NYT already offering reasons for death of ObamaCare

The public option is comatose, the death panels are expired, and a reconciliation bill may resemble Swiss cheese, but the rumors of ObamaCare's demise have been greatly exaggerated. And so it was quite a surprise to read a short blog piece in the Sunday New York Times, of all places, under the heading of "Causes of Death (Just in Case)." Curiously, the piece ran in the print edition, but is no longer on the Times web site. (see below) The column cites four possible causes to include in the obituary for ObamaCare:

- The absence of former Senator Tom Daschle, a Democrat deeply knowledgeable about health care...
- A fixation on avoiding the mistakes of the Clintons.  Did Obama go too far in the other direction...
- Pent-up anger on the right.  Did the Obama team underestimate the rage building on the right...
- Lack of a specific bill... opponents have defined the bill and befuddled the public.

While Daschle is working behind the scenes, no doubt his early loss was the first blow to ObamaCare.  As far as the Clinton's mistakes are concerned, Obama still does not realize it does not matter who puts the lipstick on the pig or what kind of lipstick it is.  The third item cited, pent-up anger, is a big factor.  Obama burned a huge amount of political capital and credibility with his stimulus bill that has not worked.  Credibility and capital were further stretched on the House Cap and Trade vote, with it's 300 page amendment tossed over the transom at 3 AM the night before the vote.  Add in the bank and auto takeovers, and budget deficits building by the trillions, and the public's belief in Obama's change has begun to dissipate.

There will be plenty of blame to go around if the health care story does not end quite as scripted by Obama.  Some of it begins with the President.   Obama has lead a concerted campaign over the past several weeks to demonize the health insurance industry, excoriating health insurers in a 
New York Times op-ed last week, after Nancy Pelosi had called private insurers "the villains."  This after demonizing the oil companies, the bankers, the auto makers, Wall Street, business convention travelers, various talk-radio hosts and their audiences, arrogant Americans, high-income earners, Tea Party people, the drug companies, secured bond-holders, police officers "acting stupidly," the doctors who remove tonsils for profit, town hall attendees, and on and on.

Anyone who has not yet been demonized, please raise your hand, your turn is coming. In his zeal to find fresh scapegoats and straw men, the President has broken a cardinal rule by insulting his audience repeatedly.

messaging has strained plausibility, to say the least.  It is Obama who has befuddled the public.  The President has called it a lie that ObamaCare will mean government control of your health care, when in fact ObamaCare is government control.  The President pitched health care reform as reducing costs, until the CBO said reform would increase costs.  The President has repeated ad nauseam that you can keep your insurance, when in fact the House bill contains all manner of trap doors that dump citizens into a public plan.  The President expects us gullible types to believe that a bill that will supposedly add 50 million people to the insurance rolls will result in lower costs without rationing health care to the elderly and the infirm.  Then the President, in a conference call with rabbis last week, says "We are God's partners in matters of life and death," as reported on Politico.  The President is no doubt dreaming up new messaging tricks as he gazes at his reflection on the Atlantic Ocean this week.  

The House bill and the President's rhetoric do not address such major cost drivers as tort reform, as discussed by Sarah Palin 
over the weekend, and the toll placed on hospital emergency rooms by illegal aliens, as covered in a recent Fox News column.  The President expects Americans to naively believe his health care reform will not result in coverage for illegals. The President is at odds with the Catholic bishops on whether abortion is funded by the health care reform bill.  The Democrats have not addressed market based reforms that would build on what already works in the health care system.   Had we all listened to Obama in his mad-dash rush to hoodwink the nation, the House and Senate would have passed bills last month, with a triumphant sign-off on health care socialism scheduled for September.

The Times blog post of course did not mention that 
the real problem with ObamaCare is ObamaCare.  The 
House bill itself is a thousand page Frankenstein that would remake every aspect of our health care system, dismantling what already works, ostensibly to cover some number of uninsured Americans, but in reality, to bring all of us more directly under the control of the federal government.  Health care decisions of a most private and personal nature would be taken out of the hands of patients and doctors and put under the control of government bureaucrats.  A system that has failed miserably in other countries would be imposed from above on this country.  People are wary of what might be in those thousand pages, especially when the President himself can't seem to get it straight.  On Sunday, Senator Joe Lieberman said he thinks we need to put off a lot of the health care reform effort, and Senator John McCain said the President needs to abandon the government option in order to move forward, adding to a litany of lawmaker objections.  The health care issue has united Republicans and Conservatives in opposition like no other issue since the dispiriting defeat last November.  The country has already been there and done that, sixteen years ago, as HillaryCare.  The "Cash for Clunkers" program provided a timely reminder of just how difficult dealing with the government bureaucracy can be.

Peggy Noonan, in her 
aptly titled column "Pull the Plug on ObamaCare" captures the message issue:

Every big idea that works is marked by simplicity, by clarity. You can understand it when you hear it, and you can explain it to people. Social Security: Retired workers receive a public pension to help them through old age. Medicare: People over 65 can receive taxpayer-funded health care. Welfare: If you have no money and cannot support yourself, we will help as you get back on your feet.

These things are clear. I understand them. You understand them. The president's health-care plan is not clear, and I mean that not only in the sense of "he hasn't told us his plan." I mean it in terms of the voodoo phrases, this gobbledygook, this secret language of government that no one understands—"single payer," "public option," "insurance marketplace exchange." No one understands what this stuff means, nobody normal.

And when normal people don't know what the words mean, they don't say to themselves, "I may not understand, but my trusty government surely does, and will treat me and mine with respect." They think, "I can't get what these people are talking about. They must be trying to get one past me. So I'll vote no."

ObamaCare is the antithesis of simplicity and clarity - the House bill is a bureaucrat's dream of legal structures that would tie the health care system in government knots.  The President has squandered his political credibility, we are surrounded by villains, scapegoats and straw men, the President's message changes every week, the President can't seem to get straight what is in the bill, the Democrats' reform breaks down what works and fails to address real issues, death panels and rationing are now part of the lexicon, the public option is down for the count, and we are in debt beyond comprehension.  Aside from that, the reports of ObamaCare's demise are greatly exaggerated.

Article image from print edition: