by Terri McCormick
Regardless of political party or ideological persuasion, there are limited resources and outcomes possible with H.R. 3200 – “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009″ — the bill currently pending in Congress. There is no doubt that the stakes are high for individuals and businesses. It is critical that citizens engage in the discussion and that ‘We the People’ read the bill and act accordingly.
“Politics as usual” bedtime stories, when combined with chicken cordon bleu in the home of large political contributors, does not for good health care policy make. What it makes is a rather redundant kettle of “Status Quo Soup” stirred with the spoon of insider politics.
As former Congressman Dick Armey (R-TX) recently commented, “President Obama made the mistake of not setting a more specific direction for the democrat dominated legislature in both houses to pursue health care reform.”
Who will pay for the Healthcare Reform Act?
The middle class – either those small business owners who gross $250,000 a year or wealthier Americans whose household incomes are over $1,000,000, according to Mr. Obama in a press conference on July 23, 2009. The gaping taxpayer hole for the “Reform Act” appears to be 1/3 of the total cost of $1.5 trillion dollars.
Who is the Health Care Act written for?
A July 21, 2009 headline in The Washington Post read “Industry Cash Flowed to Drafters of Reform”. As liberal protesters marched outside, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) sat down inside a San Francisco mansion for a dinner of chicken cordon bleu and a discussion of landmark health care legislation under consideration by his Senate Finance Committee.
The July 21 story goes on to say: “Baucus’s fundraising prowess underscores the enduring political strength of the health care lobby, which led all other sectors in donations to federal candidates during the last election cycle and has shifted its giving to Democrats as the party has tightened its control of Congress.” In fact, “The [health care] sector gave nearly $170 million to federal lawmakers in 2007 and 2008, with 54 percent going to Democrats, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. The shift in parties was even more pronounced during the first three months of this year, when Democrats collected 60 percent of the $5.4 million donated by health care companies and their employees, the data show.”
Pay for Play politics does not yield solutions for Americans, but instead yields ‘deals’ for politicians.
What does the Health Care Reform Act do?
On page 16 of the 1,017 page document it clearly states, “In 5 years all private insurance plans must look like public plans.”
It is a government takeover of the private health care insurance industry. The private sector industry responsible for negotiating price on behalf of the patient will then be eliminated and a government-run “system” will replace it.
Does the Health Care Reform Act lower skyrocketing costs?
It would appear that government rationing is the answer being pursued, with the following examples:
1. Consider Elder Care. Instead of a goal to “age with dignity and independence” — which seems to be a shared common goal — under the bill in Congress, we will each be assigned to consultants who will review our case every five years to determine how grave a risk we will be to the federal health insurance system. When we become too high of a risk, the government will pull the plug. Or we will pay for the costs out of our own pocket (as if we haven’t paid enough in to the system already, right?).
2. Limits will be set to control costs for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) of kidney disease, which many diabetics must face. The operative phrase is palliative care. It means treating the symptoms but not the underlying root cause of the disease. Give ‘em pain pills and let ‘em go die.
3. Congress has the ability to opt out of H.R. 3200 and they will still maintain their AIG-guaranteed pension and health care benefits.
4. TARP was distributed along party lines … so shouldn’t Americans be wary of health care being dispensed along party lines as well?
The notion of politicians and bureaucrats making health care decisions for the American people should have all of us concerned. But many Americans have been lulled to sleep, fat, dumb and happy that “the system is taking care of us.”
No need to read the 1,017 page document. Just trust the lobbyists and long-term politicians holding fundraisers throughout the negotiation process of the bill to get it right for all Americans.
For Hospitals, Clinics and Doctors
Is there an increased medicare reimbursement rate and guaranteed payment by the feds to hospitals and doctors who practice in federally approved clinics and hospitals? If not, the question then becomes ‘What happens when government bureaucrats hold all the insurance options?’
According to former Marine Veteran Carmen Russo, “The bottom line is that government will decide who lives and who dies. That’s what happens.”
Wouldn’t it be better if the Health Care Reform Act actually controlled health care costs?
Recommendations made on a Committee I chaired in the Wisconsin Legislature in 2002:
1. Create pools for prescription drugs, cooperative insurance pools, association pools nationwide and other insurance pools so that the free market has the opportunity to work. (Savings in Wisconsin’s first year alone was $40 million.)
2. Hold government bureaucracies and government-funded hospitals accountable by enforcing lean management controls on monies distributed on behalf of taxpayers. (Ever wondered why vertical impact machines were so expensive? You should – they are hammers!)
3. Get government out of the business of private business and into the role of ensuring a safety net for those Americans who need catastrophic care and government-secured insurance.
4. Never forget for a moment that the largest increases in health care costs are our individual choices that come with individual responsibility such as; our weight, exercise, smoking habits, and lifestyle choices.
We cannot regulate personal choices. But we can regulate government stupidity caused by incremental policy based on campaign contributions. The problem is both political parties have lost the public’s trust.
It is time to get behind candidates who we trust to change the way things are. We cannot hope and pray for change without action.
It is time to act!
Terri McCormick is a former Wisconsin State Representative. While in the legislature, she Chaired the Health Care Cost Partnerships Committee. She is currently working to establish an active Republican Liberty Caucus affiliate in Wisconsin.
© 2009 Terri McCormick
Reposted with permission.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the RLC.