Letters: A government boondoggle

Obamacare is just another government boondoggle

The Bennington Banner’s editorial, “So push the button,” directs Democrats to implement the “nuclear option” to force the healthcare bill through Congress — against the will of the American people — and the bipartisan cooperation President Obama has repeatedly promised. Personally, I never thought the day would come when Democrats were jumping up and down about “nuking” anything — especially healthcare.

Currently, the bills are being debated rather heatedly across the country.

The course the president and congressional Democrats have taken is not popular — and the polls have been a crystal clear indicator. It is not surprising that 63 percent of Americans believe healthcare should be a priority and “everyone should have quality and affordable health care.” Although, of the same people polled, only 28 percent of them are willing to pay higher taxes to provide it. A political conundrum to say the least. Not to mention the President’s approval rating dropping to around 50 percent from around 65 percent when taking office.

People are not responding well because the plan is unsustainable — just like Social Security and Medicare — which many experts say will be bankrupt in less than 20 years. The American people have caught on to the “bait and switch” games politicians from both parties have played with their tax dollars.

Obamacare is just another such boondoggle — a plan that costs more to receive less placing an unfair financial burden on our children.

Both Republicans and Democrats want real meaningful healthcare reform. To do that will require good legislation. Good legislation means answering all the tough questions, not just the “feel good” ones. And the looming unanswered question at the end of the day is “how will this plan be funded?”

The president says one-third of the plan will be funded through taxes on individuals who earn over $250,000 per year. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi prefers the number $350,000, citing that the “new middle class” earns up to $350,000 per individual. So already we have a gap in the president’s and Congress’ plans to fund healthcare. No — wait, there is still that pesky question of how the fund the remaining two-thirds of Obamacare.

Other questions such as cost-containment measures, tort reform, and how Democrats plan to keep from rationing healthcare to those who need it the most have not been answered either. Not that they haven’t been given the chance, there have been plenty of town hall meetings and ads nationwide, yet the Democrats can’t sell the American people — and make no mistake this has been a sales pitch — not a path to true reform.

The editorial also carried the theme that this is somehow all the Republican’s fault. Factually, it is Democrats who cannot agree to the details or rally enough votes from their own caucuses to pass this bill — what does that say? Blaming Republicans is simply misdirection because of the inability of the left to produce a plan that the American people will get on board with.

Democrats are frustrated and need an outlet so slinging mud at Republicans works — for now — we will find out in the 2010 elections. The editorial stated “no Republican has done much to support true reform,” which is incorrect. In February 1974, President Nixon introduced the Comprehensive Health Insurance Act to Congress — a plan to nationalize healthcare. The plan he proposed would have built on the existing private sector system, utilized government subsidies, and implemented certain tax credits, in order to provide more Americans with health coverage.

After Nixon’s resignation, Senator Edward Kennedy furthered the legislation in Congress until it was, quite ironically, lobbied against and killed by two of the Democrats most powerful support groups — the AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers of America, who were hoping for a better deal.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton’s healthcare reform plan was very similar to Nixon’s model, steering away from a government run system.

Republicans have solutions. How do Republicans plan to reform healthcare? First, through tort reform. A 2008 study by the Pacific Research Institute found that excessive wasteful tort costs exceeded $589 billion annually (the equivalent of about $7,848 annually for the average American family of four).

Second, create a competitive and open market by allowing health insurance companies to operate nationwide — similar to car insurance. The Gecko (and that cute little lizard) sells car insurance nationwide providing cost savings, but we can’t do the same with healthcare insurance — without a trillion dollar national-government-run-healthcare system?

Third, assure Americans that their quality of care will not be sacrificed. Republicans want a plan that will cover pre-existing conditions, previous illness, prompt care, and not cut advancements in medical technology. Fourth, provide maximum flexibility, including “opt-out” versus “opt-in” provisions, because each American’s individual situations differ. Republicans believe healthcare is about personal freedom and personal choice.

Democrats need to step away from the nuclear button because the final choice about healthcare should be “yours” — not the federal government’s.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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