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This Time It’s Personal: Meltdown with Keith Olbermann Part 8

October 8, 2009

Keith Olbermann has finally discovered evil in the world, and found an enemy worth his barely controlled rage.  An enemy that is “evil,” unbelievably “rapacious” and “at war with America.”

Did he finally discover how determined radical Islam is to kill Americans and remove his talking head from his shoulders?  Is he outraged at the enslavement of half a billion Muslim women?

Nope.  With clenched teeth and trembling jaw, Keith informed us who the evil enemy really was:

American health insurance companies.  That’s right, all of them—“ the real enemy, the insurance companies.  The insurance companies who are right now at war against America.”

Keith did everything but call people who work for insurance companies “little Eichmanns.”

Well, it’s not like he didn’t warn us.  The night before, Olbermann teased the hour thusly:

OLBERMANN:  Tomorrow at this hour, we will devote the entire program to a “Special Comment,” “Health Care Reform: The Fight Against Death.”  Why there is such hysteria?  The underlying issues we‘re not discussing in this equation and what we may yet be able to do to save this country from the insurance industry‘s war on America.

“The Fight Against Death”?  Move along folks, no grandiosity on display, here!

In an hour rant that ranged from a complete misuse of mortality statistics, to a comparison of modern America to Dickens-era Manchester; from a pointless rhetorical battle with Winston Churchill, to an attack on the tax-exemption of life insurance benefits—and all centered around his father’s recent illness– Olbermann editorialized for a full hour, much of the time seeming on the verge of completely losing it.  Here’s a sample from the beginning:

OLBERMANN: I’ve experienced with growing amazement and with multiplying anger the true state of our hospitals, our doctor’s offices, our insurance businesses, our pharmacies. My father’s story as a patient, and mine as a secondary participant and a primary witness, has been eye-opening and jaw-dropping, and we are among the utterly lucky ones — a fact that by itself is terrifying and infuriating.

And thus, tonight, for all those we have met along the way, those with whom we have shared the last two months inside the valley of the beast, and for everyone in this country who will be here and right soon, tonight, COUNTDOWN will be devoted entirely to a “Special Comment” on a subject of health care reform in this country.

I do not want to yell. I feel like screaming but everybody is screaming. Everybody is screaming that this is about rights or freedom or socialism or the president or the future or the past or political failure or political success. We have all been screaming.

I have been screaming and we have all been screaming, because we do not want to face — we cannot face — what is at the heart of all of this, what is the unspoken essence of every moment of this debate. What about which we are truly driven to such intense, ineffable, inchoate, emotions? Because ultimately, in screaming about health care reform — pro or con — we are screaming about death.

This ultimately is about death. About preventing it, about fighting it, about resisting it, about grabbing hold of everything and anything to forestall it and postpone it even though we know that the force will overcome us all — always will, always has.

Over the next few days, I will take apart Olbermann’s specific arguments.  But first, we’ll look at his basic faulty premises—and the things he conspicuously left out of his hour.

The overriding premise was the evil and rapacious nature of insurance companies who are causing death in America in order to protect their 20% profits on health insurance.  They are spending billions to distort the debate and to keep everyone from experiencing the utopia of universal health coverage supplied by the government. If the money spent on insurance profits could be spread around, then “your father” could be saved from death, just like Keith’s father who has health insurance.

Okay, I’ll bite, name one government program, just ONE, in which the overhead on the dollar doesn’t amount to more than 20%

Second, health insurance companies really make an average of 3.4%.  That makes them the 86th most profitable industry in the United States.  Oh, the humanity!

If insurance companies made  20%, everyone would be rushing to their broker to buy health-insurance-company stock.

Olbermann constantly raved about the “insurance cartel.”  What is a cartel?  It’s a monopoly.  That implies limited or no competition.  Conservatives have been fighting to allow health insurance to be allowed to be sold over state lines, to increase competition.  Democrats have voted against this at every turn.  Why?  Is it because lowering premiums would take the air out of the socialized medicine balloon?

It could also be because every state has an insurance commissioner who protects the mandates on insurance sold in his state by the state legislature.  That’s 50 fiefdoms fiercely protected by state governments.

