Updated: Sebelius Misspoke, Either Way It’s All Gov. Health Care; Health Care: Semantics and ‘Fear’

UPDATE:

A spokesperson for the administration stated that the media misplayed Sebelius’ statement, but others are stating that she misspoke when she said the government option portion of the bill was not essential.  The backlash this statement caused across the blogosphere and twitter from Obama’s base could be felt far and wide.  Either the administration never intended to change it’s stance or the semantics of the bill, or they flip-flopped. 

Whether we call it a co-op or a public option, it’s all the same.  Let me also add, I find it strange that the administration has stated that the media misplayed all of this…

A second official, Linda Douglass, director of health reform communications for the administration, said that President Obama believed that a public option was the best way to reduce costs and promote competition among insurance companies, that he had not backed away from that belief, and that he still wanted to see a public option in the final bill.

“Nothing has changed.,” she said. “The President has always said that what is essential that health insurance reform lower costs, ensure that there are affordable options for all Americans and increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. He believes that the public option is the best way to achieve these goals.”

A third White House official, via e-mail, said that Sebelius didn’t misspeak. “The media misplayed it,” the third official said.

ORIGINAL:

The White House appears ready to drop the government option in the health care bill.  At least this is what is being reported in many of the newspapers today.  It would be nice if I felt as though I could trust my government or my president, but as we have seen thus far, even over the last couple of years, no matter what side you are on, that’s not the case.  I am  incredibly skeptical of what the government is waving around in one hand, but doing behind the scenes in the other.

If President Obama dumped the government option from the bill what would be the point?  This is something that the progressives in this country, including himself, and almost everyone in his cabinet are proponents of, at the very least.  The government option didn’t even seem to cut the cake for some, who technically see a single-payer plan for everybody in America, as evidenced through various speeches that officials have given over the last decade. 

People on the right need to be wary and not believe we have ‘reached’ some type of victory in this debate.  It doesn’t make much sense to me that they would be willing to just dump a major liberal policy, one that their base has desperately wanted for a very long time.  That’s why when you read further into what they are saying, it’s just a change of semantics, which is typical from this administration.  Remember how the health care reform bill was changed from just that, to health insurance reform?  When liberals are losing the debate on one issue they change the name to make the policy sound less intimidating and brand new. This truly is Houdini as president. 

Obama has been pressing for the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation’s almost 50 million uninsured, but Republicans remain steadfast in arguing against it.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that government alternative to private health insurance is “not the essential element” of the administration’s health care overhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory on the showdown.

“I think there will be a competitor to private insurers,” Sebelius said. “That’s really the essential part, is you don’t turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing.”

Obama’s top spokesman refused to say a public option was a make-or-break choice for the administration.

[…]

“It’s not government-run and government-controlled,” he said. “It’s membership-run and membership-controlled. But it does provide a nonprofit competitor for the for-profit insurance companies, and that’s why it has appeal on both sides.”

As proposed by Conrad, the co-ops would receive federal startup money, but then would operate independently of the government. They would have to maintain the same financial reserves that private companies are required to keep to handle unexpectedly high claims.

The new term being launched by the administration is a Co-op, not a government run health system.

So what exactly is a co-op?  I wanted to look up the historical meaning of the term and what political system it stems from.  Without any shock and surprise it arose from the Democratic socialist party and also split off during the Marxist era in Russia.  Co-ops are socialist programs whereby there are certain types of co-ops that exist.  The technical definition of a co-op is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

The rise of Marxism at the end of the 19th century accelerated the political split between different forms of socialism: anarchists were committed to libertarian socialism and advocated locally managed cooperatives, linked through confederations of unions, cooperatives and communities; Marxists were committed to state socialism, and the goal of political hegemony through the state, either through democratic socialism, or through what came to be know as Leninism.  Both Marxism and anarchism sprang from utopian socialism, which is based on voluntary cooperation, without the emphasis on bitter class struggle. With the collapse of state socialism in the USSR, other forms of socialism have reasserted their importance and influence.

Social cooperation or co-ops is another term to reach a type of social Utopia as a utilitarian belief for the good of all.  This particular co-op would be considered a Type A Social Co-op because it has a particular social purpose to provide health insurance for individuals, working in cooperation with the government, insurance companies, and the people. 

