Business & Media Institute 
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Since Congressmen do not even read the bills they pass anymore, Barbara Walters asked the question on many Americans’ minds about healthcare “reform”: “What is the bill? Does anyone know?” A valid question, but unfortunately, “The View” turned to a biased source for the answer.
ABC News Medical Editor Dr. Timothy Johnson appeared on the show to answer questions about Obama and the Democrats’ health care proposals. Johnson is a great choice if you’re interested in viewers hearing liberal health care talking points, but not if you want to give them objective information. Johnson is a longtime advocate for ObamaCare.
Johnson and Walters began by pointing out that Obama is waiting for Congress to come out with its own plan before he gives real specifics about his. While they were careful to note that there is no Republican bill, they didn’t mention any of the number of conservative ideas on health care reform that would improve coverage and lower costs.
“The president said that people should have the same health care as congress, as the senators and congressmen,” Walters remarked. Johnson then went on to compare the “public option” plan to the plan that Congressman have for themselves and their families: “What they have is an insurance exchange. They’re part of the federal employees plan, which means that once a year they get to choose from a list of private plans that has been vetted by the government to make sure they’re good and that they say what they’re going to do, and then the Congress and the other federal employees get to look at that list and pick the ones they want for themselves or their family. Obama’s proposed something very similar. He calls it a national health insurance exchange where people can sit down with a list of approved plans and look and pick one.”
Ironic that Johnson would compare the public option plan to the Congressional plan now. Representative Parker Griffith, a Blue Dog from Alabama who is against the public option, is sponsoring a bill that would require members of congress to use the same plan that they are forcing onto the American people. The idea behind it is if congress does not want to accept it for themselves, then why should they accept it for their constituents.
Johnson did point out a possible problematic difference between what congress has and the public option plan: “The problem with the Congressional plan is it’s a very good plan, it’s a rich plan, it has a lot of benefits and it costs a lot of money, so if we did that for the whole country, it would be a big bill … if the national exchange that Obama’s talking about turns out to be the options that are on the Congressional plan, it’s going to cost a lot of money.” So there is no way all Americans can have the same health-care quality and choices that Congress has without ballooning the already bloated deficit.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Sheri Shepherd then asked Johnson what this health plan would mean for her, as someone who is already insured. Johnson said the president “will tell you is if we don’t do anything now, your insurance is going to go up every year, just as it has been for the last 10 years and it’s going to cost a lot more, and you’re going to get fewer benefits and …[if you lose your job] [t]hen you won’t have insurance…what he is saying to people with insurance is if we don’t do something now, your insurance is going to get worse and worse and worse and pretty soon you’ll be without insurance.”
Johnson neglected to mention that a public option plan, according to the CBO, would increase health insurance costs, not lower them. Nor did he mention that a large part of the reason health insurance costs are so high now is because of government regulation, including limited competition due to the inability to purchase insurance from another state.
But Johnson wasn’t concerned with such details. He was, he said, “all for increasing coverage. It’s the morally right thing to do. It’s the medically right thing to do.” What’s “moral” about government-run health insurance is unclear, since by law no one in America is ever denied healthcare for lack of insurance, as every emergency room in the country is testament to.
Johnson rightly pointed out that emergency room care is both inefficient and expensive. But since a large proportion of the uninsured who get their primary care from emergency rooms are illegal aliens (just one of the problems with the 47 million uninsured “Americans” reporters and other liberals so often quote), a public plan open only to legal residents would hardly solve the problem.
Johnson said he worries about the shortage of doctors that will occur as the rolls of those covered increase. “Unless we increase the number of primary care doctors, the kind of doctors you go to when you think you’re sick, along with increasing coverage, we’re going to be in big trouble.” Well doctor, don’t be surprised if you get trouble. In all likelihood, and government-run plan will drive down compensation for MDs – not a state of affairs known to swell professional ranks.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck confronted Johnson about the inefficiencies of already existing government plans. “The skeptics out there are saying, okay, look at the programs the government has been running, not just regulating, running, like Medicaid and Medicare, and even some of the veterans’ programs. Those are near failure, okay. And some of those are near bankruptcy. How are we then to put our trust in the government to actually run the entire health care program? So what do you say to that and those skeptics?”
“Well, first of all, nobody that I know of, including the president, is saying the government should run the entire program,” Johnson claimed, “They are talking about one option being a public option.” What Johnson and others – including Obama – know full well is that a government plan that does not have to be profitable, with access to the federal coffers and inseparable from the people who legislate and regulate health care will drive private insurers out of business. Eventually, the government will be the only game in town.
Johnson continued to defend the government-run plans already in existence, ignoring the inefficiency and waste of Medicaid and the VA.