Barack Obama, The Pretentious Prevaricator

Tonight I wrap up my analysis of the President’s recent speech to the Joint Session of Congress. When I started I thought for sure I would find one or two juicy tidbits, in addition to the blatant lies we all noticed right away. How was I to know that I would find 17 places in his speech where he lied to, or misled, the American people?

The President began to wrap up his speech by telling us about those who have suffered silently, he spoke of the many Americans who were counting on us to succeed, the ones who shared their stories at town hall meetings, in emails and in letters. Then the only example he offered was a letter from the recently departed Ted Kennedy.

I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague, Ted Kennedy. He had written it back in May, shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered upon his death.

In it, he spoke about what a happy time his last months were, thanks to the love and support of family and friends, his wife, Vicki, his amazing children, who are all here tonight. And he expressed confidence that this would be the year that health care reform — “that great unfinished business of our society,” he called it — would finally pass. He repeated the truth that health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also reminded me that “it concerns more than material things.” “What we face,” he wrote, “is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”

I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure Ted Kennedy wasn’t an average American who received substandard health care. He was a sitting U.S. Senator with a unique health care plan that offered coverage which every non-politician in the country wishes they had access to.

It’s sad when anyone loses their battle with cancer, but invoking the name of Ted Kennedy was nothing more than an attempt to get sympathy votes for a health care bill that, in it’s current form, hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. If it could pass in it’s current form, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would not be waiting a single moment. They’ve set a deadline for Thanksgiving. Why not vote on it now? I thought they were trying to pass this bill before the summer recess? What’s the hold up?

That large-heartedness — that concern and regard for the plight of others — is not a partisan feeling. It’s not a Republican or a Democratic feeling. It, too, is part of the American character — our ability to stand in other people’s shoes; a recognition that we are all in this together, and when fortune turns against one of us, others are there to lend a helping hand; a belief that in this country, hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play; and an acknowledgment that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise.

I agree, we are a compassionate people, but we cannot let compassion blind our sensibility. The current health care plan will place an unsustainable burden on generations to come. There is no reason why we cannot work on incremental change, tweaking our system as we go, to ensure than things are handled better and make sure the 4.6% of Americans who have been unable to obtain coverage get some.

In 1935, when over half of our seniors could not support themselves and millions had seen their savings wiped away, there were those who argued that Social Security would lead to socialism, but the men and women of Congress stood fast, and we are all the better for it. In 1965, when some argued that Medicare represented a government takeover of health care, members of Congress — Democrats and Republicans — did not back down. They joined together so that all of us could enter our golden years with some basic peace of mind.

Many people depend on Social Security and Medicare and many more baby-boomers will be flooding the market in the next few years. Need we remind the President that the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are currently hovering around the $59 trillion mark, or $192,104 per citizen?

I am not going to deny that many people benefit from receiving their Social Security payments, but touting either of these social programs as a success is hypocritical. What do we hear every election cycle?

“We need to fix Social Security and Medicare”, “Social Security will run out of money in the next decade”, “We cannot continue without an overhaul of Social Security and Medicare”.

Now we’re touting both of these programs as an example of what government can do? What happened to the lock box? I bet no one can answer that question.

So let’s review. What have we learned in this series of posts?

  1. President Obama distracted the American people from his own $3 trillion deficit by waving the $1 trillion deficit from 2008 under our noses.

    The federal deficit is projected to grow by trillions each year of the Obama administration. Trillions. Have you seen what a trillion looks like? $1,000,000,000,000. That’s a one with 12 zeroes after it.

    It’s one thing to see the zeroes, but do have any idea what a trillion is? One million seconds pass in 12 days. One billion seconds pass in 32 years. One trillion seconds pass in 31,688 years!

    Reports indicate that our deficit will grow in the trillions rather than the billions for many years. It’s time to wake up people!

  2. President Obama said we have pulled the economy back from the brink.

    The brink of what, success? Things still aren’t looking too good you know.

  3. President Obama invoked the name of Teddy Roosevelt stating that he was the first President to call for health care reform.

    While President, Teddy Roosevelt never called for health care reform. His political party called for required health insurance in industry in 1912, several years after he served as the 26th President of the United States. Requiring companies to provide health insurance options isn’t really reform, and it doesn’t matter anyway because the platform failed and the political party faded away into obscurity.

  4. President Obama claimed that we are the only democracy on Earth, the only wealthy nation that allows such health care hardships for millions of its people.

    That was a lie. It’s obvious that President Obama considers short waiting periods, abundant potable water, and the lack of prevalent disease as “hardships”. I wonder if the White House staff ever looks out the window? It’s clear they don’t know how to use the Internet. A couple of searches on Wikipedia totally debunked his “only democracy, only wealthy nation” rhetoric.

  5. President Obama says there are 30 million people who cannot get health insurance coverage.

    That was a lie. The actual number of Americans who “cannot get coverage” is somewhere between 10 and 14 million people, a fact he clearly backs up later in his speech albeit unintentionally.

