A few reasons why the President’s healthcare proposals have met such resistance.
1. Most folks like what they have. (Sorry to repeat what I wrote in previous columns.) They tell pollsters they like their own healthcare. Yes, they feel the system could be improved for others. But for their own situation, don’t mess with it.
That is a mighty big obstacle for the President to overcome. His researchers have told him this. And this is why you have heard the message about the uninsured so often. Supporters hope it will prick the consciences of those who are satisfied.
2. Most folks see no crisis. They hear the cries of “Crisis! Crisis! Crisis! We must act on this urgently!” They look up and see the sky is not falling. They see no reports that babies and oldsters are dropping off their twigs by the thousands before their time. They see nothing about hordes of patients sleeping on hospital doorsteps.
There may very well be a crisis. But if there is, it is not too visible to most folks. And so when they hear the President and others wail about a crisis, they just don’t grow too anxious.
3. The President and his supporters tell us that when government wades deeper into healthcare it will save hundreds of billions of dollars. Trillions, in fact, over many years. Sorry, but most folks don’t buy that.
Maybe they would, if government boasted a track record of saving money. Maybe they would if they could remember when government squeezed savings out of anything except the taxpayer. Too many folks have seen too many government programs grow like topsy.
Too many folks know that the government’s own medical program – Medicare – is twenty times as large as politicians promised. Its growth has been beyond anybody’s control.
Folks are just not going to believe government will save all that money.
4. Folks know the President and Congress refuse to look at tort reform. And that tort reform would save big bucks.
Everybody knows doctors order up lots of tests that are unnecessary. Only because they must practice defensive medicine against malpractice wolves. They know some docs have to pay $200,000 per year for malpractice insurance. They know that money has to come from patients. Patients paying healthcare premiums.
They know government could lower healthcare costs by hundreds of billions by putting sensible caps on malpractice awards. They see nothing of the sort in the proposals.
5. Seniors swing the big club. And seniors feel threatened by the reforms. Seniors are a big voting block to begin with. And high percentages of them vote in mid-term elections.
They feel threatened because they are mostly happy with their coverage. They fear change. And they heard the President promise to squeeze hundreds of billions of savings out of Medicare and Medicaid. Well, most seniors use one of those programs. They fear they will become the squeezies.
The politicians are in a tight corner with this. If they ram major reforms through they know they will anger lots of voters. They know voters are already ticked off over a number of issues. In a lot of districts a “Yes” vote for major reforms will be like walking the plank.
From Tom … as in Morgan.
For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.