Monday, 22 March 2010

Obama’s Health Reform Deceptions

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Ralph ReilandWhat became quickly obvious while watching President Obama’s recent interview about healthcare reform with Bret Baier on FOX is that we’re still not getting straight answers about the proposed reforms — and this after a year of healthcare being the No. 1 priority at the Obama White House.

On something even as elementary as making the exact legislation available to the public and to legislators in a timely manner prior to voting, we got more hype than candor from Mr. Obama.

Said Obama, regarding the timing of the vote on restructuring one-sixth of the U.S. economy, “I hope it’s going to be sometime this week.”  As it turned out, the language of the bill was first posted the next day, so the “sometime this week” goal for the House vote gave the legislators and the public a range of 24 hours to 72 hours to speed-read, speed-evaluate, and speed-debate the numerous aspects of the complex, far-reaching, and multifaceted legislation.

Seeing no problem with the rush, Obama said that “the final provisions [of the bill] are going to be posted for many days before this thing passes.” What’s “many” mean, especially when it’s about a highly unpopular and top-down overhaul of the world’s largest and most innovative healthcare system? Two days is “many”? Is a week or a month of appraisal and debate, to get it right, way too “many” days?

For Obama, “many” seems to mean a rush job, as evidenced by his original schedule: Post the bill on Thursday, skim it on Friday, vote on Saturday, gas up Air Force One on Sunday and head off to Indonesian for more talk about redistributing the world’s wealth.

In fact, it was even worse than that as things finally turned out, with the “final” provisions of the bill continually changing right up until Sunday night’s vote.  

With Obama’s inaccurate and deceptive definition of “many,” I think we’re back to a White House where the scheming is so deep that even the most simple words become lies. As Bill Clinton explained, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

President Obama also stated during the interview that his proposal “makes sure that we are reducing costs for families and small businesses.” In fact, the opposite is true. For a small business that doesn’t provide health insurance, a mandate increases costs.

On whether everything’s kosher in how the Democrats are fashioning the healthcare vote, Obama declared, “I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate.”

In short, what’s the big deal about the Constitution or the rule of law when you’re really something special? As Obama proclaimed during the campaign about himself and his disciples, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Or maybe he was referring only to himself, the royal we, as in “We are not amused,’ a line attributed to Queen Victoria.

Since most Americans are satisfied with their current health insurance (and against the Democrats’ reforms), Mr. Obama assured the audience that nothing will change for the happy and satisfied: “If you have insurance, you’re going to be able to keep it.” He didn’t say how that will be possible with 45 percent of doctors saying in an Investor’s Business Daily survey that they’re thinking about shutting down their practices or retiring early if Congress passes the current healthcare overall.

In his closing shot of deception, Obama portrayed his opposition as in support of the “status quo,” as people who “don’t believe in health care reform.”  Wrong, on both counts.
 

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.