  6. President Obama told us that our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close. Nothing else.

    That was a lie. Has he conveniently forgotten the stimulus bill? What about the auto bailouts? Has he forgotten (or would he rather you not remember) the fact that his administration alone will be responsible for increasing the size of the federal deficit to more than $11 trillion in the next few years? These figures do not include the new health care bill or the current liabilities for Social Security and Medicare.

  7. According to President Obama “confusion has reigned” when it comes to discussing the health care bill.

    That was a lie. It’s not confusing to those of us who have read the bill.

  8. President Obama has promised time and time again that if you like your current health care plan, you can keep your current health care plan. During his speech, he changed his tune and said “nothing in this bill will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have”.

    That was a complete, blatant, lie. There is nothing in the bill that will guarantee anything the President said, and a whole lot of sections that will over-regulate private companies right out of competition in the marketplace.

  9. President Obama called Americans cynical and irresponsible for claiming there were sections of the bill that discussed some serious end-of-life “alternatives” and said they were bogus claims.

    That was a lie. The text is in the bill. Prominent politicians denied it was in the bill. Americans across the country showed them the bill. They now promise that those sections have been removed from the bill. The President, however, still says the claims were bogus.

  10. President Obama told us that the bill does not provide coverage for illegal immigrants.

    That was a lie. The bill prevents illegal immigrants from obtaining “affordability credits” to help pay for health care. The bill does not restrict coverage or their ability to seek treatment. In fact, every amendment introduced to specifically address illegal immigrants has been voted down by the Democratic majority.

  11. President Obama told us some sad stories about Americans who lost their coverage.

    Lies, lies, and more lies. Their stories are part of the Congressional Record and cannot be disputed. The President’s honesty, on the other hand, can be.

  12. President Obama states adamantly that the health care bill will not fund abortions.

    The biggest lie, so far. The bill specifically states that services offered will be aimed at “Improving maternal or child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.”

    You cannot increase birth intervals between pregnancies without that key word, pregnancies. If you’re pregnant,there is no other way to increase birth intervals than by preventing births. Once you’re pregnant, preventing a birth is usually called abortion.

    The debate is not about abortion, and the question is not whether the word abortion appears in the bill, the question is why are they leaving the door wide open by allowing federal funds to be used to obtain them? Why would they word it specifically to include the word “pregnancy” if they didn’t intend for abortions to become a covered option under the public health plan? It’s clear they were trying to circumvent current U.S. Code without having to introduce a specific bill to do just that. It’s much easier to hide it in a 1,000 page bill.

    U.S. Code, Title 42, Chapter 6A, SubChapter VIII, § 300a–6 states, “Prohibition against funding programs using abortion as family planning method”.

  13. President Obama used the people of Alabama as an example of poor health care in America.

    Those were more lies. He cherry-picked some specific examples that were immediately proven false by the Birmingham news, and the people of Alabama.

  14. President Obama said he will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits.

    That was a lie. He knows the current plan will add a minimum of $239 billion to our deficit in the short term and possibly $9 trillion in the long term.

  15. President Obama claimed more people will die if we “do nothing”.

    That was a lie. He has no way of knowing, in fact, if this health care bill is allowed to pass, the quality of health care in America will suffer, services will be rationed to save money, and up to 45% of all doctors will quit, rather than work under this plan.

  16. President Obama invoked the name of Ted Kennedy as an average American who suffered silently with substandard health care.

    That was a lie. Check out all the options under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and then tell me how bad Ted Kennedy’s insurance was. The President was invoking his name solely for the sympathy vote.

  17. President Obama claimed we are better because of Social Security and Medicare.

    That was a lie, and I can list $59,000,000,000, 000 (yes, that’s trillion) reasons why, but I don’t have 1,869,592 years to do so.

The bottom line is, even if you discount half of these examples, the President told an overwhelming number of lies to the American people when he stood before the Joint Session of Congress and delivered that health care speech.

Americans have grown cynical in the fact that they continue to support politicians who lie to them continuously. We’ve grown apathetic toward the entire political system, and that has to change.

During the course of these posts, I have been called out, I’ve been called names, and today, a family member “de-friended” me on Facebook simply because I stood my ground and debated the true aspects of the health care bill. It’s a shame he chose to walk away rather than simply agree to disagree and move on, but I don’t regret my coverage of HR 3200, I don’t regret pointing out the President’s obvious (and not so obvious) lies, and most of all I don’t regret making my voice heard.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” If we remain quiet now, we will surely pay for it for generations to come. Thank you for taking the time to read this series of posts. Hopefully it will make a difference, for your sake, for my sake, for our children’s sake.

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
Thomas Jefferson

More From The Persistently Prevaricating President

When we last left the President’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress, before the detour back to the 10th paragraph, he was speaking about illegal immigrants and the health care bill. In case you didn’t read that post, yes, he was lying. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) told him so.

President Obama responded by stating,

It’s not true. And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up — under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

Oh really? “No federal funds will be used to fund abortions”? That’s about as true as his statement that the health care bill will not add to the federal deficit, or that illegal immigrants won’t have access to health care under the current legislation.

While the word “abortion” never appears in the text of the bill, Section 1713 leaves no doubt that abortions are covered under HR 3200.

