Remember the health care issue? Well, the fiscal consequences of the socialized medicine scheme enacted by President Barack Obama and Congress just two months ago are already beginning to snowball.
Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, was one of the key architects and advocates of Obamacare. He was back on the House floor on Friday delivering an urgent plea to fellow Democrats that inadvertently -- or, perhaps, unavoidably -- revealed the fraudulent nature of our new national health care regime.
It was supposed to save the taxpayers money, remember?
"This legislation will lower costs for families and for businesses and for the federal government, reducing our deficit by over $1 trillion in the next two decades," Obama said when he signed the bill.
On Friday, Waxman declared that the sky is about to fall on the Medicare system. He went to the House floor to "urge" his colleagues to vote for a bill that includes $102 billion in new federal spending and would add $54 billion to the national debt over the next 10 years -- $25 billion of it in the few months remaining in this fiscal year.
Why did Waxman believe this new borrowing-and-spending was necessary?
"It's absolutely critical to do this if we are going to keep doctors in Medicare and keep the promise to Medicare beneficiaries that they will have access to physicians' services," said Waxman. "This provision will provide a moderate increase in physicians' fees, 2.2 percent for the rest of the year. If we don't act, doctors' fees will be cut by 21 percent from where they are today. This would be unconscionable."
It would not merely be unconscionable. If the 21-percent cut in Medicare fees for doctors -- that, in fact, legally took effect on June 1 -- is allowed to stand, many doctors in this country will simply stop seeing Medicare patients. They will not be able to afford it. The cost to them of serving their patients will exceed what they are paid. Their profit margin will be swept away.
To make precisely this point, 12 national surgeons' associations -- including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery -- sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter last Wednesday warning her what would happen if Medicare doctors' fees are slashed as they are scheduled to be under current law.
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