Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Healthcare: We're All Waiting

Well, we're all waiting.

The Great Healthcare Drama is about to finally play out
in the House Of Representatives.

And because of the importance of this issue to President
Obama, who has gone "all in" on his political capital on this
one, the consequences of either passage or failure will be
deeply felt.

If by some miracle Obama wins, he's a hero. If he loses,
he will be forever marked as "Jimmy Carter with a deep tan"
and had better resign himself to a one-term Presidency.

And, right now, things aren't looking very good for Team Obama.

To begin with, the final product as passed by the Senate and
presented to the House is good for exactly no one.

There's no Public Option. No provision for "insurance exchanges"
to enable consumer choice. Only limited prohibition of coverage
denial for pre-existing conditions, no prohibition for claim denial,
and no criminal provisions in the law for any violations.

There are no caps or cost controls on premiums. No provision for
Medicare and Medicaid to either negotiate "best prices" for
pharmaceuticals or procure them from overseas. And, most
importantly, no revocation of the exemptions from anti-trust
law that the Health Care Cartel now enjoys.

What is in the bill is a mandate that everyone purchase private
coverage - at whatever rate the private Health Care Cartel decides
to charge. Also, there are selected cuts to Medicare and Medicaid
coverage, raising premiums and reducing federal assistance to
those states and individuals least able to afford them.

In short - there's lots of things in this 2,204 page bill for everyone
to hate, and nothing in it for anyone except the Health Care Cartel.

And what do the people think? Almost everyone, both Left
and Right, is saying NO.

NO to more power and influence to the Health Care Cartel.
NO to the rising costs and reduced coverage that are sure to follow.
NO to government interference with private, employer-based
health care plans that are working satisfactorily for those

And above all, NO to the massive tax increases that will
be necessary to fund the whole mess.

And the Democrats, to the delight of the GOP, are caught
squarely in the middle. For the Senate, voting for Obama's
healthcare plan, weak and ineffectual though it may be, has
become a political suicide pact. And the House is starting to
see things the same way.

Nancy Pelosi now faces a desperate situation in the House.
Faced with united GOP opposition, she now sees the list of
Democratic defectors grow with each passing day. Her latest
gambit, to use a little-known parliamentary maneuver to
"deem" the Senate Bill "passed" by passing a raft of "popular"
amendments, is going nowhere - even in Washington.

The only thing that is growing is the fury of the public - which,
once again, is seeing needed reform throttled by both the power
of vested interests and Washington's penchant for short-term
political opportunism.

As I said, this will be an interesting week - and we're all waiting.

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