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OPINION

ObamaCare Decisions Will be Made by Sebelius

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Already known for his flow charts illustrating the complexity of the monstrosity known as ObamaCare, Houston-area Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has just released another chart showing the disorganization and chaos inherent in the new health care legislation that the Democrats rammed through Congress. The flow chart — covering only about one-third of the bill ¬— is expected to provide ammunition for the already-overwhelming opposition to the nearly 3,000 word catastrophe that hands over America’s health care decisions to political appointee Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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Rep. Brady, the ranking Republican on the Joint House-Senate Economic Committee, is in a position to know how the major provisions of ObamaCare will work; after all, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) told America that the bill would have to be passed in order to “find out what’s in it.” Now that most of us are beginning to understand “what’s in it,” the reality, as exposed by the work of the Joint House-Senate Economic Committee, is terrifying. Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and a Bloomberg News columnist, called ObamaCare “the most reckless policy experiment in [America’s] history, the economic equivalent of the Bay of Pigs invasion.”

In my report, Obamanomics, released earlier this summer, I describe the policy initiatives of President Obama’s health care reform and the tax increases that will be necessary to finance them as “a threat to individual families’ finances.” I added, “They are also a threat to the nation’s economic strength, contribute to the financial crisis, and vastly increase the federal debt that economists predict will add to the already existing mountain of debt that promises to burden generations of Americans into the foreseeable future.”

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Rep. Brady’s very detailed and carefully-documented chart substantiates the arguments that I made in Obamanomics. Rep. Brady declares that the clearest threat of ObamaCare is the outrageous expansion of government bureaucracy: a byzantine network of 47 new bureaucratic entities, 68 grant programs, 29 pilot projects, six new regulatory bodies, six new compliance regulations, and the creation of two new agencies with powers to impose future rationing: the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Independent Payments Advisory Board. All these new bureaucracies, instead of the family doctor, will have the frightening power to determine who gets care for what conditions under the new health care provisions.

The scariest aspect, though, is that Secretary Sebelius has virtually unchallenged authority to make the official decisions regarding ObamaCare. She will be assisted by Donald Berwick, who was just given a recess appointment to oversee Medicare and Medicaid because he was so controversial that he couldn’t even get a hearing from the Democrats on the Hill. Berwick has been quite outspoken about his support for rationing of care for the elderly and for those with conditions that are “too expensive” to treat, as well as his admiration for the British socialized medicine system.

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The ramifications of ObamaCare could become obvious very soon, since the American taxpayer will be funding the changes required by the new legislation; some estimates go as high as $569 billion. Also, we already know that much of ObamaCare will be funded out of cuts from Medicare, which means rationing and decreased quality care for the elderly. Further, Rep. Brady reports that, as early as 2013, up to 117 million Americans will lose their employer-based insurance, thereby having to buy new health care coverage under the rules of ObamaCare. These new plans are estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to rise by about $2,100 for some families.

The ranking GOP member of the committee, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), said, “It doesn’t take long to see how the recently signed health care bill causes a hugely expensive and explosive expansion of federal control over health care. Personal choices that should be between a doctor and a patient will quickly be strangled in a never ending web of bureaucracy.”

Rep. Brady’s meticulously-compiled, color-coded flow chart illustrates the monstrosity of ObamaCare. The expansions are in dark blue, health care provisions that are rationed are in orange, new mandates are in yellow, new grant programs are in brown, etc. The bottom line is that if lawmakers are unable to repeal ObamaCare, the nation will be awash in red ink, and everyone will be wearing black armbands of grief for a loved one who was denied care when they desperately needed it.

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