CheckersOn September 9, 2009, President Obama said, “Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do.”   Did he mean it or did he mean to say, “The time for Republican games has passed”?  It must have been the latter, to wit:

Senator Harry Reid has just come forward with a health care plan that has a “public option” with an “opt out provision.”  It is an  obvious joke, a game.  The only problem is it will be the law of the land, and will be financed by all the taxpayers.  So who will want to opt out and only pay for the new government bureaucracy while getting no benefit from it?   The real intent is for the government to step in and “compete” with a plan that is less expensive than what can be offered by the highly restricted insurance companies.  The government can do that since it sets the rules and the rates.  It doesn’t have to worry about the market pressures.  Like it does now with Medicare, it short pays for almost every service and the cost is passed on those who are insured privately and to taxpayers in general.

Then Speaker Pelosi unleashes her 1990 page Health Care Act (H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act).  Tell me she is not playing games calling it the “Affordable” Health Care for America Act.  She doesn’t seem to notice the irony of adding $1 Trillion in programs for taxpayers to pay for in an act called “Affordable.”  Since CBO Director Elmendorf was dressed down by the President in July, CBO markups of bills coming out of Congress have been uncritical of the Administration position.  So, for the CBO markup of H.R. 3962 to show that it adds $1.055 Trillion in Government provided or subsidized programs, we can assume it is at least that high.  Does this make it affordable?  As Mr. Lincoln said, “Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

Backgammon

In fact, I think the game is being played to the limit.  For example, look at pages 1441 to 1443 of the Health Care Act (sorry, can’t bring myself to call it the “Affordable” Health Care Act any more.).  “Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.” This is pure “game.”   Mrs. Pelosi is paying back her biggest supporters, the Trial Lawyers.  No way this could be a law on its own, but buried 1400 pages into a 1900 page document, she is hoping no one will notice.

Somehow, I missed Mr. Obama’s speech where he he reminded Congressional Democrats that “The time for Games has Passed.”

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