March 23, 2010

Health Care "Reform" Writ Large by Lawyers and Lobbyists

I take no credit for what follows other than merely finding it. Cory Willard's blog comments are priceless.
What has Congress done to us by passing this monstrous health care reform legislation? The health results notwithstanding, we have, as is obvious by the language and at our peril, turned our U.S. health care reform over to lawyers and lobbyists. What have we wrought?

"I’ve been trying to read the actual 2,000 page health care reform bill, or as it’s actually titled:

AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE TO H.R. 4872, AS REPORTED

I’m serious, that’s the title. Read on though, and they’ll try to simplify even the title for us:

Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010’’.

If that title makes sense to you, then maybe you can answer some of my questions below, which I was asking both before and after reading such things as these new laws (all bold text in this blog post today is verbatim from the health care reform bill):

TITLE I—COVERAGE, MEDICARE,
MEDICAID, AND REVENUES Subtitle A—Coverage SEC. 1001. AFFORDABILITY.
(a) PREMIUM TAX CREDITS.—Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as added by section 1401 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and amended by section 10105 of such Act, is amended— (1) in subsection (b)(3)(A)— (A) in clause (i), by striking ‘‘with respect to any taxpayer’’ and all that follows up to the end period and inserting ‘‘for any taxable year shall be the percentage such that the applicable percentage for any taxpayer whose household income is within an income tier specified in the following table shall increase, on a sliding scale in a linear manner, from the initial premium percentage to the final premium percentage specified in such table for such income tier…

I kid you not — that is the FIRST page from the text of the actual bill that your Republican/Democrat Regime passed with only Democratic votes, but that all Republican/Democrat Regimers accept as the kind of laws that our country needs written to protect and provide security to its citizens.

But wait, there’s more! And maybe you can find some answers in THE VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH, PAGE TWO OF THE ACTUAL BILL here and then explain it to me:

(B) by striking clauses (ii) and (iii), and inserting the following:

‘‘(ii) INDEXING.— ‘‘(I) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subclause (II), in the case of taxable years beginning in any calendar year after 2014, the initial and final applicable percentages under clause (i) (as in effect for the preceding calendar year after application of this clause) shall be adjusted to reflect the excess of the rate of premium growth for the preceding calendar year over the rate of income growth for the preceding calendar year.

Again, I kid you not — that’s the actual next statement after the table that attempts to explain the so-called “tiers” of citizens in our country. Want to continue reading the bill? I’ll paste the next couple paragraphs, from pages 4 and 5 of the bill so you can read on and see for yourself the result of letting corporate lobbyisists write what was supposed to be a “liberal”, welfare-based, bill:

‘‘(II) ADDITIONAL ADJUSTMENT.—Except as provided in subclause (III), in the case of any calendar year after 2018, the percentages described in subclause (I) shall, in addition to the adjustment under subclause (I), be adjusted to reflect the excess (if any) of the rate of premium growth estimated under subclause (I) for the preceding calendar year over the rate of growth in the consumer price index for the preceding calendar year. ‘‘(III) FAILSAFE.—Subclause (II) shall apply for any calendar year only if the aggregate amount of premium tax credits under this section and cost-sharing reductions under section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for the preceding calendar year exceeds an amount equal to 0.504 percent of the gross domestic product for the preceding calendar year.’’; and (2) in subsection (c)(2)(C)— (A) by striking ‘‘9.8 percent’’ in clauses (i)(II) and (iv) and inserting ‘‘9.5 percent’’, and (B) by striking ‘‘(b)(3)(A)(iii)’’ in clause (iv) and inserting ‘‘(b)(3)(A)(ii)’’.
My biggest problem is - this HC bill is neither conservative nor liberal. It’s written by corporate lobbyists. Same thing as any Repub fixes would be. Regardless, here are my top ten questions from reading the actual health care bill:

  1. Can health insurance companies just start refusing coverage of the most expensive treatments, but still cover everybody?
  2. Are the fines for health insurance companies who drop increasingly expensive customers enough to make it painful for them to actually try to avoid such fines?
  3. Are the tax credits for small business who provide health insurance going to last as long as the tax credits for big corporations?
  4. Are you going to go to prison if you refuse to get health insurance and refuse to pay any fines levied for not doing so?
  5. Can health insurance companies jack up your rates right now before the new “reforms” hit and/or how we do manage to cap their rates if they have unlimited demand for their services all paid for by taxpayers?
  6. Why do we even have health insurance companies at all if the government’s going to dictate all the terms and conditions and pay for all of it through tax-breaks, subsidies and other targeted tax tricks?
  7. Are pharma, device manufacturers, hospitals, health insurance companies and/or any other major industry full of giant, powerful corporations going to be hurt by a 2,000 page bill that their own lobbyists wrote?
  8. Doesn’t the big-government trillion dollar Wall Street bailouts that the Republicans forced upon the American taxpayer who was outraged that they were redistributing private wealth to corrupt bankers provide all the cover the Democrats needed to redistribute trillions of dollars into health care reform? Don’t you see why the Republicans are just as guilty for the big government realities of today as the Democrats who voted for this health care reform bill are? (okay, that’s two questions in one, I know.)
  9. What’s hidden on page 1323 and/or 1842 if pages 1-5 of this health-care reform bill read like what they do above?!
  10. If government spending and allocation of wealth funded by borrowing huge sums of money from our kids is “stimulative”, then won’t all this spending on health care initiatives for the near-term have the reverse “trickle up” effect that the Wall Street bailouts and/or targeted tax cuts for the rich in times of deficits had in their so-called “trickle down” effect?"

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