John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Missed Opportunity on Health Care Reform

Posted on August 11, 2009

Missed Opportunity


            The current heated debate that has embroiled the country (whether the conservatives who organize to protest Obamacare are somehow illegitimate while the liberals who organize to support Obamacare  are somehow perfectly above board) misses the real story in the missteps by the White House to get real health care reform quickly.


            I had a beer with my best friend from high school this evening (and his wife and kids….the kids didn’t have any beer), and we got to talking about health care and Obama.  They aren’t big fans of Obama.  They doubt his sincerity, they worry about his spending plans, they expect big tax increases from him, and they don’t really like him that much.


            And they oppose his health care plan.


            What is interesting about this family is that they should be the poster child for true health care reform.  They have a special needs kid, a great kid of great intelligence who had an inuteran stroke before he was born, and who has had big health care bills his whole life.  His parents are small business owners who needed to buy insurance from the individual market, but when they wanted to buy insurance, they couldn’t find anybody to sell it to them.


            As a result, they had to spend pretty much their entire savings to take care of their bright child who will always have special needs.


            There is a simple solution to this problem.  Make the insurance companies offer reasonable insurance products to those who have pre-existing conditions.  Sounds pretty easy, and in fact, the insurance industry has offered that as one of their concessions to avoid the possibility of a government-sponsored alternative, which the companies fear will drive them out of business.


            Republicans support such an effort to make the insurance companies offer insurance to those with pre-existing conditions.  So do Democrats, but they go far beyond what is necessary or responsible.  Nope, as they often do the Democrats have overreached. 


            And they have turned off my friends, and hundreds of thousands of people like them, who want health care to be reformed, but don’t want to see the government go bankrupt as a result.


            As a result, we have this huge protest from people who are rightly concerned about a vast government bureaucracy that will pay for abortions, promote rationing, perhaps set up a government board that decides who dies and who lives, and that will push this country to the brink of bankruptcy.


            The Democrats have missed an opportunity to promote common-sense health care reform.   And now they are facing the consequences.  They might pass something, but when they do, it will be more painful than it should have been.


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