Pulling the Trigger on ObamaCare
By Robert Romano
As bipartisan negotiations in the Senate have failed to trick Republicans into supporting a vigorous government-run takeover of the entire health care system, Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are making a last ditch effort to sway at least one Republican member: Olympia Snowe of Maine.
Reports CNN Politics, "For the past months, Snowe has been pushing the idea of a safety net plan, or 'trigger,' for a public health care option as part of a key compromise. A source familiar with her negotiations with Obama said that's one of the things they're talking about…The idea would give insurance companies a defined period to make changes in order to help cover more people and drive down long-term costs. But if those changes failed to occur within the defined period, a trigger would provide for creating a public option to force change on the insurance companies."
Concern over a government-run medical system has galvanized citizens nationwide in opposition to let their voices be heard in town halls. And they've left the members of Congress ducking for cover. The political damage has been so extensive that Barack Obama is preparing an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday to in yet another attempt to sell his latest scheme for ObamaCare.
According to FOX News, White House aides have said that Obama "will deliver the message that Democrats are willing to go it alone if it cannot get Republicans behind it." The joke is that he does not actually need a single Republican vote to pass what he wants if his own party would just rally behind him.
The true trouble that ObamaCare faces is that Democrats believe that they are on a political Titanic—and vulnerable members in both chambers are stampeding to get to the lifeboats.
The reason Democrats want Snowe—or somebody like her—is so they can parade her around as the token Republican brokering a grand compromise, thus providing what they believe is political cover. And so, now they are ready to give Snowe what she has been asking for: a delayed implementation of the government takeover of the health care system in exchange for selling out her own party.
And if Olympia falls for the Snowe-job, she will do so knowing full well that her sell-out is a charade. After all, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already played the socialist hand.
"If they want no public option, but a trigger, you can be sure that the trigger will bring on a very robust public option," said Pelosi, knowing full well that she gets to define and control the mechanism, tied to the escalating costs of providing life-saving treatments.
And of course, government controls that, too. It currently mandates minimal levels of coverage to be provided at the state level. It prohibits insurance to be purchased across state lines. It thus allows regional, corporatist monopolies to operate with impunity that in turn pay handsomely via political protection money to elected officials keep the status quo.
In the legislation now before Congress, even if the so-called public "option" were put on a trigger tied to costs, the bill would still force employers to provide coverage and individuals to buy coverage or else pay a tax. It would establish a whole new body of regulations that would force insurance companies that would eventually, inevitably bankrupt private insurance.
As reported by the Heritage Foundation, the legislation establishes "a single minimum coverage standard that will eventually apply to nearly all health plans and establishes a new 'Health Benefits Advisory Committee' within HHS to make detailed recommendations, which the secretary of HHS would then impose through regulation."
Thus, by simply upping what must be minimally covered under private health plans, costs would skyrocket, and the deadly trigger on ObamaCare would be pulled.
They can call it whatever they want. A delayed public "option." A compromise. A trigger. But, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are determined to get what they want. And whether now, sooner, or later, they are determined to force through a bill that inevitably results in socialized medicine.
Olympia Snowe can go along with it, too, if she wants. But she must realize that, really, she'll only be pulling the trigger on the American people. On freedom of choice. And on quality health care that provides for the young and protects the old.
Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.