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  • What to Look For in the Latest House Health Care Bill


    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just unveiled a hulking 1,990 page House health care bill (H.R. 3962). The latest product, which dwarfs the 1,342 page Clinton Health Plan of 1993, is the latest evolution of the House process, which started with H.R. 3200. The House Speaker made a number of general comments, saying that the legislation would lower costs for American families, enhance the solvency of the Medicare program, and add 36 million Americans to the health insurance rolls.

    On the crucial question of financing, the Speaker made a point of saying that the bill is fiscally responsible and comes in under the $900 billion target set by President Obama, and would not expand the deficit. Of course, the Congressional Budget Office has not yet issued a formal “score”- or estimate- of the final product. So, it is hard to determine how, or if, the legislation would bend the health care cost curve downward, as President Obama has promised as a key ingredient in health care reform.

    The House Speaker and the rest of the Congressional leadership want to fast track the legislation, and get it up on the floor for a vote as early as next week, if possible. Meanwhile, health policy analysts, economists, Congress watchers and ordinary citizens, will have limited time to examine the bill and make their own judgments. Taxpayers need to do their part. Here are some suggestions:

    1. Check the Details for Yourself. The bill is now posted. You can find it at fixhealthcarepolicy.com. Congressional leaders were literally working on this bill late into the night before unveiling it this morning. At 1,990 pages, reading this will be an arduous task. But it will affect 300 million Americans and overhaul one sixth of the American economy. It is hard to imagine any piece of legislation having a bigger impact on one’s personal life, let alone the national life, of the country. Vigiliance, as Thomas Jefferson warned us, is the price of liberty.

    2. Keep an Eye Out for Budget Gimmicks. Rest assured that there is already evidence that the Congressional leadership is going to resort to shell games and budget gimmicks to make the bill look like it doesn’t add to the deficit. This will be evident in how the bill is structured; it appears that they have decided to front load the revenues in the first five years, and run surpluses in the first five years, and put off the costs until the second five years, and then start running the deficits. So, while this might meet the temporary requirements of the first ten year Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score, it does not mean that the bill would really start to bend the spending curve downward, or that it will not contribute to the already devastating deficits Congress and the Administration have already incurred.

    3. Pay no Attention to Words, Check the Actions. Congressional Leaders say a lot of things. But taxpayers need to pay close attention to what they do. It is evident that they are already breaking their promises to the representatives of the doctors and the pharmaceutical companies. Recall that they promised the doctors a permanent fix to Medicare payment. But, according to the October 29th Politico Pulse, now they have taken it out of the bill, and are going to do offer it in separate legislation. This is exactly what the Senate leadership tried and failed to do last week, in order to reduce the apparent cost of their health care agenda, and run up the spending on a separate bill to keep the Senate health care bill “deficit neutral.” Since the House leaders have decided the take Medicare payment fix out of the House bill, they will attempt to run the same play, and add the huge cost (approximately $250 billion over ten years) to the deficit on a separate track. This may work in the House, where the Congressional leadership commands huge majorities; it will not work in the Senate. The doctors will be played as pawns, once again, in the congressional liberals’ budget shell game. In any case, if they take health items out of the bills and add them to the deficit, the taxpayers continue to lose big time.

    4. Don’t Trust New Promises. Also according to Politico Pulse, the House leadership has decided to cut drug payments in Medicare between $125 to $150 billion, as opposed to the $80 billion cuts they agreed to with the pharmaceutical industry. That broken promise is combined with a decision to impose price controls on Medicare drugs, and do away with private sector negotiation. This was, of course, the inevitable result of the creation of a universal drug entitlement. Seniors can expect drug rationing if such a provision is signed into law; not right away, but inevitably. Perhaps other K Street lobbyists will learn from this experience.

    5. Don’t Depend on Old Promises. The President and Congressional leaders have made a litany of high profile promises: no middle class tax increases; you can keep your health plan if you like it; there will be no interference with your doctor-patient relationship; no funding for abortion or illegal immigration; the health care costs will fall on a future downward curve; we are going to cut Medicare Advantage plans but not Medicare benefits. These are all empty promises, and undermined by House and Senate legislation.

    6. Forget Competition. House leaders praise the “ Public Plan” as a force for competition. It won’t, of course; and that is precisely why prominent “single payer” advocates in the House and Senate, champions of a government monopoly, are its strongest supporters. The new bill would force the new public plan to negotiate private rates with doctors and hospitals, and not be pegged to Medicare rates. If that’s true, congressional liberals are then right to ask : “what is the point of the public plan?” In fact, of course, the bill would not really sell out the Lefties. It will be a legally advantaged stalking horse for a single payer system. Even though they claim there is a level playing field for the public plan and the private health plans, that was clearly not true in the earlier versions of the House bill, where the taxpayers assumed the risk.

    This is the next phase of the big debate. Both the House and Senate bills largely retain the same character: more control to Washington, less personal freedom.

    Photo courtesy of Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Va)

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to What to Look For in the Latest House Health Care Bill

    1. Pingback: Pelosi’s Unhealthy Bill | Conservative American

    2. TonyfromOz says:

      Just wait and see how much pork is going to get attached to this bill.

      The Bill itself will need its own Swine Flu shot.

    3. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      No one has to read this atrocity to know what's in it. That's all we have to know that a Obama lackey came up with it. That says it all. It is

      just another grab for power. The POWER to control

      our lives and the way we live it. 1,990 pages

      of trash. Just thing of all those trees that were

      sacrificed to print this. Where are the "enviornmentalist"?

