AP fact-checks Obama speech; Update: Reason does better

posted at 12:17 pm on September 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, Barack Obama told the nation that he was tired of dishonest debate and “scare tactics,” but how honest was Obama himself in last night’s speech?  The Associated Press fact-checks Obama and finds him … wanting.  For a man eager to paint his opposition as liars, Obama told a couple of whoppers himself in front of the joint session of Congress:

OBAMA: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period.”

THE FACTS: Though there’s no final plan yet, the White House and congressional Democrats already have shown they’re ready to skirt the no-new-deficits pledge.

House Democrats offered a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would add $220 billion to the deficit over 10 years. But Democrats and Obama administration officials claimed the bill actually was deficit-neutral. They said they simply didn’t have to count $245 billion of it — the cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts. …

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf had this to say in July: “We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.”

In fact, none of the proposals that have come from Congress thus far have been scored deficit neutral by any credible analytical group.  Obama tried arguing again last night that preventive medicine would save the system money, and therefore would render the system deficit neutral or even cost-effective in the long run.  Obama has yet to explain the scope of the “long run” argument, and in any event, the AP notes that the CBO has already blown the whistle on this argument, too:

THE FACTS: Studies have shown that much preventive care — particularly tests like the ones Obama mentions — actually costs money instead of saving it. That’s because detecting acute diseases like breast cancer in their early stages involves testing many people who would never end up developing the disease. The costs of a large number of tests, even if they’re relatively cheap, will outweigh the costs of caring for the minority of people who would have ended up getting sick without the testing.

The Congressional Budget Office wrote in August: “The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall.”

I wrote a column regarding this finding a month ago today.  This has been known for several weeks, explained thoroughly by the CBO in its letter, based on well-known, peer-reviewed studies.  Cost savings from a massive application of preventive medicine is a myth — or in Obama’s parlance, a lie.  Yet Obama insists on telling it over and over again to get people to believe that he can save money by spending more of it.

The AP misses a couple of whoppers, too.  For instance, while they scold Obama for reversing himself on individual mandates, they let this pass without challenge in their article:

“To force people to get health insurance, you’ve got to have a very harsh penalty,” he said in a February 2008 debate.

Now, he says, “individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance.”

This analogy is false for a few reasons.  States only require people to carry auto insurance if they drive on public roads.  It is a prerequisite of accessing a state-run system, not a mandate disconnected from any government-provided service.  Also, the mandate for auto insurance in most states is for liability insurance — insurance that pays for the damage done to other people, not to one’s self.  It’s to make sure that people who suffer damages from auto accidents not their fault can recover compensation for them.

They really miss the boat on illegal immigration, though:

OBAMA: “The reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.” One congressman, South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson, shouted “You lie!” from his seat in the House chamber when Obama made this assertion. Wilson later apologized.

THE FACTS: The facts back up Obama. The House version of the health care bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal immigrants get health care coverage. Illegal immigrants could buy private health insurance, as many do now, but wouldn’t get tax subsidies to help them. Still, Republicans say there are not sufficient citizenship verification requirements to ensure illegal immigrants are excluded from benefits they are not due.

Actually, the facts do not back up Obama, as the Congressional Research Service noted in its analysis of HR3200.  The CRS is not run by Republicans, but is the nonpartisan research office that reports to Congress.  Illegal aliens in the US who meet the “substantial presence” test would be required to participate in the health-care “exchanges” and would have access therefore to the subsidies and the public option, if it exists in the final form of the bill (page 4):

Under H.R. 3200, all legal permanent residents (LPRs),23 nonimmigrants, and unauthorized aliens who meet the substantial presence test (defined above) would be required to obtain health insurance. Noncitizens meeting the definition of nonresident aliens (e.g., temporary visitors, temporary workers in the United States for less than 183 days in the year) would not be required to obtain health insurance. Notably, the IRC does not contain special rules for individuals who are in the United States without authorization (i.e., illegal or unauthorized aliens). Instead, the IRC treats these individuals in the same manner as other foreign nationals—an unauthorized individual who has been in the United States long enough to qualify under the substantial presence test is classified as a resident alien; otherwise, the individual is classified as a nonresident alien. Thus, it would appear that unauthorized aliens who meet the substantial presence test would be required under H.R. 3200 to have health insurance.

