Government Health Care: Only For the Little People

Not much I even need to add to this, via Riehl World View:

On Tuesday, the Senate health committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment courtesy of Republican Tom Coburn that would require all Members and their staffs to enroll in any new government-run health plan. Yet all Democrats -- with the exceptions of acting chairman Chris Dodd, Barbara Mikulski and Ted Kennedy via proxy -- voted nay.

In other words, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse won't themselves join a plan that "will offer benefits that are as good as those available through private insurance plans -- or better," as the Ohio and Rhode Island liberals put it in a recent op-ed. And even a self-described socialist like Vermont's Bernie Sanders, who supports a government-only system, wouldn't sign himself up.

Does anyone else find this reminiscent of Obama's decision to send accept a scholarship for his own education, send his kids to private school in DC, and then, nearly as his first action as President, kill the voucher program that let other African American kids in DC go to private school.

  • Russ R.

    "Yet all Democrats ... voted nay."

    You have to assume that committee members will vote strategically on this, and not necessarily vote according to their own personal preferences.

    If presented an amendment that I might personally favour, but would significantly reduce the probability of my bill getting passed, I would likely vote against it.

    I wouldn't read too much into the results of this vote, except for the obvious conclusion that Democrats want the health bill to pass, and Republicans don't.

  • Michael

    Obama is acting like there is only one group of US citizens. Union members. I don't think he cares who he hurts so long as unions are made more powerful. Americans want to be in unions even less than the want health care or cap and trade.

  • Not Sure

    "If presented an amendment that I might personally favour, but would significantly reduce the probability of my bill getting passed, I would likely vote against it." -Russ R.

    Probably not what you meant, but it sure sounds like your vote's for sale... "Even though I support it, I'll vote against bill A if you vote for bill B."

  • Andrew

    Russ R.

    If Democrats think that a requirement such as this would decrease the likelihood of the bill passing then the original point is still valid.

  • Michael

    At first read, I took your headline to mean as a cost savings for government, only people with some for of dwarfism would be getting health care.

  • Link

    This is very Orwellian. We're all equal, except for some of us. It's not a coincidence that the Kindle problem came up because of a spike in sales of 1984 and Animal Farm.

    Math, science, economics and reason don't figure in what's going on right now. It's a political power grab by a two-headed beast that lives in DC, with one head ascendant. The Bush regime was part of this, but it's accelerating under Obama.

    I like this site, but I think the focus on reason here misses the bigger picture in a huge way. The politically organized and the politically connected want to fuck the rest of us over. Most of them wear blue ties, but many wear red. We're very close to losing our Republic. The next few years will be telling.

  • http://www.ilovebenefits.wordpress.com ilovebenefits

    Actions speak louder than words. The Federal Health Plan is better now, and will be better in future when they will have to make cuts in their much vaunted Public Plan.

    Look at the new scoring of the bill by CBO over the weekend. The taxes start immediately, the spending later and after seven years (coincident with the end of a second term) we are in huge deficit problems unless taxes are significantly increased.

    Follow the debate at http://www.ilovebenefits.wordpress.com

  • Ian Random

    That's excellent. I was trying to figure out how to force dems to put their money where their mouth is and that was great. My version was unconstitutional though, I wanted a kinda millionaires tax on healthcare expenditures on all elected officials opting out of their proposed plans.

  • Russ R.

    @ Not Sure:

    "Probably not what you meant, but it sure sounds like your vote’s for sale… “Even though I support it, I’ll vote against bill A if you vote for bill B.”"

    Not quite what I meant... more like "Don't let great be the enemy of good".

    Hypothetical...

    Suppose I'm sponsoring a bill that would reduce government spending by 20%. I think the bill has a decent chance of passing. To derail the bill, my opponents propose an amendment that would mandate the first spending cuts be made in K-12 public education. While I happen to believe that this funding should be cut substantially, I also realize that including this amendment would effectively guarantee the bill's failure. I'd vote against the amendment, even though I favour it, to improve the probability of the main bill's passage.

    Better to have a good idea succeed than a great idea fail.

  • Craig

    But Russ, why would that provision make the bill less likely to pass? Because Congressmen (especially Democrats when it comes to living by different standards than the great unwashed) are hypocritical bastards.

  • Not Sure

    "Better to have a good idea succeed than a great idea fail." - Russ R.

    And if it means that you have to vote against something that results in providing benefits to you personally (congressmen voting to exempt themselves from Obamacare, for example), how can you go wrong? ;)

  • http://www.synthstuff.com/mt/ DaveH

    I posted about this on my blog and had a commenter leave the following:

    Besides being OK's Senator, Coburn is also an MD. Before entering politics, he delivered over 4000 babies. He's also a two-time survivor of cancer. Maybe a health care expert, I'm thinking....

