Health Care

Keep Your Doctor? Not So Fast, President Obama

| by The Heartland Institute

The sharp-eyed analysts at the Heritage Foundation, an ally of the Heartland Institute, caught President Obama getting ahead of his health care policy. Heritage’s Morning Bell reports:

This past Monday (June 15, 2009) while selling his health care plan President Barack Obama told the American Medical Association: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

The Congressional Budget Office disagrees. Their preliminary analysis of an incomplete Democratic health plan estimated that 10 million people would have to seek new insurance because their employers would no longer offer coverage. Once completed, that number should skyrocket.

Covering the gap between Obama’s promises and the reality of his health care plan, the Associated Press reported June 19: “White House officials suggest the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn’t about to barge in and force people to change insurance.”

Considering that the White House itself admits Obama’s health care promises “shouldn’t be taken literally,” results like the latest New York Times/CBS poll showing 72 percent of those questioned support a government-run insurance plan, should be taken with a heavy dose of skepticism. That same NYT poll, which predominantly questioned Obama voters, showed only 43 percent of Americans would be willing to pay $500 a year more in taxes to pay for universal coverage. And the NYT did not ask how many Americans would be willing to give up their current health plan (77 percent of Americans are satisfied with their current plan) in exchange for a government-run option.

Follow up:

Remember, the plan the CBO scored did not include a government-run health insurance option. The Lewin Group has run such an estimate. The result: 119 million Americans would be forced off their current health plan and onto the government rolls. No wonder the NYT adds: “It is not clear how fully the public understands the complexities of the government plan proposal, and the poll results indicate that those who said they were following the debate were somewhat less supportive.”

Besides the cost of government-run insurance, and the fact that millions of Americans would lose their current coverage if it became law, the NYT poll identified other concerns Americans have about government run health care.

If the government created a system of providing health care for all Americans, 63 percent of those surveyed were concerned that the quality of their own health care would get worse; 68 percent were concerned that their own access to medical tests and treatments would be more limited; and 53 percent were concerned that they would be required to change doctors.

The American people know what the true costs of government-run health care would be: lower quality, less access, and less choice. As the health care debate continues this summer, and the reality behind Obama’s rhetoric is exposed, we’ll see how many people still support a government-run health insurance plan.