- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Regarding President Obama’s statements that he promised not to “mess with” private insurance or the status quo, let’s say for the sake of argument that he and the Democrats, who insist on passing the reforms with lightning speed, have no intent to do any of this “messing with” in his proposed health reforms (“Killing it softly,” Editorial, Aug. 9).

As a recent California bar examinee, I was reminded of some basic constitutional law with respect to statutes that violate a person’s fundamental right to free speech. A statute forbidding content-based speech is first analyzed “on its face” as to whether it violates a person’s constitutional rights. If the wording of the statute does not prohibit speech, the statute is scrutinized “as applied” to the person or group affected to determine if there is yet still a constitutional violation.

A similar analysis belongs to health reform. No matter how many Democrats claim there is no “intent” to do away with private insurance or to “kill grandma,” the reforms as applied to the present system — with its lower reimbursement rates to hospitals and doctors by Medicare and Medicaid, below-cost pricing of government insurance and the inclusion of “talks” about ways to end life to the elderly — make the intent of the reforms almost irrelevant.

As the article outlined, these provisions will make it impossible for private insurance companies to make a profit, and those companies will go out of business, leaving us with only government insurance. Oh, but Mr. Obama and the Democrats don’t intend for that to happen.

Forget intent. It’s so easy to lie about that. Words on a 1,000-page document can seem so innocent on their face. Health insurance reforms as applied to our present situation are where the scrutiny should be. I think the American people who are showing up at the town halls and tea parties realize that.

VICTORIA ORCUTT

San Luis Obispo, Calif.

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