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Monday, February 22, 2010

Why The President's "Take it or Leave it" Health Care Plan is Worse Than Congress'

As the house and senate are trying to pass their version of Obamacare through via the reconciliation process. President Obama released his version of the plan and it is just like the Senate Bill only with more taxes and more oppressive government control. The President also says that it was designed with reconciliation in mind should the Democrats want to use it.

The President will probably brag that the Ben Nelsen's famous "Corhhusker Kickback was taken out of the bill. But the Louisiana Purchase is still there. In the place of Nelsen's Kickback, the White House plan is to give all states full federal financing for Medicaid expansion from 2014 through 2017, and significant assistance beyond that.

Pro-lifers will be disappointed that the abortion language in the Senate bill, which was not stringent enough for many pro-life legislators and advocates in forbidding the use of federal funds for abortion, was used in the POTUS bill.

White House says their changes add $75 billion to the price tag, giving it a total cost of $950 billion. They claim the  bill will be deficit neutral (using the same budgetary tricks as the Senate bill)

Some of the President's changes making the bill worse include:
  • Price Controls-insurance plans would face a new federal Health Insurance Rate Authority to help U.S. states review "unreasonable rate increases and other unfair practices of insurance plans." What price controls will really do is cut the service that insurance companies can offer. If you cant charge more you have to offer less. Just look at what rent control did to NYC Apartment buildings.

  •  Still Kills Medicare advantage, just slower. POTUS Medicare Advantage proposal compromise between the House  and Senate bills. Reimbursement rates for the plans, which can offer more benefits than traditional fee-for-service Medicare coverage at a higher cost, would set benchmark payments at a certain percentage of traditional Medicare and then phase them out. Medicare Advantage plans would also see payment adjustments for unjustified billing practices.

  • Delays $67 billion in fees they face under Obamacare until 2014.

  • Quashes development of new life-saving drugs. Brand-name pharmaceutical industry faces another $10 billion in fees over 10 years on top of its earlier agreement with the Senate Finance Committee . Companies that make cheaper, generic versions of brand-name medicines would see an end to lucrative "pay-to-delay" settlements with brand-name drugmakers. Obama's measure gives the U.S. Federal Trade Commission authority to address the settlements and makes it illegal to pay generic manufacturers "to limit or forego research, development, marketing, manufacturing or sales of the generic drug."
  • De Facto Senior Citizen Tax. The industrywide fees ob Medical device makers were replaced with an excise tax that raises the same amount of revenue over 10 years. When passed on to the consumers, the tax will result in higher costs for items such as pacemakers and wheel chairs.
  •  The De Jure Senior Citizen Tax .Obama is advocating applying taxes for Medicare, it will now be considered unearned income.
  • New Taxes on success. Obama would place a 2.9 percent assessment on income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents for individuals earning more than $200,000 or families making more than $250,000, according to a summary released to reporters. The proposed tax would also apply to capital gains, an administration official confirmed. That would push the rate to 22.9 percent in 2011, up from 15 percent currently and 20 percent scheduled to take effect next year. 
According to the White House Director of Communications, the possibility of using reconciliation played a part in the design of the White House plan and gives Democrats “flexibility" to use that option to shove it through. So the message to Republicans is take it or leave it.

Sources: White, The Hill,Business Week

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