Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don’t be fooled by the co-op option of healthcare

Obama and his Democrat minions in congress are a shifty bunch. First we are told that the death option is or will be taken off the healthcare bill (whichever of the three that will be passed) and then Obama says the “government option” may also be stricken to be replaced by something called “co-op” plans. But the truth is that they have no intention of letting go of their master plan; government control of health care available to Americans. Most successful dictatorships in history have started with or included a form of government controlled medical care and our would-be socialist/Marxist leaders are no exception.

First of all, whatever way they go, the outright “public option” or “co-op plans”, the basic premise is that health care costs will be controlled by reducing availability of medical care. This can only be done by limiting health care in some way and by reducing payments to health care providers.

Obama has gone on record as favoring depriving older people of medical care in order to extend life and by appointing Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Dr. Ezikiel Emanuel, in effect as healthcare Czar, the philosophy of end of life medical deprivation is assured if the president is successful with Obamacare. (See article “God does not endorse Obamacare” on this blog). This is done by establishing a Federal Board independent of congress that will dictate what medical treatment and medication can be given to people taking into consideration cost effectiveness. Therefore since older people with a shorter remaining life span will not benefit as much as younger people with similar needs, precluding the senior from needed medical care will keep medical costs down and be more "cost effective."

The second way medical costs will be contained is by limiting payment to healthcare providers and by providing incentive to them to minimize prescribing what could be life-saving tests and treatments.

Any method of reducing healthcare cost will necessarily involve some form of rationing. The proclaimed intention of Obamacare is to provide health insurance to those who have none now. Whether this number is the 47 or 50 million Democrats allege or an actual much smaller number, adding to the rolls of those entitled to health insurance without increasing the number of medical care providers will obviously reduce the “supply” while increasing the “demand” and cause everyone (other than the legislators and Executive Department) to wait a long time for diagnostic tests needed and ultimate treatment. It should be noted that Obama speaks about providing health insurance not medical care. The reason is that under our present system no one is deprived of medical care whether or not they have health insurance.

It is important to realize that regardless what version of healthcare Democrats come up with; there will be creation of a government-run healthcare system. Even non profit co-op plans will be controlled by the government. Furthermore the remaining parts of the proposals in Congress would leave us with a system in which government mandates that individuals buy insurance or pay a tax and that employers must offer insurance or pay a tax and the government would define what constitutes insurance. Medicaid would be expanded dramatically to cover illegal aliens.

Under the House bill (H.R. 3200), people would be forced to purchase their insurance from a government-run exchange. And though the policies offered at this exchange would be nominally "private" they would be designed by government bureaucrats. In the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions bill, a new Medical Advisory Council would be tasked with defining “qualifying” coverage; in the House bill, all Americans are required to have coverage that is deemed “acceptable” by a Health Choices Commissioner. Regardless whether there is a “public option” or a “co-op” system, there is no doubt that the creation of a new government-run plan will evolve into a pure single-payer system, which is what Obama has said he wants in any case.

Americans must not be fooled by any “compromise.” Some compromisers say that that these co-ops would be nonprofits, but many insurers are already classified as “nonprofit” companies–including “mutual” insurance companies and groups like Blue Cross. In addition, states already have the power to set up their own health care co-ops and a number already exist. So, if the “new co-ops” are to operate under the same rules as other nonprofit insurers, why bother?

Supporters of government-run health care have no intention of letting the co-ops be independent enterprises. In fact, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) makes it clear, for example, that the co-op’s officers and directors would be appointed by the president and Congress. He insists that there be a single national co-op and congress would set the rules under which it operates. As Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) says, “It’s got to be written in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a public option.” If a “co-op” is run by the federal government under rules imposed by the federal government with funding provided by the federal government, that is government-run health insurance by another name.

The most important part of the Obama administration sales pitch on their “public option” has been if we increase competition, prices would come down. That’s what they tell us. Yet if that were really the aim of Democrats, they would break down the barriers that would allow the purchase of heath insurance across state lines, like your car insurance options.

