...usually with an attempt at historical and economic context
Friday, September 11, 2009
“Health Care Reform” vs. the Constitution and the Economy
Rasmussen: 44 percent favor, 53 percent oppose Obamacare as of September 10, 2009. 
Barack Obama is up against it on his “health care reform” project. His September 9 speech to a joint session of Congress highlighted several things (Obama’s words in bold):
1. His frustration with the lack of acceptance of the Democrat proposals in the HR 3200 draft and the ways to “pay for” this plan. I put those words in quotes because the program will not be paid for, if enacted, without massive additions to the deficit, despite Obama’s claims. First, $500 billion cannot be cut from Medicare without seriously affecting benefits and coverage. Second, the proposed sharp tax increases will slow the economy greatly, and actually decrease revenues to the government. He is less specific about this than any other aspect of the issue. To summarize:
Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan. Much of the rest would be paid for with revenues from the very same drug and insurance companies that stand to benefit from tens of millions of new customers. This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies, which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money — an idea which has the support of Democratic and Republican experts. And according to these same experts, this modest change could help hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long-run….
The plan will not add to our deficit. The middle-class will realize greater security, not higher taxes. And if we are able to slow the growth of health care costs by just one-tenth of one percent each year, it will actually reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term.  for all items in bold
But Senator Max Baucus’s paper on financing government health care tells a different story. There are numerous tax increases being proposed, from a federal excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to tax increases on alcoholic beverages to raising tax rates on higher-income tax payers (not to mention letting the Bush tax cuts expire). In other words, large increases across the board. And, a great many more information reporting requirements. 
2. His so-called outreach to Republicans is not and has never been genuine. Sure, he’d like their votes, but he’s not interested in really considering their plans. If he were, he’d have been consulting with them all along. He has not. He calls his opponents liars. His denial of “death panels” cannot be believed. These panels will decide whether treatment is to be permitted, delayed or denied. Once government takes over, bureaucrats will decide who gets what.
Some of people's concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.
3. His determination to include a “public option.” This entire “plan” (any plan so far written or discussed by Democrats) is a foot in the door for socialized medicine, and with or without the public option, turns control, if not ownership of the health care, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries over to government. With the “public option,” it’s even worse. It will put private insurers out of business. The statement that only a 5 percent or so of Americans will be on this option cannot be believed. Nor can the statement that premium payments can sustain the public option. It just isn’t possible. Nor can the statement that people currently happy with their coverage can keep it. Bureaucratic regulations, formulas, and decisions will prevail once government takes over, “public option” or not. Government’s foot will be on the necks of insurance providers to the extent that many may go out of business before this program can take effect, if it is enacted. Then, look for actual government ownership of some large insurance companies. (They already own AIG).
No one would be forced to choose it [the “public option”], and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. In fact, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, we believe that less than 5 percent of Americans would sign up. Despite all this, the insurance companies and their allies don't like this idea. They argue that these private companies can't fairly compete with the government. And they'd be right if taxpayers were subsidizing this public insurance option. But they won't be. I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects.
4. Obama wants his health care signature issue passed at the expense of helping the economy. Obama does not care about the economy improving. He’s purposefully allowing it to deteriorate. If this is not true, Obama is a complete idiot. And he isn’t. The Obama government is doing nothing that can help the economy. The must know this and be approving of it. They do not care about creating jobs. With more people in economic hardship, more people will look to government. Full recovery is “many months away.” When he’s out of office? He “will not let up” what? Pork-barrel spending? Business takeovers? Bailouts?
As any American who is still looking for work or a way to pay their bills will tell you, we are by no means out of the woods. A full and vibrant recovery is many months away. And I will not let up until those Americans who seek jobs can find them; until those businesses that seek capital and credit can thrive; until all responsible homeowners can stay in their homes. That is our ultimate goal. But thanks to the bold and decisive action we have taken since January, I can stand here with confidence and say that we have pulled this economy back from the brink.
It would be more accurate to say that the Administration, Fed, and Congress have come close to pushing the economy over the cliff (and may yet), than to say that they have pulled it back from the brink. If they had refrained from the economically ill-advised bailouts, auto takeovers, etc. the economy could be well into recovery by now, through the self-correction mechanisms the government has throttled. Obama states good goals here, but is doing nothing to help and plenty to harm.
How’s this for an evaluation of the current economy? Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal, says the following: “The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll has 87% of the public somewhat or very dissatisfied with the economy. The unemployment rate is likely to go above 10% for all 2010. Whatever GDP growth may occur, there is no evidence of new-job creation. Gold's price has risen above $1,000, suggesting inflation is swimming below the economy's flat surface. China is stockpiling gold and worrying out loud about the weak dollar. A U.N. panel said this week the world should abandon the dollar as the world's anchor currency.” 
Oh, and Obama vaguely mentioned tort reform, not too convincingly. Also, it is worth noting that at one point the President was laughed at. Also, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) called out “You lie!’ when the President claimed that illegal immigrants wouldn’t be covered. Democrats were indignant, although they had done similar things to G.W. Bush not many years ago.
To conclude: 1. Obama’s health care preferences have not changed. What he wants is universal, single-payer health care and sees a transition period from our present system to his preferred system. Check out the following video, which I am re-using.
2. He ignores the fact that the economy is much more pressing issue for Americans than health care. When will the American people start to realize that Obama is purposefully destroying the American economy. If he wanted to actually improve it, it wouldn’t be that difficult. Yet we’re supposed to accept his statement that “many more months” of hardship lie ahead.
3. Republicans still need to oppose this to the maximum extent and filibuster it if possible. Whatever plan is brought forward for a vote, with or without the “public option,” represents a complete government takeover of health care-related industries. What Obama laid out in his speech is classic fascism. It is unconstitutional. And it seriously erodes Americans’ liberty. But that’s just the beginning. Cap and trade is next. Then forced unionism, unrestricted abortion, etc., etc.
4. I wish Rep. Joe Wilson the best. He at least was telling the truth. Obama wasn’t.
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.