Focus on the Democrats’ Health Care Reform

I’ve mentioned before that our daughter was born six weeks early, that she spent a week in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit before being sent home at four pounds, fifteen ounces. Back at that time, my wife was still working as a surgical nurse at one of the top hospitals in Philadelphia, and we had the greatest possible health insurance plan available. Yet we paid almost $8000 out of pocket for the birth of our child.

What was perhaps the most maddening was not even the money. It was the billing. Every doctor who cared for our daughter during the various stages of her time in the NICU billed at different rates, through different companies, and even the amounts due for the same doctors varied from month-to-month. Making phone calls was pointless as well — nobody knows anything, nobody has the answers. Our final bill from the birth of our daughter–the first notice for a specific doctor or procedure, no less–arrived almost one year to the day after she was born.

Our health care system does indeed need reform. If my wife, a nurse who spent her college years handling insurance and billing issues at a busy doctor’s office, could not make heads or tails of what was going on, what kind of chance does her octogenarian aunt have?

The problem is that the Democrats look at the successes of our health care system as failures, and because of that want to solve the wrong problems with the wrong solutions. People gain wealth here in our health care system, for example, a problem for many on the left but, in reality, the potential for wealth and success is why we have the best doctors in the United States, the best machinery, the best drugs, the best procedures.

Everything good in our system comes from a free market approach. Yet the Democrats look to more and more government as a solution for manufactured crisis. They cite numbers essentially pulled from thin air, such as the millions of uninsured, a group largely made up of illegal immigrants or people who could afford insurance but choose not to.

Personally, I think this is a fight that concerned Americans on both sides of the aisle can win. And it is one we must win. The health care program being advanced by the White House is, by far, the largest ever entitlement program here in America, and one we never could dial back. At 852 pages, the Democrats have proposed what House Minority Leader John Boehner describes as a bureaucratic nightmare that rations care, raises taxes, and empowers government bureaucrats–not patients and doctors–to make critical medical decisions.

“This plan will make health care more expensive, reduce the quality of care for millions of families and small businesses, cost American jobs, and force untold millions of Americans off their current plans and into a government-run nightmare operated by federal bureaucrats,” Boehner said on Friday.

His Web site, as well as the Web site for the House GOP Conference, currently offers a wealth of information on the issue. From Boehner’s site, here are the latest top ten things everyone should know about the Democrats’ program:

  1. Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Middle-Class Families and Small Businesses Billions. Though House Democrats don’t know (or won’t say) how much their government takeover will cost, here’s what we do know: the plan will make health care more expensive and hit the middle class particularly hard with higher taxes, rationed care, and new health care costs. As millions of families and small businesses are struggling to make ends meet while making responsible choices, this plan forces those that make responsible decisions to foot the bill for those who don’t.
  2. Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Tens of Millions Their Current Health Care Coverage. The House Democrats’ plan could force more than 100 million Americans out of their current health care plan and onto the government rolls, according to a Lewin Group study published earlier this year. A Congressional Budget Office report on a similar plan authored by Senate Democrats that would force at least 23 million Americans off of their current plans. According to the Associated Press, even the White House admits that the President’s promises about allowing the American people to keep their health care shouldn’t be taken literally.
  3. Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Millions of Americans Their Jobs. The House Democrats’ plan would impose employer mandates and cost jobs by requiring some employers – especially some small businesses – to pay a new eight percent tax to Washington. The plan would also slap employers that are unable to offer coverage the government deems adequate with another new financial burden. These two new taxes will make it more difficult than ever for small business owners to reinvest in their businesses and create and retain good paying jobs. Using the economic model of the President’s own economic advisors, an employer mandate would result in 4.7 million Americans losing their jobs.
  4. Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Put Bureaucrats in Charge of Key Medical Decisions. Instead of keeping patients and doctors in charge of key medical decisions, the House Democrats’ plan will give Washington the power instead. And if you’re outraged with what Washington’s done with the bailouts, just wait until you see what Uncle Sam does with your health care.
  5. Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Future Generations Money They Don’t Have. The House Democrats’ bill simply shifts the burden of debt from one generation to the next. Our nation can’t sustain the Medicaid and Medicare programs now. At a time when families and small businesses already are being crushed under the weight of historic debt, a new government-run program will only further add to the bill passed along to our children and grandchildren.
  6. Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Cost Seniors Key Medicare Benefits and Options. In order to expand health care benefits to some seniors, House Democrats will slash coverage millions of other seniors depend on. These benefit cuts will ultimately eliminate choices for seniors.
  7. Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Place a New Mandate on Individuals. The House Democrats’ plan mandates that every American buy health insurance or pay a hefty penalty to Washington equal to almost two percent of their income. This would force more Americans into government-run system that will make health care more expensive, ration care, and put bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions.
  8. Democrats’ Government Takeover Will Raise Taxes on Families, Small Businesses. Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) readily admitted that the Democrats’ health care “reform” plan would be financed with tax hikes. The Associated Press reported that, “Democrats are considering everything from taxing soda, to raising income taxes on upper income people earning more than $200,000, to a federal sales tax.” Exactly how many new taxes will there be to bankroll this government takeover? When do Democrats plan to reveal them?
  9. Democrats’ Government Takeover Is a Missed Opportunity To Reduce Health Care Costs. The House Democrats’ plan does not include even a shred of medical liability reform, missing an opportunity to drive down health care costs by reducing costly, unnecessary defensive medicine practiced by doctors trying to protect themselves from trial lawyers.
  10. Democrats’ Government Takeover Harms Small Businesses, Costs Jobs. The House Democrats’ plan uses the amount of an employer’s annual payroll to define “small business,” which is troubling news for millions of Americans who depend on these engines of economic growth. Based on the Democrats’ definition of small businesses only those with, on average, less than 10 employees will be spared from new taxes through employer mandates. This leaves a huge number of small businesses to deal with the onerous and expensive mandates of the House Democrats’ government defined health benefit plan (“small businesses” are traditionally defined as employing less than 500 people). These small businesses employ 47.3 million employees and provide those employees $1.7 trillion in wages annually. The House Democrats’ new employer mandate and taxes on these businesses will make it more difficult to retain these jobs and wages.

