Tom Daschle (who was almost HHS Secretary) weighs in on Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 22nd, 2011

Daschle:  Let us Build on what Unites Us

Tom Daschle would have been on point for Obamacare if he didn’t have some IRS issues.  Health care reform was to be his baby.  He was going to be secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).   But, alas, it was not to be.  So he is keen in seeing Obamacare remain in law.  Health care is his spécialité.

Though out of the Senate these days, he is still finding a forum for his voice.  The New York Times.  He gives some talking points to President Obama for his state of the union address.  For he thinks there is a lot of agreement on health care reform in general.  And that there are just some minor disagreements on some specifics (see The Final Health Care Debate by Tom Daschle posted 1/22/2011 on The New York Times).

“Let us build on what unites us — by constructing marketplaces for health insurance that offer greater choice at less cost; creating organizations that coordinate care efficiently and bring down the unacceptable rate of medical mistakes; continuing to encourage scientists to find new ways to prevent and cure disease; and empowering cities and counties to develop new solutions to the perplexing problems of health care in America now.

Constructing marketplaces for health insurance that offer greater choice at less cost?  As far as the market place, there’s an easier way to accomplish that.  Just let insurance companies compete across state lines.  They could right now and make health care more affordable.  If it wasn’t for a law preventing them from competing across state lines.

Unacceptable rate of medical mistakes?  Actually, there are fewer mistakes in a private health care system than a public one.  Because private enterprises are accountable.  Government isn’t.  The bigger problem out there increasing health care costs is the cost of litigation.  Tort reform would go a long way in reigning in costs.  A simple ‘loser pays’ would prevent most of the frivolous suits.  Or perhaps some sort of bonding requirement for law suits.  Highly suspect lawsuits would require a high bonding and discourage it from proceeding.  A very legitimate case would require a low bonding and numerous non profits would probably pick that up pro bono. 

Encourage scientists to find new ways to prevent and cure disease?  We already have that.  We call it the patent system.  It encourages private enterprise to pour bazillions of dollars into research and development to find those preventions and cures.  And in return for that huge investment, they get an exclusive patent on the pills they create.  That’s why those pills are so expensive.  Because we give patents to help people get rich by working miracles in modern science.  We call that an incentive system.  And this incentive system is working so well that Medicare and Social Security are going broke.  Because people are living longer than anyone every anticipated.  Thanks to those miracle pills.

Empowering cities and counties?  Why, that’s going in the other direction of a national solution, isn’t it?  Obamacare is centralizing, not devolving.  Like the British did.  When they nationalized their health care.  Of course, these days, the Brits are backtracking a bit.  Now they’re trying to devolve power to the cities and counties.  Because their national solution isn’t working all that well.

Is there Enough Bipartisanship for a Bipartisanship Commission?

No, we’re not as united as Mr. Daschle would have us believe.  The Republicans see little in Obamacare they want to save.  Especially with that mandate from the 2010 midterm election to overturn Obamacare.  So there is little point in having a sit-down with both sides to discuss ways of saving Obamacare.  But that’s exactly what Mr. Daschle suggests.

“To that end, I propose that we create a bipartisan commission to examine the best ways to carry out, oversee and, where appropriate, revise the health care reform law. Made up of members of Congress, governors and members of my administration, this commission would provide invaluable guidance and solutions going forward.

Again, he’s offering these words for President Obama.  A bipartisan commission?  I’m not sure what the point of that is when there is little bipartisan support for Obamacare.  Congress passed Obamacare when Democrats held majorities in both the House and the Senate.  Pretty much along party lines.  Now that the Republicans have resumed majority power in the House, the House voted to repeal Obamacare (H.R. 2).  But the Democrats still hold the Senate.  So the repeal may not make it through the Senate.

Bipartisan?  There’s nothing bipartisan about Obamacare.  Never has been.  And never will.  To think so is only wishful thinking.  Or a grasping of straws.

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