Do You Feel 'Special'?

Worth Reading By Alan Burkhart

Funny how things work sometimes. The Democrat party has played class warfare politics for decades. They’ve managed to divide the American people into so many fractious special interest groups that not even the powerful leftist political machine can manage them anymore. Everyone is a minority, and all minorities are special interests since they lobby for their own benefit.

Yes, YOU are a member of a special interest group. Even if you didn’t know it. Even if you do not wish to be a member. You’re stuck there, and you cannot escape. As a native-born white male, I belong to the “Native-Born White Male” special interest group simply because I don’t qualify for any other. White males are the only cross-section of society not considered by at least some to be a minority. And that, by definition, makes me a minority and therefore part of a special interest. Senator Ben Nelson even managed to turn the entire state of Nebraska into a special interest group. Insane, isn’t it?

And the insanity is a beautiful thing to watch.

It’s beautiful to watch because as a partisan conservative I love watching the Democrats’ plans blowing up in their pudgy faces. I love hearing even some of the Democrats’ cheering section in the MSM questioning their motives and their competency. And question they should. The current administration and its partners on Capitol Hill are sending the nation on a one-way trip to financial Armageddon. Never in our history have we seen the like of what we’re seeing in current times.

The health care boondoggle is a classic example of how special interest politics has backfired on the Democrats. Extreme leftists are decrying the Senate and House bills for giving breaks to “Big Pharma” and the death of the Public Option. Groups on the right see the plan as not giving enough protection to the investment and research Big Pharma engages in to create new products (products, by the way, that save lives). The left objects to supposed sweetheart deals given the insurance companies, while the right (and many of the insurance companies) fear the upcoming legislation will send them into insolvency.

And even though a majority of Americans oppose the legislation (RCP Average: 51% against, 40.7% for), the Democrats are forging ahead, evidently unmindful of the fact they’re committing political suicide. Barack Obama and Congress have attempted to appeal to everyone, but in the process they’ve alienated far too many people. That’s what happens when you stand in the middle of the road: You get run over.

They’ve no one to blame but themselves for their sagging poll numbers. In a frantic scramble to find ways to pay for this latest intrusion upon the rights and privacy of the citizenry, they’ve discovered that while a lot of people claim to want health care reform, few if any want to help pay for it. One of their first intended victims was of course their favorite: The Evil Rich. The Dems assumed they could tax so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans to generate revenue.

But hold the phone, Harry. Seems that the unions, who are of course huge contributors to the Democrats, also have rather lavish and expensive health insurance plans. So in a recent closed-door session the Dems bought off the unions by giving them an exemption from the tax. This of course has the potential to increase union membership (seeking cheaper insurance), thereby further empowering the unions, which by extension would further empower the Democrat party. Perhaps someone should remind them about equal protection under the law?

Unions had objected strongly to the proposed tax on high-value insurance policies, fearing it would hurt their members, and they won several concessions from the administration. Under the deal, if it becomes law, union workers will be shielded from the 40 percent tax for five years -- until 2018. The threshold for the tax also was raised so that it will kick in for plans worth $24,000 instead of $23,000. And dental and vision coverage will not count toward that threshold.

But what about everybody else?

The unions, traditional supporters of the Democratic Party and a major factor in Obama's political infrastructure, got a deal, but Republicans said that non-union workers will still have to pay the tax from the get-go starting in 2013.

"I guess this bill is only good if it doesn't apply to you," GOPAC Chairman Frank Donatelli said. - Fox News

Religious groups have long been powerful special interests. Even the humble Amish. Turns out that the Amish have religious objections to paying for insurance. So, the Amish will be exempted from being fined (you get fined if you don’t have insurance under the plan) for not having the required insurance if this insanity passes.


…But if the Amish can opt out, then some civil libertarians say they want out, too -- not for religious reasons but because they don't think the underlying health insurance mandate is legal.

"If they can do it for religious objection, well, I have a different type of objection," said Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute said. "I think I'm being coerced into doing something against my will, and so the challenge would be from a different perspective." – Fox News

Back to the pharmaceutical companies…

They’ve been on board with the plan for months since the mandatory coverage provision would likely mean more paying customers for the bio-tech sector. However, the bio-tech sector’s support hinged on a 12-year minimum period in which competing drug makers could not produce generic versions of expensive new medicines. This is to allow the companies who develop the drugs time to recoup their investments. Still other special interest groups oppose this measure because they feel the public shouldn’t have to wait that long to get cheaper meds.

Any compromise bill, though, will face a nail-biting trip through Congress, where Democrats got barely enough support when they pushed initial versions of the bill through the House and Senate. If the drug industry decided to pour money into advertising opposing the legislation, that could give some lawmakers second thoughts about supporting the bill.

Ken Johnson, a senior vice president of PhRMA, declined to comment on the e-mail. But in a written statement, he said, "Fair data protection of at least 12 years for new, innovative biologic medicines is critically important to the future of medical progress in America."

In a written statement, [Henry] Waxman said the overhaul should be "to help struggling families, not to enrich the drug companies."

Last June, the industry agreed to actively support Obama's health overhaul in an agreement with the White House and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., to limit the cost to drugmakers to $80 billion over next decade.

But as Democrats craft their compromise health bill, they have begun looking for additional sources of revenue to pay for changes they are making. That has included pressing the drugmakers to contribute an additional $10 billion -- another factor that might be part of PhRMA's decision to threaten to withdraw its support. – Fox News

It’s also a good bet that insurance companies would be 100% in favor of shortening the time-line for patent protection, since that would mean they could sooner lower their costs associated with paying for the new drugs.

The list goes on. Abortion rights groups want federally funded abortions. Pro-life groups of course vehemently oppose such a measure. Medical professionals have come down all over the playing field, some for, some against. Pro-Amnesty groups want coverage for illegal aliens while pro-constitutionalists do not.

The problem here is that the Democrats have too long been burning the political candle from both ends. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of divergent special interest groups. Each group was created either to push a particular agenda forward, or to push back against an agenda they do not favor. The Dems have long worked to play one group against the other – blacks against whites, rich against poor, citizen against immigrant, liberal against conservative, religious against atheist. With so many special interests, it is unavoidable that when you favor one, you step on another.

And so President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress are trying to please everyone. Their polling data tells the story of just how badly they’ve failed. If they pass health care reform, the right will slaughter them in the 2010 and 2012 elections. If they do not pass it, the loony left will come unhinged and help vote them out in 2010 and 2012. Either way the very groups they helped to create, either in support or opposition to one boondoggle or another, will be their downfall in the coming months.

Failure, when it’s on the left, is a beautiful thing.

Sources and Related Reading: Health Care Mandate Applies to All -- Except the Amish

[Senator Ben] Nelson Asks Senate to Withdraw Nebraska Medicaid Deal

Drug Industry Threatening to End Support for Obama's Health Bill

Democrats Hammered for 'Back-Room' Deal With Unions on Health Care

Polling Data: Obama and Democrats' Health Care Plan

Dems Weigh Other Options for Passing Health Care if GOP Wins Kennedy's Seat

Final Frantic Run for Health Care