NPR Gets Liberty On the Rocks Reaction to Obama’s Health Speech

NPR reporter Jeff Brady watched Barack Obama’s health address to Congress with members of the Denver Tech Liberty on the Rocks. He interviewed numerous participants and quoted three in his report.

Amanda Teresi, founder of Liberty On the Rocks, explained why forcing insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions runs contrary to the basic purpose of insurance: “The idea is that it’s health insurance. And the whole concept of insurance is that you get it before you get sick, or before something happens to you. It would be the equivalent of not having any car insurance, hitting a tree, and then calling Geico and saying you want to sign up. It doesn’t make sense.”

(I’ve written a first and second article on the topic.)

T. L. James suggested that Obama’s comments about tort reform won’t amount to much. James told Brady, “Tort lawyers fund an important part of the Democratic power base, their funding base for their elections. There is no way that he’s going to do anything that’s going to turn them away from the Democratic party.”

Finally, Orin Ray said he didn’t think Obama’s speech really changed anybody’s mind.

Brady did a nice job with his brief report. However, I wish he had mentioned the more fundamental issues. The fact that Obama wants to force everybody to buy politically-controlled insurance is a huge deal, as is the fact that Obama wants to expand subsidies. Nor did Brady mention the political causes of today’s problems in medicine, or that Massachusetts has already tried — and failed — to successfully implement Obama’s key “reforms.” (I discussed all of these issues with Brady.) Yet Brady didn’t have much time for his portion of the report, and he was basically fair.

3 thoughts on “NPR Gets Liberty On the Rocks Reaction to Obama’s Health Speech”

  1. I heard the piece on NPR this morning about the viewing of President Obama’s speech by your group.

    I disagree with Ms. Teresi’s comments about pre-existing conditions. Many times these pre-existing conditions are chronic diseases such as diabetes or epilepsy. Insurance companies do not want to cover treatment for these conditions even if they are a genetic condition. Many times people must change their insurance due to a change in employment. The insurance offered by their new employer may not cover treatment for these conditions even if the patient had insurance coverage before.

    My example of this is my sister. She has epilepsy and must take medication for the rest of her life to prevent seizures from occurring. She changed jobs about a year ago, and her new insurance company did not want to cover her medication for her epilepsy. The medication costs about $300 for a month’s supply. AFter some fighting, she got the coverage, but there was much resistance by the insurance company. My sister was not someone seeking insurance after she was diagnosed. She had insurance when she was diagnosed with epilepsy, but she could not always keep that insurance due to changes in employment. I believe that insurance companies should cover pre-existing conditions for people like my sister, who did everything right, but unfortunately suffer from a condition that they did not create themselves.

  2. Sarah, You’re wrong about the proper solution to pre-existing conditions, and I’ve written on the matter in two articles: and

    The key problem you point out is that “people must change their insurance due to a change in employment.” Why is that the case? Because tax distortions have entrenched expensive, non-portable, employer-paid insurance.

    One good approach to this problem is to expand Health Savings Accounts, used with high-deductible insurance that isn’t tied to one’s job.

    The fact that decades of political intervention in medicine created today’s problems should make us a skeptical that more political intervention is the answer, don’t you think? -Ari

  3. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last year. All my medical bills drove me into Bankruptcy.

    The quality of my care has been outstanding. How I pay for it has been a challenge and frankly I haven’t been able to pay for everything.

    I believe in letting competition work and getting the government out of market affairs. Its the competitive market that has created in large part all of our wonderful medications and quality of health care.

    Now I will admit there is plenty of greed out there and that is the ONLY area the government has any business being in is public safety and consumer protection from illegal, dangerous and predatory practices as defined by law.

    I blame government intervention for skyrocketing heath care costs that are becoming unaffordable, not health care providers or even insurance companies if they were left alone to operate in a legal competitve market environment you would see costs go down not up! Add more government you will see costs go through the roof! Where does that red tape and overhead come from? Our tax dollars! Do you want to pay for my next MRI? You don’t need one but I do so pay up! Thats what Socialist Democrats want. Another wealth redistribution channel program this health care proposal from our friends on the left.

    Get government out and watch our costs go down. Get government involved more and watch ALL of OUR costs go through the roof. Its been proven time and time again but everyone wants “mommy and daddy” to fix it for them. Well mommy and daddy don’t work for free. In addition mommy and daddy are dysfunctional alcoholics. (mommy and daddy are analogous to the government here in my argument).

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