  • Noumenon

    Coyote, if you were planning to change your employees' vacation time from ten paid days to twelve, would you accept an amendment from them saying you also have to get the twelve days instead of your current three weeks? (Numbers made up.) If you said no, would that mean your new vacation plan is a scam?

  • Brad

    Noumenon,
    The difference between an employer and employee relationship and that of the citizen and their representative seems to confuse you.

  • spiro

    Congress: "Let them eat cake."
    Noumenon: "Sounds reasonable."

    Noumenon, as a small business owner, I assume total financial and PR responsibility for my business. My salary varies on a month to month basis, depending on the monthly net revenues (which have been less than zero a couple of times this year). My employees, on the other hand, are have set schedules and duties at work, and are guaranteed wages for performing those duties, even if they perform those duties even to a minimal standard.
    Based on our current political situation, we as citizens carry the financial responsibility and many of us have adjusted our budgets and lifestyles to better suit the current economy. Congressmen on the other hand, are guaranteed their wages (though their kickback money may be suffering) regardless of performance. Yes, we can review said performance at election time, but there are enough people that just vote blindly down party lines to keep poor perfermance from being punished.
    Basically, we the people assume all the responsibility of being the boss, but our congressional employees have all the power.

  • Methinks

    Noumenon,

    The difference is that Coyote sets the rules only for his business, which is his personal property. His employees can easily leave and find employment elsewhere if they don't like it.

    Congress subjugates the entire population to its whim. If congress makes a plan which forces entire population to follow a plan, why should the members of congress be exempt?

    Unless, of course, you believe that congress owns the population of the United States and its people are merely the government's property to dispose of and use as they see fit. Thought you guys fought a war over that a while back. I love how a black president advocates slavery.

  • Link

    It's Animal Farm -- some animals are more equal.

    Members of Congress live in a bubble, divorced from our reality.

  • Noumenon

    The difference between an employer and employee relationship and that of the citizen and their representative seems to confuse you.

    Even if Coyote's employees elected him to make management decisions I still don't think he should be forced to personally bear the brunt of decisions that are not designed to apply to people like him. (Spiro gives a good example of why management and employees need different policies to apply to them; Congressmen and the uninsured are just as different.) It's a bad incentive for a manager. It reminds me of Democrats saying any government official who ordered waterboarding should have to submit to being waterboarded first.

    Congress: “Let them eat cake.”
    Noumenon: “Sounds reasonable.”

    Congress: "Give them all bread."
    Spiro: "Not unless you give up your cake!"

    (intended result being:
    Congress: "Forget it, then!"
    Spiro: "Whew! My cake is safe!")

  • Methinks

    Noumenon,

    My God, you do think you're a serf.

    Even if Coyote’s employees elected him to make management decisions...

    This is a completely nonsensical example. Employees don't elect anything because they are not owners, so your whole example is perverse. If they elect a moron, they can still leave. Even if you leave the United States, you are still taxed and subjugated by the United States. Further, the citizens of the United States don't vote for congress to manage their daily lives. They vote them in to represent them in the protection of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, defense of the realm and of their freedom. If your happiness is to have someone else run your life, then by all means hire someone.

    Your waterboarding analogy is just stupid. That's like saying if congress Ok's solitary confinement for prisoners, congressmen should be thrown into solitary confinement as well. Waterboarding was OK'd for a very small sub-set of people who posed a danger to the United States (the merits of this claim are debatable on their own, but are outside the scope of this argument). This health care plan is touted as BETTER and CHEAPER than the current option for EVERYONE and is forcibly imposed on a FREE people. If the plan is so awesome that it makes everything better for EVERYONE, then why isn't congress jumping on board? Why would its members vote to stay on an inferior plan? Why is an inferior plan a better incentive for congress?

    The truth is, you think like a serf and you'll be treated like one - by someone. This country is already far along the road toward the socialist nightmare that was the Soviet Union.

  • Methinks

    What incentives, Noumenon?

    If this plan is supposed to be BETTER and CHEAPER for EVERYONE, then why wouldn't congress want it for itself? How would the inferior private plan provide an incentive to congress? Shouldn't their current inferior plan provide a DISincentive?

    Your waterboarding example is as stupid as your employees voting for managers example. Nowhere do employees vote for managers because they are not owners, so that's an irrelevant example. Waterboarding (the merits or demerits of which are outside the scope of this conversation) was prescribed for a small subset of the population based on certain conditions (again, the merits or demerits of which are debatable but outside the scope here). Your example is more akin to saying that since the law prescribes prison for rapists, that law makers should be imprisoned.

    Either ALL free citizens of this country are forced into something or NONE are. Choice can't be restricted to the American aristocracy and this still be called a free country that protects the liberty of men. The trouble is that you think like a peasant.

  • spiro

    Thank you Methinks for saying it better than I did.
    Sorry for the historical reference Noumenon, I shouldn't assume that everyone would get the context of that statement. The argument is not about who has/doesn't have "cake". It is about a disconnect between what policies congress sees as fit for "the masses" versus what they are subject to themselves.

