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We're Headed Straight Off a Cliff If Health Care Passes

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AP

Editor's note: Caterpillar has offered the following clarification: "Caterpillar has not stated that the company has had layoffs as a result of the health care legislation. While the company has had recent workforce reductions, they were in no way associated with the health care legislation."

Pork is the preferred legislative meat for members of Congress, but this weekend they opted for bologna as they tried to convince the public – and themselves – that their so-called “health care” or health insurance “reform” monstrosity will be good for us. At least Castor oil was supposed to work even though it tasted awful. This bill not only tastes bad, it will curdle the best health care system in the world, which could be made a lot better, but will be made much worse with many of the provisions in this legislation.

Democrats now readily admit that Medicare is full of waste, fraud and abuse, but they want us to believe they can run an even larger venture without throwing additional money away. Amazing!

President Obama again claimed in Saturday remarks to the House Democratic caucus that the bill will reduce the deficit by $1.3 trillion. He must know that isn’t true because the money “saved” from Medicare cuts will go to pay for new spending. Only in Washington can you save money and spend money at the same time.

Addressing critics of the bill, President Obama said no one is “going to pull the plug on grandma.” They won’t have to. Grandma will be denied treatment because she will be too much of a financial burden on government. It’s called rationing. Grandma had better start working out, eating lots of oatmeal and hope she doesn’t get sick. Why do you think the president kept mentioning sick children? It’s because children are the ones who will get the most – and best – treatment. Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Ezekiel, has said government has a right to decide how many health care dollars you are worth. And if children with a lifelong taxpaying potential are worth more than grandma who is taking more from the tax pot than she is contributing, that’s too bad for grandma.

The president also said the bill will save money by requiring only one test by the doctor “not five tests.” But what if the first test doesn’t reveal the nature of an illness? Suppose a cancer is hiding in one organ and the test is for cancer in another organ? A second (or fifth) test might reveal the location of the disease, but under Obamacare, a government bureaucrat will allow just one test. -- It’s a form of Russian roulette.

The president promised again “you can keep your doctor.” But what if the doctor quits because he or she can’t afford to accept reduced fees mandated by government to keep costs down, while paying ever-increasing premiums for malpractice insurance to protect the doctor from lawsuits, which, by the way, is another reason the doctor did so many tests.

Companies sometimes test-market new products in regions of the country to see how well they sell. Government-run health care has been test-marketed in Massachusetts and it is a disaster. The cost of the state’s insurance program has ballooned by 42 percent, or almost $600 million. According to an analysis by the Rand Corporation, “in the absence of policy change, health care spending in Massachusetts is projected to nearly double to $123 billion in 2020, increasing 8 percent faster than the state’s gross domestic product.”

The cost of insurance in Massachusetts is the highest in the nation. Double-digit rate increases are expected again this year. Yet, President Obama claimed Saturday that under the Democrats’ plan, rates will go down. How is this possible? If Massachusetts can’t run a cost-effective health program, how can the federal government? And by the way, the only reason Massachusetts has not gone broke (but is headed there) is because Washington has conducted large transfusions of cash because it has a vested interest in protecting the illusion of Massachusetts’ success.

The president said we should support the health insurance bill out of “a sense of neighborliness and community.” When I was growing up, that meant you, not government, helped your neighbor. Government was a last resort, not a first resource. Never has “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” sounded more like an empty promise.

Remember when Democrats used to care about debt as a burden to our children and grandchildren? They claimed to care about debt when it was a “mere” $450 billion under George W. Bush. Now it’s headed toward the trillions. Where are the green eye-shade Democrats now? They’re spending us into debt as fast as the Treasury can print the money – or the Chinese will lend it to us. The interest on the national debt now exceeds the GDP of some countries.
Total U.S. debt has soared to an all-time high of 370 percent of yearly economic output. That far exceeds its peak of 300 percent during the Great Depression.

Jobs will be lost because of this bill. Already, Caterpiller Company is laying-off workers because it estimates the health care bill will cost the company $100 million.

Why should we believe the promises of politicians? While the president and Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted Medicare, what they forgot to mention was that the cost of that program (and the waste, fraud and abuse that is rampant in it) was supposed to be a fraction of today’s cost. In fact, it was sold on the basis of low cost.

There are no such things as cheap government programs. They become like the "Blob That Ate Tokyo," gobbling up everything in their path.

President Obama quoted Abraham Lincoln, who said he was “bound to be true” and suggested that he, too, was bound to be true. This legislation is so full of budget gimmicks, tricks and lies that the only thing true about is that it will make health care in America worse, not better.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated newspaper columnist and a Fox News contributor. 

Fox Forum is on Twitter. Follow us @fxnopinion.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

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