Jay Ambrose: Warning: 'Co-op' is another way of saying 'public option'

Jay Ambrose

Of a sudden, it seems that all those terrific citizen protestors, described by some commentator thugs as mobs, have actually accomplished something, driven the administration and congressional Democrats to the brink of compromise on health-care reform. But here is my warning. A lie could be on the march.


As astonishing as it may seem, politicians do lie, even including Democrats and maybe, possibly Saint Barack Obama himself, or so said the mostly moderate, sometimes slightly liberal David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times and a regular on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.


For the most part, Brooks is as mild-mannered as Clark Kent, but the other night during questioning by Lehrer, he donned his Superman suit and spat out some hard, edgy stuff, saying of an Obama town hall session on health care that the president "just tells lots of whoppers now."


Brooks did the obligatory thing - said that Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin were worse - butthen began to list some of the Obama prevarications.


The president had said everyone can keep the health plan the person has now under his plan, but six million won't. He said preventive care would save money, but it won't. He said the Democratic proposals will cost $90 billion a year, but the true price is likely twice that.He said the government would stay out of heath care decisions under the plan, but it will not.


I myself have made so bold on a few occasions as to suggest Obama is misleading people when he incessantly says that 46 million American residentshave no health insurance. That's technically true, but it is misleading because millions of those Americans can afford it but don't want it, others of them are already entitled to Medicare or Medicaid and have failed to sign up and still others are illegal aliens. Most people without health insurance are in that risky position for no more than about six months.


Some experts put the actual number of citizens who cannot obtain health insurance for one reason or another at 10 million, and the difference between that number and the higher number is important because figuring out a way to help those people is manageable, not a hell-and-high-water crisis requiring the kind of giant steps Obama and friends have been proposing.


Obama is also off base in arguing that citizens in a number of countries that spend a lot less on medical treatments than we do have longer lives. Well, yeah, but bad health is not the only cause of death.


Columnist Steve Chapman has noted a study showing that when you "factor out" deaths by accident and homicides, Americans live longer than anyone, and, he makes other interesting observations, as well - how we have exceptional survival rates for a number of different cancers, for instance.


So we get to the possible compromise - instead of having a public, government-run plan that would likely morph into something as disastrous as Canada's universal government system and dramatically worsen the mushrooming, unsustainable cost of medical care in the country, Democrats are now talking about a non-profit co-op system. But is there a lie lurking here, a wolf in sheep's clothing, something that could in effect be a public plan depending on the degree of subsidy and regulation?


Oh, how I hate cynicism, almost as much, but not quite as much, as I hate being a dupe. Watch out, America. There are lies out there, and this thing's not over yet.

Examiner Columnist Jay Ambrose is a former Washington opinion writer and editor of two daily newspapers. He can be reached at: Speaktojay@aol.com.

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