Monday, August 10, 2009

In His Own Words....

Or, wanna play a round? (Geesh, can we just get real???)

"I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care plan, universal health care plan. That's what I'd like to see." Barack Obama, AFL-CIO Civil, Human, and Women's Rights Conference, 2003

"...but, I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There's going to be, potentially, some transition process. I can envision a decade out, or 15 years out, or 20 years out."- Barack Obama at the SEIU Health Care Forum, March 24, 2007, after stating his "commitment" was to have universal health care by the end of his 1st term as president.

Flash forward:

"...let me also address an illegitimate concern that is being put forward by those who are claiming a public option is somehow a trojan horse for a single-payer system...." Barack Obama, at the American Medical Association (AMA) in June, 2009

Do you think that Obama is talking about the same single-payer, universal health care system he talked about "transitioning" to in 10 - 20 years, as recently as 2007, before the AMA, when he calls people's concerns about a single-payer system "illegitimate?"

Apparently, Representative Barney Frank took an "illegitimate" posture when he said:

"I think if we get a good public option it could lead to a single-payer and that's (a good public option) the best way to reach single-payer," on July 27, 2009 (you'll see the quote at the same link provided numerous times above).

...and, by the way, continuing on the issue of Health Care: Obama to Jane Sturm: Hey, take a pill:

"...outside the medical criteria for prolonging life for somebody who is elderly, is there any consideration that can be given for a certain spirit, a certain joy of living, quality of life or, is it just a medical cut off at a certain age?" -Jane Sturm's question to Obama, after setting it up with a personal story about her mother, who at the time of receiving a pace maker was a feisty 100 years old. She lived to, or lives today at 105 years of age, with a pace maker.

Obama: "...what we (the government) can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the least we (the government) can let doctors know, and your Mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn't going to help, maybe you're better off not having the surgery but taking the pain killer."

So, the question remains, whether you like the rhetoric used by some or not, do you want the decision about your health care and the health care of your parents and family members to be determined by you and your family or by the government?



Jack said...

The decisions regarding my health care are not determined by me now. My employer determines which insurance company I will go through. The insurance company decides which procedures will and will not be covered, how much I will pay, and if any pre-existing conditions will be counted.

I (and often times my doctor) have no say in my health care. So what's the big deal? Really? Someone else is always in charge.

Jackie Melton said...


Today you have a choice to be covered under the plan offered by your employer or seek other options.

Your employer has the choice to offer coverage or not offer coverage.

Your employer has the choice of what level of coverage he wants to offer his employees.

The point is that today you have choices and your employer has choices. You can purchase the plan that you choose which you think best suits your needs.

No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to be covered under your employer's plan and no one is holding a gun to your employer's head forcing him to offer his employees the kind of coverage you described.

That's the big deal.

Momma Twoop said...

Well said, Jackie. The other choice we all have which will be removed under government-run healthcare is the choice NOT to have insurance coverage.

It may not be a choice you or I or Jack would make, but others do make that choice.

It's also my understand that under the proposed plan, you will no longer be free to switch private carriers or change your coverage.

Do you think people would allow referees and umpires to bet on the games they officiate if they promised to "be good?" Or how about letting team owners serve as referees and umpires? Would people accept those conditions as fair? Of course not because common sense dictates the umps, refs or owners would not only be in an excellent position to influence the outcome of games, but they would have the motive to secretly exert that influence.

I have to wonder why, then, people would allow the government to be in the same position? The government is the regulator and overseer of certain industries and is certainly in a position to influence their operations. By allowing the government to offer health care insurance to such a large degree, it becomes a competitor in an industry it regulates. It's in the perfect position to not only influence the outcome of certain industries' existence, but it would have the motive to secretly exert that influence. And I truly believe it will exert that influence.

Does that make sense?

BTW, I'm giving you a high five all the way from here, Ms. Melton! Excellent blog as always. :)

Love ya!

Jackie Melton said...

"By allowing the government to offer healthcare insurance to such a large degree, it becomes a competitor in an industry it regulates. It's in the perfect position to not only influence the outcome of certain industries' existence, but it would have the motive to secretly exert that influence."

Bingo. Power, money....what's not for a power hungry, money hungry politician to love?*

Thank you for adding greatly to the discussion, Ms. Twoop. :)

Love you too!

