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Bloggers agree: "Government-run" tag is worst threat to health care bill:

This week's National Journal poll of political bloggers asked the bloggers "How serious is each of the following challenges in selling health care reform?" Bloggers of the Left and the Right agreed that "Government-run health care" was the biggest challenge, and that "Too costly" ranked second.

The challenge that I ranked as greatest, "Nothing for the insured," came in last place on the Left, and next-to-last on the Right. My rationale:

"The real problem is that rather than getting 'nothing,' the already-insured will end up worse off, and more and more of them are realizing that. Tens of millions of them will get pushed out of their current private insurance, end up stuck in the public 'option,' and have to live with British/Canadian-style rationing by queue -- in which survival rates for cancer are much lower, people wait for many months for operations, and every doctor-patient transaction is controlled by the government."
Question 2 was "What's the bigger political problem facing President Obama right now?" Seventy-five percent of the Right, and 33% of the Left, thought, "Concerns about his handling of the economy." The majority of the Left voted for "The prospect Congress won't enact health care reform this year."

I voted for the economy, but saw it as linked to health care: "The latter is helping to cause the former. The irresponsible, reckless, pork-filled, wasteful, government-centric deficit spending spree in the so-called 'stimulus' has raised justifiable concerns that a health care system run by the same crowd of people will raise rather than lower costs, and will not be effectively managed."

Federal Dog:
"The irresponsible, reckless, pork-filled, wasteful, government-centric deficit spending spree in the so-called 'stimulus' has raised justifiable concerns that a health care system run by the same crowd of people will raise rather than lower costs, and will not be effectively managed."

Which is to say that Obama's competence and character are, to say the least, highly questionable. That is his biggest political problem right now.
8.7.2009 5:48pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
My biggest issue is that the House bill more or less destroys the states involvement in managing health insurance. The Senate bill in this area is far, far better. Under the house bill, individual market insurance which is not sold over exchanges would be illegal. Under the Senate bill, they would still be regulated by the states.

Funny, removing state regulation of insurance was something McCain advocated, right? Seems like the House is combining the worst of his ideas with Obama's.
8.7.2009 5:56pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
Part of the concern with federally funded healthcare, even if it could be run as well as the VA system is, is that it is fiscally unsustainable, and when the collapse comes, it is likely to be after the private system has been brought down, leaving nothing but limited emergency care and care for a few rich people, such as we see in Argentina following the collapse of its system in 2001.
8.7.2009 6:04pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Impossible Promises:
I keep reading about health-care "reform," but I have yet to see anyone explain how the government can make it easier for more people to obtain medical services, control the already exploding cost of those services, and not interfere with people's most intimate decisions.

You don't need to be a Ph.D. in economics to understand that government cannot do all three things. (Judging by what Paul Krugman writes, a Ph.D. may be an obstacle.)
8.7.2009 6:21pm
Constantin:
The majority of the Left voted for "The prospect Congress won't enact health care reform this year."

This probably accounts for most of the anger on the issue from the Left, and a decent amount of it on the Right. It's a proxy fight over Barack. Like everything else with the guy, it's always about him.
8.7.2009 7:26pm
Splunge:
The biggest problem "selling" the health-care reform actually on offer is that it's a crock of shit that smells so bad that even the combined forces of Madison and Pennsylvania Avenues, not to mention the narcissistic delusions of your typical Obama voter, can't make it seem to smell like Chanel No. 5 sprinkled on Scarlett Johansson's haunch.

The biggest obstacle to health-care reform worthy of the name is our failure as a nation to require every adult wishing to opine or vote on the subject to have TANSTAAFL tattooed permanently on his forehead.

Obama's biggest political problem right now is that there's no higher political office for which he could be running, so that he's forced into the degrading and icky business of governing, which bores him utterly.
8.7.2009 9:43pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Splunge:

So your argument is the typical Obama voter is a delusional narcissist trying to convince you shit smells like perfume? Good luck winning an election in this lifetime.
8.7.2009 10:01pm
Allan Walstad (mail):
Obama is the sort of pol that it's so easy to get infatuated with.

The infatuation may be wearing off. Once people get past the pretty smile, flawless rhetorical timing, and "change" mantra, suppose they see just another lying, conniving pol on a power trip?

That's Obama's biggest problem, in my opinion.
8.7.2009 10:18pm
Mark N. (www):
"Survival rates for cancer are much lower" is simply false, with respect to Canada. Survival rates for some cancers are higher, some are lower, and most differences in either direction are not statistically significant in meta-analyses that aggregate the many published studies.
8.7.2009 11:52pm
John Moore (www):

The biggest obstacle to health-care reform worthy of the name is our failure as a nation to require every adult wishing to opine or vote on the subject to have TANSTAAFL tattooed permanently on his forehead.

