Yes, ObamaCare Still Worse Than You Thought

Bruce Bialosky

12/13/2010 12:01:00 AM - Bruce Bialosky

This is second in a three-part series on what the new Congress should set as its priorities.

While most Republicans ran on repealing the Health Care Act of 2010, Democrats kept saying that Americans would eventually embrace the features of the bill and that Republicans would never be able to overturn such a major piece of legislation. A new analysis of the bill – by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) – would make any common-sense individual an enthusiastic devotee of the total obliteration of this monstrosity.

The rules established in this massive bill would set anyone back on their heels. Yet these are only the tip of the regulation iceberg that is aimed at the heart of every American. The NCPA identifies 159 new federal agencies in which bureaucrats define what medical care you may or may not receive. But is that true? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce states there are 183 new federal agencies. It’s perverse enough that all these agencies are being created. But if two reputable organizations can analyze this legislation and still disagree on how much bureaucracy springs from its pages, what hope will we ever have to survive this mind-warped beast?

The NCPA analysis clearly illuminates the fantasy-land economics of the bill. Democrats have applauded the elimination of pre-existing conditions, lifetime spending caps, and the fact that your ne’er-do-well child can be tethered to you until they reach the age of 27. They fail to mention the huge costs involved, which we are already seeing (with soaring medical insurance premiums). The Democrats have identified enumerable ways to pay for this, two of which are: (1) a new tax on health care premiums of about $500 per year, and (2) significant cuts in Medicare payments amounting to over $50 billion per year.

If you believe that this is going to happen, then you also believe Nancy Pelosi is the tooth fairy. Medicare reimbursements paid to doctors are scheduled to drop 30% over the next three years. Doctors already complain about low Medicare fees – and how it is just a cost shift to private insurance carriers – but it gets worse. By 2019, Medicare fees are scheduled to drop below Medicaid reimbursements, and by 2050 Medicare payments will fall to 50% of the private sector. At these rates, most doctors will undoubtedly opt out of the system, further limiting the access and quality of medical care for senior citizens. Of course, this is all predicated on the revised reimbursement rates actually getting through Congress – which hasn’t happened in any of the last ten years.

One of the reasons the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes repeal is that the bill requires almost all employers to provide health insurance to even out the playing field. That is a mirage. There are penalties for not providing insurance, but they are estimated to be one-sixth of the cost of insurance. Thus, instead of more people having employer-provided insurance, there will certainly be less. The number of employees who will lose their coverage ranges from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calculation of 9 million to the estimate of a former CBO Director of 35 million – over 11% of the entire population! More people will be on the government rolls – which is exactly what the Democrats want to happen - as they force-feed us to a single-payer health care system.

Here is one of the truly spiritual revelations of this plan. Subsidies will be provided to uninsured employees by the government (or their employer) based on the employee’s income. But that would be the employee’s “family income,” not his/her wages. This means that the government will require every employee receiving subsidies to provide a copy of their tax return to their employer or insurance exchange to prove the “family income.” Yes, you read it right – this act not only allows the Department of Health and Human Services to look at your tax return, but it requires insurance exchanges and employers as well.

You will now have to attach to your tax return proof that you carry health insurance, or suffer penalties if you don’t. Your return will also indicate the amount of your subsidy, and, if God forbid you have previously been paid too much, the Feds will either seize your refund or send you a bill for the difference. It’s easy to foresee lots of money being lost in that shuffle, and lots of people receiving threatening letters from their favorite government agency – the IRS.

As for the sanctity of marriage, there is none. Because there is already a marriage penalty built into the tax code, you would think that the people who wrote this bill would make sure to avoid the same problem. But no – this plan awards higher subsidies for two single people than one married couple. Yet again the government discourages marriage. Does anyone wonder why 40% of Americans don’t believe in marriage when Washington penalizes it in your taxes and health care?

The treasure trove of insanity that’s contained in this legislation will ultimately appall and disgust the overwhelming majority of Americans. We clearly remember that this bill was only passed with Congressional shenanigans, bribes to wavering Senators, and the pathetic sellout of the Stupak Democrats, all of whom (except one) are now out of office. We all must work to make sure that those 159 (or 183) agencies don’t ever see a single dollar of funding, don’t ever start hiring a staff, and above all, don’t ever get the opportunity to destroy whatever sense of individuality we have left in this country.

Note: 222 companies and unions have opted out of ObamaCare, wouldn’t you like to also?