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  • Morning Bell: The Pelosi Blueprint for Government Run Health Care

    The new House health care bill (H.R. 3962) unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday clocks in at 1,990 pages and about 400,000 words. As written, the bill purports to cost only $1.05 trillion over the first ten years and is paid for by over $700 billion in tax increases and cuts to Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug payments. But as troubling as those numbers are, the scariest thing about the bill is the solid foundation it lays for a complete government take over of the health care sector of our economy.

    The Washington Post describes the bill as “creating an expensive new entitlement program (subsidies to purchase health insurance) and dramatically expanding an existing one (Medicaid).” This is true by itself, but the Post later dismissively adds: “If you’ve noticed that we haven’t talked about the public option in the House bill, that’s not an oversight. For all the fury over the issue, it doesn’t matter that much; the CBO estimates that the government-run plan would actually have slightly higher premiums.” This is a breathtakingly naive statement by the Post and demonstrates that they have not yet fully grasped how all the different elements of the bill are designed to interact to produce President Barack Obama’s desired outcome.

    The Medicaid Expansion: Under current law the CBO projects that only 35 million Americans would be on Medicaid by 2019. The House bill massively expands the Medicaid program by raising the upper income cutoff to 150 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL). As a result, the CBO now estimates some 50 million Americans will be enrolled in the program at a ten year cost to the federal government of $425 billion. This does not include the $34 billion in increased Medicaid costs that state governments will have to spend.

    The Insurance Subsidies: The House bill also creates a Health Insurance Exchange through which individuals without employer based coverage could purchase insurance. The bill also provides “affordability credits” to people who are below 400% FPL. However, the bill also denies access to the credit for all people who are “eligible” for Medicaid. In essence, therefore, the House bill forces all Americans below 150% FPL to enroll in Medicaid or pay the individual mandate fine. The CBO explains why the Democrats chose this route: “The estimated costs of providing subsidies through the new insurance exchanges are now lower for several reasons: the larger expansion of Medicaid means that fewer people would be eligible for coverage through the exchanges.” In other words, it’s cheaper to force people into Medicaid then to give them subsidies high enough to buy private insurance. Furthermore, individuals are only allowed to enroll in the cheapest (“basic”) plans for the first two years. After that, they can only choose more expensive plans or the government run plan.

    The Employer Mandate: The bill imposes a new 8% payroll tax on employers who don’t cover specified percentages of their employees’ health insurance. In the short term this will only result in job losses and lower wages. But further down the road, the health plans would have to meet new requirements to be specified later by Obama’s new Health Czar (“Health Choices Commissioner”). If your employer’s health plan doesn’t meet those requirements (which are all but guaranteed to drive up the cost of your health plan), you couldn’t keep it.

    The Public Option: As health insurance premiums keep rising thanks to all the new requirements in the current bill and the Health Czar’s future regulations, more and more people will have no choice but to depend on the government plan or face a fine. At first, only individuals and employers with 25 employees or fewer would be eligible for the government run plan. But in year two (2014) individuals and employers with 50 employees or fewer become eligible, in year three (2015) employers with at least 100 employees become eligible but starting that year, the Health Czar permitted from this year forward to expand employer participation as appropriate, “with the goal of allowing all employers access to the Exchange.” In effect, the bill makes larger sized employers explicitly eligible and still turns over authority to the Health Czar to further open it up. The goal has been, and still clearly is,  to open the exchange and the public plan to everyone. As the Post notes, the CBO now projects that the government run premiums will actually be higher than private plans. The Democrats will not allow this to continue. History shows that entitlement programs like this quickly devolve into price control central planning. A less “robust” public option today will almost certainly be a more robust public option tomorrow. Look no further than the history of Medicare. Medicare was initially designed to pay private rates, but now the program has a complex formula for administered pricing.

    So that’s the plan: force all Americans to buy health insurance, regulate the private plans till they are too expensive, and then slowly expand the power and size of the public option as Americans are left with no choice but to turn to government run health care. That is how Pelosi aims to achieve Obama’s goal of “Everybody in, Nobody out” government run health care. The costs are going to be staggering. Not only will health care quality and choice suffer as more and more Americans are forced onto a government plan that reimburses providers at low government set rates, but the price tag is guaranteed to skyrocket. The only way the House managed to keep their price tag as low as $1.05 trillion is by pretending that Congress would cut Medicare reimbursement rates by 20% in 2010. The full ten-year cost of being honest about the Medicare reimbursement rates would be $250 billion. Less choice, lower quality health care, and trillion dollar deficits for years to come: that is the House’s prescription for health reform.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    47 Responses to Morning Bell: The Pelosi Blueprint for Government Run Health Care

    1. Christopher Popham S says:

      Come on Ms. Pelosi. Only thirty of your friends in Congress under scrutiny? Just the tip of the Titanic iceberg isn't it? We suggest you 'clean' House, like you promised to do, BEFORE you attempt to jam 1990 pages of taxes and "shalls" into law, thereby irreparably imposing greater burdens on an already fiscally beleagured country.

