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Obamacare: Higher costs, lesser care

The Marietta Daily Journal THE OBAMACARE DEBATE is almost history. The president is slated to sign his health care bill into law this morning in a White House ceremony. Democratic bigwigs are euphoric over their 219-212 victory in the House. But once that euphoria fades, if they are honest with themselves, they will come to know what most Americans already suspect about Obama’s plan: that it will increase taxes, increase premiums, nip economic recovery in the bud, slow job growth and reduce the quality and availability of health care for most Americans. Barack Obama was swept into office on a tide of good will from the American people, and also enjoyed huge majorities in the House and Senate. Had he wanted to truly reform health care in this country, he could have worked to eliminate the tax preference (which dates to World War II) for employer-provided health insurance. That preference has made both health care providers and consumers insensitive to costs. Instead, he chose to pursue a partisan-oriented, big-government approach to reform. As the final vote loomed over the weekend he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi were poised to upend the Constitution in order to see their bill passed. But last-minute deal-making and deal-sweetening – as well as a promise to gullible Democratic right-to-life Rep. Bart Stupak that was not worth the paper it was written on – rounded up sufficient votes to pass the bill without having to resort to the Hugo Chavez-style legislative chicanery originally envisioned. *** THE NEW LAW will require all Americans to purchase health insurance. But the fine for not doing so is so low that many healthy Americans will choose to pay the fine, rather than buy insurance. Meanwhile, many employers who now provide coverage will find it cheaper to pay the nominal fine for not offering their workers insurance, and then boot their employees out and onto taxpayer subsidized health plans – which was part of Obama’s plan all along. Obama and Pelosi and U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-south Cobb), who voted for the bill) deny that it will result in health care rationing. Yet with only a finite amount of dollars to be allocated, yes, there will be health care rationing, although it won’t be called as such. But that is what it will be, and it will fall most heavily on those with rare, hard-to-treat conditions and those facing expensive, end-of-life care for cancer and similar diseases. ”The public is rightly concerned because the Democrats’ plan puts Washington in charge instead of patients, families, and doctors,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell), an M.D. “As a result, Americans will pay higher premiums and higher taxes in exchange for decreased access to care. That’s not health care reform; it’s a health care disaster.” The president promises his plan will cover more Americans, yet at the same time save money. That brings to mind the famous saying by P.T. Barnum about suckers. But the bill’s passage, and its continuing popularity with some Americans, seems to have proven Barnum correct. ”Democrats cannot hide the fact that when you’re raising the type of revenues in this bill, that money is ultimately going to be paid by the consumer. Any time government raises taxes it raises the cost of living for the American people,” said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. “It’s a ruse and a masking of the actual fiscal effect on the United States of America.” *** OBAMACARE MARKS A TURNING POINT toward even bigger, more intrusive government and away from the kind of self-sufficiency upon which Americans have long prided themselves. ”What’s really happening here is the president is saying to the American people that you’re stuck in your current station in life, you’re frozen and the government is here to help you cope with it,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the top Republican on the House Budget Committee. “But that’s not who we are. We are dynamic society where people have the will and incentive to make the most of their lives, to reach their potential. With this bill, that whole mindset, the American idea is upended.” Welcome to the new world, the world of Democratic socialism – and you can be sure that ObamaCare is only the beginning. If this bill stays in place, you can expect to see this and future Democratic administrations and Congresses slash away at Defense spending in order to pay for their health care scheme – just as happened when similar setups were put in place decades ago in Great Britain and Canada. This White House has long taken an arrogant, “we know best and you don’t know anything” approach on this and many other issues. But U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) nailed it on Monday, saying, “Outside the Beltway, the American people are very angry. They don’t like it, and we’re going to repeal this.” It will not be easy, but we hope events prove him correct. © 2010

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