Remember our article called The Obama Health Plan Obama Supporters Do Not Want To Discuss? Today we present the “Big Media Article On The Obama Health Plan Obama Supporters Do Not Want To Discuss”.
Who’dathunk Big Media (via Politico) would get out of the gossip business and actually write about something that matters? We’re shocked to the point of having to give kudos to Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico.
Carrie Budoff Brown yesterday wrote the article few will write about or rationally discuss. The article is called “Health Savings? No One Knows“. Here are some excerpts:
Barack Obama ran for president on a promise of saving the typical family $2,500 a year in lower health care premiums.
But that was then.
No one in the White House is making such a pledge now.
It’s one of the most basic, kitchen-table questions of the entire reform debate: Would the sweeping $900 billion overhaul actually lower spiraling insurance premiums for everyone?
A broken Obama promise is a “dog bites” story – not a single sentient being is surprised – that is what dogs do! What is astonishing is the question posted by Carrie Budoff Brown. In researching an earlier article for Big Pink we tried to answer the question and could not find any documentation or empirical evidence or numbers or anything on the question. Now we know why we came out empty-handed. The essential question has not been answered. Again, Kudos to Carrie:
No one really knows.
And in fact, for all the ink spilled on the effects of health care reform, no independent group has taken a comprehensive look at how the legislation would impact premiums for the 170 million Americans who receive insurance through their employers – a population that would receive little direct financial assistance under the various congressional proposals.
For small businesses and individuals who purchase their own plans, economists remain sharply divided over the impact on premiums.
“This town continues to miss what is going to be the real issue,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said. “The real lodestar, the thing people are focusing on at home, is all premiums, premiums, premiums. All you have right now is what the insurance industry has said.”
At a recent Senate health committee hearing, two health care rivals – Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economic adviser to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, and Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor whose work is cited often by the White House – agreed comprehensive, objective evidence wasn’t available for small and large businesses.
“It’s insane,” Holtz-Eakin said.
After almost a full year of words, words, words, we are bereft of facts, facts, facts. There is a reason why we have lots of fast-talking and few figures and numbers: it’s a scam. It’s another Obama flim-flam.
Kudos to Carrie and kudos to someone we always heard was a dumb bunny – Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. [A quick side note on Evan Bayh. On June 30, 2007 we wrote the following about Bayh: “Evan Bayh proved he was a good fundraiser before he dropped out of the 2008 race. Bayh made some dumb personnel decisions for his campaign but quickly corrected them, which we found impressive.” Bayh impressed us then and continues to impress even though everyone says he’s dumb. As a further note, the dumb hires Bayh got rid of were eventually hired by the Clinton campaign in a state she lost, which we were not at all happy with – but that is a story for another day.]
Senator Evan Bayh deserves major kudos along with Brown for writing about his efforts:
The lack of data prompted Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) to request a broad analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on premiums, which he said was “a basic, bottom-line question that we have to have answered before we can decide if this is an intelligent thing to do.”
Aides expect to see the report ahead the Senate floor debate on health care, which is causing anxiety among Democrats because of the uncertainty of what the famously cost-conservative CBO will produce. The possibility that congressional scorekeepers will conclude that premiums won’t flatten out or decrease would make centrists even more leery of reform, forcing adjustments to the bill just as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is already scrambling to meet a Christmas deadline.
Senator Bayh is sure to be attacked by those that don’t want to discuss facts. Bayh will be personally excoriated and trashed, because he is asking a very good question and demanding answers. Obama, of course, will be excused from the very promises he himself made:
Obama was the one who raised expectations of lower premiums. From one city to the next, and during the presidential debates, Obama made the pledge almost as often as he vowed to remove troops from Iraq: “We estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.”
Hopium guzzlers and PINO poseurs will not care to hold Obama to his promises or his, um, words. The Bayh critics are not reality based. Obama’s promises will not be forgotten in the age of Youtube.
He has barely uttered it since taking office. The last recorded mention by Obama was in May, when he announced that six health industry groups agreed to lower the growth rate in health care spending by $2 trillion over 10 years, resulting in a savings of $2,500 per family “in the coming years.”
Campaign advisers sought to make Obama’s plan tangible to voters. But the $2,500 estimate was controversial, even among progressive health care economists. First, the figure represented not simply a family’s share of premiums, but also savings that would accrue for employers, Medicare and Medicaid. Second, experts did not expect the savings to materialize for many years.
David Cutler, a Harvard University economist who helped develop the estimate for the Obama campaign, said the savings are still achievable, but perhaps not for a decade. It depends almost entirely on whether Congress is strict about reducing the growth rate of health care spending in Medicare and Medicaid – and the private sector follows the government’s lead in wringing inefficiencies and waste out of the system.
