The Senate is finally getting down to work on destroying the American health care system and economy. There’s good news and bad news.
In the Senate, they began debating the vaporbill:
I know that there are many people who are incredulous that the U.S. Senate can proceed to a blank, shell health care bill next week — a vapor-bill.
Every person knowledgeable about Senate procedure believes that the Democrats are both arrogant and desperate enough to bring up a blank bill on the Senate flooor, and are planning for it and expecting this unprecedented action by the Democrats.
Why would the Democrats do this? They are under strict marching orders from the White House to complete action on the bill before the opposition by the public manifests itself further, before the Governor elections in New Jersey and Virginia and before the October 15th deadline expires by which time they must use the super-cram-down reconciliation procedures.
Furthermore, how can anyone be against something that does not exist? How do you know that what you say is in the bill really is in the bill. It is a slap in the face to the Senate’s role Constitutional role as the body that cools the passions of the day and is the deliberative body.
The concerns of the American people to slow down and get it right — which are a prominent feature of every health care poll — are being given the middle finger.
The bill doesn’t exist, so no one knows what it includes, nor what it costs. Naturally, the Senate is proceeding full speed ahead! In particular, the Finance Committee voted on their particular version of health care reform yesterday. The central conflict was over the public option. It failed:
In today’s Senate Finance Committee mark-up, the public option amendment introduced by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer was defeated by a 10-13 vote.
Democratic Sens. Baucus, Conrad, and Lincoln voted no, joining all Republicans.
Conrad, in particular, said that this plan would bankrupt hospitals, especially in his state. Hm…where is the applause for this wonderful bipartisanship that killed this measure? The silence is strange, don’t you think?
Anyway, Max Baucus ironically made the conservative case for why we shouldn’t enact any government option at all:
That’s right…he just said that Dems should be content with a small step right now because we all know it’ll continue growing (into the full-blown government control) in the future through the infrastructure that is put into place now. And yes, Social Security is a great example of how a government program becomes bloated and, well, bankrupt.
Of course, the fact that the government option failed is going to cause problems of another sort. In the House, progressives are still saying they won’t support an ObamaKennedyDeathCare plan without it. They’re also accusing Republicans of wanting Americans to die because they have no alternative plan. Naturally, they’re forgetting all of the alternative plans that we’ve discussed on this blog in recent weeks.
Another major problem is that of abortion. Specifically, the fact that abortion will be funded by taxpayer dollars. Oh, yes, the Democrats are very quick to say that it’s just not true, but…well, just look at the list of amendments they’ve already killed that would have ensured no taxpayer dollars will be used for abortions:
· (1) Senator Mike Enzi’s (R-WY) amendments that would have prevented taxpayer funding of abortion and would prevent abortion clinics from being eligible for federally qualified health center grants;
· (2) Senator Orin Hatch’s (R-UT) amendments that would have prevented tax-funded abortions unless the life of the mother is endangered or unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest (making the Hyde Amendment permanent);
· (3) Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) amendments that would have ensured no abortion mandates, prevented abortion clinics from being eligible for federally qualified health center grants, prevented the invalidation of state laws that regulate abortion, codified the Hyde/Weldon conscience protection law, and ensured that Americans have professional ethicists informing any Government-funded medical decisions; and
· (4) Senator Pat Roberts’ (R-KS) amendment which would have prevented the invalidation of state laws regulating abortion.
U.S. House of Representatives
· In the Education and Labor Committee:
o Amendment to prohibit the abortion coverage mandate (Rep. Souder) failed (19-29).
o Amendment to prohibit the abortion funding mandate (Rep. Souder) failed (19-29).
· In the Ways and Means Committee:
o Amendment to prohibit the abortion coverage mandate (Rep. Johnson) (failed 18-23).
o Amendment to prohibit the abortion funding mandate (Rep. Cantor) (failed 19-22).
· House Energy and Commerce Committee:
o Amendment to prohibit the abortion coverage mandate (Reps. Pitts, Stupak, and Blunt) (failed 29-30).
o Amendment to prohibit the abortion funding mandate (Reps. Stupak and Pitts) (failed 27-31).
Now, just ask yourself: if the Democrats were serious about preventing taxpayer dollars from funding abortions, why would they kill ten separate amendments to do just that?
You know the answer.
And, as a reminder of the monetary costs of ObamaKennedyDeathCare, Heritage reminds us of some of the worst provisions hiding in there:
But even if the public option is not included, there are still plenty of regressive job killing taxes and invasions of privacy in the Baucus plan that makes it terrible public policy:
Taxes Families – Under the plan, everyone will have to have health insurance by 2013. The mandate will apply to all adults and their dependents under age 18. Those who failed to buy insurance would be forced to pay an annual tax between $750 and $3,800 per year. Those who fail to pay the tax could be jailed for up to one year. Worse, 7.7 million households would face a 35% excise tax on their health insurance. 94% of these households would be paying a higher tax rate on their health insurance than they would be paying on their income.
Taxes Businesses – Employers with more than 50 employees that don’t offer health coverage would have to pay a penalty for each employee who qualifies for new federal subsidizes under the bill. To stay in business employers will be forced to cut jobs and cut wages.
Taxes the Sick – The Baucus bill imposes higher taxes on manufacturers and importers of medical devices, health insurance companies, clinical laboratories, manufacturers and importers of drugs. In effect, the Baucus proposal would tax the sick to subsidize insurance for the healthy, and many of the taxes would be imposed on the same people “helped” by the subsidies.
Invades Your Privacy – The Baucus bill enforces both its individual and employer mandates by deputizing the Internal Revenue Service. To enforce these provisions, the bill would therefore require individuals, health insurers, employers, and government health agencies to report detailed health insurance information on all Americans to the IRS, adding significant administrative costs and reducing privacy protections. The IRS would also be required to report personal income data to state exchanges, insurance companies, and employers because premium credits and out-of-pocket limits would depend on income.
Now is the time. Call your Senators and Rep and demand they oppose any form of government intervention in health care.
Right now. After this debate is over, you may not get another chance.
There’s my two cents.