Saturday, March 6, 2010

Presidential Hypocracy

I was just driving home, half-listening to the news on the radio, when I was jolted to full attention by the following quote, spoken in the voice of President Barama:

“...because nothing should get in the way of a family and its doctor.”

As I said, I had only been half-listening, (maybe even only one-third-listening,) and the news broadcast switched to another subject after the quote ended.  Still, it didn’t take any effort at all for the news junkie in me to realize that he was talking about his latest efforts to get Congress to pass his healthcare legislation.

I wanted to jump up and point at the radio and shout “You Lie!” but since I was driving and it was raining, and driving in the rain in L.A. is pretty much like driving in an ice storm anywhere else in the country, I couldn’t really jump up and level my accusation.

Come on people, let’s do a little reality check here.  Is there not already a MASSIVE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY and ENDLESS REGULATORY RED TAPE bogging down our healthcare system (and getting right in the way of a family and its doctor?)  For the President to make this particular statement, on this subject, in the context of what he is trying to do with healthcare in America, is utterly outrageous.  You can see it on YouTube here and if you scroll to 2:57 you will get the quote.  It is preceded by a pretty standard rant against the evil insurance companies, which of course completely drops the context of all the regulation that has them boxed into the dreadful state they are in these days.

Back when my Mom was still working as a nurse (Hi Mom!) I remember how shocked I was to learn that it was about a third of the man-hours of a doctor’s office that was given to regulatory compliance.  I’m sure it’s much higher now, probably close to half (or more?) as that was probably about a decade ago. 

Do we really need more of this?  How much red tape is enough?  Is there EVER enough?  The answer (from those holding the tape dispensors) is:  Clearly Not!   The problem with red tape is that the more of it you have, the more you need, to try to fix the unexpected problems that inevitably spring up as a result of the red tape applied to the problem in the first place. 

The red tape must be unraveled, not augmented.

And, there are so, so, so many good ideas out there for reforming the system, from tort reform, to reducing mandates and allowing interstate insurance competition, and encouraging those medical savings accounts, and many others, that there’s really no excuse for pretending that expanding the existing MASSIVE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY and ENDLESS REGULATORY RED TAPE is the way out of this mess.  (Yes, I realize that if the RRT is really ‘endless’ then it is a logical contradiction to characterize it as ‘expandable’ but there are far worse contradictions at work in the halls of Congress, and believe you me, they will find a way to do it.)  And if you think this bill will somehow streamline things or pay for itself with its own efficiencies or some such nonsense, you are living in Fantasy Land.

I also fully realize that the kind of contradictory double-speak exhibited by President Barama in this example is the norm these days, and it practically comes out of just about every politician’s mouth all the time, but he is the President after all, and as such it makes him a pretty clear target for criticism.

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