*and I'm not saying ALL politicians are power hungry and money hungry.

Ancient_Warrior said...

My contention is that none of this is about US or OUR health care alternatives or quality. My contention is that the entire heath care industry is yet another bubble in our economy that is currently in grave danger of bursting and sending our economy over the cliff. And also that health care 'reform' is merely an attempt by the government to grab BILLIONS more in tax payer dollars, mostly from healthy young Americans who CHOOSE not to buy health care/insurance, so they can pump that 'fiat currency' into the insurance companies, drug companies and hospitals in an attempt to 'bail them out'.

BBrown said...

I'm trying to learn more about this subject so that I can have an informed opinion, but I would like to play devil's advocate and agree with Jack.

DEMS want government healthcare to cover people and reduce costs. REPS and others have a right to question their ability to pull it off, but I think its disingenuous to suggest its a grab for power. They have the power now. Their plan is pissing off a lot of people, including many within the party like blue-dogs who may well be afraid of losing power. It's no power-grab.

I really believe increasing competition is the best way to bring down costs. A public option is one way to do that. Private companies say they can't compete, but I'm skeptical. They're only in danger if the goal of government-run healthcare is to be the only player. I know you said Obama said that was his goal in 2007, but I've never seen him say that. And I don't think that would fly anyway. Heck, the public option idea is already struggling for air.

BBrown said...

I want to be clear. I know what Obama said on the tapes, but I'm not convinced now he's pushing for a single-payer system today. Those who want options should be wary. And I hope DEMS and REPS move slowly on this. They should take their time and get it right or forget it. I just hate to see them do nothing to bring costs down. There are plenty of ligitimate concerns, and I'm glad you are raising some Jackie, but I also hope people don't forget to question why healthcare companies are fighting this tooth and nail.

Jackie Melton said...

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the comment.

Truth be known I posted this entry following a template from busplunge's blog to make a point that everyone can play the partisan game. I was becoming exasperated by some of what I was seeing posted at his site. (But, I still like him, that's possible, you know? ;)

I, as a general rule, don't like getting sucked into partisan debates and am not comfortable debating issues that I don't have proper first hand knowledge about. I really, really don't like taking other people's word for things.

I've been looking into the health care issue more myself, as I'm not really all that up to speed on it either.

I think a distinction should be noted that Obama has dismissed critics concerns about single payer as "illegitimate." Whether I agree or disagree with his health care plan or not is, or should be, immaterial. It is an insult to Americans who have heard his past statements, which show his clear tendency to support universal single-payer health care as having "illegitimate" concerns.

Perhaps he isn't asking for that today, but clearly one of his party members, Representative Frank, believes "a good public option" is a means to that very end. Can you understand why people might be insulted because they do not particularly trust him with health care because of his past DOCUMENTED stances? He has said, not that long ago, "we're" not going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately, is it possible he's changed his game plan and once he gets this bill passed it will still accomplish his original intent to transition toward eliminating employee coverage? I can't answer that, can you? I suspect it is a big part of why there is such distrust.

I didn't think it was proper when Republicans were calling Democrats "unamerican" because they disagreed with Bush policies and I don't think it is proper for officials at the highest political levels to be calling citizens unamerican because they disagree with Obama's policies.

I agree with Twoop in that "allowing the government to offer health care insurance to such a large degree, it becomes a competitor in an industry it regulates. It's in the perfect position to not only influence the outcome of certain industries' existence, but it would have the motive to secretly exert that influence."

Now, I've gotta run. Going to a meeting. -Jackie

Busplunge said...

And I like you too, Jackehammer.

Well, now that the mutual admiration society has had its say, lettuce move on.Org-
inally my posts were not about health care reform but about Palin's irresponsible comment about "Death Panels".

Apparently Palin thought her comments were irresponsible also as she pulled back, very far back, from them.

I never intended my postings to be interpreted as a comment on health care reform.

I did intend them to be interpreted as reflecting my opinion of Sara Palin.

And now, using a tactic that used to make a defunct Springfield blogger mad as a hornet, I'll let you have the last word!

Jackie Melton said...

