No issue can ever be resolved without first clarifying what all the aspects of it are. Regardless of which one of the many views you hold on health care/insurance reform, you must first understand the varied nuances contained in it. The following are reasonably obvious facts.
Covering pre-existing conditions cannot be achieved without mandatory inclusion of everyone. Some like to use current mandatory auto insurance as a comparison, but that's only partially valid. Auto insurance is handled at the state not federal level, mandatory auto insurance only covers part of the possible risks involved, is only applicable to those who actually drive on public roads, and is generally not enforced until a violation occurs. About one-third of all Arizona drivers don't have any.
One cannot ask an insurance company to provide coverage after an accident has occurred that will cover that accident. No one would purchase any until it was needed. The same holds true for health insurance. If you could wait until you got sick, you wouldn't buy it in advance. There can be no coverage of pre-existing conditions without mandatory universal coverage. The President stated that, if obliquely.
The oft-repeated number of uninsured Americans was near 50 million since the debate began. The President suddenly lowered it to something beginning with 30. The uninsured break into four major categories, all approximately the same size. Those who can afford coverage but choose not to buy it; those 18-25 who have a generally low need for it; those who either can't afford it or have a major exclusionary condition; and illegal aliens.
Those who choose not to buy insurance range from those wealthy enough to pay their own way, through those with other means such as savings, to those with a gambling instinct. The young comprise college students through low wage and entry-level workers to unemployed high school grads and dropouts, many of whom have under-used resources available to them, such as free clinics. Those who can't afford it often have reasonably well-paying jobs with small businesses that cannot afford to purchase it, along with those who are uninsurable for an existing health condition or have exhausted their benefits. Finally, there are illegal aliens.
It would seem the President has eliminated the last category. Please note that while one Congressman was dramatically expressing his disbelief over this, others from the left side of the aisle were openly booing.
The level of exclusion of those illegal aliens has yet to be determined. Congressional Democrats have generally opposed proposals that give that exclusion any teeth. And even should it be enforced, illegals will still continue to use our emergency rooms and clinics as now.
One other item the President attempted to clarify was how he plans to pay for his plan. Like a host of pols from both parties over the years with a partially formulated idea, he's going to do it by eliminating "waste and fraud." What's stopping him now? What he's really saying is he doesn't really know, or he'd have a better answer.
Some things are obvious. Putting millions of new folks into the health care system, even the 18-25, will greatly increase the number of health care providers needed. Adding more preventive medicine may be good health policy, but it's delusional to think it will save money. It will only in those individual cases where something is actually prevented. And adding millions to the roles of the insured, most from low-risk categories, will be a major windfall for those insurance companies with whom this president appears to have developed a symbiotic relationship, publicly trashing them while privately meeting with them and dealing them in.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030 AM.