White House Viral Email

The White House has decided to use a viral email (or at least an email they hope will go viral) to spread their health care reform message. In it they offer:

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

It think it is important to get a non-spin version of their 24 points (really only 21). I will assume, as much as possible, that their claims are true and show what those claims really mean to the nation.  As usual it’s not nearly as straightforward as any partisan claims would have you believe. (For example, they only offer 7 unique ways reform provides security, 7 unique myths – including one I had never heard, and 7 reasons for reform now – plus one generic platitude.)

8 ways reform provides security and stability

  1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions. This is probably a good thing – if the bill really does this.
  2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays. Now a saavy consumer can spend up to their out of pocket maximum in elective procedures and get the insurance company to pony up 100% of the costs of necessary medical care later in the year – that’ll reduce our overuse of the system. This will not help unless there are some important exceptions in what counts toward the out-of-pocket maximums.
  3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care. This sounds good, but at best it just means higher premiums on any plan that does not already do this.
  4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill. This is a reform that I can support.
  5. Ends Gender Discrimination. Men will now pay higher premiums to match what women have to pay. This will pad the bottom line for insurance companies, but it won’t have any positive effect on the cost of health care.
  6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage. Annual caps make economic sense for the company and the consumer – pick a plan with an annual cap you can live with. Lifetime caps should go because the longer you have an insurance plan the more likely you are to hit that lifetime cap even if you keep paying the premiums.
  7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults. Blah – children live off their parents long enough as it is. Few children have a legitimate need to leech off of Dad and Mom that long and those who do would most likely already have an exception.
  8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal. This is essentially a repeat of number 4 – I guess they could only come up with 7 ways that reform would provide security.

8 common myths

Some of the myths are presented as myths and others are presented as facts rebutting a myth – I found it necessary to rewrite the 8 myths as “Myth” – counterclaim.

  1. “Reform will cause rationing” – reform will end rationing. Rationing is an economic fact. The government can declare that reform will stop rationing, but it will be as effective as declaring that gravity is a repellent force rather than an attractive one.
  2. “We can’t afford reform” – yes we can, the president has identified ways to cut costs in order to pay for reform. They may claim that the president has identified ways to pay for reform but if that’s true why do even the most liberal media outlets fail to inform us of where the money will come from? I don’t buy this.
  3. “Reform would encourage euthanasia” – it does not. As much as Congress gets wrong, I’m betting that the White House is telling the truth on this one.
  4. “Vets’ health care is will be diminished” – the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA. The quality of veterans health care is likely to continue to diminish as all government coverage does over time despite the fact that I am confident that the presidents budget allocates a larger number of dollars for that care.
  5. “Reform will burden small businesses” – reform will benefit small business. No amount of tax breaks will make offering insurance coverage an economic possibility for all small businesses. If there is a mandate (as I have heard there is) it will be a burden to some small businesses although some may find the tax breaks beneficial.
  6. “Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits” – reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare. Medicare will follow the same path as VA care – more expensive and diminishing quality over time – this is again a repeat of number 4.
  7. “Reform will force you out of your current insurance plan” – you can keep your own insurance. No provision will explicitly say that you cannot keep your current insurance but any public option will naturally be favorably positioned in the supposedly free market. And there is or was a clause that would prevent insurance companies from offering coverage to new consumers – lose your coverage once and you end up on the government plan forever.
  8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account. That’s the counterclaim – I can’t even invent the myth it proports to debunk because I have heard no such myth. I guess they could only find 6 or 7 myths to address.

