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Ten Lies About Health Care Reform

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Health Care Reform is a government take-over of the entire health industry.

Nope. That is what the Democrats, and to varying degrees, the president, intended; however, without single payer and with no public option, this is merely an expansion of the existing system loaded with extra taxes to defray national debt and provide more invasive oversight and regulations, some of which are needed badly, while others are overreaching. But it is a far cry from anything socialist or what countries in Europe and Canada have adopted. For one, doctors will not be working for the government, nor will hospitals be nationalized. But beware. Anytime law invades the private sector, amendments and expansion of said law are almost guaranteed.

This is actually fiscally responsible legislation.

Not in the least. Although there is concern in the medical community as to the cost to tax payers for millions of uninsured citizens running to emergency rooms for primary care and a guarantee of ridiculously escalating insurance costs crippling the system, there are also grave doubts that this will not be another in a long line of bloated, over-taxed and under-funded government bureaucracies. The Congressional Budget Office estimates, which fueled final support among fence-sitting Democrats last week, are at best flimsy and at worst nonsense. This cost of $938 over ten years and deficit reduction of $1.3 trillion over 20 years is less inexact science than science fiction. Normally the CBO does not project anything accurately over a decade much less two. Truth is nobody knows anything, especially since most of the tax increases don't kick in for another eight years and are likely to be enacted by a congress that had nothing to do with creating it.

The law is unconstitutional mainly because it contains strict mandates for all citizens to purchase some form of private insurance.

This is not entirely false, but hardly true. There are low-income provisions for the law and those who'd argue it on the "not need" basis are mainly young people, who are now safe under their parents coverage until age 26. A very strict interpretation of the Commerce Clause in Article One of the Constitution would make any government mandate unconstitutional; but by this strict interpretation, all of the following would also be unconstitutional: Social Security, Medicare, income taxes, speed limits, the Civil Rights Act, Major League Baseball, the Federal Communications Commission, nearly every military action after WWII until the first Gulf War and the drafting of our youth to fight, the Patriot Act, and every obscenity law on the books. Oh, and this latest idea for state attorneys general to fight the new law in the courts will be mostly futile. But, one must remember that every case taken to court against specific restraints of the Patriot Act has prevailed.

This is sweeping insurance reform.

On the contrary. Insurances companies, although regulated more than they wished (and what company doesn't want free reign to gouge), absorb nearly 33 million new customers, which immediately defrays the cost for what they will eventually face legally in 2014. There will be an end to denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and dropping consumers with serious illnesses. This is one of the reasons that, along with the lack of single payer or a public option, progressives are as miffed as conservatives. The day after the bill passed every health insurance stock on the market soared, not to mention the pharmaceutical trade, which will surge when millions more rush to join our already booming national prescription drug frenzy.

The American people don't want it. (Or, the American people demand it.)

These are the most ubiquitous fabrications on both sides. Tanked economies tend to not elicit clamor for major legislation, save for job creation or economic relief, and it is quite clear that a healthy majority now fear and hate the government in any form. But as stated in this space weeks ago, universal pronouncements about what everyone wants are just stupid anyway. It is fair to say this. Fiscal conservatives despise any tax or entitlement, as long as they are not benefiting from them. Liberals are unhappy with anything less than total government intervention on all things (so long as they don't involve social issues). The center-left, which supports the president, is pleased that at least something got done. And, lastly, the center-right, which hates the president and thus want him to fail, is pissed. Once again, no one can see into the future, therefore no one is certain about how anything will turn out.

This is an historic victory for the Democrats and President Obama.

Yes, but... As stated above, many liberals are not happy and are hardly sated by the "something is better than nothing" argument. Nor are they pleased with the wild shifting of the sell-job, which started as "affordable health care for all," but then shifted to "moral obligation," then to "insurance reform," then to "deficit reduction," and finally, to "curtailing future damages." However, this was a political must for Nancy Pelosi, Obama, and the entire party. Seemingly, the president goes from Jimmy Carter to FDR in one vote, and the Democrats from weak, do-nothing hagglers to now owning a piece of history. The vote will energize a sagging base and allow whatever happens with health care to exist in reality and not just be fought in hyperbole on cable news and blogs. Obama could no more lose this than Bush could lose Iraq. Once in, all in.

The process with which this bill became law was highly irregular and underhanded.

Sure, as long as you're allowed to frame the making of every law this way. But just because people don't freak out every time, doesn't mean it ain't happening. And folks, it happens. Everything the Republicans and the opposition punditry screamed about -- from kickback deals to political favors to lobbying and reconciliation -- has are staples of our legislative system at every level from county to state to national. It's like going to a boxing match and complaining about all the hitting or continuing to be shocked by Howard Stern. More to the point, since everyone in congress has at one time or another participated in acts some now call "sleazy", those who complain about how health reform was enacted are a lot like the guy running the casino in Casablanca who looked stunned during a police raid.

The Republicans wanted health reform, but not this a monstrosity.

Well... The GOP did have six years in congress after the Hillary fiasco, and the bulk of eight years in executive and legislative power without so much as a peep about reform. There were signs, such as G.W. Bush's Massive Prescription Drug overhaul and the formation of the Health Savings Accounts, but the truth is only when the Democrats finally pushed, Republicans seized the issue with kid gloves and appeared to be simultaneously on board and wounded by being ignored, neither of which is particularly accurate. In many ways the over 200 Republican amendments and the bi-partisan wrangling with Blue Dog Dems watered down Obamacare from an aggressive overhaul to a centrist regulatory watchdog program, none of which Republican lawmakers voted for after months of wild demagoguery.

The violent threats and wacky overall behavior against Democratic members of congress who voted for the bill are calculated political stunts by the Republicans, who are prime instigators. (Or, they are merely inflated political chicanery by politically savvy Democrats.)

No more than kids running off to shoot cops after listening to NWA songs or that goofball who tried to kill Reagan after seeing Taxi Driver. If Capitol Hill cannot be the home base of wildly melodramatic posturing, then we may as well just fold the whole shebang and let the Native Americans have it back. Arrest the assholes that spit on public officials and especially those who throw bricks through windows and call in death threats. Don't we have some kind of unconstitutional spy ring set up for this crap?

The 2010 mid-term elections will be a referendum on this vote.

Not exactly. Just as the Democrats were selling partisan politics in their arm-twisting vote-o-rama, the Republican outrage in its wake is purely political. Every first-term president loses seats. This, coupled with overall anti-government fervor, puts the minority party in the driver's seat. A lot can and will happen in six months. But, it will be difficult for Republicans to merely run on excoriating a system that now helps a fair amount of voters and has provisions for children with pre-existing health issues, never a good platform to attack.