Friday, 24 July 2009

What Obama Doesn't Know About Healthcare Can Hurt Us

Written by  R. Cort Kirkwood

healthcareThe good news is that President Obama’s healthcare bill has little chance of passing. The bad news is that the bill may pass, and it reflects the fact that Obama knows absolutely nothing about doctors, clearly doesn’t like them, and doesn’t understand one of the most important codicils of his bills.

As for the law’s prospects, Obama was chagrined to learn that the cornerstone legislation of his first term won’t emerge from the Senate before it recesses. After that, barring major changes, who knows. Americans clearly don’t like the plan, knowing what it means: the same people who deliver your mail will deliver your healthcare. No thanks, most Americans say to that.

But more significant here are two items about Obama himself. The first involves his flatly preposterous allegation that doctors routinely perform unnecessary surgery to make money. This is he said:

Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. So if they’re looking and you come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, “You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.”

As many others have asked, is the president really suggesting what it appears he’s suggesting. Apparently he is, but as Rush Limbaugh observed, pediatricians who recommend tonsillectomies don’t make the money on them. Pediatricians don’t perform tonsillectomies. Surgeons do. So unless Obama is suggesting that unscrupulous surgeons are kicking back fees to unscrupulous pediatricians all across America, he is not only disgracefully offensive but also egregiously uninformed.

The second item is even worse. Taking phone calls from left-wing bloggers the other day, Obama confessed that he didn’t know about a provision in his health bill that would effectively end private health insurance for any who left one job for another. An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily last week highlighted Section 102, observing that reading it was an “uh-oh moment.” That’s because the language, IBD notes, clearly forces people into public healthcare:

“Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law.

Concludes IBD, “So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won’t be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.”

This belies what Obama has been saying all along about his socialist health plan: that people can retain private health insurance. No wonder he received a question from even a friendly interlocutor who read the IBD editorial. Obama’s reply? “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.”

Wonderful. The man who is supposed to be an amalgamation of the spirits of JFK, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is “not familiar” with his own legislation, and thinks pediatricians perform unnecessary tonsillectomies to make more money.

 

R. Cort Kirkwood, managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va., has been writing about American politics and culture for more than 20 years. Mr. Kirkwood has written for Chronicles, The New American, National Review, The Remnant, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, The Orange County Register, Taki’s Top Drawer online magazine, and LewRockwell.com. For several years, he syndicated a column, “The Hard Line.” Mr. Kirkwood is the author of the nonfiction title, Real Men: Ten Courageous Americans To Know And Admire, published by Cumberland House.
 

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