8 reasons we need health insurance reform now

  1. Coverage Denied to Millions. Here they claim 12.6 million adults being denied coverage. Is that 12.6 million individuals or 12.6 million applications – sometimes more than one application per individual? And what of the other 33.4 million of the 46 million figure usually being cited? Apparently 3/4 of the uninsured are not even trying to get coverage.
  2. Less Care for More Costs. They claim that average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680 in 2008 but they fail to mention that most of that cost is covered by an employer who is not sensitive to the actual health care being delivered for the premium. This disconnect may be the primary driver for the quickly rising cost of health care. If we were to remove that disconnect people would be more likely to live more health consciously and purchase health care more cost consciously. Their plan does nothing to connect the consumer with the actual costs of coverage.
  3. Roadblocks to Care for Women. While this is probably true I have not heard anything that addresses the issue except the claim to make the premiums not discriminate regarding gender.
  4. Hard Times in the Heartland. The fact that care is less available in rural areas is an economic reality just like rationing. I have heard no claim that their proposals would increase the number of doctors covering rural areas or that they would somehow magically make it more economically feasible to practice in rural areas.
  5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage. The answer to this is not to increase employer coverage of health care expenses, but to increase individual ownership of health care policies. They’re moving in the wrong direction.
  6. The Tragedies are Personal. Like number 5 the proposals under consideration do not improve this fact – they might mask it temporarily or make it more widespread (bankrupting society instead of one family at a time) but they are doing nothing to contain costs.
  7. Diminishing Access to Care: An estimated 87 million people – one in every three Americans under the age of 65 – were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. I was part of that statistic and while the proposals being considered would have declared that I had some coverage had they been in place it would only have been by stealing from my neighbors. No thanks. At best it would have had no effect on my actions – at worst it would have made it easier for me to not get to work about getting coverage.
  8. The Trends are Troubling. As I said in numbers 5 and 6 – the trends of this legislation are at least as troubling as doing nothing.

10 comments for “White House Viral Email

  1. August 13, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    #3 of the third section is about abortion. It’s just written in code so as not to raise concerns among those that don’t want to use taxpayer funds to pay for abortion.

    They did not include as a myth my #1 concern: The Constitution guarantees no one the right to health insurance (or food, or shelter, for that matter). The government has no constitutional authority to become a health insurance provider.

    Perhaps this concern is so far below the radar of anyone in Washington, D.C. that they don’t even think about addressing it.

    If they manage to pull off this takeover, the resulting unavoidable debacle will necessarily result in widespread rationing and denial of services. Only there won’t be anyone to complain to. Big Brother will simply declare that what was once considered unacceptable access and quality in the bad old days of the capitalists is now a tremendous improvement.

    By the way, are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia? I can’t remember anymore.

  2. August 13, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Your number one concern was not listed as a myth for two reasons. First, it would be hard to debunk such a myth. Second, it is not only below the radar in D.C. but it is below the radar of most of the people opposing this attempt at reform.

    I think we are at war with Eurasia right now – they’re more to the left than Eastasia as I recall. 😉

  3. Scott Miller
    August 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Please note that Oceania now holds most of our debt.

    • August 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

      Our best hope is that they find it in their best interest that the debt they are holding not lose its value.

  4. Scott Miller
    August 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Which when done in the business world is sometimes termed a hostile takeover!

    • August 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm

      How do we prevent a hostile takeover while preserving whatever value is left in our currency?

  5. Scott Miller
    August 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Reduce government spending on social projects, increase spending on developing technologies and infrastructure (non-military). Making ourselves competitive again as a producer of goods and services, which would require a significant cutback of labor costs (read, union impact), reduce taxes on companies, incentivize research and development activities, and quit trying to “equalize” through wealth redistribution efforts.

    I am starting to conjure up an Obama/Democrat Intelligistia conspiracy revolving around a New World Order. I am beginning to seriously doubt the President and his gang’s desire to preserve, protect and defend this country. Rather they seem bent on creating such a new world order with the President as King. They do this by bankrupting the United States and forcing a new union of superpowers of America, China and the European Union. Moreover, by continuing to promise everything to everyone, they destablize the capacity of American to think and work and they collectively turn the decision making over to these “intelligent” ones. They pass laws that are, in effect, reverse tariffs on American procuction such as the cap-and-trade rules, refuse to allow America to develop an energy policy that allows for tapping our own natural resources under the guise of global warming, and other such tactics that oppress the American economy until such time as we must joing forces with the others.

    From a military perspective this is achieved by conspiring with countries like Iran who then become the thugs that keep the likes of Russia and India in control through the threat of nuclear attack. We become hostage to the nuclear-Iranian state when they take over the world’s developed oil reserves through intimidation, or all out invasion of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and others, while we hope the wind blows and the sun shines so we can have the energy necessary to re-charge our cars that get 57 miles to the gallon.

    Slowly, they are giving our power away to others to the Vision of the King and the collective stupidity of the people who really don’t know what it means to lose their liberty. And when that liberty is lost, we won’t have the guns to fight back, we won’t have the economic resources to take control of the situation, and we become the serfs of the realm.

