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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Town Hall Meeting 'Debates'

Barack Obama's Town Hall Meetings give such meetings a bad name. They amount to little more than campaign speeches. His meeting in Portsmouth, NH was typical. His supporters also did a good job of keeping angry people out of the arena so that most questions could be seen as pro-Obamacare. There was no debate so nothing of real value came out of the meeting.

Other meetings around the country continue to show strong opposition to Obama which does not bode well for his health plan. He and his supporters still refuse to speak to the issue of tort reform as a means of reducing rising health care costs. He also criticizes insurance companies for charging exorbitant premiums, but refuses to acknowledge that they, too, are influenced by malpractice lawsuit outcomes. It's a viscious circle that can only be overcome by tort reform.

The Obama people decry claims of healthcare "rationing" and "end-of-life" decisions controlled by "death panels". They miss the point: it's what will happen after the reform becomes operative that concerns people. As long as they do nothing about tort reform, there will be constant upward pressure on healthcare costs. They want to reduce Medicare costs from their current levels by paying doctors and other care givers less which they can only do by reducing services and that can only lead to rationing. End-of-life decisions are not the business of government. Such decisions are personal and should be made by the patient and his/or her doctors.

Local Town Hall Meeting Typical?

Our Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) held a Town Meeting on the August 18th which was attended by an estimated 500 people. Planned for 90 minutes, Rooney and a panel of healthcare professionals responded to more than 60 for almost 3 hours. There were only two questioners in support of Obama's healthcare proposals; one is a public meeting gadfly and the other a fellow suffering from macular degeneration who believes things need to change so that people like him can be sure of help. Everything else added up to a total condemnation of what Obama and the Democrat majority in Congress want to do with healthcare. Based on what I've seen of other Town Meetings around the country, Rooney's was typical of what the politicians heard all during the month of August.

Future of Obamacare in serious doubt

Pressure against Obama's healthcare plans has continued to mount to the extent I now believe if he gets any bill out of Congress at all it will be essentially an empty shell of what he wants. What is shameful about it all is the amount of time that has been spent bickering over an overhaul of the entire health system when rather simple solutions are available for those parts of the system that need fixing, namely rising healthcare costs and coverage for the uninsured. The vast majority of Americans are content with what they have by way of insurance and care.

Healthcare Costs

I have spoken to this issue extensively in earlier blogs, but lest their be doubts, here it is one more time. Costs will come down quickly if we clamp down on outlandish malpractice suit awards and settlements and put an end to fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims. Malpractice insurance premiums will fall and less defensive medicine will be practiced.

Insurance Coverage

A thorough analysis must be made of just who is currently uninsured and why. Then break down the 46 million supposedly making up the total in accordance with the analysis. The result might resemble the following:

  • Illegal Immigrants 12,000,000
  • Unemployed and Between Jobs 13,000,000
  • Choose Not To Be Covered 19,000,000
  • Homeless 2,000,000

Enough is being done for illegal immigrants already. Those who have chosen no coverage are likely to be young people who will one day come under an employer plan. The homeless wll always be a problem but they can do what the illegals do...use ERs and "free clinics". That leaves the unemployed and those who are between jobs. Private sector insurers should be encouraged to extend coverage to laid off employees for a period of time, say 6 months and COBRA insurance beyond that period.

Has Healthcare Become Obama's Waterloo ?

It's beginning to look like Obama has reached a decisive fork in the road. If he continues in his attempts to transform us into a socialist state, and takes the left fork, it could very well be his Waterloo and the effective end of his Presidency. There's a lot of anger in the country that's been generated by his healthcare plans and "cap 'n trade' proposal, and if the former isn't his Waterloo, then the two combined will be.

Afghanistan, Iran and Eastern Europe

If healthcare and cap n' trade don't take down the Obama administration, his foreign policy positions via a vis Iran, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe are about to do it. If Iran isn't stopped, they will soon have nuclear weapons capability. Afghanistan is turning into another Vietnam. If we pull out, it will be seen as a victory for Muslim extremism and the beginning of the end of our influence in the Middle East. Cancellation of defense systems aimed at protecting such European nations as Poland and the Czech Republic against Iranian long range missiles doesn't make us look very strong in their eyes. It concerns me that an otherwise competent individual like Gates was part of that decision.


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