This is a long article but well worth your time…
[During the last few weeks, I have begun to notice a well-orchestrated and aggressive attempt on the part of the liberal news media to “put a smiley face” on ObamaCare. I cannot sit back and allow the public to be fooled.
On 12.29.09, I wrote and published The Horror of This Healthcare Bill and then updated it regularly throughout the final passage of ObamaCare.
With time, many of us have forgotten the details of ObamaCare and exactly what is in the bill. Hopefully this report will refresh our memories about how truly horrible ObamaCare is, and we will be energized to go to the polls on Nov. 6, 2012, and vote for the candidates who will repeal this bill.
I have included various updates that have occurred during the last three years. *Some of the links may no longer be available. – Donna Garner]
THE GOOD NEWS – All we need is four more votes in the U. S. Senate to repeal ObamaCare. If Romney wins and the House goes Republican, all it would take is a simple majority in the Senate (51) to repeal ObamaCare – not the supermajority (60) needed to overcome filibusters. After winning on Nov. 6, 2012, Ted Cruz from Texas will be one of the new conservatives heading to the U. S. Senate; and hopefully, he will be joined with plenty of others from across the country who have pledged to repeal ObamaCare.
UPDATE: On 6.4.12, Dr. James Dobson stated in his article The President’s ObamaCare Lies that the abortion component of ObamaCare would go into effect in January 2013 at which time all of us could be forced to support the killing of babies. Businesses and non-profit organizations (including churches and Christian non-profit institutions) will have to provide employee health insurance that covers free contraceptives (e.g., medications that kill babies – abortifacients). The cost for these contraceptives would be passed along to all of us, thus violating the religious freedom for those of us who believe in the sanctity of life. (http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/the-presidents-obamacare-lies/)
UPDATE: On 6.28.12, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare is a tax. If ObamaCare is not repealed, every American would be forced to purchase private health insurance policies (i.e., a tax) the provisions of which would be controlled by the federal government.
The IRS would be charged with penalizing each uninsured adult $645 in 2013; if the IRS were to try to collect those penalties, they would have to hire more than 16,000 new employees.
UPDATE: On 7.11.12, the U. S. House tried to repeal ObamaCare on a vote of 244-185 with 5 Democrats voting with the Republicans. In February 2011, all Democrat Senators voted to keep ObamaCare while all Republicans voted to repeal it.
“The Horror of This Healthcare Bill”
by Donna Garner
12.29.09 (Updated numerous times since then)
Hearing a sound bite here and there does not communicate how really bad this Obama/Senate healthcare bill is.
I have put all in one document the basic provisions found in the Obama/Senate healthcare bill. It takes looking at the entire scope of this horrendous bill to realize how negatively this bill would impact all Americans.
This is a rather long report; but because I have inserted subheadings, readers can scan through the document, looking at those sections that hold particular interest for them.
OBAMA’S PROPOSAL RELEASED ON 2.22.10
Obama released his 11-page outline of his healthcare proposal on 2.22.10.
Because I wrote a report on 12.29.09 that tracked the explicit provisions in the Senate/Reid healthcare bill, I have gone through that report and have added Obama’s proposal changes (highlighted in red with two asterisks**).
OBAMA’S CONCESSIONS RELEASED 3.2.10
This week Obama issued four concessions to give the appearance of bipartisanship on this bill. I have indicated Obama’s four concessions with three red asterisks (***).
Tell your Congressmen that the only alternative is to dump this bill because of its all-encompassing regulations.
SENATOR REID’S HEALTHCARE BILL
H. R. 3590 (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) is 2,074 pages long [plus the 383 pages of revisions disclosed by Sen. Reid right before the final vote on 12.24.09]. This totals 2,457 pages that make up the Sen. Reid healthcare bill that was passed on Christmas Eve morning.
**Obama’s healthcare proposal would increase the cost from $871 Billion to $950 Billion over 10 years, but the real costs would depend upon the years it takes to implement the bill and the revenues and benefits that ensue.
This is what CBO Director Douglass Elmendorf stated about Obama’s proposal:
Although the proposal reflects many elements that were included in the health care bills passed by the House and the Senate last year, it modifies many of those elements and also includes new ones. Preparing a cost estimate requires very detailed specifications of numerous provisions, and the materials that were released this morning do not provide sufficient detail on all of the provisions.
- · Every American for the first time would have to obtain insurance or else face a financial penalty (or even jail time as indicated in the bill).
