By Michael P. Tremoglie
Tea Time Blog
During the October 1 debate, by the Senate Finance Committee, of the Sen. Rockefeller’s public option amendment to the health insurance reform bill, Republican Sen. John Ensign revealed that the proposed plan would have remained government run - despite Democrat Sen. Rockefeller’s contention it would not. Ensign also exposed Rockefeller’s demagoguery.
The demonization of insurance companies “profit motive” by Mr. Rockefeller was the key to his thesis for socialized medicine. He said that private insurance companies are more concerned about profits rather than providing for their customers. This is in line with the “patients not profits” mantra used by those who favor socialized medicine.
Yet, Ensign pointed out that nearly half of the health insurance companies in the United States are not-for-profit. Watching the hearing on C-SPAN, Rockefeller looked like a kid who got caught stealing from the cookie jar as Ensign spoke.
Another claim made last week by Mr. Rockefeller, when he introduced the amendment providing for a public option, or what he called the “Consumer Choice Health Plan” was the lack of permanent government control. He claimed that the public option would only be government run for two years and would not lead to a single payer system.
However, Ensign illustrated the speciousness of this claim.
Sen. Ensign provided an eloquent analysis of the fallacious claims by Sen. Rockefeller and debunked the myths.
Public Option Not As Popular As Some Democrats Claim
He began by observing that although the Democrats claimed - and cited polls – the public option was popular, he asked, rhetorically, “Why is it that so many Democrats have a problem with it?”
The answer he said was simple, “It’s not popular.”
Patients Not Profits Debunked
He asked Yvette Fontenot, a Senate Finance Committee staffer, a witness before the committee how many people who will enroll in the public option. He then noted that 44% of private health insurance is offered by not-for-profit companies in the United States - some of which are the dominant companies in certain markets (Pennsylvania being one of them).
This essentially negated Rockefeller’s demonizing of the profit motive, which he made a central part of his opening statement.
Despite Rockefeller’s Claim Government Would Continue to Run It
Ensign then took aim at Rockefeller’s claim that the government would not be running the public option after two years. He asked Ms. Fontenot, “Who’s going to be running the public option after two years?”
Ms. Fontenot replied that an administrator would be. (Sen. Schumer can be heard whispering that this is the same as Medicaid. As if Medicaid is not government run.)
He asked Fontenot for whom the administrator would work. She replied that it would be the federal government.
“So the person running the plan would work for the government, yet it’s not a government run plan,” stated Ensign. He remarked that this was not quite logical.
He then noted how Medicaid and Medicare caused a cost shifting to private insurance because the government fixes the prices instead of allowing the market to do so. This would be the same with the public option.
Governmental intrusion into the market would cause private insurance rates to increase rates, sending more people to the public option. Eventually this would eliminate the private companies. (N.B. This has occurred in Europe.)
Ensign proffered that the law establishing the public option would be impossible to repeal. Such government entities, he said, establish government bureaucracies. This will prevent the repeal of this plan at a later date, Ensign hypothesized, because government bureaucrats will have political power.
Ultimately, there would be a single payer system, which he noted, does not work well. He cited the case of a Canadian politician who campaigned against private health insurance in Canada, only to come to the US for medical treatment because of the long waits in Canada. He also said that the Canadians cap expenses, which is why they have the waiting lists. He also cited the fact the British health system is the world’s third largest employer.
The Senate committee rejected the Rockefeller amendment, however, Ensign’s articulate refutation of the spurious assertions made by Rockefeller and his allies, revealed the demagoguery and mendacity of those who favor socialized medicine.
Those of us who have been studying the issue of single-payer, socialized medicine for years (my research began in 1993), already knew what Ensign said was true. This is the first time though one can recall such a cogent rebuking of it by a member of the Senate.
MSM Tries Ridiculing Ensign
It is also interesting to note that many in the media –Marie Cocco and Lisa Mascaro in particulare – have attempted to ridicule Sen. Ensign’s presentation. This is a sure indication of how effective it was.
All those opposed to this attempted power play by liberal Democrats should contact Sen. Ensign’s office and express their gratitude (Not being from Nevada I do not know the number to call.)