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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

A desperate political ad for Russ Feingold aired in Wisconsin last week. In the ad a “community coordinator” named Paulina says, “Russ [Feingold] fought to stop insurance companies from denying Wisconsin children health care due to pre-existing conditions.” The community coordinator then concludes with: “Ron Johnson, hands off my health care.” Feingold may be the only Democrat left in Washington who isn’t sprinting away from the unpopular health care overhaul, which was passed in secrecy earlier this year without being read and against the will of the vast majority of the American people.

The British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil leak trumpeted by anti-capitalists as the world-ending crisis of the millennium has turned out to be much ado about nothing — just another in a long line of manufactured distractions from the real destruction being masterminded out of Washington. Stretches of pristine coastline and marshes unscathed by oil and teeming with wildlife — egrets, brown pelicans, porpoises, crabs, alligators and lots of fish — are flourishing in stark contrast to the ecowarriors’ doomsday predictions of millions of gallons of crude oil coating the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. As dire as these discredited and media-hyped predictions were, however, they pale in comparison to the devastation coming our way in 2011, when the coming oil slick of ObamaCare washes up on the shore of the American economy, bringing destruction and devastation that will take generations to repair. And Russ Feingold is proudly taking credit for it.

At last month’s rally in the People’s Republic of Madison, President Obama announced that Russ Feingold “doesn’t always agree with me but always agrees with the people of his state.” That makes about as much sense as Obama’s commencement speech at the traditionally all-black Hampton University last May, when he said that “information becomes a distraction.” You see, 54% of Wisconsin residents opposed the very ObamaCare bill Feingold voted for. Yet Feinfold toed the party line instead of listening to his constituents.

The dysfunctional, indecipherable, and wildly unpopular government takeover of one-fifth of our nation’s economy has even McDonald’s Corporation jumping ship. The fast food giant warned federal regulators last month that it would drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of ObamaCare. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Feingold’s attempted heartstring tug mentioning pre-existing conditions for children turns out to be more evidence of the farce of ObamaCare. Just days after President Obama signed the new health care law, insurance companies pointed out that coverage for certain children with pre-existing conditions was actually not mandated. The insurance companies our president promised would be banned forever from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions quickly pointed out that ObamaCare does not require them to write insurance for such children and does not guarantee the “availability of coverage” as the president promised.

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.

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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