Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Obama Asks Questions RedState Can't Understand

Critics of Obama's healthcare plan insist that it's a bad idea because government can't do anything right and it will be so popular that it will put private insurers out of business. And this is, of course, nonsense. If government healthcare will be a nightmare for those it insures, people won't want it and private insurers have nothing to fear. But if it provides superior care, then private insurers should go out of business. It's that simple.

And Obama realizes that and said as much at a recent press conference. But rather than attack the motives of his critics, he merely posed it as a question, as if he assumes they're acting in good faith and hadn't thought this through. But naturally, this blew the fuses of rightwingers, who fail to understand the basic contradiction of their attacks.

The "Laugh" in McLaughlin

And so I'm at RedState and read Dan McLaughlin's post Obama Asks Questions That Have Very Obvious Answers. And sure enough, he didn't understand the question. Because he proceeds to attack Obama for not understanding the objection against his plan. But somehow, McLaughlin forgot what that objection actually was.

Again, their criticism is that government insurance will suck and that private insurance is simply superior. Yet apparently, the superiority of private insurers is now a non-issue. McLaughlin doesn't even mention it. Now, it's all about money. And because the government can spend unlimited amounts of money on their program, it gives them an unfair advantage which they'll use to drive everyone else out of business.

But...what's the point of this advantage if the program sucks? I mean, if government insurance means waiting lists and having a bureaucrat deny you the healthcare you need, who'd pick it? I don't care what sort of financial advantage they had, if I was getting suckier insurance, I wouldn't want it. Yet...McLaughlin doesn't make this point at all. It's like he's completely forgotten why he objected to Obama's plan in the first place.

And this is all a long way of saying: Obama so thoroughly skewered the conservative argument that they had to abandon it completely in order to address Obama's question. And that's exactly what it was meant to do. Game, set, match.

Professing Ignorance

And one of the funnier aspects is that McLaughlin also suggests that it's unfair that the government could use its size as leverage to reduce costs, which the rest of us consider a great feature of the plan. Duh! He even goes as far as to attack Obama for not mentioning it, writing:
That’s an argument Obama himself has made repeatedly, yet he now professes ignorance of it. Because, of course, he retains at all times the confidence that nobody will ever call him on this sort of thing.
Uh, Obama didn't profess ignorance of it, unless that word now has a different meaning. Nor should he. Again, this is one of the reasons why Obama thinks his plan is better. And so rather than scoring a point against Obama, McLaughlin scored on himself and does a victory dance to celebrate.


And I would be loath to not mention a post McLaughlin described as "screamingly obvious ways" that private insurers couldn't compete. Yet the list is an increasingly paranoid nightmare of the government using its muscle to explicitly destroy private insurance, including "extorting employers to dump their private plans" and "removing a corporate CEO and installing an Obama crony in his place." He forgot to mention how healthcare execs would be the first against the wall.

Curiously, nothing on his list is even remotely part of Obama's plan, and have everything to do with conservatives being scared little men with far too much time on their hands. And again, this guy had to completely abandon the conservative argument in order to answer Obama's question, which suggests that Obama did a great job of destroying it.

5 comments:

paul said...

You are purposefully dense. Obama's response that if the private plans are superior they will be kept and therefore private insurance has nothing to worry about is a complete red herring.

The simple dynamic is this: you offer something that doesn't cost much and provides inferior care. Most people -- the very vast majority of them -- do not use their insurance for most of their lives. It insures against things that could happen; not things which will definitely happen. As people age, of course, the more likely that the insurance will be accessed.

What do you think someone, who is healthy and has not used insurance nor sees any problems on the horizon, is going to do? They will take the "free" or relatively cheap alternative.

Also, employers would love to off load the cost of insurance onto government. At the slightest provocation, they will drop the private insurance and say to their employees -- let's opt into the cheap gov't plan.

I am from Canada and I can tell you it is astonishing what people will not do if it costs them a penny. Sure they will buy iphones and stereos and stuff like that, but they aint ever gonna spend $ on their own health care. It is entirely true. That's why Canadians gladly pay over half their incomes to various and sundry levels of government, but still moronically say that their healthcare is free! It is a comedy of tragedy.

Green Eagle said...

"Yet the list is an increasingly paranoid nightmare of the government using its muscle to explicitly destroy private insurance,"

What the guy doesn't get is that, to most of us, that's a feature, not a bug.

Larry said...

I entirely agree with Paul. You are simply stupid.

Your ignorant statements:
"If government healthcare will be a nightmare for those it insures, people won't want it and private insurers have nothing to fear. But if it provides superior care, then private insurers should go out of business. It's that simple."... tell me a lot about you. First, you have never been to a VA hospital. Second, you have absolutely no clue how medical care, or the market, works. Third, you are a typical utopian, who does not understand that it is true that government screws up everything it touches.

Government healthcare IS a nightmare, except for those in power. For those OUT of power (as in, all veterans, most people on Medicare, and almost all on Medicaid), it is horrendous.

You should do some research before you write so much, so you don't reveal your idiocy quite so quickly to a reader.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Paul - People who don't think they need insurance already don't have any. So private insurers wouldn't be losing these customers.

Secondly, in any other discussion, you guys talk about government healthcare as being a nightmare. Yet now, you make it sound as if it's only somewhat inferior, yet still good enough that millions of people will leave their supposedly superior insurance in order to get nightmare insurance. And again, this is the game, set, match moment I described in the post. No longer are you describing the public option as a bureaucratic nightmare, but merely mildly inferior in a way that millions upon millions of Americans are willing to accept.

And btw, employers aren't required to have insurance. And so if government insurance is a nightmare, their employees won't want it and will rebel against the plan you suggest.

And btw, Paul, Americans pay almost twice as much for healthcare as you Canadians do. Again, we pay almost twice as much. And finally, we pay almost twice as much. And all the same, a large number of our bankruptcies are caused directly from medical expenses of people who are underinsured; yet we pay almost twice as much as you do.

And one last point: My point was that McLaughlin failed to talk about his original reason for disliking government insurance. So you mentioning it now doesn't make up for my original point. But again, in order to make your point, you are unable to continue to think of it as nightmare insurance, so again, Obama's point clearly scored: If government insurance is so horribly bad, nobody will want it. And you've said nothing to refute that point, even if you were at least willing to discuss the issue which McLaughlin avoided.

Green Eagle said...

"Paul - People who don't think they need insurance already don't have any. So private insurers wouldn't be losing these customers."

Actually, I think things are actually better than this. There must be millions, millions, I tell you, of people who don't want insurance, who have it anyway, through their employers. Now, they could opt out of any insurance coverage at all, thus leaving the medical system free to devote more time and attention to the rest of us, and increasing the competitiveness of American business. It's a win-win solution.