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Change we don’t need

Understanding the ramifications of Barack Obama’s proposed health care reform is critical for all Americans regardless of their age and health.

The decisions being made by our government in the coming weeks and months are going to have a significant impact on the future of our country in many respects. The price and quality of health care, taxes and the economy are all going to be impacted greatly by this potential reform. It is for those reasons that I find it necessary to make sure everyone understands the seriousness of the potential disaster that is at hand if Obama and his liberal counterparts get their way.

Before Obama was elected president, he ran an ad saying his health care reform was in the middle of two extremes. These two extremes were John McCain’s proposals and “government-run health care and higher taxes.” After making some general points, the ad concluded with the statement, “common sense for the change we need.”

Unfortunately it seems as though conservatives are the only ones around with any actual common sense these days.

As I and many others have previously discussed, the country simply does not have the $900 billion required by Obama to pay for his health care reform. Although Obama has stated, “reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan,” it has become clearer over the past week how this bill will actually be paid for.

As it turns out, waste and inefficiency are not going to be paying for most of this plan. The reform, as it currently stands, has proposals that include cutting spending on Medicare and Medicaid by approximately $500 billion over the next 10 years. Those cuts are an open example of health care rationing. The government is deciding to take these funds away from deserving seniors and focusing it on people who are younger and currently uninsured.

Liberals apparently don’t like this point being brought up though. Obama’s administration recently initiated a probe that is investigating Humana – a major insurance company – for reaching out to its clients by mail to inform them of concerns they have about the proposed spending cuts in the reform.

The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered all Medicare Advantage participants like Humana to, “immediately discontinue all such mailings” as well as, according to a report, “remove any such material from their web sites.”

This is appalling and hypocritical of our government. It is appalling because it is obviously an attempt to stifle free speech. It very much looks like government is trying to prevent any information that is not helpful for getting reform passed from getting out. In addition to this, it is also hypocritical. It is hypocritical because government has done nothing to other organizations that have advertised positively for the reform bill. They are singling out only those that disagree with liberal politics. The government is sending the message to everyone that if you go against their policies, you will have to answer for it. This practice is just good old-fashioned school yard bullying on a political level and it certainly reminds me more of big government dictatorship than democracy.

The rest of this bill is going to be paid for with increased taxes, which also happened to be considered “extreme” in Obama’s ad during his campaign, and health care rationing.

It infuriates me to hear liberals say there is nothing in the bill that states there will be health care rationing because rationing doesn’t have to be literally written into the bill for it to result from the bill.

There is a very simple “common sense” argument that should make it clear to everyone that health care rationing will inevitably be one of the bill’s results. That is, if 30 million new people are introduced into the health care system while the supply of doctors, hospitals, nurses, etc. remain constant, the demand for health care will increase. Anyone who understands the concept of supply and demand knows that when demand goes up and supply remains the same prices go up. That is just how it works.

In order to combat these rising costs, health care rationing will inevitably have to occur. It is the only way to prevent health care costs from skyrocketing. If you like this proposal I hope you also like federal bureaucrats or private companies determining whether or not the medications or surgery you want is cost effective because if it isn’t you will not be receiving it.

The fact that Medicare and Medicaid are going to be cut by $500 billion over the next 10 years in this current health care reform plan is indisputable. Taxes on health care premiums will go up under this plan despite Obama promising everyone during the campaign that no taxes would be raised. The fact that health care rationing will inevitably occur by shocking the system by adding 30 million new people is also simply common sense. Unfortunately for liberals though, it’s just common sense for Americans to oppose this change we don’t need.

Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist.  He can be reached at amperry@student.umass.edu.

Comments
12 Responses to “Change we don’t need”
  1. Chris T. says:

    “The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered all Medicare Advantage participants like Humana to, “immediately discontinue all such mailings” as well as, according to a report, “remove any such material from their web sites.””

    Why should the government subsidize a private company that makes political statements, either for or against its policies? That’s called propaganda, Alex.

  2. “In order to combat these rising costs, health care rationing will inevitably have to occur. It is the only way to prevent health care costs from skyrocketing. If you like this proposal I hope you also like federal bureaucrats or private companies determining whether or not the medications or surgery you want is cost effective because if it isn’t you will not be receiving it.”

    Once again, you’re citing the “health care rationing” scare tactic as a reason for opposing Obama’s health care reforms, while ignoring that the same exact thing is going on now.

