Allegedly, Barack Obama will be unveiling a new, stripped down health care proposal tomorrow. It may incorporate some of the Republican ideas that were discussed at the “summit” last week, possibly some version of tort reform and possibly allowing people to buy insurance across state lines.
The trap has been sprung.
Many commentators, including myself, feared that the whole purpose behind the health care summit was to trap the Republicans, to paint them as obstructionist, as tools of the insurance industry, as motivated by hateful feelings and a disregard for all things Obama.
I have a feeling, based on no knowledge of what will actually be in Obama’s proposal, that phase two of the trap is tomorrow. The proposal, Healthcare 2.0, may contain a couple of the ideas the Republicans want, but my guess is that it will also contain several poison pills that will make it impossible for Republicans to support. This sort of legislative chicanery goes on all the time, though usually in reverse. A really bad, partisan bill will contain an element that is extremely popular and bipartisan. Vote against the bad bill, and you are accused of hating children, hating immigrants, hating the elderly, pick your poison.
What I believe we will find here is the opposite. Obama doesn’t care about Republican votes. He just needs to collect enough blue dog Democrats in the House and maybe swing some liberal Republicans like Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins in the Senate. If he can convince them, health care will pass and he gets to point his fingers at the Republicans and say that he reached out to them at the summit, that he included their ideas, and that they voted against him because they want him to fail. Meanwhile, the Republicans will be left standing there trying to explain that the revised bill may have had some good parts, but that it was a very bad bill overall.
This was why during the summit the Democrats kept insisting that most of the bill had bipartisan support, that Republicans and Democrats could agree on all but a few fringe issues, such as tort reform and buying insurance across state lines. If those elements are added, and the price brought down a smidge, then Republican “no” votes must be based on partisan politicking.
The truth is that there is almost nothing in the Democrats’ bill that is worthwhile. It is a travesty of a bill, thousands of pages of new rules, regulations, and laws designed for the sole purpose of putting the Federal government in charge of 1/6 of the economy and creating a new entitlement program that will ensure Democrat votes from now until doomsday.
But doomsday will come a lot sooner if this bill passes. The United States simply can not afford to do this anymore. We as a nation need to rise up and destroy the entire concept of “entitlements.”
A presidential candidate who says we need to abolish Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and welfare would be hanged by the media in this country, but the fact is that these are the programs that are bankrupting us. We have a choice: we can continue these programs and tax the people into oblivion, restricting their freedom and opportunity to pursue happiness, or we can begin to look at ways to phase these programs out of existence. Properly done, a true reform of the health care system in this country would eliminate all health care insurance with the exception of catastrophic coverage. That would include Medicare and Medicaid. Properly done, free market choices and incentives to save would completely usurp the need for Social Security, which could and should be made voluntary immediately. At that point, we could then say “Starting in 20 years, or 30 years, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be accepting new users.” The programs would continue as long as the current users were in the system, getting smaller and spending less with each passing year.
Heartless? I don’t think so. What I truly think is heartless is the notion of the government mortgaging our futures and the futures of our children in order to continue these programs when there are free market alternatives.
The free market can be a wild ride, and people will need to educate themselves about how to invest and prepare for rainy days, how to diversify so that a sudden stock market crash doesn’t wipe out a lifetime of savings just before retirement. People will need to learn from an early age that purchasing catastrophic, individually-tailored health care plans and putting money into Health Savings Accounts is a very wise decision, and by putting in place a system of incentives it will soon become something that everyone recognizes is the smart and right thing to do. But a government that takes these decisions out of the hands of the citizenry is a government that infantilizes the citizenry and makes a mockery of liberty and freedom.