- · Starting in 2014, people who do not have access to affordable coverage through an employer (families up to incomes of about $88,000 a year) could be eligible for federal subsidies provided through state-based exchanges, heavily regulated by the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management.
- · The approximate average subsidy in 2019 under the House plan would be $6,800 a year; it would be $5,600 under the Senate bill.
- · The Senate bill would require raising taxes on middle-class Americans and cutting senior citizens’ health benefits by nearly $5 trillion.
- · All but the smallest employers would face fines of as much as $750 per worker if even one employee sought federal help to buy a policy; additional federal subsidies could be given to small businesses.
- · After 2014, there would be a total ban on a lifetime cap for coverage and a ban on pre-existing conditions.
- · The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that families who buy coverage on their own would see their premiums increase by up to $2,100 a year.
- · Over 10 million Americans would lose their employer-based coverage altogether.
- · The “individual responsibility” provision in Section 1501 requires anyone who fails to obtain a qualifying health plan to pay an annual tax penalty of $750 per adult family member and $375 per child, up to a maximum penalty of $2,250 per family.
NEW TAXES TO BE PAID BY EVERYONE
Obama and the Democrats in Congress keep talking about the cost of the healthcare bill, but they seem less than concerned about the money this bill would actually take out of our pockets because of more than a dozen new taxes created by the bill. These would add up quickly for families:
- · A 40 percent excise tax on “high value” health care plans of $8,500 or more for an individual and $23,000 or more for a couple ($149.1 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years);
- · A 0.5 percent hike in the Medicare payroll tax for single earners over $200,000 and joint earners over $250,000 ($53.8 billion);
- · Changes in health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer Medical Spending Accounts, health flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements ($5 billion);
- · A $2,500 cap on FSAs in cafeteria plans ($14.6 billion);
- · An increase from 10 percent to 20 percent in the penalty for early non-qualified HSA withdrawals ($1.3 billion);
- · A tax on branded drugs ($22.2 billion);
- · An annual tax on the health insurers ($60.4 billion);
- · A tax on companies that manufacture or import medical devices ($19.3 billion);
- · A 0.5 percent excise tax on cosmetic surgery ($5.8 billion over 10 years);
- · An increase in the floor of the medical expenses deduction from 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income to 10 percent, except for seniors, who will stay at 7.5 percent ($15.2 billion);
- · Elimination of the Medicare Part D (prescription drug) deduction ($5.4 billion);
- · A $500,000 cap on the tax deduction for the salaries of employees of health insurance companies ($0.6 billion over 10 years); and
- · A mandate on companies with more than 50 employees to provide health coverage or pay a $750 penalty per employee for those who obtain coverage through the insurance exchange ($36 billion over 10 years) and a mandate on individuals to obtain coverage or pay a tax penalty.
The Heritage Foundation, 12.18.09: http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/bg2353.cfm
**Obama’s proposal would provide $40 Billion worth of tax credits to small businesses.
***Obama wants to allow people who buy insurance through insurance exchanges to be able to participate in health savings accounts; this could give more coverage for young people who do not receive comprehensive insurance through their employers.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN — ARTICLE IN DALLAS MORNING NEWS
Sen. John Cornyn stated in a recent article in the Dallas Morning News that the costs of individual coverage would be from 54% to 61% higher with the Senate bill than without it.
Many workers currently choose only catastrophic care policies and if they are young single men, they do not purchase policies with pregnancy benefits. Under the Reid bill, young singles would be forced to pay more than $1,000 a year to buy policies dubbed by the federal government as “adequate.”
One provision in Reid’s bill sets up a perverse incentive for healthy people to wait to buy coverage until they get sick. When New York and New Jersey tried this plan, their premiums went sky-high; and many health insurers left the market altogether.
Not only would the cost of policies rise, but higher taxes would increase the cost of private insurance ($150 Billion); and the healthcare industry would have to absorb more than $100 Billion in new taxes and fees. [Redistribution of wealth] Unfortunately, all of these costs would be passed on to the consumers.
CONFIRMATION OF HIGHER PREMIUM COSTS
To make sure we are getting the correct picture, I have utilized two different sources that discuss the costs of premiums: (1) Health and Human Services Department, (2) Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, an Associated Press reporter.
