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EDITORIAL: Getting creamed by constituents

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's turning into one long, hot summer for members of Congress suffering through their traditional August recess.

No doubt, many House Democrats wish they could skip town-hall meetings with their constituents this summer. Their explanations in defense of a proposed government health care system have fallen flat, and lawmakers are getting hammered for the embarrassing revelation that the bill exempts Congress from the system they would foist on the rest of us.

With members dazed by angry protests, the Democratic House leadership put together a list of suggested responses to constituent questions about the health care plan. The spin machine isn't working.

"We urgently need reform," the Democratic talking points say. The first and third points claim: "Without reform, costs for average family increases $1,800 each year ... increasing costs also hurt businesses, the economy and the federal budget." An argument that suggests more government red tape will make health care less costly can't be taken seriously. Current government regulations are responsible for much of the increase in insurance costs. Even the Democrat-controlled Congressional Budget Office estimates that the House's proposal will increase health care costs.

According to the second talking point, private insurance prevents or delays more than half of Americans from getting health care. Telling Americans they are unhappy with their coverage doesn't make it so. Overall, Americans are very satisfied with their own care. A July 23 Fox News poll found that only 3 percent of insured Americans rated their insurance as "poor."

Democratic talking points promise voters that government health care will have "no yearly or lifetime cost caps on what insurance companies cover" at the same time they will get "yearly caps on what you pay" and have "no excessive out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays." More for less, thanks to government-imposed "efficiency" -- it's an impossible promise. No wonder congressmen are getting an earful from their constituents.