The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pointy Objects

In their frenzied rush to pass bills that will completely restructure the nation’s health care system, Congressional Democrats have decided that ideology is more important than deliberative, careful analysis of the impact of their efforts. Their long-held belief is that health care “justice” can only be achieved when every person in the country has medical insurance. But in their fervor to see their goals realized,they have become blinded to the long term effects of their irresponsible and costly legislation.

Writing in the The New York Times, Robert Pear and David Hershzenhorn , suggest that many Democrats are beginning to grow wary of Congress’ rushed effort to reform medical care:
Democrats had three reasons for concern. The director of the Congressional Budget Office warned Thursday that the legislative proposals so far would not slow the growth of health spending, a crucial goal for Mr. Obama as he also tries to extend insurance to more than 45 million Americans who lack it.

Second, even with House committees working in marathon sessions this week, it was clear that Democrats could not meet their goal of passing bills before the summer recess without barreling over the concerns of Republicans and ending any hope that such a major issue could be addressed in a bipartisan manner.

Third, a growing minority of Democrats have begun to express reservations about the size, scope and cost of the legislation, the expanded role of the federal government and the need for a raft of new taxes to pay for it all. The comments suggest that party leaders may not yet have the votes to pass the legislation.

I’m hopeful that the adults among the Democratic majority will take the pointy objects away from the many children in the room. But the leader of the children’s group, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her play group of extreme-left Congresspeople, seem bent on reform, no matter the costs or the consequences. They seem perfectly willing to risk legislation that may irreparably damage health care coverage that 83 percent of the populace (in recent polls) rates as good or excellent.

Worse, the President of the United States is usually is the first to take pointy objects away from the children in Congress, but in this case, it appears that Barack Obama has joined the play group—not as a adult supervisor, but as a child.
Mr. Obama tried Friday to shift the political narrative away from the grim forecasts of the Congressional Budget Office [the CBO predicted that this new legislation, along with existing health care entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid, would essentially bankrupt the country by 2035]. He said he and Congress had made “unprecedented progress” on health care, with even the American Medical Association endorsing the House bill this week.

He acknowledged a treacherous path ahead, saying, “The last few miles of any race are the hardest to run,” but insisted, “Now is not the time to slow down.” And he vowed: “We are going to get this done. We will reform health care. It will happen this year. I’m absolutely convinced of that.”

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. President.

Update (7/18/2009):

Jeff Hanson touches on another key aspect of the rush toward heavy government involvement in our health care—not only will we not “save” any money, it will cost us far more than private options:
Since 1970, Medicare and Medicaid's combined per-patient costs have risen from $344 to $8,955, while the combined per-patient costs of all other US health care have risen from $364 to $7,119.

Medicare and Medicaid used to cost $20 less per patient than other care. Now they cost $1,836 more. (And that's even without the Medicare prescription-drug benefit.)

In fact, if the costs of Medicare and Medicaid had risen only as much as the costs of all other health care in America, then, instead of costing a combined $807 billion last year, they would've cost a combined $606 billion. That savings of $201 billion would have amounted to more than $1,750 per American household last year alone.
But no matter, the children in Congress have their vision and they will not be denied—unless the adults demand a time-out to allow a rational consideration of the consequences of their irresponsible actions.