    Yes, you are a hypocrite if you attack one, but support the other. We should be trying to move beyond the profit motive for everyone when it comes to health care, and ensuring everyone gets the care they need.

    If you cite exhibit A as a reason to discount plan Y, but support plan Z despite the fact that exhibit A exists in it as well, you are being intellectually dishonest.

    If there’s a risk of “rationing” on either side – the hypothetical, under Obama or the very real under private insurance companies, then we need to put a stop to rationing and excuses for it from whatever system we support. Otherwise, you don’t get to play that card.

  3. Robert Davis says:

    I was less than amazed that you used your very last line of the article to clarify the opening paragraphs. You write that “Unfortunately for liberals though, it’s just common sense for Americans to oppose this change we don’t need.” Finally you straight out admits it.

  4. Robert Davis says:

    that you don’t consider liberals to be americans

  5. Alex Perry says:

    I believe Liberals are Americans. What i dont believe is Liberals know what is best for this country. I disagree with them on many issues and i believe my reasons for doing so are concrete and in many cases are “common sense,” as i have said. In that sentence you quoted me in, im saying its unfortunate for liberals because they truly believe what they are doing is best for the country, but they dont have the support of the American public because the American public can see their plan is not going to better health care in this country.

    Ultimately i feel there is a lot of corruption in government in both parties and i dont want more government expansion. I think government officials have consistently failed us badly enough that we shouldn’t even be considering handing the health care system to them also.

    Michael Foley, there is no health care rationing going on in this country right now. You may think there is but there isn’t. I understand your argument would probably be “people who can’t afford it” but consider this:

    1. Right now there are 45 to 50 million Americans without health insurance. Obama promised he would cover that number during the campaign. In his last speech he said he was only now going to cover approximately 30M in his plan. This is because that 45-50M number is inaccurate upon further review.

    2. Approximately 10M of the 45-50M are illegal immigrants and Obama knows the American public doesn’t want to pay for their care.

    3. Currently everyone is entitled to emergency health care- usually for free- including illegals.

    4. 15 Million people included in the 50M of “uninsured” are eligible for Medicaid but haven’t yet applied because they are not sick and don’t need the care.

    5. 15 Million adults whose children are eligible for free insurance and 10 million childless adults make up this total group.

    I am not worried about the illegal immigrants and I certainly don’t want weaker care because they need access. I am not worried about the 15 million people who are eligible for Medicaid but haven’t bothered to sign up. I am somewhat concerned 15M adults have children who are eligible for free insurance but don’t have it because they don’t want to go to the doctor but that’s just how it goes.

    The 10 million childless adults are a concern but you have to consider that many of these people are younger and probably could get care but just choose not to.

    That all having been said, I think the health care system as it currently stands is weaker then it should be. America spends the most money per capita on health care in the world and our health care system is still not effectively covering everyone and is becoming too expensive for average Americans to afford while still chasing after the American dream.

    I agree with the president that something needs to be done but I don’t agree with what liberals are proposing. I think market based solutions can be effective in bringing costs down and those solutions wouldn’t cost tax payers anything.

    Cutting costs is the key to health care reform. Not overhauling the system to cover a few million people. If you bring the costs down, those few million people will still benefit because they would then be able to afford the care anyhow.

    Rack me.

  6. Chris T. says:

    Are columnists really allowed to debate in public like that? Is the Daily Collegian a newspaper or is it a blog?

  7. Good question, Chris T. We don’t think a newspaper ought to hide behind any ivory tower notions of staying out of the discourse after a piece is written.

    So reporters are encouraged to clarify confusion or offer follow-ups in the comments, and columnists are encouraged to defend their points, albeit respectfully.

    Feel free to email me at spsulliv [at] dailycollegian [dot] com if you have any other questions about this policy.

    /S.P. Sullivan, managing editor

  8. Ed says:

    The question I have Sean is the extent to which talkbacks should be anonymous – or can be in a digital fingerprinted world.

    Remember that the Federalist Papers were printed anonymously, we know who did it now, but I don’t think everyone did then. And these talkbacks aren’t just local, my personal security software was starting to pick up some of my comments traveling over the news wire.

    For a journalist it is a good thing for everything you write to be attributed, I am not so sure for other professions. And it is a thicket that society hasn’t yet quite resolved.

