Protect Insurance Companies PSA: Hollywood Mocks, Jimmy Responds

psa There is a video making its way around the Internet in which Hollywood actors, including Will Ferrell, mock and ridicule those in opposition to President Obama’s health care reforms.  They take particular aim at private health insurance companies as they advocate a public, tax-dollar-subsidized, health insurance plan.  My wife came across this video and asked for my take on it, so I thought I’d share my opinion with all of you.

Check Your Sources

First of all, be aware of where the news is coming from.  This video is being distributed by MoveOn.org, an organization formed during Bill Clinton’s presidency.  Their organization’s main premise was that the country needed to “move on” and forget about the president having sex in the oval office with a 21 year old intern, that the president’s private behavior in cheating on his wife was not the concern of the American people.  MoveOn.org is also well know for calling General Petraeus General Betray Us in a 2007 full-page ad in the New York Times.  MoveOn.org is an extreme left-wing organization, and the mere fact that they are distributing this video ought to raise red flags.

Premise of Video Completely Wrong

The premise of the video is that private health insurance companies are evil and do not look out for the needs of their customers and only are out to try to make themselves wealthy.  While there are no doubt individuals in insurance companies, and all walks of business life, that are selfish and greedy, the indictment that all insurances are this way is patently false.  Insurance companies provide a service that most Americans find valuable.  And to criminalize private health insurance the way these Hollywood figures do and they way Canada has done, has proven to lead to fewer options, and poorer health care service.  See this story about a Canadian woman who was waiting for two years to have surgery before she finally drove across the border to Montana and got the surgery done in two days.

Most Americans Disagree with Hollywood Elites

The fact of the matter is that 80% Americans are happy with their current health insurance.  In fact, polls show that, in terms of healthcare coverage and in quality of healthcare received, Americans rate their private health insurance as superior to government run Medicare and Medicaid.  In polls throughout the summer, Americans has voiced their opposition to Obama’s reforms and disapproval of the President’s plan now stands at 56%(see Support for Health Care Plan Hits New Low).  As more people have come to understand his plan, more have stood up to oppose it.  Obama’s healthcare plan raises taxes and will reduce quality of care just like socialized medicine has done everywhere it has been tried.

Competition in Health Care

A point of emphasis in this ridiculous video is regarding competition, which everyone seems to agree is healthy and we need more of.  Yet Obama and the Hollywood elites are trying to stamp out competition with increased government intervention and fewer free market forces. It is clear, from Obama’s proposal, and from his past statements on his desire for a “single payer system”, that he many left-leaning Democrats and Socialist want to put private insurers out of business.  (see the video embedded below or Obama’s Hearth Care Deception from the Glenn Beck program.) The public option proposed is designed to eventually eliminate the private insurance business and it will do just that as no private business that has to meet a bottom line in order to survive can compete with a government entity that can run up as much debt as it wants.

Options for Health Care Competition

If Obama, the Democrat/Socialist, and the Hollywood elites want more competition in the health care industry, there are several proposals are out there that they may want to consider.  Why not let people buy health insurance across state lines (which is currently prohibited in the US)?  Why not let people get a tax credit on the cost of health insurance?  These are free market, incentive based solutions that will address the problem without growing the size and power of government.

Who died and made you king?

One other thing the video takes aim at is the profits of health insurance companies.  But my question is, who the heck are these people to say how much companies and individuals can and cannot make?  If you ask me, $40 million for acting in a movie is a bit excessive.  But I believe in freedom and if Hollywood movie companies want to pay Will Ferrell that much, that’s their right.  I have no right to tell these actors how much they can or cannot make, and they have no right to dictate the profit levels of anyone else.

Freedom and Rule of Law

We believe in the rule of law.  If Health insurance companies are committing crimes, then prosecute them and send them to jail.  Otherwise, if they are obeying the law, providing a service in exchange for health coverage, then they ought to be free to run their business as they see fit. If they are really so awful as these Hollywood actors make them out to be, then in a free market economy those companies will lose customers.

It Feels Good but Makes No Sense

It is a feel good position to support “free” healthcare for all.  But unfortunately, “free” healthcare will cost you your freedom, which is a price neither I, nor the majority of Americans, are willing to pay.  It may sound good in theory, but the only way to provide universal health care is to take, by force, from one group in order to give it to another.  America has the greatest health care in the world, and socializing it in the way Obama and these Hollywood actors want, is only sure to make health care worse for everyone.

Government Healthcare. What could possibly go wrong?

This is a great quote:

“Obama’s health care plan will be written by a committee whose head, John Conyers, says he doesn’t understand it. It’ll be passed by Congress that has not read it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a Treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by a country that’s nearly broke.  What could possibly go wrong?”

