Why Obama needs to “keep it simple, stupid”

In the 1992 presidential election campaign, Democratic strategist James Carville famously unveiled the wedge issue that would decide the election by stating, “It’s the economy, stupid.” It was a simple and efficient message targeting an electorate concerned about job losses and slow economic recovery. George H.W. Bush, who had a 90-plus per cent approval rating after the Gulf War, would end up a one-term president, ceding the reins to Bill Clinton.

Right now, the healthcare messaging from the White House has none of the clarity nor the simplicity of Carville’s slogan. And while Barack Obama remains the best salesperson for healthcare reform, he is having to defend different bills in both Houses of Congress and is not connecting in the way we have become accustomed to. True, opponents of reform have been scaremongering, but that was to be expected. Complicating matters is the sluggish economic recovery and the rising deficit due to the stimulus package and bailouts. One can argue that governing and campaigning are two distinct operations, but if Obama is feeling the heat this August, it is to some extent self-inflicted.

After listening to the last two presidential town hall meetings in Montana and Colorado, I have concluded that the debate has become utterly confusing to many Americans and unnecessarily polarizing. Healthcare reform was a major issue in last November’s election and Obama was given a clear mandate to act on it. While he has not hesitated to do so, the ensuing debate has resulted in a serious loss of momentum at a crucial moment in the process.

In recent days, the cable news shows have focused on political conjecture, like whether Republicans will continue to stonewall any possibility of bipartisan reform, or whether Blue Dog Democrats will do to Obama what was done to Clinton in 1993 and defeat the reform package, or whether Obama will have the votes to enact any significant reform. Obama, with his recent retreat on the public option (he dismissed it as only a “sliver” of the larger reform package), has upset his liberal base without making any noticeable gains for his package. The speculation among the talking heads has turned to the impact all this will all have on the Obama presidency if he fails to deliver on his number one domestic priority. The trouble right now is that Americans are losing sight of why this debate was launched in the first place—for many years, that the healthcare system was in need of fixing was a near-consensus view.

The president and his party need to take a page out of Carville’s playbook and focus on the KISS principle—”keep it simple, stupid.” Right now, it is anything but simple. The debate has been centered around spiraling healthcare costs, which would continue with or without reform, and whether a public option, which is seen as a novel idea even though it is not, is an essential ingredient to the reform package. On some occasions, Obama has presented health insurance reform as a way to emphasize competition and choice. At other moments, he stresses the importance of universality and the need to provide for the 47 million without insurance as well as protect the 14,000 Americans who are losing their healthcare protection every day. Meanwhile, opponents allergic to any tax increase or any government intervention have produced their own KISS strategy—the bogus reference to “death panels” and the claim treatment options will be rationed—and it is forcing the Democrats off their game. When it comes to healthcare, it is easy to scare people.

The latest polemic on the public option provides a glimpse at the incoherence that has marked the debate. It has divided Democrats, pitting those who see it as the “line in the sand” against those naively obsessed with getting some bipartisan support. The proponents of the status quo, including Republicans, claim they are opposed to the so-called public option. However, these same opponents of the public option would fight to the finish to protect current public programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans’ Affairs, and the State Children`s Health Insurance Program, which cover millions of Americans. See the contradiction?

Put simply, the United States spends more on healthcare than any other advanced industrial nation in the world, yet lags behind them in many indicators of good health such as life expectancy and infant mortality. No real bang for the buck! The fear of losing a job in America is compounded by the attendant loss of health insurance. Beyond its impacts on overall health, the loss of insurance can put a family’s financial security at risk. Moreover, the profit-driven health insurance companies have been known to make up their own rules on crucial issues such as the portability of healthcare or whether care can be denied due to pre-existing conditions. And yet, a recent Time magazine poll shows a nearly 90 per cent satisfaction rate among those covered by their employer’s plan. At the end of the day, it is not surprising that people are fearful the reforms might reduce their benefits.

Obama and the Democrats must zero in on the two major areas of reform if they are to win the debate—the need to change critical health insurance practices and provide universal coverage. Yes, costs must be controlled, but all indicators show that the status quo will only lead to higher costs while doing nothing to fix the existing flaws. People will end up with decreasing levels of service and have little choice but to endure them. Meantime, the number of uninsured will only increase, leading to higher overall costs because of uncontrolled charity care costs. Prevention will continue to be a secondary consideration in an nation suffering from an already high rate of obesity. Correcting unacceptable health insurance practices and insuring those currently without protection were the two crucial components of the healthcare reform effort that was discussed throughout the primary season and the presidential campaign. Obama solicited and eventually received a mandate to act on these two priorities.

