Well, Harry Reid has managed to bring to life the title of P.J. O’Rourke’s great book, A Parliament Of Whores. All the special deals for states with Democratic Senators (paid for with your money), all of the secrecy and back room shuffles have paid off for the Majority Leader from Nevada. The victory is likely to be pyrrhic, however. The bill is hugely unpopular by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, and because it was enacted on strict party lines there is no way they can blame the Republicans. The Republicans weren’t even consulted on this travesty of legislation, with the exception of an attempted wooing of Olympia Snowe, the RINO from Maine who put herself out there under the lamppost with the rest of them.Michelle Malkin’s doing a bang-up job detailing the sleazy corrupt deals that went into making this nightmare a reality. You can read her full posts here and here, but allow me to provide a brief synopsis:
- Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was given $100,000,000 of taxpayer money for her vote.
- Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson sold his vote for some mealy-mouthed anti-federal spending on abortion language and a promise that the Federal Government would pay Nebraska’s increased Medicaid fees forever…thus putting the onus of collecting these fees on the other 49 states.
- Massachusetts and Vermont also received special deals similar to the one for which Ben Nelson sold his soul
- Connecticut will be getting $100,000,000 to build a hospital as a payoff to Senator Chris Dodd
- Non-profit insurance companies will be exempt from paying the billions in taxes the other insurance companies will have to pony up…a gift for Ben Nelson (boy, he’s good at this) and Michigan Senator Carl Levin
- Our one out-of-the-closet Socialist in the Senate, Vermont’s own Bernie Sanders was given a $10,000,000,000 gift of socialized medical clinics.
While there is some solace in the notion that this bill could have been even worse by including a public option, that comfort is extremely cold when we consider just how bad this bill is. It is the equivalent of standing in middle of an earthquake and saying, "At least it’s not raining."
It will cost the taxpayers of this nation trillions of dollars, it will increase taxes, it will cause health insurance premiums to rise, it will leave approximately 23,000,000 people uninsured, it creates a completely unconstitutional mandate on the citizenry to buy a privately offered service.* The bill takes a bad situation and makes it markedly worse. In a stroke of genius, Congress has made sure that the worst effects of the bill won’t be seen until safely into Barack Obama’s second term.
So the question then becomes…why? Why pass this bill that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, does not solve the acknowledged problem?
Remember, the problem was an estimated 30 million people without health insurance. The whole notion of health care reform was based on the task of covering those people (whether they wanted it or not). But this bill leaves 23 million people uninsured, and it places all sorts of restrictions on the insurance companies that effect the 85% of the country that is currently happy with their insurance.
What Congress has done is pass a bill that does not address the condition it was supposed to address, and screws up the system for everyone else. And they’re happy about this. They think it’s “historic” as if “historic” was a synonym for “wonderful.”
The answer is simply this: the Democrats know that in 2009 there is no way they can achieve their real goal: a 100% takeover of the entire health care system, from providing insurance to managing hospitals to mandating how many physicians get to practice in each specialty. Their reason for wanting socialized medicine is also simple: create a class of people that depend on you, and they will never vote you out of office. There’s a reason why people refer to Social Security and Medicare as “the third rails” of politics…touch them and you die.
The reason there is no stomach for socialized medicine in America is precisely because 85% of Americans are happy with their medical plans. We know that it could be better, and that costs are too high, but we don’t wait months for an MRI, and we sure as hell don’t want government bureaucrats looking to cut costs at our expense or the expense of our loved ones.
The new health care plan is going to make that 85% of Americans very upset. For the Democrats and other Statists, this is the sound of opportunity knocking.
What the Democrats are doing here is creating a real crisis where only a problem currently exists. A state of crisis gives them the excuse for even more reforms in order to "solve" the very crisis they created. Obama’s consigliere Rahm Emmanuel said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” By creating a continuing crisis, the Democrats can continue to “address” the issue in ever more intrusive ways.
Health care reform didn’t work the first time? That’s because there was no public option.
The new Public Option is insufficient? Add billions more taxpayer dollars. Everyone knows that Washington’s solution to broken systems is to throw money at them.
There are still uninsured? Increase the scope of the public option.
The private insurance companies can’t compete with a taxpayer-subsidized system that sets the rules? Increase the scope again to include those whose insurance companies have gone under.
Why before you know it, America is looking down the barrel of socialized medicine. Only now it’s an "entitlement," a brand-spankin’ new "third rail" for hapless politicians to lose their office.
When this bill was passed, Iowa Senator and proponent of socialized medicine Tom Harkin rushed to the microphone to reassure the liberals and progressives who are complaining that this bill doesn’t go far enough. This bill, Harkin assured them, was not a mansion, but it was a "starter home." There will be plenty of time, he purred, for revisions.
…we can add additions and extensions to it as we go on in the future. It is not the end of health care, it’s the beginning.
That’s just what I’m afraid of.
*Back in July, I wrote a piece here that suggested an individual mandate might be a good idea. I covered my bets a bit by stating that there were likely considerations I had missed when I wrote the piece. Since then, I have come to realize that the concept of the Federal Government insisting the citizens of the country buy a product or service is 100% unconstitutional. I haven’t changed the original post because that wouldn’t be ethical (although I do change posts for grammar and spelling at times), and I stand by most of what I wrote that day. But the more I thought about the issue the more I realized that I no longer believe in the individual mandate.