League of Rations

Ninety-two years ago, in October 1918, an armistice announced in January was sought for the First World War. Before the New Year, President Woodrow Wilson was in Europe to negotiate legislation based on his Fourteen Points. The negotiations were rushed, however, in order to guarantee the creation of a League of Nations. Wilson sacrificed many of his ideals with concessions against the Fourteen Points, of which four never made it into the Treaty of Versailles presented for approval to the United States Congress. The legislation lacked support and was eventually rejected.

Barack Obama’s health care legislation shares many similarities with the failed Treaty of Versailles. Promises were made for health care reform, with Obama emphasizing specific points – no individual mandate; tax exclusion for employee health premiums; a public option; and a commitment to complete transparency, changing the tone in politics with public negotiations televised on CSPAN, thus eliminating back-room deals with insurance industry special interests. To avoid confronting details, Obama and his chief of staff insisted on rushing through negotiations in a predetermined amount of time.

But Obama sacrificed his ideals on a bill that included an individual mandate, taxes on employee health plans, lacked a public option, and to the horror of his senior political adviser David Axelrod, actively encouraged an inside game of negotiations with insurance industry special interests.

One of the biggest complaints about ObamaCare is that it was forced through Congress by use of a budgeting gimmick intended to cut spending.

Obama neglected the wide range of options available for the American public so that he could boast and brag for personal gain, but his fiscal negligence to posterity makes it imperative that Americans fix the mess he created by repealing the hastily created Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and replacing its uncontrollable spending with a program design for health care in the United States based instead on the budgetary control afforded through bureau budgeting (such as an entitlement to a voucher that could be used to purchase medical insurance in a defined contribution plan).

References

Jonathan Cohn, “How They Did It: The Inside Account of Health Care Reform’s Triumph,” The New Republic, June 10, 2010.

Joel S. Poetker, The Fourteen Points (Columbus: Merrill Publishing, 1969).

Noam Scheiber, “The Chief: You Think It’s So Great Being Rahm Emanuel?” The New Republic, March 25, 2010.

Noam Scheiber, “What’s Eating David Axelrod?” The New Republic, October 14, 2010.

Joseph White, “Budgeting for Entitlements,” in Handbook of Government Budgeting, ed. Roy T. Meyers (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999).

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