The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the water spout and apparently bit the Speaker of the House. Ms. Pelosi had a delusional moment the other day, but she was clear on one thing. She never intended to listen to any Republican suggestions regarding the health care bill.
Close observation of the Bipartisan Health Care Summit provided clarity within the first half hour that there was not much bipartisan here. After listening to President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, it was obvious that there was no way that they were going to overhaul their 2,400 page (or is it 2,600) health care bill.
I recently enlisted expert advice on the issue. My source was Dr. Bill Cassidy, who doubles as the Congressman from the sixth district of Louisiana and is part of the growing breed of medical professionals that refuse to leave the administration of our country to interests hostile to a cost-effective, patient-oriented, health care system. Dr. Cassidy was elected to Congress in 2008 after spending 20 years serving the uninsured in Louisiana’s public hospital system and teaching at LSU’s outstanding medical school. His specialty is gastroenterology and like many other elected physicians, he still sees patients when he’s back in his district. He is one of the very few people in Congress who truly has first-hand knowledge of those that the omnibus health care bill supposedly seeks to help.
Dr. Cassidy reminded me of an interesting exchange that confirmed President Obama’s utter ignorance of how markets function. Republicans pointed out that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis stated that premiums would rise under the existing proposals. The President initially insisted that this was not true, but then backtracked, arguing that premiums would go up because the new policies would have additional benefits. What the President doesn’t understand is that for each additional mandate – every one of which increases premiums – more and more consumers would no longer be able to afford the policy. Dr. Cassidy pointed out that the price of health care insurance is not inelastic.
Dr. Cassidy cited Senator Max Baucus as a prime example of the problem with the proposals. Other than the fact that Senator Baucus had to be tone deaf when he stated that the two sides were not really that far apart – a stunning statement unto itself – he shockingly misstated the reality of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Dr. Cassidy knew that a Kaiser Family Foundation study showed that because the HSA program provides an affordable health insurance alternative, 27% of new HSA participants were previously uninsured. Just think what might happen if HSAs were widely known and encouraged by the government.