Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mr. President…you promised!

I’m angry with President Obama. He said, “If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor.” I believed him. I took his promise literally. I like my doctor. I’ve been seeing Dr. Harmon Davis for twenty-some years. He knows me, and everything about me. He’s provided great medial care and advice. When Obama said that if I liked Dr. Davis, I could keep him, I was delighted.

But that darned Obama wasn’t being truthful. Dr. Davis retired. He’s gone. I no longer have my doctor despite Obama’s assurances.

I called the White House and said to the President, “You promised!” Mr. Obama agreed. He had promised I could keep my doctor. But he said I shouldn’t have taken him so literally that I would hold him responsible for Dr. Davis’ retirement, something about the nature of the pavement on the road to hell. He was busy figuring out what to do about another promise he made. At the same time he told me I could keep my doctor, he was telling others that if they liked their insurance policy they could keep it.

But thousands of those folks were learning that their insurance companies were canceling policies they liked. It wasn’t clear who liked them the most, the people or the companies. Those policies didn’t protect families from cancelation if they actually got sick. Nor did they allow children to remain on the policy until their 26th birthday. The policies they “liked” allowed insurance companies to reject claims if the insurance company’s doctors thought the policyholder might have had a “pre-existing condition.”

Their old policies didn’t cover preventive medicine, mental illness or substance abuse, and had outrageously high deductibles and co-pays. Their old policies allowed the insurance company to spend whatever amount they choose on executive salaries, advertising, and lawyers working to deny their claims.

Even so, I wondered why these people weren’t more concerned about why thousands of low-income people weren’t receiving health care through the optional expansion of Medicaid because GOP politicians would rather oppose Obamacare than help the uninsured.

Since Obama was busy answering for his other promise, I called my congressmen even though they had not kept their promises (or should we say ‘distortions’) about “death-panels” and “government takeover of healthcare.” They were planning legislation requiring Obama to keep that promise about keeping your policy if you like it. I said, “Hey, what about those who were told we could keep our doctors? A little help please!”

If Republicans who claim to be free-market supporters of capitalism and laissez-faire economics can help people keep their non-assuring insurance polices, couldn’t they help me keep my doctor?

Well, to my great surprise, they all said no. In a free market, they said Dr. Davis couldn’t be required to keep doctoring. Despite Obama’s promise, Dr. Davis was free to retire and leave me behind.

But even Bill Clinton said the president should keep his Obamacare promises. Whether a promise is a promise apparently depends on the definition of “is.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner said Clinton was absolutely right and introduced legislation requiring private insurance companies to keep President Obama’s promise.

It seemed odd that a Republican would do that. Don’t Republicans believe that private businesses have inalienable rights to offer whatever policies they choose to offer, and consumers then have the right to either buy the product or shift their unpaid healthcare costs to the rest of us?

Well, those folks who were first told they could keep their insurance policies and were then told they couldn’t have now been told again that they can. Problem solved….at least for them. President Obama issued an executive order allowing them to keep canceled policies for a year as everyone adjusts to the new law.

Mr. President, you waved a magic wand and fixed their problem. Now it’s my turn. Will you issue an executive order giving Dr. Davis back to me or will I have to get the Republicans to complain first?

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