Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Howard Dean Pitches Obama's Health Care Plan

Howard Dean went on Hardball to discuss Barack Obama's health care proposal. There is no official bill. Tom Daschle was to be Obama's health care point man. Daschle's nomination went down in flames. Daschle failed to pay $128,000 in taxes. On Daschle's nomination: Obama admitted, "I screwed up."

Obama's campaign health care proposal lacks specifics. Obama will have the health care industry join the nineties by keeping patient files computerized. Another issue that needs to be addressed is more competition amongst pharmacal companies to lower the price of medicine. Bush promised, in 2004, to end the ban against pharmacal drugs from Canada. Matt Yglesias notes Bush never ended the ban. Wal-Mart lowered prescription drugs prices by buying in bulk. Bush made it law the federal government could not negotiate by buying in bulk.

The Medicare prescription drug law specifically bans the federal government from negotiating bulk discounts on drugs even though the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs saves 50 percent and more off the list price of drugs it purchases for veterans as a result of bulk purchasing. Therefore, a larger share of the $400 million earmarked over the next ten years for the Medicare drug program will pay for overpriced drugs and drug company profits.

What is good enough for Wal-Mart is not good enough for the free market advocate Bush.

The Obama plan sounds a lot like the John Kerry 2004 plan. Kerry pitched lowering health care costs and giving health care recipients a choice of health care provider. The Kerry plan would be similar to health care coverage members of Congress receive.

KERRY: The fact is that my health-care plan, America, is very simple. It gives you the choice. I don't force you to do anything. It's not a government plan. The government doesn't require you to do anything. You choose your doctor. You choose your plan. If you don't want to take the offer of the plan that I want to put forward, you don't have do. You can keep what you have today, keep a high deductible, keep high premiums, keep a high co-pay, keep low benefits. Here's what I do: We take over Medicaid children from the states so that every child in America is covered. And in exchange, if the states want to-they're not forced to, they can choose to-they cover individuals up to 300 percent of poverty. It's their choice.

My problem with Obama is his lack of health care policy details. Obama is urging quick action on health care. With Obama's approval ratings, the time is now. It would help if Obama actually had a health care point man.

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