Lol. I'm THRILLED to get the last word, that means I can call you names and be very, very mean and you can't say anyt...oh, wait, I don't want to call you names and be mean cuz remember? I like you.

Now, seriously, I used the same template you used with your piece on Palin, which happened to relate to the health care issue.

I remembered when Barack Obama was "trapped by his own words too," that's why I chose those words, they just happened to be related to the health care issue, too.

For good measure, I threw in the extra question from Sturm and Obama's answer to show that, number one, he didn't directly answer the question, number two, the answer was subjective enough to give the hearer room to suspect the very thing Palin labeled as a "death panel." It could easily be construed to mean that the government might have refused a pace maker for a 100 year old woman to save "waste" in the system, and instead advised her to take a pain killer and "go softly into that good night."

Obama is good, as are a lot of politicians, at giving non-answers that are indirect to allow for wiggle room. You ever noticed that, bus? :)

And, btw, you can answer that question. I don't really care whether I have the last word or not. Words bring understanding.

Great meeting tonight!

Chestnut expressway said...

What if the Swine flu kills us all ?? For some reason they are tracking each and every case around the world.

They will soon have interactive maps where you can see if the flu is coming down your street...

However, if you ever get stuck on an airplane on a runway for 6 or 7 hours just yell Swine Flu !!!!

The door and ramps will pop right open...

BBrown said...

12 comments, Jackie. Holy cow. You might have touched a nerve.

Listen I understand why consersatives are scared of universal healthcare. The lady who said 'you can't even get Cash for Clunkers right' said it all.

Then again, isn't the problem that the program was just more successful than they ever imagined. The same could happen again with healthcare, but its only a threat if people like the public option. People would have to choose the public option. And if everyone thinks its better, then what are we arguing about?

I only wanted to point out that there is a real need to reign in costs. I'm not sure the public option is the best way, but it does seem to be one way. And you're fine to mistrust, but the motives aren't power.

Jackie Melton said...

Brian wrote:

"but the motives aren't power."

Oh? That's a fact?

BBrown said...

Think about it. They have the power. The best way to stay in power is to be moderate and do nothing controversial. Or to remove term limits. Healthcare is neither.

I have friends that are both REPS and DEMS and have personal leanings both ways. Obama and Frank and the rest want to cover everyone. There can and should be a meaningful debate about whether 1. that should be a function of government and 2. whether the government can deliver what it promises. That meaningful debate never happens if conservatives demonize the motives.

Obama wants to rush through his priorities while he has the power. Being moderate during the campaign was his way to get the power. Healthcare reform is what he is choosing to do with his power. It might not work, and it might be a bad idea, but it is no power grab.

Jackie Melton said...


Coming from someone who, in the past, has been so concerned about remaining or being perceived as being objective and unbiased regarding political issues, I marvel that you would offer up your personal analysis of the issue as some sort of 'proof?' to support your theory concerning what political leaders' motives are and/or are not.

I don't pretend to know what other people's motives are, I follow and analyse, certainly, past and present stances in much the same way you are doing but to suggest that the motives CANNOT be for power? As though I know it to be fact based on my own personal analysis/theory? Uh uh.

I neither know that the motives are for power or not for power but, I certainly have some suspicions and I might suggest that I suspect, or that it is my opinion, that a drive for power is or is not an issue. I would like to think I'd never suggest I know for a fact, based on my own analysis, what other's motives are unless I had actually asked the person to whom I am assigning those motives.

I'm a bit surprised by your response.

One thing I do know is that gaining a foothold of control through the passage of this health care bill would offer more power to the government, because what is power if not the exercise of more control over an ever broadening array of industries? But again, whether that control/power is the DEFINITE motive? I cannot say and, respectfully, neither can you.

You wrote:

"There can and should be a meaningful debate about whether 1. that should be a function of government and 2. whether the government can deliver what it promises. That meaningful debate never happens if conservatives demonize the motives."

I agree. I would also add that, that meaningful debate can never happen if liberals demonize the motives of conservatives who disagree with the reform bill, as it is today, and who might wish to see reform accomplished through different methods.

BBrown said...

Jackie, you should know that I am a fan of yours-- so don't take this exchange personally. I have chosen to disagree with your assessment that people should be concerned about the motives. It doesn't make sense to me. That is my opinion.

