Posted by: Debby Durkee | February 25, 2010

Obamacare: Full speed ahead.

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Obamacare: Full speed ahead.

Today is when Obama meets with Republicans and Democrats to put on his “Bipartisan Dog and Pony Show.” Yesterday’s unsigned editorial in the Wall Street Journal looks at the “President’s Proposal” that has been cobbled together and which is rumored the Senate will use the Nuclear Option to ram through. The totalitarianism of the Obama Administration is laid bare for all to see in the proposal the White House has put forward. They’ve basically taken the worst of both House and Senate offerings and added a layer of bureaucracy, cost and force. Like I said in Tuesday’s post, these people don’t care what the American people want. They plan to force you to take their medicine.

Ah, the glory of “progressive” governance and democratic consent.

“The President’s Proposal,” as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive. It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill. And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them—but by expanding them to everyone.

The bill’s one new inspiration is a powerful federal board that would regulate premiums in the individual insurance market. In all 50 states, insurers are already required to justify premium increases to insurance commissioners, who generally have the power to give a regulatory go-ahead, or not. But their primary concern is actuarial soundness and capital standards, making sure that companies have enough cash to pay claims.

The White House wants to create another layer of review that will be able to reject any rate increase that is “unreasonable or unjustified.” Any insurer deemed guilty of such an infraction by this new bureaucracy “must lower premiums, provide rebates, or take other actions to make premiums affordable.” In other words, de facto price controls.

Insurance premiums are rising too fast; therefore, premium increases should be illegal. Q.E.D. The result of this rate-setting board will be less competition in the individual market, as insurers flee expensive states or regions, or even a cascade of bankruptcies if premiums are frozen and the cost of the care they are expected to cover continues to rise. For all the Dickensian outrage about profiteering by WellPoint and other companies, insurance is a low-margin business even for health care, and at least 85 cents of the average premium dollar, usually more, is devoted to actual health services.

Price controls are always the first resort of national health care—i.e., Medicare’s administered prices for doctors and hospitals. This new White House gambit is merely a preview of ObamaCare’s inevitable planned medical economy, which will reduce choice and quality.  

The coercive flavor that animates this exercise is best captured in the section that purports to accept the Senate’s “grandfather clause” allowing people who like their current health plan to keep it. Except that “The President’s Proposal adds certain consumer protections to these ‘grandfathered’ plans. Within months of legislation being enacted, it requires plans . . . prohibits . . . mandates . . . requires . . . the President’s Proposal adds new protections that prohibit . . . ban . . . and prohibit . . . The President’s Proposal requires . . .” After all of these dictates, no “grandfathered” plan will exist.  Snip –

The larger political message of this new proposal is that Mr. Obama and Democrats have no intention of compromising on an incremental reform, or of listening to Republican, or any other, ideas on health care. They want what they want, and they’re going to play by Chicago Rules and try to dragoon it into law on a narrow partisan vote via Congressional rules that have never been used for such a major change in national policy. If you want to know why Democratic Washington is “ungovernable,” this is it.

So, if you do watch any of the proceedings on television today, keep the above in mind. Today is just an exercise in political theater. This administration has no intention of doing what’s right for the American people. I’ve heard Obama and  Obamacare compared to Ahab and his white whale.  Perhaps it will finally take down the ones who are obsessed with it. Read about the entire unholy mess here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704454304575081391789004352.html

Roger Kimball of Pajamas Media read the Wall Street Journal editorial. Here are some of his reflections:

Even as the Obama administration shows itself racing to revolutionize one aspect of American society after the next, so it demonstrates once again that socialism is only another name for paternalism, which, with Tocqueville, we may file under the heading of “Democratic Despotism.” Remember Obama’s promise in October of 2008 that he was on the threshold of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America”? Here we go. You don’t “fundamentally transform” a capitalist country that puts a premium on entrepreneurship and individual liberty without undermining capitalism, innovation, and freedom.

Hence no one should be surprised at the aroma of coercion that is such a prominent feature of Obama’s various proposals to remake this country. At the heart of his “cap-and-trade” initiatives, for example,  were provisions that would impose ruinous regulation on American industry even as it would make energy more expensive for American citizens.  Snip –

Part of the shock and awe in shock-and-awe statism is the sublime indifference it shows to anything so quaint as democratic accountability. Big nurse here knows what’s good for you, and she’s going to give it to you whether you like it or not.

The issue of freedom is one that is too obvious too require commentary: if ObamaCare passes, you will be less free in about 87 different ways. You’ll be poorer, you’ll have less choice, and you’ll be subject to vastly more regulation and bureaucracy. It’s a horrible thought.  The DMV coming to a doctor’s office near you.

If nothing else, Americans can see plainly what this administration is all about. They aren’t buying what Obama is selling. Read it all here: http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerkimball/2010/02/24/the-presidents-plan-all-you-need-to-know/

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Responses

  1. All I can say, if Obama is on TV blabbering about doing good things for the American people by cramming his health care behemoth down their throats, the migraine headache index if very high. It’s no wonder the liquid spirits industry is doing well, who could listen to the man without a couple stiff drinks to settle ones nerves?

  2. Yeah, one of the best investments you can make about now is alcoholic beverages!! People have to deal with the insanity before them in some way!!


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