Mike Klein Online

Taking the Happy Flight to Healthyville

Atlanta Mike Pix_Press_Club_189_-_Version_2One morning this week I rode Government Air on a pleasant journey to Healthyville, which is more a state of mind than a real place, although it might soon become a real place.  Healthyville is the place where government public plan health insurance takes care of you.

Sleep well, Washington has your back.

Healthyville is the story-telling creation of a National Public Radio journalist named April Fulton.   In just a moment we’ll return to Healthyville where everyone arrives at their destination, happily ever after.

As this is being written, the screws are being turned in Washington to push the administration’s plan that would put the federal government increasingly in charge of your health care.

Whether that would be good for you, good for medicine and whether it would force traditional insurance plans to their knees is part of an increasingly bitter and polarized debate.  The White House and Democrats are on one side; Republicans are on the other side.  Everyone else is being squeezed … patients, physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, everyone.

It seems inevitable some version of socialized medicine is coming to your home.  So now let’s return to Healthyville, that place where everyone is healthy, thanks to government care.

April Fulton took us to Healthyville Tuesday morning on NPR’s Morning Edition.  She asked us to imagine Government Air is public health care, replacing the big private insurance carriers.

“President Obama wants all Americans to get to Healthyville,” April said.

In April’s world, Government Air will have fewer perks, it might be more crowded and there won’t be any free meals, but everyone would have a seat and you will get to your destination, Healthyville.

April asks us to suppose the idea catches on and people really like it.

This will cause the big insurance carriers … April’s words … to “fire off letters of protest and claim that if the government steps in, they will be driven out of business.  The president says, ‘Not to worry.’ Like good capitalists, the current carriers will start cutting their prices to attract the customers back because if demand is high for lower prices, the market will produce lower prices.”

This leads into her concluding line from Healthyville:  “And then perhaps the cost of health care stops skyrocketing into the stratosphere which was President Obama’s hope all along.”.

The first time I listened, over-the-air, I couldn’t believe what I heard.  We were all simply being deposited into Healthyville with absolutely no idea whether the government public plan health care system … the Obama cure … might be worse than the problem.

So I listened again and again and again on the internet.  That is when I paid closer attention to the second voice in the background, the reassuring female flight attendant on Government Air.

When April says Government Air will give you a ride in a public plane, the flight attendant tells passengers about the plane’s many safety features.

When April says private health care insurers will begin to get nervous, the flight attendant tells passengers what will happen if the cabin suddenly loses pressure.

When April says Government Air will create market pressures that will produce lower prices, the flight attendant tells passengers to “Sit back and relax. Your flight time is one hour.”

Who needs a White House press secretary when you have April Fulton?

Health care reform by any definition is too complex to be so easily described as a Government Air ride to Healthyville.  After all, who believes the administration wants to encourage people to move back to private health care programs once it has them safely deposited into Healthyville?

Over and over again, this administration tells us what it does not want to do.

It does not want to run automobile companies, but it does.

It does not want to run financial companies, but it does.

It does not want to run health care, but it will.

And it will get plenty of help from the media.

Yes, it will.

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July 8, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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