Friday, March 12, 2010

They Were Not the Ones We've Been Waiting For

I would call Nancy Pelosi's statement the "we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what is in it ..." qualifies as an unforced error. I assume that she did not mean to say that no one knows what is in the bill but was trying to convey something along the lines of "just wait, you'll like it." (The words immediately following the offending quote were "away from the fog of controversy.")

Putting aside the idea that honest controversy constitutes a "fog," I nevertheless think that what she did not mean to say is more accurate than the meaning that she did intend.

She wants the public to "trust" their leaders to do what is "right." We needn't know now just what that will be.

Not only are there relatively few legislators who know what is in the bill, knowing what is in the bill is of limited help in finding out just what it will do to our health care system. As Charles Kesler writes in the latest issue of the indispensable Claremont Review of Books, the House bill, for example, contains:

scores of places where power is delegated to administrative agencies and special boards, which are charged to fill the gaps in the written legislation by
promulgating thousands,if not tens of thousands of new regulations that will
then be applied to individual cases. Voters sometimes complain that legislators
don't read the laws they enact. Why should they,in this case? You could read
this leviathan until your eyeballs popped out and still not find any "settled,
standing rules" or meaning that is "indifferent,and the same to all parties.

Of course, the administrative state is not a creation of the health care bill, but this is an extraordinary expansion of it in an area that is of great personal interest to and has a direct and immediately discernable impact upon individuals. Are there "death panels" or other mechanisms for rationing care in the bill? Well, there are certainly processes by which such rationing could occur. Just how it will happen is to be determined later.

Speaker Pelosi has made fun of ObamaCare critics who have suggested less ambitious reform ridiculing an "eensy,weensy spider" way of proceeding. Maybe so, but the public is understandably hinky about placing the most effective and advanced health care system in the world (and I mean both of those things) - one that delivers satisfactory care to an overwhelming majority of the population - into the hands of unknown pashas.

In the same speech, Speaker Pelosi gushes about how wonderful things will be. There will be "prevention, prevention, prevention" because its about "diet, not diabetes." I think that the public understands that when the good life is to be provided by the state, liberty, as Kesler puts it, "ceases to be a right and becomes a gift." It turns out that the public is less interested in being saved by Speaker Pelosi and President Obama than was commonly assumed.


Nick said...

A great example of this is the Patriot Act, which few legislators actually read, or were even given the opportunity to read, but was instead marched down the aisle and everyone said, we must pass this.

The legalities and constitutionality of the damn thing is still being decided even today, and several things having been found to be unconstitutional.

Do we really want to repeat this with HCR?

JP said...


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Anonymous said...

All this coming from the guy who has said the Wyden-Bennett bill, which completely remakes the health care insurance market, is more promising. I don't think that's incorrect, separating insurance from employment makes a lot of sense, but the sentiment certainly makes complaining about complexity and the unknowns of the current bill to be disingenuous at best.

apexcutter said...

"Hinky". I learned a new word today.

Anonymous said...

Gingrich had the best line in the face of the potential "slaughter" of Article I, Section 7 - "Last year, the House was passing bills without reading them. This year, they’re passing bills without voting on them."

Anonymous said...

The health care bill appears to be a matter of throwing enough s*** against the wall hoping that some will stick.

Wisconsin's move toward price transparency appears to be a step in the right direction.

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