Time and time again, congressional leaders have denied that the proposed health care legislation would result in a federal takeover of health care. Proponents of Obamacare claim that consumers would retain personal choice in selecting health plans and physicians. For example, consider President Obama’s comments at a Raleigh, NC town-hall meeting on July 29, 2009: “Nobody is talking about some government takeover of health care. I’m tired of hearing that…Under the plan I’ve proposed…if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan.”
The President and Congressional leaders fail to mention that, under the House and Senate bills, the federal government would determine the kind of health plans Americans get— the kinds of insurance Americans would get, the level of coverage they can receive, and the premiums, co-payments and taxes they would pay. It even mandates that all individuals purchase a government-defined level of health insurance coverage, regardless of their personal wants or needs.
The sheer quantity of new bureaucracy created by the legislation underscores the fact that this is nothing less than a federal takeover of health care. According to a preliminary analysis by the Heritage Foundation, the House bill (HR 3962) would results in 105 new federal programs, boards, councils, commissions, panels, or agencies. The Senate bill (HR 3590) would create even more at 117. Talk about red tape!
The statutory language, though is only the beginning. Both bills establish a framework for even more massive and detailed federal regulation. Plus, the possibilities for frenzied special interest lobbying are endless. There are grants for medical home pilot programs, grants for comparative effectiveness research, grants for quality assurance programs, just to name a few.
The new federal agencies and bureaus are charged with designing, evaluating, implementing, and coordinating some new program. The details are largely left up to their Director and, of course, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is empowered with unprecedented control over health care decisions. And if you’re looking for a specific price tag for the new agencies or bureaus, you’re out of luck; many are appropriated “such sums as may be necessary.”
For those who want to cede a huge amount of control over their personal lives to Washington, the health care legislation is made to order. For Americans who value their personal liberty, all they have to do is to read the fine print. Through the wonders of the Internet, it is all readily available on fixhealthcarepolicy.com.