We should have "an honest debate" on health care, said Barack Obama in his Aug. 22 radio address, "not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions."
Among the "phony claims" made against the House bill, says the president, are that it provides funding for abortions, guarantees coverage for illegal aliens, contains "death panels" and represents a federal takeover of the health care system.
Is Obama right? Are critics misleading and frightening folks with falsehoods about Obamacare?
Well, let us inspect each of those "phony claims."
Does the House bill fund abortions? No.
However, while the House Energy and Commerce Committee at first voted to exclude abortions from "essential" services, to the howls of NOW, Chairman Henry Waxman conducted a second vote, to drop the anti-abortion amendment. That vote carried.
In short, funding for abortions remains an open question. And whether Obama agrees to drop it to assure passage, he supports the Freedom of Choice Act that would, opponents insist, overturn every state and federal restriction, including the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal funding. Obama has already used his authority to lift the Reagan administration prohibition against using foreign aid funds to procure abortions abroad.
Obama is a pro-abortion absolutist. And if abortion-funding is not in the final health care bill, does anyone doubt that Democrats will move swiftly to incorporate it in future legislation?
As for illegal aliens, Obama is right again. They are not covered in any of the five bills. All their children are automatic citizens and are covered, however. And no illegal alien who comes to an emergency room can be denied care. And there is no eligibility verification screening provided for in any of the bills to sort out and exclude illegal aliens.
Obama said in Mexico City he is determined to put our 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens on a "path to citizenship." That would make them legal immigrants. And legal immigrants are covered.
Moreover, a high percentage of all immigrants, legal and illegal, are poor, uneducated, unskilled and unable to find the kind of jobs that carry health insurance. We have some 40 million immigrants today, with another 100 million expected by 2050.
Any national health insurance system put in place today is going to be swamped if we do not close the borders and halt immigration.
Obama and the Democrats, who are almost all pro-abortion and pro-amnesty, are assuring us their health care bill will not advance these goals to which they are committed by ideology. This is disingenuous at best.
What about the "death panels." No, they are not in the bill. Nor is there any doctor's right to perform euthanasia or mercy-killing.
Obama's resolve to cut health care costs, at the same time he repeatedly reminds us that half of all such costs are incurred in the last six months of life, however, points straight to rationed care for the elderly ill, where drugs, procedures and operations necessary to life are going to be curtailed or cut off. There is no other way to get there.
And if government bureaucrats are making those decisions, can they not fairly be called death panels, especially if the folks for whom they are deciding are suffering from such diseases as senility and Alzheimer's?
How do you curtail or cut care for the elderly sick and terminally ill without advancing the date of their deaths? Sarah Palin may have been factually incorrect, but her instincts about what is coming were dead-on.
What of Obama's dismissal as "phony" the claim that the "public option" for health insurance must lead to a government takeover?
But did not Barney Frank say the government option is the best way to a single-payer system -- that is, a government monopoly? Barack says he wants competition. But in the past, he, too, has spoken of favoring a single-payer system and he, too, has said a public option is the first step on a 10- or 20-year march to single-payer.
Because Obama has ceased talking of a single-payer system and it is not in the bill does not mean that a public option will not put us on the road to government control.
Indeed, does anyone believe Barack has any objections to government-run universal health care? Does anyone think that a government-run insurance program, with access to tax revenues and the ability to undercut all competition, will not crowd out private insurance and take us to where Barney and Barack want to go?
Both Barney and Barack are pro-abortion and pro-amnesty. Both have spoken favorably of a single-payer system where Uncle Sam shoulders aside the insurance companies that Nancy Pelosi calls the "villains" in the health care system.
As a Fabian socialist, however, Obama will accept a small victory, if the road leads toward ultimate triumph and the alternative is a big defeat.
Thus, what the center-right needs to do is administer to this Fabian socialist a decisive defeat in a big battle -- like this one we are in.