Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Friday, July 10, 2009

Money for Nothin’ and Sick For Free

Want to listen to Dire Straits while you read?

After watching Obama’s press conference in Italy, my only real question is this: How on earth did this man become “renown” for his brilliant rhetoric? Oh yeah - by using the teleprompter. Without it, he responds with more non-fluencies than a debate club rookie (high school division). But why quibble over style points when we have so much substance that annoys?

Let’s discuss Barry’s comments on his heralded health care reform(emphasis added).

We're closer to that significant reform than at any time in recent history. That doesn't make it easy. It's hard. And we are having a whole series of constant negotiations. This is not simply a Democratic versus Republican issue. This is a House versus Senate issue; this is different committees that have different priorities.

Let’s start with the “It’s hard.” Had W said that, that’s all you would hear all weekend, as in “Gosh, the President just found out that he’s got a tough job. Now’s a great time to find out we elected a moron”

More concerning are the next 3 sentences. He sees this not just as a Democrats vs. Republicans issue, but a House vs. Senate and committee against committee issue. Uh, Mr. President, could we forget about the bureaucrats for a minute? What about the real stakeholders in this grand mess of yours? How about the patients, doctors, nurses, hospitals, insurance companies and, uh, the taxpayer. Sir?

I suppose all politicians get inside the bubble eventually, but BHO’s only been in office for six months. Too soon to have forgotten that the government exists for the benefit of the people, not the other way around. Let’s see some more:

My job is to make sure that I've set some clear parameters in terms of what I want to achieve. We have to bend the cost curve on health care, and there are some very specific ways of doing that -- game changers that incentivize quality as opposed to quantity, that emphasize prevention.
There are a whole host of things that I've put on the table that I want to see included. I've said that it's got to be budget neutral, it's got to be deficit neutral, and so whatever bill is produced has to be paid for, and that creates some difficulties because people would like to get the good stuff without paying for it.

(How many times does he have to use the pronoun “I” ? I get it. It’s HIS idea. and HE’S in charge. Let’s talk again when the impact of all this hopey health care change is revealed. )

So, “game changers that incentivize quality.” Yes, if by “incentivize” you mean prohibiting certain tests/procedures because they’re not cost effective (beneficial only 6 out of 10 times), and by “quality” you mean certain tests/procedures are not cost effective (beneficial only 6 out of 10 times) and by “quantity” you mean not cost effective (6 out of 10 times).

And regarding that “difficulty” with people wanting to get the good stuff without paying for it: isn’t that your whole game plan Mr. President?

Most mysterious of all are his musings on health care in relation to the deficit:

There's been a lot of talk about the deficit and the debt and, from my Republican colleagues, you know, why isn't Obama doing something about this, ignoring the fact that we got into the worst recession since the Great Depression with a $1.3 billion deficit. Fair enough. This is occurring (on) my watch.

What cannot be denied is that the only way to get a handle on our medium- and long-term budget deficits is if we corral and contain health care costs. Nobody denies this. And so my hope is, is that everybody who is talking about deficit reduction gets serious about reducing the cost of health care and puts some serious proposals on the table. And I think it's going to get done.

Apparently there is a rule against having a presser without blaming Bush for the mess at least once. But we’re used to that. More disturbing is the false logic that passing a nationalized health care plan is the only way to get control of the deficit!? You cannot be serious, to quote John McEnroe.

I will point out for about the 12th time that this is what Charles Krauthammer referred to as "the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American People": the way to solve the ka-trillion dollar deficit is to make it even bigger. How can anyone, even a messianic leader, utter such nonsense and expect the masses to swallow it? And yet Obama states that this is indisputable: “Nobody denies this”. Oh really, Mr. President? And if we do, will we be just like Al Gore’s global warming deniers? No better than holocaust deniers? Is that how you will paper and hang your opponents too?

And if anyone so much as mentions his ridiculous claim that “it will be budget neutral, deficit neutral,” I’ll be forced to come down there and smack you upside the head. Don’t you people know what Congress has been doing with smoke and mirrors for decades? You’re really starting to get me agitated. Let me just state for the record: no matter what the horse thieves and horses-asses can get the paper accounting record to reflect, there has never been a government program in the history of the republic that has been cost neutral. The only way to achieve that rarified achievement would be to neutralize Congress.