Sophomoric Debate on Health Care is Distressing

The national debate over the administration’s health care plan has spawned some strange occurrences.  Last week, for example, Rep. David Scott (D-GA) completely lost his cool when a medical doctor tried to ask him some legitimate questions at a town hall meeting.   At town hall meetings in other districts, it is the protestors, not the members of Congress who have behaved badly. 

Tempers are running high, but that should not be particularly surprising — after all, the administration is proposing to dramatically alter the manner in which health care has been delivered and paid for in America for many decades.  Putting the government firmly in the health care driver’s seat scares alot of Americans; and many of them feel they are not getting the answers and facts they deserve.

They’re certainly not going to get those answers and facts from two of the Democratic Party’s top leaders — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer from Maryland.  Both Pelosi and Hoyer are among the president’s top cheerleaders on Capitol Hill, championing the administration’s so-called “reform” legislation and criticizing Republicans for opposing it.  However, an opinion piece the two congressional leaders co-authored for Monday’s “USA TODAY” did nothing to shed light on the complexities of the pending legislation; but instead continued the simplistic, misleading level of discourse that has prevailed throughout the past weeks.

The thesis of the Pelosi-Hoyer article seems to be that because the issue of national health care coverage has been (in their analysis) a part of the “national agenda” for nearly 100 years — 1912 to be precise – it cannot be “derailed” by “un-American” opponents.  The authors’ reference to government-provided ”health coverage for all” being a part of Teddy Roosevelt’s third party presidential run in 1912, is historically dubious and seems a rather strange one to begin with, since his was a losing campaign.  To then lump the first Roosevelt together with former President Bill Clinton, is stranger still, since the government-run health care program pushed by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton during her husband’s first term, was one of the primary reasons his party lost control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. 

History lessons aside, Pelosi and Hoyer in their article then issue a list of slogans that are truly humorous in their naivete: 

  • The Democrat leaders claim the legislation will give people “more patient choice.”   Well, yeah, in the short run it will — the “choice” of having the government as a single-payor provider.
  • They claim it will bring “stability and peace of mind” to the middle class; perhaps in the same manner a certain serenity reportedly ascends over those facing inevitable death.
  • Pelosi and Hoyer then try and assuage Americans’ concerns over health care costs, by claiming their plan will “never drive Americans into bankruptcy.”  They fail to note, of course, that the multi-trillion dollar plan will drive America into bankruptcy.
  • The authors accurately state that the legislation includes a “public health insurance option,” but like many of President Obama’s supporters on this, they fail to make clear that the “option” they’re talking about is ”the government.”
  • In a statement that confirms the Bizarro World in which the Democratic leaders are operating in their unflinching endorsement of the President’s plan, they claim it will “bring competitive pressures to bear” on medical costs.  The “competitive pressures” of which they speak are, of course, government mandates, which are by definition never “competitive.” 
  • A final point proudly proclaimed by our two congressional professors, is that the legislation will “promot[e] preventive care,” as if this is a revolutionary concept not heretofore available to American citizens.  What now — or ever — is stopping Americans from seeking “preventive care” by getting regular check ups, mammograms or prostate cancer screeings?  Is government intervention the sole genesis of “preventive medicine?”

The fact that congressional leaders like Pelosi and Hoyer either themselves believe that Americans cannot now obtain preventive care if they choose, or that the American populace is so stupid it doesn’t realize such options are already available, speaks volumes about the level of debate being exercise by the proponents of this plan for the federal government to assume eventual control of health care in America.

59 comments Add your comment


August 13th, 2009
10:56 am

Mr Barr, You appear to me to be fueling the fire of misinformation and frustration. Rather than critisizing the Democrats, you can just go to the nonpartisan arbitor of Congressional legislation, respected by all sides, The Congresional Budget office for their evaluation of the various plans pending: I’m sure your readers(including me) would appreciate your evaluation of what the REAL proposals are, rather than to perpetualte partisan bickering. Everybody_ read the REAL story here:

gloom and doomer

August 13th, 2009
12:07 pm

Just the facts said on Aug 13th:

“But the argument that a government run healthcare system (much less the one which is currently being proposed, which is far from being goevrnment run) will be an unmitigated disaster, is hyperbole at best but more likely, disingenuous panic mongering.”

