The Intermittent Kevin

As rarely and randomly updated as most blogs

Health care: fact-checking Obama’s speech

with 5 comments

I wasn’t going to post about it, since the info is readily available elsewhere, but I might as well link to what says about Obama’s speech…

— Joe Wilson’s wrong and Obama’s right about whether the bill covers illegal immigrants. It doesn’t. But it’s not quite as simple as that; the GOP argues that the bill lacks a proper enforcement mechanism to make sure people taking advantage of the public option are US citizens, or even legal immigrants. Good point, except any illegal immigrant who applies for a public insurance plan is committing insurance fraud and taking on a rather huge risk of being caught. Would some still do it? Sure, there’s always weasels. But certainly not enough to constitute a significant drain on public resources. Seriously, I think Republicans have a secret crush on illegal immigrants or something.

— I think it’s fair to say that whether federal dollars are used to pay for abortions depends on your opinion in the abortion debate. It’s hard to say that federal subsidies used to buy insurance, which is then used to pay for abortion, don’t at least somewhat qualify as “federal dollars.” If you find abortion abhorrent, then this too would seem abhorrent. But I myself am pro-choice and don’t object to this system.

— Ruh roh, and I found different things as to whether the Obama plan will add to the deficit. Even more confusing, we both quote Congressional Budget Office reports in saying whether it would or wouldn’t! Confusing.

Granted, the CBO report I read talked about health-care reform in abstract terms, whereas the one factcheck talks about discussed the Democractic plans currently being worked on. Soooo, things might not be looking good on the “deficit-neutral” thing. I’ll need to dive into those two reports and pull out some actual numbers, though. Stand by.

— Obama fudged some numbers as to how much insurance companies control their local markets. But the insurance companies don’t net a lot of sympathy from me on this one; BlueCross BlueShield “only” has 75% market share in Alabama, not 90%? Yeah, that’s still bad enough to act on, sorry.

— Last thing: again Obama pulls a politician on us with the line, “You won’t be required to change your insurance.” Ahhh, but you might, if your employer switches your insurance for you. And given that the public option would almost certainly be cheaper than a private plan with equivalent coverage, it very well could. I guess this all depends on whether the public option even makes it into the final bill; I’d personally give it one chance in four. But it’s worth considering.


Written by Kevin Miller

September 11, 2009 at 10:21 am

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5 Responses

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  1. On that last point, my understanding is that no one who currently has insurance through an employer would be allowed to switch to the public option for 5 years–that would prevent employers from suddenly dumping their health plans and forcing everyone into the public plan all at once.


    September 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm

  2. Ah, that could be. Thanks for the note.


    September 11, 2009 at 3:13 pm

  3. Yea – and the bummer with that is, the public option may well have substantially better benefits than the private plan the employee is currently on, but too bad, so sad, you get to keep your current crappy plan so we can say we’re not forcing you to change.

    Brian W

    September 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm

  4. Also, employers change insurance companies/plans regularly outside of massive orgs like UT, Apple, etc. Just adding me to the rolls caused one small business to swap carriers the very next year. Granted, I am an exceptional catalyst. 🙂


    September 12, 2009 at 9:39 pm

  5. Yeah I’ve had at least 2 companies switch me into lower-coverage insurance plans with no employee input. I’m actually really against not allowing private-insurance employers to switch in – small businesses could use any savings if the coverage is decent since we ARE the backbone of the economy and all.


    September 19, 2009 at 1:09 pm

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