The Helpless, Uninsured Masses

A coworker sent me a link to an interesting story from KeithHennessey.com, a site I hadn’t visited before. Hennessey was an economic adviser in George W. Bush’s administration, and offers more detailed analysis of the problem – and more recommended solutions – than anyone I’ve stumbled across.

First, a post from way back on April 9, “How many uninsured people need additional help from taxpayers?” takes a close look at the “46 million uninsured” number we hear from President Obama, leading Democrats, and most media outlets. A brief excerpt:

Of that amount, 6.4 million are the Medicaid undercount. These are people who are on one of two government health insurance programs, Medicaid or S-CHIP, but mistakenly (intentionally or not) tell the Census taker that they are uninsured. There is disagreement about the size of the Medicaid undercount. This figure is based on a 2005 analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s one point from a bulleted list wherein Hennessey lists categories of people included in the 46 million number advocates of expanded health entitlements use to paint a Dickensian picture of uninsured Americans dying in the streets. Six million here, four million there, and it’s obvious that far fewer than 46 million Americans need the ~$1,000,000,000,000 legislation slithering through Congress – unless you consider every good and service a “right” to be doled out on the government’s terms.

And here’s Howard Dean:

But, wait a minute, that’s, that is the farce of the argument, uh, on the conservative side. The farce is consumers can make informed decisions about medical care. You can make some informed decisions, but I practiced for ten years, I never had anybody with substernal chest pain get off my table and say, “Doc, the guy down the street does it $2,000 cheaper, I’ll see you later.”

In a single (bolded) sentence, the rotten core of Progressive thought. There’s an element of truth in Dean’s point – yes, medical decisions can be very complicated and difficult. But the conclusion that citizens cannot make decisions, and thus Government must make them, is telling. Replace “medical care” in the bold sentence with “credit,” “automobiles,” “home buying,” et cetera, and you have the foundation on which all the Democrats’ policies are built.

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