Conservative Political Commentary

...anti-socialist, anti-globalist, and usually with an attempt at historical and economic context

Friday, July 17, 2009

Obama Wants Quick Action on Health Care “Reform”

“We’re Gonna Get This Done!” says the President.
Well, I certainly hope not. If the Republicans have any fight left in them, they should oppose this tooth and nail.


The Plan Is Unconstitutional.
Where does the Constitution give the federal government the power to control health care and healthcare insurance? It doesn’t. This plan is illegal since it is unconstitutional.

What Kind of Support Does This Plan Have?

This is simply another Obama power grab. He claims there is widespread consensus when in fact most Americans are satisfied with their current coverage, and many uninsured Americans are satisfied with their current status. He claims that various health-related professional groups and insurance companies and even pharmaceutical companies are on board, since he was able to meet with some “representatives” of these groups and do enough arm-twisting to get some kind of agreement to cut costs, etc.

Doctors – Many doctors are strongly opposed to government healthcare. It would reduce their incomes considerably. It would provide a disincentive for people to go to medical school, since the government would end up with close control over their compensation.
And the formerly sacred “doctor-patient relationship” would suffer a devastating blow.
Many doctors would probably take early retirement. Other providers would share similar concerns.

Pharmaceutical companies – The pressure this plan would put on them to lower costs of medicines would seriously damage their ability and willingness to develop new drugs, ultimately lowering health care effectiveness.

Insurance companies – Health insurers and agents are greatly concerned that a government plan would burden them with compliance costs, reduce their profits and finally put them out of business.

Hospitals – In this great drive to cut costs, hospitals would be less likely to invest in high-tech equipment and would necessarily reduce the quality of care. Hospitals, already burdened with Medicare and Medicaid compliance costs, would see their record-keeping, bookkeeping and documentation costs rise significantly, while in effect they would be under price controls and therefore more hard-pressed to earn a profit.

Politicans
– People who are most strongly in favor of Obamacare would be those politicians who want America under a socialist, central planning environment in general, and those who want to get back at the hated insurance and pharmaceutical industries and other entities that have enjoyed commercial success.

The Public – Public support would come from people who want to see everyone covered by affordable insurance and people who are losing their jobs and coverage, or feel they can’t afford coverage, and would like some government help.

The Cost – Ah, There’s the Rub.
Cost figures over a ten-year period are variously estimated at $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion. And this may be just a low, preliminary estimate. Budget deficits are already gigantic and growing steadily, with no letup in sight. All this debt has to be repaid with interest. Tax increases and cost cuts, we are told, will be needed. Any problem with that? In fact, it is the big problem. Consider:

We are in a severe recession. Tax increases of any kind would only aggravate this and lead to more job losses and suffering for American families. This is common sense. The government thinks that taxing “the wealthy” wouldn’t harm Americans who are not wealthy, and would generate a lot of revenue. In fact it would be the most definite way to reduce employment, slow investment and close businesses. This is not rocket science, but more like Economics 101. And when taxes are raised, overall revenues will in fact drop.

Various taxes are being considered, such as taxes on Cheerios, Pepsi, and similar products. Most people are already paying sales taxes on most items anyway and don’t need further price increases. Also, the government will perpetually use phony health care concerns to take ever more control of what people can buy, eat, etc. Between that and environmental issues, they’ll run our lives morning, noon, and night.

Obama looks to save billions by cutting waste, etc. They always say that, but never do much about it. One thing of concern is that he plans to stop government “giveaways” to insurance companies for Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, the insurance companies are saving the government a lot of money by administering Medicare supplement and “advantage” plans much more efficiently than government can do it. Older folks, look out, you could easily lose these plans. And eventually Medicare and Medicaid entirely, with everyone on the public “option.” When that happens, older people and the chronically ill will find themselves to be low priority. AARP ought to oppose this plan, not support it.

Why Is Obama So Anxious To Do This Right Away?
The plan is quickly losing public support. People are expecting yet more 1000-page bills which no one has read, or possibly even seen, to be voted on. We hear what the spokesmen are saying, but who knows what’s really in the bill?

Obama’s popularity is fading.
Therefore, he needs to rush this through now, or it won’t be possible.

Also, this is not an election year. If it were, congressmen and senators would be much more reluctant to support it, since it would likely be a mark against them come election time. They who support it hope the public has a short memory, but by November 2010, they may already have bad experiences with this plan if it passes.

There is hope that it won’t pass. People weren’t ready for Hillarycare in the ’90’s and this is worse. Republicans don’t like it. Blue Dog Democrats are seriously concerned about the cost. When Obama says “deficit-neutral,” that is about as reliable as the Administration’s predictions on unemployment. There’s no way! It simply isn’t possible. The only way to reduce deficits or business losses caused by this plan will be to ration care, and that is an inevitable consequence of government health care. Just check Britain and Canada.

There are better ways for government to help with healthcare, and without creating unpayable debt. Provide tax incentives for employers to provide coverage. Encourage insurance companies, with incentives, to provide more affordable portable coverage.
Provide taxpayers with better deductibility of health care expenses. Don’t even think about taxing health care benefits. Many other ways are also available, if the focus could be off government control of every step of the process. The private sector knows how to run their businesses. The government does not.

I think there will be massive voter communications with elected officials over this, similar to what we saw when the immigration “reform” bill was up for consideration. If that happens, congressional incumbents must pay attention. Here’s hoping.

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