Hard to support a health care plan that is a “work in progress”…

July 21, 2009

Seems to me all this polling about how many voters support health care reform and how many don’t is skewed in that there is no coherent or identifiable plan out there.

I guess that’s called “transparency” ; you can see through it all because it’s not there.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Selbelius just said in a short interview on FOX News that there is no “it” (meaning plan), that it is a “work in progress”.

Kind of hard to answer the question whether you support a plan that is still in progress.

Nonetheless Fox glibly reads off the numbers – 50 percent approve of the Democrats’ or president’s plan and 40 disapprove (I guess 10 percent have no opinion – wise people since there is no one plan to have an opinion on). And maybe I got the numbers reversed, because in double checking what I thought I heard,  I found that on the Gallup Poll site for today it says 50 percent of those polled dissapprove of the president’s handling of the health care issue and 44 percent approve. And I suppose if you do not even know any details, you probably would be forced to be dubious of the whole thing.

I like how FOX News likes to play the devil’s advocate with its chums on the right. When a Republican congressman was lambasting the liberal Democrats for bloating the budget, the FOX host pretended to corner him by asking: “where were you when Bush passed all those spending bills and ran up the deficit?” (okay, not really the exact quote, but a good paraphrase).

I fell for it. I thought “ah hah!, got you there Mr. Two Face”. But the seemingly hard question was just a set up. The congressman answered that he voted no all the time and warned Bush that he was running up the deficit. Well some Republicans must have voted yes, especially for those many years that Bush had the majority in both houses.

(Despite its tag line, FOX is neither fair nor balanced in its coverage, but it is entertaining at times and it does in a way serve as a check on, say, CNN or MSNBC, but while the latter may at times seem to lean one way, the former is just one way. The problem is most of the news on cable is mixed with opinion, so you seldom if ever get the straight story.) 

Not much of a segue here – but even though some think partisan politics is a bad thing, at least if practiced correctly it might get something done. I thought the purpose of political parties was to form ideas around a set of beliefs and coalesce everything into proposed legislation.

But in American politics with our separation of powers, particularly between the legislative branch and the executive, and our emphasis on individual candidates and personalities and the power of special interests (via lobbyists and their money donations), parties are not effective as they are in nations that have a parliamentary form of government.

And that is why President Obama is apparently having such a hard time passing health care reform legislation. Even though he has a super majority in the congress, not everyone in his party is behind him and to make matters worse he does not even have his own plan that can be identified and studied.

I almost think he would have had a better chance of just pushing his own plan and calling it “socialized medicine” and proclaiming that it is the only way to guarantee health coverage to all and at the same time get a handle on costs.

Social Security is a sacred cow, so why couldn’t he just call it Social Health Security?

And now I hear one pundit say something to the effect that if we try to cover everyone the doctors will not be able to handle it so therefore we will have rationing. So I take it that he would prefer we not offer health care to everyone. (ADD 1: I realize now that was the creepy, but ever political insightful, Dick Morris.)

President Obama seems to be on the ropes with his health care reform initiative, but for all I know he knows what he is doing and will prevail. But from what I can gather it seems more likely that some type of Band Aid measure may make it through and although it will not really help, Obama will be forced to declare victory and move on.

I just happened to be listening to cable news gabbing when I should have been doing something more productive and felt compelled to get some observations down.

P.s.

I heard more on this current story of a woman in Canada who said through the government health care there she was put on hold for a life-saving procedure and wound up coming to the United States. She had to mortgage her house, I understand, but at least she got treated. She said that after getting some info from the U.S. she tried to go back to Canada on the U.S. doctors’ advice to get what she needed done via the system there because it would be cheaper. But she still ran into a brick wall there and got her procedure done in the U.S. after all. She also claimed that Canadians often do not admit that they get a lot of health care in the U.S. while claiming they have such a good health care system at home. I personally have no idea if this is all true or whether she is leaving something out. The bottom line is if you have the money, you can get medical care somewhere. The problem is so many of us do not have the fortune required to get medical care that we need. Sometimes I think not enough is said as to why medical care costs so much. I understand the cost of advanced technology and the fact that professionals will always demand high remuneration and the cost of research for drugs. Even so, are there not limits?

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