      Are you out of your mind?

      You and your husband are extremely wealthy.

      Your health care issues are secured for your lifetime, and so, indeed, why should you care?

      Small businesses and the average American 'shall' be

      severely oppressed by HR3962. Instead of burdening

      America with this massive mandate, why not expend

      your energies on repairing and healing our economy,

      then in time, we can together, address other domsetic issues, but we need to get people back to

      work first.

      Respectfully.

    2. Jim says:

      We are doomed.

    3. Greg Ross Woodbury says:

      Pelosi is with out a doubt "round the bend" how can someone like that be where she is. It is a shame that the American people our so blind. I am brushing up on my Spanish.

    4. MrShorty, Arizona says:

      When will the Democratic Party be honest with its constituents and call for a change in its name to the Socialist Party. There are Socialist Parties all over the world and there is nothing wrong or hateful about them. Why then, doesn't the American Democratic Party acknowledge its true roots and change its name?

    5. William Keeler, Dall says:

      The mandatory socialized healthcare program proposed by Congress leaves a few questions unanswered. They say it will be cost neutral with no increase in taxes and covered by a substantial decrease in operating cost and corruption. What they won’t address is the co-pay and deductibles required that will be the majority of the program cost reduction. It’s not called a tax but never-the-less it’s a major increase in medical care cost to the consumer. We can expect our medical care cost to escalate dramatically. Those who cannot afford the co-pay or the deductible can go into debt or just can elect to not receive medical care.

    6. Barry, Lexington Ky says:

      Hope, change, and transparency now have a price tag with the money coming out of the voters pocket.

      Enjoy paying for a politicians 'idea' of equity.

    7. Steve in Las VEgas says:

      What about churches? How will this new mandate effect churches who usually have minimal or no health insurance for employees and volunteers?

    8. K B Texas says:

      Please, for the sake of our nation and our children, vote these Democrats out and reverse these health and energy bills. The climate change bill alone will destroy this nation's economy in 5 years.

    9. Paul Rekstad, Palm C says:

      For this 78 year-old, it is nauseating to see egregiously offensive, Chicago style politics infesting the Whitehouse — but not surprising. Cross-generational voters enamored of 'Dancing With The Stars', 'American Idol' and other mind numbing TV fare were easy prey for the winning flim-flam politician this last round. Lack of critical thinking skills among the populous was never more evident. The shameless, massive "health-care" debt to be foisted on future generations is another sign of the country's internal 'rot'. Meanwhile our 'ship of state' is sinking — without a whimper.

    10. Matthew Schneider, L says:

      Anything that you have to use 1990 pages and over 400,000 words to explain can't be good for anyone other than lawyers. Wake up America!

    11. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      How is it that the Leftists in congress and in the White House are getting away with ignoring the majority of Americans who do not want the Government in their lives? Where is the system of Checks and Balances? They are running amok with the power of Government.

      And as to the cost of Health care, it would probably cost more to pay the bureaucrats to run it than it would pay out in disbursements. Washington is anything but efficient.

      The Socialist/Democrats are like the Vandals who destroyed Rome. This rotten bunch in Washington is destroying our Country and everything good about it.

      Just as the Dark Ages followed the sacking of Rome, so will America be plunged into a Dark age if these Traitors, with their arrogant hauteur, are not brought to accountability.

      They must be defeated in all their efforts because none of them are working for America's interests!

    12. Ann W., Michigan says:

      I don't know if there is any connection with the "cut of 500 billion dollars to Medicare", and the incessant advertising on TV & through the mail, to seniors and applying for "reverse mortgages" as soon as possible. Even on Fox News, every break has one of these ads.

    13. Bob Veigel, Arlingto says:

      Blueprints are normally drafted for a product or service that will provide a new and better way to package the service or product. In this case, the designer has no expertise in any area. Accordingly, what would this new health care program look like? Improved? A disaster waiting to happen? Remember, Pelosi,the designer,is 100%incompetent, 100% ignorant and a 100% lying politician.