The term ‘nurse home visitation services’ means home visits by trained nurses to families with a first-time pregnant woman, or a child (under 2 years of age), who is eligible for medical assistance under this title, but only, to the extent determined by the Secretary based upon evidence, that such services are effective in one or more of the following:

(1) Improving maternal or child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.

“(2) Reducing the incidence of child abuse, neglect, and injury, improving family stability (including reduction in the incidence of intimate partner violence), or reducing maternal and child involvement in the criminal justice system.

“(3) Increasing economic self-sufficiency, employment advancement, school-readiness, and educational achievement, or reducing dependence on public assistance.”

How exactly does the government plan to “increase birth intervals between pregnancies”? Read that line again people. How do you increase birth intervals (the length of time inbetween births) between pregnancies? If you have three pregnancies, you should have three births, right? If you have five pregnancies you should have five births. You get the idea.

So, with that in mind, how do you increase birth intervals (aka reduce the number of births, say from five to three) while maintaining the same number of pregnancies? You have five pregnancies and only three births. What happened to the other two babies?

If that isn’t enough, Section 1714 covers the state eligibility option for family planning services. We all know what kind of services are offered and what advice is given at family planning clinics.

Is that a light bulb I see flickering above your head? Yes, you are correct. Increasing birth intervals between pregnancies is a fancy “we’re smarter than you” way of slipping abortion into the health care bill.

The President continues,

My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. That’s how the market works. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75 percent of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90 percent is controlled by just one company. And without competition, the price of insurance goes up and quality goes down. And it makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers badlyby cherry-picking the healthiest individuals and trying to drop the sickest, by overcharging small businesses who have no leverage, and by jacking up rates.

If you’re going to stand up and quote numbers, single out one state and one insurer, and tell the American people that the company you are shaking your finger at is cherry picking their customers, you should, at the very least, check those numbers and make sure you stop putting your finger where it doesn’t belong.

He claimed that 90% of the market in Alabama is controlled by one company. That one company is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and according to the Birmingham News they only control about 75% of the market. Apparently, the people of Alabama are so impressed with the service they receive and the premiums they pay, that they actually choose BCBS over the other health insurance companies in the state.

Listening to President Obama you’d think there wasn’t any competition in the state and that BCBS was really cleaning up in the state of Alabama. Those poor people. That greedy company. You get the picture. Well, according to BCBS their profit averages just 0.6% of premiums and they spend 7% of premiums on administrative expenses. Do the math people. 92.4% of the premiums paid by the people of Alabama go toward, OH MY GOSH, medical claims!!! OH NO! What can be done to stop the horror that is health care in Alabama?

Surely the people will riot in the streets, right? Maybe not. BCBS of Alabama ranks second in the nation in customer satisfaction. What?!? People are happy with their health care in Alabama? But… But… That’s not what the President just said, is it? Barack Obama really needs to stop cherry-picking individual cases, numbers and statistics because doing so makes it look likes he’s trying to jack the American people. And that’s a fact, Jack.

Let’s move on with the speech,

I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. They provide a legitimate service, and employ a lot of our friends and neighbors. I just want to hold them accountable. (Applause.) And the insurance reforms that I’ve already mentioned would do just that. But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. (Applause.) Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. It would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. In fact, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, we believe that less than 5 percent of Americans would sign up.

Less that 5% of Americans would sign up for the public option? Really? Didn’t I point out the fact that the number of Americans who could not obtain health insurance was 4.6%? Was this a subtle admission of fact or coincidental slip of the tongue? Now, now, we all know forked tongues can’t slip or they get tangled.

But I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans can’t find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice. And I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need.

Read. The. Bill. H.R. 3200 adds so many layers of bureaucracy into health care, that there won’t be just one government bureaucrat between you and the care you need. There will likely be dozens. If you’ve ever been to the Social Security office you’ll know what I am talking about.

Let’s face a simple fact. The President’s entire speech to this point was nothing but lie after lie after lie. So what does he do next? Why, he lies again…

I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.

May I remind you,

According to CBO’s and JCT’s assessment, enacting H.R. 3200 would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period.

He’s making another promise he has no intention of keeping. In the next several paragraphs he details all of the ways the government is going to cut waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid. When has the government ever succeeded in cutting waste and inefficiency?

At this point it’s all just rambling, oh and another lie.

The plan will not add to our deficit. The middle class will realize greater security, not higher taxes. And if we are able to slow the growth of health care costs by just one-tenth of 1 percent each year — one-tenth of 1 percent — it will actually reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term.

Analysts have already examined the bill (probably more than any member of Congress, and definitely more than anyone in the White House), and according to many of them,

The current health care bills will increase the budget deficit by at least $239 billion over the next 10 years, and far more in the years beyond that. If the new health care entitlement were subject to the same 75-year actuarial standards as Social Security or Medicare, its unfunded liabilities would exceed $9.2 trillion.

The President says his new plan will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term, but analysts and economists state otherwise. Does the White House need help? When George W. Bush took office, the staff of the Clinton White House took all of the W’s from the computer keyboards. Did the Bush administration take all the calculators when they walked out the door?

As the President begins to wrap up his speech, he adds the traditional “remember, you’re supposed to be scared” line.

Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it the most. And more will die as a result. We know these things to be true.

