Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reid Rushes Health Insurance Reform Vote

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

From Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)on the health insurance reform bill in the Senate:

"What we do know so far, as reported by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), is that this bill will have a wide, negative impact on Americans across the board – from seniors on Medicare to small business owners to future generations of Americans who will be footing the bill. The bill will increase taxes on all Americans by nearly half a trillion dollars and breaks the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on working families earning less than $250,000—at a time that unemployment is at a 26-year high."

"While CBO has not been given time to analyze the Reid bill’s impact on premiums, every other independent analysis to date has found that Reid’s new mandates and taxes will increase health care premiums on American families. The Reid bill increases taxpayer spending and liability for health care over the next ten years—instead of reforming our already insolvent entitlement programs. It will gut the already insolvent Medicare program by $464.6 billion, hurting access to care for seniors. It includes a government-run public option that will, according to CBO, have premiums higher than private plans and cause millions of Americans to lose the coverage they currently have. The largest expansion of Medicaid since it was created means the Medicaid program will be the only coverage option for 60 million Americans. It will also impose $28 billion in punitive taxes on employers who do not comply with Washington’s new job-killing mandates."

CBO has not been given time to analyze the Reid bill's impact on premiums. Wasn't the increasing cost of premiums to American families the reason for health insurance reform? What is the rush to ram this legislation through Congress?

The reason, of course, is that if this terrible legislation is not passed in Congress and signed by the president by the end of the year, the chances of a complete overhaul of our nation's health care system diminishes. The president is losing popularity in the polls and his policies are not at all popular with the majority of voters. Each week it becomes more clear that our country is on the wrong track.

The promises of transparency, of putting bills online 72 hours before votes, have fallen by the wayside. Democrats have shut out Republicans on writing legislation and on offering amendments to bills, particularly on this health care reform. It is their right as the majority in the House and in the Senate, but it is not the path to solid legislation. Nor do the American people like one party dominance when it seems Washington is not listening to the voters.

Democrats have waited decades to be in this powerful position. They intend to use health insurance reform as a new entitlement program, one that will insure voter loyalty and support with generations to come. They just may have misread the public this time. The Democrats may have misread a perceived mandate from the American people.

Radio talk show host and Republican commentator Bill Bennett points to the conclusion that the last presidential election was a cultural one, not a political one. The election of Barack Obama as President of our country was all about culture - about an excited electorate, swept away on a nonsensical blur of slogans and nebulous goals - "hope" and "change", while taking advantage of disillusionment with Republicans in control. Plus, the election of our first bi-racial president was an enticement, too.

President Obama has failed to capture the moment and lead with purpose. He has a pattern of setting fuzzy goals, especially when it comes to the cost of his reforms, and allowing leaders in the House and Senate to write the legislation without hands-on contributions from him. As long Congress is under control by the far left of the party, bad legislation will continue to come up for votes.

Health insurance reform is necessary. Everyone can agree on that simple fact. However, it is not feasible to completely overhaul the health care delivery system and expect it to have positive results. We are talking about 1/6 of our national economy. This is too important to rush through and expect blind votes from our elected officials.

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