The Senate Leadership is scheduling the first vote on their health care bill later today. A thorough critique and analysis of the 383 page manager’s amendment cannot possibly be done in the short time frame given by the Democratic leadership in the Senate. The race to push through the towering 2,000 page bill leaves little time for Senators, their staff, or voters to understand the breathtaking impact this legislation — that effects one-sixth of the U.S. economy — will have on the lives of every citizen.
In our brief review of the manager’s amendment, it is clear this amendment does nothing to alter the general policy direction of the underlying Senate bill, which accelerates the concentration of power that Washington will exercise over the financing and delivery of health care for over 300 million Americans. The underlying bill still includes individual and employer mandates, a massive and costly Medicaid expansion, highly prescriptive control over health care benefits and services, the reduction in access to Medicare services, and dozens of new taxes impacting Americans at all income levels.
Here are a few highlights from the manager’s amendment:
- More federal rules and regulation over health care benefits and services. A one-size-fits-all system is incapable of appreciating the unique needs or personal choices of individuals and families and re-enforces the concentration of power over benefit and services to faceless bureaucrats and Washington politicians.
- Federally-approved multi-state health plans. While technically not a public option, this scheme will have the same results. By giving unprecedented power and authority to the Director of Office of Personal Management, these multi-state plans will simply administer the government plan.
- Insufficient segregation of taxpayer funds from abortion. Despite the inclusion of the Nelson amendment, when the federal government’s role over the financing and delivery of health care grows, as it does under this bill, a requirement to segregate premiums that cover abortion services would be merely cosmetic in practice.
- New adjustments to the federal Medicaid payments to the states with special treatment for some states. New federal funds for the states only shifts the costs from state taxpayers to federal taxpayers and the sweet-heart deals for certain states, like Nebraska, only exacerbates state disparities.
- Repeal of the Physician Payment Updates. The House and Senate continue to try to hide the true cost of these bills through budget gimmicks, creating the illusion that costly provisions (like the physician payment changes) are not applicable. But, in reality, these cuts will get “fixed” through other must-pass bills as they have every time before.
- Sundry of new programs. The amendment leaves nothing behind. For instance, the bill includes new programs, such as funding to support pregnant and parenting teens and women.
- New Taxes. The underlying bill already includes over a dozen new taxes, many of which apply to Americans at all income levels. This amendment adds yet another tax — an excise tax on tanning beds!