I’ve had a hard time taking John Mackey (Whole Foods co-founder & CEO) very seriously ever since he was caught engaging in sock-puppetry of a particularly silly sort. But his thoughts on healthcare, as expressed in this article, are well-thought-out and concisely written. Read the whole thing, but Mackey’s ideas include:
–Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.
–Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.
–Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
–Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.
Meanwhile, our President continues to push his own complex and radical plan through the use of high-pressure sales tactics and exaggerations. Here’s Obama talking about tonsils:
“You come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat, or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats,” President Obama explained at Wednesday’s press conference. “The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.”
Obama then went on to make similar comments about the treatment of diabetes.
Of course, people respond to incentives–physicians as much as anyone else–although not usually in as greedy and irresponsible a manner as Obama seems to be suggesting. The President would have been entirely within the bounds of reasonable discussion had he said something like “we need to be sure that the incentives for preventive care are strong enough to ensure that conditions are taken care of before it becomes too late.” It was not necessary to engage in the kind of insulting demagogy displayed in the “tonsils” comment.
Obama and his supporters also fail to understand that government officials are driven by incentives as much as physicians or insurance-company officers…see for example the notorious case in the U.K. in which patients were being left in ambulances rather than being brought into the hospital because somebody’s measurement was based on a waiting-time clock that started only after the patient had been brought into the hospital.
But Obama/Pelosi/Reid seem much more interested in the demonization of individuals and groups than they do in the sober and responsible analysis and improvement of processes. Here’s Harry Reid:
“The public option is something that the vast majority of Americans want. They know that the enemy is the insurance industry”
The enemy is the insurance industry. The Obama faction is strongly opposed to the use of words like “enemy” in referring to the terrorists and outlaw states that threaten American security (indeed, they don’t even like to use the term “terrorism,” preferring the cumbersome and ambiguous phrase “man-caused disasters.”) But when referring to American individuals and corporations which differ with their views on domestic policy, they are very willing to denounce in strong and insulting language.
The wise blogger Neptunus Lex observed that:
The innate character flaw of the political right, with its thrumming appeals to the logic of blood and soil, is its lamentable tendency to go in search of enemies abroad. The left, on the other hand, with its own appeals to the politics of envy and class warfare, is content to find mortal enemies closer to hand.
Obama/Pelosi/Reid provide a clear demonstration of the second part of this statement, and “mortal enemies” is not too strong a term to describe their attitude toward those Americans who opinions and/or interests differ from their own.
The Assistant Village Idiot has observed that Republican candidates tend to say “I will work for you,” whereas Democratic candidates tend to say “I will fight for you.” Indeed, today’s Democrats tend to have a zero-sum view of society–to have very little interest in the hard work of thinking about making improvements that will benefit Americans as a group, and much more interest in instigating a neo-Hobbesian war of group against group…a war in which they can then gain power by acting a choosers of the victors and choosers of the slain.