July 22, 2009
ObamaCare is a sick joke
By Jason Lee
As The New York Post has aptly pointed out, ObamaCare is a sick joke. Here are some facts that refuse to be ignored...
- By 52 percent to 40 percent, voters are opposed to the healthcare bill introduced on July 14 to the House of Representatives.
- Independents now oppose ObamaCare by a ratio of almost 2:1.
- The World Health Organization ranked the United States No. 1 out of 191 countries for being responsive to patients' needs, including providing timely treatments and a choice of doctors. Among those currently insured, 84% are satisfied with their healthcare. But if you're happy, don't get too comfortable: ObamaCare will force people to change their insurance.
- The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that the bill proposed by House Democrats would increase the federal deficit by $239 billion.
- Team Obama says the CBO has failed to account for plans to reduce waste and cut services. Unfortunately, reducing waste would account for only about 1% of ObamaCare "savings." Any other potential savings would have to come from reductions in patient care services.
- In its "keep the plan deficit-neutral" charade, the Obama Administration indicates that it is counting on reductions in patient care in the form of cuts to the Medicare health program for the elderly. However, the American Medical Association, in its controversial letter of support for the Democrats' plan, thanks House leaders for repealing $230 billion of Medicare cuts.
- Team Obama is also counting on savings from prevention initiatives. Legislation pushed by Senate Democrats mentions "prevention" repeatedly. But as the CBO has repeatedly pointed out, prevention doesn't generally save money.
- Obama tells us he wants a public plan comparable to the Federal Employees' Health Benefits Plan Congress enjoys. This notion is a farce. Congress has a high-choice cafeteria plan that is indeed paid for by the public, but it is not run by the government.
- Congress enjoys very special perks the rest of us can only dream about. There is an attending physician on call exclusively for members of Congress, and Congress enjoys VIP access and admission to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Medical Center. Is Congress going to provide us with VIP treatment?
- ObamaCare will implement an oppressive health care bureaucracy with eye-popping complexity that would make Rube Goldberg's head spin.
When Obama was in pre-election campaign mode, he made some reasonable statements about healthcare. He wanted you to keep your insurance if you were happy with it. He told us that government-run healthcare with higher taxes was a bad idea. And he didn't think anyone should be forced to purchase insurance. Only the most naive among us believed Obama's sweet little promises, but at least they sounded nice.
The halcyon days of the 2008 campaign are long gone. Elections have consequences - broken promises, for example. But at least we can take comfort in knowing that Obama and friends will have to play by the rules they implement, right?
"Under the current draft of the Democrat healthcare legislation, members of Congress are curiously exempt from the government-run health care option, keeping their existing health plans and services on Capitol Hill." Congressman John Fleming has offered a resolution that will give members of Congress "an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is, and urge their colleagues who vote for legislation creating a government-run health care plan to lead by example and enroll themselves in the same public plan." Fleming's resolution has over 40 cosponsors- but not a single one of the cosponsors is a Democrat. Similarly, Obama has flatly refused to participate in the public health insurance program. I can't blame Obama for wanting the very best health care for his own family, but I can blame him for being a hypocrite. Americans have lost their appetite for hypocrisy, reckless spending, and the intrusion of incompetent government into every aspect of their lives. Obama is trying to address one of these concerns by promising that he "won't sign any health-care bill that adds to the deficit", but it's apparently too little and too late. Support for ObamaCare is crumbling. Consider some of the most recent observations:
- The Washington Post: "Months of relative cooperation among disparate interest groups in the heath-care reform debate appear to be coming to an end..."
- Reuters: "Reforming the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry is Obama's signature domestic issue and a major test of his presidency, but he is running out of time..."
- CNN: Six key senators - three Democrats, one independent and two moderate Republicans - sent a letter to Senate leaders calling for a slowdown in the push for a health care overhaul, in light of the Congressional Budget Office's assessment that the Democratic plan currently being considered would not cut medical costs.
- WSB: "Last week saw a rollercoaster of events that seemingly gave momentum to the controversial health reform initiative and then saw it slowed down..."
- Politico: Jim DeMint apparently smells the possibility of victory. "If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."
- The Associated Press: "Could it be that President Barack Obama's Midas touch is starting to dull a bit, even among members of his own party?"
Obama spent vast quantities of political capital and strained his credibility to the breaking point with the Chicken Little schtick he put on to sell the stimulus package. When it comes to healthcare, perhaps the sky is falling, but Americans don't seem to be listening anymore. Obama's popularity is sagging, the tone is changing, and even his cheerleaders are losing enthusiasm. "What's in it for you? Pain and discipline!", they exclaim. "Who knew we were electing a national mother-in-law?"
When Obama took the White House, giving Democrats solid control of Washington, government-dominated healthcare seemed to be an inevitability. Now the picture isn't so clear. Conservatives have many reasons to be optimistic about their opportunity to defeat ObamaCare.