Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 9:05 pm | Fair 53º

 
 
 
 

Susan Estrich: The Ills of Federal Health Plan

Maybe the politicians should step out of Washington for a clearer picture

The stimulus program must really be succeeding in Washington, D.C. Government is hiring; people are working. In fact, if news reports are to be believed, they’re working night and day. So maybe there’s some sleep deprivation thrown in for good measure. And don’t forget the legendary heat and humidity that made service in the nation’s Capitol hazardous before the advent of air conditioning.

Susan Estrich
Susan Estrich

What other explanation could there be for my friends in Congress and the administration thinking that what the country wants them to do right now is raise taxes and spend a trillion dollars to overhaul health care, much less to push it through in a month in a 1,000-page bill being rewritten every day?

In California, where I live, unemployment is in double digits and climbing, and the state has been issuing IOUs for weeks. I’m blessed, and I’m not complaining.

But not a day goes by that someone doesn’t call me, desperate for help in finding a job. And it’s never been harder to help. For all intents and purposes, unless you have some very special skill to sell, there are simply no jobs. You want to wait tables or make coffee drinks? Good luck. Get in line.

The idea that somehow you’re going to tax the “rich” enough to pay for quality health care for every American who doesn’t have it, can’t afford it or stands to lose it, not to mention for all of the undocumented aliens who receive it for free now and presumably will continue to in Obama health land, is almost laughable. It’s one of those things candidates say in campaigns, ignoring the fact that it doesn’t add up. But in a bill that might pass? Add a 5 percent surtax on every small business in the country that makes $250,000 or more? This is going to create jobs? What am I missing?

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office came out with a report last week concluding that the bill being written by House Democrats would increase the deficit and weaken the already weak economy. Duh.

No one is explaining to people how the big changes in the bill will affect people who have insurance now, which happens to be the overwhelming majority of all Americans (and an even higher percentage of all voters).

Will our premiums and deductibles go up or down? Will our doctors and hospitals be better or worse off? It is simply not credible to tell me that if I like my insurance now, nothing will change. If you turn the health care delivery system on its head and start regulating, mandating and controlling the terms, don’t tell me it won’t change things.

Changing the tax treatment of insurance benefits changes who gets them and who pays for them. “Controlling costs” means what? Does my doctor have to see more patients? Get more approvals before ordering tests? Order less expensive tests? I don’t know a single person who is willing to sacrifice, or even risk, their health care right now to an uncertain plan that they don’t begin to understand — except folks in D.C.

I went to my doctor recently and suspect I had an experience that’s being repeated in doctor’s offices across the country. My doctor told me how worried she is about the plan. Actually, it was much stronger than “worried.”

She wasn’t a big fan of HillaryCare, but from her reading, it was a carefully drafted and thought-out program compared with what’s being discussed now. She’s convinced that if the administration succeeds, the ripple effect will cost Democrats the House in 2010 and her patients’ their access to high quality, affordable care.

I reassured her that the Democrats would never be that foolish. I hope. Maybe it’s time for Congress to get out of Washington. They’ll get an earful when they do.

— Best-selling author Susan Estrich is the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.