Democrats have a clear-cut choice in the matter: they can bring in a new public option to compete with private health insurers or they can reform existing programs like Medicare to broaden their scope. I know it sounds simple and, to some, simplistic, but the degree to which a plan can insure the currently uninsured should be the yardstick in this debate and in the eventual legislation. After the August recess, the Obama administration should build a consensus around one of the two options. Applying the KISS principle will improve the Democrats’ odds of being able to sell real reform to a skeptical public.




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Why Obama needs to “keep it simple, stupid”

  1. if you spent $30 MILLION a day every single day for 2000 years it would still not equal to obama's $23.7 TRILLLION in financial bailouts

    … the main reasons why people get poorer are because of higher taxes and inflation.

  2. The proponents of the status quo, including Republicans, claim they are opposed to the so-called public option. However, these same opponents of the public option would fight to the finish to protect current public programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans' Affairs, and the State Children`s Health Insurance Program, which cover millions of Americans. See the contradiction?

    Where is the evidence for this statement? That's right. There isn't any.

    One of the reasons for opposition to the public option is that people know that Medicare is financially unsustainable and that the care provided by the existing public programs is substandard.

    There's always at least one lie in every Parisella post.

    • The republicans had the numbers to abolish Medicare through the Bush years and did not touch it . Outside of Dick armey ,which republican wants to abolish Medicare ?

      • Firstly, There is a vast chasm between protecting a system and abolishing it. The middle ground is called reform, and I think most Republicans think the system is broken and unsustainable, and they wish to reform it.

    • Could we declare a moratorium on accusations of lying directed at the Macleans bloggers? Really, it's just plain old nastiness and doesn't do anything but sour the tone here.

      If you don't agree with something that's said, refute it. With credible references. Name-calling is just destructive and accomplishes nothing.

      • The word "lie" is not a name, so I don't see where this supposed name-calling is happening. As for using the word "lie" – a spade is a spade. A rose is a rose by any other name. Falsehood, lie, untruth, whatever. Something said that is misleading is a lie. The word is not an insult.

        I have provided my reasoning to make the claim that it is a lie. To refute this lie was rather easy. When we said "the proponents say …" all you have to do is show that many of the proponents say something else. The fact that medicare is unsustainable in its current form is something that has been repeated a million times. This particular lie was egregiously obvious.

        • The Macleans bloggers seem like a good-faith bunch. For you conbots to scream "liar!" in every Wherry post is pointless and destructive.

          You wrote: "There's always at least one lie in every Parisella post." Here's a Wherry post that even you must concede doesn't contain a lie: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/18/wimps-ii/

          So – does that make YOU a liar? See how easy this name-calling is?

          For the love of god, grow up and knock it off. If you dislike Wherry's work so much, go away and let the rest of us discuss in peace.

        • The Macleans bloggers seem like a good-faith bunch. For you conbots to scream "liar!" in every Wherry post is pointless and destructive.

          You wrote: "There's always at least one lie in every Parisella post." Here's a Wherry post that even you must concede doesn't contain a lie: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/18/wimps-ii/

          So – does that make YOU a liar? See how easy this name-calling is?

          For the love of god, grow up and knock it off. If you dislike Wherry's work so much, go away and let the rest of us discuss in peace.

        • The Macleans bloggers seem like a good-faith bunch. For you conbots to scream "liar!" in every Wherry post is pointless and destructive.

          You wrote: "There's always at least one lie in every Parisella post." Here's a Wherry post that even you must concede doesn't contain a lie: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/18/wimps-ii/

          So – does that make YOU a liar? See how easy this name-calling is?

          For the love of god, grow up and knock it off. If you dislike Wherry's work so much, go away and let the rest of us discuss in peace.

  3. "At least one" is charitable.

    • You can start here scf.

      • Your link is irrelevant. The fact that medicare is unsustainable in its current form is something that has been repeated a million times. I have seen many arguments of the form "fix medicare before you break the rest of the health system".