    Honestly, I am not trying to be dramatic, but I can see this happening if we are not careful and don’t continue the fight! As a country, we must quit worrying about whether boys can be married to boys, or girls be married to girls, we must fight the want to ensure teachers’ jobs are protected at the expense of educating our youth, we must quit talking about rights that do not exist and focus on protecting the rights that do exist, we must quit screaming “bigot” every time something happens to an African-American, we need to protect our borders and quit worrying about prosecuting former administrations who did what they thought was best in extremely unusual circumstances to protect the country, we must quit worrying about whether someone makes more money than someone else, and many other things. Somebody has to stand up and be counted and we need to start really talking that some things are right and some things are wrong, and if it is wrong, then change the behavior.

    It is now time for me to step down off my soap box and do some work!

    • August 19, 2009 at 6:06 am

      Yes reduce government spending on social projects, but why is it the job of government to develop technologies? Have government simply reduce how much they leech off of the economy and allow the private sector to develop new technologies that make us competitive – they private sector will be more responsive to the changing definition of what will be competitive at any given time.

      As for the conspiracy theory – I don’t think that it is anywhere near that organized. There is no secret cabal with the power, influence, or design to ruin our government and enslave the minds and hearts of America. The truth is that we, as a society, have come to think in a way that relies on government first to solve our problems. Seldom is there a serious push to wrest our freedoms away from us so much as a groundswell of misguided desire to turn our freedoms over to a benevolent and all powerful, all responsible central authority to protect us from ourselves or others and prevent the possibility that we would ever experience any pain or discomfort. Our freedoms are simply given away by a majority of legislators (who bow to those who seek to gain from a concentration of power over those freedoms) whenever there is no majority or very vocal and expansive minority willing to stand up and demand that those rights not be given away.

  6. Scott Miller
    August 19, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Good point on developing technologies except that sometimes the size of a government project can be beneficial because a company may not be able to take on the financial risk. Otherwise, keep the feds out.

    As to the consipiracy theory, there may not be a secret cabal organized, but there is, and always has been, an ever-present influence that is well organized and does seek to enslave our hearts and minds. And there is no doubt groups do work in secret in destroy liberty. But it is only through our own indifference or are willingness to turn our hearts and minds over to that influence that evil can be allowed to trample our freedoms. That influence works, as you state, through the “groundswell of misguided desires to turn our freedoms over to a benevolent and all powerful, all responsible central authority to protect us from ourselves and others….”

    Unfortunately, whether organized or not, we can still get to the same place in a very short time. I am certain that most citizens in post-WWI Germany did not see the change coming (and in no way to I say Obama and his gang are Nazis), but the evil did take hold in the hearts and minds of a small group of men and it was too late to do anything about it.

    Do I really think Obama and his gang are holding secret meetings to move this plan forward? No. But I do believe it would not take a long time for them or others to get into that mindset.

    And so, here we are, back to the point that we must be ever vigilant in protecting our freedoms and liberties!

    • August 19, 2009 at 9:51 am

      Once upon a time I believed that the size of government could be beneficial for some technological endeavors but no longer. I now believe that there is not anything good that government can do which is not specified in the Constitution that private enterprise cannot accomplish if needed.

      I agree that there is an ever-present and highly organized influence that seeks evil continually such as destroying individual liberty. That being said, that influence only has as much power as we allow it.

      As for Germany between the world wars – when was the point of no-return? I firmly believe that it was much later than we often believe – it was certainly well after Hitler was elected. The German people could have stood up and said that what their government was doing was wrong – it would have taken very few deaths/arrests of her own citizens (compared to the war especially) – before Hitler no longer held any favor among the people and could not control the military and paramilitary groups within the country. Instead the people chose fear instead of vigilance and the evil which had taken hold of the minds of a small group of men was allowed to drag that nation and the entire world into bloody conflict. Even if the German people had not stood up, the nations of the world could have stopped the advance of Hitler long before they did if they had not chosen cowardice and appeasement. (Yes, I recognize that it’s easy to make these statements in hindsight, but that’s what history is for, for us to learn the lessons of the past and not repeat them.)

      So yes, as always we return to the need to be ever vigilant in protecting our freedoms.

Comments are closed.