Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday DemCare Update

Much continues to develop as we draw closer to a vote on DemCare. First, a few details.

As we've discussed before, small businesses will get hammered. The biggest union, the SEIU, is definitely not supportive of DemCare. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights objects to the obvious racial preferencing in DemCare.

Now, let's look at Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. In the last update, I passed along to you some poll results from Nebraska that showed his state heavily opposing DemCare. It is likely that -- along with the Nebraska Governor's specific request -- is the key for his current stance:

In an interview Thursday with a Nebraska radio station, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said new compromise language on abortion funding is unacceptable.

“As it is right now, without further modifications, it isn’t sufficient,” Nelson told KLIN radio in Lincoln, NE.

This could be a significant blow to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s effort to line up 60 votes in the coming days for the health care bill. Nelson has said he would filibuster the bill unless the abortion language mirrored what was included in the House bill.

Even if abortion is addressed to his satisfaction, “that is not enough” for Nelson commit to voting for the bill, he said.

Looks like Nelson wants to be re-elected or something. Two points. First, Nelson's still a Democrat, which means he can be bought. We'll see if his price reaches a threshold where he feels he can ignore his constituents. Right now, he's not there. He's not alone, either.

You know it's a universally bad bill when the far Left and conservatives agree that it should be killed. The last time it happened was a couple years ago on amnesty, but it appears to be shaping up again now on DemCare. For the Left, the current flavor of DemCare isn't good enough now that the public option and Medicare expansions have been removed. Apparently, it's okay to unconstitutionally force all Americans to buy health care or risk fines and jail time, as long as it's being purchased from the government; the Left sees the current DemCare as forcing
all Americans to buy health care from the eeeeevil insurance companies, which is completely unacceptable to them.

Oooookay...whatever. Still, though the
reasons for opposition are polar opposites, the opposition is nevertheless real, and it could prove to be DemCare's final undoing.

Wouldn't you think that doctors would know pretty well how DemCare would work? I think we should take their opinions into account, at least. So, let's see what they think:

Hm. Good thing we asked them, huh?

And what about Dr. Tom Coburn, a Senator from Oklahoma?
My 25 years as a practicing physician have shown me what happens when government attempts to practice medicine: Doctors respond to government coercion instead of patient cues, and patients die prematurely. Even if the public option is eliminated from the bill, these onerous rationing provisions will remain intact.

For instance, the Reid bill (in sections 3403 and 2021) explicitly empowers Medicare to deny treatment based on cost. An Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the bill—composed of permanent, unelected and, therefore, unaccountable members—will greatly expand the rationing practices that already occur in the program. Medicare, for example, has limited cancer patients' access to Epogen, a costly but vital drug that stimulates red blood cell production. It has limited the use of virtual, and safer, colonoscopies due to cost concerns. And Medicare refuses medical claims at twice the rate of the largest private insurers.

We have no further to look for the results of such a government health care plan than every other country that has ever tried it anywhere in the world. Amazingly (not really), it has failed everywhere it's been tried, and it has, indeed, resulted in higher costs, lower quality, and a lot more death and suffering. It will have the same results here if we try it.

When you boil it all down, the only justification that the liberals in Congress (and their supporters) can offer with a straight face is that health care is a 'moral imperative' or some such nonsense. This is an important thing to understand, and Doctor Zero dissects a Kirsten Powers article about just that. This is a bit long, but critical to understand:

Writing about health-care reform in the New York Post, Kirsten Powers asks:

What will health-care reform cost?

This question has become the obsession distracting us from the moral imperative to provide health care to all Americans.

The richest, most powerful, most amazing nation in the world should treat its citizens who fall ill better than some broken Third World country. If we can afford to try to rebuild Afghanistan with little hope of success, then arguing about paying for Americans to have health coverage seems petty.

This is a concise summary of the child-like belief system that produces disasters like ObamaCare. It has become the final, desperate argument of liberals as their push for government control of health care collapses. Later in her essay, Powers puts it even more bluntly:

But when it comes to health-care reform, Democrats and the Obama Administration have ignored the big picture: Americans will die if we don’t provide universal health insurance.

Never mind the costs, you greedy fools! People will die if we don’t nationalize the entire health-care sector of our economy! Note that Powers does not even pretend to talk about “public options” or government-funded “alternatives” to private health insurance. The only alternatives are “free” health care for everyone, or a mountain of corpses. By extension, anyone stubborn and venal enough to oppose the life-affirming moral imperative of national health care must want people to die.

The black irony that socialized medicine will, inevitably, pay for abortions is doubtless lost on her. I guess we’re only supposed to be concerned about the free market killing those who accomplish the wondrous transformation from non-viable tissue mass into fully-vested member of the proletariat, by managing to escape the maternity ward with a beating heart.

As infantile as this line of reasoning seems, it deserves serious engagement, because it is a common argument used by the Left to cut off debate.

