Report from a Feingold Town Hall Meeting
“The ticked-off people in Pewaukee weren’t telling Feingold not to tax them to cover the not-quite-poor. They were telling him not to mess with their coverage, because Obamacare does just that, corralling millions of people into federally designed plans. Federal panels may tell doctors what treatments to use. The Internal Revenue Service may tell us all what kind of plan we must, or must not, buy.
“Or not. Word on Wednesday was that Congress might drop some employer mandate to get a bill passed. Lawmakers might drop a tax on really rich people. This isn’t reassuring: The logrolling shows exactly how key details of everyone’s coverage will be subject to constant politicking.
“This is what’s revealing about the turn of the Obamacare debate toward revenue: We see that the House and Senate plans are really about how to redistribute the costs of health care. The plans avoid anything like patients assuming responsibility and control of their own care – the one thing that could restrain costs. Instead, Congress hustles more money to and fro in the name of fairness, politically determined.
“So people assume, correctly, that the cost will fall on those with the least political juice. That’s why middle-class people were shouting at Feingold this week. They aren’t poor and sympathetic. They aren’t rich enough to hire sharp tax lawyers. They aren’t doctors who hire lobbyists; they aren’t unions, owning lawmakers. Someone’s going to get milked, and they sense a bucket headed their way.”