July 24th, 2009
01:32 PM ET

Kill the Rhinos!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/06/18/ep.health.reform.basics/art.obama.ama.gi.jpg]
David Brooks
The New York Times

Forget the wonkery. Let’s get primeval. Rising health care costs are a stampede of big ugly rhinos. They are trampling your crops, stomping on your children’s play areas and spoiling your hunting grounds.

President Obama wasn’t exaggerating when he said this cost onslaught is unsustainable. The rhinos have been roaming unchecked for a generation. We’ve thrown research projects, legislative and corporate reforms at them, all in an effort to tamp down health care inflation. But the rhinos keep coming. They are ubiquitous, powerful, protean and inexorable.

They feed on fuel sources deep in our system: expensive technological progress, the self-interest of the millions of people who make their living off the system, the public’s desire to get the best care for nothing, the fee-for-service payment system and so on.

The rhinos are closing off your future. As the White House folks say, health care premiums have doubled over the last decade. The government is saddled with $36 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

So your only question should be: Where do you find a tool or weapon big enough to stop the rhino stampedes? You know the problem is big, and you figure the response had better be gigantic.


soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Health care change has been up to the Congress several times now. Each time it fails for one reason or another. Why should this time be any different? With the negative GOP ads Aon TV about it plus the mis-information being doled out in big serving spoons I don't think anything related to health care that actually helps anyone will i generation.A

    July 24, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  2. Linda

    I thought we were brave here in America. What are we so afraid of? CHANGE? Isn't that what we voted for?

    Do some research. Check out the healthcare in other first world countries. Does the word socialism scare you? Are you afraid of a new Stalin on the horizon? Grow up!

    Change is healthy. Other countries do it why can't we? Do you want to just stand still until we all get hit by the bus?

    Give healthcare change a chance. You might get a big surprise and actually like it. There really is nowhere else to go. Why should people be sick and die here in this country? We have the technology, medications and techniques to help all of us. Isn't that the right thing to do? If that's socialism than I say let's have some of that!

    July 24, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  3. Bobby P

    As an 'middle of the road' Amrican,

    I have been a big fan of out new President..

    The health-care push gives me angst..

    I still don;t see how the plan proposed will do us better in the long term..

    Willing to pay more now (even though I'm covered).. I just see a clear end to this fight (and it's upsetting)

    Bobby P

    July 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  4. Janet St. Clair Shores Mi

    Lucky for me my health, so far has been good. I can't afford to get sick ; bcause I have no health coverage. My relatives in Canada said, they have it better over there in health coverage than we do. I'm inclined to agree. I looked into coverage for myself and it would take half of my Social Sercurity and I have three more years to wait for Medicare.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  5. Bruno Santos

    The U.S. has so much to learn with the European countries

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  6. Derek

    I recently gave up my $300/month policy with BC/BS. I have HIV and do not have access to good care. Who cares, right? No one give a damn about anyone else in this country. I wish I could afford to move to a Third World country that gets Free Medication and Health Care.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  7. DoktorThomas

    Instead of nationalizing failing car companies, that should be done to insurance companies with only the ownership changed, not operations; remove the profit motive and replace with a national service plan. It stays independent of politicians and salaries with are institutionalized. (No CEO greed. Get Buffet out of the game-save money.) Standard fees for standard procedures = coverage for people and guaranteed income for doctors (just as the AMA wants). There HC fixed.© 2009

    July 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  8. Joe G. (Illinois)

    They say that cats have nine lives, but even they have only one face… People are willing to ignore a lot of things about Obama, but like they say “Hell houses no friends of the Devil.”

    July 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  9. Heather Hobbs

    Hi Anderson,
    I am a dual American-Canadian citizen born in the US but brought to Canada as a child by my Canadian mother who wanted me to recieve good public education and access to health care.
    I was diagnosed with cancer at 29. I had to undergo 2 surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. I am now cancer free and healthy.
    My mother remarked several times throughout the ordeal "thank goodness we live in Canada".
    If we had been living in the US, my parents would have lost their home and retirement savings in order for me to have the treatment I needed.
    I care very much what happens to the citizens of the United States and am a member of Democrats Abroad. We are sharing our stories with Americans to demonstrate the reality of socialized heathcare. Canadians are extremely proud of our health care system and are horrified by having a Canadian women become the face of the Republican's propoganda against Mr. Obama's healthcare reform.
    It is extremely embarresing and I personally am very ashamed of Shona Holmes for her role in this.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm |