Remember when all the “serious” conservatives belittled President Barack Obama’s appearance on the “The View” last month? They said that an appearance on such a show demeaned the Presidency. Just wondering, but does the appearance on such a show demean a prospective presidential candidate? If so, then Limbaugh, Coulter, Malkin and all the talking heads at Fox News better start criticizing Newt Gingrich.
The philandering and disgraced former Republican Speaker of the House and potential G.O.P. presidential candidate appeared with Barbara, Whoopi and Co. on Tuesday morning. As soon as he took his position at the coffee table, he immediately began lying and misleading the show’s hosts and audience. The man who recently proclaimed that President Obama’s administration “represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did”, and overtly criticisized then candidate Obama’s 2008 trip and speech in Germany, now appears to idolize all things German. He especially loves the German health care system.
Gingrich vomited a diatribe on what a truly great nation Germany is and why the United States should emulate its policies. How’s that for “American exceptionalism” and patriotism? What would Gingrich and the Republicans have to say if a Democrat expressed that opinion? When one of the show’s hosts agreed with him and then questioned if whether Germany’s universal health care system should also be applauded, Gingrich started with the lies and misinformation.
To begin, he claimed that Germany has a private health care system which is run by over 350 private insurance companies with minimal government funding, supervision or regulatory authority. He then lied by saying that German citizens privately purchase their own health care insurance policies from these private insurers and that they can change their plans and providers whenever they choose. In essence, Gingrich stated that Germany’s health care system is even more privatized than the American system was prior to this year’s health care reform legislation. In the words of Stephen Colbert, Gingrich’s characterization of Germany’s health care system was devoid of “truthiness”.
The truth is, that Germany has Europe’s oldest universal health care system which dates back to 1883 with changes made thereafter. Currently 85% of the population is covered by a basic health insurance plan provided by statute, which provides a standard level of coverage. The remainder opt for private health insurance, which frequently offers additional benefits. According to the World Health Organization, Germany’s health care system is 77% government-funded and 23% privately funded. Additionally, the government partially reimburses the costs for low-wage workers, whose premiums are capped at a predetermined value. Higher wage earners pay a premium based on their salary. Those higher earners may also opt for private insurance, which is generally more expensive, but whose price may vary based on the individual’s health status.
Germany has a universal multi-payer system with two main types of health insurance, public and private.
All salaried employees must have a public health insurance. Only public officers, self-employed people and employees with a large income above c. €50,000 (adjusted yearly) may join the private system.
In the public system the premium
- is set by the Federal Ministry of Health based on a fixed set of covered services as described in the German Social Law (Sozialgesetzbuch – SGB), which limits those services to “economically viable, sufficient, necessary and meaningful services”
- is not dependent on an individual’s health condition, but a percentage of salaried income (typically 10-15%, depending on the public health insurance company one is in, where half of that is paid by the employer)
- includes family members of any family members, or “registered member” ( Familienversicherung – i.e. husband/wife and children are free)
- is a “pay as you go” system – there is no saving for an individual’s higher health costs with rising age or existing conditions.
In the private system the premium
- is based on an individual agreement between the insurance company and the individual defining the set of covered services and the percentage of coverage
- depends on the amount of services chosen and the individual risk and entrance age into the private system
- is used to build up savings for the rising health costs at higher age (required by law)
A person that opts out of the public health insurance system and gets private health insurance can not go back later to the public system, even if income drops below the level required for private selection. Since private health insurance is usually more expensive than public health insurance one will be required to pay the higher premiums with less income.
In short, the German health care system is much closer to a full government funded and strictly government regulated system than is the health care system in the United States even subsequent to the passage of the health care reform act this year. Newt Gingrich however, does not want you to know this. The reason? Because he will lie and misinform whenever he believes that it will further his failed conservative agenda. It is unfortunate that none of the more liberal hosts of “The View” had a better understanding of the German system so as to call Gingrich on his lies. Indeed, even the conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck was out of her league on the topic as evidenced by her only question to Gingrich which was, “Are you a FaceBook friend of Sarah Palin?” Shallow is as shallow does!
Please click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s parody.
The Grinch That Stole Christmas song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPBS7dVrE1U
YOU’RE A HAS-BEEN, NEWT GINGRICH
(sung to the Dr. Seuss song “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”)
You’re a has-been, Newt Gingrich
You’re lacking in appeal
Your were ousted as The Speaker
No one wants to hear you squeal
You’re a unicycle
Without even one wheel
You’ve had three wives, Newt Gingrich
A mistress in the hole
Philandering’s your day job
You’re a slimy ugly troll
These woman that like you, must
Be on work-release or parole
You’re a vile one, Newt Gingrich
Your words reek with rancid bile
Your criticizing ol’ Bill Clinton
As you’re cheating all the while
There couldn’t be a bigger hypocrite
Within a Midwest country mile
You’re a foul one, Newt Gingrich
Your first divorce smelled of skunk
Your wife, Jackie fighting cancer
You told her she was junk
The nicest words to describe you,
Are, as follows, and I quote, Pink. Wank, Punk
You’re a coward, Newt Gingrich
Avoided your army spot
That likes to talk real tough
Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing
With the most disgraceful assortment of Republican
Mangled up in tangled up knots
You’re the racist, Newt Gingrich
It’s not Judge Sotomayor
You play the race card as a white guy
That’s so laughable I’m sure
You’re a stinking pile of vomit
Sitting in the sun
With feces on top