Kennedy's bill doesn't give a clue as to how this extravagance would be financed. No doubt it would be the same way the stimulus and the omnibus are being paid for: by printing money and by tacking more debt on younger generations.
The most unpopular features of the Obama and Kennedy plans are being kept under wraps, but here are some of the bad ideas being floated. Modified community rating is a euphemism for forcing young, healthy people to pay more for their insurance in order to subsidize older, less healthy people.
The liberals plan to impose fines on employers who don't provide health care for their employees. This will incentivize employers to terminate their current health-benefits and simply pay the fine, which is sure to be less expensive.
This will force at least 100 million employees (who are happy with their current health care) into the government plan, as well as create a new bureaucracy to impose and enforce the fines. The millions of workers who now have employer-paid health insurance will be very unhappy when they realize that nationalized health care makes them the losers.
Another very controversial and unpopular method of dealing with current employer-based health insurance is to make employees pay income tax on this benefit (which is now tax-exempt). Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Finance Committee chairman, said this proposal is "on the table."
Obama promises cost savings by putting all Americans' health records on a uniform computer system so it can be accessed anywhere and avoid treatment duplication. In addition to requiring totalitarian controls to force all doctors to conform, this will terminate all medical privacy.
The final way to deal with escalating health care costs is hiding under another euphemism: "comparative effectiveness research." This means that government bureaucrats will assess all health treatments to determine whether or not they are cost-effective and can be approved for payment.
The not-so-polite word for this is rationing. Life-or-death decisions will be made by bureaucrats on the basis of treatment cost and patient age, rather than by medical diagnosis.
That's the way health care works in socialist Canada and England, but it's not the American way. Free-market competition, health savings accounts and letting individuals spend or save their own money are the best ways to cut health care costs.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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