The public heard wrong data on insurance company profits and could easily have gotten the impression no insurance equaled no care. Supposedly alert journalists left out or minimized the patient horrors of the systems this program wished to imitate, and President Barack Obama pretended no one had ever suggested more effective, less expensive alternatives.
He repeatedly asserted the Democratic plan would bring health care costs down when the economy-wrecking opposite is the case.
Toward the end, the president was telling a Fox News TV reporter that everyone had known what was in the bill for months now, but that no one knew what would be in the bill, not even him, even though everything would be posted somewhere at the last minute.
Peggy Noonan wrote a devastating column in The Wall Street Journal on this gigantic self-contradiction, but most of the incredible shrinking American press shrugged its shoulders, so eager was it to inform us that history was being made.
Obama’s main bipartisan promises — that there would be an intensive investigation into Medicare fraud and experiments on holding down the costs of malpractice lawsuits — failed to show up in the House vote.
Get to something factual and you learn about the overall excellence of medical treatments here and that the Obama line about lower longevity than in many other industrial countries was a fraud. Longevity depends on much more than health care, and when you factor out deaths from homicides and accidents, we live longer than anyone.
The number of Americans without access to insurance they can afford is something like 10 million, not the 40 million often implied. Many of those without insurance have been eligible for a government program and did not apply or simply did not want to spend the money on it. Under this legislation, they will eventually be forced to, adding maybe 30 million people to the insurance roles and subsidizing many of them at a major cost.
Insurance companies will like the new customers but not some of the new rules that will drive net profits down from the 3.3 percent they had achieved — 85 industries do better, researchers report. There were better ways to address the very real problems of people with inadequate coverage, such as gradually moving from an employer-based to an individual-based system, giving the population significant assistance at little if any additional cost. Those now forced to rely on free hospital care — mandated by federal law — would have had an answer.
What we get with this rights-denying, business-thumping plan is a cost of at least $940 billion over 10 years and this is supposed to be OK because Obama says we’re going to have all these higher taxes and reduced Medicare expenditures to take care of it. But those higher taxes are a means of depriving the economy of the cash it needs to thrive and create jobs, Medicare will still face tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities and there will now be a new entitlement competing with Medicare.
The debt threat is huge. One inevitable response is going to be to provide less and less care to the elderly — Obama himself has said as much — in imitation of socialist systems that make you wait for surgery until you need it no more. You are dead.
Here’s my bumper sticker suggestion: Obama lied us into disaster.
Examiner columnist Jay Ambrose is a former Washington opinion writer and editor of two dailies. He can be reached at Speaktojay@aol.com.
Decades ago, I was a reporter in Albany, N.Y., working for a newspaper at the foot of a hill that could be ascended only with huffing, puffing, knee endangerment and sweat unless you employed a trick.