Since the CRS analysis has been public for almost two weeks, the AP reporters should have familiarized themselves with it. The bill offered by the House, which Obama seems to have re-embraced last night, would require illegal aliens in the country for more than six months to obtain health insurance through the exchanges, and make them eligible for the public option. Furthermore, when Republicans attempted to close that loophole with an amendment, Democrats shot it down.

If Obama really wants to make a reputation for himself as a mythbuster, he should start with himself.

Update: I don’t think the AP did a bad job here, but Reason’s Matt Welch does much better — and focuses on the man doing the proposing and the disposing:

It is telling that so many people who claim to be speaking on the side of Truth, Justice, and the American Way of Journalism have consistently focused their outrage-o-meters at individual townhall attendees, political broadcast entertainers, and the lesser lights of a lame (if resurgent-by-default) opposition party, while letting walk nearly fact-check-free the non-irrelevant occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If calling out lies and misrepresentations about a significant policy proposal is such pressing journalistic business—and it should be!—you’d think the watchdogs might start with the guy doing the proposing.

The lies last night began in Obama’s opening paragraph. “When I spoke here last winter,” he began, “credit was frozen. And our financial system was on the verge of collapse.” In fact, Obama spoke on Feb. 24, at least six weeks after credit markets began to thaw, and one week after he proclaimed that the passage of his $787 billion stimulus marked “the beginning of the end, the beginning of what we need to do to create jobs for Americans.” Obama’s speech that day wasn’t about staving off a collapse, it was about cleaning up the mess and tackling long-ignored issues. Such as health care.

It’s never encouraging when a politician who desperately needs to convince skeptical Americans of his fiscal sobriety starts off by slurring his words. As you might then infer, Obama was just warming up. “Insurance companies,” the president announced, “will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies,” in part because such prevention “saves money.” Looks like someone forgot to tell the Congressional Budget Office, or other non-White House sources that have analyzed the cost-benefit of prevention.

Again and again last night, the president’s numbers didn’t add up. “There may be those—particularly the young and healthy—who still want to take the risk and go without coverage,” he warned, in a passage defending compulsory insurance. “The problem is, such irresponsible behavior costs all the rest of us money. If there are affordable options and people still don’t sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for those people’s expensive emergency room visits.” No, it means that, on balance, the healthy young don’t pay for the unhealthy old. The whole point of forcing vigorous youth to buy insurance is using their cash and good actuarials to bring down the costs of covering the less fortunate.

Be sure to read it all.


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whereas, my actions do no harm to you.

–If private insurance can still refuse or charge significantly higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, then your actions will do me and my family significant harm, Jvette.

–And the costs of illegals are alrady included in the system, Jvette.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Mississippi Mom, it was the senior GOP member of a House Committee that initially intervened for the woman with breast cancer:

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, tonight lauded President Barack Obama for citing his constituent, Robin Beaton – a breast cancer survivor from Waxahachie whose insurance company used a preexisting acne condition to drop her coverage. Barton pressured the insurer to back off last year, and showcased her plight at a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing in June.

http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/09/rep-joe-barton-lauds-obama-for.html.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:08 PM

xler8bmw on September 10, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Shalifa Williamson received almost $39,000 from the DNC over a 6-week period around the time of the convention in Denver.

It turns out they sent the longer one to Hawaii, which specifically requires certification of Constitutional eligibility. If you’re going to send it once why not just send that to everybody? Less counts of perjury?

Someone at Free Republic was wondering why Nancy Pelosi would have signed any of this anyway. Her part in certifying eligibility wouldn’t have come in until there was a president-elect, and she has no role specifically in the DNC, as far as I know.

justincase on September 10, 2009 at 3:12 PM

–If private insurance can still refuse or charge significantly higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, then your actions will do me and my family significant harm, Jvette.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Forcing them to cover someone who waited until they were diagnosed with cancer at the same rates as they cover someone like me (27, healthy), will significantly raise everyone’s rates, as private insurers still have to make a profit.

The harm being done is far more on your side.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 3:18 PM

whereas, my actions do no harm to you.

–If private insurance can still refuse or charge significantly higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, then your actions will do me and my family significant harm, Jvette.

