How Robert Reich’s Pants Caught Fire

Some of y’all may remember Robert Reich from his days as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor.  These days, like most former Executive Branch appointees, he’s moved on to a plum position in academia, specifically (surprise!) to the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.  As y’all might imagine, ol’ Bob is just as Progressive as ever, hence this post.

Before going further, take a look at Mr. Reich’s post over at his .org site.  The title of the article is:  How the Republican Tempest Over the Affordable Care Act Diverts Attention from Three Large Truths.  Notice that even the title of his screed is disingenuous.  The “tempest” over Obamacare (Reich refers to it as the Affordable Care Act like  a good Democrat, now that the ACA has become a millstone around the Democrat neck) is not “Republican” in origin, not when Dems and Republicans alike have been kicked off their health insurance plans.  Republicans didn’t create this mess, and Reich’s article itself is an attempt to divert attention away from the disastrous consequences of Obamacare.  Reich knows that Republicans intend to use Obamacare to win elections, hence:

The idea is to make the Act so detestable it becomes the fearsome centerpiece of the midterm elections of 2014 — putting enough Democrats on the defensive they join in seeking its repeal or at least in amending it in ways that gut it (such as allowing insurers to sell whatever policies they want as long as they want, or delaying it further).

Never mind, of course, that Republicans tried to get the President, Pelosi, and Reid to consider other options before Obamacare was rammed through the Legislature with only partisan support.  Again, this disaster is not the fault of Republicans, y’all.  To Reich and other Progressives, though, trying to save the country from the effects of horrible Democrat legislation is just plain wrong.  I could go on like this for many more paragraphs, but it’s time to start refuting the “three large truths” from which Reich says Repbublicans are trying to divert your attention.  Here is the first one:

The wreck of private insurance. Ours has been the only healthcare system in the world designed to avoid sick people. For-profit insurers have spent billions finding and marketingtheir policies to healthy people – young adults, people at low risk of expensive diseases, groups of professionals – while rejecting people with preexisting conditions, otherwise debilitated, or at high risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And have routinely dropped coverage of policy holders who become seriously sick or disabled. What else would you expect from corporations seeking to maximize profits?

Notice, first, that Bob would prefer that we conflate health insurance with healthcare.  Also, I guess, we should probably ignore sentence fragments, too.  (sorry…but Mrs. Celia Gardner, my 10th grade English teacher, will understand why I bring that up.)  Healthcare and health insurance are two different things.  I don’t think I need to explain that to regular readers of this page.  The thought that healthcare professionals avoid sick people is absurd.  Reich, I think, simply hates actuarial tables as a basis for the insurance industry.

In the paragraph after the one quoted above, Reich waxes eloquently on the supposedly terrible healthcare system in the US, prior to Obamacare.  Hey, Bob….if the healthcare system in the United States was so terrible, why did people from all over the world come to the US for cancer treatment?  Why do people from all over the world come to the United States to attend our medical schools, and perform research?  Is it because we suck?  I don’t think so.  Let’s move on to Bob’s next “truth”:

The Affordable Care Act is a modest solution.  It still relies on private insurers — merely setting minimum standards and “exchanges” where customers can compare policies, requiring insurers to take people with preexisting conditions and not abandon those who get seriously sick, and helping low-income people afford coverage.

Obamacare is a modest solution, really?  I’m sorry, Bob, but any “solution” that involves a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy is not modest; not at all.  In the paragraph after this one, Reich does admit that he’d have preferred a single-payer system, otherwise known as socialized medicine.  That’s no surprise, of course, but the disaster that is Obamacare is limiting people’s choices for private insurance.  Reich knows this, but he’d prefer that y’all ignore that point.  Now, let’s move on to Reich’s third “truth”:

The moral imperative.  Even a clunky compromise like the ACA between a national system of health insurance and a for-profit insurance market depends, fundamentally, on a social compact in which those who are healthier and richer are willing to help those who are sicker and poorer. Such a social compact defines a society.

That is only the first paragraph is a longer justification for government takeover of private healthcare.  There is a whole lot of verbage in those ‘graphs, all of which ignores the existence of private charity.

When Marty was in the middle of his first bout with cancer, his insurance company dropped him.  Did Marty miss any chemotherapy?  No, he did not.  Private charities stepped into the breach and made sure that Marty received treatment.  The proof that private charities work very well is that Marty is still with us today.  Americans are likely the most generous people on the planet.  There is even an argument to be made that wealthy Americans are the most generous wealthy people on the planet, because wealthy Americans donate huge amounts of their dollars to help their fellow man; and they do it without the government pointing a gun to their heads, too.  No one in this country ever needs to be without good healthcare, because American charity WILL step into the breach.  Progressives like Reich, though, would rather use the armed, coercive power of government to re-distribute wealth, and they have to ignore the existence of private charities in order to further their goals.

The reason why I titled this post the way in which I did is because, in omitting inconvenient facts, Reich is lying.  Progressives have to lie in order to sell their agenda, because nobody who knows anything about the history of the former Soviet Union can possibly get on board with a socialist/communist policy; that is, unless they are socialists, themselves.  Bread lines, toilet paper lines, shoe lines, shortages, production quotas, work farms, and gulags are not attractive prospects in a freedom-loving nation.

Tell you what, Mr. Reich.  You keep telling the lies, and we Conservatives will keep refuting them.  If you think you can polish this turd, by all means keep trying.  I guess you have to earn your Berkeley salary somehow.