Quote of the Week: "It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed........... The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more than another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe." - Editorial by Pravda (Russia's largest newspaper) April 27, 2009
Socialized Medicine: If there was any doubt that the House Democrat Health Care plan would be anything but full-blown, single payer, socialized medicine it has now been cast aside with the release of the 1,017 page bill this week. The bill has already passed two of the three committees to which it has been referred to in the House. Not a single Republican voted for it in either committee, so any pretext of bipartisanship should also be cast aside. The bill will be debated on the House floor in about 10 days, so we will have more time when those days come to discuss just how extreme this thing is. But let me give you a few highlights:
- It makes it illegal to purchase your own private health insurance after the bill is enacted and will transition virtually everyone to government care within 5 years. (Found on page 16 of H.R. 3200)
- The bill raises taxes on "the rich" but also creates new taxes on small businesses and individuals who do not have health insurance. After the tax increase, the top tax rate for a resident of California will be over 57%, which makes it the highest income tax rate in the industrialized world (Sweden is 56%).
- It will increase the overall cost of health care in the country by trillions of dollars. Even the Democrat appointed head of the Congressional Budget Office had to admit that there is no evidence that the plan will lower the cost of health care as the President has asserted.
Current estimates project that there will be nearly 5 million additional jobs that will disappear nationwide, as a result of the plan.
- As many as 114 million Americans could lose their current coverage under the bill, according to non-partisan actuaries at the Lewin Group.
- Doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers will be paid even less than they are currently being paid by Medicare or Medicaid, which will bankrupt many.
- A government "Institute of Comparative Effectiveness" will determine whether you are allowed to receive treatments or medicines, and sometimes, as happens in other socialized countries, whether you are allowed to live or die.
- It does not deal with the bankruptcy of the Medicare system or Social Security so those problems continue, but the taxes said to balance them will have been spent on this.
- And, it will not even cover everybody with insurance, so it won't even fix what it is supposed to fix.
This is without question, the single worst, and most dangerous piece of legislation I have seen in my 9 years of public service. Under this plan, prison guards in California will make far more money than doctors, and to quote one of my colleagues, we will all be forced into government health care with the compassion of the IRS and the efficiency of the Post Office.
Patient's Choice Act: If there is bipartisan agreement on health care, it is that the current system needs reform. The reform measure that I think is best has been introduced by Congressmen Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) called the Patient's Choice Act. It is directionally opposite of the plan proposed by the Obama regime. Instead of putting government in charge of the system, this plan largely removes the failed portions of government involvement, and puts each individual in charge of their own health care plan and decisions. Here are some bullet points on this plan:
- The plan eliminates the employer deduction for health insurance and the system of direct payment of health costs under Medicare and Medicaid, and replaces them with a $2,300 refundable tax credit per individual which must be used for health care costs. Therefore, everyone, whether they are young, senior citizens, or indigent, will be covered under a private plan of their own choosing. And you no longer have to get the plan from your employer, but will have a number of options to get your own and keep the same plan as you move from job to job. Senior plans would be further subsidized by the Medicare system but still allowed to choose their own plan.
- Currently as a Californian, you can only buy a health insurance plan approved by the state of California. Under the Patient's Choice Act, you would be free to pick from any of the over 1,300 medical insurance plans offered around the country. State based insurance exchanges will make sure that you cannot be cancelled for illness and that pre-existing conditions will not interfere with our choices in the same way that fire insurance is available to those who live in high fire risk areas today.
- Basically this legislation will allow unlimited contributions to a health savings account so that Americans can save for their own health care costs on a pre-tax basis.
- Litigation costs are a huge driver of medical costs. This bill would replace the court system with state based dispute resolution mechanisms for most claims thereby saving a great deal of money in the system.
- Creates transparency through a public/private partnership to disclose cost, quality, and outcomes of various plans and providers.
- It also instills accountability into existing federal wellness and prevention programs to encourage more disease prevention activities and thereby lower costs.
- This bill will cost a grand total of $0 and will increase taxes by $0. It is revenue and cost neutral to the current system.
This is also a large bill which has many details I have not outlined here. But the difference is clear. There is an Obama/Pelosi socialized proposal that increases costs, lowers quality, raises taxes, increases the deficit, doesn't fix the problem, and literally leaves your life in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. Or there is a plan that costs nothing more, will lower costs and improve quality, and put YOU in charge of all of the decisions about YOUR health care.
The battle lines are drawn. And this is one we have to win.