The scope of government interference in the insurance market is about to expand dramatically. Bureaucrats will dictate what insurance packages must contain, which is akin to someone accompanying you while grocery shopping, saying “sorry, you have to get—and pay for—all these vegetables you don't really want.” Insurance companies will be prohibited from taking relevant factors (like age, health condition, and gender) fully into account when pricing policies. That means that some (particularly older consumers and those with pre-existing conditions) will pay less for insurance, but it also means most people are going to pay more in the form of higher premiums.
As if acknowledging that costs will rise, the government will offer subsidies to some families (based on income) to lessen the blow of higher premiums. Yet premiums are only one way that families will pay more for this health care bill. The legislation is expected to cost about a trillion dollars over ten years. The media echoes the claim that the legislation is “paid for” and won't add to the debt. Let's be clear about what that means: the government will “pay for” this new entitlement by slashing about $400 billion from Medicare and raising taxes to cover the rest. In other words, the costs of the bill will be paid for by seniors, who will receive fewer services, and by the rest of us through higher taxes.
The higher taxes may not hit every family directly, but they’ll still end up footing much of the bill. The Senate plans to tax health insurers, medical device manufactures, and drug companies—and much of the cost of those taxes will be passed down to consumers. High income earners will be hit with an additional tax, which will affect many small business owners and therefore their employees and customers. Other employers will face penalties for not offering sufficient health insurance. That will raise the cost of employment, which is bad news for the legions of unemployed and those who fear joining their ranks.
Analysts will quibble about exactly how much this legislation will cost. That's an important process. But let's not lose sight of the big picture: this is a mammoth piece of legislation that will cost the American people a huge amount of money – and liberty.
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