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Monday, September 7, 2009

How Healthcare Reform is Ruining the Democrats

I find it ironic that healthcare, the strongest campaign message by the Democrats in 2008, has today become the party’s largest thorn. During the campaign, healthcare reform was a clear and concise message that struck a nerve with liberals, independents, and some disgruntled Republicans. Obama and Clinton continued to banter back and forth during the primaries on health care reform which registered with voters and showed America the Democrats owned this issue. Healthcare for everyone was the campaign slogan and nobody would have to pay extra for it - except for a few wealthy people who should buy it for you anyway, right? If you like your current plan you can keep it. If you are down on your luck there will be a public option for you. President Obama rode into Washington with an approval rating just shy of 70 percent on the heels of many promises; the most important being health care.(1) A badly beaten Republican party, who already lost Congress back in 2006, turned the White House over to the Democrats. America today is being lead by the country’s most liberal leaders in our history. Liberal Democrats have majority control in every branch of government – Executive, Judicial, and Legislative.

How could something so good go so wrong for the Democrats? Months after the health care bill has been drafted, many Americans do not fully understand what he is trying to reform. Obama has completely lost control and has failed to lead during this process. Back in 1993 when Bill Clinton was pushing “Hillary Care,” he addressed the nation and explained the plan to the public. Obama has had several opportunities to explain this and to this day all of his addresses have lacked specifics. That leaves one to conclude our President doesn’t understand the plan himself, or he does not feel comfortable talking about the plan with us. I tend to believe the latter, and as long as the media fawns over this man, nobody will put him on the spot with difficult questions that will force him to explain anything. This tactic has not worked, and it has been detrimental to the Democrats.

While our President has failed to communicate with the American people, our government has ignored the concerned citizens who have flooded town hall meetings expressing their concerns. The public option and cuts in medicare have been among their primary concerns. Most people do agree the system needs reform, however many statistical polls show that 75 percent of the people in America are happy with their current plan. Many of these people do not believe the entire system needs to be overhauled in order to provide reform. The current bill, H.R. 3200, does nothing to address the costs that go into why doctors charge so much. Instead, it just tries to “bandaid” the issue by extending insurance to everyone. Many of the so called “uninsured” today already have access to some kind of plan, either private or governmental. Government mandates on insurance and tort laws are the primary reasons why medical costs are so high, yet the bill does nothing to address these costs. Instead, the bill contains more mandates on companies who already provide insurance and individuals being forced to purchase plans. Many are concerned about whether a public option will eventually lead to single payer, and rightfully so. Obama has yet to answer how this can work without adding any new doctors to provide this additional level service. No one has ever explained how illegal aliens will be treated with the public option.

Citizens of this country are storming the town halls and burning up the phone lines calling their representatives frantic for answers. Meanwhile the White House and many of the elite in Congress simply brush this off as a Fox News initiative driven by far right radicals, or people being sent by insurance companies. I cannot think of anything more devastating than public officials ignoring concerned voters in their constituency. Downplaying, and in some cases, insulting Americans who are executing one of the most essential rights of liberty is not going to help the cause. Americans are rightfully angry at the bill's contents. They should be heard and taken seriously by everyone. The people voicing their concerns have damaged the possibility of a public option and the passage of this bill in general. Many "blue dog" Democrats opposed this bill from the start. Meanwhile, some in Congress support an even more liberal version of this bill and do not believe this goes far enough. Many argue the President let the far left have far too much influence in the writing of this bill, which today is over 1,000 pages.

What has happened here is a perfect example of “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Today, healthcare costs are about 17 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). The Democrats have decided to quickly push through healthcare without any bipartisan support or debate. The great uniter has quickly become the great divider. America has already seen an expensive and urgent stimulus package which almost all economists agree will never work. Cap and Trade was next, and now healthcare. All of these bills have been enormous making it impossible to read. Bills of this size are in itself an exploit of our entire government model. Americans are seeing spending and deficits that were once unthinkable – despite the outrageous spending from the previous administration. Americans have simply had enough. This is not the change that drew moderates and independents to vote for Barack Obama - that much is clear. America is still a center right nation, and I am proud to say that is not going to change anytime soon. No one in Washington is going to force us to change the way we live so we can be more like Sweden or France. Both are wonderful places to visit and the people there are great, but no one can expect anything there will ever work over here without a drastic change in our lifestyles. It will not happen and outraged Americans are speaking out against this nonsense.

Congratulations to everyone out there who has let their voices be heard. This is how our government is supposed to work. Polls show support for the President and the Democrats are in a free fall. The latest Rasmussen poll shows the President is at a 47 percent approval rating and falling – down from almost 70% only nine months ago!(2) Even George W. Bush, who left office with the lowest approval ratings ever, fared better than this through his first eight months as President. Without a drastic change by this administration, the Democratic party stands to be in a lot of trouble in the 2010 elections.


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