Yesterday, the final Congressional committee approved a fifth “version” of health care reform legislation. The truth is: there wasn’t a single page of actual legislative language passed. The Senate Committee passed a list of non-binding concepts – not a real bill. All the projected costs were based on “estimates” from concepts.
This health care debate is so complicated that Senators cannot deal with the thousands of pages of legal construction. It is too big for them or any single government agency to handle. This whole process proves the federal government is not designed to run the nation’s health care. The current bills are an unconstitutional expansion of federal authority and a dangerous threat to your civil rights.
Here are the “concepts” the Senate Committee voted to make law yesterday:
- New mandates to force Americans to purchase insurance with tax penalties imposed on individuals and employers, enforced by the IRS.
- New powers for the HHS Secretary to define benefits for every private plan in America and redefine those benefits annually.
- Health care premiums for millions will go up, not down, starting in 2010.
- Largest expansion in Medicaid since 1965, enrolling 14 million more at an estimated cost of $345 billion.
- Medicaid expansion will be paid for by cuts to Medicare ($404 billion).
- Medicare cuts will include a 25% payment cut to physicians in 2011.
- Medicare cuts will also include cuts to Medicare Advantage ($117 billion), which will result in a 70% reduction in benefits.
- Premium insurance plans will be taxed at 40% above set limits (expected to raise $201 billion in new taxes).
Real legislative language won’t be available until after these “concepts” are merged behind closed doors with an earlier version passed by the Senate Health Committee.
Physician groups, such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology, have now “taken the gloves off” to oppose the Senate Finance Committee bill. The insurance industry is finally waking up to this grave threat. Docs, hospitals and insurers made a TERRIBLE strategic mistake trying to cut their own deals with Congress. Now the true dangers of this government takeover are being exposed and the future of private health care in America is under fatal attack.
Within a few weeks we will likely see a consolidated Senate bill, as well as a House bill (consolidating three different versions) brought to the floor for a vote. Contacting your Representatives and Senators more critical than ever!
Source: The American Policy Roundtable, October 15, 2009.