- The Washington Times - Friday, October 30, 2009

The public option isn’t the only thing that should worry the public about Obamacare.

Granted, there are very good reasons for so much attention these days to be focused on whether or not Congress includes the awful idea of a government-sponsored insurance policy within any of their risky transformations of the nation’s health-insurance system. A government, or public, plan really would mean an eventual death knell for private insurance, individual choice and valued doctor-patient relationships.

But so many other bad policy options are being horse traded around the secret negotiating table that members of Congress should balk even if the government-sponsored plan is stripped from the final bill. Among the most offensive proposals are:

Abortion funding. The government option isn’t the only place in these bills that monies from the general public could be used to finance abortions. Unless and until Congress accepts an amendment strictly forbidding all public funds (including low-income subsidies) from paying for abortions, the bill will break a tacit, decades-old understanding. That understanding is that no matter whether abortions are legal or not, nobody should in good conscience be forced to pay for a medical act, even indirectly, that he or she considers to be murder. Without an explicit amendment to this effect, President Obama’s pledge that abortions won’t be government-financed becomes just another convenient falsehood.

Coverage for illegal immigrants. The same argument applies: Without an amendment providing a way to enforce a ban on covering illegals, any language to the contrary is just hot air.

Death panels by proxy. Any provision that penalizes doctors for “too much” care for Medicare patients is an invitation to rationing of end-of-life care. Any provision that pressures doctors and nurses into certain types of end-of-life counseling is likewise objectionable.

Hidden taxes. Mr. Obama repeatedly promised never to raise taxes on anybody making less than $250,000 per year. While we don’t applaud his class warfare at all, we do believe he should not break his word. Whether labeled a tax, a fee or a mandate, if government forces somebody to pay money against one’s will, that is a tax. If it falls on the middle class, that tax would violate the president’s vow.

These aren’t the only reasons to oppose Obamacare, but each one of these issues should be considered deal killers.