Unreconciled

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Health Reform: As promised, the White House has unveiled the latest tweaks in its plan to take over the U.S. medical care system. Both parties in Congress should beware: You vote for it, you own it. Survey after survey, including our own IBD/TIPP Poll, shows that Americans firmly oppose more government control over health care. Yet President Obama's new reform plan does just that.

He and other Democratic leaders seem willing to ignore both the voters and the well-founded doubts of opponents to ram a plan down our collective throats — making the grand bet that Republicans, even if they retake Congress in November, will have neither the political clout nor the guts to undo the damage.

Worse, they cynically manipulated us into this situation. Last week, at the much-ballyhooed health care "summit," the president pretended to take ideas from Republican foes to "improve" his wildly unpopular plan. But it was just window dressing.

On Wednesday, the president made clear he'll use the budget reconciliation process to get his radical plan through with as few votes as possible. In short, he'll pass a bill that takes control of 17% of the economy without any GOP support. So much for bipartisanship.

Worse still, this requires the House to vote up or down on an already-passed Senate bill, with only a vow from the Senate and Obama that they'll go back later and "fix" all that's egregiously wrong with the measure.

So, neither House members nor the citizens they represent will really know what's in the bill until after it's passed. Is this what the White House and Democratic leaders meant last year when they repeatedly promised "transparency" in health reform deliberations?

Still more troubling, no one seems to know the plan's true cost. Obama puts it at $1 trillion over 10 years. But just this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed a "much smaller" bill, while Majority Leader Steny Hoyer insists there is no "scaled-back" version.

Who's right? We'll just say this: Because of accounting tricks that front-load costs but delay benefits, the real price of ObamaCare is more like $2.5 trillion over a decade. This will require massive tax hikes on the middle class, rationing of care by government bureaucrats and deep cuts in Medicare.

The president also said on Wednesday: "The proposal I've put forward gives Americans more control over their health care by holding insurance companies more accountable." Not true.

Americans will be forced to buy health insurance — something we believe is unconstitutional. By adding 31 million new buyers to the health care market and requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions, private insurance prices will inevitably soar. That will force businesses to drop coverage for millions of workers.

"I don't know how this plays politically, but I know it's right," Obama also said. But he knows darn well his scheme is highly unpopular, and that resorting to reconciliation is the only way he'll get the main item on his presidential agenda passed — even if it ends Democrats' control of Congress.

Surely moderate Democrats and Republicans won't be swayed by talk of joining in a "historic opportunity." Their constituents clearly see the flaws in this government takeover of the best health care system in the world, and a vote in favor of it will likely bring their political careers to a sudden end.

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