The best way to predict the future is to create it.
Lying in politics is generally accepted in our country today. Calling down a politician as a liar is awkward. Calling the President a liar is more uncomfortable. Calling the President a liar while he’s speaking to the Congress is a break with tradition, rude, and by some folks’ belief outrageous.
I’d like to know… was Joe Wilson rude or wrong? More importantly was President Obama lying, telling the truth, making assumptions that he hoped were true or performing a miracle before our very eyes. I don’t know. Time will tell. I’ll offer the following and each of us can draw his / her own conclusions.
At one extreme, we have the benchmark for honesty provided by the legend of George Washington. This is the simple and unambiguous statement, “I cannot tell a lie - I cut down the Cherry tree.” At the other extreme we have (choose your Party) - Richard Nixon (R) proclaiming, “I am not a crook” and Bill Clinton (D) declaring, “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
The most outrageous statement I’ve personally ever heard was made by Senator Chris Dodd, “Lobbyists’ dollars do not influence Congress.” I’ll say it - “Senator Dodd, you’re a liar, crazy, or too innocent to represent the American People.” The good news is that Mr. Clinton later provided us the legal framework to allow for review of ambiguity and lies with, “It depends upon what your definition of is, is.”
If I heard President Obama correctly he said that his plan would not add one cent to the federal deficit and would not increase our costs. He further indicated that he would veto a bill that increased costs or raised the deficit. Unfortunately I believe the laws of economics will dictate that costs go up or benefits are reduced.
The President said that pre-existing conditions will be outlawed as an underwriting tool. Therefore people who are “sick” can now buy coverage. When “sick” people enter the insurance pool, more claims are paid. This will raise costs. He said there will no longer be limits on the amount of coverage available (either annually or in a lifetime) in a health insurance policy. Coverage without limits will cost more than coverage with limits.
He promised that coverage will now be provided for health screenings and more preventive medicine (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.). These procedures cost money - lots of money. Some studies indicate that catching diseases / conditions earlier raises the total cost for the population - it does not lower it.
President Obama pledged out of pocket costs will be capped. Deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance lower premiums. Limiting the use of these tools will raise premiums and / or the cost of claims.
President Obama can sell - my question is, “What are we buying, a fix or fantasy?”
Copyright - Michael G. Manes (September 2009)
All rights reserved