Why has there been a massive outbreak of tea party protests under this administration; is it because of Obama's healthcare plan?
The massive tea party protests across the nation are a new phenomenon, emerging largely under this President. Although some like to compare Obama to our last Democrat President Bill Clinton due to his charisma and sharing a Democrat-controlled Congress, Obama is no Bill Clinton. Obama comes from the far left wing of politics. He was labeled the most liberal member of the Senate in 2007 by the National Journal, and has actively aligned himself with the most radical elements of the Democrat Party, working for a far left agenda as an ACORN community organizer. The Democrat Congress led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who represents San Francisco is more radicalized than it's ever been. Consequently, there has been a huge backlash from the American public. The middle-of-the-road voters in this country who tend to favor a balance of one party controlling the Executive branch and the other party controlling Congress are uncomfortable with this much control in the hands of the far left. Obama's approval ratings are the lowest ever of any president since World War II this early into his term, with his disapproval rating reaching a majority of 52% in a Rasmussen poll in August.
Obama may have gotten away with the big government agenda of stimulus plans and bailouts, but asking to partially nationalize healthcare is going too far, there is only so much of a lurch to the left the American people will accept. Former president Bill Clinton figured this out halfway through his first term after Democrats lost their majority in Congress, as American voters reacted by electing a Republican majority in both Houses for the first time since World War II. Clinton wised up and shelved Hillarycare and the rest of the radical left agenda, triangulating with Republicans in order to get a more moderate agenda passed that included welfare reform, toughening up crime laws, and balancing the budget.
Americans are concerned about HR 3200 for many reasons. Much of the bill is vaguely written, and most members of Congress admit they haven't read the bill since it is 1017 pages long. Americans are skeptical of just trusting Congress to figure out the specifics later. The "devil is in the details" demands specifics now. Too many times Congress promises things it can't deliver, and claims to be surprised down the road when its legislation results in steep cost increases and punitive results.
The concept of healthcare as a "right" sounds good in theory, but the way "healthcare" is broadly defined it is impossible cost wise to cover every possible ailment. Technology is advancing at such a fast pace now there are too many possible treatments to possibly cover them all affordably. Many procedures and medications are extremely expensive and speculative. At the same time, government regulation of healthcare insurance has created a high floor for the number of treatments that must be covered. This has greatly increased the cost of healthcare insurance. Instead of permitting insurance companies to provide different levels of insurance based on people's individual needs, insurance companies are all required to provide a ridiculously broad plan to everyone. This is wasteful, considering an elderly man is not going to have the same needs as a teenage girl. In addition, covering many of those additional services and medications creates a demand for them that would not be there otherwise. Viagra should be a voluntary option to add to a healthcare plan, not a mandated part of the plan. Pap smears should not be recommended every year for healthy low-risk women. Medications like drysol (for sweaty palms) should not require a $180 visit to the doctor to obtain a simple $9 bottle. Unfortunately, trial lawyers have brought lawsuits on behalf of people who have used medications improperly, resulting in lawmakers and the FDA requiring a prescription for the most basic of medications. It is part of a larger paternalistic government pattern of dumbing everyone down to the level of the dumbest person.
Another problem with the healthcare system is the requirement that employers provide healthcare for employees. It makes no sense, considering there is little correlation between your health and your employment. Employers are not in the healthcare business, and so are not in a good position to offer employees a wide variety of choices. This exacerbates the problem of giving consumers only few limited options. Home and auto insurance isn't tied to employment, there are many different levels of insurance consumers can purchase for those types of insurance. Considering health issues may involve life or death decisions, it makes more sense to give consumers optimal choices when it comes to coverage, not the most restrictive.
None of these problems would be addressed in the Democrats' healthcare bill. In fact, it would worsen the healthcare system. HR 3200 would establish cost sharing limitations set by government committees, which would lead to healthcare rationing and what some have labeled "death panels" to determine who receives what coverage. The bill would open up the possibility of a national ID card for identification, and permit the federal government access to individuals' personal bank accounts for transferring funds. Labor unions and ACORN would be eligible for funding if they provide healthcare to retired employees, and would receive even more funding for recruiting people to sign up for the government's plan. There is no mechanism permitted to challenge the government's rate-setting; judicial or administrative review is prohibited. Private insurers will be crowded out by a provision that requires employers to enroll employees in the government option unless they opt out. Since the government plan will price itself lower than private plans, this will force private insurers out of business. Small employers will be required to pay a 2-8% tax if they choose not to offer the public option. Any consumer who chooses a level of healthcare below the level offered by the public option will be forced to pay a 2.5% income tax. Non-resident aliens are exempt from the mandates and penalties; instead, Americans will pay for them. A new fee schedule for payment of Medicare would likely reduce services offered to seniors if doctors find it inconvenient. The government will set the value of doctors' time, professional judgment, etc. Doctors and hospitals will be penalized if the government thinks a patient should not have been readmitted. Enrollment of special needs patients will be restricted. (from Americans for Prosperity's "Patients First" analysis) Studies have been done showing the bill has holes in it permitting illegal immigrants to obtain coverage. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 6.6 million uninsured illegal immigrants will be eligible for coverage, costing taxpayers an additional $30 billion. Perhaps worst of all, an amendment has been added by Rep. Lois Capps that would mandate abortion coverage – the first time ever federal funds would be authorized to pay for elective abortions.
If socialized, government-controlled healthcare is the best solution, then why don't we hear more stories about how wonderful the healthcare system is in the most well-off socialist country, Sweden? The other countries most identified as socialist have such poor healthcare systems that any news about their healthcare is dismal: Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, China, Vietnam, Syria, and Belarus.
Ultimately the best solution for providing optimal healthcare comes down to consumer choice. Since there is a rapidly growing, almost limitless selection of healthcare treatments available today, it makes the most sense to permit individuals discretion on how to exercise this "right," not curtail it. A healthy 25-year old should not be required to buy a large package of health insurance they will never use, instead they should have the right as an adult to select what healthcare they need, even if that choice is to opt out. Many of those complaining about having no healthcare drive brand-new cars, own cell phones and bigscreen TVs. The U.S. is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, with obesity rates doubling since 1990. In 1990, no more than 20% of the population of any state was obese. Now, obesity rates in every state except Colorado are 20% of the population. Americans are becoming fat because our standard of living continues to rise. And Americans are choosing to spend their extra money on luxury items rather than healthcare.
There is no one size fits all solution to our healthcare system, as the Democrats would like to think. Individuals are all different with different needs and wants. Competition is the best way to provide consumers with the most options, not one dominating government option.