With a split Senate and free-falling poll numbers, President Joe Biden is mucking about the bureaucratic swamp to salvage his leftist agenda.
Biden’s latest end-run around Congress turns a scandalously compliant IRS into a political tool. An executive order and presumed behind-the-scenes White House lobbying have convinced the supposedly apolitical tax agency to issue a statute-defying regulation that creates a new government health care subsidies affordability test.
The White House boasts that the plan could reduce the number of uninsured by 200,000, but the Congressional Budget Office and health experts estimate the tiny change will cost taxpayers $225,000 per person.
The administration’s goal in expanding federal health insurance subsidies is simple and clear — to get more citizens on the government dole and beholden to the party of wealth redistribution.
Thanks to a coming new Congress and a deeply disenchanted electorate, the left will likely come up short on that goal. Americans have been witnessing daily the real-life consequences of big government ideology as the fallout from Biden’s and blue state officials’ handling of COVID-19 has become clear.
Americans have seen, for example, how Biden and big-government politicians turned the Trump-era vaccine triumph into a weapon. Their jack-booted mandates cost non-compliant health professionals their jobs and soldiers their service.
At the same time, administration officials ceded their proper decision-making authority to politicized health bureaucrats like Dr. Anthony Fauci, bureaucrats who have proven totally incapable of anticipating the disastrous consequences of myopic COVID-19 policies that targeted germs while destroying people’s lives.
Lawmakers — not epidemiologists — should have assessed and addressed the ruinous results that shutdowns would predictably have on the economy, national security, children’s education, mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse and myriad other maladies that we now know mushroomed during the lockdowns.
Lessons learned about big government during COVID-19 now should be applied to chart a course for future health policy.
First, do no harm.
Putting politicians and bureaucrats in the driver’s seat of our personal health care decisions is like putting a drunk in the driver’s seat of a car.
Elderly patients died because governments mandated that nursing homes admit infected COVID-19 patients. Cancer claimed more victims because indiscriminate government shutdowns canceled early detection screenings. Children lost out on learning because government officials closed schools to pacify teachers’ unions while targeting protesting parents.
Such experiences should propel Americans to reject government-run, socialist-style “Medicare for All” health policies that put unelected bureaucrats in charge of decisions that impact our lives. We must eliminate excessive regulations that steal time away from doctors caring for their patients. We also should stop the overtaxing that hampers American drug innovation and increases our dependence on other countries.
Second, restore the patient-doctor relationship.
Again skirting Congress, the Biden Department of Health and Human Services is moving to rescind a Trump-era conscience rule that enforced federal law prohibiting forced participation in abortions and other controversial procedures. A Biden executive order has triggered myriad agency regulations redefining sex apart from biology and illegally attempting to compel health professionals to participate in transgender treatments.
Polling reveals that such illegal compulsion and the removal of conscience protections could force faith-based professionals and institutions out of medicine. That loss endangers millions of patients who depend on faith-based health care.
Third, provide targeted, sustainable government safety nets for individuals truly in need.
Pragmatic Americans recognize that socialist policies threaten to devastate the economy by increasing taxes and the federal deficit, leading to fewer health care resources. To prevent this debacle, we must shift health care aid for the poor away from the federal government and to the states.
Finally, focus on targeted reforms that result in better access, lower cost and higher quality.
Conservatives offer solutions. The Health Policy Consensus Group plan, for example, gives patients control of health decisions instead of government; lowers costs through price transparency, capitalistic competition and innovation instead of socialism; increases quality and access by reducing red tape and needless regulation; and provides compassionate and sustainable state safety nets for the truly needy.
This fall, voters will focus on inflation and the economy — including health care. Most voters don’t want sweeping, radical change and ideological propaganda; they simply want focused, common-sense solutions that work in the real world.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.