If we do nothing, our deficit will grow, of course it will, it’s always growing. It will just grow slower than it will if the health care bill passes.

More families will go bankrupt and businesses will close. This is going to happen with or without the health care bill. We’re in a deep recession. When this time comes, consulting a bankruptcy lawyer would be a good choice so you know all options moving forward. Check out LexisNexis

More Americans will lose coverage when they are sick and need it most. If I remember correctly the last time he brought up a couple cases where this happened he got bit. I would leave that dog on the leash, Mr. President.

And don’t you worry, when the health care bill fails to land on the President’s desk more people will not die. I’ve never heard of people dying when legislation failed, except for lobbyists who really shouldn’t be involved in the process anyway. So relax, you’re safe, for now.

Tomorrow night I will wrap up the President’s speech with his closing comments where he invoked the recently departed Ted Kennedy and gives a short history lesson in the Depression era. Hang in there, we’re almost done.

The Precipitation Of Prevarication Continues

As we continue with the President’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress, I want to pause at the 32nd paragraph and go back to the 10th paragraph for a moment.

It was in that paragraph where the President reflected on two personal accounts. You know, the stories of the “victims of healthcare in America”.

One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadn’t reported gallstones that he didn’t even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it. Another woman from Texas was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne. By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer had more than doubled in size. That is heart-breaking, it is wrong, and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America.

When I started this series of posts, I intended to simply point out all the places where the President contradicted the text in H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009“, but it turns out he couldn’t even be completely upfront with us when it came to “real life” accounts.

Scott Harrington, from the Wall Street Journal, did some fact checking for us.

It turns out that the “man from Illinois” who “lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy” and “died from it”, actually had his insurance policy reinstated, received a prescribed stem-cell transplant within the recommended time frame, and lived an additional three and a half years because of it. Whoops.

Although the president has used this example previously, his conclusion is contradicted by the transcript of a June 16 hearing on industry practices before the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigation of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The deceased’s sister testified that the insurer reinstated her brother’s coverage following intervention by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. She testified that her brother received a prescribed stem-cell transplant within the desired three- to four-week “window of opportunity” from “one of the most renowned doctors in the whole world on the specific routine,” that the procedure “was extremely successful,” and that “it extended his life nearly three and a half years.”

So, what about that woman who had her insurance dropped just before a double mastectomy because she forgot to declare a case of acne? While her surgery was indeed delayed for several months, her medical chart indicated her condition was “precancerous” at the time. So why was her coverage dropped? It wasn’t because of acne, it may have had something to do with the fact that she lied about her weight on her insurance application and she failed to disclose that she had an irregular heartbeat. Whoops.

The woman’s testimony at the June 16 hearing confirms that her surgery was delayed several months. It also suggests that the dermatologist’s chart may have described her skin condition as precancerous, that the insurer also took issue with an apparent failure to disclose an earlier problem with an irregular heartbeat, and that she knowingly underreported her weight on the application.

We don’t need a complete overhaul of our health care system nor government intervention to tweak the system so pre-existing conditions like ‘irregular heartbeats’ are covered by default.

Let’s put aside all of the contradictions with the health care bill for a moment. Let’s forget about the President’s lies I’ve already exposed. Let’s focus on the fact that when the President of the United States stood at the podium on the floor of Congress and spoke to the Joint Session and the American people, he misled everyone into believing these sad stories from the “victims of healthcare in America”.

If the current President of the United States can’t even tell us the truth about the people who are adversely affected by our current health care system, what makes you think he has any intention of telling us the truth where the new health care proposals are concerned?

— Posted with Stuffr! —

Our Professional Prevaricating President

As I stated in the third post in this series, an employer who does not provide health care coverage for their employees will be subject to an 8% fine to help cover the cost of their coverage anyway.

President Obama said,

And that’s why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. Likewise — likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers.

And once again I need to point out that many employers pay far more than 8% of their employees salaries toward health care coverage, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a tax cheating Treasury secretary to figure out that employers will be dropping health care packages before the ink from the President’s signature dries on the paper.

He continues,

…given all the misinformation that’s been spread over the past few months, I realize — (applause) — I realize that many Americans have grown nervous about reform. So tonight I want to address some of the key controversies that are still out there.

You may not believe me, but most of the ‘misinformation’ out there is coming from the White House and the democratic leaders in Congress. Almost everything they have said in public since the end of July has been a lie or an attempt to distract people from the truth.

A good example of this comes in the very next paragraph from the President.

Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

When people started reading the bill back in late July / early August, they noticed some suspicious wording in the bill which included end-of-life care. For those who keep denying this was even part of the bill, here is the text.

“(A) An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to.

“(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses.

“(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.

“(D) The provision by the practitioner of a list of national and State-specific resources to assist consumers and their families with advance care planning, including the national toll-free hotline, the advance care planning clearinghouses, and State legal service organizations (including those funded through the Older Americans Act of 1965).

“(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.

