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One last moment of triumph for the Democrats

This past week should have been a good one for all Americans, particularly conservatives, after the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia resulted in Republican victories. Everything was seemingly going in the right direction.

The country made a loud and clear statement to the Democrats in Congress that they are fed up with their out-of-control spending. Democrats should have had no choice but to look at theirselves in the mirror and realize that their far-left agendas were going to wind up costing them their positions in Washington. That’s what should have happened, but how did Democrats really respond? They decided that now that their graves have been dug they may as well get the tombstones made up too.

This past weekend, the House of Representatives passed Nancy Pelosi’s version of a bi-partisan health care bill. The bill was recently labeled “the worst bill ever” by a Wall Street Journal editorial.

To summarize the consequences of the bill’s passage: disaster. As I have said in the past, the bill is going to cause massive increases in the costs of health care and is likely going to lead to rationing as a means for controlling costs. That is, in addition to the fact that the bill is going to cost an estimated $1.2 trillion at a time when the country already faces a record deficit. But for me, this isn’t even the worst of the problems.

Unlike many of our government’s blunders in the past, the damage that is now going to be done to our health care system is completely irreversible. It is one thing to raise taxes or tariffs, but it’s another to completely overhaul the health care system. Raised taxes can be lowered, but the new health care system can never be fixed and everyone in the government knows it.

This health care bill is going to mandate care to the approximately 30 million people who don’t currently have it. It would be political suicide for any candidates in future elections to run for office with repealing it as part of their platform, regardless of how big of a flop the new system proves to be. If a candidate is telling 30 million people he is taking their health care coverage away, those 30 million people are highly unlikely to vote for that candidate. We’re stuck with Obamacare.

That is why Democrats voted for this bill, even though they know it will mark the end of their majorities in Congress. Representatives should have been well aware of their putrid approval ratings and the growing disapproval with the direction of the country. However if they weren’t aware, they definitely were notified when Jon Corzine lost re-election as governor of New Jersey despite outspending his opponent by a 3-to-1 margin and receiving the endorsement of President Barack Obama. They also may have noticed Republican Bob McDonnell winning Virginia, a state Obama won in 2008, by an 18 percent margin. But this is all irrelevant to Democrats right now. Republicans are inevitably going to retake control of Congress, but they will never be able to repeal Obamacare. Democrats needed to seize the opportunity to push this bill through while they still held the political power to do so and they did it.

Honestly, I can’t say this stuns me or makes me angry. I already knew this was going to happen when anti-Bush fever swept Republicans out of office last year. Not to say Republicans didn’t deserve to be punished for their out of control spending, they did, and they were rightfully voted out, but now we must pay the price for putting Pelosi in power.

In the next 10 years we can all look forward to health care costs skyrocketing, probably doubling and tripling before the costs become too high for anyone to afford. At that point, there will be a public outcry for a change to the system and that will be to the only thing that can control health care costs: government run health care.

That will leave Obama and all his friends with what they have wanted all along. That’s what liberals are striving for, that’s the goal of this bill. Liberal politicians are playing political games with the future of our country and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Passing “the worst bill ever” and sacrificing the upcoming elections is a small price to pay for liberals who have been waiting their whole careers to make America as “progressive” as the European Union.

So much for the good week.

Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at amperry@student.umass.edu.

Comments
9 Responses to “One last moment of triumph for the Democrats”
  1. Alex says:

    Alex,

    Reading this it’s really quite difficult to tell sometimes whether you’re simply being disingenuous, very poorly versed in the topic or both. First off, you seem to imply in the language of your article at several points that the Bill has already become law, glossing over that ever so unimportant fact that the Senate version still has yet to be voted upon by the full chamber and that then both Bills would have to go into conference committee so we really have yet to know what this will really look like in the end.