(1) On 12.11.09, the government economic analysts at the Health and Human Services Department released their report: The nation’s $2.5 trillion annual healthcare tab will not shrink under the Democratic blueprint. Instead, HHSD said the tab would grow somewhat more rapidly than if Congress does nothing…
We have heard many reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), but it was not until recently that I learned the CBO typically estimates only the impact of particular bills on the federal deficit. As important as that is, the report from Health and Human Services instead looked at how the healthcare bill would directly affect us personally over the next 10 years.
The HHS actuaries’ report projected that national healthcare spending would go up by an additional 0.7 percent under the healthcare bill (2010-2019) mainly because newly insured people would be able to receive medical care they otherwise would not have gotten.
The HHS report says the Democrats’ plan is too abrupt, too strident in trying to hold down the growth of payments to hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and other service providers. Such over-reaching would reduce access for Seniors, thus rationing their healthcare.
Providers who handle large numbers of Medicare patients would have a hard time staying in business and might stop handling Medicare patients altogether.
Reid’s bill would cause 1 in 5hospitals, home care agencies, and nursing homes to operate in the red. Many would no doubt go out of business.
(2) An AP article by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar on 12.23.09 warns that the costs of healthcare reform under ObamaCare would be felt long before the benefits. The taxes and fees on upper-income earners, insurers, and tanning salons would take effect immediately as would the Medicare cuts; but the subsidies for 30 million uninsured would not come until 2013 – 2014. [This would be similar to making car payments for four years before actually getting to drive the car.]
For people who buy their own insurance policies (about 1 in 6), premiums would go up; and the uninsured would go through federally controlled exchanges.
For the first time, Americans would be required to carry health insurance, either through (1) an employer, (2) Medicare or Medicaid, or (3) by buying it themselves. Refusal to purchase insurance would bring fines, except in cases of financial hardship. [The term “financial hardship” is broad and is open to much interpretation. During a financial downturn, half the country could fall under this definition.]
Most employers would be required to offer coverage or pay a tax, under the House bill. With the Senate version, employers would be billed if any of their workers got subsidized coverage in the exchange…
A family of four making $66,000 a year would still have to spend about 10 percent of its income on premiums – less than a mortgage but more than a car payment. And that’s without counting copayments and deductibles. [Redistribution of wealth]
SEN. TOM COBURN, M. D.
On 12.26.09 Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) shared from his personal experiences as a long-time physician (DallasBlog.com):
Our health care system needs to be reformed not because government’s role has been too small but because it has been too big…60% of our healthcare economy…In my 25 years of practicing medicine I’ve treated countless patients who would have had their lives cut short had the Reid bill been in effect. I don’t need to conjure up scare tactics or rely on talking points written by staff. I’ve seen cancers that would have gone undiagnosed, treatments that would have been denied, and care that would have been delayed had this bill been in effect.
Sen. Tom Coburn, M. D. also spoke on the floor of the Senate (11.20.09):
- · There is no provision prohibiting the rationing of healthcare, and you will definitely see rationing of healthcare with this bill. We are already seeing it now in Medicare more every day. CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) is not supposed to be rationing healthcare, but they are rationing about 17 things. CMS, the government, has made a decision on how best to practice medicine. Under Sen. Reid’s bill, rationing will become more and more prevalent.
- · Sen. Reid’s bill creates 70 new government programs. [Speaker Pelosi’s healthcare bill sets up 111 new healthcare government agencies. Trying to work through all these federal agencies would be a nightmare for patients and for healthcare workers.]
- · Sen. Reid’s bill says 1,697 times that the Secretary of Health and Human Services is to create, determine, and define critical things and write the regulations. This bill creates 1,697 new sets of regulations in healthcare.
- · The Senate bill is 2,074 pages long [plus the 383 pages of revisions disclosed by Sen. Reid right before the final vote on 12.24.09].
- · 2.5 million people who have health insurance today will lose their health insurance. They are going to get moved into some government program. [Redistribution of wealth]
- · If Sen. Reid’s bill is fully implemented, the CBO says there are still going to be 24 million people left without health insurance. [Who is going to pay for their emergency room visits?]
UPDATE: As of June 24, 2012, the CBO now estimates that under ObamaCare, nearly 30 million Americans would still be without health insurance in 2022. In addition to leaving 30 million Americans without health insurance, the “supposed” savings (touted by the Obama administration) have been counted twice; ObamaCare will cost more than $2 trillion, and spending would increase by 6% every year from 2017 through 2022: http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43471-hr6079.pdf
- · $10 Billion will be needed every year for the IRS just to follow the regulations for the tax collection in this bill. That is not even considered in the CBO score.