“(F)(i) Subject to clause (ii), an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment or similar orders, which shall include—

“(I) the reasons why the development of such an order is beneficial to the individual and the individual’s family and the reasons why such an order should be updated periodically as the health of the individual changes;

“(II) the information needed for an individual or legal surrogate to make informed decisions regarding the completion of such an order; and

“(III) the identification of resources that an individual may use to determine the requirements of the State in which such individual resides so that the treatment wishes of that individual will be carried out if the individual is unable to communicate those wishes, including requirements regarding the designation of a surrogate decisionmaker (also known as a health care proxy).

“(ii) The Secretary shall limit the requirement for explanations under clause (i) to consultations furnished in a State—

“(I) in which all legal barriers have been addressed for enabling orders for life sustaining treatment to constitute a set of medical orders respected across all care settings; and

“(II) that has in effect a program for orders for life sustaining treatment described in clause (iii).

“(iii) A program for orders for life sustaining treatment for a States described in this clause is a program that—

“(I) ensures such orders are standardized and uniquely identifiable throughout the State;

“(II) distributes or makes accessible such orders to physicians and other health professionals that (acting within the scope of the professional’s authority under State law) may sign orders for life sustaining treatment;

“(III) provides training for health care professionals across the continuum of care about the goals and use of orders for life sustaining treatment; and

“(IV) is guided by a coalition of stakeholders includes representatives from emergency medical services, emergency department physicians or nurses, state long-term care association, state medical association, state surveyors, agency responsible for senior services, state department of health, state hospital association, home health association, state bar association, and state hospice association.

And for those who may be losing something in translation, “end-of-life” equals death. There is no other option at the end of life.

Honestly, I don’t know why the President even brought this up in his speech. Politicians on the Hill denied the text was in the bill, but when confronted with that very text, they moved to remove it from the bill. How do you remove something from a bill that was never there? Why would you talk about something in a speech to a Joint Session of Congress if it never existed? Yeah, that’s a gotcha, isn’t it?

Of course, the President does not stop there. He proceeds to put his foot in his mouth one more time.

There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

The reforms which have been introduced on the Hill send a mixed message but in no way prevent someone who is here illegally from obtaining health care.

Section 152 states,

Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.

Health care will be delivered regardless of “personal characteristics extraneous to the provision”. If it doesn’t pertain to the care you will be receiving, it will not be considered relevant in the decisions made pertaining to that treatment.

The bill does prevent “affordability credits” for illegal immigrants. Section 246 states,

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

So, basically, illegal immigrants will be able to obtain health care just like the rest of us, but the government won’t be giving them a credit toward the cost of that care. The terms “illegal immigrant”, “illegal alien” cannot be found in the bill. The only reference to citizens or citizenship is in reference to those living abroad, and disregarding citizenship of parties involved in whistleblower protection.

H.R. 3200 does not contain any text that would prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining health care in the United States.

Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) offered an amendment in the Energy and Commerce Committee, which stated,

This Amendment requires that the millions of new people who will be “automatically enrolled” in Medicaid under this legislation demonstrate that they are American citizens.

That amendment failed in a vote of 29-28, so the amendment died in committee.

Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment in the Ways & Means Committee, which stated,

Increasing safeguards to ensure benefits do not go to individuals not lawfully present in the United States.

That amendment failed in a vote of 26-15, and it too died in committee.

If the bill contained text which prevented illegal immigrants from obtaining health care, these Representatives would not be introducing amendments which would implement such a rule.

When President Obama made that statement, and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) called him a liar, he knew he was lying. Joe Wilson said so, the Congressional Research Service said so, and Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Max Baucus (D-MT) said so.

We really thought we’d resolved this question of people who are here illegally, but as we reflected on the President’s speech last night we wanted to go back and drill down again

In other words, the text was not in the bill, but they are going to make sure there is something providing for “proof of citizenship” added to the bill.

That seemed a bit too easy, didn’t it? I can’t help but wonder what’s next. Amnesty for all, so every illegal immigrant will suddenly have no need to provide proof of citizenship?

Intermission: How Do You Measure Health Care?

Before I continue addressing the President’s speech, let me address a couple comments I received from a friend in Canada regarding the previous post. Bear with me while I respond to his question and divulge a few personal accounts. I will continue with the speech in tomorrow’s post.

My friend states,

You said Obama “claimed that the United States is the only democracy, the only wealthy nation that allows health related hardship for millions of it’s people, while the people of many other democracies and wealthy nations are suffering far more than we are.”

Well, we’re not. Compare Canadian life expectancy, infant mortality, cost of health care per person, and universality of access to yours.

and in a follow up comment he adds,

Based on the most recent stats available from the WHO, here’s how the “far better” US system stacks up to the Canadian system.

Life Expectancy: 81 years in Canada, 78 years in the US.

Population with access to treated drinking water: 100% in Canada, 99% in the US.

Deaths/1000 among children under 5: 6 in Canada, 8 in the US.

Adult Mortality rate (probability of dying between 15 to 60 years per 1000 population): 72 per thousand in Canada, 109 per thousand in the US.

Total expenditure on health as percentage of gross domestic product: 10% in Canada, 15.3% in the US.

Per Capita expenditures on Health in US$: $3912 in Canada, $6714 in Canada.

Hospital beds per 10,000 population: 34 in Canada, 32 in the US.

So…by what measure do you figure your system is better than ours? Just curious.