    Also, those 30 million voters are really not why this bill would have saying power if turned into law (the number by the way is actually closer to 47 million according to the census bureau and while I know the collegian doesn’t have a dedicated fact checker, it’s quite depressing you missed what a simple google search would have told you). You see, those 47 million Americans are for the most part composed of the young, who think they’re safe to go without, and then those too poor to secure insurance on their own (often blocked out by pre-existing conditions) but who aren’t poor enough to fall into the Medicaid safety net. These are your working poor, the single mother who works three jobs to keep her kids fed and warm, the janitor who works 39 hours each week because then his company won’t have to hire him as a full-time employee with benefits. Essentially a large portion of that 47 million is composed of the most regularly and broadly screwed over population in America. Screwed as they may be by most initiatives however, the good thing for politicians is that they’re so busy working to scrape by that they tend to not be a huge part of the voting demographic. As for the other major chunk of that 47 million, young people, well we’re for the most part too busy listening to John Mayer’s “waiting on the world to change” to actually, you know… change it.

    You see healthcare reform will stay put once in place because people will realize after it become law that the ground will not open up and swallow us ll into it’s maw. Once the scary premonitions of the far right fail to materialize in reality (just as with social security, medicaid, or medicare), people will begin to accept that this process is doing what it’s supposed to: insuring more people, increasing competition amongst insurance companies with regional monopolies, and bringing health costs down and health quality up. So no, it won’t be some small minority disproportionally benefited (damn those working single moms, they get to have all the fun) that will keep it in place. Instead it will be a much calmer general public, reassured by it’s actual effects, that will and should support reform that’s here to stay.

    -From one Alex to Another

    p.s. Citing that the Wall Street Journal,generally acknowledged to be a conservative newspaper (owned by Rupert Murdoch, the man who brought you Fox News), had an editorial showing disdain for a potentially very influential, progressive piece of legislation is a little like stating the sky is blue. Let me know when Mother Jones says something bad about republicans because that would be another shocker.

  2. I’m pleased to see that the WSJ is now using phrases stolen from Comic Book Guy to discuss the issues.

  3. Ben Rudnick says:

    There are not 47 million people in the US without health insurance. I refer you to analysis done by FactCheck.org:

    “About 9.1 million of the uninsured have household incomes greater than $75,000, and 10 percent (about 4.7 million) make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty threshold, according to KFF. In 2007, the most recent year of Census statistics, a family of four at 400 percent of the poverty level would have a household income of $84,812 or more.” – so we’re down to less than 40 million when you subtract the people who could buy their own insurance but refuse to.

    “Many of the uninsured already are eligible for public coverage. That’s true – NIHCM found that in 2006, 12 million of the uninsured were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (formerly SCHIP) but were not enrolled.” – so now we’re at about 26 million who require assistance that is not already available, right?

    Then, you still have to subtract some number of illegal immigrants who are not supposed to be eligible for assistance under any of the currently proposed legislation. Unfortunately, nobody can seem to agree on that number, but it is somewhere between 6 million and 12 million.

    So the real question is, do we really need a trillion dollar program mandated by 2000 pages of legislative gibberish to find a way to cover the roughly 14 to 20 million people who really do need help getting insurance coverage? Before you answer, refer back to the Census data you quoted, and you will see that the numbers they use are for people who are without insurance “for some part of the year,” not those with no insurance at all, so the final total is far less than 6 to 20 million who really need help.

    You talk about increasing competition in the insurance industry, which is a great idea. But why set up a series of new government bureaucracies to do that when you could simply repeal the current laws that prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines? You accomplish the same thing, and you spend exactly $0. Plus, if you dig around, you will find many stories confirming that is something the insurance companies are vehemently opposed to, so if you really want to stick it to them that is a great way to do it.

    Finally, you decry the “scary premonitions of the far right” because they have not come to pass, yet you fail to recognize that the scariest prediction that has always been made about any government program, including Social Security and Medicare, is that they would cost far more than was promised at the time of their enactment. In 1965, the CBO predicted Medicare would cost about $12 billion in 1990, but it was really $107 billion, and by 2007 that cost had risen to $440 billion. The truth is that one would be hard pressed to find ANY government program that did not exceed its predicted costs at some point, and it is exceedingly unlikely that a beast like H.R.3962 will come in anywhere near the current prediction of $1 trillion.

    Anyway, it’s good that we are debating facts and not hyperbole, it is just too bad that you yourself failed to live up to the standard you challenged Mr. Perry to uphold.

