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Health Care Reform Train Wreck
12.16.09

Senate Democrats’ reform plan lays groundwork for ‘financial ruin’

by Penny Wise
 
The continuing debate in the US Senate over health care reform is turning into a train wreck of epic proportions. With each vote, it looks more and more like everyone will be hurt by the final bill and, not surprisingly, it also looks like everyone will be required not only to clean up the mess Democrats in Congress make, but also to pay for it.
 
“Two thousand and seventy four pages and trillions of dollars later, this bill doesn’t even meet the basic goal that the American people had in mind and what they thought this debate was all about,” said Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell before the Senate voted 60 to 39 to send the reform package to the Senate floor for debate.
 
This is not a good starting point, and it only gets worse with the budgetary tricks that Senate Democrats have up their sleeves.
 
Democrats hope to “pay” for part of their health care reform scheme with nearly $500 billion in Medicare cuts. Democrats say the cuts will not impact services to seniors, but many doctors treating senior citizens disagree.
 
What this means for our seniors is Medicare benefits will be cut in important health-care programs,” says cardiologist James V. Talano. “In my specialty, cardiology, this will mean draconian cuts to Medicare-dependent seniors in cardiology services.”
 
When the Senate refused to restore the Medicare cuts by a vote of 58 to 42, McConnell responded by saying, “The Democrats are in a tough situation on this bill: they want to expand the government’s reach into health care, but they don’t have the money. And they don’t have the support of the American people. So what did they do? They decided to take the money they need out of Medicare. And that’s only made their health care plan even less popular with the American people.”
 
Next, in need of a gimmick to restore the public option in the reform package, Democrats came up with the ill-fated idea of expanding Medicare to citizens 55 years and older. “On its own, it’s a good idea,” said Democratic Senator Charles Schumer. This, of course, was after the Democrats in the Senate voted to cut Medicare spending.
 
Senator McConnell best sums up this move by the Democrats: “If your goal was to come up with a plan for financial ruin, you couldn’t come up with a better idea than cutting a program by $500 billion and simultaneously expanding the number of people it is required to cover.”
 
The proposal was so mis-guided that Senator Joe Lieberman – the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee in 2000 – put his foot down and said no. Desperate for votes necessary to pass their legislative behemoth, Senate leaders scuttled the plan for a dramatic Medicare expansion.
 
The partisan maneuvering by Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate is not new to our republic. Thomas Jefferson wrote back in 1789 that “Whenever our affairs go obviously wrong, the good sense of the people will interpose and set them to rights."
 
Now is the time to put an end to the Democrats’ legislative trickery with health care reform. In a recent email, STEWARD founder Fred Tausch urged supporters to take action:
 
Bottom line, the Democrats’ plan will raise taxes, harm small business owners and gut Medicare. A public plan, or even a public option with any trigger attached to it, is a path toward a government takeover of our health care system.

But it’s not too late to stop them.

Today – immediately, if possible – you should make it clear to Jeanne Shaheen that New Hampshire doesn’t want the Democrats’ health care takeover. Tell her that competition and sensible marketplace reforms are what will lower premium costs and improve health care choices for individuals and businesses.
 
If the American people don’t loudly raise their voices against the Senate Democrats’ current health care reform proposal, soon after this reform-plan train leaves the station, it will derail not only the health care system in the US, but ruin the economic health of the country.

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