Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Does that Health Reform Plan Come With a Therapy Unicorn, Too?

When I heard that President Obama was going to make a special address to a joint session of Congress to try and salvage his failing health reform initiative, I of course thought he was going to have something new and important to say. President Obama is clearly much smarter than I am, however, because the Greatest Orator of Our Time understood that what the debate really needed at this critical moment was simply a more eloquent repetition of just about every single thing he's already said before. Kind of like that health reform press conference he held a few weeks ago, but without those pesky White House reporters and their softball questions that might take him off-teleprompter and provoke a somewhat less than "oratorical" response. You know, like how he doesn't know all the facts, but the police acted stupidly.

So, what did I learn from this relentless review session with our National Teaching Assistant?

Well, health care is a devastating crisis that is destroying our nation, but if you already have insurance, nothing will change, except that it will cost you less, and if you have Medicare, you won't lose a single benefit, and if you're among the 30–45 million people who don't have health insurance, we'll give it to you through the Public Option, which will essentially be paid for by the government finally eliminating all fraud and waste from Medicare and Medicaid, but as mentioned, without eliminating a single benefit from either program, and any worries or fears that someone might have about these health reform bills are simply a product of evil scare tactics for vile partisan gain, because Republicans want to kill health reform and maintain the status quo, even though the health reform bills actually include many Republican ideas, which is strange, because President Obama says he's still waiting for "serious" Republican ideas, which the Republicans apparently don't have but which somehow are already in the health reform bills, because the president is a postpartisan uniter, even when he's blaming irresponsible Republican spending on the Iraq War and tax cuts for that $1 trillion deficit he says he inherited, and let's not talk about that other $8 trillion in deficits from his own spending over the next 10 years, because we're here to talk about health reform.

Did I miss anything?

Oh, right. Ted Kennedy wrote a very moving letter to President Obama about health reform just a few months before he died. Or at least, I think it was moving, because a large helicopter fighting the wildfires in the Angeles National Forest chose that moment to fly low overhead and drown out the president's voice on the television. But the president did look very moved. And so did Senator Kennedy's widow, sitting in the gallery next to First Lady Michelle Obama, who admittedly didn't look quite as moved as the first two, but she was probably still smarting over Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) rather stupidly shouting "You lie!" at her husband when her husband rather stupidly, well, lied. (Of course the reforms President Obama proposes won't cover illegal aliens, because none of the 13–20 million illegal aliens in this country are among those 30–45 million people who don't have health insurance and who use emergency rooms as their family doctors, thus increasing the cost of health care for us all, and any who try to slip in are expertly weeded out when the admitting nurse asks for proof of citizenship before treatment. Any claim to the contrary is an evil scare tactic for vile partisan gain by those who just want to destroy health reform and maintain the status quo.)

Anything else?

Oh, right. "Profit" now falls under the category of "overhead." Somehow, I missed that in my business accounting class. I always thought that "profit" was what you had left after all your expenses -- like overhead. And that "profit" is what you pay taxes on. So the more "profit" you make, the more taxes you pay, and the more health care "reform" the government can then afford without borrowing still more from the Chinese and my future grandchildren. But again, President Obama is clearly much smarter than I am, because as he says, we need to cut "overhead," which now includes "profit."

Anything else?

Oh, right. President Obama now says he believes that medical malpractice suits and defensive medicine "may" be contributing to the rising costs of health care. So he's ordered the Secretary of Health and Human Services to authorize some pilot programs in several states to see how we might be able to reign in these costs. Because tort reform is the kind of scary, complex undertaking that requires pilot programs to figure out what works and what doesn't and what the unintended consequences might be. Unlike revamping and rewriting the rules for roughly one-sixth of the entire U.S. economy all at once in, say, a major heath reform bill. (Any claim to the contrary is an evil scare tactic for vile partisan gain by those who just want to destroy health reform and maintain the status quo.)

This speech would have been a joke if so much wasn't at stake. And it was the last nail in the coffin of my ever again taking President Obama as seriously as I once did.

UPDATE: From Patterico's Pontifications:

How awesome is ObamaCare? So awesome that it has already reduced the number of uninsured by 17 million people! At least, Pres. Obama magically dropped the number of uninsured from the 47 million that Democrats have been chanting like a mantra to 30 million in his speech Congress tonight.
Clearly, the White House is now applying the same kind of "budget math" to the number of uninsured Americans that it's applying when figuring out how much these reforms are actually going to cost.

UPDATE II: From Reuters: "Health Bill Could Benefit 6.6 Million Illegals"

UPDATE III: John Hinderaker at Power Line:
If we can identify hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and we know how to eliminate it, why haven't we done so already? Why don't we do so--right now!--regardless of the administration's highly controversial health care bill? ... This was not, to put it kindly, a speech that was directed at thinking people.
Unless, of course, you think that "profit" really does equal "overhead." (Yes, I still can't get over that one...)

UPDATE IV: From David Gratzer:
President Clinton's health-care legislation didn't fail in 1994 because people didn't want better health care. The White House plan failed because it was too bureaucratic, too complicated, and too expensive.

Last night, President Obama's response to sixteen years (and one angry August recess) worth of bi-partisan doubt was to double down and bet even more political capital on the same approach. It's as if he expected Americans to tune in, and suddenly realize their mistake.
UPDATE V: From Tigerhawk:
What is it with guys named Joe Wilson? Do they all accuse presidents of lying?