Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Reality of Obamacare

Throughout this year, some have asked me why I am opposed to the proposed Obamacare medical insurance reform bills that are percolating in Washington D.C.  The answer is simple -- the cartoon cited above summarizes it perfectly in my mind (as simplistic as it is).  The proposed legislation simply costs too much and delivers (reforms) too little.  The legislation is happening at the most inopportune time in our nation's economic history.  It is fraudulent on its face, collecting taxes (yes, taxes!) on the middle class for four years before the actual promised benefits are delivered.  All in the name of progress?  All in the name of change?  I think not!

There is a ray of hope, however.  Even Howard Dean (yes, that one -- the medical doctor), the former chairman of the Democratic Party has now weighed in with his opinion -- scrap the bill or face the wrath of voters in 2010.  "You will be forced to buy insurance. If you don't, you'll pay a fine," said Dean, a physician. "It's an insurance company bailout." Interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America," he said the bill has some good provisions, "but there has to be a line beyond which you think the bill is bad for the country."  He sees and feels the outrage of the voters finally, and is predicting a massive loss of Democrat seats in Congress if the bill passes. 

Are they finally listening to the electorate?  It appears some in Congress are.  The vote counters are close, but still don't have the 60-vote filibuster-proof margin required.  There are few left with an appetite for the "nuclear option" of reconciliation.  It appears for the moment that the bill in the Senate might just fail after all.

Hugh Hewitt reported today:  "In an on-air conversation with me on Tuesday, Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl, the GOP's whip, reported that the Democrats do not yet have their 60 votes. (The transcript of that interview is here.)

"Politico's Mike Allen, in an interview the same day, reported that for the first time doubt is seriously being raised about the prospects of Obamacare passing. (That transcript is here.)

"Not surprisingly, the reason for optimism among opponents of Obamacare is the country's decisive rejection of the bill. Every poll shows strong majorities against it, and some of those majorities are stunning, such as the 61 to 36 vote against Obamacare in the latest CNN poll/Opinion Research Poll .

"Rather than stage a tactical retreat and begin a genuine attempt at bipartisan agreement on the basis of common ground on health care reform -- of which there is a lot -- the president, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are attempting the mother-of-all-jam-downs, with one report surfacing that the White House is threatening Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson with the closure of Offutt Air Force Base if Nelson goes south because of the public-funding of abortion in the Senate bill. (A Nelson spokesman was denying the report on Tuesday night.)

"Other Democratic senators like Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln and Virginia's James Webb are no doubt being heavily lobbied by the president and his staff. Lincoln faces the almost certain loss of her seat next November if she votes for cloture and Webb seems to understand that the devastation the bill will bring to seniors is simply irreconcilable with the rhetoric of his campaign three years ago. It is hard to be for the little guy when you are voting to cut gramps' and granny's benefits by a half trillion bucks.

"Then there's the left wing that now sees their dream of the public option in ruins, and the consolation prize of an expansion of Medicare also on the junk heap. Howard Dean is calling for the scrapping of the bill in favor of a kamikaze charge at the reconciliation process. The abortion debate is still very much rankling the House radicals who lost that round as well. If anything is going to get through the Congress soon, it will not resemble the left's idea of health care reform. Some will mouth the words "half a loaf" but their leaders will have failed them.

"Thus the president finishes his first year in office with his popularity in free fall, his party dispirited and divided, and almost certain punishment at the polls only 46 weeks away. Some House Democrats are already retiring, and donors would have to be crazy to give money to a Democratic challenger."

So says Hugh Hewitt and the view from the right, but what of the liberals and the view from the left?  Here's Camille Paglia again:

"A second issue souring me on this bill is its failure to include the most common-sense clause to increase competition and drive down prices: portability of health insurance across state lines. What covert business interests is the Democratic leadership protecting by stopping consumers from shopping for policies nationwide? Finally, no healthcare bill is worth the paper it's printed on when the authors ostentatiously exempt themselves from its rules. The solipsistic [yeah, I know, I had to look it up:  "Solipsism is the philosophical idea that one's own mind is all that exists. Solipsism is an epistemological or ontological position that knowledge of anything outside the mind is unjustified. The external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist"] members of Congress want us peons to be ground up in the communal machine, while they themselves gambol on in the flowering meadow of their own lavish federal health plan. Hypocrites!

"And why are we even considering so gargantuan a social experiment when the nation is struggling to emerge from a severe recession? It's as if liberals are starry-eyed dreamers lacking the elementary ability to project or predict the chaotic and destabilizing practical consequences of their utopian fantasies. Republicans, on the other hand, have basically sat on their asses about healthcare reform for the past 20 years and have shown little interest in crafting legislative solutions to social inequities. The usual GOP floater about private medical savings accounts is a crock -- something that, given the astronomical costs of major medical crises, would be utterly unworkable for families of even average household income."

Thus my conclusion:  This makes absolutely no sense on any level whatsoever.  One need look no further than the countries who have tried socialized medicine for the results of such a sweeping proposal.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would have his opponents drawn and quartered, or worse, compared to those who opposed the abolition of slavery.  He's forgotten that Lincoln was the father of the modern Republican Party, and those who feel the role of the federal government must be limited have never abandoned those principles of self-determination and freedom.

The last thing America needs right now on the day the debt limit was raised by another $1.8 TRILLION is the biggest entitlement program in the history of the world.  I know the American economic engine is robust, but sooner or later the wheels will grind to a screeching halt unless the tax and spend orgy ends soon in Washington D.C.

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