"Folks are skeptical, and that is entirely legitimate." Barack Obama, discussing his health-care proposal July 22, 2009
The president's press conference last week to sell his health-care plan brought to mind nothing so much as the last time a car salesman urged me to sign on the dotted line right now, before I left the lot, because this was a great deal, time was of the essence, and wouldn't I like to add a few more expensive accessories on easy credit?
There was no need to look too closely at the paperwork; the details could be worked out later. Trust him.
I was not persuaded. Agree in haste, some of us have learned from bitter experience, can mean repenting at leisure.
Just what is the president's health-care plan, anyway? As you might have suspected, Gentle and Wary Reader, the details are not only hazy but unavailable at the moment. They'll all be worked out later. Trust him.
Everything will fall in neat place after the president and his enforcers, like Nancy Pelosi and Co. in the House, line up the votes for still another huge spending bill that can be passed without going through the bother of reading it.
For assuring precedents, see the hasty history of the president's $787-billion economic stimulus. You can see how well that's worked out by checking out the latest, rising unemployment figures. Or just stand back and admire no need to look too closely at this administration's mystery cap-and-trade package. What all's in there exactly, and how much will it cost? Estimates vary. Widely.
When it comes to informed consent, Congress is expected to consent, not be informed. Just try to get a grip on the actual, life-and-death provisions in this health-care plan and all you come up with is a handful of air. Free abortions for all? End-of-life care or non-care? Public health insurance to replace the one you now have? Who knows?
Whenever specific questions were raised at this press conference, our ever assured president just repeated his talking points, as if he were still on the campaign trail addressing rapturous audiences. No need to go into detail when he could go into his usual spiel instead:
"Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick or lose their job or change their job. It's about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive. It's about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.…"
Ah, Reform! What crimes have been committed in thy name! And just what is all this Reform going to consist of, besides still more government debt? Who knows?
Compared to this president's big serving of haze called reform, Hillarycare (remember it?) looks solid and substantial. At least that scheme was laid out like some vast, mad Rube Goldberg table of organization, bureaucratization and obfuscation. Its jumble of loose nuts and rusty bolts were in clear view, which is doubtless why the American public declined to buy it.
But with Obamacare, what you get is what you don't see. We're all just supposed to close our eyes (and minds), sign on the dotted line, and not ask too many questions, especially about the cost.
Why worry about the cost, anyway? To hear the president and speaker of the House explain it, that'll all be taken care of by the country's millionaires, who'll simply be taxed more. Just send the bill to Golden Goose, Inc. Once it's killed, all the rest of us will have free medical care.
At least that's the line our super-salesman of a president wants us to buy and Buy Now! Preferably before Congress recesses next month or at least by next year before too many questions arise, and before anybody knows just what's going to be in this health-care plan in a poke.
Why the rush? Because, as he explained, "If you don't set deadlines in this town, things don't happen. The default position is inertia."
Inertia never looked so good. Indeed, it's started to look like the best of all possible worlds after listening to Mr. Obama not explain his shiny, chrome-covered, Super Duper Eight of a health-care plan. ("No need to open the hood, ma'am, just kick a tire here and there.") Better the non-system of health care we have now, though it sure needs a lot of work, than the "system" he's selling under wraps.