The Cato Institute also provided more information on what a co-op is, and in this case, what our government intends to do in a brief write-up that it made today:

It is suggested that the “co-ops” would be nonprofits, and therefore would offer better service and lower costs. But many insurance companies, including “mutual” insurers and many “Blues,” are already nonprofit companies. Furthermore, states already have the power to charter co-ops, including health insurance co-ops. In fact, health care co-ops already exist. Health Partners, Inc. in Minneapolis has 660,000 members and provides health care, health insurance, and HMO coverage. The Group Health Cooperative in Seattle provides health coverage for 10 percent of Washington State residents.

If the new co-ops operate under the same rules as other nonprofit insurers, why bother?

And there’s the rub. Supporters of government-run health care have no intention of letting the co-ops be independent enterprises. In fact, Sen. 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 Sen. 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.

Historically speaking, the term co-op originated in England so I was therefore, curious, since England is in fact a democratic socialist country, what exactly would be an example of a co-op?  Well, low and behold, the NHS, or their government-run health system, is in fact utilizing co-op values within NHS

I don’t have much faith in NHS although there was a massive twitter campaign called #weloveNHS to interject on behalf of the US political debate.  The campaign itself was started by the man who created the character, Father Ted.  This campaign  consisted of a lot of spam, repeating the same exact mantra – I was surprised any real individuals for NHS actually existed, but found about 5 who did.  It’s hard to believe that their opinions aren’t biased when many work for NHS since they have now become one of, if not the, largest employer of the UK.  I find it amusing that recent economic reports, including this one from the National Center for Policy Analysis has stated that NHS is putting the patient last or the recent statistics that show nearly 46% of women diagnosed with breast cancer die in the UK as opposed to only a 25% death rate in the US.  Mammograms are required and insurance companies here cover them 1/year, where the government in the UK, who holds the purse strings, only allow mammograms 1/2 years.

It is incredibly disingenuous for a President in an op-ed of the NYT, no less, to write that people are using fear to politicize and change the debate on health reform.  There is plenty of fear when the government involves itself in the lives of individuals.  Nowhere in our constitution is health care a right, in 1776 and not until the 20th century, was health care an option. It has only been through the capitalist structure of our society that pharmaceuticals and operating procedures have thrived and been on the cutting edge.  Incentivized systems, such as our own, have driven innovation for years, it would be a disaster if all of that was taken away to pay for the supposed 46M who do not currently have health care.  Those 46M by the way, have never been explained to the American public.  The number of illegal aliens included in that number are nearly half, there are those who can also afford health care but elect to pay for it out of pocket because they can, children are also included in that number, and no, they do not have their own health care because their parents cover them, and we also have those who qualify for federal programs but refuse to use them.

I tend to find fear emanating from both sides of the debate, but given my skepticism of government and the convoluted legalese within the bill, I err on the side of caution.  The fear-mongering of the left is making it appear that a crisis will ensue if we do not pass this bill NOW.  If  85% of people like their insurance and over 50% do not want government interference what does this tell us?

Obama warned of us “not acting;” well some may beg to differ on that sentiment and actually feel that doing nothing would be better than rushing a bill that most representatives haven’t even read all the way through.  Mr. Obama also chose to use his op-ed pulpit to bash those evil insurance companies again.  I am finding it funny, yet at the same time very frustrating, hearing the same insurance company demonization, but no mention of trial lawyers, tort reform, or the fact that Obama just made a back-door deal with those very same insurance entities. 

Obama has also been espousing plenty of lies and other scare tactics.  The hypocrisy from the left during these current debates is laughable.  Obama continues the mantra that doctors are cutting out tonsils for money, amputating feet, and now he is using Otto Raddatz as an example.  First and foremost, let me bring up tonsils – I get tonsillitis nearly 5-7 times/year and I will be 28 years old soon, but none of the doctors I have had, either in Connecticut, Virginia, or Maryland, have let me get surgery; why? because I do not have tonsils that swell across my throat and therefore, are not life-threatening.  In fact, the greatest threat is surgery, as you get older, every surgery becomes tougher to recover from.  Obama’s big lie in all of this is his story surrounding Otto Raddatz, the man cited as having died in the midst of chemotherapy due to gall stones that were not disclosed to his insurance company, however, here is what really happened:

In President Obama’s recent speeches and in his editorial in the New York Times today, he has continued to mention the sad case of a man who lost his health coverage during life saving chemotherapy and consequently died because he did not disclose a previous condition of gall stones.  Quoting his editorial in the New York Times, “A man lost his health coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because the insurance discovered that he had gall stones, which he hadn’t known about when he applied for his policy. Because his treatment was delayed, he died.”

