Just as the Senate HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) was about to begin voting on Chairman Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) health care plan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that this plan would cost at least a trillion dollars and still leave 36 million people uninsured through 2017.
Obama promised that people with private health insurance will not be harmed by his health care reform, but the CBO says this would not be true about the Kennedy bill. The CBO report says that the number of people with coverage through their employer would decline by about 15 million and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million.
The Senate committee decided to pause and ponder this sticker shock over the Fourth of July recess. Obama plowed ahead, saying “The cost of inaction is greater,” and accusing his critics of “fear tactics” about “socialized medicine.” In passionate rhetoric to the American Medical Association, Obama warned that “If we do not fix our health care system, America may go the way of G.M.” (not a surprising scare tactic – cg)
The CBO estimates that the bill worked on by the Senate Finance Committee will cost $1.6 trillion. A private consulting group, Health Systems Innovations Network, estimates the cost of this bill at $4 trillion. The higher figure is explained by the assumption that more people will buy coverage after the government subsidy rises to those with incomes of 500% of the poverty level, or $100,000 for a family of four.
After working in secret for months, House Democrats launched an 852-page bill that would establish a government plan to compete with private insurance, require all Americans to carry insurance, and require employers to provide coverage to employees or pay a fee of 8% of payroll. The Democrats didn’t dare ask CBO to score the cost.
The Democrats, who customarily defeat all proposals to limit the jurisdiction of the courts, stipulate in this bill that there “shall be no administrative or judicial review.”
Health care “reform” is being marketed as controlling (i.e., reducing) costs, but Obama’s plan certainly will not reduce costs or government spending. Anybody who believes that government takeover of an industry or project will cost the taxpayers less money must believe in the tooth fairy.
Further examination shows that the main goals of “reform” are to increase control by government bureaucrats and provide free guaranteed care to nonworking Americans and illegal aliens. But they already receive health care. The advocacy group Families USA reports that health care for the uninsured is paid for by themselves (37%), by government and charities (25%), and by being absorbed by doctors and hosp8tals or shifted to high private insurance premiums.
Employer mandates are included in most plans despite small businesses’ forecast that this is a job-killer and would force them to spend money they don’t have. Once employers realize that paying a fine is cheaper than providing health insurance, look for millions of Americans to lose the benefits with which they are now very content.
Individual mandates are also on the table, of course subsidized for low-income people. When people are required to pay for more coverage than they want or need, they usually try to get their money’s worth, which means long waiting lists to see the doctor like what is already happening in Massachusetts.
Look out for the words “comparative effectiveness research,” which mean rationing care by telling you that you are not sick enough or not the right age to get the tests and care you know you need.
Ronald Reagan observed in his First Inaugural address that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” It’s time for taxpaying Americans to stand up against Obama’s health care atrocity and just say No.