–And the costs of illegals are alrady included in the system, Jvette.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:03 PM

The key word here being private. They have no obligation to insure you and you have no obligation to get insurance. There are mechanisms in place to get care for those who have no insurance. As I stated, those are but a small percentage and easily absorbed through costs on those who do have insurance. Just as there is help for those who through no fault of their own need a hand up with food stamps or other safety nets. I can live with that as well, as long as it is timely, targeted and temporary.

But, as we all know, there are those who will abuse the safety net system, i.e. illegals who use the emergency room as primary health care. That figures in the costs, but as I said, illegals being here is a different fight.

My husband while between jobs was diagnosed with lymphocytic lymphoma 25 years ago. He had no insurance but I insisted he see a doctor. We were not married at the time and I was working so I paid out of pocket for his visit. The doctor could not find what was wrong and recommended he be admitted into the hospital for further tests. Long story short….He spent nearly a month in the hospital and underwent 16 months of chemotherapy all without insurance. The state absorbed his costs due to his “indigent status.”

It is a red herring, this cry for the pre-existing condition. If you are a legitimate citizen of this country, you can get care. You are using scare tactics to make your point.

If you really want to help, allow insurance to be an individually held policy which is cafeteria style and follows the individual when he leaves or loses a job.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Mississippi Mom, it was the senior GOP member of a House Committee that initially intervened for the woman with breast cancer:
Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Yeah, I know, all of that is in the official records that I linked to, but of course since he is an evil republican, we have to overlook that act of decency.

It just infuriates me that Obama tells these sob stories, which are obvious scare tactics…here I thought only us right wing nut jobs did that….and the sob stories aren’t even woven out of whole cloth.

MississippiMom on September 10, 2009 at 3:25 PM

justincase on September 10, 2009 at 3:12 PM

I guess Howard Dean appointed Pelosi to chair the National Convention. That’s why she signed.

justincase on September 10, 2009 at 3:25 PM

If you really want to help, allow insurance to be an individually held policy which is cafeteria style and follows the individual when he leaves or loses a job.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 3:20 PM

BINGO!

I truly believe that getting it out of the employer/employee relationship would be part of the answer. If individuals had to compare policies and shop for a plan, it would open up competition and lower prices instantly, especially if the nation as a whole was one big risk pool that we all were part of, rather that state based policies or employer/organizational groupings that we have today.

MississippiMom on September 10, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Forcing them to cover someone who waited until they were diagnosed with cancer at the same rates as they cover someone like me (27, healthy), will significantly raise everyone’s rates, as private insurers still have to make a profit.

The harm being done is far more on your side.

–I have insurance now with my employer. If I am canned or otherwise lose my job, I will be treated as having not been insured if I apply for a private insurance policy.

—————————————

It is a red herring, this cry for the pre-existing condition.

–It is not a red herring. If I lose my job and don’t have insurance, I could lose all the savings that I have if something goes wrong. Right now, the only private insureanc coverage I could get with any sort of condition (even moderately high blood pressure) in Texas would cost $2500 a month through a high risk pool with premiums 200% of what a normal premium would cost.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Shooting fish in a barrel is easy, but it’s still fun.

Constantine343 on September 10, 2009 at 2:20 PM

LOL, let us know when you actually hit one.

Del Dolemonte on September 10, 2009 at 3:37 PM

The money employers spend on collective insurance could then be given as pay to the employees who could then use it, save it or spend it.

The truth is that employer based health insurance was offered as a perk when the liberal congress instituted wage controls after WWII. It was a way around it and it allowed companies to compete for the better workers. Much like most unions, it has outlived its usefulness and needs to be restructured.

Competition is the answer. We already have the S-chip policies, which people choose not to sign up for because of the MINIMAL costs to them. They want government to pay for all the essentials in life as if they are a right, so they will have disposable income to buy nice cars and clothes and TVs and vacations. Don’t believe me? Go to any school where the free lunch covers 3/4 of the students and look at the cars their parents drive, the clothes these kids wear and the cell phones they are all yacking on.

Government run health care or insurance is wrong.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 3:41 PM

–I have insurance now with my employer. If I am canned or otherwise lose my job, I will be treated as having not been insured if I apply for a private insurance policy.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Which is one of the many reasons why it’s nonsense to have health insurance tied to your job.