        • Don't lie scf. Enter, House Republican Leader John Boehner
          "- Seniors Concerned About Medicare Cuts, Believe Dem Bill Will Worsen Health Care.
          A new Gallup poll this morning says: “By a margin of three to one, 36% to 12%, adults 65 and older are more likely to believe healthcare reform will reduce rather than expand their access to healthcare. And by 39% to 20%, they are more likely to say their own medical care will worsen rather than improve.” Who can blame them? Among the chief concerns many Americans – particularly seniors – have about the Democrats' government takeover is its Medicare cuts. The Associated Press reported yesterday that “Democrats are pushing for Medicare cuts on a scale not seen in years to underwrite health care for all. Many seniors now covered under the program don't like that one bit.” An independent analysis of the House Democrats' government-run plan shows the legislation slashes Medicare to the tune of $361.9 billion. That means fewer choices and lower health care quality for our nation's seniors."

          • Like I said before, how is that relevant? So you've found some seniors who dislike Obama-care for one reason. I'll find some that dislike it for the opposite reason. And then there will be even more that dislike ir for a million other reasons.
            It does not change the fact that what Parisella said is false.

          • See the contradiction?

  4. Here's another lie:

    yet lags behind them in many indicators of good health such as life expectancy and infant mortality

    As Steyn pointed out, it is the infant mortality rate that is the cause of the lower life expectancy compared to other OECD countries. Otherwise, the US has a high life expectancy than most.

    And the the US infant mortality rate is higher in part because the rate is measured differently. Very premature births are more likely to be included in the US measurement than in other countries. I would speculate that a reason for this is that many other countries have public health options, and is in the government's best interests to measure the rate more favourably in such countries. Additionally, the US has a higher prevalence of low birth weights, which are most influenced by factors outside of the health system.

    • "As Steyn pointed out…"
      Snort. Everyone, consider yourselves told.

      • As CWE pointed out… oh wait. You've pointed out nothing. As usual.

        • Poor scf. Mistaken, or perhaps lying, again. I pointed out, implicitly, how important it is to recognize before giving credence to anything scf says, that while scf enjoys putting on the airs of an authority on any number of issues, at the end of the day, most of scf's "arguments" flow from mistaken assumptions, dishonest assertions and/or simple-minded fanboydom and are therefore quite snortworthy.

          • Once again, nothing. As usual.

          • Snort. Then what is it exactly that scf keeps reacting to?

    • On your first comment, Steyn randomly selects countries and describes life expectancy as equivalent at certain points in times (except Sweden at 80! Well done America, your 80-year olds will live longer than Swedish 80-yr olds).

      On your second comment, please provide a citation. I'm willing to believe this is possible but you are the second poster who as made this assertion without backing it up.

      And regardless, I find it odd that people are such staunch defenders of a healthcare system that even if it AS GOOD as other industrialized nations, it costs everybody a whole lot more.

    • On your first comment, Steyn randomly selects countries and describes life expectancy as equivalent at certain points in times (except Sweden at 80! Well done America, your 80-year olds will live longer than Swedish 80-yr olds).

      On your second comment, please provide a citation. I'm willing to believe this is possible but your are the second poster who as made this assertion without backing it up.

      And regardless, I find it odd that people are such staunch defenders of a healthcare system that even if it AS GOOD as other industrialized nations, it costs everybody a whole lot more.

    • On your first comment, Steyn randomly selects countries and describes life expectancy as equivalent at certain points in times (except Sweden at 80! Well done America, your 80-year olds will live longer than Swedish 80-yr olds).

      On your second comment, please provide a citation. I'm willing to believe this is possible but you are the second poster who as made this assertion without backing it up.

      And regardless, I find it odd that people are such staunch defenders of a healthcare system that even if it is AS GOOD as other industrialized nations, it costs everybody a whole lot more.

      • "The primary reason Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the United States is that the United States is a world leader in an odd category — the percentage of infants who die on their birthday. In any given year in the United States anywhere from 30-40 percent of infants die before they are even a day old.

        Why? Because the United States also easily has the most intensive system of
        emergency intervention to keep low birth weight and premature infants alive
        in the world. The United States is, for example, one of only a handful countries that keeps detailed statistics on early fetal mortality — the survival rate of infants who are born as early as the 20th week of gestation.

