The Onward March Of ObamaCare – by John Ellis


[Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from]

No group has done more to promote the public funding of abortions than the Catholic bishops of America. That might well surprise them, flushed as they are with their success in making a deal in the House in which they supported passage of the Pelosi bill in exchange for an amendment barring public funding of abortions. But when you make a deal with people whose strategic goals are diametrically opposed to yours, you must be careful that what you get is not a temporary tactical retreat that can be reversed at any time, while what you have given is a huge and lasting strategic advantage.

That principle had already been illustrated plainly enough when Olympia Snowe helped to vote the Baucus bill out of committee because it ruled out the public option, which she opposed. Within days, Harry Reid had put the public option back in the bill that was now before the full Senate. Snowe had given a major boost to the momentum of ObamaCare by moving the bill on with bipartisan support, but the concession she thought she had secured was immediately cancelled. Who did most to boost the public option’s chances that week? Why, Olympia Snowe, whose gullibility had been cynically exploited by the Democrats.

The bishops had given a far greater boost to ObamaCare than had Snowe: they actually endorsed the bill, and the slim margin of its victory in the House might not have been there without them. But when questioned by John Boehner, Henry Waxman frankly admitted that there was no guarantee that the amendment would still be there as the bill progressed toward final passage. In other words, he and Pelosi had simply pocketed their priceless gain, and if they could betray the bishops, they would. But the bishops should not have needed to be told this. What Pelosi is aiming for is government-run health care. When all health care is government provided, how could anyone doubt that abortion services will be publicly funded, just like any other service?

Other groups have made the same short-sighted deals, in which they have either acquiesced in or actively supported the progress of ObamaCare in exchange for concessions that they believed would protect their particular interests. The AMA supported the bill in exchange for concessions that would reduce planned cuts in pay for doctors; insurance companies at one stage supported it because they thought they’d get more customers as more people were forced to buy insurance; drug companies supported it in exchange for concessions on drug price reductions. In every case, the Democrats had been able to exploit the gullible and get them to accelerate the momentum of a process whose ultimate goal is their ruin.

What none of them seemed able to grasp was that the strategic goal toward which Reid and Pelosi were relentlessly advancing was something that would inevitably remove all of the protections they thought they had negotiated for themselves. The subsidized public option that Pelosi and Reid want would inevitably drive private insurers out of business, leaving the government as sole provider of health care, including abortions. When that happens government will also control drug prices, as well as conditions of work and pay for doctors. How could private insurers and drug companies fail to see that the people driving this process loathe them and cannot wait to cut them and their “obscene” profits down to size? How could doctors fails to understand that no matter what assurances they are given to secure passage of the bill, their inevitable fate under government-run health care will be a higher workload and much reduced salaries?

The archetype of the suicidal short-sighted deal will always be Neville Chamberlain’s Munich pact with Hitler. What Chamberlain got was temporary and unreliable: a promise of no more territorial demands that could be reneged on at any time, from a man who already had a track record of reneging on promises. What he gave in return was a huge and permanent boost to Nazi strength and momentum: Czechoslovakia’s industry, raw materials and manpower. In September of 1938, not even the most dedicated and energetic Nazi did as much to propel Nazism forward as Chamberlain did.

But this is the kind of one-sided bargain that all of these groups have been making with ObamaCare: in exchange for assurances that are worthless, because they are fundamentally in conflict with the strategic goals of Pelosi and Reid, they have given a huge boost to something that must eventually result in their worst nightmare. Chamberlain’s wishful thinking would not allow him to see the power-mad glint in Hitler’s eye, and the same unwillingness to see that glint is at work in the health care debate. Appeasing a hungry monster never works: it grabs what it is offered, and immediately wants more, and more.

The bishops are unlikely to learn anything from the betrayal that Waxman openly admitted to. In the Senate, they will likely allow themselves to be paid off with the same debased coin that already proved itself worthless in the House. They will again be proud of getting an amendment that bars abortions just as they are lending their considerable weight to a process that will lead inexorably to the opposite result. And in so doing, they will have deflected attention from the real issues that waverers should have been unable to stomach: the massive addition to an already disastrous budget deficit, huge cost increases for heath care, and a public option that will degrade its quality. “Moderates” will think their moderation sufficiently proved by their vote for abortion funding restrictions, and contentedly vote for a destructive and extremist bill. And one day the bishops will wake up to find that all their muscle-flexing had only led to the very result that they had most feared.

The bishops, the insurers, the doctors, and the drug companies all need to grasp the rather simple fact that their own strategic goals are fundamentally in conflict with those of Pelosi and Reid, and that the public option is at the center of that conflict. For all of them, making deals that allow the public option bandwagon to gather speed is sheer folly. The only way in which they can genuinely protect their interests is by stopping it, now.

