In the wake of Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts last month and the outcry from millions of Americans throughout last year, the shining star of the Democratic Party leadership’s idea of health care reform–the so-called “public option”–is laying naked, exposed and dying on an operating room table. Now, it appears that nearly 20 Democrat senators are warming up a defibrillator and preparing for an attempt at revival.
According to the New York Daily News, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have added their names to a letter urging party leadership to not only put the public option back into play, but also to pass it using the simple 51-vote majority of the reconciliation process reserved for budgetary measures.
The other senators who signed the letter:
- Michael Bennet (Colorado), who penned the letter
- Barbara Boxer (California)
- Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
- Roland Burris (Illinois)
- Dianne Feinstein (California)
- Al Franken (Minnesota)
- John Kerry (Massachusetts)
- Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey)
- Patrick Leahy (Vermont)
- Jeff Merkley (Oregon)
- Barbara Mikulski (Maryland)
- Jack Reed (Rhode Island)
- Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
- Tom Udall (New Mexico)
- Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island)
These people just aren’t listening to the facts. The public option is merely the first step toward a single-payer system, and as House Republicans have already noted, the effects would be devastating.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Middle-Class Families and Small Businesses Billions. Though House Democrats don’t know (or won’t say) how much their government takeover will cost, here’s what we do know: the plan will make health care more expensive and hit the middle class particularly hard with higher taxes, rationed care, and new health care costs. As millions of families and small businesses are struggling to make ends meet while making responsible choices, this plan forces those that make responsible decisions to foot the bill for those who don’t.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Tens of Millions Their Current Health Care Coverage. The House Democrats’ plan could force more than 100 million Americans out of their current health care plan and onto the government rolls, according to a Lewin Group study published earlier this year. A Congressional Budget Office report on a similar plan authored by Senate Democrats that would force at least 23 million Americans off of their current plans. According to the Associated Press, even the White House admits that the President’s promises about allowing the American people to keep their health care shouldn’t be taken literally.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Millions of Americans Their Jobs. The House Democrats’ plan would impose employer mandates and cost jobs by requiring some employers – especially some small businesses – to pay a new eight percent tax to Washington. The plan would also slap employers that are unable to offer coverage the government deems adequate with another new financial burden. These two new taxes will make it more difficult than ever for small business owners to reinvest in their businesses and create and retain good paying jobs. Using the economic model of the President’s own economic advisors, an employer mandate would result in 4.7 million Americans losing their jobs.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Put Bureaucrats in Charge of Key Medical Decisions. Instead of keeping patients and doctors in charge of key medical decisions, the House Democrats’ plan will give Washington the power instead. And if you’re outraged with what Washington’s done with the bailouts, just wait until you see what Uncle Sam does with your health care.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Future Generations Money They Don’t Have. The House Democrats’ bill simply shifts the burden of debt from one generation to the next. Our nation can’t sustain the Medicaid and Medicare programs now. At a time when families and small businesses already are being crushed under the weight of historic debt, a new government-run program will only further add to the bill passed along to our children and grandchildren.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Seniors Key Medicare Benefits and Options. In order to expand health care benefits to some seniors, House Democrats will slash coverage millions of other seniors depend on. These benefit cuts will ultimately eliminate choices for seniors.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Place a New Mandate on Individuals. The House Democrats’ plan mandates that every American buy health insurance or pay a hefty penalty to Washington equal to almost two percent of their income. This would force more Americans into government-run system that will make health care more expensive, ration care, and put bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Raise Taxes on Families, Small Businesses. Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) readily admitted that the Democrats’ health care “reform” plan would be financed with tax hikes. The Associated Press reported that, “Democrats are considering everything from taxing soda, to raising income taxes on upper income people earning more than $200,000, to a federal sales tax.” Exactly how many new taxes will there be to bankroll this government takeover? When do Democrats plan to reveal them?
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Is a Missed Opportunity To Reduce Health Care Costs. The House Democrats’ plan does not include even a shred of medical liability reform, missing an opportunity to drive down health care costs by reducing costly, unnecessary defensive medicine practiced by doctors trying to protect themselves from trial lawyers.
- Democrats’ Government Takeover Harms Small Businesses, Costs Jobs. The House Democrats’ plan uses the amount of an employer’s annual payroll to define “small business,” which is troubling news for millions of Americans who depend on these engines of economic growth. Based on the Democrats’ definition of small businesses only those with, on average, less than 10 employees will be spared from new taxes through employer mandates. This leaves a huge number of small businesses to deal with the onerous and expensive mandates of the House Democrats’ government defined health benefit plan (“small businesses” are traditionally defined as employing less than 500 people). These small businesses employ 47.3 million employees and provide those employees $1.7 trillion in wages annually. The House Democrats’ new employer mandate and taxes on these businesses will make it more difficult to retain these jobs and wages.
And these people simply are not listening to the American people, who have shown time and time again in polls and at rallies and at town hall meetings that they do not want government involved in health care, that they see how single-payer systems affect nations like Great Britain and Canada, and that they want none of it for this country, which was founded on principles of liberty and individual freedom.
At a time when America is waking up and speaking out against the expanding size, scope and reach of the federal government under the leadership of both parties, a stubborn run toward forcing the despised public option through the legislative process via a loophole meant for budgetary measures alone would be a death knell for the Democratic Party. It’s the kind of myopic ideological fanaticism which has Democrat lawmakers like Evan Bayh and so many others retiring rather than continuing to subject themselves to a radical far-left bent on political suicide. And it’s the kind of egregious partisanship which the American people will not easily forget.
That people like Schumer, Boxer, Feinstein and others simply do not care about the will of the people should be evidence enough that, to them, this is not about providing affordable health care to millions of Americans but rather is about government control. Millions of Americans who do not currently have health insurance can become insured at a lower cost through the very measures championed by the House GOP — facilitating interstate competition among the 1700 companies currently providing health insurance to Americans, allowing individuals and especially small businesses to pool risk for group buying power, permitting people to make their own health care desicions through health savings accounts, and instituting responsible lawsuit reform. But Democrats like Schumer, Boxer and Feinstein are less interested in achieving real goals than they are in laying the groundwork for exponentially increased government involvement in nearly every aspect of daily life — that they’re willing to ignore the will of the people and risk utter destruction of their party in order to do so should concern every American who values our representative republic.