ObamaCare On the March


It took a seedy campaign of intimidation, bribery, and back-room deal-making worthy of Tammany Hall, but Democrats have nearly pulled off the radical transformation of the American health care system that they – if not the rest of America – so desperately desire.

With yesterday’s 219-to-212 party-line House vote, made possible by the last-minute collapse of a holdout block of anti-abortion Democrats led by Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, the federal government’s intrusion into one-sixth of the economy is one step closer to becoming a reality. All it cost the Democratic majority was the prospect of fiscal responsibility, the pretense of bipartisanship, and any remaining confidence that the American public may have had in its elected representatives.

Sunday’s legislative “victory” was achieved despite the flaws of the House health care bill, which are by now well-documented. Of these the most notable is the staggering ten-year price tag for the legislation: $940 billion, complete with tax increases totaling $400 billion. Even in its enormity, that figure does not factor in the expensive new federal bureaucracy that the bill would create. For instance, some 16,500 new IRS workers will be needed to collect, examine and audit the new tax information that families and small businesses will have to provide to comply with the bill’s provisions. Nor does it include the penalties – up to $700 in some cases – that Americans will be forced to pay lest they fail to purchase insurance.

Billions in new entitlement spending may seem troubling, especially during an economic recession, but Democrats have sought to dismiss any anxiety about the health care bill’s effect on the deficit. To that end, Democrats spent the week gleefully touting the Congressional Budget Office’s projection that the House bill would reduce the deficit by $138 billion over ten years. If CBO projections could be taken at face value, that would be encouraging news. But as the Washington Post reported, the real budget outlook is far more dire, since the CBO’s estimates are based on the expectation of savings and cuts that may not come to pass. Medicare is a prime example. While CBO estimates factor in cuts in Medicare reimbursements, such cuts are politically unlikely and, indeed, no Congress in recent history has dared to make them. Assuming that those cuts will take place this time around is little more than wishful thinking. As it stands, the health care overhaul seems more likely to confirm another of the CBO’s projections: that public debt will rise to 90 percent of GDP by 2020 under President Obama’s budget.

As awful as the substance of the House bill is, the process by which it was passed may be even worse. By embracing a series of shady procedural stratagems – from the dubiously constitutional “deem and pass,” in which the Senate version of the health care bill would be deemed to have passed without the formality of an actual vote, to “reconciliation,” usually reserved for budgets of bills that are already law – Democrats sowed widespread distrust and even alienated some media allies. At the height of the health care subterfuge, even the Washington Post was stirred to editorialize against the Democrats’ “unseemly” tactics. If last night’s vote was, as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer suggested, the conclusion of “a national conversation” on health care, it was a conversation carried on largely without the nation.

This go-it-alone arrogance, magnified with unprecedented media coverage, sheds light on the profound cynicism that has set in with the American public. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey finds that 76 percent of Americans do not trust the U.S. Congress. That distrust extends to health care. Polls show that the plurality of the American public opposes the health care reform efforts in Congress – a striking statistic when one considers that the need for the reform was one of the few original points of consensus in the health care debate. With their scorched-earth campaign to pass the bill, Democrats have almost singlehandedly destroyed a once-promising political landscape. The Tea Party protestors who flocked to Capitol Hill yesterday to voice their opposition were only the most visible sign of the public’s sour mood.

To be sure, ObamaCare is not yet the law of the land. The companion legislation to the House bill still needs approval in the Senate. There, the Democrats’ majority is far more tenuous, thanks to the recent of Massachusetts’s Scott Brown on the campaign pledge of opposing ObamaCare. But if the House vote sets any kind of precedent, it is that Democrats will stop at nothing to force through their signature legislation.

Whatever the ultimate outcome of the health care battle, the democratic process has clearly become a casualty. The American public is more cynical about its government that at any time in recent history. Next fall’s elections may yet bring a measure of retribution for the Democrats’ overreach. But by then the damage – all $940 billion of it – may be irreparably done.

  • http://hyphenatedamericans.blogspot.com/ Hyphenated American

    I want my country back!
    It seems like the ultra-liberals have been able to bribe and coerce enough congress-scumbags to pass the Obamacare. And as I said before, there would be hell to pay for this monstrosity. Obamacare is the very definition of unlimited government – the threat of which was forwarned by the Founding Fathers more than two centuries ago. The federal government, which is up to its neck in debt and unfunded liabilities, decided to launch the biggest entitlement of all times – the medical care for all. The spending on this new entitlement will surely dwarf many if not most of Federal programs and will make the bankruptcy of federal and state governments inevitable. The time of reckoning is at hand, brothers and sisters. Obamacare is the last breath of the liberal order – and it’s time to take America back from the party of thieves and looters.

  • http://hyphenatedamericans.blogspot.com/ Hyphenated American

    I am glad that the Democratic Party passed the Rubicon. From now on, there is no coming back for the liberal elites, no talk of compromise and middle-ground. Today, it is abundantly clear that we either will live in Obama-America or America that our Founding Father envisioned. You cannot have both.

    The November elections will be the most important elections in our lifetime. If you don’t vote for America in November – you don’t deserve to be called an American.

    Written by a Russian immigrant who loves America and who loves freedom.

    • James

      Sir,
      Thank you for your wonderful comment. I completely agree, and I have been troubled as to how I will explain this travesty to my Father and Mother, in heaven, how this could happen in the Country that my Father served for 30 years in Naval service. This November, We, the People must send every incumbent home to face the voters in their individual states. I intend to question my state government about bringing charges against each one of them for failing to uphold their oath of office. You have lived the nightmare of lost freedoms, we are near living that nightmare in what was formerly the “Shining light on a Hill”. God Bless…………..

