Have you noticed something about the audiences that President Obama has cherry-picked to cheer his government health care takeover roadshow? They're getting younger and younger.
On Wednesday, Obama brings the traveling campaign to St. Charles High School in St. Louis, Mo., for a closed-door, invitation-only speech. If he doesn't end the endless "No More Time For Talk" talks soon, he'll be peddling Democratic reconciliation tactics on "Dora the Explorer" and "SpongeBob SquarePants."
But desperate times call for demagogic measures. True to form, the Obama White House is wielding the human kiddie shield as its last-stand defense for Demcare.
On Monday, Obama surrounded himself with a ticketed-only crowd of Arcadia University college students in Pennsylvania (sprinkled with purple-shirted officials from the Service Employees International Union, natch). The Washington-based commander in chief traveled outside his Beltway bubble to a campus bubble to trash the political climate, which he leads.
"That's just how Washington is. They can't help it," he pontificated as the idealistic young students nodded like empty bobbleheads. "They"?
You won't be surprised by Obama's biggest applause line of the speech: peddling a Big Nanny provision in the Senate-passed health care bill that requires insurance plans that cover dependents to provide benefits to children up to age 26. Vowed Santa Obama: "If you're a young adult, which many of you are, you'll be able to stay on your parents' insurance policy until you're 26 years old." Whoops and huzzahs erupted from the eager wards of the permanent, ever-expanding Nanny State.
As I've reported before, there are now an estimated 20 states that have already passed legislation requiring insurers to cover adult children. The slacker mandates cover "kids" ranging in age from 24 to 31. And it's these very government health care mandates that contribute to rising health care costs.
But there was no time for higher learning at Arcadia University. Out: education. In: adulation. "I love you!" screamed a cult follower in the stands. "Love you back," Obama responded.
Now comes word from The Hill that Senate Democratic leaders want to graft Obama's single-payer plan to nationalize the student loan market onto the Senate health care reconciliation bill. That way, Obama's college-age foot soldiers can argue that a vote against Demcare is a vote against The Children.
How low can they go? One of Obama's youngest lobbyists -- 11-year-old Marcelas Owens of Washington State -- traveled to D.C. on Tuesday on the dime of astroturf group HCAN (Health Care for America Now). His 27-year-old mother, Tiffany, died of pulmonary hypertension. According to the family, Ms. Owens -- a single mother of three -- lost her job as a fast-food manager and lost her insurance. She received emergency care and treatment throughout her illness, but died in 2007.
Young Marcelas -- goaded by his left-wing activist grandmother and promoted by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray -- is now a regular on the pro-Obamacare circuit and is leading a congressional sit-in until the Democratic plan passes. He admits he doesn't understand the complexities of health insurance reform and doesn't "think it's anyone's fault" that his mom passed away. "But they could have done more" for her, he says.
It's a heart-wrenching story, but the tale raises more questions than it answers. Washington State offers a plethora of existing government assistance programs to laid-off and unemployed workers like Marcelas' mom. Why didn't she enroll? Second, she died nine months after she reportedly lost her health insurance. By the time she lost her coverage through her employer, she was apparently already in dire health straits. It's not clear that additional doctors' visits in the subsequent months would have prevented her death.
All that said, the Owens' case demonstrates the flaws of the employer-based system of health insurance. It needs real reform. Unfortunately, the current crop of Democratic plans would leave the employer-based system fully intact. What we need are grownups to start over from scratch and leave the kids on the playground.