Unfortunately for the president, the story is not true. The man received his life saving operation and lived an additional three years. The man in question is Otto Raddatz, an Illinois businessman. He became a central focus in a hearing on June 16th entitled “Terminations of Individual Health Policies by Insurance Companies” held by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the Energy and Commerce committee. His sister, Peggy Radditz, testified on his behalf. She testified that the insurance company Fortis dropped his coverage right before a life saving stem cell transplant because he failed to notify the company of pre-existing gallstones and an aneurysm.  Soon after, he was mentioned all over the left blogosphere as having perished because he did not receive this treatment.

For instance a blogger on Slate states“Otto Raddatz, a restaurant owner in Illinois, was rescinded in 2004 by FortisInsurance Co. after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Fortis said this was because Raddatz had failed to disclose that a CT scan four years earlier had revealed that he had an aneurysm and gall stones. Raddatz replied—and his doctor confirmed—that he had never been told about these conditions (the doctor said they were “very minor” and didn’t require treatment), but Fortis nonetheless refused a payout until the state attorney general intervened. The delay in treatment eliminated Raddatz’s chances of recovery, and he died.”

The president was quick to pick up this meme and it has become part of his healthcare reform stump speech and at his town halls. The only problem with his narrative is that Otto Raddatz received his treatment and lived another 3 years. According to the meeting transcripts found here.

[…]starting on page 4, “… Otto Raddatzwas a 59-year-old restaurant owner from Illinois who was diagnosed withan aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. He underwent intensive chemotherapy and was told that he had to have a stem cell transplant in order to survive. With coverage provided by his individual insurance policy, he was scheduled to have the procedure performed. But then his insurance company suddenly told him it was going to cancel his insurance coverage. Otto could not pay for the transplant without healthinsurance.  The stem cell transplant surgery was cancelled.  The insurance company told him that it found when he applied for his insurance, he had not told the company about a test that had shown that he might have gall stones and an aneurysm, or weakness of the blood vessel wall. In fact, Otto’s doctor had never told him about these test results. He didn’t have any symptoms, and these conditions did not have anything to do with his cancer, but the insurance company was going to rescind his policy, effectively tearing up the contract as if it never happened and it would not pay for his stem cell transplant. Otto made a desperate plea to the Illinois Attorney General’sOffice seeking help to get his insurance company to reverse its decision.  He told them, and I quote, “I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It is a matter of extreme urgency that I receive my transplant in 3 weeks. This is an urgent matter. Please help me so I can have my transplant scheduled.  Any delay could threaten my life.”

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation, confirmed that Otto’s doctor had never even told him about the test findings and sent two letters to press the insurance company to reinstate his policy. The company relented and Otto received his stem cell transplant. He was able to live 3 more years before passing away earlier this year.”

Now certainly the insurance company looks bad in this instance and should not have rescinded the policy, but the doctor looks even worse since Otto was left in the dark. But why does our President need to embellish and outright lie to try to bolster his case. His arguments should stand on their own merit.

I find the accusation of scare tactics and fear-mongering offensive.  Take for example Sarah Palin’s statement that the end-of-life counseling and p. 354 section 1177 of the bill would ensure that bureaucrats would decide the futures of the elderly and that of her disabled child, equating them to death panels, was a lie and a right-wing tactic.  But I ask, then, why did the House Financial Services Committee take that section out of the bill last week, if it wasn’t in fact true or at least vague enough to be used as such? 

Lies exist on both sides, some perpetrated on purpose and others because of confusion, misinformation, and convoluted legalese. It’s important to understand the current game in DC.  It is a game and a competition “to the victor goes the spoils”, or as Obama likes to say “I won.” It’s silly to take one person’s word over another when politics as usual are a dirty, dirty game.

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1 Comment

Filed under Congress, Constitution, Czars, DeathCare, Double Standards, Health Care, Hypocrisy, Obama, Obama Administration, ObamaCare, Op-ed, Progressivism, Sarah Palin, Tea Party

One response to “Updated: Sebelius Misspoke, Either Way It’s All Gov. Health Care; Health Care: Semantics and ‘Fear’

  1. Pingback: Twitted by JiangxiDad

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