Barack Obama's high-speed train to socialism was knocked off track by a surprising source: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Just as the Senate HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) was about to begin voting on Chairman Ted Kennedy's, D-Mass., health care plan (which Obama had let be known was his favorite), CBO released a report that this plan would cost at least a trillion dollars and still leave 36 million people uninsured through 2017.
Obama had promised that people with private health insurance would not be harmed by his health care reform, but the CBO says this would not be true about the Kennedy bill. The CBO report says that the number of people with coverage through their employer would decline by about 15 million and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million.
The Senate committee decided to pause and ponder this sticker shock over the Fourth of July recess. While somewhat distancing himself from the Kennedy plan, Obama plowed ahead, saying, "The cost of inaction is greater," and accusing his critics of "fear tactics" about "socialized medicine."
In passionate rhetoric to the American Medical Association, Obama warned that "if we do not fix our health care system, America may go the way of GM." He falsely asserted that "there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well."
Several other health care bills are being floated in Congress, and they are also fatally flawed. The CBO estimates that the bill worked on by the Senate Finance Committee will cost $1.6 trillion, so it's no wonder that Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., wants to rethink it, too, over the Fourth of July.
A private consulting group, Health Systems Innovations Network, estimates the cost of this bill at $4 trillion. The higher figure is explained by the assumption that more people will buy coverage after the government subsidy rises to those with incomes of 500 percent of the poverty level, or $110,000 for a family of four.
After working in secret for months, House Democrats launched an 852-page bill that would establish a government plan to compete with private insurance, require all Americans to carry insurance and require employers to provide coverage to employees or pay a fee of 8 percent of payroll. The Democrats didn't dare ask CBO to score the cost.
The Democrats, who customarily defeat all proposals to limit the jurisdiction of the courts, stipulate in this bill that there "shall be no administrative or judicial review."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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