The Senate Finance Committee passed their health care reform bill. Unfortunately, just as the other bills that have come out of House and Senate committees, it doesn’t fix health care at all – and it costs a fortune.
I’ve written numerous articles that compare and contrast, analyze and break-down how all of the different bills have approached the problem. What we have to realize sooner rather than later is that this isn’t about fixing health care, it’s about making it the same for everyone. It’s about making everything the same for everyone – bad.
What kind of bad? Well, just from perusing the internet today, it would appear that everyone should expect their paychecks to be bad (even middle-to-low income earners), taxes to be bad (middle-class especially), the dollar to go south, and health care to be mediocre – for everyone (once it actually shows up in 2013?). Did I mention that the public option is still on the table (add extra bad-sauce for each of the points above).
Our taxes are going to get much larger under the concepts in the new Finance bill. The Senate’s own Committee on Taxation ran the numbers on the 40% excise tax in the bill, and they aren’t pretty. The tax is highly-regressive so it will hit low and middle-income earners hardest. The committee’s analysis says that a family-of-four at 150% of poverty level will see a marginal tax rate of 48% while those who make are at 450% of the federal poverty level will see a marginal rate of 28%. Not sure Baucus did the math before proposing this mess, but the report did and it also noted that it would push many earners into the next-higher tax bracket – congratulations. To poor salt in the wound, that’s even after 12% of their premiums are subsidized by other taxpayers money.
Our paychecks are going to shrink. Due to the excessive big-government taxation in the Senate bill, the Senate Committee on Taxation goes on the explain the wage pressures this plan creates. Business owners will be forced shrink wages to cover for the increased costs. If you own your own business, you’ll have to cut your own income, and that of all the people that work for you. If you work for someone else.. congratulation, the government just cuffed the hands of the people that sign your checks.
The cost controls aren’t in these bills at all. Sure there are mandated fee schedules, but that just controls how much hospitals and doctors can charge. There are no fixes for excessive lawsuits, the bills create a ton of bureaucracy that the bills even admit will add at least 4% to insurance premiums, and by adding a middle-man between health insurance companies and patients, there have to be extra costs. That is why Medicare’s administrative costs per claim are much higher than private insurance (read the first paragraph here – data supplied).
I did mention that the dollar will go south, but what does health care have to do with it? $900Billion in costs just from the conceptual Finance bill (yeah, it doesn’t even have the real details in it yet). That’s $900 billion to cover 94% of Americans which works out to roughly $31,000 per covered person, per year. We are $1.4 Trillion in the hole, for just this year. The only reason the government doesn’t go broke is because it can create money out of thin air. Metaphorically-speaking, we print money. Unfortunately, when we do that, each dollar in existence goes down in value and has weakened spending power. That makes things much more expensive.
The only thing these bills do is to make sure that anyone that wants health care and can’t afford it, can have Medicaid… wait.. isn’t that a State-run plan? Yup, so we rob the Federal government, bankrupt the State governments, shrink our paychecks, increase taxes, and kill the dollar. I don’t think we could do more damage if we tried.
This debate has to be about fiscal discipline and individual rights. And it has to get louder again. Our children are going to have European-style health care and the double-digit unemployment, long wait times, oppressive taxation, and lack of providers to go with it. So what will the last few months of Congressional work get us:
- Decreased wages – Yes
- Increase taxes – Yes
- Decreased buying power – Yes
- Decreased insurance premiums – No
- Increased Health Care Quality – No
- Increased insurance plan choice – No
And the real gift from Congress - a lifetime of indebtedness for our children so that Congress could say they delivered health care to us (psst – we already had it).