21 July 2009

Healthcare reform

This isn't really a post about the healthcare debate. Rather, it's about the lack of debate going on in Washington about it and other important issues in our country these last few months.

The financial bailouts, the cap and trade legislation and now healthcare reform are all being labeled as extremely, ridiculously urgent matters, and should be dealt with now now now. I feel this is dangerous.

While the current administration is Democratic, this is not a Right vs. Left issue, as President Bush was one of the hurriers last fall. A major piece of legislative work, the Patriot Act, was introduced to the House of Representatives on October 23, 2001 and then voted on in the House on October 24 and the Senate on October 25.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act (America's current version of cap and trade) had 300 pages of amendments added to it the night before it was passed by the House last month.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke pleaded with Congress to quickly pass the $700 billion financial bailout last September. He argued that action was "urgently required to stabilize the situation and avert what otherwise could be very serious consequences for our financial markets and for our economy."

Well, it passed, and here we are, with 9.5% unemployment and no one knows where we're headed.

And just in the last few days, President Obama is taking to the airwaves, urging Congress to move quickly on healthcare reform.

Obama has accused his opponents of playing the politics of "delay and defeat" as he urges Congress to pass legislation before it goes into recess next month out of concern that if the process drags on late into the year public and congressional support will further erode.

Well, that sums it up pretty well, doesn't it? If the American people are given more time to learn about this reform and hear opposing arguments, they might change their mind about the movement. Best strike now while the iron is hot and the people don't know any better.

Financial magazines and newspapers are pleading with us to take a closer look at what is being proposed. To be sure, these writers have a conservative bias, but they know what they are talking about. From the Investor's Business Daily:

On Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill that would radically change our current system and expand coverage for the uninsured. The action came a day after the head of the Congressional Budget Office said none of the plans under review would slow health care spending. None of them.

Still, lawmakers and the White House press on, relying on GOP weakness in the House and a new veto-proof majority in the Senate. They're also relying on a lack of awareness that claims made on behalf of national health care may be mostly false. Among them:

• America has a health care crisis.

No, we don't. Forty-seven million people lack insurance. Of the remaining 85% of the population, or 258 million people, polls show high satisfaction with the current coverage. Indeed, a 2006 poll by ABC News, the Kaiser Family Foundation and USA Today found 89% of Americans were happy with their own health care.

As for the estimated 47 million not covered by health insurance, 20 million can afford to buy it, according to a study by former CBO Director June O'Neill. Most of the other 27 million are single and under 35, with as many as a third illegal aliens.

When it's all whittled down, as few as 12 million are unable to buy insurance — less than 4% of a population of 305 million. For this we need to nationalize 17% of our nation's $14 trillion economy and change the current care that 89% like?

I'm not here to debate the veracity of the claims from either side. My point is that there is plenty of reasoned, intelligent opposition to what is happening, yet President Obama and others are hell-bent on ramming this thing through as soon as possible, and the consequences, both intended and not, be damned.

I generally despise Washington for its inability to get anything done quickly or efficiently, but I've discovered that it's even more frightening dealing with a federal government that is moving at a breakneck pace. There is a happy medium between nothing getting done and where we are now.

Can we find it, please?


Matty Gibb said...

Don't you mean, "Is there a happy medium" pace? I'd like to see an example of it. By the way, you can thank the bailout for that low unemployment rate of 9.5%.

Brandon said...

You're arguing that without the bailout, unemployment would be higher? Seems hard to prove.