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‘Oracle of Omaha’ Still Has His Blinders On

Last week Warren Buffett, the man acclaimed the Oracle of Omaha and the savant who endorsed Barrack Obama in the 2008, weighed in on the Democrat health care “reform” plan and confirmed once again that he’s incapable of subordinating his progressive impulses to the dictates of common sense.

To wit, his statement in a CNBC interview when he said that “if it was a choice today between Plan A, which is what we've got, or Plan B… the Senate bill, I would vote for the Senate bill. But I would much rather see a plan C that really attacks costs.”

Huh?

I thought that the whole point of the Democrat plan was to reduce health care costs. Wasn’t it President Obama who said that we couldn’t fix the economy until we got health care costs under control?

Mr. Buffett’s observation that the Obama-Reid-Pelosi plan will do nothing to control costs isn’t news to anyone who’s followed the now year-long debate on health care “reform”. What is news is Mr. Buffett’s confession that the "[Democrats] came up with a bill that really doesn't attack the cost situation that much” while still continuing his support for the folly that is health care reform.

How come the media isn’t all over this?

Sorry. Dumb question.

Despite his refusal to come out in opposition to the Senate bill, at least Mr. Buffett has confirmed, albeit in the eleventh hour, what conservatives have been saying all along: There’s no real “reform” in health care reform.

Rather than restoring the market conditions that would “bend the cost curve downward”, the Democrat plan doubles down on entitlement spending and increases the demand for health care services without doing anything to improve supply.

In fact, the Senate bill that Nancy Pelosi is so desperately trying to get passed in the House is a prescription for significantly higher health care costs in the years ahead.

Here’s why the Democrat plan will make health care more expensive:

  • It perpetuates an expensive, dysfunctional insurance model. Instead of allowing consumers to purchase low cost major medical insurance to protect against the consequences of a high cost illness or injury, the Democrat plan effectively outlaws this approach in favor of an insurance model that provides coverage for even to most routine health care purchases. It’s like having homeowners insurance that pays for cutting the grass! This isn’t insurance, it’s overpriced pre-paid medical care that will inevitably lead to higher levels of consumption and shortages in supply.
     
  • It discourages competition between insurance companies and limits choice. Instead of promoting competition by allowing insurance companies to sell the kinds of policies people want to buy (think major medical), the Health Choices Czar will dictate mandatory benefit packages and force every insurance company to sell what is essentially the same product. Insurance carriers will be reduced to the status of public utilities and will have no ability to differentiate themselves in the marketplace by offering a selection of products at a variety of price points.
     
  • It leads to adverse selection in the risk pool and higher insurance premiums. Although the Democrat plan imposes an (unconstitutional) individual mandate requiring everyone to purchase health insurance, the penalties for those who refuse coverage are so light that many will simply opt out. Coupled with the “guaranteed issue” provision in the legislation that forces insurance companies to accept those with preexisting conditions, there’s a strong incentive under the proposed plan for healthy people to avoid buying insurance until they’re sick and need medical care. As a result, risk pools will tend to attract more of the chronically ill, which will cause premiums to increase, which in turn will cause increasing numbers of healthy people to drop their coverage altogether. In the end, only those whose premiums are heavily subsidized by the government will be able to afford insurance.
     
  • It produces massive cost shifting onto the private sector. President Obama and the Democrats continue to tout deficit reduction as a key selling point of their health care plan. Even though it’s a fiction, they make this claim believing that many Americans will equate deficit reduction with cost reduction. But they are not at all the same thing. Under their plan, deficit reduction is accomplished largely with taxes on health care purchases (high value insurance plans, medical devices, over-the-counter drugs, etc.) and Medicare spending cuts that slash hospital reimbursement rates, both of which will result in significant cost shifting back to the private sector. This shell game may reduce the deficit, but it will drive up insurance premiums and increase costs for consumers.

The American people have grown weary of the debate over health care. They are fatigued by the effects of a severe recession and frightened by the prospects of a diminishing prosperity. Now is not the time to impose major social change via legislative fiat; change that will fundamentally alter the relationship between government and the people.

The cynical among them are so distrustful of the Democrat’s motives that they believe the only purpose behind the reform agenda is to make health care so bureaucratic, and health insurance so expensive, that the only option eight or nine years from now will be single payer, universal health care.

What’s happening in Washington D.C. – the disinformation, the pandering and the manipulation of the legislative process – is fundamentally corrupt. If Democrats succeed in forcing through their health care legislation it will foment a level of resentment that will poison political discourse in this country for the next twenty years.

