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Democrats’ Proposed Healthcare Reform Will Cost Trillions and Ration Care
05.11.09

By Penny Wise

 
President Barack Obama said in March, “I don’t think the best way to fix our health care system is to suddenly completely scrap what everybody is accustomed to.” Democrats in the House and Senate think otherwise. And they have the votes to create a government-run healthcare system that will cost trillions of dollars, raise payroll taxes, increase wait times for medical care, ration access to high-demand treatments, and potentially bankrupt the country.
 
On Obama’s 100th day in office, Democrats in the House and Senate approved Obama’s $3.44 trillion budget resolution for 2010 that will increase the federal deficit by at least an estimated $1.8 trillion next year. The budget resolution also created a reconciliation process for healthcare spending that will allow passage of a health care bill in the Senate with 51 votes, instead of the usual 60 votes, if the bill is sent to the full Senate by October 15.
 
The budget resolution passed the House by a vote of 233 to 196 and passed the Senate by a vote of 53 to 43. No Republicans in the House or Senate voted for the budget resolution. This sets the stage for passing healthcare reform, along with its estimated $1.5 trillion price tag over the next 10 years, without the votes of any Republicans. So much for this administration’s promise of change through bipartisan legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid admits that this move by the Democrats is only used “when bipartisan bills are not possible.”
 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will consider a government-run program that could look like HR676, the United States National Healthcare Act (USNHC), co-sponsored by 78 Democrats. HR676 would create a single-payer healthcare system run by the government that would eliminate private primary health insurance by expanding Medicare to cover all Americans. On the surface this may sound like a great idea, but a deeper look uncovers some unsettling information.
 
If HR 676 becomes law, Americans could choose Medicare for their health insurance or pay for their healthcare out of their own pockets. HR 676 funds the expanded Medicare system with a 4.75% payroll tax, a 5% health tax on the top 5% of wage earners, a 10% health tax on the top 1% of wage earners, and a one quarter of 1 percent stock transaction tax.
 
Doctors, hospitals, clinics, and health insurers would see dramatic changes. Under HR 676, “Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will continue to operate as private entities.  However, they will be unable to issue stock. Private health insurers shall be prohibited under this act from selling coverage that duplicates the benefits of the USNHC program.  Exceptions to this rule include coverage for cosmetic surgery, and other medically unnecessary treatments.” HR 676 would remove the benefits of competition from the healthcare market.
 
Patients would also see changes. Healthcare coverage would be available to “every person living or visiting in the United States and the US Territories,” patients could select their own doctors and hospitals, and there would be no co-pays or deductibles. These policies might sound fine, but other changes could have serious consequences.
 
Patients’ treatments would be under the control of the government, with Medicare, not doctors and patients, determining “medically necessary” treatments and treatment options, and the government rationing any treatments in high demand, in short supply, or that are too expensive. Any expansion of the system to alleviate waiting times and to allow for expensive procedures would cost more money, leading to increased payroll taxes or further adding to the federal deficit.
 
The Democrats in Congress believe that President Obama will abandon his call for bi-partisan healthcare reform and approve the radical changes in the American healthcare system contained in HR 676.  While these Democrats may think this bill will improve healthcare for all Americans, in truth, it is a prescription for rationed healthcare that could bankrupt this country.
 

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