POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Health care hysteria


White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has famously stated that one should never let a serious crisis go to waste.

It should come as no surprise that President Barack Obama’s administration has used the recession as an excuse to expand the role of the U.S. government.

This enlargement includes a $787 billion stimulus package, the Markey-Waxman cap-and-trade bill, government takeover of GM and Chrysler. Now Obama has his eyes set on health care overhaul.

The speed of this administration is unprecedented, using what Obama inaccurately calls the worst economy since the Great Depression in an attempt to enact policies so quickly that debate will be almost non-existent.

Americans were against the stimulus plans in many polls. Rasmussen polling indicated that only 12 percent of Americans strongly supported Markey-Waxman.

Obama, however, remained popular due to his charisma. Public opinion in the U.S. moves quite slowly. Obama has capitalized on this and retained his popularity, despite a majority of Americans who are opposed to his policies. He depended on his exquisite oratory and the bitter aftertaste of former President George W. Bush to sell the snake oil called ‘change we can believe in.’

The administration initially avoided public debate. Now, people are looking beyond communication to the actual results of the policies his administration and cohorts in Congress have enacted.

The stimulus, which was supposed to cap unemployment at 8 percent, failed to do so. The GM and Chrysler takeovers were designed to save the automakers from bankruptcy, but they failed.

The Markey-Waxman bill will not be effective in reducing greenhouse gases, according to the EPA. The Cash for Clunkers program ran out of money in about one week. Given these monumental failures, it is not hard to realize why Americans are skeptical about a government-led overhaul of health care.

Skepticism of the government is as American as apple pie, baseball and ‘tea party’ protests. The debate about the push for health care is based on what is in the President’s plans.

The House bill will cost more than $1 trillion and still leave 15 to 20 million of these individuals uninsured. The U.S. deficit is at $1.3 trillion, and quite frankly, we cannot afford to double it.
Obama dismissed the problem by sneering that the Bush administration had a spending problem as well.

Although Obama ran on fiscal conservatism and fixing the deficit, his approach on the deficit appears to be ‘fix it by spending more.’
By Obama’s rationale, firemen should try putting out flames with kerosene.

Timothy Mathis is a history junior and may be reached at [email protected]


Texans are familiar with broken systems and health care failures. Houston is home to 13 hospitals, some of the nation’s leading technology and research, as well as the country’s largest ratio of uninsured patients (30 percent).

Uninsured patients are the targets of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul plan. Americans without insurance are an enormous burden on the U.S. health care system, so it is quite sensible to find a way to give them coverage.

Many academics who study health care policy have agreed on the importance of adding government-operated health care clinics. These health centers are designed to alleviate pressure from overcrowded emergency rooms, hospitals and doctor offices.

In an article written by Chris Baltimore, published on Reuters.com, Baltimore astutely notices the reform and speaks with officials who realize reform is sorely needed.

In a discussion between Baltimore and El Franco Lee Health Center Director Ricci Sanchez, Sanchez said community clinics will not only help alleviate pressure and costs.

‘We’re catching up with a lot of unmet demand. A lot of them were crowding the emergency rooms, and a lot of them were not seeking care at all,’ Sanchez said.

The successes of these clinics prove that the lack of coverage among Americans is the main culprit of rising costs. These clinics are designed to care for patients early and regularly. Plus, they provide a cheaper and more efficient alternative to waiting in emergency rooms.

In Baltimore’s article, Guy Clifton, a neurosurgeon at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, voiced his recognition that community clinics are the correct step in reform.

‘Harris County’s clinic-building effort is exactly the right move, and statistics indicate that such efforts have spurred a decline in emergency room usage,’ Clifton said.

Clifton knows price is the first issue to address, as improper spending could be fatal to reform.

‘To make emergency rooms work and primary care work, you have to get them covered,’ Clifton said. ‘But if we don’t deal with cost, and we are not dealing with costs, this is going to end very badly.’

Despite statistical proof of improving reform, Obama has been continually derailed by decisive partisan politics. During his campaign for presidency, he spoke of ending this division.

Obama appears to have picked a challenge bigger than any other, and the unrelenting right has refused to lift their efforts toward reason or logic.

Obama demonstrated an ability to push through obstacles and overcome inorganic fear during his run to the White House. We can only hope that he also succeeds with health care overhaul.

Andrew Taylor is an economics junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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