Skip to comments.The patsies catch on to Obamacare
Posted on 01/14/2010 7:10:50 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Sen. Russ Feingold deserves credit for showing up Monday before a room in Pewaukee packed with hundreds of . . . well, Obamacare skeptics (and, by actual count, maybe a dozen fans).
The senator took it like a man as sweet, grandmotherly ladies in decorated sweatshirts booed lustily. With gestures.
Feingold anticipated such heat and, admirably, showed up anyhow. "I expect there to be some opposition," he said beforehand, "given the fact that Waukesha County might be a place where there is more people that would oppose it than be for it."
Yes, though it's not the result of geography. Feingold, who favors Obamacare, got pushback at listening sessions in Ozaukee and Washington counties, too, but with polls showing the country about 60% to 40% against, this isn't just the cake-eaters.
Rather, Obamacare is "hanging on by a thread," as another Senate Democrat, Chris Dodd, said, because it has become increasingly clear that the plan will cost vast sums - and the patsies are starting to grasp that they're the ones who will pay.
Middle-class-and-slightly-above places, like suburban Milwaukee, have long figured they'll be on the hook, either by taxes or worsened health care. That's why they've been frightening lawmakers at listening sessions since August.
But now, the bedrock of the Democratic Party, labor unions, are in rebellion over senators' plans to tax so-called Cadillac coverage - the kind unions finagle out of public-sector employers. President Barack Obama tried soothing union bosses in a White House chat, but as AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka said, "people could stay home. It could suppress votes."
The problem is Obamacare's costs. To fund more coverage of the not-quite-poor (the poor and near-poor already are covered), the Senate and House must scrape up hundreds of billions of dollars from somewhere. It'll be worth it, they say, since care will get cheaper. But last week, Medicare's chief actuary said the plans would bend the nation's cost curve upward by $222 billion over their first decade. The figure's a lowball because of Congress' accounting trick of excluding four years of costs. And, said actuary Richard Foster, the presumed cuts in Medicare (if ever made) mean lots of doctors will have to drop such patients.
All this to raise the nation's coverage rate from 83% to 93%.
Nor is it just money. The ticked-off people in Pewaukee weren't telling Feingold not to tax them to cover the not-quite-poor. They were telling him not to mess with their coverage, because Obamacare does just that, corralling millions of people into federally designed plans. Federal panels may tell doctors what treatments to use. The Internal Revenue Service may tell us all what kind of plan we must, or must not, buy.
Or not. Word on Wednesday was that Congress might drop some employer mandate to get a bill passed. Lawmakers might drop a tax on really rich people. This isn't reassuring: The logrolling shows exactly how key details of everyone's coverage will be subject to constant politicking.
This is what's revealing about the turn of the Obamacare debate toward revenue: We see that the House and Senate plans are really about how to redistribute the costs of health care. The plans avoid anything like patients assuming responsibility and control of their own care - the one thing that could restrain costs. Instead, Congress hustles more money to and fro in the name of fairness, politically determined.
So people assume, correctly, that the cost will fall on those with the least political juice. That's why middle-class people were shouting at Feingold this week. They aren't poor and sympathetic. They aren't rich enough to hire sharp tax lawyers. They aren't doctors who hire lobbyists; they aren't unions, owning lawmakers. Someone's going to get milked, and they sense a bucket headed their way.
Feingold, creditably showing up, nonetheless didn't seem inclined to hear this. He told crowds that people in other places like Obamacare, though with liberals miffed because plans aren't government-run enough, one wonders where.
If he did listen, he'd hear opportunity. Since Obamacare hangs by a thread, it takes but one sensible senator to call a halt: Halt the deal-making and fiddling. Start again, slowly.
And start over with this principle: We'll more likely be able to cover people who really need help if reform doesn't amount to a search for someone who can be stuck with everyone's health care bill.
Patrick McIlheran is a Journal Sentinel editorial columnist. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The bill has to be totally, literally, shredded. Even if a one sentence bill is passed, it will grow into another gigantic entitlement program just as social security, medicare, etc.
A compromise anything is a disaster waiting to grow bigger.
Russ watch how WI becomes like Michigan. Your voters will remember you at the next election.
See how many more jobs leave the state of WI.
Just watch how more union and non union companies close or move their operations out of the USA. America as we know it is dead with the Rat party. We are now ameriKa the Socialist or communist country.