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|Pelosi wants Blue Dogs to stop barking|
Lately, every time I have a conversation with anyone, it inevitably turns to health-care reform.
This issue has the potential to permanently alter the scope of the federal government beyond anything dreamed of by an Orwellian autocrat.
Almost a month ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi unveiled her strategy that left many in her own party wondering if they had been hoodwinked.
Specifically, one of the provisions that has caused much angst among Democrats is abortion.
In an interview with CNN, Pelosi said, "Well, I don't know that that — that Bart's language is exactly that. But those — we have people who are working together to help promote health insurance for all Americans, that people will be treated the same in a public option as they are in a private option and that this issue should not be an issue, being respectful of Bart Stupak's concerns and respectful of full reproductive health care for America's women."
The Bart she refers to is pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Michigan), who is pro-life and has said he wants to restrict taxpayer-funding of abortion in the health care reform bill. This is true for many southern Democrats as well. In fact, almost 20 House Democrats sent Pelosi a letter clearly stating that if abortions remain part of this health-care reform bill, they could not support it.
President Barack Obama told CBS's Katie Couric on July 21 that he did not want to "wade into" whether health reform should include coverage for abortion. Maybe this is another issue above his pay-scale. This has not stopped him from establishing the artificial deadline of this August to have a bill on his desk. Just in case you were wondering, this issue could impact up to 20 percent of the U.S. economy. So ask yourself: why rush this?
Another pesky issue is that of cost. Simply put: universal health care is too expensive as it has been proposed by Pelosi and the president.
Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), Chairman of the Blue Dog Health Care Task Force, issued the following statement, "We are talking about a monumental overhaul of our health care system that will affect the lives of every American citizen; it is critical that we get it right."
Pelosi has suggested these Blue Dogs should get back on the Democratic porch and stop barking about abortion, money and consumer choice … you know … the unimportant stuff.
Ross added, "We are not trying to kill health care reform. We are trying to save it. We are committed to providing the American people with the quality, affordable health care that they need and want, and we will continue to forge ahead in an honest effort to reach this goal."
But, Empress Pelosi has the votes in the House and may prove impossible to stop on that side of the aisle. Still, we may get two bills that are vastly different from the House and the Senate. If that happens, would you want to be one of the House Democrats in a southern state (or any for that matter right now) that voted for higher taxes in a bill that was defeated?
One more minor issue: who pays for this billion-dollar or trillion-dollar expansion (intrusion) of government?
In most recent polls, Americans want something to be done about health-care costs, but not if they lose doctor choice and taxes would be increased.
As the Economist reported, this bill "hopes to achieve near-universal health coverage by soaking the rich."
I think this entire effort is similar to the one Hillary Clinton (You remember her right? She used to be politically relevant before she became Secretary of State) introduced where we taxed energy companies to pay for health-care in the 1990s. This time, under the guise of Cap and Trade, we will off-set health-care reform costs with global climate monies. That means your high monthly electric bills will pay for health-care.
This is what the White House means by being "budget neutral."
There are other practical issues that concern me, too. Will I keep my same doctor? Will I have to sign up for a federal government-backed program? Will "elective" procedures sky-rocket in price? Will premium insurance costs explode?
Whatever happened to finding ways to reduce costs (i.e., malpractice suits that force every doctor to perform exhaustive tests to cover their tails) and improve efficiencies for smaller businesses?
In short, any plan that is rushed through the process, includes abortion funding and cripples the economy should not be considered.
John W. Sutherlin, PhD, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He also is co-director at the ULM Social Science Research Lab. He can be reached by e-mailing Sutherlin@ulm.edu.