No, if it's on their forehead, they can't read it. Put it on the backs of their hands.
8.8.2009 12:50am
John Moore (www):
One of Obama's biggest problems is that he is an equivocator at best and a liar at worst. His campaign bears little resemblance to the bills that is signing or wants to sign. He ran as a moderate and is governing as a... well... corrupt European Social-Democrat. That's putting it nicely.

Congress is creating bills that are full of pork and payoffs, and every little idea a democrat has had in the last 20 years. The result is a huge mess. If Obama just stood up to his own party and forced simplicity and clarity into these bills, he would get a lot more respect.

Frankly, I don't think he has the political smarts to do it.
8.8.2009 12:53am
Borris (mail):
Well, Obama can always feel better knowing that any criticism of him is an act of "straight up" racism.



That is why I support the President, but oppose his policies.

Hey what the Hell, that disingenuous "I support the troops" crap worked for The Left.
8.8.2009 1:43am
Careless:

"Survival rates for cancer are much lower" is simply false, with respect to Canada. Survival rates for some cancers are higher, some are lower, and most differences in either direction are not statistically significant in meta-analyses that aggregate the many published studies.

you do understand that arguing that the country with the highest survival rate for cancer doesn't have the highest survival rate for cancer because you claim one or more cancers have higher survival rates elsewhere makes you look like a twit, right?
8.8.2009 1:53am
freshlegacy (mail):
Splunge said,


Obama's biggest political problem right now is that there's no higher political office for which he could be running, so that he's forced into the degrading and icky business of governing, which bores him utterly.


I think this is absolutely correct. Not to mention that upon ascension he had almost no experience with the business of governing or managing.

And this more than just his "political problem right now." I would think it is going to be a growing and festering problem that dogs his presidency. There is no higher office to which he can escape.

January 20, 2009 was Barack Obama's Peter Principle moment.
8.8.2009 1:59am
Ed Bradford (mail) (www):
My biggest complaint about HR3200 is that it creates a giant new insurance company whose funding will be based on a pay as you go scheme. We all know pay as you go is what got SS into the unsustainable position it currently occupies and the same goes for Medicare. HR3200 talks long about insurance and even about home vistitation details, but does not improve health care or health care delivery. It's simply a bad bill. Those who
authored it don't understand what the "health care" problem is.
8.8.2009 3:03am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
Here's a video of a doctor, who calls himself a Democrat, yelled at by his Representative when he asks, "WHAT ABOUT MASSACHUSETTS?"
8.8.2009 3:52am
Leo Marvin (mail):
Borris:

Well, Obama can always feel better knowing that any criticism of him is an act of "straight up" racism.

Gee, Borris, how come you never mentioned that before? (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7).

Give it a break already. Right wing hacks everywhere are cringing in embarrassment.
8.8.2009 10:37pm
shawn-non-anonymous:
Two of my neighbors went to the Tampa event separately. I had a chance to speak with both of them and ask them what conclusions they drew from the experience. Both of them, separately mind you, mentioned that veterans and the elderly who are likely to already use government-subsidized health care benefits were some of the loudest against the new health care plan. To my neighbors, some of the anger against the new plan seems to be of the sort where people are afraid they will lose part of all of their existing entitlement.

If their observations have some truth to them, this could be the biggest problem the plan faces.

NPR mentioned yesterday on their piece regarding Canadian healthcare that the US ranks lower (worse) in child mortality rates compared to Canada and other Western countries. Apparently, The UN and the CIA both agree.

Careless didn't mention where he/she got the statistics to show that US cancer survival is the best. A Google search got me multiple articles all quoting from a single study done in the 90s by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In that study "the researchers compared the five-year survival rates for breast, colon, rectal and prostate cancer." US News and World Report has their article on it. According to the study as reported by USNWR, the US has the highest in only two of the four, with Japan and France ranking "best" too. The study also found differences in US care based on race and location.

While I have yet to take a position on the health care plans being debated, I do not think chest-thumping about how the US is better in two kinds of cancer is convincing that our current system works. I'm more concerned about the wide variety of care that appears to vary based on wealth that is reported in the above cancer study. Long wait times are a common charge against the Canadian system but US HMO specialist denial rates or the wait incurred in fighting your HMO for access to specialists is not mentioned to balance the Canadian data. If you simply don't attempt to get care because you know you have no insurance and cannot afford it, that's a pretty long "wait". My insurance won't pay for a colonoscopy for another 6 years despite the fact that my dad had pre-cancerous polyps discovered at nearly my current age. Do I pay for that out of pocket or do I wait? How is that different than waiting in Canada or similar national insurance plans?

I am not convinced the US system is better than other Western countries. I see no evidence of it. What I see is that if you are lucky enough to have full insurance in the US or qualify for Medicare or the VA, you do fairly well. If you are unable to get good or any coverage, you don't do so well. In Canada, at least, everyone is covered.
8.10.2009 1:50pm

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