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March 25th 2010 print

Bill Muehlenberg

Breaking America

If there was ever a way to bankrupt a nation while whittling away its freedoms, this has to be it.

Obamacare and the decline of a nation

A one trillion dollar package; a 2000 page bill; a win by just seven votes; and one big meltdown of a nation. That about sums up the numbers on the passage of Obama’s health care bill. While the President has just signed the bill into law, already numerous legal challenges are being hurled against it. Indeed, so far thirteen states have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the bill.

I have written before about why this bill is bad news, not least of which are its provisions for the funding of abortion. But plenty of other concerns remain. And plenty of commentators have weighed into the debate, arguing why the passage of this bill is such a major worry.

For example, Mark Steyn examines how this will cripple the American economy. He begins, “If you’re sick of talking about health care, you’d better move to Tahiti now. On Thursday, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to set up a committee to examine whether condoms should be required on all pornographic film shoots within the Golden State. California has run out of money, but it hasn’t yet run out of things to regulate.”

He continues, “Obamacare will result in the creation of at least 16,500 new jobs. Doctors? Nurses? Ha! Dream on, suckers. That’s 16,500 new IRS agents, who’ll be needed to check whether you – yes, you, Mr. and Mrs. Hopendope of 27 Hopeychangey Gardens – are in compliance with the 15 tax increases and dozens of new federal mandates the Deemocrats are about to ‘deem’ into existence. This will be the biggest expansion of the IRS since World War II – and that’s change you can believe in. This is what ‘health’ ‘care’ ‘reform’ boils down to: fewer doctors, longer wait times, but more bureaucrats.”

This is really all about big government: “Obama is government, and government is Obama. That’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. You elected to the highest office in the land a man who’s never run a business or created wealth or made a payroll, and for his entire adult life has hung out with guys who’ve demonized (deemonized?) such grubby activities. Many of which associates he appointed to high office: Obama’s cabinet has less experience of private business than any in the last century. What it knows is government, and government’s default mode is to grow, and grow.”

He concludes, “From now on, it gets worse. If you have kids, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have kids, you better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to. The unfunded liabilities of current entitlements are $100 trillion. Try typing that onto your pocket calculator. You can’t. There isn’t enough room for all the zeroes, and, even if they made a pocket calculator large enough, and a pocket large enough, you’d be walking with a limp. To these existing entitlements, Obama and his enforcers in Congress propose to add the grandest of all: health care, on a scale no advanced democracy has ever attempted.”

Phyllis Schlafly is rightly worried about the decline of freedom associated with this bill. She says, “The American people have figured out that the issue is not health care, it’s freedom. It’s whether Obama will succeed in ‘fundamentally transforming’ the American nation, the first leg of which is to put complete control over every individual’s health into the hands of government bureaucrats and their appointed ‘experts’."

And it does not look good where similar moves have been made: “Many people look upon Massachusetts as the model for Obamacare. That state imposed individual and employer mandates in 2006, and it’s time to look at the results. By 2010, one-third of the uninsured still don’t have coverage, and it’s become harder to see a doctor. Health insurance is 40 percent more expensive than in the rest of the country, and Massachusetts is expecting a $2 billion to $4 billion shortfall over the next decade.

“Obama says repeatedly that under his plan you can keep your present health insurance. But Massachusetts told 20 percent of its already insured citizens they had to buy more expensive health insurance because their existing coverage wasn’t ‘good enough.’ Remember, if the government can force us to buy health insurance, it can define what that insurance must cover. It’s estimated that a federal mandate would force 100 million Americans to drop their existing plans and buy more expensive health insurance to meet Obamacare requirements.”

She concludes, “Obamacare is a major weapon to carry out Obama’s plan to transform America into a country of incredible debt, government control of industries, redistribution of taxpayers’ earnings and savings to non-taxpayers, and massive authority exercised by weirdo czars. The American people – and the various states – are not going to accept Obama’s transformation.”

Economist Thomas Sowell is also greatly concerned about this bill. “With the passage of the legislation allowing the federal government to take control of the medical care system of the United States, a major turning point has been reached in the dismantling of the values and institutions of America. Even the massive transfer of crucial decisions from millions of doctors and patients to Washington bureaucrats and advisory panels – as momentous as that is – does not measure the full impact of this largely unread and certainly unscrutinized legislation.

“If the current legislation does not entail the transmission of all our individual medical records to Washington, it will take only an administrative regulation or, at most, an Executive Order of the President, to do that. With politicians now having not only access to our most confidential records, and having the power of granting or withholding medical care needed to sustain ourselves or our loved ones, how many people will be bold enough to criticize our public servants, who will in fact have become our public masters?”

Finally, Cal Thomas offers these thoughts: “Pork is the preferred metaphor in Washington for misspending. But last weekend, pork took a backseat to baloney, which was present in abundance as President Obama and House Democrats tried to convince the public – and themselves – that their takeover of one-sixth of the economy is going to improve health insurance and the availability of medical treatment.”

He also focuses on the Massachusetts debacle: “The president promised again ‘you can keep your doctor.’ But the doctor might retire because he or she can’t afford to accept reduced fees mandated by government while paying ever-increasing premiums for malpractice insurance to protect him or her from lawsuits, which, by the way, is another reason so many tests are ordered.

“Government-run health care has been tried in Massachusetts … and it’s a disaster. According to Peter Suderman, associate editor at Reason magazine, ‘since 2006, the cost of the state’s insurance program has ballooned by 42 percent, or almost $600 million. According to an analysis by the Rand Corporation, “in the absence of policy change, health-care spending in Massachusetts is projected to nearly double to $123 billion in 2020, increasing 8 percent faster than the state’s gross domestic product”.’

“Insurance costs in Massachusetts are the highest in the nation and double-digit rate increases are expected again this year. Yet, President Obama claimed Saturday that under the Democrats’ plan, rates would go DOWN. How is this possible? The only reason Massachusetts hasn’t become insolvent is because of large transfusions of cash from Washington, which perpetuates the illusion the program works.”

Thomas concludes, “As for Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak’s deal with President Obama for an executive order banning federal funds for abortions, laws trump executive orders. Stupak caved; so much for standing on principle. President Obama quoted Abraham Lincoln, who said he was ‘bound to be true’ and suggested that he, too, was bound to be true. This legislation is so full of budget gimmicks, tricks and lies that the only thing true is that it will make health care in America worse, not better.

This is only a small sampling of the concerns being expressed about this draconian legislation. If there was ever a way to bankrupt a nation while whittling away its freedoms, this has to be it.