Thomas Sowell
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The only thing healthy about Congress' health insurance legislation is the healthy skepticism about it by most of the public, as revealed by polls. What is most unhealthy about this legislation is the raw arrogance in the way it was conceived and passed.

Supporters of government health insurance call its passage "historic." Past attempts to pass such legislation-- going back for decades-- failed repeatedly. But now both houses of Congress have passed government health care legislation and it is just a question of reconciling their respective bills and presenting President Obama with a political "victory."

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In short, this is not about improving the health of the American people. It is about passing something-- anything-- to keep the Obama administration from ending up with egg on its face by being unable to pass a bill, after so much hype and hoopla. Politically, looking impotent is a formula for disaster at election time. Far better to pass even bad legislation that will not actually go into effect until after the 2012 presidential election, so that the public will not know whether it makes medical care better or worse until it is too late for the voters to hold the administration accountable.

The utter cynicism of this has been apparent from the outset, in the rush to pass a health care bill in a hurry, in order to meet wholly arbitrary, self-imposed deadlines. First it was supposed to be passed before the August 2009 Congressional recess. Then it was supposed to be passed before Labor Day. When that didn't happen, it was supposed to be rushed to passage before Christmas.

Why-- especially since the legislation would not take effect until years from now?

The only rational explanation for such haste to pass a bill that will be slow to go into effect is to prevent the public from knowing what is in this massive legislation that even members of Congress are unlikely to have read. That is also the only reason that makes sense for postponing the time when Obamacare goes into action after the next presidential election.

What does calling this medical care legislation "historic" mean? It means that previous administrations gave up the idea when it became clear that the voting public did not want government control of medical care. What is "historic" is that this will be the first administration to show that it doesn't care one bit what the public wants or doesn't want.

In short, this is not about the public's health. It is about Obama's ego and his chance to impose his will and leave a legacy.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate