Perusing the internet today provided many different perspectives on the health care reform reconciliation bill passed by the House yesterday(giving new meaning to March Madness). Maybe it was the sites chosen but an overwhelming backlash seems to be developing over the nod given by the House. What exactly does the healtcare reform mean? Did we fix what was broken or break what was working?
Paul Kanjorski tried to peddle his usual "we sort of stretched the facts" by claiming the bill was "essential to the country's economic future" in this story by Borys Krawczenick of the Times Tribune.
"If we lose this fight today, it will be 15, 20 years before we get a president and a Congress that would take this on," Kanjorski said.
His faithful Democratic followers must ask him "Paul, if the bill was ESSENTIAL to the future and the fight that important why weren't you behind it sooner?" Or will the saying "the people ate it up" hold true once more.
In a display of hutzpah his colleague, Chris Carney, proffered to the masses that "saying yes to health care was absolutely the right vote" in a story appearing in the Times Leader by Andrew Seder.
“Electoral politics did not come in to play,” Carney, D-Dimock Township, said fro mWashington, D.C. on Monday. “You don’t govern based on upcoming elections. If you do you don’t deserve to be here.”
Tom Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University, said he wasn’t surprised by Carney's vote but he questioned the two-term congressman's assertions that the upcoming elections didn’t factor in.
“Every vote in Congress takes into consideration the reelection of the member,” Baldino said.
In an interview on Bloomberg Television this morning former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin called the deficit savings from this bill as games and fantasy. The doctors accepting Medicare have a $300 Billion dollar increase in fees due them, NOT IN THE BILL. The cost to run the operations of this bill is $114 Billion, NOT IN THE BILL. $70 Billion in long term care premiums used to calculate deficit reduction, not recognizing that premiums mean claims and the claims are NOT IN THE BILL.
$53 Billion stolen from Social Security used to calculate deficit reduction forgetting that one day benefits will have to be paid, NOT IN THE BILL. Lastly $460 Billion in Medicare cuts with no mechanism in the bill to accomplish those cuts, IN THE BILL WITH NO TEETH.
Overall Holtz-Eakin puts the price tag on this bill at $2.5 trillion dollars with $600 billion to $1 trillion missing in funding. Our children and their children will be paying twice. Once when they have to buy the insurance and the second time when they have to pay off the debt to fund it.
We could have fixed what was broken without this massive burden of debt. Covering the people who are high risk, covering children to age 26, eliminating denying coverage all together, etc. were simple fixes rolled into a complex equation.
The drugmakers were the whipping post to excite the masses for the need to reform healthcare. Guess what? They got more customers with extension of their products covered and paid for by the government in this bill. They are winners not losers. Did Obama, Kanjorski, and Carney tell the public that? Now that one WAS IN THE BILL.
The bill does nothing to reduce costs so premiums will still increase. And the biggest fact left out is the reality that every day there are more and more people in this nation and on this planet. Reducing total costs is a fantasy goal unachievable. If there are 80 million more people in this nation now than 30 years ago there is absolutely no way to reduce the total cost without reducing coverage and care.
The constitutional challenges already started with Tom Corbett at the forefront. The stark reality is that Washington is forcing the costs of this plan onto the states. And they will have nothing of it.
The Louisiana Purchase has an opportunity to repeat itself. Why Lousiana gets $300 million in Medicaid funding while the other 49 get saddled with its costs is a question Kanjorski and Carney need to square up with their Pennsylania constituents.
As for the real benefits of the bill:
• COMING LATER:
The real transformation of America's health insurance system won't take place until 2014.
Four breathtaking changes will happen simultaneously:
• Insurers will be required to take all applicants. They won't be able to turn down people in poor health, or charge them more.
• States will set up new insurance supermarkets for small businesses and people buying their own coverage, pooling together to get the kind of purchasing clout government workers have now.
• Most Americans will be required to carry health insurance, either through an employer, a government program or by buying their own. Those who refuse will face fines from the IRS.
• Tax credits to help pay for premiums will start flowing to middle-class working families, and Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low income people. Households making up to four times the poverty level — about $88,000 for a family of four_ will be eligible for assistance. But the most generous aid — including help with copayments and deductibles — will be for those on the lower-to-middle rungs of the income scale.
When all is said and done, the majority of working-age Americans and their families will still have employer-sponsored coverage, as they do now. But the number of uninsured will drop by more than half. Illegal immigrants would account for more than one-third of the remaining 23 million people without coverage.
Cost could be the Achilles' heel of the whole effort.
"I hope it is not repealed, because we do need to extend coverage to most of our population," said Gail Wilensky, who ran Medicare for President George H.W. Bush and remains a leading health care adviser to Republicans. "But it could well be substantially modified. It expands coverage, but it does very little to take on two other major issues: improving quality and leveling the rate of growth in spending."
P.S. One more thing...Congress gets to keep its Cadillac plan and does not participate in this legislation like the rest of us.