John Ellis is President of the California Association of Scholars, and a Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

  • MarilynAZ

    Over the last 75 years the Government has become exceedingly more corrupt, and our forefathers would be horrified to see how far our legislators have gone to destroy the very meaning of democracy today. The blatant “good ol' boy” scratch-my-back approach has become so insidious that the needs and wants of the people have been spat upon by our Congressional leaders in the most shameful fashion. The power grab by this Administration isn't even being done under the table, as was the case in the past. It is now completely stunning how this Administration has thrown the Constitution in the trash on a daily basis, claiming it is “antiquated” or “intended to be changed over history.” This is how tyrannical governments emerge. The state of the economy is giving Obama the very excuse he needs to take over the entire rule of our country, and somehow he has the support of the very people who would have fought against this just 40 years ago. It is staggering how ill-informed our new generation is–primarily because schools have been uniformly teaching social justice instead of Amercan history and other basic skills. (Note how reading and writing skills are a thing of the past!) How pathetic it is to see this happening to the greatest country on earth! The cancer in this Government has spread so deeply that it appears almost hopeless to eliminate it. I hope those of us who remember what this nation was founded on can maintain the strength to get rid of the primary source of the disease–the hijacked Democratic Party that sold their souls to get revenge and the promise of Government handouts at the expense of their neighbors.

  • The_Inquisitor

    Very interesting and informative article. The thought of these interest groups getting crushed under the heel of the state they created makes my mouth water.

  • davarino

    Ya, thats what they get for making deals with the devil. The devil will require his pound of flesh.

  • rhanzrocks19
  • Steven L

    Even if health care is not in the US Cnstitution, it should be a right for all US citizen.
    How it is done should be a matter for ALL citizen to be concerned about.

  • USMCSniper

    In AYn Rand;s Atlas Shruggged, a brain surgeon explains why he gave it all up… it was because of socialised medicine….

    'Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything–except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the “welfare” of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only “to serve.” . . . I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind–yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands?'

  • Robert Wargas

    Is this the same John Ellis who wrote *Literature Lost*? If so, this man is a great author and I recommend his books to you if you're a student of literature looking to fight back against leftist-Marxist-postmodernist “theory.”

  • WFB2

    While the majority of citizens oppose government run, bureaucrat 'health care', the arrogant Reid-Pelosi-Dem politburo continue to give us all the rigid middle digit. Of course this salute of contempt originates with the Soros/Obama presidency – the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the gullible, trusting American people.

  • RD1953

    In fact, in a recent left wing “townhall” held by WISPIRG on the University of WI Campus in Madison, our communist congressperson, Tammy Baldwin, said that there were “amendments” in the house bill that would have to be “stripped” from the final bill before it was passed by both houses, and sent to Sheik Obama!

  • jackhampton

    I am stunned I never believed that the democrats could have this bad of understanding of the American people. We have got to get them out of power as soon as possible. This nation is a powder keg.

  • Len Powder

    John,Kudos for a truly excellent article. The AMA, AARP, Unions, trial lawyers, etc. will all see their concessions and promised rewards vaporize once the bureaucracy starts implementing this monstrocity. Trial lawyers, specifically, will learn that they cannot sue the government. Like all the other gullible and insipid groups that will be betrayed by the treachery of liars, we can ask of them also "How could they not have deduced that their expected gains were illusory?" Is it only gullibility or plain and simple stupidity?

  • orbicularioculi

    When will the American people realize that the Democrats are Tyrants and not interested in following the Constitution? There will be a VIOLENT insurrection when people come to their senses. Dragging Congressmen and Senators down the steps of the Capitol might get their attention. Violence? Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It may be inevitable.

  • Name

    Yes, it is indeed the same one.


  • DixHistory

    The Constitution, are you serious?

    I mean are you serious?

    Nancy the one that told us all that Obama is a Natural Born Citizen whose father was never a citizen of the United States.

    I mean are you serious as George Bush said just a God Dam* paper.

    Obama, the Constitution is flawed?

    All took an oath to uphold and defend now are you serious?

  • Robert Wargas

    I'm glad it is. I actually e-mailed you a few months back and mentioned Wittgenstein and PhD programs. Don't know whether you remember.

  • jackbelias

    Socialized medicine flies in the face of the constitution. It will prove to be the most expensive governmant plan in history. Paying for such a monster requires that we shed the entire constitution as America will no longer be a nation of free individuals. We will exist only to pay taxes, all of our hard work will benefit everyone but ourselves. Imagine a world where because of taxes a top dollar medical specialist with 18 years of experience and nearly a decade of secondary education will be lucky to rake in as much as a teenager working part time as a burger flipper come tax season. Why bother with a decade of additional education at all then? It would be better and easier for everyone to be part time burger flippers as a life long career, after all the rewards are exactly the same.