    14. MrShorty, Arizona says:

      October 30, 2009 Paul Rekstad, Palm Coast, FL writes:

      For this 78 year-old, it is nauseating to see egregiously offensive, Chicago style politics infesting the Whitehouse — but not surprising. Cross-generational voters enamored of ‘Dancing With The Stars’, ‘American Idol’ and other mind numbing TV fare were easy prey for the winning flim-flam politician this last round. Lack of critical thinking skills among the populous was never more evident. The shameless, massive “health-care” debt to be foisted on future generations is another sign of the country’s internal ‘rot’. Meanwhile our ’ship of state’ is sinking — without a whimper.

      In response to Paul Rekstad,

      As another senior citizen like you, I am on Social Security and Medicare. Yes, they are entitlements granted by our government, but somehow I can deal with that since I have paid into them for the last 45 years of my working life. They need to be fixed to assure future viability, but they don't need to be replaced.

      As to the "going down without a whimper" I disagree. I believe the American people are kicking and screaming within the bounds of our Constitution. Our only vehicle for change is the ballot box next November and unfortunately we have to endure this "take-over" until then. However, "then" is critical.

      If there is one identifiable block of voters to turn things around it is the senior citizens. We are the ones with personal knowledge of America's growth and prosperity since the 1950's and we are the ones that can change Congress and put us back on track. The Democratic Party has long stood for the "working man" and over the years has made significant progress in leveling the playing field for all to succeed. However, they have changed lately and have become the party of the "non-working man". The Republicans have historically stood for the businessman and free capitalism, but even they have changed to become part of the tax and spend establishment. I believe that a new conservative root is growing within the Republican Party and next November will have candidates that want us to return to the Constitution for our guidance in how to run this country.

      When I listen to the Democrats bemoan the excesses of capitalism, I can't help but think of Bill Gates at Microsoft who has provided a working environment for literally tens of thousands of people to prosper and enjoy life. I don't begrudge him one dollar of the billions he is worth. Where would all his workers be today without him.

      It is up to us to stop this train to destruction. We care about our children and grandchildren and know that the path we are currently on will lead to the destruction of their freedoms and economic security. We must use our vote to overpower the millions of people who want a hand-out and not a hand-up. If we exercise our right next November and vote for candidates with true American values, we can stop this train and put it back on the right track.

    15. Al Reasin says:

      Here are 3 ideas to chew on:

      1) Here in Bel Air, MD, the Harford County seat of government, every Thursday two of us protest for two and one half hours, 5:00 – 7:30, concerning the latest congressional attack on our civil liberties and economic freedom. We call ourselves the Corner Club. Over 3000 cars pass the corner we have selected usually with two or more people per vehicle. We decided that something needed to be done after the July 4th TEA Parties, so this is our answer. Join us in establishing your own Corner Club to educate Americas about what is happening to our country.

      2) My friend and fellow Corner Club protester, Steve, bought up the idea of asking for a healthcare booklet from our government officials. Since before any of us purchase insurance we would expect a booklet to review our benefits, the government should provide this also. I mean the purpose, they say, is to stimulate competition. So in that vain, why not receive the same from our government. Of course we know that is impossible because only the taxing is in the bill and we will not know until around 2013 what the benefits will be from the government Benefit Commission. But it can't hurt to ask which I will today. Here is our stab at that request:

      My Optimum Choice healthcare plan provides a handbook that enumerates my plan's benefits. The booklet is only about 50 pages; indeed a very small booklet.

      If this health care takeover occurs, you and 534 other lawmakers will be, in effect, my new insurance agent. And even if I keep my current plan, which may be short lived, as my agent I would like to receive a handbook in advance of participating in your plan.

      On second thought since I am going to pay for your plan as well as my private plan, why don't you just drop a copy of my new plan in the mail as soon as possible or post it on line. I certainly hope it is no larger than my current plan handbook and written in plain English.

      3) Here is what I have proposed for over six months, with a recent update, over the federal government's actions. Just saying.

      I have suggested in comments and blog posts over the past 6 months that those of us who are outraged over the conduct of this congress and administration become more pro-active and emulate the 1999 Tennessee Tax Revolt. That effort stopped the passing of a state income tax during a special session of the legislature called specifically for that purpose. I heard information on FNC yesterday that added a new dimension to this idea. FNC, with their tracking down of Alan Grayson, D-Fla. of "Republicans want you to die quickly " fame, infuriated Rep. Grayson causing him to call the Capitol Police to come to his office to remove the FOX reporter and camera man. FOX was outside of his office, not inside of it. The officer told the Mr. Grayson that they could stay outside of his office until the building closed since it was a public area.

