Monday, March 22, 2010

Obama Health Care Done - Democrats Celebrate - Is it Premature?


Well the national and cable media are falling all over themselves in glee this morning after President Obama got the weekend votes on health care in Pelosi's House, but have they once again idolized their hero prematurely like they did in the election?

Before we write a new chapter in the history of health care in America we better wait and see what the Senate does to the reconciliation bill passed by Pelosi's House. Without the approval by the Senate the original bills passed by Pelosi could go down in flames and there are a lot of lingering questions about the process, the elements of the bill, the long term impact and whether it will raise taxes and premiums.

This much we do know. What passed will raise taxes by $437 billion. There are 15 different tax raises hidden in the bills approved by the House. Even top Democratic analysts say health insurance premiums will rise 10-13% as a result of the bills.

By 2013 there will be a 3.8% increase in taxes for every family in America earning more than $200,000 and a lot of middle class families will be earning over $200,000 in four more years.

By 2017 all the states will have to increase their taxes to pay for Medicaid subsidies required under the Obama-Pelosi bills. Just one state, the state of Ohio, will have to raise $200 million to pay for the new Obama taxes which means nationwide states will increase taxes by several billion dollars yet Obama does not consider this a tax increase since it is the state that has to pay.

Even Leslie Stahl, a veteran CBS reporter on 60 Minutes, said she listened to all the debate and still doesn't know if the bills will increase taxes. If the national news media has no clue, and there are 15 new tax increases in the bills not counting the taxes on states, then how will the public ever learn the true extent of health care reform.

There are also the deals made to secure votes and it may take years to unscramble what was promised. We know there are several hospitals in certain states that received $20 million windfalls in order to get votes. How many more secret deals were made?

We also know the Pelosi bills eliminated cost controls on drugs for senior citizens. Do you realize what I said? Pharmaceutical companies will not be restricted from raising prices from drugs. Obama promised to stop the spiraling drug costs, then let Emanuel negotiate away the controls to get final passage. This will also cost billions more since the average senior in America has 6-8 drug prescriptions.

The bills do not put any cost controls on the health industry and they do not put any controls on the medical malpractice abuses, both of these actions are necessary to save billions of wasted dollars but they are missing from the bills.

Also unknown is if the federal government can force citizens to buy health care and fine them if they don't which it is trying to do. More than 37 states have already said they will sue the government to stop the action. It could be another big setback.

No one has really studied who the 32 million people are who will be added to the health insurance roles. We know 253 million people were covered in 2007. We also know low income are covered through Medicaid and 15 million illegal immigrants will not be covered.

What we don't know is how many of the uninsured do not want health care. They could be rich and not need it. Many college age kids don't have it because they are healthy and it costs too much. They will now be forced to have it because the family health policy was extended to cover all dependents up to age 26. This will most certainly raise family premiums whether they want it or not. We also don't know how many have adopted alternative health techniques and programs, most of which are denied insurance coverage even though the treatments have been proven effective. They will be forced to have it.

Perhaps more ominously, what about the doctors, dentists and opticians who refuse to participate in health insurance programs. Many have demonstrated that they can deliver health care up to two thirds cheaper than through health insurance if you pay cash. Will they be forced to participate? Some have already indicated they will retire before work under a health insurance program. How many doctors will we lose because of this?

No, the battle may have just begun to approve the reconciliation in the Senate and to resolve the many points I have just described. Don't let the media fool you, finishing the approval process and implementing the whole monster program is a long ways from finished.

Just as the White House, Obama and Pelosi are declaring a historic victory and marveling at how the president brought health care reform back from the dead, the Republicans could also bring defeat back from the dead by refusing the House reconciliation bill.

If the public realizes they have been hoodwinked by Obama and Pelosi when insurance premiums continue to increase, drug prices continue to rise and the 15 new taxes are implemented they could raise up in revolt against the new social system in America.

Will the Obama liberal base allow the president's last second Executive Order denying the use of federal money for abortions, a move intended to buy the votes needed to get approval for the act, survive challenges in court and the Congress? The reversal by Obama at the last second infuriated the liberal base and they may not take this lightly.

In the meantime, will the White House and Congress ever get to the number one issue in America, jobs, the economy, credit, credit card fees and banking fees? So far no one is talking about these bread and butter issues and the patience of the public is growing thin.

Much remains to be seen.


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