The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

On the Democrats’ move to fix problems with Obamacare:

I think the real problem is there is so much in the bill that is delegated to the bureaucrats, to the Department of Health and Human Services, for example.

For example, we don’t know what will be the required basket of coverage that any plan is going to have to have in order to be – quote — “acceptable” to the federal government and thus to [be eligible to] receive a subsidy if you buy it. That’s going to be determined in the future by the secretary of HHS, and that could be arbitrary.

I mean, if you are a 70-year-old widow, are you going to need drug-abuse rehab coverage? If you are a single male, are you going to need obstetrics? Of course not. But all of this will be decreed by a bureaucrat, unelected. It’s not in the law now, it will be decided. And there is a lot of this which is going to be decided.

And the other example of this, and the one that people are really worried about, is these committees that will decide which is acceptable or the best treatment. Once you have a committee like that — as of now it’s advisory, but in the future it could easily become compulsory as costs rise, as happened in Britain, which has the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the NICE committee it’s called, which decides who gets drugs and cancer [treatment]. If it’s expensive, you don’t get it.

And that’s what’s in the bill but not written in detail today. It will all be decided in the future by unelected committees and bureaucrats.

On the White House not allowing coverage of the meetings between President Obama and Israeli prime minister Netanyahu:

They meet for several hours — no press, no pictures, no joint appearances, as if the prime minister of Israel is toxic, as if somehow he represents a pariah state.

It feeds into the perception around the world, particularly in the Arab world and in some elements in Europe, of Israel as a pariah state.

Over what? This example of the Shepherd Hotel: The eastern part of Jerusalem has Jewish neighborhoods, Arab neighborhoods, and mixed neighborhoods. People are purchasing land, selling it all the time.

There are about 200,000 Jews in the eastern area of Jerusalem. Imagine a city in the United States of that size where you have every day construction, permits issued, as a matter of routine. So, of course, there’s going to be an announcement here or there. It’s a breathing, living city.

The idea that there should be no construction or no purchase or selling of houses is absurd. It would mean strangling the Jewish areas in Jerusalem and essentially extinguishing them ultimately.

And this idea that it’s Arab east Jerusalem: It houses the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter. It’s odd, isn’t it, that you have the Jewish Quarter in what people are calling Arab east Jerusalem? It has been — continually there has been Jewish habitation for over 2,000 years.

And the only reason it was Arab was [that] for 20 years [1948 — 1967] the Jordanian army expelled all the Jews! In ‘67 the Jews returned, and that’s why it’s a mixed area in the eastern side of Jerusalem. It’s Jewish and it’s Arab.

On the allegation that Jerusalem construction announcements were timed by the Israeli government to wreck negotiations with the Palestinians:

It’s absurd. It’s a large city with its own municipal government with its own [commissions] and councils. It’s got construction transactions all over. Israel is incredibly bureaucratic. Every construction requires 20 approvals.

So on any afternoon you are going to have an announcement of some sort. It would happen in any city of that size anywhere in America.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


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