posted on September 10, 2009 17:14
Watching President Obama give a speech is sort of like it used to be watching Reggie Jackson play baseball – I’m no Yankees fan but at times watching Reggie (like in the World Series game when he hit three homeruns) could be pretty amazing.
Plus, President Obama has guts, which is about the rarest trait in any politician.
Last night he took his foes head on, right down to the folks who’re saying he means to set up death panels to kill old people (that charge always did sound kind of shaky).
That said, on the negative side of the Obama equation, the President is 100% sold, convinced, blind-in-love with government. To his way of thinking government beats Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield and Julia Roberts hands down. The more of it the better.
When it comes to health care he’s got a case – sort of. But when it comes to Uncle Sam owning GM, Citibank and AIG his blind love of government has gotten him onto shaky ground and he’s sowed the seeds for a lot of mischief.
The reason he’s got a case on health care – sort of – is the peculiar moral conflict that arises between the natural workings of the free market and caring for sick people. That conflict can be explained pretty simply: A sick person’s goal is the most care and get well. That is not necessarily the insurance company’s goal.
There are plenty of examples of this conflict in action: I mentioned one in an earlier blog about a doctor who wanted to give a patient an EKG (as a precaution) before an operation but the Insurance Company said no, it wasn’t going to pay for an EKG for a 45 year old with no history of heart trouble. That same kind of moral glitch doesn’t occur when it comes to buying an automobile or shopping for CD’s at Wall Mart.
Beyond that moral question there’s also a practical problem: The rub between ‘Individual Rates’ and ‘Community Rates.’
‘Individual Rates’ mean charging, say, a 25 year old, a rate for his health insurance that fits his class (which is, say, people under 30).
‘Community Rates’ mean charging everyone in a community, whether they’re eighteen and healthy or sixty and ill the same rate.
Unregulated, the free market just naturally gravitates toward individual rates – but that means a lot of 60 year olds with high blood pressure are going to pay big insurance bills (unless they happen to work for Congress).
Anyhow, last night, Obama pulled a Reggie Jackson. He got up off the mat and back into the health care ring and went right to punching and dancing. The rest of this fight could turn out to be pretty simple.
A lot of people are happy with their health insurance so the Insurance Companies are telling them, If Obama’s plan passes – you get screwed.
And Obama’s telling them, Under my plan you’ve got nothing to worry about. You get to keep what you have and some other folks are going to get the help they need.
Now, just naturally, folks are averse to taking any risks at all themselves – especially if all the benefits go to the other fellow. So Obama’s got the harder case to sell.
But, then again, he’s the Reggie Jackson of salesmen.
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