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August 14, 2009

Get Out Of The Way! Or Else!

Joe Charlebois

The left wing machine is pushing the idea that opponents and skeptics of arguably the most sweeping change to our free market system are stooges or tools of corporate interests or a large right wing cabal. The leaders of these attacks on town hall participants are coming from the most politically powerful members of Congress and the White House itself.


Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D., CA) and Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (D., MD) have called those participating in the most democratic of political processes “un-American.” The discourse at this summer’s town hall meetings may not be the most polite interactions between the citizens and their elected officials, but that does not take away from the points that they are making.


Largely those who are attending these town hall meetings and are sharing their concerns and speaking their minds are anything but corporate mouthpieces. They, for the most part, are senior citizens, business owners or concerned citizens who in essence gave up hundreds of dollars in lost wages or profits in order to attend one of these meetings.


The opponents and others who are skeptical see a federally run healthcare alternative as a further intrusion of the federal government into the private sector. Most importantly, there is the legal question: Where does The Constitution give the power to our representatives to offer such a welfare program? There are no enumerated powers to allow the federal government to determine whether or not we must enroll in a public or private healthcare plan.


Further, they feel that since the federal government – as a business – does not have to make budget and can run a deficit, the private insurers are destined for failure simply based on the fact that the competing plans would be built on two entirely different business models and – through attrition – would see their enrollment decline. The effects of decreased enrollment would raise rates due to increased risk level.


They are also concerned that finite resources will lead to limited care. They are concerned that “Quality of Life Years” will be used by the government system in order to determine if our elders will receive treatment later in life. They are concerned that instead of the family and family doctor advising on potential end-of-life decisions they will have a federally incentivized physician or social worker making those advisements.


They are concerned that they will be forced into the federal plan if they change jobs or lose their job. They are afraid of over 1,000 pages of “legalize” that can’t be easily interpreted. They can’t understand why such an important piece of legislation needs to be rushed through before any of the legislators have a chance to read it. Most of the members of the House of Representatives still have yet to read the bill weeks after the president urged its immediate passage.


Prior to the administration’s introduction of these comprehensive healthcare plans (one written, the others currently in debate) the public was behind the general concept of universal healthcare. This was based on the perception that there are nearly 50 million people who go without medical care on any particular day.


Any reasonable and honest review of these numbers shows that only 11 million of these nearly 50 million fall into the category of needing healthcare coverage. The other millions are either illegal immigrants; or those who earn over three times the poverty level; or those who choose not to have insurance; or, finally, those who are eligible for current programs offered by the federal government and are not enrolled. With the fact that the American people are by far and away the most generous in the world, it comes as no surprise that polls showed that a majority wanted these millions covered by some sort of government program.


Prior to the release of HR3200 “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” the public had no idea what Congress or the president had in mind and how invasive the law would be into their lives.


Now that the bill has been posted, average citizens who have for a lifetime abided by the maxim of “never speak publically about religion or politics” can hold their tongue no longer. They must speak up, and must speak up now. They see the future. They see how this will affect their children and their children’s children, and they are scared. Many of these new citizen activists spent their early years fighting the evils of countries that severely limited personal freedoms. They never in their wildest dreams would have imagined that they would be fighting in their own towns for their own and their progeny’s freedom.


In many of the town hall meetings those who question the legitimacy of this bill are being bullied – literally and figuratively – by the likes of the president’s allies in the labor unions, specifically the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). This has only seemed to embolden them even more.


With the administration cracking down on free speech every day the president is losing the respect and trust that was plentiful just seven months ago. The president does not like dissent; he wants those who disagree – or have real questions – to be quiet and go away. It was commonly thought that he was going to reach across the aisle. Obviously he has decided that listening to any other options is a waste of time.


In response to the opposition criticisms Mr. Obama stated: “I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way...”


The president and Congress have gravely misread the public and the more the citizens are bullied into accepting their ‘medicine’ – because that’s what is good for them – the harder that bitter pill will be spat at their feet. These are freedom fighters of the first order, they won’t back down easily.


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