Last night, the Democrats ‘caved’ on expanding Medicare to appease Sen. Lieberman. Sen. Reid tried projecting a positive tone:

“Democrats aren’t going to let the American people down,” Majority Leader Harry Reid said after a closed-door meeting called to discuss last-minute trade-offs in the legislation that President Barack Obama has made a top priority. “I’m confident that by next week, we will be on our way toward final passage.”

That sounds familiar to what Sen. Reid said last week. That proposal didn’t last a week. That’s why I’m hesitating before I start thinking it’s a done deal. I’m not convinced that this legislation will get the approval of the American people.

This legislation still has $460,000,000,000 in Medicare cuts. It’s still got $400,000,000,000 in tax increases at a time when our economy is struggling. The legislation still contains individual and employer mandates. The legislation still will include lots of restrictions and other mandates, too. The legislation won’t cut insurance premium costs and it certainly won’t reduce the deficit or bend the cost curve downward.

In the end, this bill is somewhat better but it’s still terrible legislation. That’s because it’s coming at the problem from the wrong approach. If you want real reform, you need to start with reducing costs to people. That means reducing the number of coverages mandated by the government. HSAs and high deductible policies should play a prominent role in reform.

We also need to get government out of the health care industry as much as possible. Their Medicare reimbursement rates contribute greatly to the cost-shifting onto private insurance.

The tax increases included in Sen. Reid’s legislation will also cause a new round of layoffs just when the economy is showing signs of showing signs. Sen. Reid’s legislation will drive up labor costs by increasing taxes on small businesses. It isn’t a stretch to think that passing the Democrats’ legislation will hurt the economy.

In other words, it’s a new headline but it’s the same tired old story. The Democrats’ legislation is a bassackwards approach to reform, which is why the people are people are consistently and loudly rejecting it.

One positive thing it might do, albeit on a tiny scale, is that it’ll force Congress into hiring body guards and purchasing body armor. That’s assuming that they’ll return to their districts and states.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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