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It's Worse Than We Thought

February 16, 2009

Perhaps it was all the hoopla about the historic nature of Barack Obama's presidency. Maybe the hype of election night and all that talk about wishing our first black president well actually made us all believe, for just a fleeting moment in time, that things would not be as bad as we feared they would be. It turns out they are worse.

After the president's first press conference, it was clear that he is completely in over his head. His long, rambling answers to the questions directed to him went from tedious to boring and finally to embarrassing. The man really doesn't know what he's talking about.

Iran's attitude has been "unhelpful" in the search for peace in the Middle East? What kind of analysis is that? They threaten to wipe Israel off the map every chance they get! Unhelpful?

Then there is the bloated, pork-laden, so-called stimulus package the geniuses in Congress have devised to fulfill their leader's vision of how to "fix" the economy. Having failed to garner a single GOP vote for this boondoggle in the House, Obama worked very hard to wine and dine and charm the three most liberal RINOs in the Senate (Collins, Snowe and Specter) to vote for it. Like the emperor sporting his nonexistent new clothes, Obama can now claim minimal bipartisan support for this unconstitutional transfer of wealth.

Most Americans (especially those who voted for him) are reluctant to turn on their new president just yet. It's like an increasingly intense case of buyer's remorse. You loved the product on the store shelf. So how can you feel this nagging desire to return it? And just when you think you made a terrible mistake, you have this sickening realization that all sales are final.

As for the "stimulus" bill itself, there is a sense that the president and his Democrat Congress want to ram it down our throats before anyone can sift through the bill's laundry list of liberal fantasies and hold it up to the ridicule it so richly deserves.

But aside from the waste, the pork and the needless spending provisions of the bill, there are aspects of this legislation that make it dangerous. In a Bloomberg News commentary, Betsy McCaughey writes:

"Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion...Senators should read these provisions and vote against them...The bill's health rules will affect 'every individual in the United States.'"

McCaughey reports that the bill calls for all medical treatments to be tracked electronically by a new federal bureaucracy known as the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, which will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is administering what the federal government considers appropriate and cost effective health care. All this is the brain child of former Senator and disgraced tax cheat Tom Daschle, who recently had to withdraw his name from nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The goal, writes McCaughey, is "to reduce costs and guide your doctor's decisions. These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, 'Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.' According to Daschle, doctors have to learn to give up autonomy and 'learn to operate less like solo practitioners.'"

Hospitals and doctors that are not "meaningful users" of the new system will face penalties. "Meaningful user is not defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose "more stringent measures of meaningful use over time."

Daschle says health care reform "will not be pain free." Seniors, he says, should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. And you thought the government wouldn't ration your health care.

These provisions, combined with the unprecedented spending of this bill, prove once more that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are destined to repeat them. As we used to say in the days of fighting Hillary Care, if those on the Left ever realize their dream of universal health care, we will finally have a bureaucracy with the efficiency of the Post Office, the frugality of the Pentagon and the compassion of the IRS.

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Copyright ©2009 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.