New Health Care Bill; Same Song, Second Verse
A Little Bit Louder and a Little Bit Worse
By John D. Turner
4 Nov 2009

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t get it. Or perhaps, she does, but is bound and determined to get her view of how America ought to be written into law before she and others like her are thrown out of office. Or perhaps she really doesn’t think that will happen.

Maybe she is like those in our upline when my wife and I were in Amway many years ago, who used to tell us to drag our friends to Amway meetings even if they didn’t want to go. When we asked what we were supposed to tell them when they asked if it was an Amway meeting, we were told to lie to them and tell them it wasn’t.

“Just get them to the meeting,” we were told. “Once they see what we have to offer, they will love it; they’ll thank you later! And if they don’t, well, you don’t need them as friends anyway; you’ll make many more friends in Amway as you go along.”

Needless to say this didn’t sit well with us. And after months of trying to sell products to our friends that they really didn’t want to buy, we quit. Apparently we just weren’t cut out to be Amway distributors. Not that this affected Amway in the slightest; they are still around today and by all accounts doing quite well without us.

Thus apparently it is with the House version of Health Care Reform. Tea parties aside; public opinion aside; Republican opposition aside; Democratic opposition aside, Ms. Pelosi remains convinced of her vision of where health care reform in America should be and is attempting to move the entire country, kicking and screaming, in that direction. Don’t worry; you’ll thank her later! And if it turns out you don’t like it after all, oh well. Too bad, so sad; it’s what you have so best get used to it.

The new health care reform bill, hammered out in the House, is twice as big as before, costs more than it did before, and still has pretty much all the legislation that people objected to before, and then some. If you loved the health care legislation before, you will really love it now. If you hated it before, you will hate it even more now than before.

America, they did not listen to you. But what else is new?

If you don’t like this bill, why, you are just mean-spirited. You want old people to die in the streets! You just like to say no! You don’t have any viable ideas on how to improve health care, you are just in the pockets of the evil health care industry! What’s there not to like about a bill called “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009?”

How can you call it “unaffordable?” Of course it’s affordable; it says so right in the title of the bill! Are conservatives illiterate as well as uneducated?

President Obama said that the bill had to come in with a price tag of under $900 billion. I guess that $900 billion more in debt over 10 years, on top of the $1.2 trillion deficit we racked up in FY 09 is considered “affordable” by this administration. And so, this bill officially does so, with a stated cost of $894 billion. See how frugal the Democrats are! Why they came in under the targeted overspending!

Of course, it all depends on how you do the math. Creative mathematics 101 seems to be a course that all politicians take when boning up for the election to office exam, but this current batch takes it to new heights; reminding us once again exactly why we have to keep a constant eye on those we elect to public office.

The house says it will cost $894 billion. The CBO says that’s true – for the net cost. But the gross amount will be over $1 trillion. And, proving that in political life you truly can have it both ways, Politico says both numbers are correct. It all depends on how you count the numbers. The Democrats are telling you the truth, just not the whole truth, and they are cherry picking the results they want you to hear.

The $894 billion leaves out $250 billion in spending on something called “the doctors’ Medicare fix”. What is this “fix”?

Part of the rationale for health care reform was to lower the cost of health care. The way the government planned to do this was to “introduce” “competition” into the health care marketplace; something they claimed did not currently exist. After all, isn’t that what capitalists always claim, that competition in the marketplace will cause prices to seek their lowest level? So the Progressives in the Democratic Party decided that the best way to accomplish this would be for the government to force the marketplace lower by cutting Medicare payments to doctors. This would allow premiums for Medicare to be lowered. Then, by expanding eligibility to Medicare, private companies would be forced to follow suit, since people would naturally gravitate to the lower cost insurance.

This would have the added benefit of helping to pay for the cost of the reform. The $250 billion saved by underpaying doctors (who are already underpaid by the Medicare program) could be used to pay for the insurance of the new people added to the program.

Of course, the doctors, many of whom even now will not accept new Medicare patients because the government program already enormously underpays, were not excited about being underpaid even more (and being made the scapegoats as well). So to bring them on board, the House originally put legislation into the bill to not do the $250 billion in cuts that the bill called for.

If this sounds confusing, it is. This is one of the reasons why the bill is so long that no one wants to read the thing, and why they are so determined to vote on it before anyone can read it all. When was the last time you settled down to read a 1,990 page novel? I am currently rereading the Wheel of Time, a 12 book, New York Times bestselling epic that spans 10,508 pages. I started three months ago, and am currently half way through book 10. It takes time to read massive tomes, even when they are interesting, which HR 3962 is pretty much guaranteed not to be.

In any event, the $250 billion “fix” has now been decoupled from the health care reform bill, apparently to make it appear more “affordable”. Of course, the house still intends to pass the “fix” as well, just as a separate bill now so it doesn’t “count against” the health care reform legislation.

At least they say they will pass it as a separate bill. If I were doctors, I wouldn’t be so sure.

The new bill also “saves” money by dumping the cost of expanding Medicaid onto the States. As if doing so somehow makes it go away. And oh yes, many of the costs in the bill don’t kick in until 2014, which serves to hold down the projected 10 year costs estimates. Please note that in reality, this means the 10 year cost estimates really only contain 6 years of actual spending.

But they contain a full 10 years of “payments”! That is because while the costs may not start kicking in until 2014, the higher taxes we will incur to pay for them begin next year. Surprise! Free health care really isn’t free. And we get to start paying for it four years before we actually see any “benefit.”

But don’t complain. If you do, you are just greedy, remember?

We’ve been here before, folks. Same old stuff, just more verbiage to obfuscate. And more taxes to pay as well. More government bureaucracy, more “fees”, more new agencies created to manage the new programs. Perhaps they can sell this as a “jobs program”; it certainly is going to create quite a few federal jobs to administer it.

And you can bet also, that when all the costs are tallied the total will be far more than what they are telling us now. And in 10 years, the program will still be there with rising costs as far as the eye can see.

But by then, the perpetrators will be long gone. Barack will have served his two terms. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will be forgotten memories; most likely retired. And somehow it will all be George Bush’s fault.

But you and I, our kids, their kids, and their kids kids will still be paying for this blunder years from now. Assuming, that is, we don’t bankrupt the country in the meantime.