The papers and TV news are filled these days with several stories each day about the current debate and proposed legislation to expand the scope of Nanny Government into another major area of our lives with so-called health care reform. It seems that every day one committee or another of Congress is passing or proposing or marking up a bill to completely change the health system in the US. It would be great if they would focus on just the issue of how to reduce costs without the knee jerk reflex of the left to expand government power. Our we getting a change in health care costs with the proposals on tap or are we getting the old bait and switch once again?
First, we were assured over and over that everyone would be able to maintain their health insurance they now had if they were satisfied with it. That promise is as solid as the one about no one having to pay more in taxes if you earn less than $250k per year. The Cap and Tax proposal will tax everyone that lives, breathes, watches TV, washes their clothes, drives a car or public transportation or flips the light switch, not to mention the costs of every single product we buy going up in costs. Those products have to be shipped to us and that takes energy. All energy will be taxed under the cap and tax system. If you look at the House proposal you will see that you really don’t have complete freedom about how you select your health insurance. The Government will create three levels of health insurance policies. You will be able to buy it from the private sector but only those programs chosen by the government and only at the premiums and benefits approved by the Government. It of course remains to be seen if any of the private insurers will even want to participate in that process. After all they are in the business of making money and contrary to the Government they can’t print money. We WANT them to make a profit so they can pay our claims when we submit them. If you have never had insurance you will have to participate in this three tier system; there is no option. Likewise, if you are employed but lose your coverage due to lay off or you quit then you also MUST participate in the three tier program. Only those already insured can keep their existing insurance and if they ever drop that coverage they must go into the new three tier pool. Naturally, due to aging that pool of people with private insurance will decline every passing year. So that in a matter of a few years everyone will be forced into the three tier program. Then of course since the Government doesn’t have to make a profit and can print inflated money the Government option will become the only one that people can afford.
There is also a mandate there everyone have health insurance coverage. If you don’t there is a fee, fine or tax of 2.5% of gross income, that is gross, not taxable income. You will be required to list it as a line item on your annual tax return. If you don’t then you have filed a fraudulent tax return and that is a crime. You may recall that was one of the reasons Hillary-Care never worked because they wanted to make it a crime if you didn’t follow the rules they were going to establish. Here the Dems have been very clever. They have made non-compliance with their health program criminal but without passing a specific crimianl provision. But that tax return requirement will work just fine for them. It will be a crime if you don’t participate and report it on your tax return.
A whole new bureaucracy is being created to determine the best and most cost efficient methods of practicing medicine. That is really scary. You can be assured that the three tier health coverages required by the Government will have exclusions for any treatment that is not approved by that bureaucracy. That will also lead to the Government being in charge of research and development for new drugs, medical procedures and medical equipment advancement. If you are a research doctor you will have to not only satisfy your peers with new techniques and the FDA but now you will have to make an application and get clearance from the bureaucrats who are watching the cost factor and which group in society is benefitted the most. The profit incentive will be inviscerated. I mean the Government approved programs will be setting the fees and costs for everything and what is the reward for an individual or company do develop a new drug or procedure. Obviously, they think that profits are nasty things. That is until there are none and then Government, Inc. realizes there is no one or no entity left to tax.
I believe we do need serious revision in the way we pay for medical care. We need to give incentives to consumers to bargain and negotiate prices with doctors and hospitals so they pay attention to all fees and costs. Our current system has perverted the competitive factor in health care. The new system proposed will eliminate it altogether in a matter of a few years and that can’t be a good thing. If you are one of those who blindly believe in big government and central planning you will love the new method. If you want choice and more freedom then the proposals will ring not the Liberty bell, but the tocsin calling in the serfs from the fields of the collective.
Is anyone surprised that the CBO said the proposal would add to the deficit? You don’t reduce costs by spending more and even expanding coverage for those that aren’t even US citizens. I don’t pay for a Frenchman’s health care, why am I expected to pay for a Mexican here illegally? http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com