Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Health Care Reform by Chet Wolgamot Manchester Township

With all due respect for Lee Hamilton’s distinguished service to the people of Indiana, if the Democratic display of deceit currently being railroaded through Congress is “What it looks like when Congress does it’s job”, we are in dire straits indeed. We have been blatantly lied to since day one.

“A deficit neutral bill” (taxes for ten years, benefits for six). “Fix Medicare” (proven politically impossible for decades). “No new individual taxes” (tax the insurance companies who must pass on a comparable rate increases). “Cost effective and deficit neutral” (direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to tally only the revenue collected, hide the costs elsewhere). “No benefits for illegal aliens” (but you may not ask for proof of citizenship), et cetera.

After Rep. Joe Wilson R(SC) proclaimed “You lie” at President Obama during his September 9th address to Congress, I wasn’t sure if he was chastised for violating protocol or having the audacity to utter a true statement in the U.S. Capitol.

And then there’s Kathleen Sebelius of Health and Human Services (HHS) scrambling to put the genie back in the bottle after some obscure government office gives us a glimpse of the “ghost of future government health care”. Mammograms before age 50 are unnecessary, when 12 diagnoses and 7 deaths out of every 100 occurrences of breast cancer manifests in women under age 45? Evidently, the mammograms save lives but not enough to be cost effective. HHS’s other reassuring contribution this year has been the long lines at vaccination sites and shortage of H1N1 vaccine.

In a recent N.Y. Times piece1, liberal columnist David Brooks admitted the sideshow of arguing minutiae pervading the halls of Congress is a distraction and the only true question of the legislation is, do we choose to “ease the anxiety of millions at the cost of future growth” with a bill that “would mean that more of the nation’s wealth would be siphoned off from productive uses and shifted into a still wasteful health care system”. This from a liberal!

The “millions” referred to are a combination of those situationally vulnerable who honestly deserve real health care reform and others who find entitlement an attractive alternative to responsibility, a community proven to grow in proportion to any new entitlement availability.

40% of American’s pay absolutely no income tax, some even receiving credits, and constitute a group of some 60 million voters who therefore have no incentive to pass up expensive new benefits or elect those who offer them2. So, from whom will the “nations wealth” be “siphoned off” to subsidize this Democratic Party recruitment drive of our most vulnerable Americans?

The other 60% of us are already keeping the government afloat by adding the tax responsibility of the above mentioned 40% to our own tax burden each year. Now we will be faced with absorbing this additional health care burden with even higher taxes and health insurance premiums.

Another alternative is to reduce the quality of health care now enjoyed by some to provide lesser quality health care in the future for all, exempting Senators and Congressmen of course. Yesterday, Dec. 5th, the Democrat’s passed legislation to cut $400 billion from current Medicare, reducing benefits to seniors on Medicare Advantage Plans. Add this to the mammogram bullet dodged only because it was prematurely announced and you get an idea where the concepts of “death panels” and “rationing” gain momentum.

The other option to make the current level of health care available to everyone without shouldering the additional cost is to add it to the national debt. The downside is that it makes entitlement recipients of all of us at the expense of future generations. Slap it on Uncle Sam’s “Americard” and we have yet one more free lunch. Out of sight, out of mind. Gee kid’s, would you mind picking up the tab for this one too?

However, other countries are tiring of enabling our endemic spending addiction by buying our debt with their wealth. China, for one, is openly questioning whether the U.S. Dollar is sound enough to continue to be the benchmark of the world’s wealth. They have some first hand experience as our children already owe them $797 billion. Congress can raise the federal debt ceiling all they want, but each time fewer and fewer continue to feel “the full faith and credit of the United States Government” is worthy of investment.

The Republican’s minority status renders them powerless to stop this juggernaut. The only salvation is for even a few moderate, sensible Democrats to disown this debacle and force a re-engagement in new sensible legislation that enacts real necessary reform and doesn’t merely expand the entitlement society. Our own two representatives, Senator Evan Bayh and Representative Baron Hill are in the catbird seat as they both have the power to tip the scales with their votes. Pray to God they have the wisdom and fortitude to do so.

Chet Wolgamot
Manchester Township

1 “The Values Question”, N.Y. Times, Nov. 23, 2009
2 “Politifact”, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/228/