Whether the source is Gallup, Pew, Quinnipiac, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, the Washington Post, or even the New York Times; every recent poll on the issue shows that either pluralities or majorities of Americans have serious doubts about President Barack Obama’s health care plan. Reviewing the month’s polling data, Gallup’s Frank Newport sums it up: “The bottom line is a sense that, while Americans apparently favor some type of healthcare reform in the long term, they are in no hurry to see healthcare reform legislation passed in the short-term on a rushed schedule. … A Pew Research poll released this week shows that those who are worried about new health care legislation are most likely to say it is because it involves too much spending and would increase the deficit.”
Wrapped in their liberal Washington cocoon, however, the leadership in Congress simply do not want to hear this message. Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have chosen to pen an op-ed in today’s USA Today calling those who want Congress to hear their concerns about health care “simply un-American.”
Pelosi and Hoyer claim that opponents of Obamacare are disrupting townhalls across the country by “drowning out the facts” about health reform. However, it is not the townhall-attending Americans that don’t have their facts straight. It is Pelosi, Hoyer, and Obama’s allies that are doing violence to the truth.
The Threat to Your Current Medical Care: Pelosi and Hoyer claim: “The first fact is that health insurance reform will mean more patient choice.” This is simply not true. According to the non-partisan Lewin Group, under the House legislation about 83.4 million people would lose their current private insurance. This would represent a 48.4 percent reduction in the number of people with private coverage. Pelosi and Hoyer also claim: “Reform will mean affordable coverage for all Americans.” But thanks to new price controls set in the legislation, yearly premiums for the typical American with private coverage could go up by as much as $460 per privately insured person.
The Cost Explosion: Pelosi and Hoyer also claim their plan will “lower costs.” But this has been thoroughly refuted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In fact, the House plan significantly expands health care costs and it is Pelosi and Hoyer who have gamed the system to try and conceal this truth from the American people. The House plan delays any real spending increases until 2013 so that Obama allies like the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein can claim the bill only increases government health care spending “by about $140 billion” In reality, once all of the House bill’s spending takes effect, Obamacare will be spending $245 billion a year. And in the out years? CBO director Doug Elmendorf said this: “In sum, relative to current law, the proposal would probably generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits during the decade beyond the current 10-year budget window.”
A Government Takeover of Health Care: In his weekly radio address, President Obama again claimed his health plan would not: “bring about a government takeover of health care.” Obama needs to check his facts with Pelosi’s and Hoyer’s colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, because Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) is on record saying that Obama’s public “is the best way to reach single-payer.” And Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is also on record saying: “A public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer.” Do Pelosi and Hoyer consider Frank and Schakowsky un-American for contradicting the President?
The raucous nature of some of the townhalls may sometimes be regrettable. But it should be noted that none of the confrontations turned violent until the White House instructed their big labor allies to “punch back twice as hard.” Dissent and public debate are part of the First Amendment. People who seek to stifle public debate are the one’s acting in contradiction to our core American values. Which is why it was so troubling to hear the President of the United States utter these sentences last week: “I don’t want the folks who created the mess doing a lot of talking. I want them to just get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.”