An article published on Friday from the folks at Canada.com detailed the lengths Canucks are going to measure and complain about wait times for health care services up there in the frozen north. In a report released this year by the Wait Time Alliance, the realities of a government-run health care system sets in.

Emergency room patients, for example, are waiting an average of nine hours to be seen and treated by a doctor. Those who need to be admitted are averaging a nearly 24 hour delay. Cancer patients, the group maintains, are on average waiting seven weeks for radiation therapy, three weeks past the benchmark of four weeks. Four weeks is the benchmark? Here in the States, a cancer diagnosis can bring radiation treatment by the end of a given workweek. Furthermore, if seven weeks is the average, that means that much of the cancer-stricken Canadian population is waiting longer than seven weeks for life-saving treatment.

Oh, but Obama says that ours would not be a government-run system. He says we can all keep our program if we want. The problem with his logic is that millions of employers from coast to coast will simply stop bearing health care costs and force employees to simply take the public option; eventually, private health care will be pushed out.

When looking at the Democrats’ approach to health care reform, we must remember two things: First, the Democrats are the master of the unseen adverse consequences. Second, and most importantly, it’s not about health care.

That’s right. None of this is about health care. Like everything else, it is about control. A government-run health care system is the master key to the locked doors protecting us from government intervention in each and every aspect of our daily live. Want a cup of coffee? Better use Splenda. Want a hamburger? Better make it a garden burger. The government foots the bill (through taxpayers) for your health care, so you’d better be proactive.

At the very least, this giant entitlement program is not something that should be passed hastily. This is something that requires the kind of discussion that only adequate time can facilitate. Yet look for the Democrat-controlled Congress to ram this one through as quickly as possible.

So bend over, America. You’re going to feel a little pressure. And if you don’t push back, it’s really going to hurt.

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Comments

  1. Robert Wallace says:

    Excellent write-up, Jeff. You hit all the major points. What our health care system needs is more reform to make bring free-market pressures to bear to lower prices and improve patient outcomes. Including billing!

  2. Gail B says:

    Robert is right, Jeff. Excellent analysis.

    And, "First, the Democrats are the master of the unseen adverse consequences."

    I love that statement. I intend to use that comment and will give you credit for it. It's a classic!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm tired of government making decisions without input from experts who actually do the work!

    Shouldn't they be listening more to the doctors instead of threatening them?

    Same for global warming!

  4. BIG MISTAKE says:

    Elections, have, UNFORSEEN adverse consequences.

  5. csteventucker says:

    Excellent Break Down of this terrible attempt to further control our precious health care rights. For more on this topic and to find out what the Federal Government can do right now to truly "reform" health care read "Is Health Care a Fundamental Right?" at http://www.sbisvcs.com/real_health_care_reform.htm

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is a key issue for American workers right now. Additionally, encouraging a workplace health program is a great way to lower overall health care costs and to improve employee health. Companies of all sizes can incorporate wellness and prevention into the workplace. Find out how and sign a petition at http://www.friendsoftheuschamber.com/issues/index.cfm?ID=52

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