Charles Krauthammer's Take
by Andy Adams on December 12, 2009 at 5:13 PM
Charles Krauthammer is a renowned columnist for the Washington Post and frequent television commentator. His analyses of the various Obama Administration efforts have been spot on. Indeed, National Review Online has taken to publishing his "take" as a regular feature of their Corner blog. That is a good thing. His "take" deserves wide dissemination:
On the Democrats’ Senate health care compromise:
Doctors today are already complaining because payments from Medicare are extremely low. Many doctors opt out because it is so low. You have to see so many elderly patients in order to make ...a decent living, and it is almost impossible to do good medicine.
On top of this, you are now going to add 20 million, 30 million people in Medicare at a time when the other part of the bill is calling for a cut of half a trillion in the payments into Medicare.
So how do you make that work? The numbers are absolutely contradictory.
So it's going to threaten the livelihood of doctors and hospitals [and] secondly, it threatens the livelihood, the solvency of Medicare itself. Already the actuaries say that in half a decade it goes over a cliff and becomes insolvent. You're going to add now 30 million people potentially into an insolvent system and think it will be stronger? It seems to me like an act of desperation.
And the question is, if you really want to nationalize health care, you ought to do exactly that — do Medicare for everybody. Then you could do [health-care reform in] a one-page bill. You don't have to have all these complications, and you would have an honest proposal. This way, it is a mix and match [bill] that makes absolutely no sense...
The process here is bizarre. All of a sudden with the deadline looming, they're throwing in anything that will fit, anything that will get 60 votes, regardless of whether it is incoherent or contradicts other elements of the bill.
And you ask yourself, why is the haste? Where is the deadline? It's not as if we were a year ago with the banking issue where there was a deadline. If you didn't act on TARP, you could have [had] a collapse of the economic system.
Here the deadline is entirely a political one. It is because the Democrats know with all this opposition in the public and with an election year looming, they have a very small window.
It's not as if the medical system will collapse on January the 1st if nothing is done. It [the deadline] is entirely artificial. And it is causing these new amendments and these new ideas to be thrown in untested, even unexplained, at the last moment. ... This is reforming one-sixth of the U.S. economy. It is not a targeted reform. It is a revolution in healthcare.
On a top White House economic adviser’s warning to Congress that if it doesn't move to regulate greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency will take a "command-and-control" role:
A threat and an amazing admission. It admits (a) how bad [is] the [proposed] law in the Senate today — that is being held up on – cap-and-trade. [It] in and of itself is going to kill jobs.
But secondly, if you [Congress] don't do that, we [the administration] will do something worse — impose the EPA regulations, which is cap without trade. There isn't a market mechanism. You can't sell or purchase a permit to emit CO2.
So it's command and control, which is a polite way of saying Soviet control, meaning it's all regulation … And it is an amazing admission, and it is a kind of blackmail. Either you do this in the Senate and pass a bill or we will do it unilaterally.