Barack Obama’s denial that he has advocated a “single payer,” Canadian style health care system may not have been the most comic moment of his Portsmouth dog-and-pony show. He also disputed the notion that adding a government plan to “compete” with private insurance plans would drive insurers out of business, indirectly creating a single payer system by indirection.
Obama acknowledges no competitive advantage accruing to a plan that will obviously draw at will on public funds and has no need to turn a profit. Private insurers should have no problem competing with a government plan, Obama said. “They do it all the time,” according to Obama. “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine…. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.”
What a joke. While the President sells citizens on his “post office” health care plan, the Heritage Foundation offers a few questions to consider:
1.) The U.S. Post Office is the only entity allowed by federal law to deliver first class mail to your mailbox. In fact, Fedex and UPS are strictly prohibited from delivering “non-urgent” letters. If the government can fairly compete and is setting fair rules, wouldn’t the post office be open to competition at your mailbox?
2.) If Americans were offered “free” postage paid for by massive government spending and tax hikes, would Fedex and UPS still exist?
3.) The Post Office is on track to lose a staggering $7 billion this year alone. How will a government-run health care plan manage taxpayer resources more efficiently?
4.) Postmaster General John Potter says he lacks the “tools” necessary to run the Post Office effectively like a business. Would a government-run health care system have the tools it needs to run as effectively as the private sector entities it is replacing?
5.) On the one hand, the President remarks how great his public health care plan will be. On the other hand, he notes it won’t be good enough to crowd out your private insurance, i.e. the Post Office comparison. So which is it Mr. President? Will it be so great that private insurance disappears or so awful that it isn’t worth creating in the first place?
6.) But the most important question is this: if you have an urgent piece of mail you need delivered, life or death, who are you going to call? Everyone saying the government…please raise your hands. (crickets)
Does Linda Douglass know that Obama is likening his proposed government plan to the United States Postal Service? Is Obama aware that the USPS has made itself a long-time laughingstock of poor service, inefficiency and waste? Obama’s sounds like the kind of fishy mockery that should be reported to Douglass via the official firstname.lastname@example.org email address and returned to sender.
Obama’s performance at the Portsmouth town hall is illustrative of the proposition Dorothy Rabinowitz advances in her Wall Street Journal column today: “It is not, in the end, the demonstrators in those town-hall meetings or the agitations of his political enemies that Mr. Obama should fear. It is the judgment of those Americans who have been sitting quietly in their homes, listening to him.”
UPDATE: The White House explicates Obama’s remarks: “Asked to clarify, the White House said Obama was pointing out that while core Postal Service services are different from those offered by UPS and FedEx, it has not undermined the competitive spirit of the private shipping industry.”