Repeal: Some say trying to repeal ObamaCare is a futile dream once people get used to its benefits, such as covering kids with pre-existing conditions. Once before, government was slapped down. It can be done.
Entitlements can be addictive, and it’s certainly the purpose of this administration to make as many Americans as possible as dependent on government as possible.
That’s partly why a health care bill put student loans under the Department of Education. The government needed the revenues, but it also needed the power over yet another class of citizens.
Unlike Medicare and Social Security, this nationalization of one-sixth of the U.S. economy and placing of bureaucrats and IRS agents between you and your doctor was unpopular from the beginning.
As John R. Graham, director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute, reminds us, the 1965 Medicare and Medicaid amendments to the Social Security Act of 1935 enjoyed greater than 70% majorities in each congressional chamber. Social Security also passed with majorities of both parties in both chambers.
Not so with this bill.
Once before there were “angry mobs” reacting to government expansion of and into health care. They once greeted former House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski over the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, which expanded Medicare benefits and funded it with a supplemental tax.
Unlike the current legislation, which was barely passed through a combination of deals such as the Cornhusker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase (along with a worthless executive order on federal funding of abortion services), the earlier bill passed the House in June 1988 by a vote of 328-72. It passed the Senate by 86-11.
In a precursor to the Tea Party movement, the natives, particularly seniors, rebelled over its provisions and the supplemental tax.
The Chicago Tribune of August 18, 1989, reported on how House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski “was booed and chased down a Chicago street Thursday morning by a group of senior citizens after he refused to talk with them about federal health insurance.”
The Tribune reported: “Shouting ‘Coward,’ ‘Recall’ and ‘Impeach,’ about 50 people followed the chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee up Milwaukee Avenue after he left a meeting in the auditorium of the Copernicus Center … ”
Legislation to repeal was introduced in the House on Nov. 7, 1989, and passed by a voice vote.
An interesting historical footnote is that leading the protest against Rostenkowski was Jan Schakowsky — then director of the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens and currently a Democratic representative from the 9th Congressional District of Illinois and chief deputy whip to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
It was Schakowsky’s husband, Robert Creamer, a Huffington Post blogger, who wrote what is arguably the bible of current health care reform efforts, “Stand-Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win,” while serving a prison term for check kiting.
Most of the supposed benefits do not begin until 2014, and even those that were supposed to start immediately, like insuring children with pre-existing conditions, are proving to be phantom promises.
It was no accident that 8-year-old Macelas Owens of Seattle was at the signing ceremony.
People forget that under SCHIP, every child was already entitled to health insurance, provided that their parents met income eligibility requirements. Many children who could have had health insurance were simply not enrolled.
Under the new law, children with pre-existing conditions can still be denied coverage, according to Karen Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the congressional panels that helped write the bill. Full protection for children will not come until 2014, says Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
There’s still time for repeal. House Minority Leader John Boehner says the election of a Republican House and Senate in 2010 would make possible the de-funding of ObamaCare. A victory at the presidential level in 2012 would seal the deal.
It can be done. It has been done. It must be done. To paraphrase Joe Biden, it’s a big deal.