Ten Lies About Health Care Reform James Campion March 26, 2010 Columns 7 Health Care Reform is a government take-over of the entire health industry. Nope. It’s what the Democrats intended, and to varying degrees, the president, however with no Single Payer or Public Option, this is merely an expansion of the existing system loaded with extra taxes to defray national debt and provide more invasive oversight and regulations, some of which are needed badly, while others are overreaching. But it is a far cry from anything Socialist or what countries in Europe and Canada have adopted. For one, doctors will not be working for the government, nor will hospitals be nationalized. But beware, any time law invades the private sector, amendments and expansion of said law is almost guaranteed. This is actually fiscally responsible legislation. Not in the least. Although there is concern in the medical community as to the cost to tax payers for millions of uninsured citizens running to emergency rooms for primary care and a guarantee of ridiculously escalating insurance costs crippling the system, there are also grave doubts that this will not be another in a long line of bloated, over-taxed and under-funded government bureaucracies. The Congressional Budget Office estimates, which fueled final support among fence-sitting Democrats last week, are at best flimsy and at worst nonsense. This cost of $938 billion over ten years and deficit reduction of $1.3 trillion over 20 years is less inexact science than science fiction. Normally, the CBO does not project anything accurately over a decade much less two. Truth is, nobody knows anything, especially since most of the tax increases don’t kick in for another eight years and are unlikely to be enacted by a Congress that had nothing to do with creating it. The law is unconstitutional mainly because it contains strict mandates for all citizens to purchase some form of health insurance. This is not entirely false, but hardly true. There are low-income provisions for the law and those who’d argue it on the “not need” basis are mainly young people, who are now safe under their parents coverage until age 26. Technically, even when considering The Commerce Clause in Article One of the Constitution, a government mandating of anything is unconstitutional, but then so is Social Security, Medicare, Income Tax, Speed Limits, The Civil Rights Act, Major League Baseball, the Federal Communications Commission, nearly every military action after WWII until the first Gulf War and the drafting of our youth to fight them, the Patriot Act, and every obscenity law on the books. Oh, and this latest idea for state attorneys general to fight the new law in the courts will be mostly futile, but one must remember that every case taken to court against specific restraints of the Patriot Act has prevailed. This is sweeping insurance reform. On the contrary. Insurance companies, although regulated more than they wished—and what company doesn’t want free reign to gouge – absorb nearly 33 million new customers, which immediately defrays the cost for what they will eventually face legally in 2014; an end to denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and dropping consumers with serious illnesses. This is one of the reasons – along with the lack of Single Payer or a Public Option – progressives are as miffed as conservatives. The day after the bill passed every health insurance stock on the market soared, not to mention the pharmaceutical trade, which will surge when millions more rush to join our already booming national prescription drug frenzy. The American people don’t want it; Or, the American people demand it. This is one of those ubiquitous fabrications on both sides. Tanked economies tend not to elicit clamor for major legislation, save for job creation or economic relief, and it is quite clear a healthy majority now fear and hate the government in any form. But as stated in this space weeks ago, universal pronouncements about what everyone wants are just stupid anyway. It is fair to say this; fiscal conservatives despise any tax or entitlement, as long as they are not benefiting from them. Liberals believe compromise beyond total government intervention on all things is never enough, as long as it doesn’t involve social issues. The center-left who supports the president is pleased at least something got done and the center-right who hate the president and thus want him to fail is pissed. Once again, no one can see into the future, therefore no one is certain about how anything will turn out. This is a historic victory for the Democrats and President Obama. Yes, but… As stated above many liberals are not happy and are hardly sated by “something is better than nothing.” Not to mention the wild shifting of the sell-job, which started as “Affordable Health Care For All” to “Moral Obligation,” then “Insurance Reform” to “Deficit Reduction,” and finally, “Curtail Future Damages.” However, this was a political must for Nancy Pelosi, Obama and the entire party. Seemingly, the president goes from Jimmy Carter to FDR in one vote, and the Democrats from weak, do-nothing hagglers to now owning a piece of history. Both will energize a sagging base and allow whatever happens to exist in reality and not fought via hyperbole on cable news and blogs. Obama could no longer lose this than Bush could lose Iraq. Once in, all in. The process with which this bill became law was highly irregular and underhanded. Sure, as long as you’re allowed to frame the making of every law this way. But just because people don’t freak out every time, doesn’t mean it ain’t happening. And folks, it happens. Everything the Republicans and the opposition punditry screamed about—from kickback deals and political favors to lobbying and Reconciliation—has been a staple of our legislative system at every level from county to state to national. It’s like going to a boxing match and complaining about all the hitting or continuing to be shocked by Howard Stern. More to the point, since everyone in Congress has at one time or another participated in acts some now call “sleazy,” it’s more like the guy running the casino