    This socialism religion of yours is truly evil. A more anti human series of dogmas and preachings has never been imagined. We arent ants, and we shouldnt want to be ants. Nature designed us to be capable of individualism, this is a tremendous gift. We are the kings of the earth. Your religion seeks to demote us, putting us on the very bottom rung for eternity is your only goal.

    You need to leave our constitution alone, if you dont like it feel free to move to Eurabia. Men died by the countless thousands in battle to bring that constitution into being. From its beginning it was written in the blood of the fallen, a more sacred thing cannot exist. They were willing to die so we future generations could be free, it would be disrespectful to burn what they paid the ultimate price for.

    I for one would be happy to step out my front door with a rifle to defend it, you progressives should ask yourselves just how far you are willing to go. Will you lay down your very lives for your faith based anti human socialist religion? What will you do when you discover that us humans think very little of the lives of little ants who have invaded our space?

  • turbeaux

    Indeed, if Barrie Osborne bases his movie on the actual Sira (the biography of Muhammad), his film inevitably will be banned because it will be too gory, vicious, and brutal to get through the censors. The depiction of all the torture, beheadings, and mass rapes of slaves would ensure it. Not to mention Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha when he was in his fifties and she was just six years old and that he consummated when she was just nine, wouldn’t go over too well with the censures either.

  • Len Powder

    You are correct jackbelias in asserting that the lives of those who fought against tyranny since the American Revolution to this day would be dishonored and cheapened if the US surrenders to socialism or communism. We already live in a culturally Marxist country, yielding our liberty and dignity to political correctness, multiculturalism, pandering to minorities placing their sensitivities above what's best for the society as a whole.

    I believe you are also correct that many of us will refuse to allow the memories of the deceased heroes to be defiled by succumbing to the forces that have been trying to destroy this country since the 1920's. The Left thinks they can stuff their communist agenda down our throats and we will passively accept the poison. We are attempting to resist the Marxists in every way possible short of armed insurrection. We have been passive, unconcerned, indifferent, and submissive for too long, which is why we are in this predicament now. Now we understand the time has come to resist the oppressor before he enslaves us and future generation. NO BIG CORRUPT TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENTS!

  • 080

    Our government has made a great discovery. If you don't provide medical care it is much cheaper not to provide it. The way to save money is to put a referee between you and your doctor. For the mere price of about $l25,000 per year this referee will tell you whether you need the doctor's services or not. How much will you have to pay when health care is free??

  • John Ryan

    While the Congressional leadership has certainly sucked in the USCCB along with other concerned groups and some members of the House at the present point, is there a possibility of picking off three or more members who supported the original bill November 7th when Obamacare is returned from the Senate without real abortion restrictions? Obviously some of the 30 who declared they could not support the bill without the Stupak-Pitts language and voted for the final bill will say they have tried and there's nothing more they can do. My own representative, however, stated publicly that he would not have supported the same bill coming out of a conference committee and that one of the provisions he could not support in a final bill was the form of the public option as it existed in the Pelosi bill because of the adverse impact it would ultimately have on private insurers. He has also hinted, but not committed to the best of my knowledge, to refusing to support a final bill out of the conference committee that failed to include the Stupak-Pitts langauge.

  • Mary A

    You will not get health care under Obamacare. What you will get is an obscenely oppressive totalitarian regime which will use access to care as a club for their oppression. Everyone must agree with the anti-Christian, pro-fornication, pro-abortion state religion in order to get any kind of healthcare. Nobody who needs care will get it. Every serious illness is a terminal illness. No care for you. Preventive care? No need for it! They have already reduced mammogram recommendations, killing countless women. That's why there is no plan to increase the number of doctors, or otherwise make this a functional plan.

  • judithanderson

    This article links “bishops, insurers, doctors and drug companies” as seeking their own strategic goals, as opposed to condeming this health care bill in its entirety. However, a perfectly combined reaction by all to the whole bill is somewhat of a pleasant fantasy, with the Bishops' role in particular unquestionably unique. The very nature of abortion demands the Bishops' outrage. For them to argue against the bill would seem to accept abortion as a “normal” part of health care, with the problematic element being only the taxpayer funding of it. Since abortion is a grave human injustice and intrinsic evil, they must speak out on this element specifically, even as they were between the proverbial rock and a hard place for the reasons well described here. This bill reaks in general, as well as in the sum of its parts. Reid, Pelosi et al get this, they just could care less what most Americans think.