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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Point Counter Point Weekly Addresses

I am now completely tired of the health care debate. I haven't heard anything new since the break and all I hear now is a bunch of politicians rehashing the same talking points they've been hitting for the better part of a year. That's what we had with both addresses. The president again promised that with health insurance reform we'd lower costs, cover everyone, cover everything, give more choice, and make sure nothing stops anyone from getting insurance. I'm surprised he hasn't claimed it would lead to world peace. Frankly, if you believe it can do everything and cost nothing why wouldn't you believe it will lead to world peace.

The only thing interesting was just how much time he spent attacking the recent study done by Price Waterhouse Coopers. He spent about half the address trying to take it apart. He mostly stuck to vague attacks about how the insurance companies always do this. He certainly didn't address the central premise. That is that if you force insurance companies to cover pre existing conditions and there's only a mild penalty for not getting covered, everyone will just wait to get sick to get covered. For this he had no answer, so he demonized the insurance companies. They've been his most obvious target and so this is no surprise.

The only thing new was that the president mentioned the McCarron/Ferguson act, though he didn't mention it by name. He gave a tacit approval for rescinding this law, which gives insurance companies an exemption from anti trust. I've said that I support this as well. I would support a separate bill that simply rescinds the law but that's not what the president and the Democrats want. So, if you agree with the president on this issue nothing I say will change your mind. If you disagree with the president, nothing he says will change your mind. This debate has now gotten stale.

Congressman Kevin Brady, of Texas, delivered the Republican response. He put three themes into one: a jobless recovery, government take over of health care, and exploding deficits. Brady continued to hammer a Republican theme. That is that the president promsed the unemployment rate wouldn't reach above 8% if his stimulus passed. It's now at 9.8% and growing and the Republicans have been pounding this for months. This has been and will be a very common and recurring attack.

Brady, like most Republicans, referred to health care reform as a government takeover of health care. He said that under the president's plan there would new mandates, new rules and new taxes.

Finally, Brady bemoaned the exploding deficits which he said have contributed to putting a strain on small businesses. He said that Republicans want to cut taxes for small business owners and "get out of their way".

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