Saturday, November 28, 2009

White House takes on Charles Krauthammer,
but loses the fight

The clear thinking columnist Charles Krauthammer recently picked apart the odious bills supposedly designed to save America from a health care system run amok, and offered the common sense changes that would improve what is already the best health care system in the world, its problems notwithstanding.

This column, titled Kill the Bills. Do Health Reform Right, deserves a read, whether you like the health care reform bills or not.

Within several hours of his column being published, the White House had posted a response, penned by Dan Pfeiffer, on the White House Blog. Mr. Pfeiffer is set to replace Anita Dunn at the end of the month as communications director, the second change in that position in the short Obama presidency. (Does anyone think it’s strange for the White House to respond to opinion columns?)

Reality Check: Column Ignores Facts about Health Reform,” supposedly sets Mr. Krauthammer straight on what is in the bills he so effectively criticizes.

Mr. Pfeiffer: “In today's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer takes great pains to paint a bleak picture of health care reform as ‘monstrous,’ ‘overregulated,’ and rife with ‘arbitrary bureaucratic inventions.’ The columnist's argument may be cogent and well-written, but it is wholly inaccurate.”

Mr. Pfeiffer continues: “Krauthammer describes a ‘better choice’ for health reform as having three elements: tort reform, interstate purchasing and taxing employee benefits. All three elements are part of the current effort."

Really? Is it possible that Mr. Krauthammer simply missed those elements in the House and Senate bills?

Mr. Pfeiffer then enlightens us on the “actual” contents of these legislative misadventures:

“President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of HHS to move forward with an initiative to give states and health systems the opportunity to apply for medical liability demonstration projects. Section 2531 of the House bill also includes a voluntary state incentive grants program to encourage states to develop alternatives to traditional malpractice litigation,” he crows.

But Mr. Pfeiffer, giving the states the “opportunity” to apply for a demonstration project, and “encouraging” states to develop alternatives is not the same thing as actually doing something about a broken tort system that adds millions to the cost of health care each year.


“Section 1333 of the Senate bill,” Mr. Pfeiffer informs us, “allows for interstate health care choice compacts.”

“Allow[ing] for interstate health care choice compacts” is not the same as putting them into effect, Mr. Pfeiffer, as almost everyone who is not a liberal Democrat recognizes.

This sort of mealy-mouthed excuse-making and equivocation is the hallmark of the Obama administration and its minions, who are currently in way over their heads.

Do they simply not possess the intellectual ability to fully understand these issues? Or, do they just not care?

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