Get Ready for Your Health Care 'Re-Education'
After Congress passed ObamaCare, senior Democratic leaders predicted that public opposition would fade and voters would reward congressional supporters in the November elections.
However, the exact opposite has occurred. Opinion polls show that ObamaCare remains deeply unpopular with the American people, because it will limit their freedoms, reduce their access to quality medical care, and raise their health care costs.
Democratic congressional candidates now regard health care as toxic for their re-election chances. Those who had voted for ObamaCare are running away from that fact, whereas the few Democrats who voted against ObamaCare now use it as a selling point in their campaigns.
But rather than acknowledging that their health care plan is fundamentally flawed, the Obama administration is trying to pretend that the problem is merely one of bad public relations. Hence, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has stated that "we have a lot of re-education to do."
This Orwellian re-education program has now begun, directed against three major targets: the voting public, doctors and patients, and health insurance companies.
The first target of the "re-education" campaign is the voting public.
Prior to its passage, ObamaCare supporters repeatedly claimed that the plan would "bend the cost curve" down. However, detailed analyses instead show that ObamaCare will actually raise health costs, while reducing patient choices. Hence, ObamaCare supporters are now attempting to sell a different message.
As Politico's Ben Smith reported:
Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and deficit and instead stressing a promise to "improve it."
In other words, they're hoping that the voters will be too stupid to notice this abrupt about-face.
The second target for "re-education" is doctors and patients.
Liberal media outlets like National Public Radio are now trumpeting the supposed virtues of the "medical home," where primary care doctors and specialists theoretically coordinate their expertise to provide comprehensive, integrated care for patients. Even the phrase "medical home" has a warm-and-fuzzy feel. But under ObamaCare, "medical homes" will instead likely be used to control costs by using primary care doctors as gatekeepers to restrict access to expensive tests such as MRI scans, or to specialists such as cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons.
Patients will be herded into these new "medical home" plans under ObamaCare laws, which will start limiting employers' ability to continue offering their current health plans.
Similarly, the government will nudge doctors into working for "medical homes" via a combination of financial rewards and penalties. Once there, the government will specify how doctors must practice and what "quality" measures they must meet in order to get paid.
Hence, under ObamaCare "medical homes" will be more like "medical government housing projects."
Finally, the most Orwellian rhetoric is being directed against health insurance companies.
Under ObamaCare, insurers must now offer dozens of services for "free," including various forms of cancer screening, vaccinations, and AIDS testing. But of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch -- instead the costs must be shifted to other customers. Hence, many insurers have started raising their rates, explaining that it is due to these new regulations.
In a chilling response, Secretary Sebelius has just ordered insurance companies not to blame their rate hikes on ObamaCare. She warned that she would show "zero tolerance" for any insurers spreading such "misinformation." Companies that objected could be banned from the new government-run "insurance exchanges" where millions of Americans will be obliged to purchase their health plans starting in 2014.
In effect, the government is saying: "Let's pretend we never said ObamaCare would lower costs -- even though that's how we sold it to the public." "Let's push patients into restrictive health plans -- and call it a 'medical home.'" "Let's label it 'misinformation' when insurers tell the truth about how our laws raise their costs -- and then punish them if they complain about it." And as the problems of ObamaCare deepen, we can expect such “re-education” efforts to intensify.
Fortunately, we can stop this. Last spring, when Obama demanded that Congress pass his health care bill he said that if Americans didn't like it, "then that's what elections are for."
Well, the 2010 election is nearly here. Soon, it will be our turn to have our say. And unless we want to be on the receiving end of perpetual "re-education" from our politicians, we must re-educate them about our commitment to basic American freedoms.
This November, let's teach every politician who supported ObamaCare a lesson. And let's make sure it's a lesson they never forget.