There are some folks who say ‘socialized medicine.’ You hear that all the time: ‘socialized medicine,’” Obama said. “Well, socialized medicine would mean that the government would basically run all of health care. … Nobody's talking about doing that, all right? So, when you hear people saying ‘socialized medicine,’ understand: I don't know anybody in Washington who is proposing that – certainly not me.
“Don't let people scare you,” he added. “If you like what you've got, we're not going to make you change.”
“I've already said, if you've got a private plan that works for you, that's great. But we want some competition. If the private insurance companies have to compete with a public option, it'll keep them honest, and it'll help keep their prices down.”
Now, to hear the president say it, he only wants to make reasonable improvements to a system that is broken. Yet, in this so called broken system, the president also says that most people won't see anything change since they should already be happy with their coverage. Something here doesn't add up.
First, the president says he only wants to increase competition to the private market by adding an option for public health insurance. This will keep private insurance companies "honest". Here's what the president is not telling you. There are well over 1000 private insurance companies. Is one other company really going to keep them "honest".
The only thing dishonest is the innocent assertion that President Obama is making about the public option. With over one thousand different companies offering health insurance, the problem is NOT a lack of competition. The problem is in fact the configuration of the competition. In health insurance, regional monopolies are created in part because health insurance providers enjoy an exemption from the long standing Sherman Anti Trust Act. As such, most states are dominated by one health insurance provider.
Rather than fixing this problem, the president would have us believe that the problem will be solved by offering health insurance backed by the government. The problem with this idea is simple and never addressed by the president. It's inherently an unfair competition when a government run plan competes against a private plan. The government has unlimited resources and private plans do not. At some point, everyone will want the government plan because it will always be cheaper. (though ultimately we all pay for it with bigger taxes)
The president continues with his misdirection.
“There are things that can be done that – Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative – we all know need to happen. The challenge is going to revolve around how do we deal with the 20 percent of the stuff where people disagree?” Obama said. “This whole issue of the public plan is a good example, by the way. I mean, right now, a number of my Republican friends have said, ‘We can't support anything with a public option.’ It's not clear that it's based on any evidence, as much as it is their thinking, their fear that somehow, once you have a public plan, that government will take over the entire health-care system.”
Now, the president presents himself as the beacon of bi partisanship and the Republicans as obstructionist ideologues. There's something he isn't saying here as well. He wants the Republicans to compromise on the public option but is unwilling to compromise himself. Why, for instance, doesn't he offer to include health savings accounts into the the comprehensive health care reform plan? That's an idea that Republicans have been championing for years. Yet, the president won't make the type of commitments of himself that he demands of others.
The president ends with one last piece of misdirection.
“We’ve got to admit that the free market has not worked perfectly when it comes to health care,” Obama added. “That's why I've said that I think a public option would make sense.”
This a very common piece of misdirection by those that want to meddle in health care. They act as though health care is different and so we can't let the "free market" work in this field. The fact is that it isn't the free market that is failing the health insurance industry, but the forces that stop health insurance from being a free market. As I said earlier, health insurance allows for regional monopolies. That, by definition, is NOT a free market. So, the president identifies a problem that doesn't exist and tries to solve something that isn't broken.