Saturday, August 15, 2009

Robert Reich Is Right On ObamaCare, But He Got It All Wrong-UPDATED

Via Instapundit:

In How To Fight Health Care Fearmongers And Demagogues, Robert Reich writes:

Why are these meetings brimming with so much anger? Because Republican Astroturfers have joined the same old right-wing broadcast demagogues that have been spewing hate and fear for years, to create a tempest.

But why are they getting away with it? Why aren't progressives—indeed, why aren't ordinary citizens—taking the meetings back?

Mainly because there's still no healthcare plan. All we have are some initial markups from several congressional committees, which differ from one another in significant ways. The White House's is waiting to see what emerges from the House and Senate before insisting on what it wants, maybe in conference committee.

Who are these “ordinary citizens” that Reich speaks of if not those people expressing deep anger and frustration over the government take over of their health care? Does Reich simply dismiss the citizens taking part in the town halls because he is disdainful of anyone who differs with him?

Reich is correct about one thing; HR 3200 is an incoherent mess, unreadable, incomprehensible and open to interpretation in any number of ways. Prime example:

(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 1905 of the Social Secu7
rity Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d), as amended by sections
8 1701(a)(2) and 1711(a), is amended—
9 (1) in subsection (a)—
10 (A) in paragraph (27), by striking ‘‘and’’
11 at the end;
12 (B) by redesignating paragraph (28) as
13 paragraph (29); and
14 (C) by inserting after paragraph (27) the
15 following new paragraph:
16 ‘‘(28) nurse home visitation services (as defined
17 in subsection (aa)); and’’; and.
18 (2) by adding at the end the following new sub19
20 ‘‘(aa) The term ‘nurse home visitation services’
21 means home visits by trained nurses to families with a
22 first-time pregnant woman, or a child (under 2 years of
23 age), who is eligible for medical assistance under this title,
24 but only, to the extent determined by the Secretary based
1 upon evidence, that such services are effective in one or
2 more of the following:
3 ‘‘(1) Improving maternal or child health and
4 pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.

What the Hell does that say? As a conservative I read this section and wonder why the government will be going to people homes to increase birth intervals between pregnancies and how these “increased intervals” will be achieved. Will nurses be making home visits to ensure women take The Pill each day? Will they check that condoms ‘are in place’ prior to each sexual encounter? And why is any of this any of this the government’s business?

I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘progressives’ such as Reich have an entirely different interpretation. I also wonder if they might interpret it differently under a different administration, but that is neither here nor there at this point.

At the risk of repeating myself, again, much of the outrage over government health care is the direct result of the public’s distrust of government in general and this administration in particular. Couple the public’s distrust with the gobbledygook in HR 3200 and you have a recipe for disaster.

Therefore, I agree with Reich’s call for more clarity on the part of the administration. On an issue this important, the administration should say what it means and means what it says. However, were the administration to be honest about its designs on health care, it would surely be the death of a disastrous plan.


Glenn Renolds, aka Instapundit writes:

Remember how Bush was supposed to be the idiot who went into Iraq without a plan, while Obama was supposed to be the cool methodical one? But Reich is admitting that despite all the Administration hoopla, there’s still no plan. Or, possibly, that the White House has a plan, but won’t tell us what it is. And yet the people who don’t want to see a bill — some bill, doing who-knows-what — rammed through in the dead of night are somehow the ones who are ignorant and being manipulated. Right.

Carol, No Sheeples Here:

I believe there are three things at work here. The first is voters perceive a Trojan horse has been rolled into Washington, something to which Reich has unwittingly referred.

The second is that outraged Americans are also keenly aware that the IRS will be the new health care enforcer. The House and Senate versions of the bill require that information about household members and their health care coverage be reported to the IRS.

Finally, “the side that lost” remembers how “the side that won” has people like Peggy Joseph who believes Barack Obama will pay for her gas, mortgage, and who knows what else.

A scary thought from Legal Insurrection:

People often joke that government-run health care will have the efficiency of the motor vehicle department, and the compassion of the Internal Revenue Service. This joke will become reality if present Democratic health restructuring proposals are enacted.

Under both the House and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee bills released to the public, the Internal Revenue Service will play a key role in monitoring and enforcing health care mandates against individual taxpayers. Yet the introduction of the IRS into the health care system has received scant attention.

I used the DMV/IRS analogy yesterday with great success. Thank you Prof. Jacobson!

More at Memorandum

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