The Gloves Come off

The Gloves Come off

The clash over health care reform is coming sooner than most of us thought. During yesterday’s press conference to announce Tom Daschle as head of Health and Human Services (HHS), Barack Obama said the solution to our current economic crisis is government-controlled health care. The next President put conservatives on high alert by promising to add major health components to next month’s economic stimulus package.

“It’s not something we can sort of put off because we’re in an emergency,” Obama tried to justify. “This is part of the emergency,” he told reporters. Already, the stimulus stands to cost taxpayers more than $500 billion, and unlike other legislation, emergency bills are not subject to open debate or pay-go rules, which ensure that anything Congress spends is paid for up front. For an incoming president hoping to make an immediate impact, it is certainly a cunning move; but for social and fiscal conservatives, this should be cause for great concern. Among other things, Obama’s plan would increase Medicaid spending, expand anti-parental features of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and overhaul medical records technology.

In effect, President Obama is using a financial recovery bill as an excuse to redefine social policy. Unfortunately, this approach will obviate a full-scale debate to vet the plan’s objectionable details-not the least of which is its mammoth price tag. Meanwhile, the new administration is hoping to deflect any criticism by suggesting that Americans host holiday parties to “brainstorm” changes to the U.S. health system. Seriously, in a speech today, Daschle promised to make a surprise visit to one of these homes and take the ideas directly to the President, as if policy making were some sort of bureaucratic sweepstakes.

Maybe voters will buy the line that this makes them an invested part of the political process. To me, it sounds like a gimmick to cover up the President’s plans to ramrod an expanded federal role in health care through the legislature without so much as a candid conversation in Congress. FRC is moving quickly to counter the move with our friends on the Hill, but we need your help. Your leaders must hear from you that camouflaging health care reform in an economic recovery package is unacceptable. If the American people are paying for Obama’s reform, surely they deserve a voice in it. Contact your House and Senate officials today and help us hold off the liberals’ first strike.

** With the ability to preside over American health policy, Daschle is likely to make significant changes to pro-life guidelines on conscience protections, abstinence education, and abortion policy. For more on his record, please stop by our continuing feature “Change Watch” on http://www.frcblog.com. Also, don’t miss today’s item on Greg Craig, a former Clinton attorney and Obama’s choice for White House Counsel. **

Additional Resources

Change Watch Backgrounder: Tom Daschle

Pray that government reduces in size and that they don’t take over our health care. More taxes, less control of our lives and incompetent oversight.