When the voters elected President Obama they thought they were getting a post-partisan centrist who would fix the economy and govern as a moderate. His message of “change you can believe in” was a pledge of accountability and a promise to the American people that he could be trusted to do the right thing.

President Obama needs to reflect on that promise and on his duty to the American people.

President Obama needs to do the right thing and stop forcing change on a nation that wants no part of it.

7 Responses »

  1. Mr. Buffett seems to possess an excellent intellect and has visionary predictive capacities when it comes to assessing "value". Therefore, it is evident that he believes that the Senate plan is far superior to the status quo, do nothing plan of Repubs. They have offered absolutely NO useful alternative for cost cutting. As a physician, I know that tort reform (the tired old battle cry of Repubs) is a minor, and virtually cost-insignificant proposal. Insurance companies really need to be reigned in. Health care is not like shopping for a car or a TV----market forces and profit have NO business in the complexity of delivering strong preventive, chronic and catastrophic care to the American people. Also, you can't have it both ways: Medicare is government-run healthcare and it's very successful and popular. It needs to made more efficient but overall, it is the way ALL healthcare needs to go in this country.

    • It appears that Alison Frefeld may know a few things about medicine, but knows little about finance or the political arena. She would probably preserve her reputation for being intelligent by keeping her comments within her field of expertise. The reality is Mr. Buffet knows how to make money- he does so by manipulating politicians to foster positive scenario surrounding his investments.

      What Mr. Buffet, and Dr. Frefelt fails to acknowledge is the Congressinal Budget Office, to date; has not given favorable accounting reports on the two bills that must be reconcilled to pass into law. In fact, Obama, in his speech misrepresented the CBO numbers last week. Some excuse his remarks as an honest mistake- a verbal fuax pas from getting the facts out of order in his memory. Frankly, I don't believe that explanation because the man doesn't speak from memory, he speaks from 'teleprompter'. The CBO numbers to this point have shown Obamas scheme to be very, very costly. Which causes me to think Mr. Buffett has some financial interest in robbing the American people via this takeover of 20% of the American economy. Can anyone say "cha-ching!"?

      Dr. Frefelt is either 'mind-numbed' robot of Obamas' or she is simply too busy helping people to understand the facts about the fiscal side of this industry (I suggest she sit down and have a frank discussion with her accountant).

      Further more, she is uninformed on the political realites surrounding this subject. She states (or parrots): "it is evident that he believes that the Senate plan is far superior to the status quo, do nothing plan of Repubs."

      Which simply is not the case at all. I reccomend the good doctor visit http://www.gop.gov/solutions/healthcare to see the GOP proposal.
      Also the fact that this bill cover 3 million more people for significantly less money 63 billiion dollars) over the same ten year period makes the GOP alternative more sustaianable than the 1 Trillion (with a 'T') peoposed by the Democrats. Whether or not the doctor prefers the GOP proposal less than the Democrat is not the issue. The issue is the doctor either proposed the GOP had no solution was either offered in ignorance, or as a lie. Illustrating my origial proposition that the doctor is either an irealogue, or ignorant: neither offer her a good reputation. Now hand her a bandage. . .

  2. A few points, if we can reach beyond the hysteria and eagerness to condemn the left before hearing what they have to say:

    1) The health care bill will reduce the deficit, though it will only be by $100 billion...a very small number in the finances of the U.S. Government

    2) The health care bill will substantially limit the growth in costs of health care

    3) The health care bill will cover a lot more people

    I am a Republican in favor of the health care bill because I believe that giving people an opportunity to be successful is what Republicans are all about. It's one thing to give money to the poor and hope they will do something productive with it, whether it is a homeless person on the street corner or government welfare payments. But when you actually put people in a position to be a productive citizen through making them physically healthy, their motivation almost always goes up, and certainly their physical and mental ability to be productive goes up as well. Furthermore, a health care plan for more people means less cost to emergency rooms, which is where people without health care coverage go, because emergency rooms have to take anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. And emergency room care is more expensive for the care given, plus it is provided at a point that is too late for preventive medicine (like health coverage would be). Sure there are some things that could be done a little differently here and there, but the main components of the health care bill make more people more accountable for their own success.

    • >Sure there are some things that could be done a little differently here and there, but the main components of the health care bill make more people more accountable for their own success.

      When we're talking about an enitre industry "some things could be better" just isn't good enough. This politician talk for "we can't refute your conserns, but we're going to do this anyway".
      Thinking people don't understand that makes you a dumb ass.

      no apologies for the agrressive language. Get over it.