Those statistics from the World Health Organization sure look good. Life expectancy, infant mortality, cost of health care per person, and universality of access all appear to be much better than ours here in the United States, but let’s look at the whole picture, not just general statistics, or one political view.

I am sure the WHO statistics are true, I am not going to try and disprove them, as that would be ridiculous. But let’s keep in mind that there is a whole lot more to health care than general statistics and overall numbers. What looks good on paper can be very deceiving, and misleading.

Does it matter if Canadians live three years longer than Americans if their quality of health care (and quality of life) are not any better than ours here in America? I would certainly give up three years of my life if it meant having a higher quality of life in the years that I did have remaining.

Believe it or not I have a lot of experience with the Canadian health care system. My mother is a naturalized American who came to the United States from Canada when she was two years old. Her sister, mother, father, uncle, aunts, grandmothers and grandfathers were all born in Canada. I have seen what the Canadian health care system has done to my relatives.

In 1982 I was living in Hawaii with my grandmother while attending college. I met my great-uncle Bob and his wife Isabel for the first time. My uncle Bob and I bonded immediately. He understood the angst of a 17 year old kid living in a strange place (I had never lived outside my small home town before I left for college). He spent time telling me all about his life and I shared my life with him.

One day, while we were walking outside he started rubbing the side of his face. He seemed to be applying a lot of pressure and looked uncomfortable. I asked him if something was wrong and he told me how his face, just one side, would tingle and go numb for several minutes at a time. I asked him what his doctor said, to which he replied, “I’ve only been able to see one doctor and that was months ago”. His doctor thought it might be some sort of “nerve disorder” but they could not be sure until they ran some tests and those tests were not scheduled until they returned to Canada. It was the earliest he could be seen at the time.

He experienced those episodes several times during his vacation, and insisted his doctor would “take care of it” when he got home. When he and Isabel boarded the plane to return to Canada, it was the last time I would see him in person. We exchanged letters for several months, and I spoke to him on the phone a few times.

The last time I heard from him, he had still not seen a doctor. His “elective” appointment for “facial tingles” was delayed. Time and time again. Then, in December of 1983, he died. He suffered a massive heart attack, was rushed to the hospital, and it was discovered that the “nerve disorder” was simply a symptom of a much more serious heart problem.

This wasn’t an issue of a misdiagnosis, this wasn’t an issue of poor judgement in the prescription of medication. This was a result of the lack of proper health care. Whatever the reason, whether it was an effort to save money (rationing) or just a coincidence that he died from the very thing he was seeking medical treatment for, we’ll never know, will we? I don’t have statistics from the WHO or any other organization on the number of untreated cases, the quality of care, or the long term prognosis for people like my uncle Bob. He was my uncle, not a statistic.

Many years later, while living back in Las Vegas, my aunt Isabel came to visit. While she was visiting, she felt weak and wanted to go to the hospital. It was quickly determined that she had suffered from a stroke, and received health care at one of Las Vegas’ premiere hospitals. When she was discharged, many weeks later, her American doctor advised her what needed to be done for follow up care, and she went home to Canada.

Aunt Isabel is still living in British Columbia, but her quality of life has not been good for a very long time. Shortly after returning to Canada she suffered another stroke. Over the years she suffered even more “mini strokes”, and just a couple years ago, she suffered another big one. I don’t talk to her, or my cousin, as much as I should, but I know she hasn’t been to see a doctor nearly as much as she should have.

The question is, would she have suffered so many strokes if she lived here in the United States? Who knows. We have no way of knowing that, but there is one thing I do know. She would have seen her doctor a heck of a lot more living here than she has in Canada. Do I have statistics to back this up? Nope. All I have is her personal account of what she’s endured under the Canadian health care system.

Because I know my friend, I know these personal accounts will mean nothing in the overall argument about health care (as far as he’s concerned), so now I will point out a few facts and statistics, from other sources, which may clarify why I figure that our system is better than that in Canada.

According to the National Center For Policy Analysis,

  • Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.
    • Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.
  • Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.
    • Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:
      • Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
      • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
      • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
      • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).
  • Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.
    • Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent). Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”
  • Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K.
    • Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long – sometimes more than a year – to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.
  • People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.
    • More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”
  • Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.
    • When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared to only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).
  • Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K.
    • Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade. The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.
  • Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.
    • The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country. Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past 34 years did a scientist living in America not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

All of these statistics, or facts, come from sources such as the National Program of Cancer Registries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control; the Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada, the Fraser Institute, the England Department of Health, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Nobel Prize Internet Archive, and various media reports.

These are not conservative “talking points”. These are simply additional statistics to consider with the numbers presented from the World Health Organization. If we’re going to look at whose health care system is better, we should look at the entire picture, not just pieces we choose to put under the magnifying glass.

With that in mind, make sure you read The Top Ten Things People Believe About Canadian Health Care, But Shouldn’t from The Heritage Foundation.

A 2005 survey by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada reported that more than 4 million Canadians do not have access to a family doctor. 12% of the Canadian population did not have access to a family doctor in 2005.