Democrats are only interested in having the government control the national healthcare system and all of the controls over the public that go along with that. As part of this control, Democrats want to control every health care dollar spent in this country. Instead of offering tax credits to the poor to purchase their own health insurance and making health insurance tax deductible for workers, Democrats have been demanding a “public option” that facilitates a government takeover of the entire heath care economy. Furthermore Democrats say their public option plan would do away with exclusion of pre-existing conditions but this could be accomplished by simply saying so without changing the health care system in the country.

Replacing the public option with co-ops is a Trojan horse. It is vital to understand what the role of these co-ops will be. Democrats are merely changing terminology yet again in their attempt to cloak their plans for a government takeover of health care. These “exchanges” aren’t just places to buy insurance. They will have regulatory authority over what you can buy.

In H.R. 3200, the government would have the authority through these exchanges to approve the benefit levels and content of all health insurance plans in the country. If you like the insurance that you have and would like to keep it (as Obama famously says), you will be taxed 2.5% of your annual income if that plan is not approved as part of the exchange by government bureaucrats.

If you keep your private insurance, it would not be allowed to change at all. For instance, if a newly-discovered cure for cancer becomes available, your insurance would not be allowed to cover it. So if you were initially lucky enough to have a private insurance plan that these bureaucrats deigned to approve, and something were to change, your insurance plan would be null and void.

Your insurance company would not be allowed to cover this new cancer treatment. If you needed it, you would be forced into the government exchange. So your private insurance that you liked so much before the bureaucrats got a hold of it would not be able to improve with medical advances and technology. Again, keep in mind that after 2013, all new health insurance policies would have to be purchased through this government exchange. It’s all about control.

The so-called co-op compromise that Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee are now proposing is a government-chartered exchange funded by federal taxpayer dollars. It’s being pitched as a solution to offer more competition, yet a series of quotes from prominent Democrats reveal that they view the co-op concept as merely another way to enact the “exchange” to facilitate a government takeover of health care:

“I think in theory you can imagine a co-operative meeting that definition [of a ‘public option’].” -- President Obama, July 29, Time Magazine

“We’re going to have some type of public option, call it ‘co-op,’ call it what you want.” -- Senate Majority Leader Reid, July 10, Washington Post

“You could theoretically design a co-op plan that had the same attributes as a public plan.” -- Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, June 27, Bloomberg

“Chairman Baucus has asked me to sit down with [Sen.] Kent Conrad to see if we can use the co-op model to achieve the same goals as a public plan.” -- Sen. Chuck Schumer, June 15, Roll Call

“We don’t care what it’s called. We need something that’s going to keep the insurance companies honest.” -- Sen. Chuck Schumer, July 9, Fox News

“It will have, coming out of the House, a public option. The only debate on that is what it will be called.” -- Speaker Pelosi, July 13, Reuters

Remember what Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said – quoted earlier:

“The [co-op has] to be written in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a public option.” – Senator Max Baucus, June 12, Politico.

The objectives of the “public option” are exactly what the American people overwhelmingly object to: the government takeover of health care. The objectives have been exposed over the August break at one town hall meeting after another through the reading aloud of H.R. 3200. Since their elected Democrat representatives aren’t reading the bill, their constituents are reading it to them.

As formulated by Democrats, the “public option” is designed to force private insurance out of existence leaving in its place the single-payer system created and controlled by federal government bureaucrats. As with every government-run health care system ever done throughout history, rationing and “pulling the plug on grandma” become a vital part as costs spin higher and out of control.

Artificial government competition resulting in a takeover through coercion is not the answer. Dropping government barriers to the purchase of health insurance across state lines would actually increase competition without a government takeover, co-op or otherwise.

America don’t be fooled; any health care system approved by a Democrat House and Senate and signed by President Obama will destroy medical care in the United States forever; we must do all that we can to see NO healthcare plan becomes law.


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