I admire the President and really hope a health care bill is passed by Congress, but I wonder if his overstatement of what the bill does might ultimately cause him to fail. Here's the latest, as reported in today's New York Times:
Boiling down his proposal to a few sentences, Mr. Obama asked, “How many people would like a proposal that holds insurance companies more accountable? How many people would like to give Americans the same insurance choices that members of Congress get? And how many would like a proposal that brings down costs for everyone? That’s our proposal.”
Is that really the proposal?
As for holding insurance companies more accountable, a number of state insurance commissioners have their doubts, at least with regard to federal regulation of premium rate levels.
Will we have the same insurance choices as members of Congress? Well, maybe to the extent that they can choose from a number of plans, but that is not the full set of benefits to which they are entitled.
And, as for bringing down costs, every person in the industry knows that is just not true. David Brooks explains why in his op-ed today.
From the beginning, I pointed out that Mr. Obama was over-promising when he was offering (1) a reduction in health care costs; (2) an increase in access for people currently uninsured or under-insured; and (3) maintaining choice for people in their selection of doctors and hospitals.
Opposition to Mr. Obama's plan is often characterized as a politically motivated attack from the Republicans. Certainly, some of that is true. But some portion of the opposition also arises from this kind of overstatement, which in turn generates mistrust or at least concern among educated members of the public.
Mr. Obama is betting, though, that his energy and passion will carry the day in motivating members of Congress in his own party to muster enough votes.