      This reminded me of what we were allowed to do when I was working with the Gathering of Eagles in 2007 on Capital Hill and what I observed being done by Code Pink. So if we ever decide to become more pro-active, we could flood the halls of the congressional offices quite legally and peacefully; I mean it is OUR property. The Capitol has the same rules, but in each case signs, posters, etc are not allowed and decorum has to be maintained. But a quiet and respectful picketing of each of the congressional offices of all tax and spend congressional members for many consecutive days if not weeks would be a magnificent achievement. 20 people per office, to allow for breaks and assuming all offices were staked out, would only require 10,700 people. Some could be assigned to follow the congress people until he/she disappeared into a congressional elevator or the respective chamber. For an angry mob that could mobilize 1.5 million or 70,000 people, take you pick, rounding up 10,700 people should be relatively easy, especially with all of the retirees all riled up.

      I suspect, since they are so arrogant and consider themselves our betters, we could outlast them as was done in Tennessee because they would not be able to handle the frustration of not being able to control us. Now that would be a fantastic in your face protest.

    16. Dean-Texas/Alaska says:

      Study physics and Chinese. Become scientifically valuable, the future owners of our undeveloped natural energy resources are very pragmatic people.

    17. Patrick in Milwaukee says:

      Is there no provision for abortion in those two thousand pages? Why is that not deemed worthy of investigation? Institutionalized abortion is the moral and demographic death of our nation, indeed of the West.

    18. Jonathan Seid, Willi says:

      Irony persists where equality should roost. 96-% of Americans are affected by this program. Guess where the Congress is regarding this? You cynic you! Congress is in that 4-% not affected by the new program. They have their own program for health care and it's much less complicated. What's good for the goose, should be good for gander. What am I thinking about? The elitists are in control of making the rules.

    19. Danny, Tenn. says:

      If Obama, the liberals in congress, and the liberals of the press were made to be of no effect, who would cry?

    20. John, Colorado says:

      The federal government is broke, and besides gaining control over every citizen, this plan is a money grab. Congress and the Fed are looking for another pile of money to devour. They must have control of your life and bank accounts to feed their habit. It wants to know where you are at all the time, where your car is at, for you to have a federal id card (and implanted chip if they can get away with it), and make you take their dictated treatments for cancer and other disease, including vaccines, including sterilizing you and your kids and grandkids.

    21. MrShorty, Arizona says:

      Dean-Texas

      Your absolutely right. As long as we get to keep the NFL, MLB and Nascar, the transistion should be seamless.

    22. jim toledo says:

      Hopefully, the new American Revolutionaries, the folks in New Yorks 23rd District, in New Jersey and Virgina, will be victorious in our first battle of the revolution to take back the government. I think that next Wednesday will be a defining moment for everyone in America and if Hoffman is voted in and Corzine out in New Jersey, it will be a shot heard through Washington. If that happens I'm sure this health care debate may become a bill DOA.

    23. michael, harwinton, says:

      So much for transparentcy

    24. Wallyblu, Zion, IL says:

      This proposal needs a trial period.

      I suggest that for the first 10 years this is tried on all Government employees, this includes the Aministrative, the Legislative and Judicial branches and starts with the President to the lowliest clerk.

      If this is working, the next trial would be to enroll all union members into the program for 10 years.

      And if this works then and only then can it be foisted on all American Citizens.

      I

    25. David, Keokuk, IA says:

      Pelosi needs to be voted out of office so she can get back to only stomping grapes in her winery vat and prevented from stomping on American citizens. She has lost all touch with reality.

    26. Eric, West says:

      At least a Medicare pays. Private health insurers reject the claims leaving Drs fighting for months to get paid, and then the insurers only pay at a negotiated rate. The cost of going to a Dr these days includes the cost of an administrative staff who is fighting with the private insurer to get paid for the treatment you are rightly covered for. And the private insurers pay (often its outsourced to a firm) for the service of denying the claims. We pay for the fighting and Drs are strapped in the process for cash flow. If that goes away, we've a got a big win

      And all those poor people who will get insurance at Government (taxpayer) expense? I've met them in the ER. Their conditions are often treatable, but without insurance they go to the super expensive ER rather than a Dr. And the costs of the medical services they receive are already part of the cost basis for the healthcare of those of us who are insured or otherwise pay for our healthcare.