- · The actual cost of this bill is $2.5 Trillion. We already have $12 Trillion worth of national debt today. [UPDATE: As of 8.10.12, the national debt is just short of $16 Trillion.]
***Obama wants to spend $50 Million for pilot programs to experiment with specialized health courts rather than jury trials.
However, Gary Bauer said on 3.3.10,
But why should Republicans embrace a trillion-dollar entitlement program for a pilot project that the administration will likely kill in its first year? Everyone knows why serious tort reform is going nowhere – trial lawyers are a leading source of campaign cash for Democrats, who raked in more than $178 million in the last election from lawyers and law firms.
ANOTHER DOCTOR SPEAKS OUT
As stated by Jane M. Orient, M. D., managing editor of The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons:
One of the most common words in the House healthcare reform bill is “eligible.” Obviously if you have to be eligible, you can also be ineligible — and probably are, until proved otherwise.
If subsidies can be given, they can be denied, or taken away.
If the price-fixers can raise the doctor’s pay, they can also cut it.
If a committee can mandate coverage and level of payment for a service, it can refuse coverage or set the allowable charge below cost.
If it has to certify need, it can declare that there is no need.
FEDERAL HEALTH INSURANCE RATE AUTHORITY
**Obama revealed that he wants the federal government to be given even more power; he wants the federal government to regulate and/or block insurance company rate increases.
The new agency created for this purpose would be called the Federal Health Insurance Rate Authority. If such an agency were created, this would be the first time the federal government would have the power to place price controls on privatehealth insurance companies. “Private” health insurance would be “private”in name only.
Such a new government agency is not needed because the states already have the power to regulate any insurance-rate increases that companies propose.
For instance, the state of California has the authority to decide whether Anthem Blue Cross should be allowed to raise its rates; and I understand that California is deliberating about its decision right now.
Who needs HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in far-off, lobbyist-heavy, agenda-driven Washington, D. C. to be given the power to make California’s decision?
The reason California’s Anthem Blue Cross wants to increase its rates is that the unemployment rate in California is so high that people are dropping their healthcare coverage, thus shrinking the pool of payers to cover those who have serious and expensive illnesses.
The Stupak amendment, that passed 240 to 194 in the House healthcare bill (11.6.09), permanently prohibits federal subsidies from paying any part of the premium of a plan that covers elective abortions.
However, Sen. Reid included all sorts of “abortion gimmicks” in his bill. The Senate bill:
- · prohibits federal funds from paying for abortions but then does not require enrollees to be told about this provision.
- · denies the renewal of the Hyde Amendment, thus basically destroying the firewall.
- · insists that there be at least one plan that does not cover abortions but then encourages the under-advertisement of that plan and pressures women to choose the pro-abortion plan.
- · allows the Mikulski amendment that labels abortions as “preventive care” to go unchallenged, allowing pro-life provisions in other parts of the healthcare bill to be considered unlawful.
- · allows taxpayer-funded abortions on Indian reservations.
- · disallows conscience protections for healthcare workers. [UPDATE: On Feb. 18, 2011, Obama canceled President Bush’s executive order that guaranteed healthcare workers would not have to violate their beliefs.]
On 12.28.09, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper that Obama favors the pro-abortion Senate bill.
Because Sen. Reid’s healthcare bill does not require verification of citizenship (e.g., photo I. D.), an illegal immigrant could easily obtain a Social Security number and then access the public option, Medicaid, the Health Insurance Exchange, and/or Affordability Credits. [It has been widely reported that scammers frequently sell Social Security numbers to illegal immigrants.]
To make matters worse, a provision in the healthcare bill imposes fines on hospitals and doctors who do not“substantially provide language services to limited English proficient beneficiaries.” This means doctors and hospitals will have to provide translators who speak such languages as Korean, Swahili, Arabic, Bosnian, Spanish, Urdu, Persian, Mon-Khmer, Vietnamese, Navajo, Russian, Hindi, Hmong, Chinese, German, Thai, etc.
Law-abiding taxpayers will be paying higher taxes to provide translators to those who do not know English, many of whom are in this country illegally.
That’s not all. Even though Reid’s healthcare bill will fine, penalize, or even put us citizens in jail if we do not purchase health insurance that the government deems as “acceptable,” illegal immigrants are to be exempted from this provision.
