August 17, 2009
By Humphrey Stevenson
Congress has recessed for August and the members have gone back to their districts to sell everybody on Obamacare. The problem is they have run into a buzz saw in the form of the American people. The people showing up at the town hall meetings are energized, informed and ready to debate the provisions of the House bill.
Most of the members of Congress are not. For example, Rep. John Conyers said he can't read the bill because he doesn't have two days to read the over one thousand pages and two lawyers to explain what it says after doing so. What more reason do you need to oppose it? The entire Constitution that founded this great nation is only six pages long and was written in the plain language of the day.
Of course, making the bill too large to read is part of the idea. They didn't want the bill read and sure didn't want the individual provisions debated. They simply wanted to ram Obamacare through the House before the August recess because it was a limited time offer and we must act now.
This has caused a certain level of frustration among the buying public. Seizing on this, the Democrats accused opponents of Obamacare of manufacturing anger; calling their grassroots movement against it Astroturf. Some Congressional members who hold town hall meetings call the people who ask questions an angry mob. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer called speaking out against their health care plot Un-American. They have compared the opponents of Obamacare to the Nazis and the KKK.
If insults don't shut us up, they have other methods. Just ask Kenneth Gladney. He was passing out Gadsden Flags, buttons and other assorted trinkets outside a Russ Carnihan town hall meeting near St. Louis, MO. He was accosted and beaten by several purple-shirted members of the SEIU. In addition, Obama now has a website where people can rat on their neighbors if they hear something "fishy" being said against the health care plan.
On August 11, President Obama was promoting his health care plan in Portsmouth, NH. He wanted to make sure that we know he is against a single-payer health care plan. That's strange, because at a Senate campaign rally in 2003, he said he was a proponent of single-payer. He went on to say that insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage because of a person's medical history. Earlier, the President said that under his plan no person can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. This all sounds fine, but it's simply not practical. This would be like a person just purchasing automobile insurance and expecting that insurance company to repair existing damage to the car. Lastly, the President said, "Now, when we pass health insurance reform, insurance companies will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime." No insurance company can survive given the kind of onerous restrictions he is proposing.
I don't think this is an accident. He knows that these conditions would drive more and more private insurers out of business. That's part of the plan. This would force more and more people into the public option because they simply have no other choice. Even if he doesn't get the public option right now, these aforementioned conditions would leave many more people without health insurance and clamoring for the federal government to do something. Hello, nationalized health care.
Like any good salesman, he tried to compare his product to other iconic brands. In an effort to reassure us that private insurers could indeed compete against the public option, the President gave an analogy of how successful UPS and FedEx are at competing against the US Postal Service. We must assume that Obamacare will be as efficient and well run as the Post Office. Just like Shamwow, it sells itself.
So there is much more to this plan to oppose than just the public option; there's the cost, organization, rationing and so much more, but this just argues around the edges. I think a private citizen at Arlen Specter's town hall meeting on August 11 summed up my opposition to Obamacare best when he said, "HR 3200 is written with assumption that the government has the right to control our health from pre-birth to death and for that reason is not worth considering." Sorry Mr. President, we're not buying your brand.