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There were a lot of them today. It would have been hard to choose which was the most bewildering bit of conversation but then there was THE moment. It was about the presidential press conference, health care reform and the public option. They played a quick clip of Jake Tapper asking Obama what would become of his promise that the insured portion of the American people wouldn’t have to change their plan to a public option if they didn’t want to in the event that the public plan was a good deal and employers decided to switch to it. Yeah, what then? Then they played a small portion of the president’s reply.
"When I say if you have your plan and you like it, ... or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don't have to change plans, what I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform," the president said.
At that point, Tweety, Chuck Todd and another head on the screen whose name I don’t recall right now generally agreed that Obama got caught a little on that answer. Actually, the only way Obama got caught short is in that he probably still can’t believe people who get paid huge sums of money to report are asking such stupid, stupid questions. Sure, he should know by now, but it’s still hard to wrap your head around it.
I’d just like to know who these people have been working for for the last couple of decades. When both Mr. Yenta and I had jobs with private, for profit companies we had our health insurance changed almost every year – and rarely for the better from where we sat. The same thing has happened to almost everyone we know, too. When I started working at my present place of employment it was a little different. There were about five plans to choose from. Now there are two. In these instances the insurance companies dropped us. Not enough people on some of the plans to make it worthwhile to insure our aging workforce. Of the two that remain, one of them has been taken over by another company and it’s hard to find specialists that take it. That’s the one I have and I’m not complaining. I’m not even complaining that they declined to cover a medication that was prescribed to me this week. Hasn’t been out long enough to be on their list. The co-pays are low, though, and at least we have insurance. With Mr. Yenta’s medical expenses that’s the most important thing to us. We’ll cope with the rest.
If Jake Tapper, Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd or the other head on the screen think for a moment that most Americans really have choice when it comes to health insurers they need to get in touch with reality. When they’re at a presidential press conference they’re asking questions for all of us. They should ask smarter ones.