With or without Tom Daschle, Congress has some dictatorial health-care reform plans in play, all designed to force everyone else to cover 8 million uninsured Americans who are already covered.
There are roughly 8 million people in America without health insurance, who are not illegal immigrants, already eligible for coverage under Medicaid or other government health programs, or in families earning over twice the poverty level. This is out of a total U.S. population of over 300 million (less than 3%).
But not to worry. The federal government is going to fix that problem by taking over and running the entire U.S. health insurance market. In the process, the government will tell you what health insurance you must buy, and send you the bill, to be paid on your income taxes. If you don’t buy that mandatory health insurance, the government will sign you up for it anyway, and send you the bill, cc: the IRS.
The federal government will also tell the insurance companies what treatments and medicines for you they can pay for, based on the opinion of a big government bureaucracy in Washington as to what will work best for you, and what will be most “cost effective.” Wouldn’t your doctor know that far better than some bureaucracy in Washington that doesn’t even know you? Forget about that old school thinking. Under the new enlightened system, your doctor, as well as your hospital and your insurance company, will be working for the government, not for you, because their money will be coming from the government.
In the end, the government will even be able to save you money by dictating to your insurance company, doctor, and hospital, what health care to deny you, or at least make you wait several months for. If you don’t like that, get over it. In this brave new world of health care, it is not going to be about you. It is going to be about social justice.
And you can have all of this social justice in return for the largest tax increase in world history, and a further explosion in federal spending.
Our Great Leaders and Their HAPI
This is how the health care system would work under S. 334, the Healthy Americans Act, with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) as the lead sponsors. This bill has more Senate co-sponsors overall than any other comprehensive health reform proposal. It also reflects thinking within the Obama Administration.
Under the bill, employers must terminate their current employee health insurance plans, and pay the savings to the workers as increased wages. All Americans except those covered by Medicare and the military must then buy from their local Health Help Agency (HHA) an eligible HAPI (Health Americans Private Insurance) insurance plan. All HAPI plans must include benefits at least as comprehensive as the Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard option plans offered through the Federal Employee Health Benefits program. This would include coverage for dental care, abortion, contraceptives, mental health services, and a low, $250 annual deductible, regardless of whether you wanted or could even use all the mandated benefits. This would be a relatively expensive health plan.
Nevertheless, workers would be required to pay the premiums for such coverage as part of their federal income taxes, with the IRS to chase after them if they do not. For workers who do not choose one of the HAPI plans, the government will pick one for them, and they will again be billed for the cost through the IRS. This would mean additional income taxes for workers of over $500 billion per year. The entire federal income tax for fiscal year 2008 was $1,220 billion.
The government will pay the premiums for workers below the poverty line. This subsidy will be phased out as income rises, until it is phased out completely at 400% of poverty. That phase-out has the same economic effect as a tax on rising wages, further discouraging work.
Employers would face a new tax as well rising from 2% of average premiums per worker for the smallest employers to 25% for the largest. Increasing tax rates for the more employees a company hires discourages employers from creating new jobs and hiring more workers. This amounts to an additional tax increase on employers of close to $100 billion per year. Because the amounts formerly paid by employers for health insurance would be included in workers’ incomes as increased wages, that would result in an additional $65 billion in payroll taxes in the first year alone.
As Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) states, “On net, S. 334 is a first year tax increase of $642 billion. This is quite possibly the largest tax increase ever proposed in the history of the U.S. Congress.” (Emphasis in original.) Indeed, that $642 billion number is for 2007. For 2010, it would probably be around $700 billion.
This tax increase would violate two pledges made to voters by our esteemed leaders. During his 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly stated that there would be no tax increase on those in the bottom 95% of income earners. He promised instead a tax cut for those workers. He said in one debate, “If you are in the bottom 95% of income earners, your taxes will go down,” gesturing downward with his left arm. The massive tax increase in this health care bill would undoubtedly violate that promise, which was central to Obama’s election.
In addition, most GOP Senators ran in their campaigns having signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising to never support a net increase in taxes. ATR, which sponsors that pledge, has stated publicly that “S. 334, the ‘Healthy Americans Act,’ IS THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY AND A TAX PLEDGE VIOLATION.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online