Lest anyone, including Maine’s Olympia Snowe, get too excited about the newly proposed trigger option in the health care proposals:
President Obama has decided that another oration will rejuvenate his health-care agenda—despite having given 27 speeches entirely on health care, and another 92 in which it figured prominently. We’ll see how tomorrow night’s Congressional appeal works out, but the important maneuvers are taking place in the cloak rooms, as the White House tries to staple together a majority.
The latest political gimmick is the notion of a “trigger” for the public option: A new government program for the middle class would only come on line if private insurance companies fail to meet certain benchmarks, such as lowering overall health spending or shrinking the number of the uninsured. This is supposed to appeal to Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, who could end up as ObamaCare’s 60th Senator, while still appeasing the single-payer left.
Liberals should love the idea because a trigger isn’t a substantive concession; it merely ensures that the public option will arrive eventually, instead of immediately. Democrats will goose the tests so that private insurers can’t possibly meet them, mainly by imposing new regulations and other costly burdens.
In other words, triggers are Trojan Horses for the whole public option (i.e., socialized medicine) enchilada.
Incidentally, the Left has a new tactic to advance the Trojan Horses through the Republican lines. They are now telling us that actually reading bills is counterproductive:
Across the country, “Read the bill!” has become a rallying cry of the health care debate.
People are shouting it at town halls. Local newspapers teem with editorials and readers’ letters demanding that lawmakers do it. Bloggers and their commenters say the same. Politicians of both parties are taunting their foes across the aisle with it.
But reading actual legislative text is often the least productive way to learn what’s actually in a bill.
Consider the House health care bill (or bills, as it were). The 1,017-page text is a tangle of references to other clauses, sections and subsections of the bill as well as numerous other statutes — some passed ages ago, all a pain to locate and search, even online: “Section 1179 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d-8) is amended” by striking this and inserting that, or “the tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as a tax imposed by this chapter for the purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for the purposes of section 55.”
“These bills are not written for even the educated layperson. They are written for specialists,” said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers.
It’s all very cute to say that the bills aren’t really written to be read, but the undeniable fact remains that, once the bill is passed, it’s the layperson who has to deal with the consequences. As people of old knew, the Devil is in the details. And those who have taken the time to ignore the sage experts’ advice have discovered that there are myriad, dangerous Devils lurking in the health care proposals wending their way through Washington.