By Richard Larsen
The term “March Madness” historically has referred to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Congress this year is giving it a whole new meaning. We are on the eve of the largest spending boondoggle (which is pretty impressive considering the massive list of congressional spending boondoggles!) and the largest assault on personal liberty in U.S. history.
President Obama has made clear that the current version, Obamacare 3.0, is an incremental step toward single-payer, government-run health care, which is no more than a euphemism for socialized medicine. So why is the leadership in Washington so determined to ram this down the collective throats of the American public? Especially considering that just over 30 percent of us are supportive of what they’re doing.
The reason certainly can’t be because the government does it better than the private sector. After all, with all the talk of no preexisting conditions, and rejected claims, government run Medicare leads all private insurers, by a wide margin, in rejecting claims, according to the American Medical Association’s 2008 National Health Insurer Report Card. It also can’t be because of the purported 30 million people without health care insurance, which the Investor’s Business Daily has convincingly run the math to a more probable 11 million, because under the current bill, it will still take years before they start getting the coverage promised.
I believe Australian columnist Mark Steyn captured it perfectly when he said, “Why let ‘health care reform’ stagger on like the rotting husk in a low-grade creature feature who refuses to stay dead no matter how many stakes you pound through his chest? Because it’s worth it. Big time.… the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible.”
The current version will not reduce health-care costs. Jeffrey S. Flier, dean of Harvard Medical School, recently wrote, “After discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care’s dysfunctional delivery system.”
He continued, “There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation succeeded in expanding coverage but—despite initial predictions—increased total spending.”
The nation’s three major entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—are in financial distress, and constitute unfunded liabilities by the government to the tune of $65 trillion, according to the Wall Street Journal. The prevailing sentiment in Washington seems to be apathy toward those insolvent programs, yet determination to hasten the financial demise of the country by adding another financial disaster to the quiver of governmental programs.
Congress’ priority should be amelioration of the existing aforementioned programs ensuring their long-term viability. There are many less costly and effective measures they can take to address the problems they claim they’re fixing.
Our existing programs were created under the auspices of rosy promises of government solutions yet they’re imploding because of expanded coverage, higher costs, and the failure of Congress to adequately fund them. Obamacare represents another failed government promise that will cost much more than anticipated, and accomplish little of what it claims to fix.
Furthermore, constitutional historian David Barton says American courts would have to overturn their last 80 years of jurisprudence to uphold the constitutionality of the healthcare bill in Congress. And he wasn’t just talking about the unconstitutionality of some of the provisions of the bill and violation of the 10th Amendment, but the illegal and unscrupulous manner by which it’s being forced through the Congress.
States across the nation, led by Idaho and Virginia, are passing legislation or promising litigation against the federal government for this unprecedented and illogical power grab.
All the president’s grandiloquence aside, Obamacare will not improve the quality of healthcare, reduce costs, or improve the current healthcare delivery for the country. It will make it worse. It is nothing short of a power grab that the leadership feels is worth sacrificing the next couple of election cycles in order to achieve. Even if it is passed, or ramrodded through by Pelosi and Reid, it will likely be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. But hopefully we, the electorate, will be more wise and leery of similar usurpations of individual liberty in the future.
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