So often these partisan debates attack the people on the other side and not the issue. I would often defend Bush when he was president, too. Demonizing, by either side, is a lame game. I believe Bush cared about his country, and I believe Obama does too. Kenya. His country is Kenya. ;]

I would just like to see a debate on the merits of the reform, because I know there are intelligent and caring people on both sides.

Jackie Melton said...

Debate (I prefer discussion) is always good, however, I doubt a discussion of the merits of the reform plan by two people who have admitted a certain amount of ignorance of the topic would make for a good discussion.

It was for that reason I tried to point out what my original intent for this post was in one of my responses to you. The point of this posting was not health care reform but people's words and people's words do matter.

I believe motives matter, too. That may well stem from my Christian perspective as I consider my own motives practically every day because I know that God, according to His Word, examines the motives of my heart. I figure if I beat Him to the punch and try to make sure my motives are pure as I go through life, He'll have less to judge me for later. ;)

I do think some good discussion has resulted from this exchange, whether the post was originally intended to be about health reform or not, and whether engaged, in part, by admittedly ignorant opponents.

Thanks for your participation. It's always welcome, everyone's is!

Have a great day!


Momma Twoop said...

BBrown, it isn’t just “conservatives” who are against universal healthcare. Many Democrats, Libertarians and Independents are against it, too. And “scared” isn’t quite right because people are, more than anything, MAD AS HELL.

The problem with Cash for Clunkers is that, like most everything else government undertakes, it throws money at a perceived problem with very little or no return on the investment. estimates, since people qualify for a mixture of the available rebates, each vehicle will cost taxpayers around $20,000. All this with no proven benefits, the environmental benefit is negligible with $1B only replacing an estimated 22,000 to 86,000 cars out of the 260+ million cars on the road, the touted economic benefit is non-existent, and the top selling vehicles in the program are all foreign except for one, meaning economic benefits will be overseas. The program is nothing more than another massive government giveaway with nothing to show in return aside from a few overpriced shiny new car (and government control of some private computers).

HR 3200 is biased, almost hostile, against employers and individuals using private insurance rather than the public option. It is the same with individuals who choose not to carry insurance, an individual freedom, whether we agree with it or not, in this country, one taken away by universal healthcare. Businesses and individuals with private coverage will have their finances/books audited each year and will be fined heavily if they are determined not to be carrying “acceptable health insurance.” They will then be directed to acquire “acceptable” insurance or face more fines. Who decides what is “acceptable?” The government does, of course! Individuals who cannot prove they have insurance coverage will be heavily fined and enrolled, without permission, in the public option.

If such a grab, or hold, over individual rights and freedom isn’t for power, what’s it for then? It isn’t to save money because it does not save money. We’re constantly being told we must have a government-run option because all other industrialized nations have one. Why must we when we already spend twice the amount per person for healthcare than any of those industrialized nations? Under HR 3200, we will be spending even more and rationing care, as The One himself has implied “In His Own Words…” Why must we turn our right to make our own healthcare decisions over to a “Comparative Effectiveness Board” run by bureaucrats? Do you know how treatment for patients is handled in the UK? All procedures/data are run through a comparative effectiveness board. If they have to choose between treating a 25 y/o or a 65 y/o for cancer, the 25 y/o gets the treatment because “comparatively” the 25 y/o has more life to live, meaning they’ll get more bang for their bucks. The 65 y/o is just SOL and gets treatment for pain control, if he’s lucky, while he withers away and dies.

IMO, you give government way more credit than it deserves in accepting that the purpose of universal healthcare is simply to reduce spending. Any time a government program estimated to cost taxpayers X dollars has been implemented, it always, without fail, far exceeds the touted costs and imparts more government control over taxpayers. See Medicare, Medicaid, Indian Health Care, and virtually every other program implemented by government. While the administration touts a deficit neutral bill, every independent congressional study has shown that is far from the case. What is being proposed provides oversight over many aspects of our lives – what we can and cannot have as insurance coverage, what doctors, nurses, etc. can earn, what treatment we can and cannot have, etc. Spending will increase. Period.

I can’t find any other motive for what is being proposed than power, which is why they’re constantly lying to us about what is being proposed. That’s my .02 (okay, perhaps .025!) for the day.

