August has been a brutal month for advocates of government-run health care. According to a new CNN poll, for the first time in his presidency, a majority of independents (53%) now disapprove of how President Barack Obama is handling his job. And a majority of all Americans (53%) also disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling health care. Responding to these new facts on the ground, senior Obama officials are now telling Politico that when Obama does finally detail the specifics of what he wants to see in a health care bill, the public option will not be included.
Instead, according to Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, President Obama will focus on health reform that will “create competition and choice.” Axelrod’s focus groups must love that phrase, because the White House has been selling Obamacare as “choice and competition” for some time now. Unfortunately, even without the public option, the other pillars of Obamacare (federal regulation of health insurance, massive new taxpayer-funded subsidies, and employer and individual mandates) will all decrease, not increase, Americans’ health care choices.
- Federal Regulation of Health Insurance: Both the pending House health care bill and Senate HELP Committee bill include provisions that would, if enacted, result in sweeping, complex, and highly discretionary new federal regulation of health insurance. Taken together these provisions would make the current situation worse by driving costs higher and by encouraging more employers and individuals to drop coverage.
- Massive New Taxpayer-Funded Subsidies: Both the House and Senate would expand eligibility for Medicaid, and create new taxpayer-funded subsidies to the middle class. Such commitments would result in millions of Americans dependent on the government to finance their health care.
- Employer Mandate: Both the House and Senate bills would impose an employer mandate for employers who do not offer coverage and for those whose benefits do not meet a new federal standard. An employer mandate would hurt low-income workers the most and would also stifle much-needed economic growth. Employer mandates are passed on to workers in the form of reduced wages and compensation. This is exactly the wrong prescription for businesses, especially during a recession.
- Individual Mandate: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a federal individual mandate for health insurance would be unique and unprecedented because it would “impose a duty on individuals as members of society” and would “require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated” by the government. According to President Obama HHS nominee Dr. Sherry Glied: “Developing a system to promptly identify and penalize scofflaws will take effort and ingenuity, particularly in our diverse and mobile country. It may require a degree of intrusiveness and bureaucracy that some will find unpalatable.” In fact, it was jut last year that then-candidate Obama also opposed individual mandates.
Conservatives have been for increased “choice and competition” in health care long before David Axelrod discovered the phrase was popular with the American people and commandeered it to push Obamacare. Such pro-competition reforms include giving individuals the freedom to purchase coverage from trusted sources and not be restricted by where they happen to live, equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance purchases, and putting Medicare and Medicaid on a fiscally sustainable path.
Heritage Center for Health Policy Studies Deputy Director Nina Owcharenko concludes: “Instead of continuing to protect the status quo, Congress should advance improvements that put the health care system on a path to reform. Such improvements should be focused on increasing choice and competition not by turning control over to Washington but by empowering individuals and families to control their health care dollars and decisions.”
- California’s San Joaquin Valley is facing 14.3% unemployment thanks largely to a drought … a man made drought caused by the Endangered Species Act.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi will let Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) keep his chairmanship despite his failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms.
- According to the National Legal and Policy Center, the White House New Media operation is planning to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.
- According to Service Wire, the Department of Education is planning an unprecedented nationwide address on September 8th by President Barack Obama to the nation’s PreK – 6th grade students that also instructs teachers to have their students read books about Obama and ask them: “Why is it important that we listen to the President?”
- Obama administration bailed-out and United Auto Worker-owned Chrysler actually saw their sales drop 15% during the Cash for Clunkers program.