  • poptoy

    The Dems will get there. Enough is enough. It's gonna be war from now on.

  • Sam Deakins

    I was in DC this past weekend. I'll be back!

  • Pierce Smith

    I am wondering out loud that come November will the voters really remember who voted for Obamacare. I will, but I'lll betcha most won't.

    • http://jimwalterpix.typepad.com Jim Walter

      What's needed is something like the FBI's most wanted list: A poster displaying the 7 Dems whose vote pushed the bill over the top. Their names. Their pictures. Their districts. Maybe additional prominent Dems as well, just for good measure.

      Design the poster in digital format. Give it wide electronic circulation, post on telephone poles, milk cartons, wherever. And keep doing it. Over and over and over until November, and beyond if needed. That's one idea. I'm ready to help.

      http://jimwalterpix.typepad.com

    • Grayzell

      Pierce, I understand why you write that but I think you are wrong. I know some life long Dems. who will not forget how angry they are at this communist bill. I will not let them forget. You think the many that have have joined T.E.A. parties will forget or they will let their friends forget? Just keep working to save our Republic and we will win for our children and grandchildren.

      • Middle Seat Observer

        November will be about voting ALL incumbents OUT.

        Simple, and sweeping. New broom until there are no incumbents remaining.

        Time to send them home.

        • dgc001

          Middle Seat Observer:

          Two points: 1) Focus your wrath to where it's deserved; the Republicans, particularly in the house, stood valiantly in unison against these stalwart statists through everything from TARP to this. They deserve more thoughtful consideration, particularly when you consider 2) that statists will NOT follow your advice and will re-elect the same scum into office. DON'T GIVE THESE STATISTS B*ST*RDS ANY NUMERICAL ADVANTAGES.

    • http://endofenlightenment.blogspot.com Jeanette

      I understand your attitude — Americans seem to forget so quickly.

      However, I, for one, signed up today to actively work in the campaign to defeat the democrat incumbent in my district. And I haven't been active in politics for many years. May seem a small contribution — but as Tip O'Neil pointed out, all politics is local.

      THROW THE BUMS OUT! We're the only people who can do that.

  • Steve

    I am switching my voting status to Republican today!! This is it. No more of these ah. deals

    • lovezion

      You can become an independent rather than going all the way to the opposite side… :o)

  • Lou

    DEMS ARE DONE!

  • gama

    You know all that money that Obama has been printing. It was used to buy off Democrats who opposed the health care plan. Printing money has been termed "stealth wealth distribution". The value of our dollars is transferred to the dollars that Obama prints. Since he was elected the value of the dollar has dropped by 20%. That is equivalent of a 20% tax imposed on all Americans and then used to influence congressmen to vote for what Americans oppose.

    • davarino

      That is exactly what I was thinking. Where has all that funny money been going?

  • mikidiki

    Poor Michelle .. getting ready to move into the Projects come 2012.

  • Right in Left World

    This is an outrage of a bill passed by liars, thieves, and whores. This cannot, and will not stand. Americans who value freedom will stand up to this, use any means necessary to fight and repeal this terrible action. I encourage everyone to start recall campaigns for against all the Democrats who voted for this thing, as it is clear that they have usurped their power.

  • jbtrevor

    Never thought I'd pine for the end of summer – Bring on November!!!

  • Trebuchet

    Excommunicate Pelosi, publicly and immediately.

  • USMCSniper

    Angry demonstrators opposed to the health care bill gathered outside the Capitol on Sunday. Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts says that one stood up in the House gallery and shouted, "Kill the bill. The people don't want this. Also, several Republicans stood up on the House floor and cheered.____Barney Frank said aloud: "I've never seen this _ for the Republicans to stand up and cheer the guy on." Frank called the Republicans "clowns."____Republicans clowns? Coming from a hemmoroid sucking turd pirate____who ran chickenbait male shorehouse out of his own home.

  • K. Bond

    Grover Cleveland – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 1885

    Your every voter, as surely as your Chief Magistrate, under the same high sanction, though in a different sphere, exercises a public trust. Nor is this all. Every citizen owes to the country a vigilant watch and close scrutiny of its public servants and a fair and reasonable estimate of their fidelity and usefulness. Thus is the people's will impressed upon the whole framework of our civil polity–municipal, State, and Federal; and this is the price of our liberty and the inspiration of our faith in the Republic.

    Can you even imagine anyone saying these kinds of things today? No way.

    Today, we are quasi Communists afraid at every turn of the key that a law suit is coming. Our basic freedoms are being high-jacked as we speak. Yet, most say nothing.

    How long can we sit idle?

  • K. Bond

    The chant from Americans should now be "THIEVES. LIARS, THIEVES, LIARS!" directed at the house and senate!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Lary9 Lary9

    As usual, the comments in here are actually toxic! I'm glad I got all my "neo-con immunity" shots before I came in. PS: Hate to say it about HR3590, but I told you so!

  • Don from Canada

    I fear for your country. This is very, very bad legislation which will cause nothing but harm.

    • davarino

      Where can you go for quality health care now? Costa Rica?

  • lovezion

    Ii don't intend to vote for ANY democrat at all, to make sure I won't be voting for one of the hoolligans who are accomplices of this piece of citizens' torture!

  • John C. Davidson

    The worse thing about all this is that they have the gaul to think they can fool freedom.

  • http://www.tenlist.com/oak-laminate-flooring/milwaukee-WI/ Elayne Rioux

    Many thnks for writing such a fascinating post. All too often you see the same thing over and over so this makes a refreshing change.