  9. Good question, Ed. We have a tip form [click here] for anonymous tips. The way I see it, we have no interest in publishing information we can’t verify unless someone else is willing to attach their name to it, and certainly don’t have any obligation to publish unverifiable, unattributed info in our comments.

    We do, however, respect that not everyone wants to put their name on information that might be useful to the community, so we set up the tip form so we can independently verify that kind of stuff.

  10. Robert Davis says:

    Well, I am going to respond to the article in general, because from what you just posted above, I found none of it in your article. I will write instead what I found inside your article. This is directed more towards we the readers, and not to Alex, but he is free to consider what I have to say.

    Alex Perry begins his article “Change We Don’t Need”1 with the notion that “understanding Barack Obama’s healthcare proposal is critical for all Americans regardless of age and health. In his opening statements, Perry emphasizes his views by using “big” phrases such as “significant impact” and “impact greatly”. Sadly it is the last line of the second paragraph that Perry’s credibility as an honest political educator is lost. He states that,

    “It is for those reasons that I find it necessary to make sure everyone understands the seriousness of the potential disaster that is at hand if Obama and his liberal counterparts get their way.”

    In one fell swoop, Perry has created a line between his group, and “their” group (Liberals). The last two words of this sentence make it difficult to understand who exactly Perry is referring to when he claims that his audience is “everyone”, and I will refer to this question as I sift through the article.

    Paragraph four is a single sentence which is responding to one of Obama’s election advertisements which said “Common sense for the change we need.” How does Perry respond to “everyone”; young, old, sick, healthy? Like so, “Unfortunately it seems as though conservatives are the only ones around with any actual common sense these days.” Already I can’t help but refer back to that opening paragraph and ask who “everyone” truly refers to, with his use of terms such as “liberal counterparts” in the derogatory, and then as idiots in the previously quoted line. Maybe I lack the common sense to understand his message, but let’s move on.

    After insulting the intelligence of a large percentage of the Collegian circulation (his physical audience), Perry attempts to add to his own credibility right off the bat in paragraph five where he states that “As I and many others have previously discussed, the country simply does not have the $900 billion required by Obama to pay for his health care reform.” Who is “I and many others”? Why should we trust them? For all we know, it’s just Perry, his mother, and his cat Wonkers. With his inability to use names and quotes directly, Alex protects himself from a direct rebuttal, but in doing so offers no reason for any reader to take him seriously.

    Towards the second half of the article, Perry gives his evidence on why Obama’s plan is a “potential disaster”. In paragraph six he writes that “the reform as it currently stands, has proposals that include cutting spending on Medicare and Medicaid by approx. $500 billion over the next 10 years. These cuts are an open example of health care rationing. The government is deciding to take funds away from deserving seniors and focus it on the people who are currently young and uninsured.”

    While I am still waiting for this “open example” which never quite makes it to the page, I instead am inundated with a stream of rhetoric directed at an ever shrinking definition of “everyone” whom at this point appears to mean the elderly, and those with common sense (Conservatives).

    He goes on to claim that our government is “appalling and hypocritical” because it has stopped an Insurance company (Humana)[2] from distributing information which some officials believe might be false, to elderly people receiving Medicare and Medicaid. To Perry this is “an attempt to stifle free speech.” What he fails to mention is that the letters are stopped during the investigation on whether the government contract which Humana has, entitled it to use Medicare and Medicaid enrollee information lists to send out this letter in an attempt to halt any regulation on the insurance business. Plus the investigation was on the behest of a single Senator, Max Baucus (D- Montana), hardly the full-government “old-fashion school yard bullying on a political level” which Perry calls it.

    He says that “They are singling out those that disagree with liberal policies.” I can’t help but find the irony in this accusation after reading his article that has explicitly singled out liberals as a target to his scathing copy/pasting of the conservative party lines without any facts or evidence to support his arguments. Perry closes this appalling paragraph with a line screaming rhetoric and ignorance on his own behalf. And I quote, “It (government bullying) certainly reminds me more of big government dictatorship than democracy.” What, if I am allowed to ask, is a “big government dictatorship?” By definition a dictatorship is a very small government, generally of a single person being in charge. In this, Perry tries to propose the false idea that Obama is a dictator, and in doing so, makes his arguments even less appealing because his emotionally biased language counteracts the very ideas he wants to get across.

