In his televised address to a joint session of Congress last night, President Obama’s pitch for a nationalized healthcare system missed the strike zone by a mile. His speech served only to fan the flames of partisan wrangling and politics as usual in
. President Obama did nothing more than change the wording on a few key issues, but did not eliminate key areas of contention that so many Americans have with this proposed nationalization of our healthcare system.
President Obama’s plan would federally mandate coverage on every American, whether they want it or not. This is nothing more than another power grab allowing the Federal Government just one more avenue of intervention into the lives of private citizens. Instead of a government mandate, Congress should consider free market principles and actions that would make insurance coverage more affordable in a competitive marketplace. Not only does the President’s plan propose further government mandates on individuals, it would also impose fines on businesses that do not provide coverage for employees. Small businesses, the engine that drives our economy, would essentially be further hamstrung by more unnecessary government regulation. My question to such a ludicrous notion is this: if a family or small business doesn’t have the money to pay for healthcare in the first place, how can they be expected to pay the fine for not having that coverage?
The answer is simple; universal coverage. I believe that this proposal, made by Sen. Max Baucaus (D-MT), is a way to coerce the American people into a “public option” that would simply be a more affordable alternative to a government imposed fine or private healthcare insurance. Simply stated, if an individual decides (for whatever reason) to forgo health insurance coverage, he or she would then be forced to either pay a sizable federal fine, or “opt in” to a public option “insurance exchange.” Of course they could go the private route, but the fine would most certainly be high enough force them into the public option, but low enough to make private coverage cost prohibitive. The end result being an increase in public “option” participants, and ultimately the beginning of system that mimics the Canadian or European policy – hardly a model of efficiency.
In his speech, the President himself stated that a not-for-profit “insurance exchange” – public option – would be part of his proposal and no more than 5% of the American public would likely sign up. But consider this: how can insurance companies – or any other private business for that matter – be expected to compete with Uncle Sam? When the federal government levies a fine on those individuals or businesses who choose not to carry health insurance, it would obviously be more cost effective to exercise the public option. It doesn’t take an economist to figure out that the initial projection of 5% participation will grow exponentially in a very short span of time. This is nothing more than a back door to a single payer universal coverage system and the people in the First District are far too intelligent for the President to try and slide that past them the way he did last night.
Since he made no mention of it in his address, the people of the First District may still wonder if President Obama will continue to work with Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Reid (D-NV) in a way that keeps the details of a government run healthcare scheme – and its associated hidden costs and controversies – buried in a 1,000-page bill that no one will have an opportunity to read before rushing it to the President’s desk for his signature.
Another unanswered question – how will the entire proposal be paid for? President Obama told the American people that he would not sign a bill that would add one single dime to our deficit. How can he make such a promise when the numerous plans that are currently being drafted all have a cost well over $500 billion dollars? He also talked about cost cutting measures he would impose that would eliminate costs if the proposed savings are not realized. Yet, in Medicare alone as one example, we see billions of dollars every year wasted and the system routinely defrauded with no plan in place to address those lost billions. How can we count on President Obama and this liberal Congress led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to lead the way on healthcare reform when they’re not even willing to start by implementing cost cutting measures, trimming waste, and ending the fraud rampant in our already existing programs? More promises that will never be fulfilled.
Lastly, and most importantly to the people of the First District, we still don’t know where Congressman Washington stands on this critical issue. However, we do know that late yesterday, the Majority Whip List was made public detailing those 44 House Democrats who oppose HR3200. Congressman Berry was not on that list. So where will Congressman Berry come down on this issue? Will he go against his party and vote ‘no’ on a program that a significant majority of his constituents have indicated they do not want? Or will he go along with his party and vote ‘yes’ on a program that is destined to be a major burden on every single American family and cripple our government while lowering our standard of care? That is the biggest question, and I anxiously await an answer. Berry