A long time ago, I sold health insurance — about 4,392 government mandates ago.  Every time our state passed a law requiring that something must be included in health insurance coverage, the price went up.  Big mystery.

Usually, this was at the behest of an interest group with Democrat Party ties.  Health insurance was started by doctors to insure regular payment of billing.  That makes sense, and it also helped to expand medical coverage throughout the 20th century.  (The fact that it was needlessly tied to employment because of New Deal wage controls is another topic.)

But now everyone wants to get on the health insurance gravy train.  Dental and vision coverage are examples of things that are unlikely to be catastrophic medical problems, but are considered by many to be part of their birthright.

Mandated mental health coverage was a big foot in the door.  That quickly expanded beyond institutionalized care, or actual medical treatment by a doctor for chemical imbalance, to top-dollar talk therapists and social workers providing marriage counseling!  How is that part of the “fight against death?”  But most state governments have mandated that those items be part of every medical plan.

Every politician, Republican and Democrat, says that it is bad for insurance companies to exclude pre-existing conditions.  In health insurance, anyway.  We all understand why we can’t buy insurance on a car we’ve already wrecked, but think we have a God-given right to buy health insurance after we get sick. If forbidding this is passed without some other reform, then it will drive up costs, and increase the calls for socialized medicine.

Keith spent not one minute on anything government has done to drive up costs.  Government cannot be the problem, it is his final solution.

Also, missing from any part of the sermon was a mention of lawyers.  Is there anyone anywhere who doesn’t think that the legal system adds less than 20%– much less 3.4% — to the medical system?

“The doctors are on our side,” Keith assures us. Really, then whose side are plaintiffs’ attorneys on?

Thankfully, Keith’s father seems to be doing well, and he didn’t have to fight with an insurance company for treatment.  However, that makes the whole rage act seem odd and misplaced.

But at least Keith is honest.  He wants socialized medicine.  Or, as he put it, three simple words.  “Medicaid for everyone.”  Private insurance is the enemy, government is good.  Period.

  1. October 8, 2009 1:03 pm

    Olbermann is a whack job.

    He wouldn’t know the American ideal if it hit him in the face.

    He’s just a loud mouthed, ignornat, brainwashed leftist.

    He used to be a pretty good sports commentator, though.

  2. Kevroc permalink
    October 9, 2009 12:38 am

    IMO all of Keith’s comments are “special”.

    Hey, if you guys don’t like that comment you can feel free to bash me. I’ll be right back, I got a bowling date with my man Barack…

    • Jack Hampton permalink
      October 9, 2009 4:59 am

      Why waste time. After all Barrack just hit the Nobel Jackpot which I said twenty years ago had become a joke. I am nominating David Letterman for the Nobel Peace prize next year after all it appears he has more piece than anybody. makes sense to me.

  3. tim greensweight permalink
    October 9, 2009 1:53 am

    tea party folks not lost he is such a @ss

  4. Mik permalink
    October 9, 2009 5:16 am

    Keith was 50 in January, unless his dad was 14 when Keith was born Dad has Medicare coverage. The government option. Keith cries, “the horror.” His solution, let’s force everyone to take it. Yup, makes sense to me.

  5. ciccio permalink
    October 9, 2009 6:42 am

    I hope he gives the most most serious criticism to the insurer with the highest rate of denials of claims. According to an AMA study, none other than medicare.

  6. October 9, 2009 8:25 am

    Well said! I work for family medicine physicians and have seen the insurance industry at work firsthand. It is NOT the government’s job to insure everyone no matter their circumstances. Surely, the healthcare system is in need of reform, but not at the cost of the taxpayers. Socialized medicine is not the way to fix it and rationing of healthcare will only make our problems worse. If Olbermann thinks that we all need Medicaid then he can put his Dad on a plane to England or Canada and see how long it takes him to get proper, much-needed medical care there. Thanks for saying it like it is! If only our Washington politicians would do the same.

  7. David Forsmark permalink
    October 9, 2009 10:15 am

    Thanks, gal, good comment. Hope to hear from you again!

