Obama says socialized health care can’t wait for 2010

President Obama has issued a decree to his supporters stating that his proposed changes to socialize America’s health care industry absolutely have to happen this year or the opportunity will be lost. Funny, this sort of reminds me of the pace and arguments used to push through the bailouts and stimulus plans which become bigger mistakes with every passing day.

Nonetheless, the AP reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama warned Thursday that if Congress doesn’t deliver health care legislation by the end of the year, the opportunity will be lost, a plea to political supporters to pressure lawmakers to act. “If we don’t get it done this year, we’re not going to get it done,” Obama told supporters by phone as he flew home on Air Force One from a West Coast fundraising trip.

Obama’s political organization, Organizing for America, invited campaign volunteers to a midday conference call to describe a nationwide June 6 kickoff for its health care campaign. The president’s message to his re-election campaign-in-waiting was simple: If volunteers don’t pressure lawmakers to support the White House’s goal on health care, Washington would drag its feet and nothing would change.

“The election in November—that did not bring about change, it just gave us an opportunity for change,” Obama said. “So now, we are really going to have to remobilize, we have all had a chance to catch our breath after election and we have gotten a lot of things done during our first four months.

“But health care, that’s a big push.”

The presidential plea came as lawmakers prepare for an aggressive schedule of work aimed at producing comprehensive health care overhaul bills in the House and Senate by August.

Committee hearings—and soon thereafter votes—will start next week, as soon as lawmakers return to Washington from a weeklong recess. Many members of Congress spent the break holding town hall meetings and other forums with their constituents about health care, even as opponents and supporters of Obama’s plans ramped up television and radio ads for and against.

“I think the status quo is unacceptable and that we’ve got to get it done this year,” Obama repeated, ginning up his supporters for a door-to-door and phone-to-phone canvass similar to his presidential campaign.

Obama’s top aides, including former campaign manager David Plouffe, told the supporters they have a challenge ahead of them.

“If the country stands with the president and if the country is demanding health care reform then we’ll get it done; Washington will not have any option but to follow us,” Plouffe said on the call, which was not announced on the White House’s official schedule.

Of course, “health care reform” is focus group talk for socialized medicine. People support health care reform so long as it isn’t truly called what it is, which is a total revamp of the health care industry in which the government becomes the sole provider of your care and makes your health-related decisions for you, won’t that be nice?

To me, this sounds like a President desperate to cram down as many liberal social programs as possible before the American people wake up to the fact that they have empowered the government, not themselves. Why the rush? Why not take time to find a working solution which won’t socialize health care and bankrupt our country further? Why, President Obama, must you continually rush through these overhauls without taking time to make your case to the American people? You scare people into supporting your proposals using words like “catastrophe” and “crisis,” we witnessed it firsthand with your pork-laden stimulus bill.

The White House is leaving it to lawmakers to work out the details of a health care plan, but Obama has said it should ensure choice and lower costs, while extending coverage to the 50 million Americans now uninsured. The cost of accomplishing that has been estimated around $1.5 trillion, and figuring out how to pay is emerging as a major challenge for Congress and the White House.

The Republican National Committee said Obama’s approach was not the right path, arguing that Democrats are pushing for a government-run health care system that will take away individual choice.

If President Obama really wants to “ensure choice” and lower costs, then he shouldn’t be looking for a government solution here. The way to create more choices and drastically lower costs in this area is to get government out of the way and remove unwarranted regulation of the health care industry, it clearly hasn’t helped and has only made it worse.

Robert Moffit at Heritage explains the President’s “health care reform”:

President Obama may pretend otherwise, but if Congress passes his health-care agenda, America will be taking a giant leap toward Canadian-style, government-run health care. And many Americans will find themselves left with no choice but to sign on.

How so? Start with the fact that government already controls almost half of America’s health-care spending. Now consider that the Obama plan would give Washington a broad and powerful supervisory role over the remainder.

Detailed legislative language hasn’t been unveiled yet, but a key feature of the program is a government-run plan that supposedly would compete with private-sector plans. Congress would determine the benefits, premiums and co-payments of this plan, as well as reimbursements for doctors and hospitals and who would be eligible.

Coverage could be offered just to citizens and legal residents who lack employer-based health care or are ineligible for other government programs, like Medicaid. Or it could extend to a much broader pool.

Liberals in Congress, especially those who want a Canadian-style, “single-payer” system, can be expected to push for broad eligibility — opening the plan to all employees and their families, starting with small companies and expanding to large ones.

The Lewin Group, a leading econometric firm, estimates such broad eligibility, combined with artificially low provider-payment rates (based on those of Medicare), would result in about 119 million Americans’ being forced out of private health coverage into the new government-run plan. That’s because many employers would simply drop their own plans — leaving their workers little choice but to sign up for the government’s package.

So much for the president’s repeated promise that you can keep your private health plan if you like it.

Let’s be honest: The idea that Congress is going to create a genuine “level playing field” for competition between the newly created government health plan and private health plans is nonsense.

Congress will be the rule-maker, financier, umpire and owner of a team in the “competition.”

For starters, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Congress, the government plan would be “too big to fail,” assuring it periodic taxpayer bailouts and giving it a big edge over the private sector. If Medicare can run up $38 trillion in unfinanced benefit promises, after all, then a plan modeled on it (as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus wants) could run up big debt, too — especially if Congress sets low rates to make it “affordable.”

The president also champions “shared responsibility.” That’s code for an employer mandate, whereby employers must either offer a government-approved health-benefits package or pay a federal tax. The new tax revenues would probably be used to finance subsidies for coverage in the government health plan.

Employer mandates are sure to erode employer-based health-insurance coverage. That’s because millions of companies would simply pay the tax rather than hassle with or spend more providing insurance that meets new federal specifications. Million of Americans, therefore, could find themselves left with no company health coverage.

Chalk up another victory for the congressional “single-payer” caucus.

Finally, congressional liberals can be expected to expand “shared responsibility” to include an individual mandate to purchase health insurance. If they do, Americans should check out the penalties imposed for not buying federally approved health insurance. This will push yet more folks onto the government plan.

Obama says that if you like the health coverage you have today, nothing will change. But with Washington controlling health care, you may have no choice in the matter.

That is the bottom line here, that congress and the President will become the rule makers in the government plan. In fact, whatever they come up with might even sound enticing to some Americans who only think short term.

Think of programs like Social Security which sounded good at first as well and are now going bankrupt. The same for Medicare and state-run Medicaid programs. They are terribly inefficient, full of holes in coverage, very limiting in terms of choice and ultimately give the government some control of your life. Do we want the same for health care? I believe most Americans would say absolutely not.

Government-run health care will, inevitably, mean more deficit spending and continuing to grow the size of government, two things Americans are disgusted with already.

Learn more and compare all the health care plan options on the table at Conservatives for Patients’ Rights.