Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
In the last six President Obama has pushed through congress much legislation. Legislation that will increase the budget deficit to at least $3.4 trillion dollars. Republicans have been unable to express effective opposition because of President Obama’s political tactics.
Much of government spending in the past is has been riddled with inefficiency and unintended consequences. The intent might have been to help the little guy but has consistently created an advantage for large corporations.
How does President Obama do it? Jonthan Chait of the New Republic, a liberal periodical, described the process.
“The thing that people haven’t figured out about President Obama’s conduct of foreign policy is that it’s the same as his conduct of domestic policy. Obama believes in the power of negotiation and public dialogue to split his adversaries–Republicans at home, Islamists abroad–and strengthen his own position.
President Obama begins by finding common ground with his enemies. He then expresses respect for their core beliefs. He follows with profuse hope for cooperation.
“This rhetoric removes the locus of debate from the realm of tribal conflict– red state versus blue state, Islam versus America–and puts it onto specific questions–Is the American health care system fair? Is terrorism justified?– where Obama believes he can win support from soft adherents of the opposing camp.”
He keeps the agreement general as he moves the process along. However, the devil is in the details. The common ground in healthcare does not solve the healthcare system’s problems.
Universal healthcare, affordable cost and increased quality are the common ground.He then leaves it up to the congress to write the law. The underlying strategy is to throw money at the problem even if the strategy will fail. The leaders from both parties are starting to see through this tactic.
“In January 2008, Obama told a newspaper editorial board that Ronald Reagan provided a "sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing." Paul Krugman complained, "Where in his remarks was the clear declaration that Reaganomics failed?"
Most Democrats believe Reagonomics failed. They are angered at how President Obama could applaud Reagonomics. I believe it was a less than sincere attempt to stand on common ground with Republicans. He removes the debate from the realm of tribal conflicts. He avoids fighting with Republican over Reagan. The populous applauds because they believe he is on their side. He is then free to craft any policy he pleases. He promotes his policy using the new media (internet). He stays on the high ground and avoids discussing details or detail consequences.
“Obama’s method entails small acts of intellectual dishonesty in the pursuit of common ground.”
“ The Obama administration kids are Peter Orszag, Ezekiel Emanuel (Rahm’s brother), and outside advisors like David Cutler and Atul Gawande. They are convinced of their own genius. They think they can create the data driven management systems to eliminate $700 billion of wasted care in the American health care system. They are dismissive of any skeptics. Their very hubris causes them to overlook essential factors that may impede their plans.”
The key to fulfillment is to maintain Americans’ anger at the old way and desperation for change.
President Obama stays in a position to spin his story and paralyze the opposition. (Rope a Dope). He used Dr. Atul Gawande’s (an advisor) June 1 article in the New Yorker to demonize physicians. I pointed out that the article was a masterpiece of disinformation.
“ Dr. Gawande ,an advisor on President Obama’s healthcare team, had an article published in the New Yorker about a month ago that laid out in great detail what he viewed as the inadequacies of the health care system in McAllen, Texas.”
He pointed out that Medicare and Medicaid patients cost twice as much in McAllen as in El Paso. He compared the costs in McAllen to the cost of Medicare patients at the Mayo Clinic.
“He concluded that we needed to replicate the management systems (not-for-profit, salaried employees, team approaches to service delivery) of the Mayo Clinic in places like McAllen, and indeed, throughout the United States. Voila! Problem solved.”
Dr Gawande omitted a few important data points. Mayo Clinic does not care for indigent,Medicare or Medicaid patients long term. He ignored the fact that Medicare has the machinery to discover and deal with cost outliers and impose heavy fines.
The Texas Medical Association checked on some of the data Dr. Gawande used and ignored. He overlooked the following in exposing McAllen’s physicians.
- “Its population is the poorest in the entire United States.
- It has the fewest physicians per capita in the entire United States.
- It has the second highest uninsured rate in a state that is the Uninsured Capital of the United States.
- It is heavily reliant on Medicaid and Medicare payments to finance its entire health care system.
- It is plagued by very high rates of obesity, diabetes, lack of exercise, and overall poor health status”(chronic disease demanding long term care).
"Where there is poor availability of outpatient care, patients are far more likely to seek routine care in hospital emergency rooms, where costs are high and diagnostic testing is more frequent. This is also far more likely to result in costly hospital admissions. The data that Dr. Gawande depended on – but did not report – show just this. McAllen has a pattern of unusually high inpatient costs, while outpatient costs are close to average."
Many intelligent people reading the New Yorker article believed physicians in private practice are crooks. This is the point of the disinformation. It is typical of President Obama’s method of winning public support.
If President Obama’s tactics succeed in crafting his healthcare policy the nation is facing a $1.5-3.5 trillion dollar deficit with zero improvement in our healthcare system.
President Obama’s tactics are becoming transparent. Everyone is getting tired of false hope. Policy and plans are ill conceived and destined to fail. However the cost will be dear to tax payers.
Wake up Americans!!!.
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