Friday, July 17, 2009

Speak Up Mike!

Earlier, we commented on the relative silence of the mayor on the proposed federal health care overhaul. To be fair, Bloomberg did comment to the NY Post this morning-and he did manage to avoid sounding too strident: "Mayor Bloomberg demurred when asked about how to pay for the plan, which is aimed at providing health coverage for people who can't afford it. "Throwing more money every time at the problem is not necessarily the right solution. And where that money comes from, that's something that will take a long time to be worked out between the House and the Senate," the billionaire mayor told CNN. "

How about a simple, "This plan sucks for NYC-as well as for the rest of the country." After all, the fact the Bloomberg has $100 million to lay out for his own campaign and doesn't need to be beholden to the special interests, should free him up for a little cold water tossing when a hair brained scheme to have the government micromanage health care is cooked up by the redistributors in Washington. Right?

And, while we're at it, how about the mayor taking the esteemed chair of the House Ways and Means to task for his cavalier foisting of even greater tax burdens on already over taxed New Yorkers? Here's Choo Choo Charlie's policy acumen on display: "The bill's top sponsor, Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel, asked whether the tax hike would squeeze New York's wealthy, replied, "New York [also] has a lot of poor people."

But the impoverished congressman isn't one of them-and, of course, insures his owm exemption from some of the plan's more cockamamie ideas that Betsy McCaughey outlines in the Post: "President Obama promises that "if you like your health plan, you can keep it," even after he reforms our health-care system. That's untrue. The bills now before Congress would force you to switch to a managed-care plan with limits on your access to specialists and tests."

But it gets worse: "Two main bills are being rushed through Congress with the goal of combining them into a finished product by August. Under either, a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest, and you will have to enroll in one of these "qualified plans." If you now get your plan through work, your employer has a five-year "grace period" to switch you into a qualified plan. If you buy your own insurance, you'll have less time."

But not Charlie; he and his colleagues, utilizing their exemption from the bill's mandates, will be able to continue to choose the Gold Plate Special. But Rangel should lead by example, as his colleague Congressman Fleming suggests: "As a physician, I am amazed at the number of my colleagues in Congress who are quick to claim a government-run health-care plan is the reform this country needs. So I've offered a bill, HR 615, to give them a chance to put their "health" where their mouth is: My resolution urges members of Congress who vote for this legislation to lead by example and enroll themselves in the public plan that their bill would create."

Charlie's queuing up as we speak. Right? And Rangel's allusion to New York's poor is patently offensive-as he continues to occupy multiple housing designed for moderate income folks. What about the city's tax base, Charlie? The workers in Paul Fernandez's supermarkets who may get laid off if your plan goes through certainly don't look forward to all of your misguided government "help."

Now, as many of you know, we've been beating up on the NY Post for quite a while on the mayoral control issue. But on health care, the paper has stepped up-something that the NY Times and the NY Daily News have not done. In fact the News buried the health care story yesterday in the middle of the paper and didn't mention the small business impacts-and neither did the Times, for that matter.

The NY Post, however, gets it right in their lead editorial today: "New clues emerged yesterday showing just how much damage the Democrats' health-care plans will do to America's economy. (Warning: This subject may make you, uh, sick -- and good luck finding a doctor if the plans pass.) Start with comments from Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office: The Senate's plan "significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs" -- even though President Obama and his fellow Dems claim to want to reduce costs. The CBO puts its price tag at some $600 billion over the next 10 years. The House scheme could run to $1.5 trillion."

Now, if only the Post-and the other local papers as well-would ratchet up the pressure on our elected officials to put the kibosh on this anti-New York City, anti-small business scheme. And the best place to start is with "Above Politics" Mike. If he is going to claim the mantle of leadership in these tough economic times, then he also must speak truth to the powers in the nation's capitol. Hey Mike, a little hint, this just may be a more important issue than continuing mayoral control of the schools.