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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Point Counter Point Weekly Addresses

The president spent this past weekly address "debunking the myths and distortions" of health care reform. In fact, his address wasn't very different than his op ed yesterday. He "debunked" the idea that illegals will be covered, abortions would be paid for and "death panels". Every time the president does this I think of what Kirsten Powers said about all of this "if you have to convince Americans that your health care plan won't kill grand ma, then your plan is in trouble". That the president continues to defend the plan against all of these real and supposed attacks just shows how badly troubled the plan is.

What the president fails to realize is that it isn't the specific attacks that are the problem. You can take out pages 425-430 and eliminate any hint of death panels. You can take out every page that hints at care for illegals. You can even put in an amendment that guarantees that government won't pay for abortion. It won't change the problem. This bill is 1017 pages long. It has 53 new bureaucracies. People can't wrap their arms around it and so of course they don't trust the government. Anytime you have a bill with over 1000 pages, you can bet there are all sorts of things in there that are very very onerous. That's what the president can't seem to figure out. You can't simply tackle each and every concern raised in the bill. That's because the concerns come from the fact that this is a 1000 plus page monstrosity. It isn't any one concern that is the problem, but the bill itself. The president is banging his head against the wall.

On the other side, Congressman Tom Price, a doctor, delivered the Republicans' address. Just as constantly playing defense is bad in politics, constantly being on offense is good in politics. Price continued the Republicans offensive push against the president's plan. He called a "one sized fits all government take over". He proclaimed that in five years all health insurance plans will have to confirm to new government guidelines under the president's plan. As such, it's misleading to proclaim that everyone will keep their health insurance if they like it. They'll only keep it if the new bureaucracy finds it acceptable.

Most importantly, Price attacked the president's straw man argument. The president always frames the debate as either his plan or the status quo. He pretends as though there are no other plans out there. Of course, that's just not true. There are plenty of options. Though, Price did little more than present a series of platitudes. That said, the Republicans favor tort reform, selling insurance across state lines, and portability. Price put forward a talking point we'll likely hear a lot more often, "the Republicans don't want a health care plan that puts the government or the insurance company in charge but the patient".

The president presented a contradiction. He said he didn't want government bureaucrats to decide health care but he also didn't want insurance company bureaucrats to make decisions. Yet, how does he propose to stop insurance company bureaucrats from making decisions? It's by creating a plethora of new government regulations. Of course, that means the government is in charge. It's one of a series of contradictions the president constantly creates. He attacks the insurance companies and promises to "hold them accountable". Then, he proclaims the government won't make decisions. How is holding the "insurance companies accountable" if not through government action. That's exactly what Price exploited and watch for this exploitation to continue.

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