Samuelson: healthcare reform a 'Nightmare for Obama'

Liberal economist Robert Samuelson has been sounding the alarm for months about President Obama's extravagant spending. Now, he delivers a KO to Obama and his idea of health care reform.

Writing in the Washington Post, Samuelson spares no words and lets the president have it right between the eyes:

Barack Obama's quest for historic health-care legislation has turned into a parody of leadership. We usually associate presidential leadership with the pursuit of goals that, though initially unpopular, serve America's long-term interests. Obama has reversed this. He's championing increasingly unpopular legislation that threatens the country's long-term interests. "This isn't about me," he likes to say, "I have great health insurance." But of course, it is about him: about the legacy he covets as the president who achieved "universal" health insurance. He'll be disappointed.Even if Congress passes legislation -- a good bet -- the finished product will fall far short of Obama's extravagant promises. It will not cover everyone. It will not control costs. It will worsen the budget outlook. It will lead to higher taxes. It will disrupt how, or whether, companies provide insurance for their workers. As the real-life (as opposed to rhetorical) consequences unfold, they will rebut Obama's claim that he has "solved" the health-care problem. His reputation will suffer.

It already has. Despite Obama's eloquence and command of the airwaves, public suspicions are rising. In April, 57 percent of Americans approved of his "handling of health care" and 29 percent disapproved, reports the Post-ABC News poll; in the latest survey, 44 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved. About half worried that their care would deteriorate and that health costs would rise.

And his conclusions should give no one in the administration any comfort:

So Obama's plan amounts to this: partial coverage of the uninsured; modest improvements (possibly) in their health; sizable budgetary costs worsening a bleak outlook; significant, unpredictable changes in insurance markets; weak spending control. This is a bad bargain. Health benefits are overstated, long-term economic costs understated. The country would be the worse for this legislation's passage. What it's become is an exercise in political symbolism: Obama's self-indulgent crusade to seize the liberal holy grail of "universal coverage." What it's not is leadership. 

A helluva price to pay for "political symbolism."


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky
Liberal economist Robert Samuelson has been sounding the alarm for months about President Obama's extravagant spending. Now, he delivers a KO to Obama and his idea of health care reform.

Writing in the Washington Post, Samuelson spares no words and lets the president have it right between the eyes:

Barack Obama's quest for historic health-care legislation has turned into a parody of leadership. We usually associate presidential leadership with the pursuit of goals that, though initially unpopular, serve America's long-term interests. Obama has reversed this. He's championing increasingly unpopular legislation that threatens the country's long-term interests. "This isn't about me," he likes to say, "I have great health insurance." But of course, it is about him: about the legacy he covets as the president who achieved "universal" health insurance. He'll be disappointed.

Even if Congress passes legislation -- a good bet -- the finished product will fall far short of Obama's extravagant promises. It will not cover everyone. It will not control costs. It will worsen the budget outlook. It will lead to higher taxes. It will disrupt how, or whether, companies provide insurance for their workers. As the real-life (as opposed to rhetorical) consequences unfold, they will rebut Obama's claim that he has "solved" the health-care problem. His reputation will suffer.

It already has. Despite Obama's eloquence and command of the airwaves, public suspicions are rising. In April, 57 percent of Americans approved of his "handling of health care" and 29 percent disapproved, reports the Post-ABC News poll; in the latest survey, 44 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved. About half worried that their care would deteriorate and that health costs would rise.

And his conclusions should give no one in the administration any comfort:

So Obama's plan amounts to this: partial coverage of the uninsured; modest improvements (possibly) in their health; sizable budgetary costs worsening a bleak outlook; significant, unpredictable changes in insurance markets; weak spending control. This is a bad bargain. Health benefits are overstated, long-term economic costs understated. The country would be the worse for this legislation's passage. What it's become is an exercise in political symbolism: Obama's self-indulgent crusade to seize the liberal holy grail of "universal coverage." What it's not is leadership. 

A helluva price to pay for "political symbolism."


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

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