Still, you will be costing the insurer more, so it’s illogical that your insurance wouldn’t be more expensive.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 3:47 PM

But it is tied to my job and has been for about 40 years.

My family premium at my employer is about $1400/month (that’s both my cost and the employer’s cost). Why should it jump to $2500 or so/month when I change from a group policy through my employer to a private policy?

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:53 PM

I guess anyone to the left of Atilla the Hun nowadays is considered a left wing nut, huh?

–That was directed at Phil.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Actually, anyone who wants to use the power of gov’t to put his hands in my pocket is a left wing nut. Gov’t has never run any program fairly and efficiently, and that ain’t about to change. Gov’t steered it’s regulations to put us in this mess, and I’d still bet my life that the system we have now is far and away better than anything these lib-o-tards are trying to give us.

Phil-351 on September 10, 2009 at 3:53 PM

But it is tied to my job and has been for about 40 years.

So just because it’s been that way for years it should stay that way?

So, wait, that means you don’t support forcing people to buy health insurance?

Why should it jump to $2500 or so/month when I change from a group policy through my employer to a private policy?

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Because apparently you’re expensive to insure and are currently getting a discount that you can’t get on your own (and the second half is something Republicans have talked about changing).

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 3:55 PM

My thinking has done you no harm. What has done you harm is the government, both state and federal, through regulations that have tied health insurance to employment, mandated coverage for conditions which most will never need and stifled competition and the cost of covering illegals(which is also caused by government failing to do its job).

To use your auto insurance comparison….If I drive recklessly and get ticket upon ticket and into accidents at a regular rate, my insurance is going to go up or be canceled altogether. There are insurance companies which will cover me but the costs will be high. I will either have to pay up or not drive.

In the case of someone who is stricken with an illness or condition which is not of their own making and who is not covered by insurance, Americans are a charitable people and are willing to help those with an honest need. What this government wants however is not that. They want control and to force each productive citizen of this country to cover everyone and everything. That is until there are no funds and then rationing begins.

The whole thing is wrong and harmful to the vast majority of people.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 3:59 PM

I do favor forcing people to have insurance, either through employers or themselves.

How could I be getting a discount now? I’m just a regular, fairly old employee.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM

justincase on September 10, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Interesting I did not know about the 39K. And you’re right I asked the same question about Nan signing this as well because she would only have to sign if/when he became president elect. A tangled web it is and may be trying to subvert inquiries! First and foremost i could careless about Hawaii or COLB. He is NOT legal to be prez under constitutional requirements Jus Soli/Jus Sanguinis. His father as was Chester arthur a british subject end of subject!

xler8bmw on September 10, 2009 at 4:02 PM

I do favor forcing people to have insurance, either through employers or themselves.

Even though it seems you’re a bigger drain on health costs than I am?

But at least, “it’s been that way for 40 years” then can’t be a legitimate reason to keep it that.

How could I be getting a discount now? I’m just a regular, fairly old employee.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM

There’s no reason why businesses should have a monopoly on that. Citizens should be able to form their own groups and receive the same discounts.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:04 PM

My family premium at my employer is about $1400/month (that’s both my cost and the employer’s cost). Why should it jump to $2500 or so/month when I change from a group policy through my employer to a private policy?

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:53 PM

One reason is that you have to offset the costs of covering things which you will never need but are mandated by government regulations.

Another reason is because the employer is buying a large policy and paying a large amount of money so they get a discount. In nearly everything, if you buy more you save more. It’s why businesses buying fleets of cars get a better price than you can buying it as an individual. Or why you get a price break at the grocery store when you buy the big package of meat rather than the individual portion.

There are solutions to some of these problems, the government ain’t the solution, it is the problem.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:05 PM

What has done you harm is the government, both state and federal, through regulations that have tied health insurance to employment, mandated coverage for conditions which most will never need and stifled competition and the cost of covering illegals(which is also caused by government failing to do its job).

–I wasn’t around when most of these occurred (and I certainly didn’t vote for these), so don’t blame me for them.

In the case of someone who is stricken with an illness or condition which is not of their own making and who is not covered by insurance, Americans are a charitable people and are willing to help those with an honest need.

