July 30, 2009 [LINK / comment]
Health care Armagdeddon
Rallies in favor of and against President Obama's health care initiative are being held all across Virginia, and all across the nation. The President himself appeared in Bristol to pitch his plan for the many low-income folks who live in that Appalachian region. He didn't exactly get a hero's welcome, however, as many protesters showed up, decrying socialism and state control. See the News Leader. A "Hands Off My Health Care" bus tour caravan departed Richmond, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. It will arrive in Staunton, the closing event this Saturday. I will be out of town by then, unfortunately.
While I fully agree with those who oppose what Obama is pushing, I take issue with the "hands off" rhetoric. Any genuine health care reform will have to address the equity issue in which many millions of Americans receive health care insurance benefits from their employers without paying taxes on this compensation. It is unfair to those who do not enjoy such benefits, including many self-employed people. As Sen. John McCain said during last year's campaign, those benefits should be taxes just like regular income. Thus far, Obama resists that approach, not wanting to upset too many people. Ironically, he is in agreement with most of those protesters!
In case anyone is interested in what is contained in the fine print of the proposed legislation, read the memo on "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" house.gov.
The Blue Dog Democrats are apparently considering a compromise package that would have less destructive impact on the budget. Here's an idea for a grand compromise: put the following disclaimer on the application form for every American who wants to be part of "Obamacare":
The undersigned unconditionally relinquishes to the Federal Government full discretion over life-saving medical procedures, and agrees to abide by any decision regarding euthanasia. He or she also expressly severs from his or her estate any claims that may be made by his or her family members after such death occurs.
That way it would be truly "voluntary," with all the ramifications spelled out in black and white.
The current issue of National Review has a hilarious cover, with a grinning Dr. Obama putting on his rubber gloves: Just bend over and relax, America, and it won't hurt so much!
Is Obama a real citizen?
Speaking of the National Review, their editors reject outright the trumped-up dispute over the president's citizenship status: "President Obama was born on August 4, 1961, at 7:24 p.m, in Honolulu County, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu." Hat tip to Doug Mataconis, who hopes "this will help set to rest the idea that birtherism is anything other than the rantings of delusional conspiracy theorists." Meanwhile, the (in-)famous Mike Stark (remember him?) staged a video ambush on Capitol Hill, making fun of Republican legislators who pander to the "birthers." See youtube.com; hat tip to Bill who posted a comment at augustafreepress.com. (Lots of juicy tidbits there!)
In sum, let's not get distracted by red-herring accusastions, folks. There are far more important "fish" to fry than that.