  3. Further evidence that Dr. Frefelt is an ignoramous, and that Tony is an Obamabot:

    Explosive Survey: Physicians in Full-Blown Panic Over Obamacare
    Physician Support of Health Reform in General
    • 62.7% of physicians feel that health reform is needed but should be implemented in a more targeted, gradual way, as opposed to the sweeping overhaul that is in legislation.
    • 28.7% of physicians are in favor of a public option.
    • 3.6% of physicians prefer the “status quo” and feel that the U.S. health care system is best “as is.

    Health Reform and Primary Care Physicians
    • 46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.

    Health Reform, Public Option, and Practice Revenue/Physician Income
    • 41% of physicians feel that income and practice revenue will “decline or worsen dramatically” with a public option.
    • 30% feel income will “decline or worsen somewhat” with a public option.
    • 9% feel income will “improve somewhat” with a public option, and 0.8% feel income will “improve dramatically” with a public option.

    Dumbasses

  4. JDavis-
    I probably shouldn't prolong a conversation in which you wouldn't consider any opposing view or fact, even if the sum of all facts still led you to be against the health care bill. However, please note that the obscure poll that is conducted by a company based in two heavily Republican states could be seen as biased a) because no other poll contains the nearly same results, b) polling people in heavily Republican areas only will yield Republican bias even if the poll were unbiased, c) if people who organize a poll only have offices in Texas and Georgia, the odds are that they are Republicans, and so it's almost a sure thing that the questions were asked with a Republican tilt (even if unintentional).

    Also, remember that our country is built on compromise and working together. It has been that way since the Continental Congress...even before the Declaration of Independence, and our who system of government, including the Bill of Rights and Constitution, were built for people who disagree on predicitions and have different priorities to come together and creating the best product possible. A manager in a corporate setting often has his team to do the same thing. A church congregation does the same thing. The local Boy Scout troop does the same thing. Everybody will not always agree, but if we avoid name-calling and unrealistic dire predictions and misstating our opponents' intentions, we really can get great things done. Even if we have to give some to get some. The health care bill dramatically reduces costs over the long term and puts more people in a position to earn their keep without excuses.

    So unless one of us becomes a dictator and gets precisely what we want, then let's use the American system of government that is being used now by Democrats and work together to get something done. Obama threw in 4 Republican ideas after Republicans told him that they won't sign onto the bill no matter what. Unfortunately, it appears that Obama is going to be the only contributor of Republican principles to the main law that governs our health care system.

  5. >So unless one of us becomes a dictator and gets precisely what we want, then let’s use the American system of government that is being used now by Democrats and work together to get something done.

    OK, I agree. Lets work together to fire these tyrants this November. Can we count you in? We do need to work together on this.

    When the Democrat Party turned it's political guns on the American people any expectation of "working together" went out the window.
    The issue is not "are we doing something good?" Nor is it "this is a messy process this democracy".
    This is an issue where the United States government and it's Representatives used malicious force on the very people it's charged with protecting. When Alcie hastings was recorded saying "There are no rules here" that relieved the government any claim to the claim of "process".

    The Declaration of Independence founds our nation on the principle that the government does not have the authority to perform this kind of "process". Nor does it require it's citizens to endure said treatment. In fact, it encourages anti-establishmentarianism when faced with said "process". I quote: "That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

    Therefore I support the concerted practice of alienating those politicians who a. participated in this atrocity. b. Supported the "process" by voting to enact the bill. c.Refused to stop the process by using every legal means available to them: including changing Party's to reverse the status of the Congress. In explanation: those Democrats who did not resign from the Democrat party, join the republican party to flip the leadership from the Democrats to the republicans as a last ditch effort to stop this legislation.

    I'm of the opinion that the correct response is to 1. Recruit enough voters to oust these quislings in November. 2. React to their treason reasonably and proportionatly to their actions. Those actions would include alienating the politicians when they leave Washington. Alienate their families whenever and wherever possible. Their immediate family members should be treated with disespect equal to the discomfort each citizens' family will endure under this law, and should be recieved as person non-gracious while in public, and as they attempt to livee their contemptual lives. In short: treat them like they have leprosy. 3. Refrain from addressing them as "Representative" or "Congressman". There new title is "Quisling". "Quisling Smith, why did you vote against your constituents?"

    Since we're trying to "work together" I'm sure you will agree to these assertions.