Right to the Point (4/8/10)

Obamacare’s dirty little secrets

April 8, 2010

By Mike Benevento

Recently — against the will of a large majority of Americans — President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats orchestrated the federal government’s takeover of the nation’s health care system. Opposition to their ideas was so great that Democrats resorted to parliamentary tricks, back-room deals and pay-offs to squeak the bill through the legislative branch.

For Democrats, the ends justified the means. That’s why they had little problem using reconciliation, closed-door meetings and questionable accounting to pass their socialistic program. Because of its immense size and the secrecy shrouding parts of the bill, it will take many years before Americans fully understand the legislation and its ramifications.

For an optimistic cost of nearly $940 billion, the plan proposes expanding health care to 95 percent of Americans, prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions and subsidizing coverage to millions — all laudable promises.

The unstated consequences, however, are already causing significant trouble. They include redistributing wealth, nationalizing student loans and unconstitutionally expanding government’s power and control.

One of Obamacare’s main goals is redistributing wealth — taking money from more affluent Americans and giving it to others. Last month, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus confirmed a major purpose of health care reform was reordering income.

“It is a shift, a leveling, to help lower income, middle income Americans,” he said.

Under the penalty of law, the government has another excuse to forcefully reallocate money from earners to non-earners. In essence, those who did not earn the wealth will once again be more entitled to it than those who did. That is not fair, but it fits today’s liberal agenda to a T.

The Washington Examiner’s chief political correspondent Byron York writes that Democrats knew there was no way they could ever sell a national health care bill to a skeptical public by basing their case on income inequality. That’s one reason they went to such lengths to argue that the bill could cover 32 million currently uninsured people and somehow still save money.

Although unrelated to health care, President Obama wanted federal control of higher education lending. So, Democrats snuck the takeover of student loans into the reconciliation bill without the measure even going through committee. The result: the federal government now controls student loans.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander called the student loan move “the most underreported, biggest Washington takeover in history.” He stated that the government will overcharge students by $19 million and give the excess to the health care system. Not the health care reform Americans want, but what can be expected under Obamacare.

Obamacare adds the biggest entitlement ever onto an already overburdened system. The increase in federal power infringes on both states and individual rights. Americans now have less personal freedom and the government greater control than ever before.

Political commentator David Limbaugh notes that Obamacare’s socialized medicine has brought about the liberals’ goal of making the government the people’s master instead of their servant. Vermonters for Economic Health’s founder Tom Licata agrees. The legislation, Licata writes, makes “Change to America’s social contract; change to America’s civil society; and predominately, change to America’s individual freedoms and its relationship with its government.”

Under the new law, almost every American will be forced to buy health insurance or suffer punishment. Former Sen. Fred Thompson said the bill adds more than 16,000 Internal Revenue Service agents and creates 159 new agencies and bureaus, all of which will be writing new regulations. The IRS will monitor individuals and employers and punish those who do not comply with the minimum coverage mandate.

Republicans (and at least a dozen states) charge that it is unconstitutional to require citizens to purchase health insurance. Unlike auto insurance — which Americans buy only if they want to drive a car — simply because they are living, Americans must purchase health insurance.

As Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently said, the individual purchase mandate is an “unprecedented overreach by the federal government forcing individual citizens to buy a good or a service for no other reason than they happen to be alive or a person.” Americans’ right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness now has a kicker — the requirement to purchase health insurance.

Like it or not, Obamacare is the law of the land. There is little doubt that fallout from its passage will have a major effect in November. Only after changing Washington’s political majority can America reform health care with commonsense marketplace solutions (like permitting interstate competition), tax incentives and tort reform. It starts with Americans rightfully taking a throw-the-bums-out approach to the mid-term elections.

Michael Benevento has a bachelor’s degree in Military History and a master’s in International Relations. Mike resides in Williston with his wife Kristine and their two sons, Matthew and Calvin. Please send comments to VTMikeBenevento@gmail.com.