Democrats went off the rails trying to protect socialized medicine


Why are adult members of Congress acting like misbehaving children?

On Wednesday, Democratic members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee staged a protest against GOP Congressman Tom Price’s nomination as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Rather than act in a respectable manner befitting their responsibilities as public servants, Democrats boycotted the vote.  Twelve chairs sat empty.

The Republicans in charge responded by suspending the rule that requires at least one Democrat to be present for every vote. Then, in a 14-0 vote, they sent Dr. Price’s nomination to the Senate floor for a full vote.

This is not the first time Democrats in Congress have gone off the rails when they didn’t get their way. On June 22, they staged a 25-hour sit-in to demand action on gun control. They sat together on the House floor, snapping photographs and violating House rules. Eventually they gave up and went home.

These obstructionist activities remind me of a turbulent time in American history. Most of the 12 missing-in-action senators (born between the years of 1942 and 1964) were in their teens or mid-twenties when the counterculture activities of the 1960s came to a head at the raucous 1969 Woodstock music festival. Similar to the hippies who waged anti-war protests and rejected the moral underpinnings of traditional American society, these 12 senators appear to be protesting the results of peaceful elections and rejecting America’s constitutional underpinnings. 

Democrats are clearly unhappy with President Trump’s election and Republican control of Congress. But does that fully explain why 12 senators staged a revolt to try to stop the nomination of Congressman Tom Price?

I think not. I believe the explanation lies in one word: ObamaCare.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA or “ObamaCare”) was a dream come true for Democrats. Long-held plans to impose socialized medicine on patients and doctors began in earnest when Democratic President Harry Truman proposed a “universal” national insurance system in 1945. The enactment of Medicare and Medicaid under Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 was the closest they got—until ObamaCare became law in 2010.

But Donald Trump promised to repeal ObamaCare, and on his first day as President he signed an executive order to get the ball rolling. The man he chose for the task is Congressman Tom Price, a physician with 12 years of experience in Congress.

Democrats face an uncomfortable reality. They fear, as in the story of Humpty Dumpty, that once this highly unpopular law falls off the statutory wall all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will not be able to put ObamaCare back together again.

They are correct. But ultimately, I think they will lose the battle. President Obama’s hostile takeover of the entire health care system – from health insurance to the delivery of medical care – has not endeared Americans to this Democrat ideal. Instead, ObamaCare has demonstrated the ugly side of socialized medicine: high costs, fewer choices, outsider control of doctors and less access to care. Trump and elected Republicans promised to repeal ObamaCare and Americans expect them to deliver. 

But Democrats fear more than the end of ObamaCare. Dr. Price wants to free Americans from Medicare and its costly regulatory structure, controls on physicians and rationing protocols. Once his nomination is confirmed, expect him to push for expanded choices, including the freedom to drop Medicare and stay privately insured without losing their social security benefits. 

This is the last straw for the liberal left. Freeing the elderly from Medicare will crumble the foundation of their national health care dreams.

Democrats in Congress have not yet learned the lesson of the 2016 election. They lost because the Affordable Care Act violated our nation’s prized principles of freedom, personal autonomy and choice. Americans of every political stripe were forced to buy health insurance they did not like at a price they could not afford. 

While the Democrats' passion to protect ObamaCare is strong, I predict Congressman Tom Price will become our next secretary of HHS and the unaffordable Affordable Care Act will be repealed. The American people have spoken.

Twila Brase is president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, a national organization dedicated to preserving patient-centered health care and protecting patient and privacy rights. Brase, a registered nurse, has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care” and one of “Minnesota’s 100 Most Influential Health Care Leaders.”

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.


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