Sunday, August 2, 2009

California Foreshadows A Questionable & Risky Strategy

According to the WSJ The State of California is doubling the number of uninsured children by booting 915,000 children off Medicaid due to budget shortfalls. Of course, as even the NY TIMES has reported state governors from both parties are universally opposed to additional unfunded mandates for Medicaid as part of Health Care Reform.
Katie Couric interviewed President Obama on 7/21/2009 and lets look at that conversation

Katie Couric: A very big concern for a lot of people is keeping their health care policy in place. But if you create a public insurance plan, what's to keep an employer from telling his or her employees, "You know what? We're not going to provide health insurance. Get the government plan"?

President Obama: Well, first of all, I understand that about 14,000 people every day are losing their health insurance because employers just can't afford it anymore. And they're starting to drop plans. Or they're putting a huge amount of cost onto the employee. And the employee decides I just can't afford this. So that's already happening. And that will continue to accelerate if we do nothing. What we've said is let's set up a public option that people can choose. Although we'll have some rules and regulations around it so that, if you're already getting health insurance from your employer, your employer can't just dump you into the public plan. But ..

Katie Couric: What will happen if, say, my employer tried to do that?

President Obama: Well, essentially, the employer would be informed that certain people would not be eligible for this public option if they've already got health insurance through their employer. Or the employer would have to pay the equivalent of the insurance that he was already providing. So there is going to be mechanisms that prevent people from just dumping folks into the public option. Where the public option becomes important is to make sure that the small business person, who just can't afford health care at all, when they go to what we call an exchange, a marketplace that has private insurers out there, but also a public option, he or she can choose which option works best for them. And, by having that public option, we're putting pressure on the insurance companies to make sure that they are keeping costs as low as possible, and they're giving the highest quality for the best price. What's always interesting to me is folks say that government can't run things. And I actually agree that the private sector does a whole lot of things better than government can. Well, if that's the case, then insurance companies should be able to compete effectively with a public option. As long as it's not being subsidized by the government. And I've already said I wouldn't support a public option if it was simply just a way to have taxpayers subsidize folks heavily.

Katie Couric: Do you favor a government option that would cover abortions?

President Obama: What I think is important, at this stage, is not trying to micromanage what benefits are covered. Because I think we're still trying to get a framework. And my main focus is making sure that people have the options of high quality care at the lowest possible price. As you know, I'm pro choice. But I think we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care. Rather than wade into that issue at this point, I think that it's appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings, and not get distracted by the abortion debate at this station.

Katie Couric: Do you think any illegal immigrant should be eligible for health care under the new plan?
President Obama: No.
Katie Couric: No. Why not?
President Obama: First of all, I'd like to create a situation where we're dealing with illegal immigration so that we don't have illegal immigrants. And we've got legal residents or citizens who are eligible for the plan. And I want a comprehensive immigration plan that creates a pathway to achieve that. The one exception that I think has to be discussed is how are we treating children? Partly because, if you've got children, who may be here illegally, but are still in playgrounds, and at schools and potentially are passing on illnesses, and communicable diseases, that's not …

Katie Couric: Aren't getting vaccinated.

President Obama: That aren't getting vaccinated. That's, I think, a situation in where you may have to make an exception.

So its OK for Congress to dump an unfunded mandate on the States in the form of an expansion in Medicaid coverage and eligibility but employers are prevented from dumping people into the government plan? Double standard??? Employers that are hurting get to pay for something that many have been forced to drop or pay afine/tax if they do not. All the 20 somethings who voted for change now get mandated to buy health insurance even if they make under $250,000 because Uncle Sam knows whats best for you and truth be told the way health insurance works is that young healthy people subsidize older, sicker , fatter people. You asked for change.

Who exactly is going to subsidize the government plan if not Taxpayers Mr President?

Why did you duck the abortion question Mr President?

You do not favor covering illegal aliens but we may need to make an exception for their children? Will that exception just cover vaccinations or all primary care? That part of your answer was not clear nor was the pathway to achieve legal status for their parents. Please elaborate as it seems like a thinly veiled effort to buy more votes off.

Freespending Congressmen and President Obama need only look at Governor Scwarzeneggar's popularity and California's current budget deficit to get a vision of what their future holds.

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