    Ben Rudnick
    Collegian Columnist

  4. kyle says:

    this won’t even be the biggest spending bill passed by the current house of representatives. that would be the latest $150 billion/year defense bill just passed (compared to the $90 billion/year of the health care bill). Also, republicans had a chance to do something to put their stamp on the health care system, but instead chose to prop up our failing medicare system to the tune of $700 billion in a lame attempt to bribe seniors into helping them maintain their majority. you may have heard, i t didn’t work.

    it’s a mistake to look at state gubenatorial races and draw a conclusion about the state of national politics. Ecxit polling showed that for voters in both Virginia and New Jersey that cared most about national political issues, the Dems still won, while the majority of people that cited local issues as most important, the Reps carried the day.

    it should be noted that in the only national level election held (NY-23) a democrat beat an ultra-conservative in a historically republican district. Sorry to point out where your assumptions are wrong.

  5. Alex says:

    Ben,

    Thank you for actually presenting a well-formed argument, it’s good to see debate brought to the level were it should be. Please though don’t be hasty to accouse me of not properly researching my values. As I wrote, the number of uninsured in the U.S. is close to 47 million. I did not claim that this is the number of uninsured…who are not elegible for governement programs…who are full citizens…who couldn’t theoretically get private insurance… and so on. No, it was a statistic of the number specifically without insurance and I was correct in using it. I’m quite familiar with factcheck.org, and you might want to read the material you’re drawing from a little closer. You might read for example that many government insurance programs such as CHIP have caps, meaning that not all those who are “eligable” can actually get coverage through these programs. Similarly, for those who can get medicaid but aren’t covered, the enrollment process is far from easy and even in Massachusetts which has a relatively robust medicaid program through Masshealth, it’s a complicated process to wade through. You’re estimate of illegal immigrants included in the census statistic is also off (about twice what it should be) and I think you may have included legal immigrants in there as well. Denying covereage for those who entered this country legally and who contribute just as much to our economy as any citizen is a little petty I think. I also believe Kyle made an excellent argument as to the really focus of government spending as of late though I do agree with you that many programs expand far past their predicted size.

    The end result of all this however is that reform is in fact needed and while I’m not resolutely against cutting the out of state plan restriction, it just isn’t sufficient. Pure privatization just honestly isn’t the answer and a good chunk of those balloning medicare costs you point to are due in part to Medicare Advantage which was created through legislation passed by a republican congress. We’ve tried enough of privatization and it holds a large share of the fault for balloning costs with huge administrative costs (which you have to admit Medicare keep pretty low as a percentage of it’s costs).

    -Alex

  6. Ben Rudnick says:

    OK…this has become somewhat ridiculous. Alex #2 condemned Alex #1 for not being well-versed in the subject, and then cited numbers that have little relation to reality in his rebuttal. Specifically, he regurgitated the talking point number of 47 million uninsured, when there are in actuality 14 to 20 million citizens and legal immigrants who were without insurance coverage for some part of 2007, the year upon which the original 47 million claim is based. Now, Kyle declaims Alex #1’s “assumptions” about the NY 23rd District, and claims that is has been a “historically republican district. It is hard to place any faith in Kyle’s opinions when he could not be bothered to look up the party affiliation of the Congresspersons who have represented the NT 23rd.

    How far back do we want to go? Let’s go back to the founding of the Republican party in 1854. From 1855 to 1903 the seat was held by a Republican for a total of 34 years, so it was clearly a Republican bastion during that time, but does anyone really believe that the Republican and Democrat parties of that time bear any relation to those of today?

    What about the next 50 or so years? From 1903 to 1953 the seat was held by a Democrat for a total of 35 years! So much for Kyle’s “historically Republican district” claim. In fact, in the 96 years since 1913, which some historians might say is the beginning of the Progressive Era, the NY 23rd has been held by a Republican for only 26 years, or about 27% of the time. I understand that the seat was held by a Republican from 1993 to 2009, but both that 13 year number or the 26 year number pale in comparison to the roughly 70 out of the last 96 years in which Democrats controlled the NY 23rd.

