Dear Mr. President,

Wednesday evening we heard you address the nation on health care and the economy. I was hoping to hear some tough answers to tough questions. Instead we were treated to one hour of tap dancing on eggshells where it seemed your primary intent was not to break any eggs.

You spoke of the need for sacrifices but failed to mention any. You said Medicare benefits would not be reduced and everyone would be covered.

Mr. President where are the sacrifices? By who?

The press seemed concerned with a fear of rationed health care. Some republicans have raised the issue as well.

Mr. President I am concerned there will be no rationing of health care. It is axiomatic that there is unlimited demand for free services.

Here are some tougher questions I am sure everyone would like to know.

  • Will the plan cover a transplant procedure with a $50,000 cost for someone who is 80 years old with a life expectancy of two years? One year? Who decides? Or is everything free for everyone regardless of the odds of success?
  • Will the plan cover fertility treatments? Abortion?
  • Will the plan address issues that arose in the Terri Schiavo case?
  • To what extent must doctors provide generics instead of prescription drugs?

Mr. President, is health care free or subsidized for illegal aliens? Aren’t free services one of the primary reasons we have such a problem in the first place?

Mr. President, unless something is done to rein in costs taxpayers will be footing the bill for a lot of things they shouldn’t. In every country that has a single payer system, there is some degree of rationing.

Somehow you have us believe benefits will not be reduced, everything will be covered for everyone, there will be no rationing and somehow health care will cost less because of reduced paperwork. Mr. President, no one believes that, not even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Mr. President, to prevent costs from spiraling out of control rationing is mandatory. Unfortunately, you do not have the courage to admit it. Yet until you do, it can’t happen.

Mr. President, a heart operation in the US might cost $100,000 whereas the same operation in India, in a world class hospital might cost $20,000. Will we fly people to India for non-emergency medical operations if they save taxpayer money? If not, why not? Shouldn’t the primary concern be getting the most benefits for the least cost?

Mr. President, you noted that the AARP and doctor’s groups were in favor of your plan. You failed to mention the $245 billion “sweetener” it took to get them to do so. Moreover, you did not even count that $245 billion while calling your plan “budget neutral”.

Mr. President, with numerous states blowing up over the issue, it should be clear the US cannot afford the defined benefit programs promised government workers. Starting with Congress, what is your proposal pension reform?

Similarly, when does Congress share the pain of this recession?

Mr. President, you called the cancellation of additional F-22 planes a victory. This strikes me as odd given the Pentagon does not even want more of them. Why is canceling a military program that the military does not want such a big victory?

Mr. President, the savings on the F-22 program is $2 billion. The 2010 Pentagon budget is $534 billion, a $21 billion, four percent increase over 2009. Total defense spending is $780 billion. Mr. President, is this sustainable?

Mr. President, history is replete with examples of great nations spending themselves into oblivion attempting to maintain their empires. It should be crystal clear the US can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman. So, Mr. President, when will you start bringing the troops home from Europe, Japan, and the Mid-East?

Mr. President, I did not vote for you nor did I vote for Senator McCain. I voted for Ron Paul. However, I did expect and frequently said that I expected you to get some things correct.

Instead, I see you carrying out the same failed stimulus and bailout plans of President Bush. You promised transparency on spending and did not deliver.

The proposal to Audit The Fed is languishing in Congress even though it has overwhelming support of both Congress and the public. You broke a promise to release details of military torture. Where are significant charges against anyone? I was positive you would handle the torture issue correctly, but I was wrong.

Mr. President, you placed your faith in the same set of folks at the Fed and Treasury as President Bush, in spite of the fact they all failed to see this coming.

Mr. President it frequently appears as if Goldman Sachs is running your administration just as it ran the last.

Mr. President, other than a sketchy health care plane with no details and no cost constraints, exactly what change have you delivered?

Thank you Mr. President, now can we have some answers please?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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Notes and Sources:

The Huffington Post has the Obama Press Conference On Health Care: TEXT, VIDEO

From Health bill a boon to doctors:

Robert Laszewski, a former insurance company executive who’s now a consultant to industry, contended doctors were “paid off” to support the House bill.

“The AMA would not have endorsed the House bill without the doc fix,” Laszewski said. “The fact that the CBO has said the doc fix would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the cost of the bill makes clear how much it is worth to the docs.”

From Shock and Audit: The Hidden Defense Budget

click on chart for sharper image

As you’ll see, we leaned on the conservative side here by only counting money that’s directly related to military activities. We didn’t, for instance, add in money for the Department of Veterans Affairs ($55.9 billion), which would take the total to $836.3 billion; or the rest of the Department of Homeland Security ($54.5 billion), which would take it to $890.8. (The wider national security apparatus isn’t included either—budgets for the intelligence services are classified.) If we did include these extras, here’s what the difference between the official budget and the real one would look like:

click on chart for sharper image

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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