"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ooooh Scary! President Tells Health Insurance Horror Stories

In President Obama's address to Congress last week, he called out all those who used scare tactics and misinformation to try and sway the debate on health care. Then he ignored his own advice and gave a speech that even the Associated Press said didn't stand up to the facts. On Saturday, in his weekly address to the nation, the president continued to try and scare up support by doing his best Freddy Krueger impression.
I’ve heard from Americans who can’t get health coverage; men and women who worry that one accident or illness could drive them into bankruptcy. And I’ve heard from Americans with insurance who thought that "the uninsured" always referred to someone else [ed. note: that's usually how it works] – but between skyrocketing costs and insurance company practices, they’re beginning to worry that they could find themselves uninsured too.
In other words, be afraid, the scary insurance companies are out to get you! Even though state regulations require unnecessary coverage, restrict competition, and prevent insurance companies from offering a wide array of plans. Adding more government involvement to the process will only add more problems to the status quo; forcing private insurance companies to raise premiums or go out of business. Less than one-half of one percent of those with health insurance ever get dropped, yet that's a fear the president continues to exploit. The two horror stories Obama cited during his speech to Congress were as exaggerated as Al Gore's claim that he was rocked to sleep by a union song that wasn't written until he was twenty-seven. This article by Scott Harrington in the Wall Street Journal has more details behind Obama's tall tales. But our Frightenener-in-Chief went on:

It’s an anxiety that’s keeping more and more Americans awake at night. Over the last twelve months, nearly six million more Americans lost their health coverage – that’s 17,000 men and women every single day. We’re not just talking about Americans in poverty, either – we’re talking about middle-class Americans. In other words, it can happen to anyone.

It used to be 14,000 a day. Guess that wasn't scary enough. Notice the loaded language. People are anxious, they can't sleep at night, it could happen to the best insured among you, aren't you afraid of those evil insurance companies yet? It's become clear the president can't sell his reforms unless he has a straw man or a bad guy. Obama wants you to trust the government that bankrupted medicare, medicaid, social security, and cash for clunkers more than you trust your neighbors, co-workers, doctors, and the businesses in your community. Even if he has to make stuff up. He doesn't want you to trust anyone that works to make a profit. This is what socialism does to societies - divides them, creates mistrust, and forces people to act in their own self-interest rather than reach out to their neighbors. The government gains an advantage by convincing us not to trust each other.
As for the 6 million Americans Obama claims lost their health insurance coverage - that's a made-up figure. It's simply the number of lost jobs over the past year, and half of those people lost their jobs after Obama passed his "stimulus bill" that was supposed to save the economy. So the president is trying to blame the insurance companies for his failed economic policies. He is inferring that these people were dropped from insurance plans for no reason or because premiums became unaffordable, outright lies. These people were laid off so they lost their insurance. But even that may not be the case, because many Americans have COBRA or purchase their insurance individually.
President Obama still wasn't done painting a bleak, apocalyptic future without his reforms:

And based on a brand-new report from the Treasury Department, we can expect that about half of all Americans under 65 will lose their health coverage at some point over the next ten years. If you’re under the age of 21 today, chances are more than half that you’ll find yourself uninsured at some point in that time. And more than one-third of Americans will go without coverage for longer than one year.

As Mark Twain said, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Here, the president manipulates the data in order to fit his agenda. Notice he uses the arbitrary time frame of ten years. Why? Because more than half of Americans change jobs at least once every ten years. What the first statistic really says is that half of all Americans, because they get health insurance through their employers, will experience temporary periods of being uninsured due to quitting jobs, being laid off, or voluntarily taking time off between jobs. These periods usually run between a few weeks to a few months. You could also say that half of all Americans will have to search for a new home during the next ten years. So what? That doesn't make them homeless.
The worst part is the president knows he's fudging the numbers, otherwise why point out the third statistic at all? If only one-third of Americans will go without coverage for more than a year, that verifies that the one-half statistic he just quoted was bogus. A good portion of the people he claimed would lose their health insurance will only be without it for a short period of time. There is no need for the government to help them, because they are helping themselves just fine under the current system, thank you.
And enough of this "roughly one-third" nonsense. Can we get an actual percentage? How many of them are illegal aliens? How many of these people found coverage after a year? The number we really need to know is how many legal citizens are permanently uninsured, not by choice, but because they can't afford it. That's a number that has been estimated between 12 million and 30 million legal residents, depending on who you ask. President Obama quoted the figure of 30 million during his last address to Congress. Let's be generous and give him that number. In a country of over 300 million people, that only adds up to 10% of the population without health insurance.
I'm no calculus major, and even I know that's way less than one-third. Talk about fuzzy math. But hey, whatever it takes to scare the American people into handing control of their health care over to supersize government, right?
Pretty soon, Obama will have to open a haunted house full of all the health care providers that are supposed to frighten us. Doctors who take out your tonsils or amputate your leg for the payola, greedy health insurance companies who dare to make a profit, and all the people who must be racist for opposing his reforms. Scary monsters, every one of them.


  1. Funny how the presumed scare tactics used by the previous administration are portrayed as simply a uncalled for canard, while Obama is just stating "the facts"..Apparently the government only uses scare tactics when attempting to keep America safe....FACT: Many of Obama's 'facts' are distorted

  2. Don't you know that calling the president Freddy Kruger is racist?