        How does this skew the statistics? Because in the United States if an infant is born weighing only 400 grams and not breathing, a doctor will likely spend lot of time and money trying to revive that infant. If the infant does not survive — and the mortality rate for such infants is in excess of 50 percent — that sequence of events will be recorded as a live birth and then a death.

        In many countries, however, (including many European countries) such severe medical intervention would not be attempted and, moreover, regardless of whether or not it was, this would be recorded as a fetal death rather than a live birth. That unfortunate infant would never show up in infant mortality statistics." Overpopulation.com

        What I find odd is that no one seems concerned that new medicines will virtually disappear if US government takes over health care. Yes, the Americans pay more but it's because they have the newest meds and technology. It's not like Americans are still using 1970s technology but prices are spiraling ever upwards. If American government starts to set prices and treatment levels, than basically no one will be inventing new meds and we will stagnate about where we are now.

        • The last comment is ridiculous . Medicare and a lot of other public programs exist . The US spends more than any other country in the world of public money and that will not stop. People receiving care are usually satisfied . So your argument does not stand .
          If the status quo is so good , why do half the US support reform after the fabricated scare tactics of the Right go on ?
          Stop spewing right wing rhetoric . WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR 47 MILLION UNINSURED ?
          WHAT DO YOU TELL PEOPLE WHO ARE DEPRIVED HEALTHCARE BY A BUREAUCRAT IN A PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY BECAUSE OF A PRE EXISTING CONDITION?

          After that that , tell me why making a 7 figure salary in dispensing health insurance is really good care ? And I am not talking about a doctor . It is about a CEO doing healthcare for PROFIT !!!!!!

          So skew all the stats you want . If it is so in the US , why do the majority want change? They may not agree with Obama's plan but they want change . You prefer the status quo , calling Obama Hitler , talk about death panels , defend Palin than insuring the uninsured and protecting those who lose thier care when they lose a job .

          • The latest polls show the majority of American would prefer the status quo to the change being offered by Obama.
            And let me set the second straight, Jolyon's comments are always respectable. You are the one invoking Hitler and acting like an idiot, spouting the usual lines of left-wing rhetoric. The rest of us are trying to have a reasonable and respectful debate.

          • Thanks for the defence, scf, but I find it's best to ignore the commentators who have obviously started cocktail hour earlier than the rest of us.

          • LOL

          • Which poll? People may be against THE REFORM BILL , NO POLL SHOWS A PREFERENCE FOR THE STATUS QUO . scf LIES AGAIN! mean rides again .

        • I repeat my request for a source. Also a comparison to the G8 or OECD would be much more apt than would a comparison to Cuba.

          • "Our current infant mortality rate of 6.4 per 1,000 live births is high compared with the 3.2 to 3.6 per 1,000 estimated for the three top-scoring countries in the world-Iceland, Finland, and Japan. It's also higher than the 6 deaths per 1,000 for the European community as a whole. Before putting on the hair shirt, let's take a look behind these numbers as these comparisons have serious flaws. They also convey little about why we lose nearly 28,000 babies a year, a starting point if we want to bring universal health to our nation's cradles.

            First, it's shaky ground to compare U.S. infant mortality with reports from other countries. The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don't reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates. For this very reason, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which collects the European numbers, warns of head-to-head comparisons by country.

            Infant mortality in developed countries is not about healthy babies dying of treatable conditions as in the past. Most of the infants we lose today are born critically ill, and 40 percent die within the first day of life. The major causes are low birth weight and prematurity, and congenital malformations. As Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, points out, Norway, which has one of the lowest infant mortality rates, shows no better infant survival than the United States when you factor in weight at birth." US News & World Report, Sept 24, 2006

            There is a handy website called Google that helps people find info, maybe you have heard of it? There is also an interesting website called Wikipedia that provides all sorts of information, including infant mortality.

          • "Our current infant mortality rate of 6.4 per 1,000 live births is high compared with the 3.2 to 3.6 per 1,000 estimated for the three top-scoring countries in the world-Iceland, Finland, and Japan. It's also higher than the 6 deaths per 1,000 for the European community as a whole. Before putting on the hair shirt, let's take a look behind these numbers as these comparisons have serious flaws. They also convey little about why we lose nearly 28,000 babies a year, a starting point if we want to bring universal health to our nation's cradles.

