Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Health Care Bill -An Exercise in Arrogance

Our Health Care system needs a lot of work. No one disputes the quality of the health care we enjoy in this country is the best in the world but every one agrees the system has a few things which need to be fixed. Costs for services, pharmaceuticals, and insurance are sky-rocketing out of control. Availability is too limited both by cost and by restrictions placed on consumers by insurance companies. Most Americans recognize these problems and, regardless of political party or personal view, just about everyone wants Congress to address these issues. The real problem is not so much what Congress has come up with as how they have done it.

There are aspects of the bill that many people have legitimate concerns about. The overall cost for example. No one believes the bill will cost as little as the President and the Democrats are claiming. The President told us that the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) has estimated that the bill will only cost about 1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years and that cost is not significant. Who are they trying to kid? A trillion dollars, that's one million million dollars! It's more than 1.15 million times more than the average American will make in a lifetime! "An insignificant amount". Horse-feathers! Raising taxes to pay for some of it makes people angry, especially since our economy is in such poor condition and we are already being taxed to death by the Federal, State, County and City governments. Also, claiming that cutting $500 billion from Medicare while adding 30 million people to the health care rolls will not hurt the quality and availability of our current services is just ludicrous. No one believes that for a second.

Never-the-less, people for the most part would still accept and go along with the bill as a whole if it were not for some other very troubling parts. First, the bill contains too many items arrived at through a series of secret, backroom deals made in blatant disregard for the expressed desire of the people to know what was going on. These deals include a lot of pork being added to the bill which have nothing to do with health care and which add huge amounts to an already obscenely high deficit. The very existence of these items smells of dishonesty and influence by special interest groups. The result is that people simply do not trust the bill and resent the people participating in this whole distasteful process.

While there is blame on both sides of the isle, the Democrats have to take the lions share of responsibility for this situation. In spite of repeated promises to doing things in a transparent and open way and to put a stop to the practice of adding pork to every bill that passes through the Congress, the Democrats have not only continued those activities, but have taken them to an even higher level. They have been nothing less than arrogant in their pushing through a bill which, mainly because for these very practices, has angered the American people like never before.

The Democrats have been very successful in painting the Republicans as the "Party of No", claiming that they are just obstructionist and have no concrete plan of their own. The truth is far different. The Republicans have offered some very well thought out solutions to these problems but these offerings have been ignored. The truth is that the Democrats have become the party of "Thank You, No" As for being obstructionist, there is some truth to that. -But that is exactly what the minority party is supposed to be. The party in the minority in order to get their points across is always obstructionist to some degree. That is how things are supposed to work in a representative democracy!

The result is not hard to predict. The Democrats, being in the significant majority will very likely be successful in passing this bill. The costs to them are also not hard to predict. The American people, having been completely ignored, will be so angered by this arrogance that, when the next elections arrive in November, many of the democrats will be voted out of office. Since my personal desire is to see Congress cleaned out and all of the incumbents replaced, regardless of political party, this aspect makes me quite happy. I am very sorry, however, that the price will be a monster of a pork laden health care bill which will harm the quality of our current service, add to a sky-rocketing deficit, and burden us with still higher taxes while doing nothing to control costs.

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