The long hard struggle over health care reform has many of us dazed, confused and dispirited. If you thought that the fight was nearly over, you're sadly mistaken. For those that support the notion of reform on the left and in the center, think again if you believe that this current legislative marathon is the end of it.
If we allow the two bills to merge into a successfully passed bill for the President to sign, our long national nightmare will have just begun.
Representative Clyburn is quoted by Fox News regarding the current bill as a first step this way:
"If we can come up with a process by which these three things can be done, then I'm all for it. Whether or not we label it a public option or not is of no consequence. What we want to do is get good, effective results from whatever we put in place," he said.
So, as Mark Steyn of National Review Online has been saying for months, debating the size and shape of the public option is a distraction: the whole bill is a public option. This is what the Democrats are saying through their Whip, Rep. Clyburn.
It's clear that they expect that this "soup sandwich" of a bill that they want signed by the President is only the first version of nationalized health care. They do not care what the bill does, what it says or how much it costs, because to them it is just a first step. Senator Obama was quoted in 2007 as saying he favors a single payer system, and understands that it will take 10-15 years to get there.
It is also clear that if they succeed, Health Care will always be something that needs more attention or more action to make it better. Again, Mark Steyn at National Review, points out that once 'the Rubicon' of health care has been crossed once:
As the savvier Dems have always known, once you’ve crossed the Rubicon, you can endlessly re-reform your health reform until the end of time, and all the stuff you didn’t get this go-round will fall into place, and very quickly.
So the reality is that the details of this bill don't matter to the Democrats -- and we shouldn't let them matter either. Fighting about whether the bill will cost $1.8T or $891B is absolutely the wrong fight to have -- neither number is right, and the real number is unknowable because the program will never be 'fixed' or run well enough to track its real cost. The only cost that truly matters is the destruction of freedom that this bill represents.
The only argument to have is counter the assertions that this bill is a 'historic' or 'moral' cause, which the Democrats have unceasingly used as their justification.
This bill is only 'historic' in the sense that it alters our Republic in ways not seen since its inception; we change from a nation of freedom and opportunity to one of wealth redistribution and entitlement without end. We change from a nation of limited government to one which will end up controlling how we live, where we live, what we eat -- and possibly what size family we are 'entitled' to have. We put ourselves on a trajectory that matches the UK, Canada and Europe--endless dissatisfaction with the resulting system and endless promises by politicians and bureaucrats to make new reforms to 'fix' the system.
The 'moral' cause that the left insists upon is the 'right' to health care. Everyone should have 'equal access' to health care in their view, and 'the government' should pay for it. Again, this changes the very nature of our republic -- from a recognition that "We the People" are the government, and its limited powers arise from the consent of the governed -- to a view that government is there to provide the needs of the people, and that it knows how to meet those needs more effectively.
The assertion that those that need health care are not getting it drives the left to use the force of government to achieve that end, while at the same time inhibiting the charitable and private means that provide care now (and have done so for decades). We need to counter the argument that government is the best solution with the reality that charitable and private hospitals have been the sources of significant service to those in need, while at the same time being among the most innovative and effectively run.
But one thing is absolutely clear: We must keep fighting this until it is defeated. We cannot simply trim the bill back to 'acceptable' limits in conference, because anything that survives will eventually morph into an unmanageable mess that will drain the life out of this nation.