The health care bill passed by the House tonight took another step towards transferring power over personal health care decisions from individuals to bureaucrats in Washington. The Republican alternative was a good strong first step of targeted reforms that are necessary to improve health care financing and delivery.
If it were to become law, the House bill would put the government in control of over half of all health care spending and would dramatically shift America’s health care system from one that is largely private to one that is subordinated to government control.
The bill engineers a massive expansion of the Medicaid, a welfare program that provides substandard care to lower-income and poor Americans and threatens state budgets. The addition of the public plan, a new federal health care entitlement, would add to the crushing tax burden Americans already face from exiting entitlements. Even worse, millions of Americans would be pushed out of their existing health care coverage, notwithstanding the promises of the President.
The bill would create massive bureaucracy. Under the bill, the new health care commissioner would in fact become a health care czar. This bureaucrat would exercise unprecedented power over the kinds of benefits and medical services available to individuals and families.
The bill also creates new inequities. While it would extent lavish subsidies to certain individuals, it would exclude those with employer-based coverage and would guarantee that others would be confined to substandard care in the Medicaid program.
Contrary to the promises of the President, the House bill would impose new taxes on all Americans regardless of class or income. The employer mandate and the individual mandate would tax the middle class. While the country is trying to recover from a deep and dangerous recession, it is ironic that the day after the jobless rate officially reached 10.2% that Congress would insist on imposing more taxes on individuals and businesses.
The President has insisted that reform should bend the curve on health care spending. This legislation makes a mockery of that goal. The true cost of the bill is in excess of the President’s $900 billion spending target — the full costs will run in the trillions.
The good news is the battle is not over. There is consensus in the U.S. for serious reform of the health care system. But, there is no consensus for a federal government takeover of 1/6th of the US economy.