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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Point Counter Point Weekly Addresses

Not surprisingly, the President focused the majority of this week's address on health INSURANCE reform. It appears their new marketing strategy is to focus on the word insurance. The president, surprisingly, only spent about 30 seconds talking about the positive economic numbers. The jobs report came in much better than expected. That followed a better than expected 2nd quarter Gross Domestic Product number along with mostly better than expected earnings. The president said this is a sign that the worst is over and that we are on our way to recovery. He also made sure to mention that this is of little comfort to anyone who lost their job in July, and that's why he "won't rest until everyone in America that wants to find a job can".

He spent the other roughly five minutes talking about a health insurance utopia. In this utopia, everyone would be covered. All procedures, including check ups, would be covered. The co pay would be reasonable. No one could be dropped if they got sick or had a pre existing condition. Insurance companies wouldn't be able to dictate how much treatment an individual got in a year or a lifetime. In this utopia, "no one would go broke dealing with an illness". I understand that a lot of people go broke dealing with divorce as well and so hopefully the president can after creating this health insurance utopia can create a divorce utopia as well.

Ironically enough, the president's philosophy would only contribute to the skyrocketing health care costs. That's because one of the biggest problems now is too many "third party costs". In that, your insurance covers too much of your health care. In so doing, you stop acting like a health care consumer and gets all the tests and procedures without even asking. Insurance should be used to pay for things you can't afford yourself. Check ups are usually affordable and yet President Obama would have even those be covered. That's the equivalent of having an oil change covered by your car insurance. Can you imagine how expensive insurance and oil changes would be if those were covered?

Meanwhile, Bob McDonnell, candidate for Virginia Governor, was the speaker for the Republican response. McDonnell used the very same jobs report to bemoan the struggles of "American families and small businesses". McDonnell then railed against cap and trade. He talked about a packaging plant in Western Virginia that he visited. At that plant, the VP, Mark George, told him that the 1500 people that worked there would all have their jobs threatened if this legislation passed. McDonnell then extolled the virtues of conservatism: small government, less regulation, and lower taxes. He pushed back against the president's "nationalized health care" plan. McDonnell ended the video with agreement. He said he supported the president's goals of bringing more choice in education and merit pay.

Both addresses sounded an awful lot like a long campaign commercial. Both were short on detail, long on broad ideas, and full of carefully selected talking points.

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