09.30.2009 0

The Inevitable Tragedy of It All

  • On: 10/06/2009 09:22:10
  • In: Health Care
  • By Robert Romano

    Today, the Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on the mark-up of the Senate version of ObamaCare, which would create the equivalent of a public-private partnership like Fannie Mae, the Federal Reserve, or Amtrak to “compete” with private sector health insurance.

    And, as Woodrow Wilson opined upon the defeat of the Treaty of Versailles, “One day we shall see the tragedy of it all.”
    To date, the debate on ObamaCare has so closely resembled tragedies and travesties of American politics past that one cannot help but draw relevant, instructive parallels.

    Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has termed it “Fannie Med” and has cautioned that it will inevitably lead to a government takeover of the nation’s health system—just like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led to a federal takeover of the mortgage industry, and the Federal Reserve has led to the de facto nationalization of the nation’s financial system.

    In both cases, the American people were assured that these entities were sustainable and would pay for themselves. And then they did not. That they would not lead to outright nationalization of their respective industries. And then they did. And that taxpayers were not being put on the hook. And then they were.

    Very importantly, both have fueled meltdowns in the very mortgage and financial sectors for which they were charged with providing “stability.”

    Said ALG President Bill Wilson yesterday, “Invariably, just like every other public-private ‘partnership’ started by the federal government, [the co-op system proposed] will not sustain itself and the final bill will belong with American taxpayers.” Which begs the question: why all the fuss about the Baucus plan to remove the so-called “public option” from the Senate version if the American people will wind up subsidizing “health care for all” anyway?

    According to Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Finance Committee, “The public option cannot pass the Senate. I could be wrong, but it’s my belief that the public option cannot pass.”

    So Baucus, ever faithful to still vastly expanding government’s reach into the health care system—even in a slightly watered-down version—has proposed a wolf in sheep’s clothing that will inevitably feast upon the flock of private options still available on the free market. But the American people know an unfolding tragedy when they see one. And they know this one does not have a happy ending.

    Americans for Limited Government estimates that the Senate bill would cost around $122 billion a year once fully implemented, or $1.2 trillion over ten years, with 26 million receiving government-subsidized health care. It will not be implemented until 2013, which really is more subterfuge to keep the bill under the $1 trillion mark.

    Not that it matters that much. It still walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck. It covers some 19 million less than the House’s version of ObamaCare, and may cost as much as $100 billion less per year. But, importantly, it leaves the door open for Congress to ever-expand the entitlement in subsequent years.

    As Ronald Reagan once said, “On this earth, the nearest thing we have to eternal life is a government program.”
    Perhaps that’s why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just wants to go ahead and include the “public option” in this go-around anyway. According to the Hill, quoting the Las Vegas Sun, Reid said that “We are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president’s desk.”

    How? Top Capitol Hill sources have suggested that Reid may simply take the language for the “public option” and amend it to an appropriations bill that has already passed the House since all funding and tax bills must “originate” in the House.

    Then, depending on where the votes stand—mostly with his fellow Democrats—he would make the fateful decision to invoke “budget reconciliation”. Under that procedure, only 51 votes would be needed to pass the government-run health care proposal. The Senate filibuster—a long-standing tradition that upholds minority party rights in Congress—would effectively be eliminated as the “public option” was rammed through by the slimmest of majorities.

    Finally, that bill could be sent directly to the House to be voted upon without amendment. This is the Senate-first strategy that ALG News has previously reported on. Under this scenario, Reid would never need to achieve 60 votes.

    The tragedy of ObamaCare would then commence upon Barack Obama’s signature, whether or not the American people actually want it. And like Fannie Mae and Federal Reserve did to their respective industries, it will lead to disastrous consequences for the nation’s medical system.

    And that is “the tragedy of it all.”

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.

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