Obama puts health care case on the air

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    President Obama makes his case for his health care overhaul on a radio show hosted by Michael Smerconish during a live broadcast from the White House. Obama also took phone-in questions from the show's listeners.

    - Alex Wong/Getty Images

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    Radio show host Michael Smerconish listens to President Obama discuss his plans for a health care overhaul during a live broadcast from the White House.

    - Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images


Tess Vigeland: Today, President Barack Obama made the case for his health care overhaul to a fairly skeptical audience: Conservative talk radio listeners.

After major government interventions in the banking and auto industries, the president is trying to calm fears that a "government takeover" of health care is next on his agenda.

Joel Rose reports.

JOEL ROSE: Conservative radio host Michael Smerconish didn't waste much time before asking the question a lot of his listeners want answered.

MICHAEL Smerconish: There's a perception out there that you want it all. You want to be in the banks, you want to be in the automotive industry, and now you want to be in health care. Can you address that mind-set?

PRESIDENT Obama: I absolutely can. First of all, look...

The President said government involvement with the banking and auto industries started under his Republican predecessor. As for the health care system...

PRESIDENT Obama: I would love the private marketplace to be handling this without any government intervention. The problem is, it's not working.

As talk radio hosts go, Smerconish is a moderate. He even voted for Obama. And his questions were polite, in contrast to what you might hear elsewhere. The callers were respectful, too, like Susan from New York.

Susan: We're very concerned that most of the money will actually go, instead of taking care of people, it'll go to the cost of administering a huge government bureaucracy.

The success of Obama's health care proposals may depend on winning over people like Susan. That's according to Democratic media strategist Peter Fenn.

PETER Fenn: One thing that he learned throughout the long, two-year campaign was that you have to go to the middle, you have to go to those who may initially disagree with you. You have to persuade people.

But on his signature issue, the president is finding it hard to be heard above the din.

I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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1. War, as opposed to democracy, breeds corruption & decay.

As history proves, war, as opposed to democracy, breeds corruption & decay. As one critical example, medical fraud, abuse is estimated to reach $600 to $6000 billion over the next decade lost to it.

Please visit http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111967435, you will be stunned ! Thankfully, in May 2009, the Obama administration announced a new task force made up of officials from the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to work on health care fraud.

In another instance, as common sense goes, fire needs to prevent ahead, or contain in earlier phase, nevertheless, from what I've learned, the special interests have hindered the budget request for preventive care program in Medicare & Medicaid so far, which has resulted in health Catrina, exceedingly high level of chronic disease and expense, and astronomical cost of overall health care compared to any other nation, as data shows.

There is no doubt that in ordinary time, investments in a fire safety system do not go into economic effect, but due to the lack of it, once preventable fire breaks out, it overwhelms the narrow calculation, and even goes beyond monetary value. As the swine flu pandemic shows, investment in vaccine could bring about tens, hundreds, even thousands of economic effects in a short period. Thereby, in an effort to prevent another health Catrina, coordinated, systematic non-profit efforts for preventive care, more primary doctors are of critical importance. Probably that also explains why the successful systems in all free nations are committed to public policy.

2. The savings via removing wastes turn into limit to medical access, rationing, tax raise, and deficit etc via lies.

Unlike high fuel price and mortgage rate in recent years as the roots of great recession and bankruptcy of middle class, the severity in the high cost of health premiums has come to light lately. Similarly, in an attempt to hide these painful corruptions & wastes, the greed allies struggle to connect the savings via removing these wastes with limit to medical access, rationing, tax raise, and deficit etc. But, hope should not be replaced with fear, just like people don't have to fear quitting drug.

3. Hope for pioneer spirit, innovation.

Interestingly enough, pioneers like Ted Kennedy are changing the world somewhere in the U.S. Recently, GM has surprised the world with the adoption of EV-conversion technology from pioneers and outpaced the excellent hybrid cars.

And in spite of the highest annual health plan cost per employee, the revolutionary mandatory-coverage plan in Massachusetts was enacted in 2006 and more than 97% of all Massachusetts residents are now covered -- whereas nationally some 40% of Americans have no health insurance.
Even if the state is suffering financially due to the highest premiums, without the affordable public option and removing all kinds of wastes etc, it achieved near universal health program.

Today, another innovative, fundamental change in payment system, or patient's outcome based payment reform that is able to turn the profit-oriented malpractices and volume into the patient-oriented value and quality is waiting for a final decision.

4. Enough room for savings.

Many reformers recognized roughly 30 percent of all health-care spending in the U.S. -some $700 billion a year- might be wasted on medical abuse, unnecessary procedures, unnecessary visits to the doctor, overpriced pharmaceuticals, bloated insurance companies, and the most inefficient paper billing systems imaginable, and payment reform could solve this problem.

Provided the American people pay around twice the amount of the efficient systems, the result is still well below them, the ratio of waste might be estimated to reach far more than 50% in the U.S.

Let's be conservative regarding the ratio. Even If as little as 10% of savings such as removing the wastes involving medical fraud, so called "doughnut hole" , the unnecessary subsidies for insurers, exorbitant costs by the tragic ER visits etc apply to the combined Medicare and Medicaid cost of $923.5bn per year, as of July, the savings of $923.5bn over the next decade are possible. And when these savings add to the already allocated $583 billion, the concern over revenue might be a thing of the past.

As a matter of fact, some patient-focused clinics in 10 regions have already achieved 16% of savings in Medicare while their quality scores are well above average, with the more expansive, systematic reform than them in the pipeline. Aside from the already allocated $583 billion and the savings of this reform package, 16% of $923.5bn (the combined Medicare and Medicaid cost per year) is around $147.76bn per year and 1477.6bn over the next decade, enough to meet the goal.
Please be 'sure' to visit http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/opinion/13gawande.html?hp for credible evidences !

Dr. Armadio at Mayo clinic says, "If we got rid of that stuff (waste), we save a third of all that we spend and that is 2.5 trillion dollars on health care. A third of that and that is 700 billion dollars a year. That covers a lot of uninsured people."
Please visit http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=820455&catid=391 for detailed infos

5. Choice between hope and manipulated fear.

To be sure, time does not fix the endless greed, energy depletion. Considering the current fuel price is hovering around $60 to $70 per barrel in this economy, supposedly it might be equivalent to the peak price last year while the similar runaway premiums keep on rising, heading for financial ruin. And it is firmly believed if people fail to build a bridge for the next generations, the current generation, too, can not avoid falling off the cliff, as the world-wide overpopulation & immense consumption in conventional energy and the other resources no longer allows waste.

As usual, when the positive effects including job creation and savings generated by investments are left out of the equation, fear and scare are left alone. Today choice between hope and manipulated fear lies with people's will.

Thank You !

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