If there’s a moral imperative to provide health care for everyone without regard to the cost, then we should stop fooling around with half-measures and enslave doctors. There’s no reason we should allow them expensive creature comforts, vacations, or other luxuries that would distract them from spending every waking hour providing health care. If the State’s moral requirement to provide free health care to its citizens over-rides their property rights… if it’s acceptable to punish them with huge fines and imprisonment for failing to co-operate with government control… then there is no reason to respect any individual liberties of health-care providers. People are dying, doctors. You can live at the medical facilities, and function passably well with seven hours of sleep and two hour-long meal breaks. We can conscript nurses, technicians, and orderlies to assist the doctors. The government can seize whatever land is needed for medical facilities, and commandeer whatever transportation is required to get sick people to the captive physicians.

You might raise the practical objection that slave doctors would be unlikely to provide high quality medical care. Also, you wouldn’t find many people choosing medical careers in the future. We could pluck promising students from high school and junior college, and march them into med schools to begin their lives of servitude, but the quality of care would probably decline even further. Even if we can get past the whole “slavery” hang-up… which should not be difficult for people who think the Constitution authorizes Congress to throw citizens in jail for failing to purchase government-approved health insurance.. it’s a system that would not improve public health, because it would not increase public access to quality medical care. We would be increasing supply at a horrendous loss of quality… and the catastrophic loss of quality is, ultimately, a reduction in supply. One good doctor is worth far more than a dozen miserable medical thralls, who keep looking away from your test results to calculate their odds of jumping over the electrified fences and disarming their explosive collars.

This is why the 'moral imperative' argument isn't valid.

It seems that the GOP has finally awakened and shown some determination to actually stop DemCare rather than 'fix' it. Let's hope they do, anyway.

Here's the key thing - the Democrat leadership knows that the longer DemCare sits under the spotlight of public scrutiny, the more opposition it will attract. Every day without a vote is another day closer to the ultimate failure of DemCare, so they have to push for a vote as soon as possible. Oh, and they're going to do it at a time when very few Americans will be paying attention: Christmas Eve.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to pass the Senate health care reform bill by Christmas looked increasingly in doubt Wednesday, as Republicans launched an offensive to stall the legislation and Democrats had yet to strike a 60-vote compromise.

Senators privately considered one scenario Wednesday that would have them casting a final vote at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve…

The Christmas deadline is a political target. Democrats want to finish the bill so they have a few weeks to move it through a House-Senate conference committee and deliver it to the president by the State of the Union address in late January or early February. After months of health care dominating their domestic agenda, Democrats are eager to shift to other issues early next year — mainly a focus on creating jobs.

This is a despicable move by a despicable group of people bent on forcing DemCare onto an obviously unwilling American public. And there's just one more problem with the current version of DemCare, well stated by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (excerpts):

“Senators on both sides acknowledge that the health care bill we’re considering is among the most significant pieces of legislation any of us will ever consider.

“So it stands to reason that we’d devote significant time and attention to it.

“Indeed, some would argue that we should spend more time and attention on this bill than most — if not every — previous bill we’ve considered.

“The Majority disagrees.

“Why? Because this bill has become a political nightmare for them.

“They know Americans overwhelmingly oppose it, so they want to get it over with.

“Americans are already outraged at the fact that Democrat leaders took their eyes off the ball. Rushing the process on a partisan line makes the situation even worse.

“Americans were told the purpose of reform was to reduce the cost of health care.

“Instead, Democrat leaders produced a $2.5 trillion, 2,074-page monstrosity that vastly expands government, raises taxes, raises premiums, and wrecks Medicare.

“And they want to rush this bill through by Christmas — one of the most significant, far-reaching pieces of legislation in U.S. history. They want to rush it.

“And here’s the most outrageous part: at the end of this rush, they want us to vote on a bill that no one outside the Majority Leader’s conference room has even seen.

“That’s right. The final bill we’ll vote on isn’t even the one we’ve had on the floor. It’s the deal Democrat leaders have been trying to work out in private.

“That’s what they intend to bring to the floor and force a vote on before Christmas.

“So this entire process is essentially a charade.


“I think Senator Snowe put it best on Tuesday:

‘Given the enormity and complexity,’ she said, ‘I don’t see anything magical about the Christmas deadline if this bill is going to become law in 2014.’

“And I think Senator Snowe’s comments on a lack of bipartisanship at the outset of this debate are also right on point.

“Here’s what she said in late November:

‘I am truly disappointed we are commencing our historic debate on one of the most significant and pressing domestic issues of our time with a process that has forestalled our ability to arrive at broader agreement on some of the most crucial elements of health care reform. The bottom line is, the most consequential health care legislation in the history of our country and the reordering of $33 trillion in health care spending over the coming decade shouldn’t be determined by one vote-margin strategies – surely we can and must do better.’

“The only conceivable justification for rushing this bill is the overwhelming opposition of the American people. Democrats know that the longer Americans see this bill the less they like it. Here’s the latest from Pew. It came out just yesterday.

“A majority (58 percent) of those who have heard a lot about the bills oppose them while only 32 percent favor them.”

“There is no justification for this blind rush — except a political one, and that’s not good enough for the American people.

“And there’s no justification for forcing the Senate to vote on a bill none of us has seen.

“Americans already oppose this bill. The process is just as bad.

“It’s completely reckless, completely irresponsible.”


There's my two cents.

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