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This week, a memo leaked to Politico, by DNC pollster Joel Benenson, warned that Democrats risk facing a backlash on the way they have handled Obamacare. Specifically, the polling found that independent voters were most angry with “the stagnation and the backroom deal-cutting, particularly those that benefit the constituents of key swing senators or special interests.”
Democrats are facing the same political consequences as the Republicans in 2006: The loss of the valuable middle, and for precisely the same reasons.
This is dangerous territory for the majority. Voters have reason to be upset with Pelosi’s tricky maneuvering, and they have even more reason to be furious with what’s in the bill. Unfortunately, while most of the pundits and news media are caught up in the legislative chess match and games of political chicken, almost everyone in official Washington has lost sight of the substance of the debate — the bill does nothing to truly reform health care.
Our country is torn apart for a bill that covers only 4% of total health care expenditures — it raises costs, taxes and balloons the deficit, all while lowering the quality of care.
What is the real goal of this health care package — to control health care costs or control the market space? The proof is in the legislation. The Senate-passed bill increases costs and taxes by putting a policy in place that ultimately leads to a government takeover: the regulations are structured in a way that makes it nearly impossible for free enterprise to flourish.
For example, if the goal of this bill was to control costs, why would the legislation penalize younger, healthy workers with a tax when they are precisely the group that diversifies the insurance risk pool for insurance providers, which concretely lowers everyday insurance premiums?
Not all new proposals and regulations are bad. A good litmus test for any new government initiative is this — regulations should not punish an individual or family because they (or their employer or labor union) choose to pay for premium services. Nor should an individual be punished for choosing nothing. They should be forced to face the consequences of their risky decisions.
At a time when distrust in government is at an all-time high, it is no wonder why there’s such passionate resistance to the heavy hand of government being so involved in such a critically important and personal industry. But with all the focus on process (which the president and Democrats have already lost on), let’s focus on what really matters: lower health care costs for Americans. This bill is not the solution.