Michael Ramirez from IBD hit the nail on the head this morning. This is his cartoon today, skewering the stimulus plan, and it couldn't have come on a better day than today. Captain Ed links to a piece by Kimberly Strassel about the sneaky little trick to expand the health care already provided by the federal government. It appears, as Captain Ed notes, that Obama and the Democrats have learned from the bungled Hillary Health Care plan that blew up in President Clinton's face, costing him his majority in the House:
Still, it’s the “stimulus” that has proven the real gift horse — a behemoth that has allowed Democrats to speed up the takeover of health care under cover of an economic crisis. They initially claimed, for instance, the “stimulus” would provide Medicaid money to states struggling to pay existing bills. What in fact it does is dramatically expand the number of Americans who qualify for Medicaid.
Under “stimulus,” Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.
House Democrat Henry Waxman was so thrilled by this blowout, it was left to Republicans to remind him that the very banking millionaires he dragged to the Hill last year for a grilling would now qualify for government aid. His response? A GOP proposal to limit subsidies to Americans with incomes under $1 million was accepted during markup, but had disappeared by final passage. In this new health-care nirvana, even the rich are welcome. CBO estimates? An additional 1.2 million on the federal Medicaid dime in 2009.
The “stimulus” also hijacks Cobra, a program that lets the unemployed retain access to their former company health benefits — usually for about 18 months. The new stimulus permits any former employee over the age of 55 to keep using Cobra right up until they qualify for Medicare at age 65. And here’s the kicker: Whereas employees were previously responsible for paying their health premiums while on Cobra, now the feds will pay 65%. CBO estimates? Seven million Americans will have the feds mostly pay their insurance bills in 2009. …
Add it up, and Democrats may move 10 million more Americans under the federal health umbrella — in just four weeks!
This needs to get out in the open prior to the Senate vote, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had better stand up and raise a stink about this. This is an out-and-out effort to push forward the nationalization of health care in America. Democrats knew they couldn't do this outright the way the Clintons tried it back in the early 90's. They knew that the Blue Dogs wouldn't go along with HillaryCare 2.0, and they knew they weren't going to get any Republicans on this.
What's truly sad is that the only way we can stop this Pork-A-Palooza is to hope McConnell can keep his caucus together, peel off a couple Democrats, and hold the line to attempt a filibuster on this bill. McConnell will have to pull out all the stops to pull this off, but Lord knows we need him to try whatever he can to stop this pork-laden piece of crap bill from passing.
Do we have a chance? Yes, a slim one. But it involves keeping the squishy RINOs in the Senate together with the caucus. We already have word that John McCain intends to vote against it. But he's only one in the Senate. We still have to worry about Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter. They're the ones we have to have concerns with because, in my opinion, they're the least trust-worthy ones in the Senate.
The Pork-A-Palooza isn't going to stimulate squat in the economy. Not. Even. Close. It's a forty-year wish list of Democrat programs they've never been able to get enacted on their own. It's all stuffed in one bill, and the Democrats are demanding we eat what Michelle Malkin calls a "crap sandwich." Expanding Medicaid is a huge mistake because it's one of those programs that needs serious reform. By expanding it's coverage, the Democrats have guaranteed that it'll be insolvent in a matter of years. Of course with this Pork-A-Palooza bill, the nation might very well be insolvent in a matter of years as well.