Friday, September 17, 2010

You Err!

Last Updated: September 16. 2010 1:00AM

Nolan Finley

On Obamacare, Wilson was rude but right

It was a year ago this month that President Barack Obama stood before a joint session of Congress to confront accusations that his health care overhaul would be a national disaster, raising costs for everyone and putting Medicare at risk.

"Bogus claims," said the president.

"You lie!" shouted Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., from the gallery, in a break from decorum that was roundly and rightly chastised.

A year later, we know that Wilson was pretty much right -- Obama did trash the truth to make his health care train wreck seem as if it sprung from the Big Rock Candy Mountain. The president, who told Congress and the American people his bill would, "slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government," now admits this isn't true.



"As a consequence of us getting 30 million additional people health care, at the margins that's going to increase our costs -- we knew that," Obama said last week.

Of course he knew, but he wasn't saying so as he lobbied for the bill's passage. In his 2009 speech, Obama assured Americans the expense of extending coverage to the uninsured would be covered through cost cutting reforms.

In the six months since the president signed the bill, not one significant cost-cutting reform has been adopted. Congress, as predicted, avoided cutting Medicare reimbursement rates, a key component of Obama's projected savings.

Instead of declining, Medicare costs are expected to continue to rise at an average rate of 6.3 percent over the next decade.

And the pain to consumers is already being felt. Next week, the first mandates of Obamacare kick in, and will add 1 percent to 9 percent to insurance premiums.

Those requirements, including the creation of high-risk insurance pools and allowing "children" to stay on their parent's plans until age 26, will boost health expenditures by $10.2 billion over the next 2 1/2 years, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Consumers will pay every dime.

Much of Obama's 2009 speech was aimed at reassuring seniors that Medicare as they knew it would not change, except to become more efficient. But the bill is now expected to drive at least 50 percent of seniors out of Medicare Advantage plans, raising their out-of-pocket costs.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic polices favored by students and young adults are also at risk because of the bill's mandates.

So much for Obama's promise that, "Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have."

As for Obama's assurance that he wouldn't put private insurers out of business, his Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, this week contradicted that claim in warning insurance companies not to blame rate hikes on Obamacare lest they be cut off from government payments. In other words, toe the administration's propaganda line or risk going to the gulag. Even free speech is sacrificed to keep the Big Lie of Obamacare from exposure.

Nearly all of the promises the president made in advance of Obamacare's passage are unraveling.

There's no reason to trust that any of the benefits touted by Obama will materialize, or not to fear that all of the doomsday scenarios -- from rationing to the collapse of the private medical system -- won't.

Joe Wilson, you were rude. But you were right.

Nolan Finley is editorial page editor of The News. Reach him at

From The Detroit News:


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