The Boston Globe on May 21, 2009 quoted the slippery Obama:
In the final debate of the presidential campaign, while banks collapsed and layoffs mounted, Barack Obama turned to the camera to speak directly to the 56 million Americans watching at home. His healthcare plan, he said, would save families big money on insurance.
“We estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year,” he said, repeating a promise he had made in the previous debate, and in stump speeches and television ads for the better part of a year.
As Congress prepares for a four-month sprint to pass a sweeping healthcare bill, though, it is hard to find anybody serious about health policy who believes premiums will actually drop anytime soon. Getting healthcare costs to grow at the pace of inflation, instead of two or more times that rate, would be “a tremendous stretch,” said John Sheils, senior vice president of the Lewin Group, a health policy consulting firm.
Indeed, even the Senate Democrats writing the healthcare bill acknowledge that it could, initially, cost some families more in higher taxes to underwrite the cost of insuring the uninsured. Democrats in Congress are talking about things like taxes on sugary drinks and alcohol, and about taxing a portion of employee health benefits of those individuals with the biggest salaries and most generous health plans.
But the president has continued to repeat his promise to save $2,500 per family – particularly after, last week, drug, hospital, and insurance industry leaders promised the president they would voluntarily reduce the growth of their revenues by $2 trillion over the next decade.
“Coupled with comprehensive healthcare reform,” Obama wrote to those leaders in a follow-up letter, “your efforts could save the Nation more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years and save hardworking families $2,500 in health care costs in the coming years.”
Hopium guzzlers will not hold Obama’s feet to the fire. Hopium guzzlers will instead nuzzle Obama’s toes with their tongues.
But facts are stubborn things:
“Far and away, what happens to premiums is dependent on whether you can bend the cost curve,” Cutler said.
And there are questions as to whether the bills even meet that goal.
Gruber, the favorite economist of the White House, said the bill “really doesn’t bend the cost curve.”
Gruber, is the favorite economist of Obama because he thinks “this bill starts us down the road” to bending the cost curve and because “relative to doing nothing” he argues the Obama health scam is better.
Reminded that Obama demanded a bill that lowers health care spending, Gruber said: “That is what he would like to do. But he’s not doing it.”
Again, it is the difference between Obama words and Obama actions.
White House favorite Gruber, writes the epitaph on the Obama health scam tombstone:
If premiums are the benchmark by which reform is judged, “we are setting ourselves up to fail,” Gruber said. “Premiums will still go up, but they will go up less than they would” without the overhaul.
It’s the old argument of “saved” jobs recycled from the “stimulus” scam battles.
Gruber does try to help Obama out:
People who currently purchase insurance on the expensive individual market are most likely to see lower premiums, Gruber said. Small businesses could also see more manageable premiums, he said, because they would shop for plans in an exchange, which would offer the kind of bargaining power now available only to large employers. But those savings would vary widely based on the health of the firm’s workers, he added.
“Older, sicker, small firms will clearly win” since they pay the highest premiums under the current system, Gruber said. “Probably the healthy firms will lose a little bit. … The truth is I don’t think there will be a huge swing either way.”
We would like to see some numbers because, the reality of numbers is better than dazed walking into walls with Hopium. Let’s get data and cast aside Obama’s faith based approach on numbers which is reminiscent of Professor Harold Hill’s “think system” of music learning.
Like Professor Harold Hill who evades facts (“The school board arrives to collect Harold’s credentials, but he leads them in singing “Goodnight, Ladies” and slips away.”) Obama does not want to produce the facts and figures necessary to help Americans make an intelligent decision on a scam of massive proportions.
It would take years to implement the cost savings, but billions in new taxes would be levied immediately on insurers, device manufacturers, and drug makers, which the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation has said would be passed onto consumers. In the absence of an enforceable mandate on individuals to purchase coverage, various market reforms would also cause a spike in costs, Holtz-Eakin said.
“The only question is how big this problem will be,” Holtz-Eakin said.
The issue has steadily crept to the forefront of the debate since the insurance industry released three reports over the last month warning about higher premiums. Democrats largely dismissed the analyses because of the source. But Republicans have seized upon the issue, making it central to their argument against the Democratic bills.
The question is why haven’t all the questions been answered. Again, we are forced to ask about Obama, where are the answers?
Lawmakers say they are hungry for data that assures them they are not voting for a bill that does the opposite what they have intended.
“I want to see an objective, third-party analysis from people who don’t have a conflict of interest,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). “I like evidence.”
As we have pointed out before, the biggest enemy of a scam flim-flam man is time and thought. Time and deliberative thought are the enemy of “all con artists, three-card monte thieves, and flim-flam men.”
Obama has thus far escaped scutiny on most of his scams, but if Evan Bayh gets his answers in time he will have enough to pummel the scam artist and his thug friends.
Time, thought, and answers will beat a black and blue death to the Obama health scam.