What is to be expected from an uninformed electorate and those who speak for them?

Having lived under a socialized medical system for a number of years, I found it very competent and fair. My share of my medical insurance payment was around $250 a month, but I never had to worry about filing bankruptcy because of a catastrophic medical condition were it to occur, and the insurance covered everything.

Now, let the chorus of “Well, move back there if it was so good” begin from those who have no higher political or issues consciousness.

shuck and jive

August 13th, 2009
1:59 pm

“Mr Barr, You appear to me to be fueling the fire of misinformation and frustration”

That would be Baghdad Bob Gibbs.

shuck and jive

August 13th, 2009
2:21 pm

Chris Broe

August 13th, 2009
3:28 pm

The sophomoric discussion continues….The crux of the Rx fix lies not in the K’s of text that put the z’s on congress, but rather it lies in the founding tyranny of our current contract law, which itself was born of and for the slave trade, and which now gives Rx patients all the rights once afforded slaves. The reform must come from the way we underwrite our legislation.

henny youngman

August 13th, 2009
3:32 pm

Democrats, realizing the success of the President’s “Cash For Clunkers” rebate program, have revamped a major portion of their National Health Care Plan.

President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Sen. Reed are expected to make this major announcement at a joint news conference later this week. I have obtained an advanced copy of the proposal which is named….

“CASH FOR CODGERS” and it works like this… Couples wishing to access health care funds in order to pay for the delivery of a child will be required to turn in one old person. The amount the government grants them will be fixed according to a sliding scale. Older and more prescription dependent codgers will garner the highest amounts.

Special “Bonuses” will be paid for those submitting codgers in targeted groups, such as smokers, alcohol drinkers, persons 10 pounds over their government prescribed weight, and any member of the Republican Party.

Smaller bonuses will be given for codgers who consume beef, soda, fried foods, potato chips, lattes, whole milk, dairy products, bacon, Brussel sprouts, or Girl Scout Cookies.

All codgers will be rendered totally useless via toxic injection. This will insure that they are not secretly resold or their body parts harvested to keep other codgers in repair.


August 13th, 2009
7:45 pm

Why can’t the dems fix Social Security with the 787 billion in stimulis before putting us in another hole. The feds don’t want the public option just like they don’t any part of Social Security, they have PERS because it is better than Social Security. It’s good enough for the public but not good enough for gov employees.


August 14th, 2009
7:25 am

We have a “right to health care” by default because no one will be denied medical care despite their economic situation. If you are poor and you need immediate health attention you will be taken to an emergency room, the most expensive health care there is. And because you are poor you will not be able to pay the enormous bill you pay and the hospital will pass along their lose to the bills of others who can pay. Morally if you think there is no right to health care you have to decide if a rich person who has a broken leg is more deserving of care than a poor person who has a broken leg.


August 14th, 2009
7:46 am

In many states malpractice insurance for Ob-Gyns can exceed $10,000 per month. In New York State, annual malpractice insurance for specialists can run in excess of $300,000.

Anyone who tries to claim that doctors approve of the current malpractice set-up or that medical lawsuits are not part of the run-up in costs is simply dishonest.

Like parents hoping their child will be the next NBA star or the Georgia Lottery will match all their numbers this week, there is a subset of the population that sees medical mistakes as their chance to financial success.

Should doctors who are reckless be financially punished? Yes. Should patients who have had their lives screwed up due to a doctor’s mistake be compensated? Yes. Is it logical that the more than half of all jury awards for malpractice exceed $1 million? If you answer yes, then I think you’re part of the problem…