Again and again, their effort has brought us into a land of paradoxes. Public skepticism is warranted when the President promises to cut costs while simultaneously providing coverage to nearly 50 million uninsured people. It is even more warranted when his congressional allies seek to raise taxes to pay for all the new spending that this cost-cutting entails. We aren't talking about short-term spending either; this isn't a trillion-dollar investment in a new system that will ultimately save money. The Congressional Budget Office says the leading health-care-reform proposals will increase health-care spending and make the budget harder to balance in the long run. Yet saving money is the President's principal stated rationale for reform.
Health-care reformers send out mixed messages on the uninsured as well. The moral imperative of improving their health care is what drives the passion of most liberal activists for reform. But when you read the liberal policy analysts, it quickly becomes clear that getting young and healthy people to pay more in premiums than they will spend on medical expenses is the point of forcing them to buy insurance. Which is it? In aggregate, are we trying to rescue the uninsured or bilk them? Is reform something we are doing for them or to them?
The reformers' speed belies their words as well. If health-care reform is so critically important, as they keep insisting, why not take the time to get it right? Hard as it is to believe, at one point Obama was urging the House and Senate to pass legislation by three weeks after they began debating it.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Obamacare's Fatal Flaw: A Time Magazine Critique
Time magazine recently carried a short but punchy critique of Obama's drive to ram through health care legislation. Here are some key quotes.