    Continuing his attack, Perry tells us that “the rest of the bill is going to be paid for with increased taxes.” This is interesting. Where did he get this information? As with every other “fact” he’s stated, Perry gives no supporting evidence or source of any kind. What is also odd is how Perry has moved from “proposed health care reform” in the first line to “this bill” in the tenth paragraph. The bill hasn’t started to exist some time between the first and tenth paragraph, and in changing his wording, he is misleading to his audience.

    As might not be entirely surprising, Perry uses the next paragraph to vent his anger, and at the same time, to discredit himself. He states, “It infuriates me to hear liberals say there is nothing in the bill that states there will be health care rationing because rationing doesn’t have to be literally written into the bill for it to result from the bill.” This may be true, but as Perry admits, rationing isn’t literally in the bill. How is it then, that this proposal is “an open example of health care rationing” as he writes in paragraph six? Open implies clear, straightforward language. This is anything but.

    For his next wave of attack, Alex takes an issue already in existence, the scarcity of family practitioners and nurses. He states that it is “common sense” that if 30 million people are added into the system, it will take longer to see the doctor since there won’t be any increase in doctors/medical professionals. While Perry doesn’t bother us with useless information such as how and if he knows there are no programs in the works to increase the number of physicians, nor why this problem doesn’t need to be fixed in general with the growing U.S. population[3], he does leave us with a disturbing glimpse of his own views. From his argument, I can only understand that Perry feels that none of the 30 million uninsured should have health insurance, ever. Even if they all woke up tomorrow and could afford it, Perry would say no, because there aren’t enough doctors and nurses for the people who already have insurance. Maybe this isn’t what Perry meant, but it’s the only argument his own words imply.

    Perry finally concludes his anti-liberal tirade much in the same way he began. He lets us know “that Medicare and Medicaid are going to be cut by $500 billion in Obama’s plan and that this is indisputable.” He is of course omitting the terms of this cut which he himself made reference to in paragraph five that “$500 billion will not be taken from those who receive services but by ‘reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid’.” Perry continues to list his vision of the future: “Taxes will go up”, “health care rationing will inevitably occur.” Again, and forgive me if I sound like a broken record, again we receive no facts, and no sources beyond “Perry and many others”.

    In an odd twist, Perry uses the very last line of his article to clarify the opening paragraphs. He writes that “Unfortunately for liberals though, it’s just common sense for Americans to oppose this change we don’t need.” Finally he straight out admits it. Alex Perry doesn’t consider liberals to be Americans. With this information it makes it clear that the audience he is trying to reach is conservatives ( and possibly moderates being actual Americans). With power to strip citizenship from those with whom he disagrees, Perry uses this ability in his attempt to garner credibility when he tells those 30 million uninsured (Americans?) that helping them is a change that “we” don’t need.

    Resources:

    1) Alex Perry, “Change We Don’t Need”: http://massdailycollegian.com/2009/09/27/change-we-don%E2%80%99t-need/

    2) Humana Letter Article:
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/164893.php

    3) United States Population Growth, US Census:
    http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/natproj.html

  11. John says:

    Here’s are two facts: The United States is the only wealthy country that doesn’t provide some sort of socialized or universal health care to its citizens. The United States also outspends (as a strict dollar measurement per capita, and as a percentage of GDP) all other industrialized nations when it comes to health care. How much? France, which comes in at #2 in health care spending, spends 11% of their GDP on health care compared to America’s whopping 16%. Per capita, France spends $4763 (2007 dollars) per annum compared to America’s $7290.

    For those who are curious, France provides basic universal health care to all its citizens regardless of income or employment. In fact, France was recently rated by the WHO has having the best health care in the world. So how exactly is universal health care going to hurt us?

    Sources:

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/46/33/38979719.pdf

    http://www.who.int/whr/2000/media_centre/press_release/en/

  12. Stephen says:

    “As it turns out, waste and inefficiency are not going to be paying for most of this plan. The reform, as it currently stands, has proposals that include cutting spending on Medicare and Medicaid by approximately $500 billion over the next 10 years. Those cuts are an open example of health care rationing. The government is deciding to take these funds away from deserving seniors and focusing it on people who are younger and currently uninsured.”

    Wow. Where should I begin?

    1. A budget involves prioritizing and rationing different programs/streams of revenue…but nice observation.

    2. Our current system also rations health care: It rations it only to seniors and those who qualify for medicaid.

    You should probably spend more time researching/editing your articles rather than just spewing out whatever rhetoric is in your head at any given time.

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