I’ve been worried that President Obama intends to throw us all under the bus of private health insurers by mandating we buy their shoddy policies, but he sent the clearest signal yet during his press conference the other night that he really does get it.
And no one in the clueless media picked up on it, though it knocked me off the couch. They’re too preoccupied with the next hot scoop on the late Michael Jackson, I guess.
The signal came in the first words out of Obama’s mouth:
“Good evening. Please be seated. Before I take your questions, I want to talk for a few minutes about the progress we’re making on health insurance reform and where it fits into our broader economic strategy.”
In his opening remarks, he called it health insurance reform three more times. And not one hotshot reporter in the room picked up on the subtle shift in emphasis. In fact, they all kept calling it “healthcare reform.”
Here’s the difference: Reforming health care implies making medical practices, doctors, and hospitals do things differently. Yes, we need some of that, too, but they’re not really the problem. They’re victims, just like the rest of us, only trying to protect themselves.
What everyone in Washington hasn’t dared to say until now is that we need to reform health insurance. To end the extortionist, discriminatory practices that have enabled health insurers to thrive while their customers go bankrupt over medical expenses the lousy insurance they’re buying won’t cover.
Obama has talked about how his mother fought with her insurance company while she was dying of cancer. I was afraid he’d put that behind him, but now I know it’s only because he can’t speak the truth without committing political suicide.
The truth is that the insurance industry has health care in a death grip. Unless that grip is broken, doctors and hospitals will continue to squander fortunes on bureaucracy and patients will continue to face financial ruin and die while paying insurers through the nose for a product that refuses to deliver.
Let’s just hope Obama can persuade enough members of Congress to hop off the lobbyist gravy train fueled by our insurance premiums and do the right thing for once.