It was pure Obama. The rhetoric soared; it soared so high that the details were microscopic specks of dust floating aimlessly in the stale air of the House chamber.
Deftly, and with a single sentence, he dismissed the idea of a single-payer plan as a progressive wet dream, and then he proceeded to emasculate the public option.
Yes, there would be a public option, but it would be noncompetitive which negates the whole idea of a public option as a tool to force private insurers to cut the pork fat out of their operating expenses. And it apparently would only be available to those who simply couldn’t afford to secure coverage on the “free market.”
One reporter opined that Obama was telling liberals to forget about it! “He was saying to the liberals in his own party, ‘look, we’re not going to get this public government-run program that you’re insisting on, but there are a lot of things we can get done, very significant things.’”
And all of these “significant” things are sure to enrich the private insurers since, under his plan, health coverage would become mandatory. Granted, he would give tax credits to those too poor to pay the premiums. However, one suspects that once the lobbyists get done rewriting his program that tax credit could easily amount to .5 percent of the total projected outlay for an individual’s medical expenses accrued during the second coming of Christ.
Actually, one can only imagine what his plan will look like once it’s run through the lobbying printing presses. True, the companies will be forced to cover people with preexisting conditions, but one wonders what the size of the “preexisting condition surcharge” will be. Sure there will be no more rescinding of policies because a patient forgot to report treatment received for acne. But such a provision is sure to contain some healthy loopholes, such as allowing a company to rescind a policy if the unreported treatment was received during a month that included a full moon.
And the lobbyists will be sure to limit the insured’s out-of-pocket expenses to a three times the policy deductible.
But, I exaggerate. Surely, no publicly minded private insurer would see in Obama’s plan a goose squatting to drop a golden egg. I have faith that the loopholes they build into the bill will be fair and equitable even as they allow the companies to maximize their profits.
Obama has served his handlers well.