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Is capitol hill smarter than a fifth grader?

BY BRANDON IRVINE

The debate on Capitol Hill and throughout America about health care has me wondering if the people leading the opposition could pass a reading comprehension test.

Exhibit A in this case is the public option.

Apparently, when translated into Republican, this phrase becomes “mandatory government-run rationing death panels.”

Let’s break it down here.

Public does indeed mean that it would be administered by the government,
just as Medicaid, Medicare and the Veterans’ Administration hospitals
– all of which the opposition acknowledge provide exemplary care – currently
are.

Option, however, doesn’t now, never has and never will mean “mandatory.”

People will not be forced to choose it.

Exhibit B is the accusations of socialism tied to the public option, and the belief that the government is going to be spending boatloads of money to pay for everybody’s health care without any additional income to offset it.

False, again.

The concept of the public option is in fact rooted in capitalism.

The way I understand economics, if a product (in this case, health insurance)
has a comparable competitor introduced into the market at a lower price, the overall cost for the product will eventually be lowered.

The public option is an insurance plan with a less-costly premium. Anyone
who enrolls in it will have to pay for the coverage, just at a rate that is lower
than the cost of private insurance.

Exhibit C is the fallacy that the public option will be the way all 47 million
Americans who currently without coverage get it.

This is a case of the opposition not just misunderstanding what they read,
but of not reading at all.

Studies done by the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management
and Budget indicate that a maximum of 7 million people would buy insurance from a public plan.

The remainder would receive coverage through Medicaid (if eligible), Medicare (if eligible) and private insurance, for which they will receive credits to help off-set the cost.

The president and Congress can not have made this any clearer.

It’s in the rhetoric, and it’s in the bills. I personally can’t see where the opposition points are coming from, nor do they make any sense to me. Perhaps they should go back to school and learn how to read and interpret plain English because they do not seem to be able to currently.

Of course, if they are able to read and interpret plain English, and their opposition
is due to a malignant reticence to do the right thing or – God forbid – actually help people, then we’re looking at a more serious problem.

Over the summer, I was discussing this issue on my blog, and the phrase
“government of the people, by the people, and for the people” came up often.

Once, I rebutted it by telling the commenter that we haven’t had “government
by the people or for the people” since about 1900, and the “of the people” part is fairly dubious as well. The reason I share this with you is because the opposition is clearly not working for the people, at least in the sense that, while we pay them, they’re not working to accomplish anything that benefits us.

By watching their actions, it seems they believe their only purpose for existing
right now is to be the stubborn mule that refuses to go.

Economic regulations? “No.”

Carbon emission caps? “No.”

Health care reform? “Hell no!”

Hee-haw!