We can all agree that healthcare reform is needed. As currently constituted, the healthcare system is full of perverse incentives that drive up costs and penalize those most in need by denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
But the answer is not a government takeover of the healthcare system. This is precisely what the Obama administration’s healthcare proposal would accomplish. By forcing all Americans to buy health insurance while unfairly regulating private plans, the public option would drive private insurers from the market and eventually bring a government takeover of the healthcare system.
Here we go again. It’s one of those good news, bad news days.
The bad news is how much Democrats in the House had to give up in order to pass healthcare reform legislation.
They had to settle for a weak public option. And they had to accept an amendment — dictated by the Catholic bishops! — that even further tightens existing restrictions on abortion funding. What country is this, when you first have to consult religious leaders before voting on legislation? Iran?
But let’s keep our eyes on the prize: The good news on healthcare far, far outweighs the bad.
The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the House version of the healthcare bill specifies that those who don’t buy health insurance and do not pay the fine of about 2.5 percent of their income for failing to do so can face a penalty of up to five years in prison!
As the suicidal Democratic congressmen proceed to rubber-stamp
the Obama healthcare reform despite the drubbing their party took in the ’09
elections, the president trotted out the endorsements of the AMA and the AARP
to stimulate support. But these — and the other endorsements — his package has
received are all bought and paid for. Here are the deals:
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, has a basic theory
about what makes people truly successful. He says that if you have the right
education, the right timing and the right experience, combined with a truly
extraordinary work ethic, you can be an outlier, somebody who succeeds beyond
One of the nuggets in this very interesting book is
Gladwell’s reciting of the 10,000-hour rule. Gladwell repeats the theory that
for someone to be truly proficient in a complex task, that person must work at
it for 10,000 hours or more. Ten thousand hours is a long time, about 10 years.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her congressional
lieutenants were burning the midnight oil last evening, preparing for a
whirlwind few days in order to get her trillion-dollar health reform bill to
the House floor. To the pure political observers, it’s her best strategy. She
can’t afford to wait a day longer. As each hour passes, red-state Democrats are
waking up and realizing, “What happened on Tuesday night could happen to me
Keeping her flock in town over the weekend is not by
accident. Pelosi’s henchmen know that if they release the rank and file back to
their districts following Tuesday’s shellacking at every level of government,
they will certainly get an earful as to why they are stubbornly ignoring the
will of the electorate and moving forward.
Michael Gerson has distinguished himself in the past as a
protector of the vulnerable in society. However, he seems to have lost sight of
his own ideals in his column today in The Washington Post. Instead of
commending young people in this country for recognizing the importance of
shared rights and responsibilities, Gerson tries to pit the young and old
against each other.
This piece is also published in The Washington Times.
It's time for liberals like me, who favor the public option or its functional equivalent, to give up on the idea and move forward to enact historic, landmark national health insurance legislation. And to do so now — not next week or next month.
Without the public option, the votes are there, with at least some Republican support, to do what Democrats have been trying to do since Harry Truman and pass national health care legislation that would accomplish the two goals that have always been the Democratic Party's priority for more than 60 years: First, virtually universal health insurance, including those who are too wealthy to qualify for Medicaid, but too poor to afford health insurance; and second, mandatory coverage for all — meaning insurance companies must insure everyone regardless of status, age, or pre-existing conditions. (Both go hand-and-hand, since insurance would not be affordable unless there is a broad mix of healthy younger people with less healthy older people in the customer mix.)