Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Health Care Debate: Where It Stands And How We Got Here

We’ve really never seen anything like this before. The anger being exhibited at the various town hall meetings around the country is absolutely fascinating and has no parallel in my lifetime. A lot of people are exceptionally angry and scared and their anger is genuine, their fears warranted. Some conservative leaders and protesters have used language to define the Obama health care plan, that is less than diplomatic and even exaggerated. I wouldn’t have chosen the term “death panels” for example. But that term has its basis in an actual part of the Obama plan. It is not “misinformation” as some on the pro-Obamacare side have deemed it.

When we look back at this, many will say that all of the screaming and anger aimed at our congressional representatives could have been avoided had Barack Obama himself simply done a better job of explaining his plan to the American people. I don’t believe so. Obama attempted to explain the plan in a way that made it sound as harmless as possible. He dressed up the plan with promises that were false, like “If you like your current plan, you can keep it” and made unbelievable promises of shrinking deficits and expanded choices. What Obama thought was, that the type of talking points which he had used so successfully during the campaign would work when it came to a piece of legislation as complex and consequential as reforming the US health care system by implementing an massive new government entitlement. He thought wrong. Obama underestimated the American publics ability to understand the ramifications of a public plan. He thought that by using words, like “competition” and “choice” as much as possible that eventually people would come to think that the Obama plan would deliver these things.

What those supporters of the plan who have decried the recent spread of “misinformation” are failing to acknowledge is that many conservatives were raising the same concerns and issuing the same warnings about the Democrat’s intentions, long before these town hall meetings began. Our concerns were not met with Democratic explanations as to why our fears were unfounded. They were met with talking-points and carefully worded rhetoric that did not match the reality of what common sense would dictate the actual long-term results of the plans implementation would be.

As a result, the Democrats are now relying almost solely on vilifying the behavior of the opposition to ensure the plan’s passage. They are no longer trying to explain away the people’s concerns, because they can’t. They know that these concerns are valid and based in the actual proposals that have been put forward by the Democrats. Polls are showing that this tactic is not working.

A lot of folks on the Left have been mocking the common protester cry of “I want my country back.” If any statement made by the protesters lacks merit, it is this one. The United States has not been radically altered. Yet. But if Obamacare passes in its current form, and results in the massive changes to our economy and overall standard of care that conservatives genuinely believe it will result in, then Americans will have a legitimate reason to “want their country” back. Unfortunately, with the Democratic plan firmly in place, it may be too late.

-Dan Joseph

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