            First, it's shaky ground to compare U.S. infant mortality with reports from other countries. The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don't reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates. For this very reason, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which collects the European numbers, warns of head-to-head comparisons by country.

            Infant mortality in developed countries is not about healthy babies dying of treatable conditions as in the past. Most of the infants we lose today are born critically ill, and 40 percent die within the first day of life. The major causes are low birth weight and prematurity, and congenital malformations. As Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, points out, Norway, which has one of the lowest infant mortality rates, shows no better infant survival than the United States when you factor in weight at birth." US News & World Report, Sept 24, 2006

            There is a handy website called Google that helps people find info, maybe you have heard of it? Another useful website is called Wikipedia and it provides all sorts of information, including infant mortality.

          • Traditionally the onus is on the person making a fact-based claim to back up their argument with a source; if that convention has been reversed please let me know.

            Nonetheless your point is a valid one and at minimum requires more explanation (eg do any other countries measure the same way as the U.S.?).

            I remain skeptical of both life expectancy and infant mortality as measures of the effectiveness of a health care system. Both measures oversimplify assessing a very complex thing. Neither measure allows for cost, accessibility or effectiveness of the system.

          • Traditionally the onus is on the person making a fact-based claim to back up their argument with a source; if that convention has been reversed please let me know.

            Nonetheless your point is a valid one and at minimum requires more explanation (eg do any other countries measure the same way as the U.S.?).

            I remain skeptical of both life expectancy and infant mortality as measures of the effectiveness of a health care system. Both measures oversimplify assessing a very complex thing. Neither measure allows for cost, accessibility or effectiveness of the system. Or innovation for that matter.

          • do any other countries measure the same way as the U.S.?

            I don't think, given the many factors involved in terms of record-keeping, in terms of health practices, in terms of differences in patient care, that it is likely there are any two countries that measure the statistic the same way.

            I remain skeptical of both life expectancy and infant mortality as measures of the effectiveness of a health care system. Both measures oversimplify assessing a very complex thing. Neither measure allows for cost, accessibility or effectiveness of the system. Or innovation for that matter.

            I agree. Especially when the differences in life expectancy are small enough that it is impossible to isolate any one factor as having extreme significance.

          • Traditionally the onus is on the person making a fact-based claim

            No it hasn't been reversed, that is why I am calling out Parisella for his lies. None of his outlandish claims have any back-up.

      • YYZ: the low birth weights information I found from an infant mortality report from 1992:
        http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=6219&type=0

        With respect to the reasons why the US overall rate of life expectancy is lower (or infant mortality is worse), there are numerous factors that can contribute: obesity, genetic and racial factors, measurement factors, diet, risk behaviours, crime, drug use, climate, environmental prevalence of disease, conflict and war, exercise and fitness, cultural practices, the list goes on and on. The health system itself is one of many factors.

        Steyn is not the only one to point out this obvious fact. You can isolate any one of these, then imagine an optimal scenario of the one factor, and then point out that given the optimal scenario the US would have the best ranking. So it is disingenuous to isolate the health system. It is disingenuous to isolate infant mortality. The fact is, almost all highly developed countries are in the same ballpark.

        Unless there is some form of evidence that pinpoints the health system itself as the source for the disparity between countries, and the actual reasons for the disparity, then the stupid assertion that Parisella has made is nothing other than a lie.

        • Agree fully with this post.

      • it costs everybody a whole lot more

        This is the most ridiculous part of the whole argument. For instance, do you begrudge your neighbours when they buy a 40 inch TV compared to your 27"? Or when they buy a Cadillac and you have a clunker?

        The primary reason is that Americans WANT to spend more. Then go the doc with something, and they want something to be done. In Canada, the doc says, go home, you've got the flu. And 99% if the time he is right. And there is nothing else you can do, because to do anything else requires that you wait 6 weeks. Or they prevent you from buying the better drug.

        In America, they have the MRI's, the advanced technology, the drugs, and everything else. So they want the tests that rule out the other 1% of the possibilities. When the docs says it's the flu, they say "prove it". They have the money to spend so they spend it, for peace of mind. Since there is no 6 week waiting list for the MRI, they go right ahead and do it. And they have the money to take the MRI, and they want to spend it. Or when the doc offers them the cheaper drug, they say no! "I want the best drug there is. I can afford it – give it to me! That's how I want to spend my money!"

