Obama misread national sentiment on health care
By Beth Cody, Writers’ Group member
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Congress is on vacation during August and freedom lovers can breathe bit easier, at least for a few weeks.

This week hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars won’t be given to favored companies that made stupid choices. This week trillions won’t be added to the deficit to further enslave our children.

And this won’t be the week that government sets in motion plans to make us all dependent on government for our health and for our very lives – the dream of every socialist, and the hope of many well-meaning fools.

The bad news: in a couple of weeks, our president and congress will get busy again subjugating the citizenry, crippling our economy and bankrupting our nation.

The good news: a lot of people have lately demonstrated that they actually care about these things and have finally stood up against the madness that has been taking place.

Numerous people are attending town hall meetings or other discussions, and are calling and writing their congressmen. Many of these people have never gotten involved with politicians before but are finally moved to do so by the prospect of government-rationed health care.

This is really pretty heartening to those of us who have watched the general populace’s inaction during President Bush’s assault on civil liberties and increases in entitlements and debt, as well as President Obama’s recent steroidal increases in government.

Yes, many of these protesters are motivated partly by partisanship – where were they when President Bush was voting for Medicare Part D, etc.? But many are genuinely frightened.

90% of Americans under age 65 have health insurance and most are happy with the care they receive. They feel it’s one thing to pay a little extra in taxes to support health care programs for the poor or elderly.

But it’s another thing entirely to have your power of choice taken away from you and given to government bureaucrats, who will ration your care according to formulas.

Which is inevitably what will happen, despite the repeated, false assurances of President Obama.

Americans are not stupid: we can see what has happened in England, Canada and other countries that have government health care:

- waiting lists on which people languish for years until many are too sick to treat
- increased discrimination against the elderly and minorities
- the death knell of innovation and new lifesaving treatments
- medical facilities run like American V.A. Hospitals

The majority of Americans (according to polls) do not want this.

But President Obama and many members of congress don’t seem to care what we want. They know what would be “best” for us, and they intend to enact it.

And they seem genuinely surprised and mystified by our objections. The sheer number of people taking a passionate interest in this issue has taken them off guard.

And when elected officials are caught off guard, the results are rarely pretty: citizens asking the tough questions have been labeled “un-American,” Nazis, “angry mobs of right-wing extremists,” insurance company lackeys and “astroturf” (not real grass-roots protesters – how clever).

This is in addition to the famed White House directive to report “disinformation” about Obama’s plan (anything “that seems fishy”) to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Name-calling, personal attacks and implied threats of government surveillance are reprehensible and un-democratic – and signs of desperation.

President Obama’s health care plan cannot be defended directly, because he does not want to articulate how it will actually affect the majority of citizens who now enjoy a health care system that is the envy of the world.

Yes, there are problems, but most of those have been caused by government over-regulation in the first place.

We only need laws allowing individuals more freedom in buying health insurance, which will bring prices down – not a one-size-fits-all government bureaucrat-centered plan that has not worked well anywhere else in the world.

President Obama has clearly misgauged the national sentiment, and should back down.

But he must pass something to save face, and the result will be a watered-down bill that makes things worse than they are now with more regulations and less freedom for individuals.

Better than the disaster of outright socialized medicine, but still the wrong direction. I suppose we should be grateful.