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The Looming ObamaCare Oil Slick

Sen. Russ Feingold finds himself haunted and hunted by many of the liberal votes he has cast, including the one in favor of ObamaCare.

by
Gary Wickert

Bio

October 13, 2010 - 12:01 am
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Immediately after the unpopular bill was rammed down the throats of the American people, Democrats in the House began uncovering surprise after surprise contained in it. We all remember Henry Waxman scolding U.S. corporations for announcing expected losses owing to the passage of ObamaCare and summoning them to Washington. The complete mystery of what was actually in the bill and its effect on our economy and American employers was underscored by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s not-so-brilliant game of political Texas Hold-Em with the American people when she said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” To this day, not even the Democrats know precisely what is in the bill or what its effect will be on the American free market system. But that didn’t stop feisty Russ Feingold from voting for it.

A somewhat clinical look at the bill reveals exactly how much of a bait and switch Feingold’s ObamaCare truly was. ObamaCare is made up of three documents: (1) the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) voted for by Feingold and signed into law by our president on March 23, 2010, (2) the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 voted for by Feingold and signed by our president on March 30, 2010, and (3) the “executive order” unilaterally dealing with abortion coverage. Because the overall bill was passed in secrecy and without members of Congress even reading it, these remain separate documents and have never been combined into a single document.

Russ Feingold spent the last few years telling everyone that ObamaCare would improve health care and reduce costs, yet 55% of Wisconsin residents did not believe this. Imagine how many people would have been opposed to it if they knew it was actually going to increase costs and reduce quality. All of the bill’s secrets are slowly coming to light.

Shortly after the overall bill was passed, Richard Foster, chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, issued a memo detailing the estimated financial effects of ObamaCare. Common sense would tell most Americans that a memo like this should have preceded the bill, but that would have ruined Feingold and Pelosi’s surprise.

The CMS memo reveals that in 2019 — long after the bill takes effect — there will still be 23.1 million uninsured. What’s more, page 15 of the memo indicates that the long-term care program contained in the bill is projected to run a deficit after 2025 which the CMS declares is “unsustainable.”

Amazingly, while the main reason given for the rush to health care reform was the rising cost of health care, the memo reveals on page 4 that the new reform will actually increase national health expenditures by $311 billion from 2010 to 2019. That’s $311 billion more in health care costs than if we had no reform at all.

Page 16 of the memo belatedly enlightens us all that the money allocated for running the high risk pools designed to bridge coverage for high risk individuals until the exchanges (translated: government-run health care) are up and running in 2014 are projected to already be exhausted by late 2011 or early 2012. That’s about a year from now.

Page 13 tells us that the comparative-effectiveness research is not done and will take many years to develop, requiring Health and Human Services to “exercise strict authority” over Medicare payments and coverage in order to achieve the desired savings.

As the bill was being rammed down America’s throat during that now infamous Sunday vote last March, polls were revealing what a huge mistake this was for Democrats like Russ Feingold. In the end, despite the polling numbers, the catnip of government-run health care was too much for the big government Democrats, who afterwards insisted that once Americans understood what was in the bill, they would come to like it and over time embrace it just like Social Security and Medicare — two programs currently hurtling toward a financial train wreck.

Americans now know and fully understand what is in the bill, and they still reject it and want it repealed — overwhelmingly. Feingold’s challenger, political newcomer Ron Johnson, is promising to make good on repealing this devastating piece of legislation. Despite all the bad news, disappointment, and budget-busting failures of ObamaCare, there is one positive thing to come out of it. It seems that health care was the reason Ron Johnson got into the race in the first place. He wants to repeal this bill and ensure that the residents of Wisconsin continue to have the same health care freedoms in the future as they have now. Ron Johnson will fight to get our government’s hands out of our doctor’s offices and out of our health care decisions.

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Gary Wickert is a board-certified trial lawyer, living in Cedarburg, Wisconsin with his wife and two sons. He has a political column in Reality News and has been an op-ed contributor for Ozaukee County's News Graphic as well as a feature writer for several Wisconsin magazines. He is also the author of several legal treatises on a variety of subjects and currently serves as supervisor in the town of Cedarburg. In 2011, Gary lost a bid for the Wisconsin Assembly in the Republican Primary by 72 votes.
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