Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama's Health-Care Mess

by Victor Davis Hanson

Prelude: Occasionally another person precisely expresses my sentiments. Victor Davis Hanson, 53, California born and bred, military scholar and historian, columnis, and former classics professor, is such a person. Here is Hansons's August 17 view of the state of health reform.

Ironies abound in the health-care debate.

Bush was pilloried by the Obamanians for
(1) not planning for the postwar occupation of Iraq; and (2) not being able to articulate the ends and means of the administration’s war.

Yet in the hubris of high ratings, Obama apparently felt that he neither had to present a comprehensive finished blueprint of health-care reform, nor that he or his associates should have to sum it up succinctly and clearly. The result is that most Americans not only do not know what the administration plan is, but sense that their president does not either.

Health care is stalled and insidiously undermining the presidency of Obama precisely because the public senses he has not leveled with the American people. Of the uninsured, how many millions are young people who feel no need right now to buy insurance, how many million are illegal aliens, how many millions chose to use their optional income for things other than a low-cost catastrophic health plan, how many millions still find care outside the insurance system?

Nor do most Americans feel their system is broken. They worry about redundant care, frivolous procedures, and lawsuits, but sense that all in all it can be improved rather than scrapped. They know that Americans with cancer and heart disease survive longer than anywhere else due to superior American care.

And they know that longevity is influenced by factors well beyond medical care. The president just as easily could tackle the epidemic of homicides and youth violence, as well as automobile accidents, if his concern really were to ensure that Americans on average lived longer than any others.

Bottom line: Too many Americans, whether rightly or wrongly, believe that Obama has other agendas that transcend simply ensuring American live longer, healthier, and better — such as growing government, enforcing an equality of result, and creating permanent constituencies that administer and receive expanding federal entitlements.

And what looms over the entire debate? Debt, debt, debt — both the recognition that one cannot expand those covered and save money at the same time without rationing or higher taxes; and the notion that all Obama’s new entitlements essentially involve borrowing money, much of it from Asia, as our indebtedness soars.

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