Disaster in the Making - by Vasko Kohlmayer

Meet the entitlement that finally breaks the federal government's back.

Pelosi Convention

Late last week the Associated Press featured a photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi jubilantly pumping her fist after introducing the sweeping health care legislation that she and her fellow Democrats had just rolled out.

But while Pelosi and her friends celebrate the 1,900 page monstrosity, Americans have every reason to feel outraged. The bill, which promises to provide healthcare coverage for 96 percent of Americans, would quickly morph into the largest entitlement program in American history. As such it promises to be a boondoggle of unprecedented proportions.

In the accompanying statement, Democrats estimated the bill's cost at around $900 billion over ten years. Claiming it would “lower costs for every patient,” they contend it would not increase federal deficits. President Barack Obama said that the proposed legislation “clearly meets two of the fundamental criteria I have set out: It is fully paid for and will reduce the deficit in the long term.”

This is as great a lie as has ever been told.

Years of experience show that the cost of every entitlement program widely exceeds initial estimates. Less inclusive entitlements such as Social Security and medicare, which only affect a limited portion of the population, are projected to grow so costly as to be financially unmanageable. Some experts now estimate that the inherent liabilities of these two programs currently exceed $100 trillion. It is almost certain that the price tag for universal governmentally-run healthcare would eventually make the cost of these programs seem like change in comparison.

It cannot be otherwise. Such is the nature of bureaucracy that it is not possible for government to run anything well or expeditiously. We know from practical experience that every governmentally-managed project ends up mired in waste and inefficiency. The larger the scope of the project, the greater the resultant mess. It is a universal truism that government bungles everything it touches. Those who may think this an exaggeration should try to think of one government program that has been run efficiently or that has saved money.

We have great grounds for alarm: If this bill ever passes, the government will eventually end up as the sole provider of healthcare in the United States of America. This is because the bill contains an odious provision which would in due course drive all private insurance companies out of business. That provision would make it illegal for private insurers to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. This is the same as allowing people to purchase car insurance after they crash their car, or apply for homeowners insurance after their house catches on fire. No insurance company can survive under such onerous regime for very long.

Once the government ends up as the only insurer, it will then set rates for medical services and procedures in the same way it currently does with Medicare. This will only seem the sensible thing to do – costs must be controlled and greedy doctors must not be allowed to gauge. Government takeover will then be complete.

It is truly hard to believe that in the United States of America government can abuse private enterprise in this way. The American Constitution was written precisely so that something like this would never happen. For the government to run roughshod over the private sphere in this way is a violation of the very principles on which America was founded. That a bill like this could even see the light of day shows just how far we have fallen.

But is not all. The AP report contains this ominous sentence:

Pelosi, D-Calif., and the leadership have yet to work out disputes over abortion services and health care for immigrants, issues that must be settled before the bill can come to a vote.

In one fell swoop Pelosi is not only trying to eliminate private healthcare but also provide medical coverage for immigrants. Worse yet, they are scheming to include those who are here illegally. They will of course deny it publicly, but previous drafts contained provisions that would prevent medical professionals from inquiring into the status of those seeking care.

As far as abortion services are concerned, AP has missed the boat. Whatever differences there may have been, they have been worked out and settled. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, wrote this in National Review hours after the bill was made public:

This bill would explicitly allow federal funding of abortion through the public option and would permit federal subsidies to go to private insurance plans that cover abortion. The bill would also ensure that at least one health insurance plan must cover abortion in every area of the country. These provisions create a dramatic change from the status quo — currently no federal dollars are used to pay for elective abortions or plans that cover abortion.

So if you happen to be an illegal immigrant desiring an abortion, Congressional Democrats will be happy to oblige.

To obtain money for their schemes Democrats plan to raise taxes on pharmaceutical companies and makers of medical devices. In his recent column, Dick Morris listed some of the items that will be subject to the new excise tax: pacemakers, stents, artificial heart valves, defibrillators, automated wheelchairs, mechanized artificial limbs, replacement hips and knees, surgical gurneys, laparoscopic equipment and such.

Morris then aptly pointed out the absurdness of it all: “President Obama is planning to reduce the cost of medical care by taxing it!”

President Obama and his fellow democrats are in effect proposing to tax, penalize and bankrupt the very people and companies that provide medical wonders that make our lives healthier, longer and more pleasant.

Congressman John Flemming of Louisiana's 4th District got it just about right when he said:

“What Speaker Pelosi unveiled today should be called Extreme Makeover: Socializing America’s Health Care. This plan is nothing more than the blueprint for a government takeover of our health care system and all that comes with it: delayed and denied services, bureaucrats stepping between doctors and patients, increased taxes for all American families.”

This is a devious bill that portends the death of good healthcare in America. It will put bureaucrats and politicians in charge of one of the most important aspects of our lives, which – in light of their past record – is a truly frightening prospect. It will sink us financially by running up tens of trillions of dollars in costs. This bill is a national disaster in the making.