        Of all things, why would you begrudge people for spending money on their health? Would you prefer, that instead of buying the MRI, that they go home and buy another video game? Or spend it at the casino?

        Do they need to spend the extra money? No. Is it the most efficient way to spend it? No. That one in a 100 time that the doctor is wrong, the patient suffers for another week and then he goes back to the doctor again. Does that matter? No. That's what they call freedom.

        • One of my personal beliefs is that health care is a human right not a consumer product. This forms the basis of my argument for some form of universal coverage. Although I personally favour a single-payer system, the US system could be modified in a way that better protects the rights of what I call patients and what you (implicitly) call consumers but keeps insurance primarily in private hands. I'd be open to supporting that (despite the fact that my support would be irrelevant as I am not a US citizen).

          • I would agree with what you said, except for the first sentence.

            I agree that it is beneficial for a society to make health care available to all. I don't think this is easily accomplished, and I think that some European systems and perhaps the Japanese system have shown perhaps much better ways of achieving that goal than anything that can be found in Canada or the US.

            I don't consider something a human right if it requires the intelligence, experience, skill and education of other people. I don't think anyone has a human right to an MRI or a human right to a neurologist's attention and time. You can't describe something a right when it would simply not exist without a significant amount of labour from others.

            A human right is something that is independent of the welfare of others, and independent of the era. Things like freedom of speech apply equally today as 1000 years ago. Things like freedom of expression don't require the hard labour of others. Those are real human rights, things that are inherent in the condition of being human. Being healthy is not one of those things.

            Universal health care is not a right, it is a service. It is a service that is given from those who can provide care to those who need it. When a surgeon or a drug company provides such a service, in an ideal world we would all be able to return the favour, in the form of a payment for the service. In the universal health care world, it is not paid for by some, for them it is a gift. The gift is provided by others, who pay higher taxes to enable the gift. There is no free lunch.

            Some people, over the course of a lifetime receive more from the system than they ever put into it. In a country with a highly progressive tax system, that would be most people. For most of us, health care is a gift – a gift that is not voluntarily given, but is coerced through taxation. Over the course of a lifetime, most people get more from the system than they ever put into it. That is one of the reasons such systems are so difficult to change once they are in place, because a majority of people are always getting more from the system than they ever contribute themselves. Health care is not a right.

            Please excuse the speech.

          • …is not a right ….
            Are you nuts?

          • "One of my personal beliefs is that health care is a human right not a consumer product."

            Isn't this totally at odds with your stated support of a single-payer system (in which I assume you are referring to the government)? What if the government does not provide adequate levels of healthcare service with the end result being long wait lists for treatment? Under such situations (actually, under any situation), if healthcare is truly a right, the individual should have the option of purchasing their own healthcare out of pocket. To deny them that option is to deny them what you describe as a human right.

        • Now I know how Maclean's bloggers feel .This blogger made a reasoned argument and you call him a liar and yet , you make unsustantiated assertions . I wonder whi is really lying . scf has NO answer for the uninsured and NO answer for pre existng conditions clauses , rationing practices and deny prtatbility policies of private insurance companies .

          scf has reached the state of dishonesty masked as self righteous . You argue like Jolyon without proof or backup . Why accept OECD and WHO data for the rankings of other countries but question the ranking of the US because it does fit your convulted conclusions???
          And yes HEALTHCARE IS NOT A CONSUMER PRODUCT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          and the status quo is working for the rich .
          scf is just like the screamers and the lunatics who have Hitler posters and carry guns at Town halls to make his specious arguments .
          BTW , scf should cool down and stop repeating the same unsourced balderdash!
          Or is it BS?

  5. Obama should have messaged the reform program as Health Insurance reform rather than Health Care reform.
    Americans can be justifiably proud of having the best health in the world available in their country. The problem is It costs twice as much per capita to provide and large (and growing) segments of the population do not have access to it.
    The only competition between Health Insurance companies in the US is which one can think of more ways to deny coverage to people who actually get sick and need the insurance they have payed into.
    Costs have to be reduced and a large inefficiency is the money that goes to marketing costs and profits being removed from the system by Insurance Companies.
    There has to be a way to make the free market system work the way it's proponents claim it's supposed to, that is if there is real competition that drives costs down for consumers. The Public Insurance option is the only way to make the American Health Insurance market respond to the real needs of consumers. IMHO

    I'm originally from Manitoba. Ask me about Auto Insurance.