[Redistribution of wealth]
MEDICARE — COSTS COUNTED TWICE
Sen. Reid has proudly publicized that his healthcare bill will cut Medicare by $500 Billion. [To make a comparison, Medicare presently reports $100 Billion of fraud annually.]
When Sen. Jeff Sesssions (R-AL) saw the proposed cuts to Medicare, he questioned CBO Director Doug Elmendorf and found out that the amount had been counted twice! Without this “accounting gimmick,” $300 Billion would actually be added to the deficit. Elmendorf stated:
The key point is that the savings to the (Hospital Insurance) trust fund under the (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs.
[Translation: Our family cannot set aside money to pay for our future utility bills while taking that same money and using it to pay our automobile payments.]
MEDICARE — HOME HEALTH CARE AGENCIES TARGETED
Another Medicare problem with Sen. Reid’s healthcare bill was raised by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) who explained that home healthcare agencies were being unfairly targeted in the legislation, noting that they account for 3.7% of the Medicare budget but would absorb 9.4% of the cuts to Medicare in the Senate bill. (The percentage is even higher in the House version of the legislation which passed last month.) Johanns’ amendment tried to eliminate $42 billion in cuts over 10 years to agencies that provide home healthcare to seniors; but, unfortunately, his amendment was voted down by the Democrats.
OTHER PROBLEMS WITH MEDICARE PROVISIONS
Another Medicare provision impacts people making over $200,000 a year. A proposed 0.5% increase in the Medicare payroll tax was bumped up to 0.9%, putting the tax at 2.35%on income over $200,000 a year for individuals, or $250,000 for couples.
Shielded from the full impact of a proposed new tax on high-value insurance plans (so-called “Cadillac” plans) were electrical linemen, longshoremen, policemen, firefighters, emergency first-responders, workers in construction, mining, forestry, fishing and certain agricultural jobs — mostly union members. [The unions have been big campaign contributors to Obama and the Democrats.]
Washington Post reporter, Amy Goldstein, today dug out yet another provision buried deep in the thousands of pages in the healthcare bill. “The Democrats and President Barack Obama have been clear that the ‘doughnut hole,’ as the gap is known, would disappear gradually over the next 10 years. They have not mentioned that Medicare patients would, according to House figures, face a slightly larger hole in coverage during two of the next three years than they do today.”
The “doughnut hole” describes the problem many elderly patients face who take a myriad of expensive drugs and must pay for them on their own.
**In Obama’s proposal, he has added a centralized database where government officials can document Medicare and Medicaid abuses. Also added is a requirement to perform background checks for those who provide health care services under Medicare. Jail time would be given to those who purchase, sell, or distribute Medicare-beneficiary information numbers.
** Obama’s proposal would close the Medicare drug “donut hole” for seniors by increasing their amount of money provided for rebates and by reducing the co-insurance payments by 2020.
** In 2018, Obama’s proposal would cut down on the tax on high-cost health insurance plans (e.g., those enjoyed by labor union members). Because of the reduction, instead of the government’s raking in $150 billion over 10 years, the tax would bring in just $30 billion.
***Obama has proposed sending investigators disguised as patients to uncover fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid.
To plug that gap in revenue, Obama would raise Medicare payroll taxes on upper-income earners; and for the first time, those Medicare taxes would be assessed not just on a person’s wages but on his investment income.
MEDICARE — DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB SPEAKS OUT
In the 12.23.09 issue of the Wall Street Journal, Scott Gottlieb, M. D., former senior official at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS),queried: “Mr. Obama promised that under his plan people wouldn’t have to change their doctors. But it’s clear that doctors will be forced to change how they make their medical decisions.”
Dr. Gottlieb went on to explain that ObamaCare would give only one government entity the power to control our entire healthcare — the CMS.
(1) Primary care physicians would be financially penalized for recommending that patients go to specialists.
(2) Medicare would prescribe exactly what surgeries, medications, treatments, and medical devices could be utilized based not on patients’ needs but totally on how much they cost.
(3) ObamaCare would not allow patients to sue CMS by going through patient appeals, but the bill would deliberately allow private insurers to be sued.
(4) CMS woulddiscourage innovation in medical devices; the end result would be the“dumbing down” of medical equipment and technology that has made the American healthcare system the best in the world.
