Irish author and poet Oscar Wilde opined that, “The truth is never pure and rarely simple.” His choice of modifiers is quite interesting, especially in light of the campaign rhetoric that is already choking us like so much political kudzu. Today I would like to take advantage of the small window he left when he said “rarely” simple.
Disregarding orders from my doctor, I watched some of the Sunday talk shows this weekend. I know it is not good for my blood pressure, but I somehow cannot tear myself away from the talking heads and their talking points. Or was it their pointy talking heads? I digress.
The discussions this week centered on the “Ryan Plan.” Pundits of the blue variety spent their segments valiantly trying to compare this to the President’s “plan,” which sounds more like a stump speech than a plan, but, hey — what do I know? The blue pundit team wants to eat the rich. The red pundit team counters that even if you confiscate all of the wealth of those deemed “rich,” we won’t solve our systemic problems without reinventing entitlements.
The blue team raises the issue of Ryan’s desire to “privatize” Medicare and allow senior citizens to deal with the evil insurance companies. They point out — with some relish, I might add — that the insurance companies haven’t been able to lower costs. This, they suggest, is the reason privatizing Medicare is the dumbest idea since dirt. Largely unchallenged by the red pundit team, they continually assert this nonsense, and, thus, it becomes the proof of their misguided and uninformed argument.
The simple truth here is two-fold. First, insurance companies do not create cost; they reflect cost. Second, as long as the government sets arbitrarily low reimbursements for medical services, and providers and facilities can shift the difference to insurance companies, it has created the very problem it decries. C’mon red pundit team … let’s hear it. (You know I will be watching.)