ObamaCare: Is the magic wearing off?
Large numbers of people are showing up at congressional town-hall meetings to protest ObamaCare. Why? Because it is increasingly apparent that ObamaCare was written by lobbyists for the for-profit, health-insurance and pharmaceutical industries and by proponents of euthanasia for the elderly. (Note: the Members of Congress have already voted to exempt themselves from ObamaCare.)
Who are the “disruptive” protestors? Recall the disruptive, even violent, tactics used by the New Left radicals of the 1960s? Those New Left radicals are now of Medicare age or nearly so. Feeling betrayed, they fear that Medicare is going to be cut by the Obamagician -- for whom they voted in massive numbers last November.
Now, rather than face their disruptive, baby-boomer constituents, some congresspersons are hiding out in their district offices or have flown off on luxury jets (they just voted to buy eight more Gulfstream and Boeing jets for $550 million) on posh, taxpayer-funded junkets to foreign lands.
So, who gets to make money from ObamaCare? The Obama White House says 47 million Americans have no health insurance. The Heritage Foundation says the more accurate number is closer to 14 million. So, pick a number.
Bottom line: Servicing an additional 47 million or even 14 million people at taxpayer expense means bigger bonuses for health and drug company executives. The euthanasia or “death panel” provisions are aimed at urging the system’s most aged and infirm clients to stop costing the health-care system so much money.
A recent Rasmussen poll shows the Obamagician’s negatives have risen to 41-percent. So now the Obama White House sounds like it will abandon the idea of a government-run health- insurance system and opt for a system of “health-insurance cooperatives” that would receive federal start-up money, but would then operate independently. Right. Anyone who believes the government camel would pull its nose back from under the health-insurance cooperative tent might still believe in the tooth fairy.
But instead of getting into the health-insurance cooperative business, Congress needs to stop standing in the way. The Heritage Foundation says Congress can provide Americans with access to lower cost health insurance by repealing statutes that prevent mutual (owned-by-policy-holders) insurance companies from having non-profit, tax-exempt status.
An added incentive for individuals to purchase their own health insurance would be to make their health-insurance dollars tax-exempt. Moreover, Congress should allow such companies or cooperatives to operate across state lines, making health insurance truly portable. As Walt Kelly’s Pogo might say, “We have met the health-care enemy, and it is Congress.”
Due to their large numbers of policy holders, the health-insurance cooperatives would have the upper hand in negotiating fees with health-care providers such as hospitals and physicians. In other words, the free market would to be allowed to work its magic free of government red tape, and without creating another costly government bureaucracy.
Writing for Salon.com, Obama supporter, Camille Paglia, says, “Virtually all nationalized health systems eventually lead to rationing. The bureaucracy required to manage a nationalized health system would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made.”
Would health-insurance cooperatives “insure” health care for everyone? No. Despite the low-cost premiums and tax advantages offered by mutual, health-insurance cooperatives, the very poor would still be uninsured. Surely, a compassionate society can figure out how to help the poor without wrecking was is, arguably, the world’s best health-care system on the altar of a political campaign promise founded more on rhetoric than reason.
Greedy lawyers bringing meritless law suits force physicians to practice defensive medicine that, Charles Krauthammer, M.D., says, “Does no medical good, yet costs a fortune.” ObamaCare doesn’t address tort reform.
Meanwhile, the Obamagician says he plans to cut Medicare reimbursements to doctors and hospitals, not to individuals. That means fewer and fewer doctors and hospitals will be accepting Medicare patients. Even the hippies of the 60s are seeing through that trick.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today, studied at Harvard’s JFK School of Government. Dr. Hamilton is a former assistant professor of political science and history at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
©2009. William Hamilton.