Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Post Office v. Doctor's Office

President Obama has routinely defended ObamaCare's creation of a government health insurance plan (a "public option") against claims that the plan would destroy private competitors by comparing the government plan to the US postal service. Here he is a couple weeks ago laying out the "argument":

Since Obama first made this argument, conservatives have taken this argument to the woodshed repeatedly. My favorite is the Heritage Foundation's simple question: "if you have an urgent piece of mail you need delivered, life or death, who are you going to call? Everyone saying the government…please raise your hands. (crickets)"

Well, it's probably unnecessary at this point, but I'll gladly pile on a little with this story from tomorrow's WSJ:
The U.S. Postal Service is offering buyouts to tens of thousands of employees as it faces financial losses caused by the recession, as well as changes in the way Americans communicate.

As many as 30,000 employees will be eligible for the buyouts, which postal officials estimate could save the agency $500 million a year. The Postal Service expects to lose $7 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

The buyouts, under which eligible workers will receive $15,000 payouts, come as the Postal Service is enacting other cost-cutting measures.

The agency has closed six district offices, instituted a nationwide hiring freeze, cut more than 100,000 work hours and frozen salaries. A proposal pending in Congress would eliminate Saturday service.

Yvonne Yoerger, a spokesman for the agency, said the Postal Service has lost money every year since fiscal 2005-06.


Those eligible for the buyouts are largely employees in processing facilities. Letter carriers aren't eligible because the number of U.S. addresses grows by 1.5 million each year.

William Burrus, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents 265,000 employees, said he was satisfied with the terms of the buyout offer. But he said Postal Service executives were overstating the financial peril facing the agency. He predicted that volumes will largely recover once the recession ends.

Now, as a simple mental exercise, take the President's suggestion to heart and mentally amend the article above to reflect a national health plan modeled after the glorious USPS. (For example, replace the word "Postal" with "Health.")

Boy, does that sound like an awesome future for American health care!

And again, please keep in mind that this is not a ridiculous idea. It's officially sanctioned by the President.

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