Roger’s Rules

An Early Christmas Present, Brought to You By The Hill

The Hill brings us some cheery sounding news:

“Doubts are growing among Senate Democrats that they will be able to pass the healthcare reform bill by Christmas, although they remain publicly optimistic.”

If the American people do in fact enjoy a respite from this manifestation of what Gov. Mitch Daniels called Obama’s “shock and awe statism,” I hope that it will occasion not just a momentary sigh of relief but also a serious reassessment. Who’s whether Harry Reid will be able to browbeat his recalcitrant colleagues into signing onto the disaster that is Obamacare. But if he doesn’t deliver the goods (if “goods” is the right word), I hope that this narrow escape will have a sobering, indeed, a transformative effect.

Escape from what? From a government takeover of American health care. From an ruinously expensive bureaucratic boondoggle that will reduce choice, impede medical innovation, and drastically expand the role of government regulation in your life.

Many people, I suspect, have lost sight of what the stakes are in the debate over so-called health care “reform.” The current deadlock is an opportunity to step back and ask some basic questions.

I know, I know: you are sick to death of the very phrase “health care reform.” So much has been written and said about it for so long that you just wish they would do something and move on — “they” being not only our duly elected public servants but also members of the commentariat like yours truly who may have had some sparkling things to say about the issue many months ago but have been repeating themselves for what seems like forever now.

Nevertheless if it is hard to ginger up any enthusiasm for the topic of health care reform, it is even harder to contemplate what is happening in Washington without an overwhelming sense of alarm. The Obama administration is not only on the threshold of usurping some 20 percent of the U.S. economy, handing it over to government bureaucrats to oversee, it is also just a few signatures away from utterly transforming medical culture and the way you will be allowed to interact with your doctors. Do you really want this?

More and more Americans are uneasy about the whole health care imbroglio. They are probably sick of the Republicans warning them about what it will mean for their medical care and their pocket book. But they are increasingly suspicious of what it is that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have up their sleeve. They hear about those gargantuan bills that are dropped on Congress in the dead of night: no one could possibly read them in the time allotted. They hear that we are about to extend insurance coverage to 30 million more people without adding to the health care budget or cutting medicare: how, they wonder in their innocence, is this prodigy to be accomplished? Has Obama, in addition to healing the earth and halting the the rise of the oceans, suspended the laws of mathematics? According to that higher mathematics: $100 billion plus $100 billion now equals $100 billion?

These are not new questions. But the immense wave of static coming out of Washington makes it difficult to keep these questions alive. Everyone on every side of the debate knows they are pressing questions. Team Obama has made it almost impossible to entertain those questions with anything like the gravity they deserve. The breathtaking contempt shown to Congress, and that Congress in turn has shown us, somehow never comes into focus. Imagine someone presenting you with a two-thousand-page document whose provisions would drastically affect your family’s future and then imagine that they demanded you vote on the document within 48 hours. In the normal course of events you would tell them to get lost. That is what Congress ought to have told the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate. It is also what we the people ought to say to Congress.

Congress lacked the backbone to stand up for us. Well we lack the backbone to stand up for ourselves? The Senate may very well hand us a bit of breathing space. Breathing space is another chance: for the more one scrutinizes Obama’s plans for this country, the more alarming they seem. Delay is Obama’s enemy, for delay means revelation of what his socialistic machine really wants to do to this country. As of this writing, it looks as though you are going to get one of the best Christmas presents you will every receive: the chance to prevent a monstrous, and monstrously expensive, government takeover of medical care. Don’t look this gift horse in the mouth.