MEDICARE VS. SPECIALISTS
The Texas Medical Association on 11.17.09 produced charts showing the tremendous negative impact the Medicare cuts would have on specialists,thus bringing about inferior, rationed care, and eventually “Death Panels” for seniors.
In most cases, the cumulative effect of the cuts on specialists is far more than 21%.
The clear intent of the reductions in reimbursements is to force doctors into being hospital employees, where they can be more easily controlled by the federal government; the costs of hospital tests is higher than if the tests were done in doctors’offices. For instance, a hospital is reimbursed $500 more for an electrocardiogram than is an independent specialist who does the ECG in his office.
In a hospital, all of the payments, appointments, and length of appointments would be controlled by the federal government. A doctor’s wife told me recently, “I know of many instances where doctors employed by hospitals have been fired because they spent too much time with their patients or did not order up enough tests to jack up hospital revenue.”
The Senate also passed the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS Act) despite concerns that the program would become a drain on the federal budget less than 20 years after enactment. The program would attract people in poor health, leading to higher and higher premiums that eventually would trigger an “insurance death spiral.” Even the CBO said that the payouts would quickly outrun premiums, and the program would probably require infusions of cash in its second decade.
Sen. John Thune (R – S. D.) tried to stop CLASS from passing but did not have the 60 votes needed to stop its passage.
The Associated Press reported on 12.29.09 that even though the long-term care insurance program run by the government is voluntary the “workers at participating companies would be automatically enrolled — critics say ‘tricked into’ enrolling — unless they opted out. People would see a deduction for the program from their paychecks — estimates range from $160 to $240 a month — unless they signed a form or clicked a box saying they wanted to keep the money.”
HOW THE UNSCRUPULOUS SEN. REID INSERTED HIS “FIX”
Sen. Reid slipped into his bill a provision that would prohibit future Congresses from changing any of the regulations imposed upon doctors and patients by the Independent Medicare Advisory Boards (i.e., “Death Panels).
When Sen. Jim DeMint (R-So. Carolina) saw the provision and quoted Rule 11, paragraph 2 of the standing rules of the Senate (“the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirdsof the senators present and voting”) and then pointed out section 343, p. 1000 in the bill (Reid’s no changes by future Congresses), the Senate President in collaboraton with the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that this “rule” change was actually just “procedure” change and only needed 51votes to pass. The “fix” was in.
Here is a partial transcript of Sen. DeMint’s comments on the floor of the Senate:
SEN. DEMINT: And so the language you see in this bill that specifically refers to a change in a rule is not a rule change, it’s a procedure change?
THE PRESIDING OFFICER: That is correct.
DEMINT: Then I guess our rules mean nothing, do they, if they can redefine them. Thank you, and I do yield back.
(12.21.09 — Redstate.com)
Sen. Reid’s bill says that people with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level ($14,404 for an individual in 2009, $22,000 for a family of four) could enroll in Medicaid. The House bill makes the cutoff 150% of the poverty level ($16,245 for an individual in 2009).
States would have to raise their eligibility provisions for Medicaid under the Senate healthcare bill. Therefore, states would have to come up with these increases probably through higher taxes:
Arkansas — $402 Million
California — $1,428 Million
Florida — $909 Million
Indiana — $586 Million
Louisiana — $432 Million
Michigan — $570 Million
Missouri — $836 Million
North Carolina — $599 Million
Pennsylvania — $1,490 Million
Texas — $2,749 Million
Virginia — $601 Million
Washington — $311 Million
Tennessee — $750 Million
*These estimates were obtained by calculating the increase in Medicaid spending in each state to bring it up to the 133 percent level specified in the Senate bill. Then I applied the percentage of Medicaid spending in each state on acute care (mainly for the poor) as opposed to long-term care (mainly for the elderly). Finally, I took 10 percent of the increased state share of spending and listed it in the table above (Dick Morris).
