One amendment that did pass was Sen. Maria Cantwell's amendment, which would give the secretary of health and human services the power to define cost-effective care for each medical condition and to punish doctors who treat high-cost patients with complex conditions. That has been Obama's goal from the beginning and inevitably will lead to the "death panels" Sarah Palin warned about.
Former Sen. Tom Daschle, who was scheduled to be health and human services secretary or health care czar until he had to bow out, said that the law should be written in generalities so the bureaucrats can fill in the details. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and a key Obama health care adviser, may be behind the stimulus legislation that will send "embedded clinical-decision support" to doctors via computer to warn them about what is "appropriate" and "cost-effective," backed up by the threat to impose financial penalties on doctors who are not "meaningful users."
The Democrats' health care "reform" would carry a trillion-dollar price tag, vastly increase the national debt hanging over our children and grandchildren, impose socialist control over one-sixth of our economy, and force us to obey totalitarian dictates. The mandate on employers to provide health insurance would result in lower wages and fewer jobs.
The mandate on individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, even threatening jail for those who fail to conform, amounts to a massive tax increase on individuals and families whose health insurance may lack all the new federally specified requirements.
Obama's "spread the wealth around" policy is evident in the big expansion of Medicaid combined with large cuts in Medicare. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt says that the combination of mandates to buy insurance, guaranteed issue, and community rating amounts to massive income distribution that is hidden from public view and not even debated.
Finally, we are subject to the deviousness of what House Minority Leader John Boehner calls the 70 phantom amendments, which were added in secret after the bill was voted out by the committee. The bill may be even worse than we think.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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