The plan now being pushed to a vote in Congress is basically the same ill conceived one outlined by the Senate before the end of 2009. The only thing worse than reading the 2,400+ page original bill is reading the voluminous and wordy amendments that will be filed under “reconciliation”.
For example, to quote just one of the many amendments:
(c) AUTHORITY TO ADJUST PAYMENTS OF PROVIDERS OF SERVICES AND SUPPLIERS WITH THE SAME TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER FOR MEDICARE OBLIGATIONS.–Section 1866(j)(5) of the Social Security Act (42U.S.C. 1395cc(j)(5)), as inserted by section 6401(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is amended–(1) in the paragraph heading, by striking“PAST-DUE” and inserting “MEDICARE”;(2) in sub-paragraph (A), by striking “past-due obligations described in sub-paragraph (B)(ii) of an” and inserting “amount described in sub paragraph(B)(ii) due from such”; and(3) in sub-paragraph (B)(ii), by striking “a past-due obligation” and inserting “an amount that is more than the amount required to be paid . . .
Did you get all of that? This one tidbit is actually one of the more “readable” passages among the hundreds of amendments to this bill.
Also, when, and why, did the entire student loan issue get lumped into this bill. This is just the sort of tactic that has true citizens of the Republic up in arms across the nation. In fact, regardless of social ideology, those of all political labels are coming to the conclusion that this form of legislation is a fraud. It allows items that either are of no value or cannot stand the light of independent scrutiny to be foisted upon the nation. Those in the congress hide behind the hypocritical statement that they did not approve of “that item” but wanted to vote for the greater good by not “denying” someone, something, somewhere in the land. What a bunch of cowardly hogwash.
This bill further turns Medicare from a taxpayer funded insurance program, to a taxpayer funded subsidy program with wealth re-distribution by imposing ever higher rates based on income. It further erodes the investment economy by extended what amounts to “payroll” taxes to investment income. Income from investments is income generated by taking monies UPON WHICH TAX HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID and putting it at risk for the good of the economy, local, state and federal governments. To place additional taxes on this income, beyond the capital gains taxes which already exist, and which many feel should be eliminated, will add insult to injury in terms of our failing economy.
The CBO numbers out today, suggesting that this bill will reduce the deficit by billions, is akin to saying that taking an aspirin will reduce your fever from 109 to 108 degrees. Yep, it helps, but it does nothing to solve the fundamental problem of runaway federal spending, spiraling deficits and interest on our national debt, as well as the rampant arrogance among elected officials or extensive waste by the government itself.
Worse perhaps than the bill as written and the amendments is the fact that the House will likely use the “deeming” subterfuge (as in “deemed to be passed”) to get the votes it needs. This tactic is designed to allow Representatives the mental fiction of believing they did not actually vote for the bill, even though they actually did. It also allows them to “posture” (as in lie with a straight face f not a clear conscience) to their constituents. Clearly, Speaker (should we say Comrade Speaker?) Pelosi cares not for honesty in government. She feels the end justifies the means, no matter how much damage is done to the nation or the key institutions the Founders bequeathed to us.
The next insult to the Republic is the use of the reconciliation process to force passage of bill that the majority of American’s have said they do not want. We in fact believe the reconciliation process should be eliminated totally from Congressional processes as it violates the fundamental operating set up of the Senate as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. The author of this charade, Robert Byrd, has himself said that the use of reconciliation for this purpose is totally against what was envisioned when he crafted it some 30+ years ago. Regardless of motivations, reconciliation as an allowed tool in the Senate must be abolished as it is sacrilege to the sanctity of the Senate as a bastion for the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority.
Most disturbing of all, the process of buying votes through the use of public, taxpayer funds, has led the American people to hold the Congress and federal government as a whole in such contempt as we have not seen, since perhaps the middle of the 19th century. The public nature of the “Louisiana Purchase”, “Cornhusker Kickback”, “Florida Advantage” and many other special deals in the bill make it all the more a farce. The majority of Americans no longer believe there is any integrity left in Washington DC or in the persons elected to serve in Congress.
Real health reform will not be accomplished by this bill. This bill is intended, and has been so from day one, as a transitional step in the broader goal of full federalization of the entire health care system. That means nationalization, or to use the proper term, socialization. In the end, socialized medicine, under the guise of a federally funded single payer system is the true goal of Democrats (especially those who now wish to wear the label progressive instead of liberal or socialist).
Additionally, this bill authorizes the disclosure of federal income tax return information to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (and the Secretary’s underlings) for “determination of eligibility” for certain benefits, subsidies and surcharges. So much for the privacy of tax information, you can toss that out of the window totally.
We have by no means sat on the sidelines. We have offered, what many believe to be serious options for health reform. We have been criticized from all sides for our positions. However, we remain of the belief that a properly regulated PRIVATE health insurance market will serve the best interests of the most citizens as it has, overall, for many, many years. Regulation is a proper role for government, but this bill really does not regulate in a meaningful way private health insurers and does not address in a timely manner many of the most egregious practices that most Americans find offensive. As an example, elimination of pre-existing conditions as a reason for denial of coverage does not take place for 6 months from the date of enactment for children and about 4 years for adults. Additionally, the CBO has directly stated that this bill creates 10 years of funding (read increased taxes, Medicare cuts, etc.) yet yields only 6 years of benefits.
Clearly, we could go on. To those who feel something is better than nothing we say, sorry, you are wrong. The wrong something is never better than nothing. Nothing can be replaced with a meaningful something. When it comes to laws enacted by Congress, bad ones do not go away, but live on, being amended and amended, in the vain hope that they will “get it right”. In the vast majority of cases they never do. Just look at the IRS and tax code if you want an example of full federal control of something. Even the military, whose members we honor, admire and love, is rife with mismanagement, overspending and waste.
In the end, we hope that our elected officials will have the courage to VOTE NO this weekend and allow a true unified reform effort to emerge which will be of benefit to all citizens. Real health reform remains elusive, but not unobtainable. This bill, if passed, will however forever change our ability to achieve that sought after reform. We hope that this will not be the case . . . obi jo and jomaxx
Health Care Bill – H.R. 4872 – Reconciliation Act of 2010 – http://www.opencongress.org/house_reconciliation
H. R. 4872 – http://docs.house.gov/rules/hr4872/111_hr4872_reported.pdf
In the Senate of the United States, December 24, 2009. Resolved, That the bill from the House of Representatives… – http://docs.house.gov/rules/hr4872/111_hr3590_engrossed.pdf (H.R. 3590)