Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last Lions Oppose Obamacare

I have been reading William Manchester’s 1988 book, The Last Lion, Winston Spencer Churchill. ALONE, 1932-1940. The 1930s remind me of 2010 to 2020, the decade over which Obama’s health reform plan will unfold.

How so?

First , there are the clashes between political parties – Democrats and Republicans in America, Tories and Labour in England – over a major political issue.

Second, there are the economic times, the Recession of our time, the Depression of the 30s.

Third, there are concerns on how to pay for it all, rearmament in England and universal coverage in America.

Fourth, there are the last lions who oppose Obamacare although it is now the law of the land.

These lions, who are roaring to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a market-based health system based on individual freedom and responsibility , are:

• John Goodman, PhD, conservative economist, father of health savings accounts, and founder of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas.

• Grace Marie Turner, president and founder of the Galen Institute in Alexandria, Virginia.

• Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, California-based free-market think tank founded in 1979.

• Merrill Matthews, PhD, resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation, a research-based, public policy “think tank.”

• Greg Scandlen, senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and founder and director of Consumers for Health Care Choices.

• Peter Ferrara, J.D, Harvard Law School graduate and director of entitlement and budget policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation.

These individuals are staunch conservatives, prolific writers, and unwavering opponents of Obamacare, which they see as a political scam built on false premises and promises containing the seeds of a financial apocalypse as well as a health care disaster for America.

Here is Ferrara’s view of Obamacare (“The Obamacare Disaster,” The American Spectator, August 18. 2010):

“The bottom line is that you will lose your health care under this legislation, if not your job, your country as they bankrupt America, and maybe ultimately your life or the life of a loved one. All that to make dreamy, emotionalized, liberals happy, even though many of them are not happy because the socialism in the bill is not overt enough. Moreover, the promises made to the American people to pass the bill are shown in the study to be thoroughly false. This pattern of calculated deception, however, did not fool the American people, only members of Congress, many of whom will now pay with their jobs as a result.”

Ferrara cites official government documents detailing impending and inevitable cost and tax increases, Medicare policies leading to government insolvency, and future Medicare payments of less than 1/3 of private insurance and ½ of Medicaid. He envisions hospitals and doctors going out of business on a massive scale, unable to provide such services as hip and knee replacement, MRI and CT imaging, and cancer and heart disease treatments.

His solutions are to repeal Obamacare, offer block grants to the states in the form of vouchers and Health Savings Accounts, and ensure safety net services through risk pools, consumer choice tax credits, and competitive national markets.

The progressive community, of course, isn’t taking this roaring conservative rhetoric lying down. According to Jacob Hacker, professor of political science at Yale, one of the progressives, the best way to silence the lions is for liberals to fight for a stronger government role, including a public option (“Health Reform 2.0,” The American Prospect, August 17, 2010).

Hacker concludes:

“ The passion that pushed health-care reform to the top of the political agenda should not be sidelined by technocratic concerns or triumphant complacency. In politics, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.”

Whoever triumphs, 2010-2020 will be remembered as a historic decade highlighted by a 10 year to and fro debate over America’s health care destiny.

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