Top of the Morning

Top of the morning

The people in North Carolina continue to be the focus of all sorts of national attention, and not all of it is good.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is targeting North Carolina and four other states in a new national ad campaign designed to mislead us into opposiing any public health care option.

The campaign will include print and internet ads as well as rallies and other events. How did we get so lucky?

In case you have already seen an ad from the chamber or Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina trying to scare you into thinking the public option will be the end of civilization as we know it, here’s President Obama from his press conference last night.

If you already have health insurance, the reform we’re proposing will provide you with more security and more stability. It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it.


  1. Quizzical

    July 23, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Yes, that’s what Obama said, but his speech was disappointingly short on details supporting this contention.

    The CBO’s cost estimates have called into question one of the President’s central arguments — that getting health care under control is critical to reining in the deficit and jump-starting recovery. The plans on the table now in Congress will clearly increase costs considerably and do little to tame medical inflation.

    Obama also suddenly seems weak on the necessity of an individual mandate that I believe is critical to universal access — underwriting/pre-existing exclusions can only go away if everyone is in a single risk pool all the time. Massachusetts enacted only a weak individual mandate and their costs are exploding.

    I expected much more from the Obama than a vague “support reform because people need it and we’ve waited so long.”

  2. Rob Schofield

    July 23, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Whatever the imperfections of the President’s approach, the hard truth is this: the forces of inaction and reaction are doing everything in their power to kill anything approximating real reform.

    At this point, it’s some version of the Obama plan or nothing. Will there be some near term sacrifice from lots of Americans to get the new system up and running? Absolutely. Will it work flawlessly? Assuredly not.

    But anyone who thinks we’re gonna’ get anything worth a hoot if we shoot down the President’s plan is delusional.

  3. Tar Heel

    July 23, 2009 at 10:35 am

    the healthcare debate is trapped between a political establishment that doesn’t want a single-payer system and news media that insist on ignoring its real potential.

  4. Quizzical

    July 24, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Rob — Don’t understand why you make an emotional appeal to avoid looking at the details, rather than providing a coherent argument as to why the plans on the table represent good policy.

    I totally agree that our system needs reform. And I am completely unmoved by knee-jerk GOP cries of “socialism!” (especially after the bailout of banks and auto manufacturers).

    But the fact remains that passing a reform package that makes things worse is stupid. None of the plans debated thus far will accomplish the goals for which there is broad support: universal access, better quality and a reduction medical costs.

    If getting a single payer plan is more important to you than those goals, fine. But most people don’t give a hoot about structure — they just want to be confident they can get the care they need without facing financial meltdown. We can and should get there.

    It’s time to admit that there are fatal flaws in the current health plans, and pointing them out is neither reactionary nor oppositional to the President’s goals. I voted for Obama expecting leadership on this issue. I’m still hopeful that he will show it.

  5. Robert Bilbro, MD

    July 24, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Cost controlling is essential to our achieving healthcare reform.

    Suggestions: a) Create transparency in the payment system by having patients participate economically in their healthcare. Could do that by having 5% copay for all care beyond primary care. b) Change incentives involved in payments to the provider system. Could pay large healthcare networks on per capita basis and have that network negotiate something other than fee for service with doctors, hospitals, and equipment vendors.

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