  8. Joseph Cottrell permalink
    October 9, 2009 2:25 pm

    “Those who can, do…
    Those who can’t, teach…
    Those who can’t teach, teach Phys. Ed….
    Those who can’t teach Phys. Ed. become sportscasters…
    Those who fail at sportscasting are Keith Olbermann.”

  9. Kennon Bouldin permalink
    October 9, 2009 7:28 pm

    I’m going to be honest with you. I want to say this up front: I strongly disagree with the majority of what Keith Olbermann says. But… “We all understand why we can’t buy insurance on a car we’ve already wrecked…” My sister has diabetes. She do not have health insurance because of her preexisting condition. Are you seriously suggesting that my sister is a “wrecked car”? That because we were unfortunate enough to not have health insurance, she is not worth taking care of? I’ll be honest. I don’t know what can be done about health insurance. But my family that has worked hard for everything we have, for a long time, just are hardly able to support ourselves. That analogy is inexact and mean-spirited.

    • Jack Hampton permalink
      October 10, 2009 5:31 am

      First let me tell you there is help out there for your sister The Diabetes Association is one and they can connect you with many others. I also know from a family member that has the same problem that you can get free medication from the manufacture of the different medications. She can also get her lab work and A1C done at health departmen ts and some places that charge based on income. Now of course if you are wealthy then you can pay for your own or if you are an illegal alien you need to return to your home country and seek help. I think most people that visit NewsReal would agree that we need some form of reform but not the socialized Canadian type option that Obama wants. we want it run by the private sector that has produced the best health care in the world.

      • Kennon Bouldin permalink
        October 10, 2009 10:57 am

        Just up front: we have been firmly middle class for years, but we probably are a bit below that now. We are also not here illegally. My sister is hardly a simple case. She has many different problems that has prevented doctors from even determining what kind of diabetes she has. Most doctors won’t bother. They see us a few times, then the prices rise substantially because it actually requires work to help her. But again, this isn’t about that. I find the wording of that analogy highly insensitive. I just wanted to put it out there that this article is somewhat off-base right there.

        • Jack Hampton permalink
          October 11, 2009 6:43 am


          I am amazed to say the least that you find my comment insensitive I have reviewed my comment and I cannot find anything insensitive that I wrote. I stated that I have a relative that suffers from the same disease and I offered what I hoped was advise to help your sister find treatment and medication at greatly reduced or no cost I know because my relative has availed herself of these very same services. Your sister has to have either type1 that occurs from birth or early childhood or type2 adult onset diabetes. Those are the only two types of diabetes which leads me to maybe believe your comment is suspect.
          Thing only other thing I can figure might be my comment in reference if she is here illegally or not if you find that offensive then you will just have to be offended. I will also add if your sister is a legal immigrant then she is required by our laws to have a sponsor that agrees to be responsible for payment of medical care and other necessities if that is the case then again it requires the same resolution. I draw this conclusion from your comment “We are not here illegally” If that is the case then and you are a legal resident that has immigrated here I must ask you Sir do our laws mean nothing to you? Are the American tax payers simply door mats and stooges to be robbed by anyone that wishes to come here?

          • Jack Hampton permalink
            October 11, 2009 6:47 am


            It should have read
            The only other thing I can figure might be my comment

  10. David Forsmark permalink
    October 12, 2009 12:01 pm

    Hey, my point was an economic one. That if the ONLY reform passed is getting rid of the ability to screen for pre-existing conditions, no one will buy health insurance until they need it, the price will go up, to a non-sustainable level, and we WILL get socialized medicine. There should be risk pools created like there is for car insurance, there are also employers big enough that all their insurance company does is take the claims each year and ad administrative costs, so it doesn’t matter to an individual.

    No one called your sister a “wrecked car.” Taking an example we all understand about how insurance really works personally is a bit much. Calling everyone insensitive, especially Jack who was trying to engage you and help you, is over sensitive.

  11. David Forsmark permalink
    October 12, 2009 12:03 pm

    One other point, we all understand the role deductibles pay in car insurance, but act like our rights are being trampled if we have to pay for an office visit or 10 bucks for a prescription. Imagine what your car premium would be, if you could get every scratch or ding fixed for free. Body shop guys would make doctors look poor, and the President would be saying “the current amount we spend on car repairs as a country is unsustainable.”


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