The White House is losing the health care debate. Polls from National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal/NBC News, The Washington Post, Gallup, and Pew all show that the American people do not support President Barack Obama’s health care plan. The White House wants people to believe they are losing the health care debate because “scary … videos are starting to percolate on the internet” that are spreading “disinformation” about Obama’s health care plan. The White House is even encouraging Obama supporters to help them identify people spreading this “disinformation.” The official White House blog now asks Americans: “If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com.”
In the interest of honest debate, we would like to flag the White House about some prominent people that are directly contradicting the President about what his health care plan would do to the American people. As White House Health Reform Office communications director Linda Douglass points out in a video released by the White House yesterday, President Obama has repeatedly assured Americans that under his plan “if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them.”
The problem the White House faces, however, is that much of President Obama’s base does not want the American people to keep their current insurance plan or doctor. Activists on the left prefer a single payer system where private health insurance companies have been eliminated. So how can the White House both appease its leftist base, which wants a single payer/government run health care and mollify the vast majority of Americans who want to keep their current health insurance providers? By creating a government run “public option” designed to slowly eliminate private insurance over time.
The President has explicitly said that the public option will not eliminate private insurance. He told the American Medical Association on June 15th: “What are not legitimate concerns are those being put forward claiming a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system...So, when you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this - they are not telling the truth.” So the President SAYS the public option will not lead to single payer health care … but a number of prominent people are saying the exact opposite:
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) at a Health Care for America Now rally: “And next to me was a guy from the insurance company who argued against the public health insurance option, saying it wouldn’t let private insurance compete. That a public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer. My single-payer friends, he was right. The man was right.”
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told Single Payer Action: “I think that if we get a good public option it could lead to single-payer and that is the best way to reach single-payer. Saying you’ll do nothing till you get single-payer is a sure way never to get it. … I think the best way we’re going to get single-payer, the only way, is to have a public option and demonstrate the strength of its power.”
Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein at the Democratic National Convention last year: “They have a sneaky strategy, the point of which is to put in place something that over time the natural incentives within its own market will move it to single-payer.”
Noble Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman: “[T]he only reason not to do [single-payer] is that politically it’s hard to do in one step…You’d have to convince people completely give up the insurance they have, whereas something that lets people keep the insurance they have but then offers the option of a public plan, that may evolve into single-payer.”
Americans deserve an honest debate about health care. President Obama, Barney Frank, and Jan Schakowsky cannot all be right. Either the President is wrong when he says his plan will not lead to government run health care, or Frank and Schakowsky are spreading disinformation when they tell their single payer advocate base that it will. So let’s help the White House out. Do email firstname.lastname@example.org and let the White House know you’ve seen something “fishy” on the web about health care reform.
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