Friday, January 26, 2007

what can you get for $3,500 (besides a flat-panel TV)?

President Bush was in Lee’s Summit, Mo, yesterday speechifying about his latest proposal to pretend to get health insurance to some of America’s 47 million uninsured. Speaking to a “roundtable” of seven invited guests and 30 reporters assembled at the private St. Luke’s East hospital, Bush used his token underclass representative, a working mother of two, to pimp his tax-based incentives for purchasing private health plans.

Bush said that the woman and her husband would get about $3,500 (in annual tax refunds) that the family could put toward the purchase of health insurance.

$3,500 for a family of four? Now, I pay for a private plan that is decent, but far from “gold plated” (as the president likes to characterize the plans that cover more or less all expenses), and I pay substantially more than $3,500—and I am an individual! What kind of plan can a family get for $3,500? And what kind of deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket charges would that cheap a plan require of an already financially strapped family?

Even in a controlled gathering with a hand-picked example, the president can’t build a convincing case for his tedious token domestic policy initiative. How stupid does that make him. . . or his proposal?

And speaking of stupid: Bush pointed at a flat-panel display blinking out a patient’s vitals and remarked, “Medicine is finally catching up with the rest of America in terms of information technology,”

WTF? Like what, because a flat-panel TV is something Bush recognizes, he decides medicine is now modern? Before cool TVs, information technology and medicine didn’t intersect? Flat screens aren’t even actually “information technology”—they’re just “technology.”

When will somebody get serious about providing health coverage for all Americans? Seriously.


Blogger guy2k said...

It really only occurred to me as I was titling the post, but, seriously, the tax rebate is not earmarked. . . you could put it toward a likely more expensive health plan, or you could spend it on something else. . . like a new flat-panel television. Do you maybe think White House economists realized that? Do you think the President did?

8:36 AM  

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