That dull roar you hear is the sound of my panic welling up and crashing over me…
We were told we had to do it because of the however many millions of uninsured, yet this bill will leave some 25 million Americans uninsured. On the other hand, millions of young fit healthy Americans in their first jobs who currently take the entirely reasonable view that they do not require health insurance at this stage in their lives will be forced to pay for coverage they neither want nor need. On the other other hand, those Americans who’ve done the boring responsible grown-up thing and have health plans Harry Reid determines to be excessively “generous” will be subject to punitive taxes up to 40 percent. On the other other other hand, if you’re the member of a union which enjoys privileged relations with Commissar Reid you’ll be exempt from that 40 percent shakedown. On the other other other other hand, if you’re already enjoying government health care, well, you’re 83 years old and, let’s face it, it’s hardly worth us giving you that surgery for the minimal contribution you make to society, so in the cause of extending government health care to millions of people who don’t currently get it we’re going to ration it for those currently entitled to it.
Looking at the millions of Americans it leaves uninsured, and the millions it leaves with worse treatment and reduced access, and the millions it makes pay significantly more for their current health care, one can only marvel at Harry Reid’s genius: government health care turns out to be all government and no health care. Adding up the zillions of new taxes and bureaucracies and regulations it imposes on the citizenry, one might almost think that was the only point of the exercise.
That’s why I believe America’s belated embrace of government health care is going to be far more expensive and disastrous than the Euro-Canadian models. Whatever one’s philosophical objection to the Canadian health system, it is, broadly, fair: Unless you’re a cabinet minister or a bigtime hockey player, you’ll enjoy the same equality of crappiness and universal lack of access that everybody else does. But, even before it’s up-and-running, Pelosi-Reid-Obamacare is an impenetrable thicket of contradictory boondoggles, shameless payoffs, and arbitrary shakedowns.
That’s why Nebraska’s grotesque zombie senator Ben Nelson is the perfect poster boy for the new arrangements, and not just another so-called Blue Dog Democrat spayed into compliance by a massive cash injection. There is no reason on earth why Nebraska should be the only state in this Union to have every dime of its increased Medicare tab picked up by the 49 others. So either that privilege will be extended to all, or to favored others, or its asymmetry will be balanced by other precisely targeted lollipops hither and yon. Whatever happens, it’s a dagger at the heart of American federalism, just as the bill’s magisterial proclamation that the Independent Medicare Advisory Board can only be abolished by a two-thirds vote of the Senate strikes at one of the most basic principles of a free society — that no parliament can bind its successors.
Identify the problem: Some people have healthcare, some don’t. Okay so the solution doesn’t insure everyone (what?), it punishes people who have insurance, unless you’re a certain kind of voter in which case you won’t be punished, all in order to get people enrolled in a government plan but if you’re already on the government plan, your coverage is getting cut. Brilliant.
How is anyone letting them get away with this? I read somewhere someone saying that the US just can’t do big government properly, because any bill ends up a giant mess of payoffs and graft (this someone who thinks the British model of bureaucrats doing all the work to be voted for en masse by politicians a wonder of efficiency and good governance) so how can even fans of government health care convince themselves that this is in any way a good thing?
The debate should not be about $900 billion or $1.2 trillion or any factitious estimated figure that history shows will be off by a factor of seven to ten to twenty (see Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security). It should be about health care, life and death, quality of care, rationing, government control of medicine, careers, and the ability to practice medicine without overbearing bureaucratic control of professional decisions that should be left to doctors and patients.
Similarly, it does not matter if legislation emerges with or without government-financed abortion or a public option or so-called cooperatives (financed by government of course) or triggers that can be added later once there is a foot in the door for the government to control one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Those items and many more will be bartered by politicians later. They are all side issues. Remember, both the Senate and House bills provide for taxes, fees, and mandates almost immediately, with the alleged benefits scheduled to arrive three to five years down the road. This whole process has been completed behind closed congressional doors, with one party negotiating with itself.
Even if Obamacare does not include a public option per se, it will inevitably lead to a single-payer health-care system. The bills call for well over 100 new government committees that will dictate to insurance companies what they can and cannot cover, who they can cover, and how much they can charge. The government will control all levers of the system. It’s simply “public option lite,” repackaged just in time for Christmas, with the political elite calculating that the public is too immersed in the holiday season to notice and, regardless, too impotent to stop it. This mutation might take a little longer to attain the Canadian utopia, but it still sets America on a path toward a single-payer system. This is the health-care model liberals have wanted for generations. It won’t save a dime, and will ultimately lead to soaring taxes, restricted access, poorer care, long waits, and rationing.
Higher costs for worse care is not, however, the ultimate irony. Addressing Congress on Sept. 9, 2009, President Obama said there are 30 million uninsured Americans. If all goes exactly as planned, this grandiose boondoggle contemplates 23 million uninsured by 2019. Naturally, there is no attempt at tort reform or interstate competition among insurance companies — two ways to control costs without upending the entire system.
If Mark Steyn is right, and I believe that he is (it doesn’t take a genius to see how politics operates in Britain or Canada and think golly, that’s a bit different from here), then how awfully cynical is that? They therefore have to know that they’re making health care worse, but they’re doing it anyway just to keep a political party in power?
(I mean you could say that a permanent left-of-center political culture already exists. It’s not as though there are these “Republicans” who eschew earmarks and wasteful spending, and who always lower taxes etc and so on. So the left-of-center political types are getting what they want anyway, they’re just going through all this to make sure there’s a (D) at the end of the name of everyone who’s doing it. It’s awful.)
[R]est up this Christmas. Come January: the fight.
God, we’re relying on Republicans…