|Barry O Here for Health Care
Posted 07/22/2009 ET
How many television hucksters rush you to buy something because the opportunity will not last? How many used car salesmen have told you that you that you need to ‘sign on the dotted line’ without fully reading the contract because the details are simply ‘boilerplate’? When was the last time some stock broker showed you the numbers for just the first few years of a loan repayment because ‘the investment will pay for itself’despite a huge balloon payment coming up? Welcome to health care reform, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid-style.
Speaking at a town hall event earlier this month, Obama said, “For those who say, 'Well, you know what, this is something that is very complicated, so we shouldn't rush into it,' that's what happens in Congress all the time.” The President believes health care reform is something we should “rush,” even though it is very complicated. More recently, he said, “I just want to put everybody on notice, because there was a lot of chatter during the week that I was gone: We are going to get this done.” Why is the President is using the same tactics as the predatory lenders and television hucksters?
Steny Hoyer (D-Md), the House Majority Leader, recently responded to a question about members of Congress actually reading the health care reform bill before voting in favor of it. “If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes.” In other words, do not bother to read the contract you are about to sign. Do not worry about what is actually in the bill, or what it means. Trust us -- it does not ration care to seniors, it does not raise taxes on small businesses and millions of the uninsured, it will not force you to give up your doctor or the health plan you currently have.
And cost, well no need to worry. You need these reforms. They will only cost $1.5 trillion anyway. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, recently touted the $950 billion in “savings” to Medicare that will be achieved in just the first 10 years alone. The specifics do not matter, so she does not actually say exactly how this will be accomplished. The “closing costs” of health reform will be paid only by “the seller” and you, the American public, are the buyer! Taxes and Fees? There may be a few, but its just “part of the deal.”
In the bill proposed by the Democrats in the House of Representatives, if you are one of the estimated 8 million Americans who make less than $250,000 per year but do not get health insurance under the plan, you will just pay 2.5% of your income, or about $1,250 if you are lucky enough to make $50,000 per year.
Who gets the benefit of the fees? The House Tri-Committee bill makes a $10 billion minimum investment in bailing out the unions that helped bankrupt the auto industry, while exempting current union health care contracts from the same rules you will have to follow.
And speaking of benefits, the health care you will get has not been determined yet. It may cover your disease or condition. If your state has required insurers to cover your problem, but the federal government does not include it in the basic benefit plan, you may be out of luck -- since costs will make it hard for states to offer any additional services. And Obama wants to give an unelected group more power than Congress to determine what is covered and who can get treated.
The cost predictions of the House and Senate bills by the Congressional Budget Office show almost no cost to you. Do not bother to look to carefully at the numbers for the rest of the years. It shows that the expenses balloon and then continue to increase at the same rate of medical inflation as we have now. This will add tens of trillions to the nearly $40 trillion we already owe, and can’t pay, on Medicare.
The President and Democrat leaders in Congress must think most Americans are not smart enough to realize the health care reforms they propose are equivalent to the bad loans and false promises that led to the current recession. But, unfortunately for them, many are catching on: 49% now oppose these reforms and only 45% support them, and the number of supporters is falling by the day. All Americans must demand time to read the bill, understand the provisions, and require honest long term accounting for the costs -- for the beneficiaries of today, and our children who will be paying for it in the future.
|Mr. Novack, M.D., is a senior fellow in health policy for Americans for Prosperity|