  6. re: "Scaremongering"

    trying to ram this massive bill covering 1/6th of the entire U.S. economy through by early August, with no debate, and no real prospect of even understanding massive swaths of it.

    Scary.

    And true.

    • It was debated for two years during the campaign. It was debated for sixteen years before that. And it was debated for about fifty years before that. Everyone knew a health care bill was coming and the outlines of it were pretty clear in November when the people elected Obama and the Democrats by a wide margin.

      • And its been known for decades that something enormous needs to be done.

  7. I agree Obama should concentrate on a couple of key priorities . People like scf are more evidence of distorions and quoting Steyn is no reference and hardly reassuring .
    the insurance and the republicans want the status quo . Where are their solutions?
    they want to scare people and offer no solutions. US spends more , covers less and these guys like biff and scf want to keep this going. Thery prefer profit over care . How cruel!!!!

  8. Smaller government -W.Bush and Reagan gave the US the biggest deficits in history , Clinton left surpluses and the highest job creation rate since WW2

    Less spending -W and reagan did the most and left the largest deficits

    Lower taxes-only favors the rich ,trickle down economics

    The truth is deregulation coupled with greed led to the near Depression . Obama had to spend or the world economy was heading to the abyss. Now we are seeing less jobs lost .
    Now Sammy does not care . He wants Wall Street to get rich at the expense of Main street .
    As for Healthcare -let them eat cake!!That is the Sammy and scf mantra. Really pathetic ,these people.

  9. Fact: Clinton never had a surplus. That is just political propaganda.
    The National Debt went up every single year Clinton was in office. The National Debt is composed of the the public and intergovernmental debt. Democrats just preach about HALF the debt.
    Here is a chart of the actual debt of the US in 2008:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6
    Notice that intergovernmental debt is about HALF the National Debt. When Clinton was in office he greatly increased the intergovernmental debt.
    Clinton was basically one of the major reasons why government has no money to pay for the entitlements of the retiring baby-boomers. At the time, government was greatly borrowing money from itself because of the contributions to social security that was fueled by the Technology Stock Market Bubble, which eventually collapsed.

    • you conveniently fail to illustrate your point in your link . And while you are at it , show us W and Reagan .
      Clinton did welfare reform largely inspired by Republicans . The job figures prove my point and the ACKNOWLEDGED surpluses do as well .
      So go back to Freedom Works and get the trash talk reply !

  10. I agree that last weekend was not good for Obama administration officials, especially when they seemed to contradict themselves saying that public option is not necessary…Staying on message is the only reason Obama is the president of the US. It was "yes we can" all the way. Bush administration sold the Iraq war to American people and they bought into it, as a result, he won the second term. Should Obama drift away from what got him into the White House in the first place, he will be like Jim Carter..People respect you more when you stick to your principles even if, sometimes, are not popular.It's either public, private or the mixture of both.Pick one and run away with it, and people will follow you

  11. Obama should have messaged the reform program as Health Insurance reform rather than Health Care reform.
    Americans can be justifiably proud of having the best Health Care in the world available in their country. The problem is It costs twice as much per capita to provide and large (and growing) segments of the population do not have access to it.
    The only competition between Health Insurance companies in the US is which one can think of more ways to deny coverage to people who actually get sick and need the insurance they have payed into.
    Costs have to be reduced and a large inefficiency is the money that goes to marketing costs and profits being removed from the system by Insurance Companies.
    There has to be a way to make the free market system work the way it's proponents claim it's supposed to, that is if there is real competition that drives costs down for consumers. The Public Insurance option is the only way to make the American Health Insurance market respond to the real needs of consumers. IMHO

    I'm originally from Manitoba. Ask me about Auto Insurance.

  12. Spoken like a true, and stupid, republican. Wake up and smell the lack of your future with your present system. This note from a proud and happy CANADIAN.

    • i totally agree about how stupid Republicans can be and how they have made see the ugly side of America.

  13. obama can't keep it simple, because the issues that are top priority in american politics are not simple at all. it is one thing for root for obama and hope that he succeeds, it is quite another to just support him without looking at the poor job he has done this year. even the huffington post now admits that the obama on the campaign trail does not seem to be the same obama in the white house.

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