Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Baucus Bill: Nationalized Stealthcare by Robert Bidinotto

In the wake of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) "scoring" of the so-called Baucus plan -- the Senate Finance Committee version of ObamaCare -- the mainstream media and the Democrats are gleefully trumpeting it as a financially responsible and "deficit neutral" approach to nationalized health insurance. But what is the truth?

For those of you who want to read the CBO report, rather than rely on MSM "spin" about it, here is the actual letter sent to Congress by the CBO chief.

Several preliminary observations:

1. Please note page 12 – the assumptions underlying the "projected savings" in the plan. The CBO notes that Congress or administrators, under various political pressures, "frequently" change the reimbursement rules in later years so that the "projected savings" never materialize. Think this bill will be any different? Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?

2. Please keep the bigger picture in mind: This is a whopping new entitlement program, projecting massive government spending increases. The "deficit neutrality" claimed by the CBO for the Baucus version, which will spend nearly a trillion dollars, comes only by increasing taxes and insurance premiums, while slashing payments for medical services. You can certainly cover any deficit by raising taxes or by cutting government services -- and that's exactly what the Baucus bill proposes. It plans $200+ billion in tax increases on "high-premium insurance policies" (see p. 2), plus additional billions in revenue from various penalties to be imposed on individuals and businesses (p. 5), plus a whopping $404 billion in cuts to current Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to medical-care providers (p. 6). This latter will pressure doctors, hospitals, medical-device manufacturers, etc., to reduce treatments, or even to leave the business.

3. Simultaneously, the plan will subsidize coverage and care for millions of lower-income people, plus millions of the previously uninsured (p. 10). This will dramatically increase demand for health-care services, while the slashed reimbursements to medical providers will discourage their participation, thus cutting the supply of health-care services. Follow the logic: Soaring demand against shrinking supply will necessitate medical-care shortages -- and shortages will lead to governmental rationing of medicine and medical treatments. We will thus follow the dark path of other socialized-medicine nations all over the world.

4. The legislation will establish government-funded nonprofit co-ops to compete with private insurers (p. 4). Ask yourself how for-profit companies can possibly compete with government-assisted nonprofit co-ops -- especially when the government will be writing the rules for the former, such as those listed in the next point.

5. Insurers would be mandated to accept all comers, could not deny people with pre-existing conditions, and could not vary premiums on the basis of people's health (p. 4). This means obliterating the entire actuarial basis of insurance as such, which adjusts premiums according to risk; risk considerations are now banished, by law. In short, insurance is replaced by anentitlement to health-care coverage.

6. All individuals will be required by law to buy insurance, whether they want it or not, or have to pay a hefty fine to the IRS if they don't (p.1).

The Baucus plan will be "deficit neutral" only if it goes through Congress without further amendments that will jack up its costs (please!), or if future Congresses and bureaucrats don't fudge with the reimbursement rates (ha!) -- and, in any case, only by virtue of massive new taxes, which will be passed along to all of us in the form of higher charges and premiums.

Like all the other competing congressional bills, this is not an insurance plan at all; it's an enormous new government health-care entitlement program. Though the Baucus version doesn't include an explicit "public option," it won't require one in order to undermine our private-insurance, private-health-care industry. The provisions of the Baucus plan will effectively socialize medical care in the United States, transforming insurance companies into public utilities and conscripting all Americans into the role of involuntary customers of the insurance utilities -- under penalty of fines or jail.

Who are the victims of this plan?

Doctors and other medical-care providers will find their incomes slashed in two ways: first, by huge cuts in reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, and second (if House funding provisions are included) by massive tax increases on "the wealthy" (which means: doctors). This will discourage them from participating in the plan, or even staying in business. Meanwhile, businesses will be subject to a host of new regulations and potential penalties and costs under the various "mandates" in the plan.

Who else will suffer under the Baucus bill?

If you are young and healthy, your health-insurance premiums will skyrocket to subsidize those older and less healthy.

If you have freely chosen not to buy health insurance in the past, you'll be forced to do so now, spending a lot of money on something you didn't want and may not need.

If you are old and sick, your range of treatments will be slashed as government cuts reimbursements to health-care specialists like cardiologists and oncologists.

Finally, remember: The Baucus bill now will have to be merged with another even-more-leftist bill from another Senate committee -- then subjected to special-interest amendments on the Senate floor –then further reconciled, in a closed-door House-Senate conference committee, with the even more ultra-left House version of the legislation. All this before a final vote and passage. In short, horrible as it is now, it will only get worse as it moves through Congress.

In sum, the Baucus plan is not any sort of "moderate" alternative to the more overt socialism in the House bills. It's merely socialized medicine by stealth -- a plan that will, in time, destroy the tattered remnants of private medical care in America.

Do you want to stop this monstrosity and save your freedom? Then it's time to get off your rear end and join an organized Angry Mob. Time to send out letters of protest to newspapers and to your representatives. Time to shut down congressional email and phone lines with irate messages



Don't make excuses. Our nation's Founders endured far greater perils and inconveniences to stand against a far less intrusive threat to liberty. Can our commitment be any less?

No comments: