I’ve had several discussions with friends about proposed health care legislation in Congress. I’m on record that we badly need healthcare reform in this country. But I oppose a move towards a government run system. And my continued fear is that the “public option” being discussed is the piece that ultimately leads us in that direction. (I’ve made my case for why the public option will lead to a government run system here.)
There is continued frustration from the opposition that the left won’t address their concerns about the inherent problems with the proposed bills. And even more directly, that the left is dishonest with their “facts”. My opinion? The supporters of these bills do not care about the facts.
In order to make my point, let’s remove this from health care for a moment. We all know that Al Gore is the Nobel Prize winning poster boy for climate change. And many have accused him of distorting the facts about global warming. Even those who agree with him that something must be done have condemned him for his exaggerations. But Al Gore justifies his exaggerations because it’s for the greater good. This is from a 2006 interview with Grist:
Q. There’s a lot of debate right now over the best way to communicate about global warming and get people motivated. Do you scare people or give them hope? What’s the right mix?
A. I think the answer to that depends on where your audience’s head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.
Over time that mix will change. As the country comes to more accept the reality of the crisis, there’s going to be much more receptivity to a full-blown discussion of the solutions.
Why is this relevant? Al Gore is empowered by his belief that we must react to the dangers of global warming. And since the facts are not shocking enough to push people to action, then an exaggeration of the facts is required.
I would make the same case that those who are pushing these healthcare reform bills through Congress are following a similar approach. Since healthcare reform is required for the greater good, an exaggeration of the facts is required. Or in this case, dismissing certain facts is required. When you are empowered by your beliefs that health care is a right, and that we must provide universal coverage for everybody, then the facts be damned.
Examples? There are plenty.
Healthcare reform will be deficit neutral. Nobody really believes this do they? The Congressional Budget Office has predicted huge budget deficits in our future as a result of these proposed bills.
Preventative medicine will reduce costs. I’m in favor of preventative medicine. This is another topic I’ve already covered here. It does not appear likely that it will reduce costs.
Digitizing of health care records will reduce costs. While this might be a great idea, I’ve yet to read anything that leads me to believe that this will reduce costs.
There will be no rationing of care. Of course their will. Show me one government run health care system in the world that has not had to ration care.
The quality of our health care will improve. How? And why do citizens of Canada come to the United States when they get sick?
The public option will provide competition to the insurance companies. If Congress was truly interested in creating greater competition, they would allow insurance companies to compete across state lines. But the public option is not to create competition, but ultimately to replace the insurance companies and create a government run system.
The list is long. These are only a few examples.
And then you look at what has been left out of the bills. In particular they have failed to address tort reform, where the CBO has recently projected that tort reform would save $54 billion over the next ten years. Read more here.
It’s difficult to have an intelligent discussion when the opposition cares little about the facts.
Cartoon by: Gavin McNeil