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A Dash of Pepper

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The Democrats are
thinking long term
By SHEILAH PEPPER
The Gazette StaffSome pundits say they are puzzled by the insistence of many Democrats in Congress to march in lock step with their leadership on the health care bill even though that will be political suicide, given public opinion across the country.
I am not puzzled. I believe some of them are "true believers" - they believe in the Far Left ("progressive") agenda and will sacrifice their positions to get the bill passed. Their leaders are prepared to lose a few members because they are zealots who believe that they are on an "historic" threshold. The left, for many, many decades, has dreamt of nationalized health care.
They want a bill, in any form. The current Senate bill doesn't contain the "public option" per se, but it contains a concept (and language) that will shackle private insurance and eventually wipe it out, in the medical field.
While the Republicans are thinking in term of tactics, the Democrats are thinking strategically. The "progressives", including the President, think long-term and act accordingly - that is - they see the strategic objective within their grasp - a foot in the door in the long march to a single payer system. Don't forget - Obama said in an interview several years ago, that nationalized health care would come, even if it took 20 years.
It's unclear, as I write, whether there will be an actual conference session to combine the House and Senate bills. It looks like it will be done behind closed doors with no press access. Also, the outcome of the special election in Massachusetts is still to come.
But if this ludicrous piece of legislation passes, it will face numerous legal challenges. Forces are already lining up to challenge it on a variety of constitutional issues.
In the Senate bill, there is a proviso that a portion of the statute cannot be repealed in perpetuity. It is the portion that creates a "medical advisory board" (remember the death panels?)
Who no repeal in this area? Because, all the government power in healthcare would hinge on the continued existence of this board, which will have the power to ration care. The legal question will be, can one Congress prevent actions by a future Congress?
There are other concerns. Several states want the Nebraska "corn husker" exception removed, because the Constitution states that all states must be treated equally by legislation passed by the federal government.
Additionally, this toxic mess will face challenges from several states on ground that it violates the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that states the federal government may not take over any function not expressly designated to it under the Constitution. Those functions belong to the state legislatures.
In countries where nationalized health care became entrenched, politics changed forever. Every election hinged around the health care debate. In Britain, conservatives will likely be elected, but they'll be reduced to basically saying "We can run the NHS more efficiently than the Lefties can." Health care, a left wing issue, wipes out any other traditionally conservative issues.
But, at least in Britain, the National Health Service treats EVERYONE badly. Here, under the current plan, some states plus special interests and Congress itself, will be exempted from the sorry mess the rest of us will have to live with.
Once again, this is NOT about health care. It's about the dominance of a progressive agenda long into our children's future, at a frightening cost to the nation.
Copyright©2010SheilahPepper
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January 2010 00:29