Editorials

Democrats will pay a huge price

Colin Powell famously said about Iraq: "You break it, you own it." Now Democrats own health care.

Never before in American history has such far-reaching legislation passed on a purely partisan basis -- not Social Security, not Medicare, not Civil Rights and not SCHIP.

No major social policy change ever! This bill passed with sheer one-party support. No compromise, middle ground or bipartisanship. The bill is a stunning example of a Congress not listening. Americans wanted their leaders to focus on an economy that has hemorrhaged jobs.

President Obama promised "change you can believe in." Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to make the U.S. Congress "the most honest, ethical and open" in history. Broken promises anger Americans, and they are livid.

The health care bill is packed with backroom deals: the "Louisiana Purchase," the "Cornhusker Kickback," and too many more to list. In the final push, Speaker Pelosi added $100 million for Tennessee and a special subsidy for a North Dakota bank. Democrats arguing that the health care bill was principled will face angry constituents demanding answers about sleazy deals.

On top of all that, Pelosi and Obama refused to address the health care issue Americans are most concerned about: cost. During the campaign, Obama promised to lower the cost of health coverage for the average family by $2,500. This promise was abandoned. No credible source says this bill will lower costs.

Premiums won't go down in the next year, they'll go up. They'll rise 10 percent to 15 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bill will grow government by $2.5 trillion over 10 years. Everyone knows the CBO scores were gamed. The Democrats' claim that the bill will reduce the debt while insuring vastly more people -- and giving them better care -- is absurd on its face.

President Obama and Speaker Pelosi gave health insurance companies a huge gift -- a government-enforced individual mandate that forces Americans to purchase government-approved insurance or pay a fine.

Shockingly, 16,000 more IRS agents and $10 billion will be necessary to enforce this mandate. More agents and money for the IRS than ever! Republicans won the majority in Congress in 1994 in significant part because of an increase in voter turnout. That spike in turnout occurred because the Democrats stopped listening to the American people. Sadly, Republicans did the same 12 years later.

Americans don't like broken promises or sleazy, corrupt deals made behind closed doors. But District of Columbia Democrats haven't learned from their own mistakes before 1994 or Republicans' mistakes after 1994. In passing this bill they broke their promises and ignored the people.

Americans have already begun the revolution against Washington's massive government takeover of not just health care, but also the auto industry, banks, student loans and more.

This time, there's no putting the genie back in the bottle. Americans want a better health care system, but they want to keep their current plan, and they don't like politicians telling them they know better how to run their lives.

This bill was classic Washington backroom dealing by powerful politicians. President Obama could have written a health care reform bill with bipartisan input. He could have kept his promise to end lobbyist influence and backroom deals. He could have said "no" to bribing powerful congressmen and senators to get their votes. He could have at least tried to change the way Washington works.

Sadly, he let congressional Democrats do the dirty work, and the process was a stunning repudiation of "change you can believe in." Make no mistake, this November voters will hold the political class accountable.

Contact Shadegg, R-Ariz., a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, at 436 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.

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