P.S. Don't worry, I'm turning myself in for these "fishy" comments to the WH. :)

BBrown said...

My last comment, I promise.

I am not sure that government-run healthcare is a good idea, but I believe it MAY be a viable option to reduce costs. As I said at the beginning, I still have a lot to learn.

What I know from my personal experience is that healthcare seems way too expensive. So far, the stats I've seen suggest Americans spend anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of their income on healthcare. Those familiar with how insurance works know that the bigger the pool, the less the costs. What's funny about all this to me is that I'm trying to be objective about the debate and look at both sides, and somehow I feel like I'm defending a plan I never I supported.

And I remain unconvinced that the motives are greed. The power arguments could be used against conservatives who receive money from the insurance lobby too. Call me naive but I believe conservatives (even many of those who get money from lobbyists)have legitimate and honest concerns about "Obamacare." I, also believe Obama feels a national healthcare plan is in the best interest of the working poor and uninsured. I could be wrong on both counts. But then again, I have never claimed my opinion is a 'proof' of anything.

This has been fun. I'll sit back and read the last word.

Jackie Melton said...

Brian (BBrown) wrote:

"I have never claimed my opinion is a 'proof' of anything."

For clarification, there was a question mark after I used the word 'proof' because, what you seemed to be doing was offering qualifications for your statement that power was not the motive, which was offered as though fact, rather than opinion, more than once, and again, after you seemed to offer no concession that it was not fact and only your belief or opinion based on your own summation of the issue.

I don't view this as "personal" either, but, then again, all discussion is personal to those involved in the discussion, isn't it? We don't learn and receive clarification unless we question one another personally and provide personal answers to those questions. So, I would hope that you didn't take my questions in any way other than the spirit they were offered, a means to understand what you were saying, a means of seeking clarification of your views.

The idea that you were offering your statement as though it were a fact, in the beginning, struck me as anything but open for discussion, and I don't say that in an effort to "attack" you, Brian but, how can there be a discussion if one of the parties completely dismisses the thoughts and opinions offered by another? It struck me as almost akin to Obama's claim that concerns about universal, single-payer health care were "illegitimate," though in the past he and other members of his party have spoken in support and endorsement of exactly that. It's insulting to your discussion partner, whether intended or not and, for the record, I don't think that was your intention and never did think that was your intention but, it certainly needed clarified.

I find people's opinions usually have some basis. Maybe their basis is right, maybe it is wrong but to assume it wrong and "illegitmate" before understanding the individual's basis (or even after having that basis explained, as in this case) in the course of a discussion? That's what it *felt* like when you announced, as though fact, that the motive could not be power, period. It seemed you were completely and utterly dismissing the opinion of those who believe power MIGHT be a motive. My first thought, to be honest, was "How dare you!?"

When proposed as your opinion rather than stated as fact, I have no problem with it. We all have opinions and most of the time they are different in subtle aspects and the opinions may be based on different foundations, we learn as we discuss those foundations with each individual.

I am an independent, you see. I defend neither Republican nor Democrat, and yet, sometimes both. I just try my best to follow the truth and the facts. I like to cut through the politics and get to the facts as much as possible.

I don't subscribe to the theory that civil discussion can't be accomplished. To me, this discussion has been quite civil because the motives have been pure. :)

Gregory Phillips said...

What is NOT powerful about potentially controlling 1/6th of the United States economy?! Health care costs represent 16% of GDP!

IMO, Dems AND Repubs are BOTH filled with greed and corruption. I would be surprised if you could come up with 20% across the board who are worth keeping (ie; honest and working for love/interest of country).

IF everyone is truly SERIOUS about helping those in this country who are being crushed by our heath care system then why don't they just concentrate on affordable access to comprehensive coverage for catastrophic events/illness w/ a high deductible. Would bet money this could be done for 30 BILLION $ or less... And be FAR less intrusive on the way America has worked for more than 200 years (as a capitalist republic).

Anonymous said...

Many employers would like to get out the healthcare business and just run their own business.

This would mean either regulation of the existing insurance industry that just wants a blank check every year, or a totally different system.

Employees over 50 usually have difficulty securing any other position due to the cost of their healthcare to their employer.