan to enroll you and your family in the public option?
6. Will you vote for a plan that will allow a board of politicians and bureaucrats to override decisions made by you and your doctor?
Both the Senate and House bills set up a government-run “comparative effectiveness” board that will make final decisions about treatment and care. In committee, I gave senators several opportunities to accept language that would forbid this board from denying care. All of my amendments were rejected, which suggests that the intent is to set up a board that will ration care, as is done in the United Kingdom.
7. If you support a “comparative effectiveness” board, what qualifies you, as a politician, to practice medicine? Have you delivered health care to a single person, much less entire classes of people you claim to represent, such as the poor, the uninsured, or children?
8. How will a government-run public option perform better than other failing government programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Indian Health Care?
9. If increasing spending on health care was the solution, why hasn’t it worked yet?
10. Are you more committed to doing reform right or quickly? Would you consider backing a thoughtful alternative to the public option? If so, which one?
Now is the time to ask questions on the healthcare bill. This is our only chance to ask them.