Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Negative Reviews Of Senate Bill

In the wake of the Senate vote to end cloture on the health care bill, numerous analysts have chimed in with negative reviews. Here are some excerpts from a few of them:

"Passing health reform could be a nightmare for Obama" (Samuelson, Washington Post, 12/21/2009):
...Even if Congress passes legislation -- a good bet -- the finished product will fall far short of Obama's extravagant promises. It will not cover everyone. It will not control costs. It will worsen the budget outlook. It will lead to higher taxes. It will disrupt how, or whether, companies provide insurance for their workers. As the real-life (as opposed to rhetorical) consequences unfold, they will rebut Obama's claim that he has "solved" the health-care problem.
"Change Nobody Believes In" (Wall Street Journal, 12/21/2009):
...The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that "reform" has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state.
The WSJ also criticizes the following specific elements:
Health costs
Steep declines in choice and quality
Blowing up the federal fisc
Political intimidation
Finally, this essay has been circulating around the blogosphere: "Why the Reid Bill is Unconstitutional" (Richard Epstein, 12/12/2009). His central point:
In effect, the onerous obligations under the Reid Bill would convert private health insurance companies into virtual public utilities. This action is not only a source of real anxiety but also a decision of constitutional proportions, for it systematically strips the regulated health-insurance issuers of their constitutional entitlement to earn a reasonable rate of return on the massive amounts of capital that they have already invested in building out their businesses.
The big question is whether these arguments will gain any traction against the back room deal-making by the politicians. We'll find out soon...