The president’s determination to enact his collectivist health-reform agenda at any political cost despite overwhelming public opposition is unprecedented in modern times.
Today, Mr. Obama is expected to say he will not heed the will of three-quarters of the American people who either want Congress to stop work on health reform altogether or start over, and will instead tell Congress to charge ahead through the minefield of budget reconciliation to pass a bill that will put one-sixth of our economy under government control.
Rational arguments and facts are discarded. When Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) detailed at the summit the budget gimmicks in the bills that would put executives of private companies in jail, the president just brushed past his remarks and said he “disagrees.”
That means Mr. Obama disagrees with the Congressional Budget Office and the chief Medicare actuary whose analyses are based upon the facts of his double-counting of Medicare savings, ten years of taxes with six years of spending, creation of new budget-busting entitlements, one-fifth of Medicare providers going out of business and jeopardizing care for seniors, and health-insurance premiums rising even faster if the bill is passed than if not.
The president’s offer to adopt four Republican ornaments, including one very bad idea by Sen. Tom Coburn, is a joke. Senator Coburn’s idea to send federal undercover agents into doctors’ offices to pose as patients is a police-state tactic that will compromise care for every patient and make it even more difficult for new patients — strangers who might be federal plants — to get appointments.
The White House clearly has no new ideas. The president is expected to ask the Senate to twist its rules to force its health-overhaul legislation through a process designed exclusively for budget and spending-related issues. These are desperate, hard-ball political tactics.
In order to move the president’s process forward, House members who fear for their political lives will be forced to vote for a Senate bill that they hate. That means they will have to vote for a bill that contains the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the Union Payback, and liberal abortion language. And then they must trust that the Senate can fix it through a second reconciliation bill that also must pass both houses of Congress, followed by a likely third piece of legislation to address changes that can't pass through reconciliation. That is going to require an unprecedented level of trust that no one has seen on Capitol Hill in a very long time.
The American people are doing everything they can to stop this. If Congress manages to pass this before the Easter Recess as planned, the uprising during Easter recess town-hall meeting will make August look like a children’s tea party.
Published in National Review Online: Critical Condition, March 3, 2010.