Public Option Not Optional for Obama
August 17, 2009
As I write this, I don’t know whether President Barack Obama and his Democrats will end up pretending to abandon the public option aspect of Obamacare, but I do know that if they do, it will only be a matter of time before they resurrect it because that’s where their heart is.
That’s why, among other reasons, neither Blue Dog Democrats who oppose socialized medicine nor Republicans should consider compromising with left-wing Democrats to pass a bill. If they do, Obama will eventually — and probably sooner than you think — achieve his goal of nationalized health care.
Don’t think I’m advocating Republican obstructionism. I would like nothing more than for conservative congressmen to quarterback real market reforms to the health care system. But if you understand liberals at all, you know that they’ll never agree to market-based solutions for ideological reasons and because an expanding dependency class is their most essential power source.
Just watch conservatives propose an expansion of health savings accounts or an eradication of coverage mandates, including those prohibiting crossing state lines to buy health insurance, or tort reform or changing the tax code to eliminate the incentive for employer-provided health insurance and see what happens.
Obama will be all over state-run TV telling Americans that uncompassionate conservatives are going “Katrina” on the poor again. Democrats are the true obstructionists because they’ll stop, at any cost, the only reforms that could reduce health care costs without rationing, creating waiting lines, or decreasing choice and quality of care.
If Republican legislators succumb to their political addiction to compromise for the sake of getting something passed, no matter how odious, they’ll be laying out the red carpet of inevitability for socialized care. Once government gets its foot in the door, more government control is unavoidable.
But we needn’t quibble over images in a crystal ball. We have Obama’s statements of intent on the matter, as well as those of former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, who is back to popping off again in the foot-shooting spirit of Vice President Joe Biden.
Notwithstanding the coordinated state-run media campaign denying it, Obama has made his goal of socialized medicine clear — in his recorded comments from 2003, his presidential campaign rhetoric, and his virtual endorsement of the public-option-infested House plan. Howard Dean, for his part, has been on TV hawking his health care “reform” book and unable to resist the puerile pleasure of revealing his insider knowledge.
In 2003, while belittling the United States for not providing universal health insurance despite our being “the wealthiest country in the history of the world,” Obama unequivocally stated that he was “a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program.” During the 2008 presidential campaign, he again endorsed the “public option.” These statements were not taken out of context despite Linda Douglass’ transparently lame denials.
Indeed, Obama’s entire health care effort has been centered on the public option — which ultimately, by the way, would not be an option at all, but the endgame. It’s the private aspects of his scheme that are illusory. That Obama has us debating whether he supports the public option — the most indispensable part of his entire agenda — instead of his fraudulent support for the private option is evidence of his consummate skills as an Alinskyite propagandist.
Every politically literate person understands that government-run health care is what we’re fighting about. That’s what the legitimate town hall protestors are up in arms about, and that’s what the phony, ACORN-y, Astro-agitators who have been bused in by Obama are beating people up over. So spare us the insult of denying it.
Even if Obama is forced to abandon the public option temporarily, it will probably be mere semantic abandonment. The CATO Institute’s Michael Tanner argues that the compromise plan being considered by six members of the Senate Finance Committee would eliminate the public option in name only. A health insurance co-op plan, he says, is just another name for government-run health insurance.
But Howard Dean revealed a more cynical Democratic strategy, which would obviate the co-op charade. Dean told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough that the Senate’s removal of the public option is a ploy to get the bill through the Senate and then have the public option reinserted at the reconciliation stage, where it would only require 50 votes, not a supermajority. Dean admitted that “the president knows very well that you aren’t really going to have health care reform without a public option. But he also knows he has to get this out of the Senate.”
Blue Dogs and wavering Republicans better not fall for Obama’s calculated canard that these nationwide grass-roots protests are contrived and make the mistake of going forward with an apparently watered-down plan that would lead to socialized health care. They’d be out on their ears in 2010. I have to believe that.