in Casablanca looking stunned during a police raid. The Republicans wanted health reform, but not this monstrosity. Well…The GOP spent six years in Congress after the Hillary Fiasco and the bulk of eight years in executive and legislative power without so much as a peep about reform. There were signs, such as G.W. Bush’s Massive Prescription Drug overhaul and the formation of the Health Savings Accounts, but the truth is only when the Democrats finally pushed, Republicans seized the issue with kid gloves and appeared to be simultaneously on board and wounded by being ignored, neither of which is particularly accurate. In many ways, the over 200 Republican amendments and bi-partisan wrangling with Blue Dog Dems watered down Obamacare from an aggressive overhaul to a centrist regulatory watchdog program, none of which Republican lawmakers voted for after months of wild demagoguery. The violent threats and wacky overall behavior against Democratic members of Congress who voted for the bill are calculated political stunts by the Republicans, who are prime instigators of inflated political chicanery by politically savvy Democrats. No more than kids running off to shoot cops after listening to NWA songs or that goofball who tried to kill Reagan after seeing Taxi Driver. If Capitol Hill cannot be the home base of wildly melodramatic posturing, then we may as well just fold the whole she-bang and let the Native Americans have it back. Arrest the assholes that spit on public officials and especially those who throw bricks through windows and call in death threats. Don’t we have some kind of unconstitutional spy ring set up for this crap? The 2010 mid-term elections will be a referendum on this vote. Not exactly. Just as the Democrats were selling partisan politics in their arm-twisting vote-o-rama, the Republicans selling of outrage in its wake is purely political. Every first-term president loses seats, and coupled with overall anti-government fervor puts the minority party in the driver’s seat. A lot can and will happen in six months and it will be difficult for Republicans to merely run on excoriating a system that now helps a fair amount of voters and has provisions for children with pre-existing health issues—never a good platform to attack. James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus, and Midnight For Cinderella. jamescampion.com 7 Responses Wellescent Health Blog March 26, 2010 Far too much media attention has distorted the view as to what this health reform bill means to the American public and who is for or against it. The reality is that it is a mixed bag for many people, but that it is a first step toward the government promoting the health of its citizens. The first implementation of the bill will have some problems, but because it exists and touches so many areas, the amendments will continue to make it more effective. Were the law not passed, there would not be the same government involvement to try to fix the system Reply Sun Wukong March 26, 2010 What I find most dismaying is that no one can see the simple truth now facing each and every American — our Republic and the values we stand for have been fundamentally undermined. The unconstitutionality of this bill is clear for anyone looking at it with any degree of objectivity — the wealthy will be punished for being wealthy — in the form of higher taxes to pay for the care of those who can not pay. It is a central tenet of Socialism and Marxism that those who have wealth must surrender it to those who do not. Every Marxist for Mao Tze Tong, to Fidel Castro, and now, sadly, our president, has sought to begin the “Socialization” of society by taking over health care. Our men and women in uniform spent the better part of the last century keeping the spread of communism in check — I know I don’t have to explain this to my elders — they lived through it. What the Hell were they fighting for? And now, they have to watch the country and the values they fought for, and witnessed their comrades die for disappear with the stroke of a pen? Some may say this is alarmist and hateful — I call it patriotic. Some say that it is unreasonable to equate this legislation with the loss of our personal liberty – but consider this – every major change in the functioning of a society begins just like this, a ‘great’ leader will rise from the ashes of a broken society (sound familiar, historians?), and will offer himself to the people to lift them from their misery with promises of a better tomorrow. The people give unwavering support to their new leader, who then feels as though the fervor the people have for him is tantamount to a mandate for his entire agenda. Little by little, bit by bit, piece by piece, the leader (most assuredly the ‘Dictator’ by now) begins seizing control of society. Look it up. Do the research. Check out Adolf Hitler, Benito Mousolini, Josef Stalin — just to name a few. And though it saddens me to include the name of the man who sits in our Oval Office in this rogue’s gallery, I would ask you all to simply consider the following: 1. Since the new administration took office, the government has taken control of large portions of our financial sector, as set forth in the economic bailouts of 08 and 09. The largest holder of bank stock is now the US Government. 2. The government now controls several major US automakers, making the US government now one of the world’s foremost producers of automobiles — not US industry. 