–Try telling that to a hospital’s billing department when you receive a $40,000 bill wholly or partially not covered by insurance. You won’t be very successful.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:06 PM

–I wasn’t around when most of these occurred (and I certainly didn’t vote for these), so don’t blame me for them.

No reason you can’t support legislation to change them now.

–Try telling that to a hospital’s billing department when you receive a $40,000 bill wholly or partially not covered by insurance. You won’t be very successful.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Many of those hospitals are already run by charity organizations. Besides, nothing is stopping that person from asking for help. It’s true that Americans often give generously to people like that. They just have to ask.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Esthier, hospitals are run like businesses. If you have funds saved but don’t have insurance, you will pay a large portion of your life’s savings to the hospital if you have a serious problem.

Are you willing to buy 1000 boxes of cookies to help me if I lose my job and get sick?

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:12 PM

My family premium at my employer is about $1400/month (that’s both my cost and the employer’s cost). Why should it jump to $2500 or so/month when I change from a group policy through my employer to a private policy?

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Now, imagine if that $1,400 monthly costs were instead pay for you. And imagine that rather than having a big conglomeration agreeing to covering everything from orthodontics, sex changes, mental health, smoking cessation programs, or in vitro fertilization, you could negotiate for the insurance to cover just a catastrophic illness with a higher deductible for less cost than what you have now. The remaining money could be used for routine care.

My kids are nearly grown. We have had employer provided health insurance for years and years. My kids were not sickly and we seldom visited the doctor, but I had to pay as if we did. When I realize the thousands of dollars paid for this insurance, which was mostly useless to me, I get sick. I could have used that money to save for their college education, or improved my home, or donated more to charity.

The point is, those costs were paid for insurance coverage of all kinds of things I didn’t want or need, rather than me so I didn’t get the choice of what to do with money I earned.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Jvette, most employers now offer as the base plan, or at least one option, a high deductible plan and put some additional amounts in a health reimbursement account to cover some portion of the deductibles. Employees normally pay nothing, or very little, for that sort of plan.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Are you willing to buy 1000 boxes of cookies to help me if I lose my job and get sick?

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:12 PM

I seem to recall a family a few years ago which had a young boy who was sick with leukemia and the insurance had run out. A bone marrow transplant was needed but the costs were more than the family could bear. The mother began to sell bumper stickers that said “KILL FRED” which is the name the family had given to the cancer.

This is the American way. I may not be able to buy 1000 boxes of cookies, but I could probably buy one or two. That is the real collective way to do things, not government force and not the complete take over and control of the industry.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:17 PM

Esthier, hospitals are run like businesses. If you have funds saved but don’t have insurance, you will pay a large portion of your life’s savings to the hospital if you have a serious problem.

I’m more than aware of this, and that should be a person’s choice, just as it is currently a person’s choice to buy a house who payments will eventually double, while its value goes down.

Or even worse, we don’t help people hit with serious legal bills even though we actually have the Constitution to back us up with that one as no one can be denied legal representation.

Why should my legal bills get less public support than my medical bills, especially when I’m actually paying for improved technology with medicine whereas I’m just getting a lawyer’s expertise with the other?

Are you willing to buy 1000 boxes of cookies to help me if I lose my job and get sick?

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:12 PM

I don’t know you, Jimbo, and have no obligation to help you.

If you were my brother though, I’d have already paid off the bills you asked me to, even emptying my life savings if necessary.

If you have no one like me in your life, then you have bigger problems than expensive medical care.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:19 PM

We’ve given money to a church to benefit a friend’s husband who had to go to Mayo clinic several times because of a serious infection in his leg (he was a truck driver, so he also lost his income and his employer screwed up on processing his insurance payments, so he didn’t have insurance).

I’d still rather have an elimination of the pre-existing coverage and a requirement to have insurance, instead of relying on other’s charity. It’s more secure.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Employees normally pay nothing, or very little, for that sort of plan.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Considering that that money could be given directly to the employee, that comment isn’t exactly true. Besides, not all employers offer health insurance. It’s not related to job performance.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Or even worse, we don’t help people hit with serious legal bills even though we actually have the Constitution to back us up with that one as no one can be denied legal representation.