    The point here is that Congress cannot on the one hand tell us how great this plan is, while on the other hand it is not good enough for them. Our elected officials are supposed to be OF the people, not some higher class of nobility.

    Seriously, have you ever listened to Nancy Pelosi speak? Can you still argue that she belongs to some enlightened higher class?

  • tomw

    These turkeys work for US. They are not the masters who deserve special treatment because of their 'value'. They can't get a real job, so they become politicians.
    Let us get back to a non-career political body. No more perks, no more retirement benefits, no health care, no automatic raises and no more paid staff.
    If we make politics less lucrative, we may get more citizen politicians rather than career pols.
    Take away seniority, and we won't need term limits. The cockroaches will scurry back to their mini-Chicago nests to milk the local populace. Seniority makes some Congress members more equal than others. No more seniority, it is not part of the constitution.
    tom

  • Noumenon

    Sorry for the historical reference Noumenon, I shouldn’t assume that everyone would get the context of that statement. The argument is not about who has/doesn’t have “cake”. It is about a disconnect between what policies congress sees as fit for “the masses” versus what they are subject to themselves.

    I think it is safe to assume everyone gets the context of that statement (and even that she didn't really say it). To tell you the truth I don't understand how your original twist on it fits into the context though. "Let them eat cake" would apply more to a Congress that thought the people could get great health care for themselves than one that thought they needed a government handout.

    Anyway -- you guys have discerned something about my worldview. I don't think we have a particularly representative government, and I do feel like our government rules us, rather than being our equals or servants. That's what makes me more of a left-libertarian than a leftist. I actually gave money to Ron Paul last election cycle.

    Your example is more akin to saying that since the law prescribes prison for rapists, that law makers should be imprisoned.

    You have a point -- I took it that way because the people who are proposing this, you guys, clearly do think of being in the health plan as some kind of punishment. (By the way, I think the prison system would be vastly improved if law makers did have to experience the conditions they vote for -- but I don't think I'd support it, because it would probably be pretty bad for law and order. No one would vote for any prisons then.)

  • Noumenon

    You know, if I'd had more time to think before posting I wouldn't have posted that bit about whether Congress is rulers or not. I thought is was interesting that you read it into what I said, but it wasn't what I was really thinking about.

    I was just thinking this: You don't force the German engineers who design the VW Beetle to drive VW Beetles. If you do, you either get unhappy engineers or a Beetle that can go 140 on the autobahn. You want your designers to design a policy for the people it applies to, not for themselves.

    (I know one of Coyote's big problems with the plan is that it applies to people it doesn't make sense for, so I suppose you could see him supporting this idea as just plain payback.)

  • Methinks

    Noumenon,

    You want your designers to design a policy for the people it applies to, not for themselves.

    1.) They are not my designers. My family risked their very life to escape a country of designers.

    2.) You can't seem to grasp the point that when someone designs a VW, he doesn't FORCE the rest of the population to drive it. Congress does.

    3.) Congress IS "the people", so why should a policy not apply to them.

    4.) If we are ruled by an elite akin to the dictatorhips and kingdoms of Europe, it's time for war again.

    5.) Giving money to Ron Paul does not make you a libertarian.

  • spiro

    Noumenon,

    a couple of points.

    1)Congress: “Forget it, then!”
    Spiro: “Whew! My cake is safe!”
    80% of Americans that are satisfied with our healthcare. I made a choice to save money on insurance premiums (>$4,000/year for our family of 3), I enjoy the option of choosing my healthcare provider, and I don't mind paying the cash price for doctor visits and medication -- since we choose to maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthcare costs rarely exceed $300/year. You can say I'm foolish for not carrying insurance, but I'd much rather have my freedom to choose now and risk my savings on a future medical catastrophe than have the government take control over my healthcare (at my tax expense).

    2) I don’t think we have a particularly representative government, and I do feel like our government rules us, rather than being our equals or servants. That’s what makes me more of a left-libertarian than a leftist.

    So, are you at ease with the current situation (your current worldview) of government nobility vs. peasant citizens, or did you become libertarian to work against this? b/c if the former is true, than you are not libertarian. In fact, it is pretty difficult to reconcile government controlled healthcare with libertarian/free choice philosophy.

    3) on your car analogy, I'd say the situation with leftist congressmen in favor of crappy healthcare for the masses but not for themselves is more akin to a man who owns the local Daewoo dealership, but forbids anyone in his OWN family from driving one because he believes Korean crash safety standards are too low.

  • spiro

    my typing skills suck
    my first point above should read

    1) that I (along with my wife and kid) choose belong to the 40 million Americans that are "uninsured" as well as the 80% that are satisfied with our helathcare.

    Just insert after the cake quote. :-)