February 20, 2010
What Americans Don't Understand about ObamacareBy Brad O'Leary
In his State of the Union speech, President Obama tried to offer a mea culpa of sorts for the unraveling of his health care bill. Calling health care "a complex issue," the president said, "I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people."
Mr. President, you are correct. We Americans don't understand.
However, our lack of understanding is not because we're incapable of deciphering complex issues. Rather, we don't understand how Obamacare itself is supposed to make our health care system any better.
Here is a short list of what we specifically don't understand:
How will our health care system improve by giving a $300-million payoff to Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu in Louisiana in exchange for her vote?
Three hundred million was the price tag for Landrieu's "yes" vote on the 3,000-plus-page Obamacare bill. This may improve the health of Senator Landrieu's reelection prospects, but not the health of our nation.
What is positive about exempting Nebraska from having to pay future Medicare costs but making other states foot the bill?
Democratic Senator Ben Nelson was the final Democratic senator holding out support for the bill. After closed-door negotiations, Senator Nelson provided his full support. The reason for Nelson's sudden change of heart? His state was given a special exemption and would not have to pay the projected billions of dollars in additional Medicare costs that Obamacare would create.
Why are labor unions singled out from all other Americans and given an eight-year pass on paying taxes, while non-union workers have to pick up the tab?
In another closed-door negotiation, this time with Big Labor bosses and lobbyists, union members were exempted from paying the dreaded "Cadillac tax" on premium health care plans until 2018. In dollar terms, this would save union workers over $60 billion, while the rest of us have to come up with an additional $90 billion over the same time period.
Why should taxpayers be forced to pay for elective abortions?
After being repeatedly reassured by you, Mr. President, that taxpayer-funded abortions would not be included in your health care bill, why did your Secretary of Health and Human Services brag to the pro-abortion lobby that the Senate version of Obamacare includes taxpayer-funded abortion? How does this improve our health care system?
How does putting the federal government between Americans and their doctors improve anyone's health?
The Senate version of Obamacare would make Americans enroll in a "qualified health care plan" and then dictates that doctors may receive compensation under such plans only if they perform procedures allowed by the federal government.
How does a closed-door legislative process help us understand the complexities of Obamacare?
If health care is a "complex issue" that requires clear explanation to the American people, then how does it help when all of the explaining is being done to lobbyists behind closed doors?
Mr. President, what we don't understand is why a bill that is so good and necessary requires secrecy, bribes, and lies to ensure its passage. Why do you feel the need to hide the bill from us? Why do your biggest supporters need their palms greased before they come on board with your plan? Why do you tell us one thing about the cost of your bill, only for us to find out later that you understated the actual cost by over 300 percent?
In short, Mr. President, why should we believe anything you tell us about health care anymore?
Brad O'Leary is publisher of "The O'Leary Report," a bestselling author, and a former NBC Westwood One talk show host. Tell your senators and congressmen where you stand on Obamacare at healthcarevote.com.