–You have a right to legal representation in some (mostly serious criminal) situations, Esthier. If you can’t afford representation, the state will appoint you a lawyer at no cost to you. That’s different than you having the ability to choose the lawyer you want in all cases and not having to pay for it.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Jvette, most employers now offer as the base plan, or at least one option, a high deductible plan and put some additional amounts in a health reimbursement account to cover some portion of the deductibles. Employees normally pay nothing, or very little, for that sort of plan.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Now, this could be a step in the right direction.

I must admit that I don’t know what the actual costs are for my health insurance. But, let’s use your $1,400 a month. Times that by 12, that’s more than $16,000 a year. How many people actually need that kind of money spent on health care? Now, imagine that I could have used that to pay for routine care, vaccinations, dental cleaning and exams etc… and used the rest to save in a health care account, invest, save for education, bought a new car.

When one thinks about the actual amount, wow, what a difference that would make in lives. No wonder the libs want control of it.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:23 PM

We’ve given money to a church to benefit a friend’s husband who had to go to Mayo clinic several times because of a serious infection in his leg (he was a truck driver, so he also lost his income and his employer screwed up on processing his insurance payments, so he didn’t have insurance).

So you know exactly what we’re talking about.

It’s more secure.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:20 PM

So is prison if that’s all you care about.

Freedom has its price.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:24 PM

My point was that the high deductible plan costs employers significantly less than other plans and that’s why they can put some money into a HRA and charge employees no or minimal monthly premiums.

Several companies I’ve worked for do allow people to opt out of health insurance, but they required that those people show they had other coverage (such as through a spouse).

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:25 PM

And I don’t consider this a significant infringement on my freedom, Esthier.

I do think people are generally underestimating the number of people who stay employed by a company rather than venturing out themselves because of health insurance concerns. If some of the health reforms pass, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some people decide they can now be “free” by working for themselves and starting up a business.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:27 PM

I’d still rather have an elimination of the pre-existing coverage and a requirement to have insurance, instead of relying on other’s charity. It’s more secure.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:20 PM

It won’t be once the government takes control.

Once they tie your medical health to your behavior, they will have all the excuse they need to refuse. It is happening in every country with universal coverage and care. It will happen here.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:28 PM

–You have a right to legal representation in some (mostly serious criminal) situations, Esthier. If you can’t afford representation, the state will appoint you a lawyer at no cost to you. That’s different than you having the ability to choose the lawyer you want in all cases and not having to pay for it.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Exactly my point. I actually have a right to get a lawyer, but I don’t have the right to a MRI.

We’re talking about giving premium health care as though it’s a right even though an actual right, like legal representation, is the lowest form of care.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:28 PM

And I don’t consider this a significant infringement on my freedom, Esthier.

Because this is exactly what you want. You already have insurance and want to force something on other people.

I wouldn’t consider it an infringement on my freedom either if I only wanted a law that would cheapen my bills but increase others’.

If some of the health reforms pass, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some people decide they can now be “free” by working for themselves and starting up a business.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:27 PM

That’s illogical. Under plans like these, the entrepreneur has to insure all employees, thus increasing the cost of starting up a new business.

Besides, wouldn’t it just be easier to allow employees to take their health insurance with them?

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Once they tie your medical health to your behavior, they will have all the excuse they need to refuse.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Exactly.

Oh, you drink soda, alcohol, smoke cigarettes, don’t jog, etc.?

Just because the government doesn’t have to make a profit doesn’t mean it won’t still worry about costs. The worst a private insurance company can do is refuse to cover you. The government can refuse to provide you with medical care.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:34 PM

I do think people are generally underestimating the number of people who stay employed by a company rather than venturing out themselves because of health insurance concerns. If some of the health reforms pass, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some people decide they can now be “free” by working for themselves and starting up a business.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:27 PM

But, they are not forced to make that choice. The predicament is a result of things that can be rectified with some simple reform, but still, if one chooses to remain in a job because they have health care insurance rather than venture out to provide for themselves, they have made a choice.

We actually made that choice. My husband could have moved to another company and made more money, but opted instead for the security of his current job in order to maintain insurance. I didn’t agree to that, but at the time he was the sole bread winner and needed to feel secure.

