John Shadegg

What’s worse: when Mary goes shopping for a new plan, it will have been designed by a government bureaucracy, even if the so-called “public plan” isn’t adopted. These new, “government-approved” plans will make her pay for services she doesn’t need, and can’t afford, like alcohol and drug counseling, even if these aren’t health care concerns for Mary or her family. She'll be forced to buy services she doesn’t want because it will be illegal to buy just what she needs. It’s like being forced to buy a multipack of cereal boxes when you know you’re only going to eat the corn flakes.

The government will dictate coverage requirements, reimbursement rates, prices—even “approved” marketing practices and “free” wellness coverage. “Free” wellness coverage? Who’s kidding who? She knows nothing is free. Of course costs will go up. Like it or not, Mary’s family will lose the plan they have and maybe the doctors they like and trust. And, the government is serious about making that happen. If Mary doesn’t comply and purchase a “government-approved” plan, she'll be fined. If her conduct is willful, she'll be guilty of a misdemeanor. When did health care “reform” become about punishing people instead of controlling costs and helping the uninsured?

With thousands of pages creating 53 new boards and bureaucracies, Mary will lose the freedom to make her own health care decisions. Washington politicians are seizing the power to control health care for their political gain.

Instead they should be giving Mary and millions of American families the ability to make their own choices, imposing discipline on health insurers and providers to control cost.

Mary won’t even be able to keep her Health Savings Account (HSA). For years, she has been putting money away tax-free to help cover future medical expenses. Why is Congress outlawing HSAs through the fine print of a 1,502 page bill?

Even her 22-year-old daughter, who is looking for her first job after college, will be hurt. She’ll be compelled to buy insurance at rates that subsidize the elderly. That’s right: the “government-approved” plans set the rates for the youngest and oldest, and Mary’s daughter’s policy will cost far more than the actual cost to insure a 22-year-old. Because the bills also compel all employers to provide coverage, the cost of hiring employees will go up and hurt her daughter’s chance of finding a job.

For their own political gain, career politicians are rushing this legislation through so fast the Congressional Budget Office doesn’t have time to evaluate it. The most recent score politicians are touting counted only seven years of expenditures against ten of revenue. Even Mary’s family budget would look good if she could “score” it that way! House Democrats are being told to vote for this massive, new, untested health care regime—or else. Those who are worried about Mary risk career-ending retribution if they even think about opposing their leadership.

Mary started listening to the health care debate because she was worried about the rising cost of care. It sounded like reform would make her care more affordable. It doesn’t sound like that any more. Now, as Mary balances her checkbook, she has to worry not just about cost, but about her job, and her ability to make choices, and now, how it will hurt her daughter. But, the politicians will look good.

John Shadegg

John Shadegg has represented Arizona's Third Congressional District since 1994. He has established a reputation in Congress as a leading advocate for reduced government spending, federal tax relief, and the re-establishment of state and individual rights.

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