-From Rush Limbaugh, Obamacare: What Can Go Wrong?, August 20, 2009

Sources:

Lance Armstrong, Great Speech Until He Delved into Politics

Tonight had the privilege of listening to a speech by Lance Armstrong, the seven time Tour de France winner. Lance was the keynote speaker at the Omniture users’ conference here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to winning his first Tour de France in 1999, Lance Armstrong was a promising young cyclist, but he came down with testicular cancer in 1996. He has an amazing story and is a powerful, living example of perseverance, overcoming all odds and gaining ultimate victory. His speech was about 45 minutes long and I very much enjoyed the first 40 minutes, but in the last 5 minutes, he delved into politics and ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

He merged his speech into politics by talking about how he has lobbied the government for increased funding for cancer research. Then he made a statement that some politicians support cancer research and some don’t. Which is ludicrous, illogical and unfounded; no politician is against finding a cure for cancer. I immediately thought to myself, “please don’t ruin this speech by going into some anti-Republican, liberal rant.” Lance Armstrong then made the assertion that he felt that election day in the US should be a national holiday where everyone has off work so they can go vote. He said, in his estimation, if this were to happen “Republicans would never be elected again.” Expecting a thunderous applause for this line, Lance was taken aback when only one person, in the crowd of roughly 2,000, applauded.

Continuing, Lance told about a time he was touring a doctor’s office in Harlem, New York. He said that a doctor there told him that just 3 miles away lived some of the richest people in America. If someone in that rich area was diagnosed with cancer, said the Harlem doctor, that person will be able to afford the best health care money can buy and that person will most likely survive. But if someone in Harlem came down with cancer, because of “the color of their skin, where they live and the choice they’ve made” in life, their chances of survival are much lower. Then Lance Armstrong went on to say that this is a “moral and ethical failure of the United States.”

He got some applause for this line, but not by me. The implications of his line of thinking were flawed and insulting to me, to the Republican party and to this nation. The United States of America is a bastion of morality and responsible ethics compared to the rest of the world. We have the best health care in the world, which all have access to, rich or poor, black or white, (legal resident or illegal alien). To chastise this great nation for mis-perceived injustices and to imply that Republicans are the cause is degrading and preposterous. And what is his solution? Tax and spend, of course. Take money from the wealthy and re-distribute it through government run programs. The problem is that socialized medicine has been proven (in Canada, Europe and elsewhere) to lower the quality and availability of health care, not improve it.

America has the greatest health care in the world because of free market innovators. Because they are free to keep the fruits of their labors, doctors and pharmaceutical companies work hard, develop new procedures and medicines, and bring health care to a higher level, which all enjoy.

Thanks for listening to my anti-socialist, conservative rant.

Is "Sicko" Foreshadowing the Fate of Universal Healthcare in America?

I recently received an email newsletter from my distinguish Alma Mater, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Headline: “Is change ahead in healthcare? If interest in the movie “Sicko” is any indication, insurance woes are moving to the forefront of public concerns.” This headline seems to imply the Michael Moore movie/documentary “Sicko” 1 is being seen by a great many people. I was under the impression, though, that “Sicko” was doing poorly at the box office. Being a university, I would expect ASU to lean liberal, therefore I could see them using their wishful thinking to project better box office results on “Sicko” than it is actually receiving. So let’s take a look at the numbers and find out exactly how popular is Michael Moore’s newest documentary.

According to Yahoo! Movies, Sicko had made $19,140,000 through July 22, 2007 (5 weeks in theaters). Considering the average movie ticket price in America is $6.58, this means that about 2,908,814 people have seen the film. Not a bad figure. That puts it in 6th place all time for documentaries…right behind the 1991 documentary, “Madonna: Truth or Dare.”


To give some additional context, this “Sicko” figure of almost 3 million viewers is roughly what the PBS News Hour gets on a nightly basis and only about one tenth of what American Idol will get on a given night. So you see, the box office results for “Sicko” are hardly the type of fan-fare the ASU news article is implying. But one thing I hope ASU is right about is that the lack luster results of “Sicko” is a foreshadowing of the publics’ interest in Hillary Care or any other form of socialized medicine.

The US Health Care system may not be perfect, but it offers the best medical care in the world. We have the best doctors and people from around the world come to this country when they need the best health care. And we have this because of the free market, or what is left of it after Medicaid and Medicare, in the health care system. Letting the government run health care, as Michael Moore proposes, would definitely not help; what needed is more market forces and less government intervention. (Consider the differences between FedEx or UPS, private mail delivery companies, and government run the US Postal Service.)

But if socialized medicine, like what they have in Canada or Cuba, is what you want, keep this in mind. The Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, recently published their 16th annual survey entitled, Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada. It found the average waiting time in Canada between seeing a general practitioner and getting treatment was 4 months! Depending on where you live and what type of treatment you need, the wait could be 9 months. And I don’t have any data for Cuba, but based on the number of people willing to risk their life each year making the 90 mile swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida, I’m guessing medical care in the socialist paradise of Cuba isn’t that great either.

1. “Sicko is a documentary film by director Michael Moore, released in the United States and Canada on June 22, 2007. The film investigates the American for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, comparing them with the publicly-funded health care systems in other countries. Sicko criticizes the American health care system on the grounds that the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not offer free, basic health care to all of its citizens. The American system, which the film portrays as maximizing profit at the expense of patient care, is contrasted with the universal health care systems of Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Cuba.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicko