The Edmond Sun

September 28, 2013

Monumental consequences coming in health care

Mike Hinkle
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Today we are witnessing one of the most monumental political battles in America’s history. No United States citizen has the luxury of being a bystander. We are all participants in this scrap whether we like it or not. When the dust settles, millions of Americans might well be better off where their health care is concerned. But it’s also true that every single American may be a giant step closer to becoming an involuntary servant to a bloated, insatiable federal government.

The potentially onerous fallout won’t just rain down on the heads of today’s combatants. The withering effects may prove to be a burden on our children and their children to an extent no one but a bona fide clairvoyant could calculate.

Unfortunately, much of the debate surrounding Obamacare is so hysterical and lacking in reason that many of the partisans are incapable of discussing the issues rationally. Neither side has a monopoly on sympathy, good sense and clear thinking. Both sides have their share of liars, bullies and self-promoters. But it’s crucial for the good of the country and our descendants to be cool-headed in our analysis.

Let’s consider the undeniable facts. This act represents the most intense intrusion of the federal government into the health decisions of the American public in history. Everyone concedes there must be some overhaul of America’s health care system. But Obamacare threatens to do more harm than good. In the run-up to the act’s passage, it was presented to the American public clothed in the most pleasing promises; everyone will have healthcare, costs will go down, families making less than $250,000 a year won’t pay one dime in additional taxes, no tax payer satisfied with their current doctor would be forced to change, “we promise.”

There were no meaningful opportunities to analyze the law prior to passage. It comprised a monstrous 2,000 pages of confusing legal jargon. It was not placed in final form until brief hours prior to congressional vote. This left no realistic chance for legislators to review the details prior to reaching a decision.

Apprehensions in this regard were dismissed by the Speaker of the House who reassured us that we could find out what was in the bill after it was passed. This unwieldy conglomeration of a congressional act was passed under cover of darkness by a Democratically-controlled Congress and signed by a Democratic president. In doing so, Congress and the president ignored the misgivings and resistance of the American people and brushed aside any real effort to consult with Republican legislators. Even then, the act could not clear the technical procedural hurdles without unsavory back room wheeling and dealing with some favored senators. Enforcement of the most intrusive act in American history was placed in the hands of the IRS, the most dangerous bureau in the government.

Almost at once, the administration began to relieve certain entities from the act requirements by doling out waivers — thousands of them. Most notably, the Congress, in an act of unbelievable hypocrisy, exempted itself from participation in Obamacare.

As the act drew closer to implementation, we learned, rosy promises notwithstanding, that thousands of Americans would lose their preferred physicians, millions would see rises in their insurance premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. As the nation’s businesses stumbled their way through the unbelievably complex maze of Obamacare regulations, it became apparent that the act provided incentives for the cancellation or delay of new hiring. It also provided incentives for employers to reduce the number of full-time employees which they accomplished by cutting hours of lower wage earners.

As the disastrous contours of the act’s real impact became clearer, even the president’s allies in Congress warned about the upcoming “train wreck.” Important unions who were tireless advocates for passage of the law now realize it will impose crushing burdens on their members. Many of them are joining the chorus of those crying out for a “re-do.”

The president, himself, recognizes that Obamacare is simply unworkable as drafted and passed. Time and again, he has postponed deadlines for implementation because this clumsy juggernaut is simply not working in real life as they hoped it would in theory. And now we learn, to our dismay (if not surprise) the IRS really cannot be trusted to be fair.

No doubt, many supporters of the act are motivated by genuine concern for the plight of the less fortunate. But no one believes Obamacare is the best we can do. Let’s remember. No matter how concerned we may be for the agonies of someone dying of thirst, we do no kindnesses by providing water that is poisoned. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is a retired attorney and Edmond resident.