    We all need to be careful to base our arguments on solid factual foundations, especially if we are going to claim that others have not.

    Ben Rudnick
    Collegian Columnist

  7. kyle says:

    my entire family lives in NY-23, it should be a consistent republican district. and the real point of my comment on NY-23 was to show you that the republicans insisted on trying to take that district even further to the right and lost horribly.

    And you’re still ignoring the fact that the governor races that you claim were rejections of Obama were won by guys who had very little say about the national agenda.

    Politics isn’t a sporting event where elections equal the score, every race is different.

  8. Ben Rudnick says:

    Alex #2 – As to your question about the number of legal v. illegal immigrants, I specifically did not include legal immigrants because all the legislation I have read about does cover legal immigrants, which I agree is proper, but are supposed to exclude those in the country illegally. The problem is that we don’t really know how many illegal immigrants are included in that 47 million number, which is why I used a range of possibility. But your response kind of supports my overall point in showing that the 47 million number has little value, except as a talking point for those who support the kind of massive legislative intrusion represented by HR3962.

    In fact, a couple of you other points tend to support my overall position better than they seem to support yours. You mention the fact that there are caps on some of the currently instituted health insurance aid programs, but doesn’t that mean that those caps should be lifted to cover all the eligible people BEFORE we implement an overhaul of the system akin to what is proposed in HR3962? You also note that getting access to government assistance, such as MASSHEALTH is a complicated process, but that just demonstrates why we should be so leery of forcing an even larger proportion of the population to depend on the government for their insurance coverage. Do you really think that the 2000 pages of HR3962 are going to make the bureaucracy MORE responsive?

    Also, I agree with you that pure privatization will not entirely solve the problems we face in out health insurance system, but the overall point is that the government should be the last place we look to for solutions. Before we implement a “public option” or the myriad other mandates of HR3962 we should implement solutions that do not depend on government. That is why I get so annoyed by that 47 million number. It oversimplifies the issue by lumping together all the various categories of people who do not have insurance coverage for some part of the year. By oversimplifying the issue people tend to support greater action by the government, and monstrosities like HR3962 are the result. Instead, we should be spending much more time really identifying the reasons why different categories of people have trouble getting insurance, and then really targeting the ways in which we address those issues.

    Kyle – First, I did not comment on the governor races, so don’t attribute the claims of others to me. Second, the fact that your family is conservative and lives in the NY 23rd does not support your claim that it has been a historically Republican district, because the opposite is clearly true. As for the Republicans trying to take the district further right, it is rather more clear that the county chairs of the Republican Party who chose Scozzafava selected an extremely liberal candidate and that the conservative PEOPLE of the district decided they would rather support someone with views closer to their own. The fact that Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat after she dropped out of the race has only two possible interpretations; either she was incredibly petty, which indicates she does not have the temperament to be a leader, or she really did agree with the Democrats more than the Republicans, which just goes to prove that she never would have been chosen to represent the Republican Party in the first place.

    Ben Rudnick
    Collegain Columnist

  9. Zack says:

    Just a quick response to Kyle who basically justified the costs of the health care bill by stating that the military spending bill is of a higher cost. My response is almost pure awe at your lack of understanding for the funds necessary to win a war, secure our freedom, and pay for all of the trashed equipment from the desert sands. Almost all of the equipment used in Iraq/Afghanistan has been thoroughly degraded from the harsh conditions, not to mention our troops are using some of the most inferior weapons in the world. Liberty is threatened every second of every day, by an ever moving force of evil, and our absolute number one priority is to ensure the safety of our citizens and our nation. Of course funding our national defense efforts is more expensive than providing insurance for 30 million Americans. In fact, if you think about it, it is pretty sad that our soldiers who are in harms way are receiving a measly $150 billion per year, when we continue to dump trillions into our economy with zero results. I suspect that if you actually cared about the well being of America and its citizens as much as you preach, then perhaps you would be alongside our armed forces rather than complain about how we spend money on our defenses. I highly doubt that if you were in Afghanistan you would say, “Sure, take away our armored vehicles, and intelligence funding so that some Americans back home can go see the doctor when their over-eating has led to obesity.”

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