Posted 10/16/2009 07:54 PM ET
Health Care: Democrats seem set to use the “nuclear option” to ram their government health takeover into law. Bipartisanship already looked dead; now it looks extinct.
The health care revolution the Democratic Congress has planned — with its inevitable medical rationing, thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums, and coverage of illegal aliens — may get placed on the familiar fast track used to spend hundreds and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars this year.
Instead of the 60 votes needed in the Senate if proper parliamentary rules were followed, passing this reshaping of the medical system as a “budget reconciliation” measure would mean only a simple majority was needed.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., accused of cheating on his taxes, last week held a hearing to let the House version of the health reform bill be passed this way. As the Washington weekly Human Events reports, Democratic leaders “have apparently invoked the ‘nuclear option’ to shut out Republicans and ensure the bill is passed before the end of the year.”
So all those “town hells” during the summer, where senators and congressmen were given an earful about passing secretly written thousand-page bills without reading them, will be ignored.
In the age of the Internet, Congress refuses to post for computer access the most consequential legislation in history, as far as its effect on human lives (and deaths) is concerned, before voting on it.
The people will have to wait until it’s all signed, sealed and delivered before finding out exactly how this government-imposed monster will devour health care as Americans have known it for all their lives.
And why? Because both congressional Democrats and the White House are afraid of the power of the people. Just as they are both afraid to give the opposing party a seat at the negotiating table.
Rangel didn’t allow Republicans to offer amendments in committee. Why not? Fear that Democrats might be embarrassed by having to reject a Republican amendment to protect Medicare, for one thing. And fear in general that the people might catch wind of a few bipartisan ideas that sound more sensible than their big government solutions.
The magnitude of what Congress is about to do is staggering. The federal government is about to begin dictating Americans’ behavior regarding the most intimate and vital area of life — health.
You play ball with Uncle Sam and pay thousands and thousands of dollars for far more expensive insurance than what you’re now used to, or you get slapped with fines. And as yet we don’t know how heavy those fines will be — or if noncooperation with the new system will mean more than fines.
Doesn’t Congress owe it to us to provide time to mull this over before it takes force?
Shouldn’t the exact wording of this radical transformation of our medical system be available on the Internet for weeks before a floor vote takes place?
And shouldn’t medical experts, health care providers and legal analysts get the opportunity to read every word of such a bill carefully, then give their well-considered analysis to concerned Americans?
Apparently not, according to those now running Washington.
To them, this is a rare opportunity to take a giant step toward single-payer, European-style socialized medicine. And they have no intention of letting the people stop them.