At his orchestrated townhall event today, President Obama defended the notion that his government-run public health care plan wouldn’t crowd out private insurers by referencing the symbiotic relationship between UPS, Fedex and the Post Office. Bad timing Mr. President. On Friday, the New York Times Business Section actually called for the privatization of the post office amid staggering losses, and even said it was in “General Motors territory.” So while the President sells you on his “post office” of health care plans, here are some questions to consider:
1.) 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?
2.) If Americans were offered “free” postage paid for by massive government spending and tax hikes, would Fedex and UPS still exist?
3.) The Post Office is on track to lose a staggering $7 billion this year alone. How will a government-run health care plan manage taxpayer resources more efficiently?
4.) Postmaster General John Potter says he lacks the “tools” necessary to run the Post Office effectively like a business. Would a government-run health care system have the tools it needs to run as effectively as the private sector entities it is replacing?
5.) On the one hand, the President remarks how great his public health care plan will be. On the other hand, he notes it won’t be good enough to crowd out your private insurance, i.e. the Post Office comparison. So which is it Mr. President? Will it be so great that private insurance disappears or so awful that it isn’t worth creating in the first place?
6.) But the most important question is this: 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)
The most frightening line from Joe Nocera’s New York Times piece is this: “As for Mr. Potter himself, while he may want more freedom to run the Postal Service like a real business, he, too, seemed surprisingly wedded to outmoded ideas about mail service in America. ‘This country needs to have and to protect universal service,’ he said.”
Protecting universal service at the expense of cost, innovation, and quality of care. Sound familiar?