Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Damned Demcare Bill

Nothing has changed.

The Democrats in Congress say they want to reduce medical care costs, "bend the cost curve down", and cover those who don't have health insurance. They claim they will can do this in a way that will not increase the deficit, and will allow (!) those happy with their medical insurance to keep it.

To accomplish these noble goals, the Democrats have produced a "health care" bill. Their bill accomplishes none of these goals — and, in fact, makes every one of these problems worse.

You don't reduce costs by spending an extra $1 trillion. And that huge number is almost certainly a substantial understatement. Yes, the Congressional Budget Office has come out with their number for what they say this bill will cost, and their statement that the bill is basically deficit neutral. To get that deficit neutrality, the bill steals more than half a trillion dollars from Medicare and includes an additional half trillion dollars in new taxes. And even with that, the Democrats' Congressional leadership feels it necessary to lie and claim the CBO projects a large deficit reduction in the program's second decade, though the CBO report said no such thing.

Stop and think about that: The primary rationale for starting this process was that our expenditures on health care are too high and becoming unaffordable. What kind of sense does it make to pretend we are reducing health care expenditures by spending more than an additional trillion dollars?

And it's really worse than that. President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have both said in the past week that this bill will extend the viability of the Medicare program by more than ten years. That would be laughable if it weren't so ludicrous. They are actually claiming that stealing half a trillion dollars from this near-bankrupt program will make it healthier! Does anyone believe Obama and the Congress will willingly destroy Medicare? If not, and the assumptions the CBO was forced to use are false, then those "savings" are illusory (I would say fraudulent) and the deficit from the Demcare bill will be more than a half trillion dollars higher — at least. And that's assuming the cost estimates are accurate ten years out, as they never have been.

Part of that assumption is the claim repeated so often by President Obama that “If you like your current healthcare plan, you can keep it.” And it's true that, under this bill, the government will not order us to change our health insurance — it will just make it impossible for us to keep it. Another lie. Another deliberate lie.

In addition, the bill keeps costs down for the federal government by dumping them on the states. Much of the increased insurance coverage, for those not currently insured, is accomplished by adding them into the Medicaid program. That's a huge unfunded mandate — a huge additional cost for the states, who will have to raise their taxes to cover it. But that must be OK, 'cause it's not a federal cost.

This bill is just full of mandates. There are mandates on insurance companies, mandates on employers, and mandates on individuals. With this bill, the government arrogates to itself the right to tell every person in the country what they must buy. That is absolutely improper, and unconstitutional. Under our system of government, it is not allowed to interfere in individual choices to that degree. That kind of interference is only allowed under a tyranny — allowed by the tyrannical government to itself. Legitimate governments are not allowed to tell us what insurance we must buy, or how many cheeseburgers we are allowed to buy or must buy. But that's what they're doing. That's what this bill does. And it must be OK, 'cause it's for our own good.

Beyond that, there's one other huge lie behind this bill. The Democrats pretend that those without health insurance cannot get health care. This is a lie, and they know it. Everyone gets treated in the emergency room. No, it's not the best way to deliver health care. But everyone who needs health care gets it.

These are just a few of the reasons most Americans oppose this bill. Even the Rasmussen poll, which is considerably more favorable than other polls to the Democrat leadership's healthcare "reform" bill, reports a significant majority of the country opposes this bill. And Rasmussen reports that 45% of the population strongly opposes this bill. But the Democrats' leadership refuses to listen.

The process Obama and Pelosi are now trying to sell is for the House to pass the bill the Senate passed in December, before the election of Scott Brown from Massachusetts. They are telling House members they can vote for the abominable Senate bill on the promise that the Senate will accept the "fixes" produced by the House for the "reconciliation" bill. That seems to me a really dangerous game to play. Can they really trust that Senate Majority Leader Reid can deliver next week what he couldn't last year? And even if he does, .... Best bet — once the House passes the Senate bill, the whole game is over. Obama signs the Senate bill and it's done.

One final thing: If this bill is so great, as President Obama and Speaker Pelosi keep claiming, why are they completely unable to convince members of their own party to vote for it on its merits? Why are they having to rely on bribery and extortion to get the votes to pass it?

The Republicans have been right on this one. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are ideologues intent on getting this bill passed no matter how bad it is. They're gambling the Republicans and the non-extremist Democrats won't have the balls to repeal it. And no matter how good the original plan may have been, Daryl Cagle is still right about this bill.

And they're going to vote on this abomination today.