Health Reform: The president predicts "scare tactics and fear-mongering that (have) worked in the past," warnings of "socialized medicine," "rationed care" and bureaucratic control. Real fears deserve mongering.
His teleprompter locked and loaded, President Obama has set off on a full-bore health care offensive that will lead to socialized medicine if the American people acquiesce. One of his chief tactics in what is no less than a war is to claim that those who say this are liars.
In his first big volley of the conflict, the president's lengthy address to the American Medical Association warned of "fear tactics to paint any effort to achieve reform as an attempt to, yes, socialize medicine." Scaremongers will "give warnings about socialized medicine and government takeovers, long lines and rationed care, decisions made by bureaucrats and not doctors."
In describing the nightmares himself, he has launched a pre-emptive strike against the 2009 versions of the anti-HillaryCare Harry and Louise commercials of 15 years ago.
The president twice promised upheaval in U.S. health care — a system Americans know, for all its flaws, to be the finest in the world. "If you like your doctor," he assured, "you will be able to keep your doctor, period." Same with your current health plan.
This is like telling a Dutchman living below sea level that once we remove the dikes, "if you like your home, you'll be able to keep your home, period." The private health care industry will drown if forced to compete with what is termed "a public option."
This is not right-wing propaganda. The Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm with a nearly 40-year reputation for integrity, warns that a government-run alternative plan with significantly lower premiums will devastate the private health insurance industry, taking away tens of millions of their customers.
The president insists a governmental alternative will "inject competition into the health care market ... so that we can force waste out of the system and keep the insurance companies honest."
According to the president, "the public option is not your enemy; it is your friend." And the notion that "a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system" is an "illegitimate concern," he claims. But to borrow from the president's charges against the "fear mongers," he is "either trying to mislead you or doesn't have his facts straight."
Of course a government health scheme fixed up with artificially low premiums competing directly against private plans will be a Trojan horse leading to single payer. What industry could possibly survive the loss of tens of millions of customers? (And with no Uncle Sam bailout in the offing.)