Opinion

How the press greased the skids for Obamacare

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Great innovation should never be forced on slender majorities.” Obamacare never had a slender majority. It had a driven political class, determined to “organize” a free society. They, of course, would be the organizers. This entire charade has been enabled by a servile press, which is supportive of the ends and refuses to report on the means.

This is the second presidential push for universal health care in 16 years. While the two plans are very similar, what is not similar is the way they are treated in the press and thus how differently they are received by the public.

Bills to provide universal heath care have been introduced for decades. Americans followed the pros and cons of each proposal in the press of their day. The details of the discussions were reported broadly and debated by the public.

Americans have always believed that their health care is a very private matter and are reluctant to turn it over to the government. There has never been a majority in support of this kind of change.

President Clinton won the presidency in 1992 with 43 percent of the vote. Healthcare was an important part of his platform.

In September of 1993, in a major health care speech to the Congress, he laid out his plans to totally reorganize the delivery of healthcare in America beginning with a mandate that all businesses would have to provide coverage for their employees.

Mrs. Clinton led the group that would write the bill. They engaged in a heavy schedule of meetings and, when finished, published a paperback book outlining the proposal in detail. That book, with its mind-numbing detail, contributed to their undoing.

Mrs. Clinton appeared before Congressional hearings to answer questions about the proposal, which came to be known as Hillarycare. Some were covered live and watched by an interested nation. Her command of the subject impressed everyone. The question of mandates on coverage, community rating, gender equality, and pre-existing conditions were explored in detail by a generally supportive press.

At the same time Denny Hastert, who would go on to be the longest serving Republican speaker of the house, chaired a task force of Republican House members seeking solutions to the inflation in healthcare costs.

The task force was particularly interested in Health Savings Accounts, which required a tax law change so that individuals could put pre tax dollars in a health account just as businesses did. Supporters said giving individuals more control over their health care would bring more competitive forces and lower costs. Businesses were experimenting with HSAs with very good results.

The Republican support for HSAs was broadly known in the Congress, and reported on by the media.

Sometime in early 1994, Betsy McCaughey, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, read the book published by the Hillarycare committee. She understood the plan and outlined it in detail.

When she presented her understanding of Hillarycare to the Republican Conference they were flabbergasted. Newt Gingrich, the Republican whip, immediately realized that, armed with specifics, Republicans would defeat Hillarycare.