When it comes to health insurance in America, President Obama has made the claim that 47 million Americans “cannot get coverage”. During his speech to the Joint Session of Congress that number changed to 30 million. The White House later released a statement that the 30 million number does not include illegal immigrants. Using that number, the number of Americans who “cannot get coverage” is 9.86%. (We know from the second post in this series that the true number is closer to 14 million or 4.6%).

That same Canadian survey also states that more than 3,800 doctors plan to retire in the next two years and that 60% of family physicians are already limiting or refusing new patients.

Oh, and Americans are not the only ones talking about reforming their system of health care.

In an article dated August 16, 2009, the incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association said the country’s health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country – who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting – recognize that changes must be made.

“We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize,” Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

the article continues,

Doig says there are some “very good things” about Canada’s health-care system, but she points out that many people have stories about times when things didn’t go well for them or their family.

“(Canadians) have to understand that the system that we have right now – if it keeps on going without change – is not sustainable,” said Doig.

Canada’s own medical community knows that their existing system is not sustainable, so why should we, here in America, be so quick to rush into a single payer system that has proven to reduce the quality of health care and break the bank in country after country, after country?

When it comes to health care and treatment, there are horror stories from both sides of the border, but when you hear those stories you never hear of Americans seeking treatment in Canada for specialized procedures that are not available here.

In many discussions and debate about health care I keep hearing that I need to remove my “partisan blinders”. What part of wanting the best health care choices for Americans is being partisan? I don’t support the current health care bill introduced in the House. I don’t support anything similar to that bill. I agree whole-heartedly that we need health care reform in America, I just don’t think we need to totally overhaul the entire system to make sure that an additional 4.6% of the population has access to health care.

Even CNN, one of the most liberal news outlets in America, reports some of the horror stories from the Canadian health care system. I don’t need CNN, FOXNews, or any other media outlet to remind me of the horrors of the Canadian health care system.

Whether I consider “elective” surgeries like knee replacement surgery, life expectancy, cancer survival rates, mortality rates, or any other statistic touted in this post or anywhere else, I still feel that Americans have better quality health care.

Knee replacement surgery might be “elective” but waiting for that replacement can be very painful and no one should have to wait four months or more for that surgery. People suffering from “facial tingles” should not wait more than six months, and die, before they are seen to have tests administered. What good is a longer life expectancy if you are in pain or miserable while you are waiting for treatment?

I’d much rather choose the health care system that is capable of treating the “big stuff” like cancer if it comes along, rather than the one that puts me on a waiting list for “elective” surgeries that could ease my pain, limits access to radiation services to treat my cancer, and treats me as a number in the system while touting “universal coverage for all”.

So, in conclusion, I hope that answers the question, “by what measure do you figure your system is better than ours?” We can argue points back and forth until we are blue in the face and it won’t change the fact that both systems, American and Canadian alike, need serious work.

Now, if you pardon me, I have to get back to analyzing President Obama’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress.

How To Spot A Prevaricating President. Part Three.

I sat here for an hour this evening wondering where to start this post. Do I recap the facts we’ve learned over the previous two posts, or do I jump right in with more of the President’s own words? After careful deliberation I decided to remind you of the key details we’ve covered and then jump right in.

In the first eight paragraphs of his speech to a Joint Session of Congress, President Obama,

  • Distracted the American people from his own $3 trillion deficit while waving the 2008 deficit ($1 trillion) in our faces.
  • Invoked the name of Theodore Roosevelt trying to justify complete “health care reform” while Roosevelt wasn’t even President any longer and simply called for health insurance in industry.
  • Claimed that the United States is the only democracy, the only wealthy nation that allows health related hardship for millions of it’s people, while the people of many other democracies and wealthy nations are suffering far more than we are.
  • Attempted to convince us that 47 million people in the United States “cannot get coverage”, while the true number sits closer to 10 million people.

Last night the President said,

If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out.

Well, tonight, I am calling him out. As I said before, I’ve read the health care bill. I know what’s in the bill. His speech was a complete misrepresentation of the bill, and I am going to show you how. I will do so by quoting his own words, and using the text of the bill to prove he was lying.

President Obama, like many Presidents before him, was quick to bring fear into the forefront. He spoke about those who have insurance and the fact they have less security and stability now than ever before. Losing coverage happens everyday, he warns.

Of course, no Presidential speech would be complete without invoking the names of victims. This time it was victims of our current health care system. A man whose insurance was dropped in the middle of chemotherapy, resulting in his death. A woman’s canceled mastectomy surgery, resulting in bigger cancer. He never mentioned if she died or not. I guess the fear of living with more cancer in our current health care system is more frightening than dying from it. Then he talks about the “unsustainable burden on taxpayers”.

Finally, our health care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers. When health care costs grow at the rate they have, it puts greater pressure on programs like Medicare and Medicaid. If we do nothing to slow these skyrocketing costs, we will eventually be spending more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other government program combined. Put simply, our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close. Nothing else.

Now, these are the facts. Nobody disputes them. We know we must reform this system.

The President says our current health system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers. According to the National Coalition on Health Care, national health spending is expected to reach $2.5 trillion this year rising to $4.4 trillion by 2018.

That’s a huge amount of money isn’t it? It is, until you consider H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009“.

