Not quite a year after he first started pushing Congress to pass something, The One finally puts his own plan on the table. Here's the overview, the newsiest bit of which is a new federal Health Insurance Rate Authority to oversee "unreasonable" premium increases. And with that, it's suddenly clear why there's no public option in the package: As Tom Maguire notes, if things work out as badly as expected, America will come begging for a public plan soon enough.They're going to starve the beast, to borrow a line that's suddenly back in vogue on the NYT op-ed page, and then replace it. That's one easy point for the GOP to make at the summit on Thursday; another, anticipated last night by the Times and already in full swing this morning among GOP aides, is that having a price-control mechanism in place even before O-Care's up and running tells you a lot about what the Dems expect will happen to premiums once this debacle passes.
The long run effects won't be helpful for the insurance industry but they will be good for advancing the interests of the Democratic Party. A key Democratic goal of health reform (as was kicked around during the HillaryCare debacle) is to create a new middle-class entitlement. If this plays out like Social Security it will tie the middle class to their benefactors in the Democratic Party, which will forever position itself as the party of more generous benefits paid for by Someone Else.
A price control board can advance that same goal, since the Democrats can position themselves as the champions of lower prices for all. In the not-so-long run insurer won't be able to make a reasonable profit and will exit the industry, and coverage will be scarce (but cheap!). At that point the collapse of the private market will be offered as further evidence of the desirability of a full government take-over of health care, or at least, the adoption of a stalking-goat "public option".
Without rehashing all of the old arguments from the House and Senate bills, suffice it to say that the Obama plan is basically the same deal as the last one, only worse. The White House provided so few details that the CBO can't officially tell us how much it will cost. It forces all Americans to fund abortion-on-demand. It puts the lie to Obama's promise of letting you keep your current health care plan if you like it. It would sharply raise taxes on low-income individuals. It has higher spending and more tax increases than either the House or Senate bill.
There is not a single Republican proposal or idea in it, nor are there any indications that Obama and the Dem leadership is willing to include any now. House Minority Leader John Boehner pins the obvious tail on the donkey:
"The President has crippled the credibility of this week's summit by proposing the same massive government takeover of health care based on a partisan bill the American people have already rejected."
"This new Democrats-only backroom deal doubles down on the same failed approach that will drive up premiums, destroy jobs, raise taxes, and slash Medicare benefits.
"This week's summit clearly has all the makings of a Democratic infomercial for continuing on a partisan course that relies on more backroom deals and parliamentary tricks to circumvent the will of the American people and jam through a massive government takeover of health care."The best way to protect families and small businesses in this time of economic uncertainty is to start over with a step-by-step approach to health care reform focused on lowering costs, and that's exactly what Republicans are fighting for. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that the Republican bill reduces premiums for families and small businesses by up to 10 percent. The Republican bill reduces premiums by implementing common-sense reforms such as allowing Americans to purchase insurance across state lines. Despite their rhetoric to the contrary, none of the Democrats' proposals - including the President's - provides this much-needed reform in a manner that can actually be effective. "
Why the GOP should bother to show up at the 'summit' later this week is beyond me. Their very loud and public statement should be nothing more than to point at poll after poll after poll of the American people telling the Dems NONONONONONONONONO, and say that until Obama is willing to listen to the American people they're not interested in being Obama's props. It's Barack Obama and the Democrats vs. the GOP and the American people.
It's true, and it's that simple. Don't be afraid of the label 'party of no'...right now, NO is what the American people want! Stand up and shout it proudly!
Anyway, back to the bill. Obama's version of DemCare is the embodiment of government overreach and control, reckless spending, and a deliberate attack on free markets. Legal Insurrection summarizes it this way:
...one thing becomes clear: The plan does nothing to control health care costs, and everything to increase those costs.
There are no market mechanisms to encourage consumers to price shop or to introduce price competition into the health care industry.
To the contrary, the plan continues the trend towards divorcing consumers from price decisions as to services and products; there also is no incentive to decrease demand because a large percentage of the population will receive government subsidies.
Yet because of the new insurance price control mechanism, the private insurance system will not be allowed to recoup the costs of such coverage.
This is a balloon which must burst, and it will several years down the road.
The result of the burst will be a collapse of the private insurance sector, and a government unable to pick up the pieces without severely rationed care (even if coverage remains expansive in theory, the care will not be available).
Obama's plan (and so too the House and Senate versions) is the worst of all worlds. It is a replica of the housing bubble, thrill for the first few years, and then the bill becomes due without any way to pay for it.
Look what the housing bubble did to this nation (and, by extension, to the rest of the global economy). Can you even imagine what the equivalent meltdown would be if it was the entire health care system melting down?
Tragically, we may very well get to experience it in person, as the Dems are now pretty clear in telegraphing their intent to shove this thing onto an unwelcoming American public with just a warped 51-vote simple majority.
The icing on the cake is that if they can pull this off with DemCare, they're already planning on using the same tactic for anything and everything else they want to do.
Democracy? Pshaw! Democrats want nothing to do with it.
On a related note...
Charlie Cook, whose Cook Political Report is the go to source for reporters assessing the competitiveness of Congressional races, has declared that, "it's very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don't lose the House."
Self-immolation. Unfortunately, they're going to flame out the rest of America along with themselves, too. Note to all Republican candidates for the next three election cycles: run on a platform of rolling back everything that Obama and the Dems have done over the past year. It'll work.
There's my two cents.
Obama Health Plan Costs $950 Billion Over 10 Years
Today in Health Care Reform
Here come government health care price controls
A First Look at the President's Health Summit Proposal: Liberal Proposal Number Three