    4. joe.minn says:


      ‘‘(a) PROCUREMENT.—Contracts with urban Indian organizations entered into pursuant to this title shall be in accordance with all Federal contracting laws and regulations relating to procurement except that in the discretion of the Secretary, such contracts may be negotiated without advertising and need not conform to the provisions of sections 1304 and 3131 through 3133 of title 40,United States Code.

      Can you say No-bid (which Obama says he opposes)

      Last but not least they are separating out healthcare for American Indians Why? Are they not citizens and eligible for the public option in the government healthcare run program? Or is it because they want to control them? It sounds like a new department just to control a very small minority and keep them beheld to the government.

    5. ROBERT DAVIS says:


    6. BT, Port Allen, LA says:

      What jumped out to me on reading the article (before I will tackle reading the entire bill) is that cuts will be made to Medicare Advantage. I have heard that that is a popular plan with seniors and that it is better than Medigap, which is NOT going to be cut. Medigap is also pushed by AARP so I guess it's true that AARP has been bought. I hope that the American people will not let this be hoisted on us but after watching Hannity last night and listening to a few of the people there commenting on health care, I fear that too many people already believe it is the government's responsibility to take care of us.

    7. Earl, Queens, NY says:

      IMO, this should be our #1 priority – to fight back and defeat any national health care bills. Hopefully the GOP will get its act together (getting back to conservative principles) and we can win back the White House and Congress by 2012. In that case, we can easily cut taxes, roll back much of the trillions of BHO’s profligate spending, sell GM and banks back to the private sector, and reverse a lot of the damage caused by BHO. But if ‘National Hell Care’ passes – once in effect it will be very hard to reverse. Just look at England. Tea parties are great – i.e., using tea bag boxes and “Taxed Enough Already” signs as symbols. What we really need now are anti-NHC rallies, such as we saw in the 1990s against ‘Hillary-Care’. As I remember a scene from Rush Limbaugh’s TV show, I can think of great symbols to use in rallies against NHC – bathroom tissue rolls attached to signs saying something like: “Here’s Pelosi’s/Reid’s 1000+ page bills”!!

    8. Tim Az says:

      They still think they can make ice-cream out of horse dung and you will eat it with a smile. Lets burry them in it in 2010. These elitists are long over do for the compost heap.

    9. Susan , Detroit Mich says:

      Let Pelosi and her family live with health care plan, the house wants to force on the rest of us, for about 10 years. Then let the rest of us see the results and decide if we want it or not. If this plan is not good enough for the President and his family, not good enough for the House and Senate and their families, it is not good enough for me and my family. Oh by the way, My family and I are very happy with the private Health Care Insurance we pay for (AKA earn).

    10. Tim Az says:

      Here's what you can look for in Pelosi's latest version of health care bill. A massive increase in taxes on the American people who reject Pelosi's good will as she defines it. Basically a serious beating with a rubber hose for willful disobedience in nonsupport of princess Pelosi's health control bill in its first form.

      How's that hope and change working out for you?

    11. Olivia CO says:

      I wish there was a way to understand all the jargin of this bill, it is a headache to read.

      Unfortunately, I don't see the democrats waking up to what is going on and they will embrace it. I do hope they are all happy with the new hope and change.

    12. Kate, Watkinsville says:

      BE FORE WARNED: If we don't read, listen, pay attention and demonstrate to be heard and vote them out, we are headed for the "virtual camps" – in just a few years.

    13. philip says:


    14. Jerry from Chicago says:

      The bill was deliberately written to be this lenghty with the express purpose of discouraging anyone from reading it.

      I still don't see any Senators or Congressmen or Obama himself, for that matter, coming out and saying that they will forgo their federal employee health benefits in order to take advantage of their health plan for the rest of us.

      I definitely believe that all those in Congress pushing this monstrosity should "lead the way" by being the first to give up their current health benefits for those they wish to push the rest of us into. I'd like to see what they thought of this plan after having been covered under it for a few years. But we all know this will never happen and we know WHY it will never happen. Federal employees will never give up the rich plans they have now for Obama care. Just like they will never give up those lucerative pension plans they have while the rest of us try to get by on Social Security.

      Senators, Congressmen and the President take damn good care of themselves first. Automatic salary increases, the best of insurance benefits and the best of pension benefits. YOU WANT TO SEE SOCIAL SECURITY GET FIXED REAL FAST? Just transfer all federal employee pension funds into Social Security and have all federal employees (President, Senators and Congressmen included) get the same Social Security benefits as the rest of us. After all, isn't that what the Democrats have been preaching for years? That everyone should be treated the same?

    15. Pingback: House Healthcare Bill Posted –Medicare Cuts, Premium Hikes and New Fines | Fredericksburg Tea Party

    16. Bruce Larrabee, Camd says:

      None of the comments have mentioned the 111 bureaucracies that this Obama/Pelosi Health Care bill creates. And the cost that will go along with those bureaucracies. And I will guess that there a lot of other hidden provisions in this bill that will cost us dearly.

    17. Pingback: In the Green Room: Rep. Paul Ryan on the ‘Paternalism’ of the House Health Bill | Conservative Principles Now

    18. Pingback: In the Green Room: Rep. Paul Ryan on the ‘Paternalism’ of the House Health Bill | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

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