3. Our president has nearly 40 (that’s FORTY) czars is his cabinet. “Czars” are unelected officials that surround the president and assist and influence him in making the important policy decisions that affect every Amreican. It should be noted the he handpicked them all in what I am sorry to say is literaly a cabal within our White House. If you check your sociology and government definitions, you’ll find that this alone places our President firmly in the “Dictator” column. Only Dictators have the audacity to appoint so many virtual “governors” in defiance of even giving the people a say as to who has the ear and mind of their leaders. Check out other dictators in history; I’m sure you’ll find it enlightening, and eerily familiar. I am NOT a right winger — or a liberal. Just a patriot lamenting over the impending death of his nation. — The Monkey King 3/26/10 Reply JL March 26, 2010 I disagree with your take on “This is sweeping insurance reform.” while facts you mentioned are true…it is also true that this bill greatly reduces the options consumers will have on the types of HC insurance they can purchase (essentially making HC insurance a commodity). The Sec HHS can tell insurance companies (indirectly by controlling demand) what insurance products they can sell (not the free market or consumer choice)…Also the reconciliation bill gives the Sec HHS the ability to regulate premiums essentially taking two elements of Marketing decisions out of the hands of the insurance business mgmt (product, price…with promotion practically becoming obsolete and place or distribution method being the only possible differentiator left). Also the govt could literally drive insurance companies out of business by requiring them to sell ins at rates below cost especially for high risk individuals…I predict a major consolidation in the industry …and eventually a single payor system directly managed and owned by the govt..the public option as it was called. Reply JL March 26, 2010 To Monkey King: You are right…we are under siege from a corrput and leftist leaning government that seemingly sees no limit to it;;s power and desecrates the Constitution and everything the founders stood for…but take heart…the founders knew such a thing could happen and there are still several roadblocks that could derail the Obama Express to Socialism or worse…like the courts and state governments…the latter are just waking up now to the fact that Obama is their enemy and is encroaching on their soverignity in a manner that could eventually lead to the dissolution of state governments concentrating all power and gov;t revenues in Washington. We are not there yet..even if the courts fail us, the states have vested interests to resist being overtaken by Washington. Reply Paul De Ley March 26, 2010 Considering how overwhelmingly in control wealth and corporate interests already are of the political and legal process, it is just silly to argue (as the Monkey King does) that government somehow is now establishing draconian and on-the-way-to-dictatorial control with this bill. What little they will actually control in between all the loopholes and provisions for ineffective regulation, will undoubtedly disappear thanks to inevitable outsourcing to and lobbying by the same companies who would supposedly now be held in check. If Obama really wanted to, he could simply have followed all the precedents set by the previous administration in abusing executive power. Instead, he gave speeches for a year while democats in senate and congress waffled & failed to rally around anything. Then finally they lost a crucial seat in the senate, and pushed through on a bill that will in all likelihood not reduce the continued profit growth of the industries that are driving the ever-higher costs of health services in the first place. Reply Norris Hall March 26, 2010 I woke up today to a big surprise. I was expecting Armageddon. I called my doctors officde and he was still tehre taking appointment. My insurance company was still tryiing to raise my rates, the Pharmacy was still open and hadn’t been taken over by bureacrats, the Catholic hospital was still operating with nuns scurrying about. In fact I couldn’t tell the difference between the day before helath care passed and today. Now I’ve been told that the federal government was going to sweep in , round up all the doctors and make them work out of a big government building, that private hospitals were going to be shut down, that pharmacies were going to close and be moved to the big government building. That all those private doctors, nurses and pharmacists were going to become federal employess…you know…the takeover of our entire health care system Oh well, I’ll give my doctor a call next week and see . Maybe it will take a few days before he has to report to the government health care center. Armageddon is starting to look like just another day Reply bobf March 29, 2010 The progressive feminist NOW organization’s president, Terry O’Neill, did indicate that the abortion rights of U.S. women were apparently compromised in an unprincipled way by the Democratic Obama administration, in order to get its health care bill passed. According to Terry O’Neill’s March 21,2010 press statement: “Fact: The bill contains a sweeping anti-abortion provision. Contrary to the talking points circulated by congressional leaders, the bill passed today ultimately achieves the same outcome as the infamous Stupak-Pitts Amendment, namely the likely elimination of all private as well as public insurance coverage for abortion. It imposes a bizarre requirement on insurance plan enrollees who buy coverage through the health insurance exchanges to write two monthly checks (one for an abortion care rider and one for all other health care). Even employers will have to write two separate checks for each of their employees requesting the abortion rider. “This burdensome, elaborate system must be eliminated. It is there because the Catholic bishops and extremist abortion rights opponents know that it will result in greatly restricting access to abortion care, currently one of the most common medical procedures for women. “Fact: President Obama made an eleventh-hour agreement to issue an executive order lending the weight of his office to the anti-abortion measures included in the bill. This move was designed to appease a handful of anti-choice Democrats who have held up health care reform in an effort to restrict women’s access to abortion. This executive order helps to cement the misconception that the Hyde Amendment is settled law rather than what it really is — an illegitimate tack-on to an annual must-pass appropriations bill. It also sends the outrageous message that it is acceptable to negotiate health care reform on the backs of women.” Reply Leave a Reply to Norris Hall Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.