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Our Health Care System Is Going To Be Like The Post Office?

Written By : John Hawkins
August 12, 2009

These comments from Obama, comparing the public option to the competition between the Post Office, Fedex, and UPS are just mind blowing.

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I’d encourage you to watch the video, but here’s a rough summary.

* Obama claims that the public option would have to be self-sustaining, without taxpayer funding.

* He points to UPS and Fedex as examples of companies that are doing fine competing against the post office.

* He then notes that it’s the Post Office that’s “always having problems.”

* Then, he finishes by again emphasizing that the public option would have to be self-sustaining.

Why is that significant? Well, first off, Obama was right that the Post Office is “always having problems:”

Buffeted by the recession and the popularity of e-mail and electronic bill payment, the Postal Service lost $2.4 billion from April through June, officials said Wednesday.

That brings the year’s losses so far to $4.7 billion. And the Postal Service expects to be $7 billion in the red when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Of course, that begs the question: since the post office is always having problems, why does Obama believe we need to emulate that in our health care system? Why do we want the long lines, the poor service, and the huge financial losses?

It’s also worth noting that UPS and Fedex don’t compete on an even playing field with the Post Office. As the Heritage Foundation notes,

The U.S. Post Office is the only entity allowed by federal law to deliver first class mail to your mailbox. In fact, Fedex and UPS are strictly prohibited from delivering “non-urgent” letters. If the government can fairly compete and is setting fair rules, wouldn’t the post office be open to competition at your mailbox?

That brings us back to a basic point: there is no way that the public option could compete with private businesses on an even playing field either because the government can’t do that anywhere. Some people might point to our military, which is competent and effective, but that’s only because there’s no private entity that has the deep enough pockets to go head-to-head with them. So, the whole idea that government run insurance could compete with private insurance on an even playing field is a bad joke.

Maybe Obama thinks a health care system run like the post office would be an improvement over our current system, but that’s probably because someone in his position doesn’t have to go to the Post Office — just as he wouldn’t have to use the same health care system he wants to force on the rest of us. If Barack Obama needs some stamps, he doesn’t have to wait in line and deal with a bored, rude government worker. He can just send a staffer to pick them up. Likewise, if his kid gets sick and the operation isn’t covered under the health care system he wants to mandate, he can afford to fly elsewhere and get her the treatment she needs. How about you? Can you just afford to deal with a system of health care that’s run like the Post Office?

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