The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan agency charged with providing Congress with the estimated costs of legislation reports,

According to CBO’s and JCT’s assessment, enacting H.R. 3200 would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period. That estimate reflects a projected 10-year cost of the bill’s insurance coverage provisions of $1,042 billion, partly offset by net spending changes that CBO estimates would save $219 billion over the same period, and by revenue provisions that JCT estimates would increase federal revenues by about $583 billion over those 10 years.

But they also add,

The figures released yesterday do not represent a complete cost estimate for the legislation. In particular, the estimated impact of the provisions related to health insurance coverage is based on specifications provided by the committee staff, rather than on a detailed analysis of the legislative language. (The estimates for other spending provisions reflect the specific legislative language. JCT has separately published its estimates of the effects of revenue provisions contained in H.R. 3200.) In addition, the figures do not include certain costs that the government would incur to administer the proposed changes and the impact of the bill’s provisions on other federal programs, and they do not reflect any modifications or amendments made after the bill was introduced. Nevertheless, this analysis reflects the major net budgetary effects of H.R. 3200.

According to the CATO institute,

The current health care bills will increase the budget deficit by at least $239 billion over the next 10 years, and far more in the years beyond that. If the new health care entitlement were subject to the same 75-year actuarial standards as Social Security or Medicare, its unfunded liabilities would exceed $9.2 trillion.

There’s one more thing to keep in mind too. Under the current health care bill, employers who do not provide health care coverage to their employees will be subject to an 8% fine. That’s 8% of the employees income. Many employers are currently paying 9 – 10% of the employees salary in health care costs. With that in mind, how many employers are going to keep paying up to 10% along with all of the administrative costs, when they can pay 8%, and save 2% plus all of the costs of administering the plan? I can guarantee that employers will drop their company provided plans as quick as they can, and I can guarantee you that the additional cost of adding those people to the national plan are not factored into any estimates by the CBO or the CATO Institute.

The President said, “Put simply, our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close. Nothing else.

Has he forgotten the stimulus bill? Has he forgotten the auto bailout? Has he forgotten the fact that he himself is responsible for helping to increase the federal deficit by nearly $3 trillion this year alone? Has he forgotten that the deficit will rise another $8.364 trillion before 2014?

These estimates for the federal debt do not include the health care bill being debated or current liabilities for Medicare and Social Security. Sorry Mr. President, put simply, our health care problem is far from being our deficit problem. Sure, it will contribute to that deficit, one way or the other, but it’s not even close to being our biggest problem. Government spending. Too much government spending. That’s our biggest problem.

Let’s move on with the speech. President Obama said,

Instead of honest debate, we’ve seen scare tactics. Some have dug into unyielding ideological camps that offer no hope of compromise. Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge. And out of this blizzard of charges and counter-charges, confusion has reigned.

I agree with everything he says in this paragraph except the last line. He’s right. There has been no honest debate. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would never allow that to happen, not on their watch. We’ve seen scare tactics. We sure have. If you’ve read the bill, you know it’s beyond scary. Some have dug into unyielding ideological camps with no hope of compromise. Pelosi and Reid have proven time and time again that their ideological voice is the only one allowed to be heard in their respective chambers.

I draw the line however with his final statement. No matter what you hear in the “blizzard of charges and counter-charges” there is no confusion if you have read the bill. There is no doubt about the content of the health care bill, if you take the time to read it.

So let’s get on with the points he made about the bill, shall we?

First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.

That is a lie. Plain and simple. While the bill itself does not “require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have”, there is nothing in the bill to prevent the government from over regulating insurance companies and driving them from the marketplace. As I stated above, there is nothing to prevent employers from agreeing to pay an 8% fine in order to drop health care, because it saves them money. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced an amendment on July 28th which stated, “Nothing in this division shall prevent or limit individuals from keeping their current health benefit plan”.

The amendment failed in a vote of 32-26. Apparently there wasn’t enough interest in the committee to guarantee that you could keep your health care. In fact, even President Obama has changed his rhetoric about that topic. He used to say, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period“. Now he says, “nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have“.

Under HR 3200, the new Health Choices Commissioner sets the regulations and procedures that independent health care insurance companies must follow to be considered a “qualified health benefits plan”.

When the President said “Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.” He was deceiving you. If you still don’t believe me, READ THE BILL.

I currently have no health insurance. No dental insurance. Nothing. When I lost my job, I lost my insurance. I can’t afford insurance at this point in time. A universal health care plan would benefit me greatly at this point in time and you may think I would support that, but I don’t.

I cannot support any plan that gives the government so much control over my life or the lives of my family members. I cannot support any plan that will pass unsustainable debt onto my children, my grandchildren, and my children’s grandchildren. I cannot support any plan that allows the government to make the regulations, define the services, set the prices, and control the way in which those services are provided.

HR 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009“, does all of this.

President Obama stood at that podium last night and blatantly lied to the American people. He knowingly contradicted the text of HR 3200, and he showed the utmost contempt for the citizens of our great nation.

Tomorrow is September 11th, and I have a long tradition of remaining silent in honor of those who were lost on that horrific day in 2001. I’ll be back on Saturday to continue my breakdown of the President’s speech and show you all of the remaining places in that speech, where he lied to you.