We have made many such choices throughout the years. We didn’t buy a newer, bigger, more expensive house. We kept our old cars in good working condition to avoid a car payment. We eat at home, haven’t taken expensive vacations and spend little on outside entertainment. Those choice allowed me to be a stay at home mom, gave my kids a very stable and secure home and put us in the position to help fund their college educations.

Liberty, what a great thing. You can reap the rewards of your actions, but you better be prepared to suffer the consequences as well.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Well, Jimbo and Estier, I could do this all day. Actually, I can’t, I have to get ready for work.

This has been an interesting debate and I thank you both for your civility and real responses to the questions raised. Would that we could do this on a national level, something good might come of it.

Hope you both have a great day.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:40 PM

I must admit that I don’t know what the actual costs are for my health insurance. But, let’s use your $1,400 a month. Times that by 12, that’s more than $16,000 a year. How many people actually need that kind of money spent on health care? Now, imagine that I could have used that to pay for routine care, vaccinations, dental cleaning and exams etc… and used the rest to save in a health care account, invest, save for education, bought a new car.

–Your insurance premiums aren’t just for the actual health care you use in a year. They are also to cover the chances that you might get really sick/have a baby/etc. and the probable costs involved in those situations.

If some of the health reforms pass, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some people decide they can now be “free” by working for themselves and starting up a business.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:27 PM
That’s illogical. Under plans like these, the entrepreneur has to insure all employees, thus increasing the cost of starting up a new business.

–Not if it’s a one-person show for a while. And the proposed plans do give an exemption or credit to very small businesses (I don’t remember which).

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:43 PM

You, too, Jvette. Thanks much and it was good talking about these things.

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:43 PM

–Not if it’s a one-person show for a while. And the proposed plans do give an exemption or credit to very small businesses (I don’t remember which).

Jimbo3 on September 10, 2009 at 4:43 PM

They also raise taxes, depending on how much money the small employer is making, as much of it is treated as income.

Hope you both have a great day.

Jvette on September 10, 2009 at 4:40 PM

You too. Have fun at work.

Esthier on September 10, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Cripes, is anyone else getting tired of Jimbo posting State statutes, offering half information and basically doing the “Razzle Dazzle” (See: Chicago the Musical) in a really lame attempt to convince himself that the Federal government forcing people to buy health insurance (whether they want it or not) is JUST LIKE State governments requiring people to have liability insurance in order to drive their cars on the public roads?

No matter how many State statutes you post, they are simply NOT the same thing! There are literally millions of people who have CHOSEN to do without auto insurance and not ONE of them is going to have to pay a $3,800 fine to the IRS for their failure to obey a universal government mandate.

What ever happened to that concept called “freedom”? Our current Federal government seems bound and detremined to remove even the last vestigages of that idea from the citizens of this nation.

Fatal on September 10, 2009 at 2:21 PM

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!

And remember, the state mandates are for LIABILITY INSURANCE: the state doesn’t care whether you buy collision insurance for YOUR car!!!

So the health insurance analog to mandated “auto insurance” would be health insurance which covers ONLY OTHER PEOPLE WHO YOU MADE SICK!!! This kind of insurance would be a whole lot cheaper than health insurance for yourself: no coverage mandates and no pre-existing conditions to pay for: only isolated and highly improbable events.

Jimbo et al are furiously trying to pursue a very weak and irrelevant “straw man” argument.

landlines on September 10, 2009 at 5:47 PM

The top priority should be JOBS, stabilizing the economy and promoting energy independence through new oil/gas/coal/nuclear exploitation, which would help spur jobs and bring in new revenue sources to cut the deficit.

Instead, Obama aand his power-hungry cadre of tunnel-vision imbeciles in the Dem party are plunging the nation further into unmanageable debt, Uber-nanny statism and the inevitable higher taxation onus on everyone, either through higher rates on “the rich”, or by a coy manifold of disguised “user fees”, “adjustments”, “means testing”, etc.

Obama: Pure Lies, or Pure Idiocy?

Or both?

profitsbeard on September 10, 2009 at 6:32 PM

So, illegals won’t be taxed 3800 for not signing up for government health care (since private insurance aliens can afford will never in this world meet the standards)?

Speakup on September 10, 2009 at 6:36 PM

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