Because many doctors do not take patients covered by Medicaid and Sen. Reid’s bill expands the numbers eligible for Medicaid, who is going to serve them, particularly in the areas where there are doctor shortages? [Redistribution of wealth]
***Obama wants to increase payments to Medicaid providers. The amount of increase was not announced.
On 12.4.09, the Senate voted 57 to 41 to cut Medicare Advantage funding by more than $170 billion. Five years ago, Medicare Advantage was set up as a voluntary plan that has successfully helped 10 million seniors to pay for the care that Medicare does not cover. As a payoff to AARP for their support of Obama and liberal Congressmen, Sen. Reid’s bill would kill Medicare Advantage, thus forcing seniors to buy AARP Medi-Gap insurance policies containing less coverage at higher costs. [Redistribution of wealth]
The Constitution of the United States says:
Article One, Section Eight:
…all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To get Senators to support his bill, Sen. Reid offered them “sweet deals” to buy votes using taxpayers’ dollars:
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) — the $300 Million “Second Louisiana Purchase” in order to bring her on board for the vote — can now use this giveaway to buy votes in her home district when she runs for re-election
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) — The “Cornhusker Kickback” — special permission to allow the physician-owned Bellevue Medical Center in Bellevue, Nebraska, to get referrals from doctors even though other hospitals around the rest of the country are forbidden to do so under Reid’s healthcare bill; exemption from annual insurance fee for Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Nebraska and Mutual of Omaha; 100% federal reimbursement for new Medicaid coverage — $100 Million
**Obama’s proposal would take away “The Cornhusker Kickback” but adds fees so that similar help can be given to states across the board. The other “sweet deals” are to be left in place.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) — $100 Million for the University of Connecticut Medical Center; higher reimbursements for certain hospitals under Medicare
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) — Grandfather clause that exempts Florida residents from losing Medicare Advantage benefits — Cost: $3 Billion to $5 Billion
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) — exemption from insurance fee for Michigan/Blue Cross-Blue Shield; higher reimbursements for certain hospitals under Medicare
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming — higher Medicare payments to “frontier” doctors
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) — $10 billion more for community health centers; and $600 Million in extra Medicaid dollars
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) — Medicare coverage for individuals exposed to environmental asbestos hazards around Libby, a superfund site
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) — $100 Million extra Medicaid dollars
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) — $500 Million in extra Medicaid dollars
REACTION TO “SWEET DEALS”FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
On 12.23.09, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R-TX) announced in the Austin American-Statesmanthat he is in communication with 10 other attorneys general (Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Washington) and high-ranking Republicans in Georgia, New York, and Tennessee in an effort to fight the“Cornhusker Kickback.”
Abbott stated, “From a fundamental fairness perspective this [“Cornhusker Kickback”] is both wrong and outrageous. Usually when that is the case you can either find law that will support your position or a court who will agree with you.”
In a recent alert, Liberty Counsel announced that it “is prepared to challenge the constitutionality of the bill since Congress has no authority to require every person to obtain insurance coverage and has no authority to fine employers who do not provide the coverage standards that are required in the bill.”
Amendment 10 in the Constitution states clearly, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Sen. DeMint put the following into the Congressional Record on 12.22.09:
Forcing every American to purchase a product is absolutely inconsistent with our Constitution and the freedoms our Founding Fathers hoped to protect…This is not at all like car insurance, you can choose not to drive but Americans will have no choice whether to buy government-approved insurance. This is nothing more than a bailout and takeover of insurance companies. We’re forcing Americans to buy insurance under penalty of law and then Washington bureaucrats will then dictate what these companies can sell to Americans. This is not liberty, it is tyranny of good intentions by elites in Washington who think they can plan our lives better than we can.
The Democrats’healthcare reform bill requires Americans to buy health insurance ‘whether or not they ever visit a doctor, get a prescription or have an operation.’ If an American chooses not to buy health insurance coverage, they will face rapidly increasing taxes that will rise to $750 or 2% of their taxable income, whichever is greater.
An individual mandate to enter into a contract with or buy a particular product from a private party, with tax penalties to enforce it, is unprecedented– not just in scope but in kind–and unconstitutional as a matter of first principles and under any reasonable reading of judicial precedents.
WHY WE AMERICANS ARE SO OPPOSED TO THIS BILL
Summary of Obama/Reid healthcare bill by Michael Connelly:
It places control of our personal health care decisions in the hands of unnamed Federal Bureaucrats who care nothing about us or our individual needs. It provides instant access for these same bureaucrats to see our medical and financial information, it massively increases our taxes and ultimately our insurance premiums, and it reduces our access to the health care that we need. It takes away our choices and our personal freedoms and it increases the Federal deficit that will eventually land on the backs of our children and grandchildren. (Michael Connelly is a U.S. Army veteran, a retired attorney, a published author, freelance writer, and teaches law courses online worldwide —http://michaelconnelly.viviti.com. )