“What people need to know is that Obama’s plan evades health care’s major problems and would worsen the budget outlook. It’s a big new spending program when government hasn’t paid for the spending programs it already has.”

– From this Robert J. Samuelson article in the Washington Post (via Instapundit).

Many CB readers likely have read the above article, which does a nice job challenging certain aspects of the intellectual and policy “group-think” at the heart of ObamaCare. But never fear – I’m sure the same political class that sends its children to private schools in D.C. will cheerfully take its place in line with the rest of us should the “reform” fail to live up to expectation.

Update: Ezra Klein interviews Rep. Paul Ryan.

9 thoughts on ““What people need to know is that Obama’s plan evades health care’s major problems and would worsen the budget outlook. It’s a big new spending program when government hasn’t paid for the spending programs it already has.””

  1. I’ve experienced this government meatgrinder health care first hand and for several years (I had a life-threatening illness). It’s worse than most people can even imagine and medical care will be obtained based on the ability to pay out of pocket or by those who have contacts in the medical establishment.

    This plan will be even worse than what they have in European countries. Not only is it a budget buster, making rationing of medical care a certainty, but the bill and any possible reconciliations make it impossible for private insurance companies to offer an alternative. In Europe, the public system doesn’t meet people’s needs, so they simply pay out of pocket for additional insurance or they suffer on wait lists. We won’t have that option because the legislation tightly controls every detail of the private market.

    I don’t usually post pleas like this in comment sections of blogs, but I feel like we’re fighting for our lives here. If you’re against this bill, please call the vulnerable Democrat representatives. If that didn’t matter, they would have passed this bill a long time ago. Calls, emails and faxes matter and what matters is VOLUME. If nothing else, we could force them to go the way of Slaughter rule and that rule gives us the best chance of the Supreme Court striking it down as unconstitutional.

    I for one, will make sure that I donate money and time to the opposition of any Democrat who votes for this bill. I think the election of Scott Brown pretty well shows the Democrats that despite what Pelosi tells them, elections can quickly become national, Obama campaigning for you is a liability, and it’s doubtful that they want to sacrifice their own careers for one man’s personal political gain.

    Some of the vulnerable Dems:


  2. There’s another thing in that column worth noting. Samuelson comes awfully close to calling President Obama a liar — not in those words, of course, but the implications are clear enough.

    (For some time, I have been arguing that Obama does not so much lie about these matters as not even think about whether his arguments are true. He often seems to be interested only in the immediate effect he has on his audience. In that, he is different from conventional politicians, who may often deceive, but usually try hard not to try outright, provable lies.)

  3. Jim..”Obama does not so much lie about these matters as not even think about whether his arguments are true”

    A salesman of my acquaintance was fond of the phrase “in sales as in medicine, prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”

    Obama is the other kind of salesman. He has a pocketful of prescriptions that he learned in college, or earlier, and hands them out without any attempt at all to determine whether they are relevant to any given situation.

  4. Methinks: I’m glad you posted that link.

    David Foster: I remember that thread very well, and the comments of “ortho doc,” especially.

    Jim Miller: Illinois is in huge debt, he comes from that system, and yet, doesn’t seem able to make the connection between certain behaviors by the state and the likely outcome. The conclusion I draw is that he really believes this health care plan is good for the future of the country, and any special “problems” along the way are to be glossed over. I don’t know. It’s odd behavior.

    Ginny: The center sure does seem nonplussed, if the polling is accurate. And I think it is.

    – Madhu

  5. Madhu, you’re very welcome. We have been busy emailing, calling and faxing all of the “undecided” and “yes” Democrats. And this from a household normally so disengaged from politics that we barely knew who our representatives were before this. This is truly catastrophic legislation. People are flooding Democrats with pleas to vote “no” and it seems that some Dems know that Pelosi and Obama – both low and sinking in the polls – won’t be able to actually re-elect them and if the Dems are out of power, they won’t be much use to them to get them into other desirable appointments.

    Here’s much better link. It lists the names of Democrats for, against and undecided and if you click on the name, it takes to a link with contact information. If you click on “home” it’ll show a real-time count for, against, undecided.


    It’s a pain to make the effort. But, as far as revolutions against the establishment go, contacting politicians daily is pretty light work.

  6. Samuelson makes one common error and that is to blame fee-for-service. The FFS system is what empowers the patient. France has kept the FFS system and has the most highly rated health system in the world with a per capita cost 2/3 of ours. One reason their costs have been rising is the expat Brits that are applying for CMU, the free program for the poor. The key is to not link price and insurance payment. There are two alternatives. The French have the patient pay first, then get a reimbursement that comes from a national fee schedule. The patient is free to negotiate a higher price with the doctor. For the poor, the system pays doctors a pension and vacation if they accept the fee schedule (which has a 20% co-pay) as the full payment. About half of French doctors do accept it as of a few years ago. The same applies to hospitals. In that case, the patient doesn’t have to pay first.

    In the NHS, a patient is a cost, not a source of revenue. This results in such outrageous practices as parking ambulances containing sick patients for hours outside hospitals to avoid violating the new rule that patients must be seen within four hours of arrival. No problem; just form a queue in the parking lot.

    Some people like HMOs. That is an option that should exist just as high deductible real insurance should be an option. The Obama mandate will involve “insurance” that is larded up with every pressure group’s lobby gift and will be outrageously expensive. This already happens at the state level. I spent years on the CMA’s commission on legislation watching it happen. Doctors were often complicit for their own reasons. Our colleagues have been their own worst enemies although some did very well and retired.

  7. Michael Kennedy: I saw that too, and I had the same reaction as you, but didn’t have time to expand on the subject in the post. Thanks for your comment, you did my work for me!


    – Madhu

    PS: And Methinks, thanks again for the second link. Very frustrating, indeed.

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