In the latest issue of the Weekly Standard, my colleague Yuval Levin and I have a short editorial on the White House “summit”on health care coming up later this week. Here’s a short excerpt:
It is now clear that the “summit” the president has called for February 25 is not intended to consider different approaches to health care financing, but rather to create an illusion of momentum that might just lull disoriented congressional Democrats into ramming the health care bill through the budget reconciliation process….
Leading up to the summit, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and White House officials aim to produce a bill that bridges not the yawning gap between Democratic and Republican proposals but the technical differences between House and Senate Democrats. The House and Senate bills do differ on some issues—a government insurance plan, the details of tax increases and Medicare cuts—but they agree on the big picture, which would be the essence of a combined bill: a massively ambitious, costly, intrusive, inefficient, and clumsy combination of mandates, taxes, subsidies, regulations, and new government programs intended over time to replace the American health insurance industry with an enormous federal entitlement while failing to address the rising costs at the heart of our health care dilemma.
It would raise taxes in a tough economic time, cut Medicare benefits without putting the program on a sustainable footing, create a new open-ended entitlement as we confront daunting deficits, and displace the insurance arrangements of millions.
The public has had a good look at all this for a year, and has hardly been tentative in its judgments….
One way or another, this ill-advised legislative process is nearing its end. It will either conclude with the Democrats putting their blinkered and misguided proposal aside, at last to pursue genuine, incremental, modest, and practical health care reforms addressed to the actual problems our system confronts, or it will end with the passage of a ruinous bill rejected by the public and likely to exacerbate both the collapse of our public finances and the explosion of health insurance costs.
It is now up to Republicans and the many Democrats in Congress who increasingly see the folly of their leaders’ ways to make sure this process concludes not with the enactment of Obamacare but with the initiation of a real health care debate. Listen to the voters: Scrap this bill and start over.
The full article is available here.