      All told, its true these changes are a big deal, but when we look at the pieces we should remember this is a closed system we're already in. There are huge savings to be made, that we need to make – big inefficiencies we can fix by changing how things work.

      We should all be nervous. Change always makes us nervous, its worrisome by nature, but sometimes quite good in the end. Keeping asking questions and looking deep!

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    29. Publius Huldah, Cook says:

      And it's also unconstitutional as outside the legislative powers delegated to Congress.

      If passed, it would be nothing more than a lawless usurpation and deserves to be treated as such.

      Just say, "NO!" We can not be enslaved without our consent.

    30. Judith in Michigan says:

      Just found out about another little tidbit "hidden" in this "Destroy America" bill. One of the proposals says that their idea of tort reform would be that states that have damage caps in medical malpractice suits would be penalized.

      Wow…What a great idea!

      And another thing, since congress has exempted themselves from this bountiful bill, I'm curious why the MSM is so positive about it. Why, if I didn't know better, I'd think the MSM folks were being offered the same exemptions, secretly, of course.

      Hmmm. I wonder…

    31. Charles Chiasson says:

      Is there a synopsis of the HR3962 by you yet?

      Thank you for your time!!!!

    32. Mary M. says:

      What a shame this whole health care debate is comming.

      We the American people must be louder and stronger than we were during the townhall meetings and all the tea parties.

      We must speak louder against the HR 3962 bill than when we spoke out against the HR 3200 bill.

      Call your senators and congressmen/women and tell them to vote NO on this bill, NO on a new government option plan, NO on mandates.

      There will be a gathering on Thursday 11/5 on the steps on Capital Hill building against this government takeover of health care. Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-6) will be there and it would be great if many people showed up. The more, the better.

    33. HawkWatcher, Mi. says:

      It is time to defend the Constitution with full electoral force, and if we fail to restore the republic by voting in regular Americans, our founders gave us another way…

    34. Jane Thompson, Atlan says:

      If there are huge savings to be made why in the h aren't they being implemented now? You are totally naive if you think that the fraud that exists now won't explode once the government has an even bigger piece of the pie. Again this whole discussion is not about health care it is about health care control. There are ways to make the system more efficient and a lot less costly but the idiots in congress have a different end game and that is control. I am with Bob in Texas the politicians including BO are 100% liars.

    35. Tim Iowa says:

      Who would want to be a doctor under a govt. run health care? His/her wages would be controlled by beaurrats, and do you think this would eliminate the need for a lawyer? I think not. These 1900 pages will have so much BS in them. This is a huge scam we have never seen the likes of, its not going to cut costs, its not going to cover very many more americans, it will show the govt. the pocketbook of every citizen. The only good thing about this is that it's showing the public the real face of the people they elected.

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    37. a. stracker says:

      why, why, why, must we be subjected to pelosi…a complete fool that can be so dangerous to all of us and our way of decent life.

      why can we not get rid of her? now!!

      i blame the democrat sheep…a shameful administration and congress.

      i hope we do not wind up paying for all of these blunders

      dump pelose, reid

    38. Louis McKeever says:

      I have been practicing cardiology for the past 35 years and if this government takeover of the healthcare system comes to pass I will likely retire. Most of my contemporaries feel the same. The shame of it is that we are at the top of our games because of the years of experience working at our professions. There is already a shortage of good docs at time when baby boomers are reaching Medicare age. Premature retirement of our most experienced docs will only make the shortage worse and access to care will suffer. My fear is that we are too late to reverse what is going on.

    39. Nature calls says:

      I read the above posts filled with desperation over the tyranny of the current administration. This administration relies on one thing: the inertia of American citizens when it comes to starting an armed revolution. It would certainly be justified.

    40. Heather, Maryland says:

      RE: Al Reasin Comment

      LOVE IT!

      Where do I sign up?

    41. Lynn Garrett, Magnol says:

      I read the comments disparaging Pelosi and the Democrats. I am a conservative Republican who is appalled at my oun party. We had the opportunity to do something about the economy, health care, energy, and all the other topics that are so ardently talked about wherever conservative radio, television, internet, newspapers etc. pontificate day after day I will always be opposed to the liberal line that we hear on CNN, MSNBC,ABC,CBS,PBS and ABC. I am also an insurance agent with over 30 years experience that uses all the daily resources afforded by our great USA. The weight of the the problems that plague our society today can be equally distributed to both

      Dems and Repubs. The sad part is that this generation is extending the load to the next several generations and seemingly with no thought as to where it is leading. It is time for people to vote their anger at the ballot box then for all of us to do everything we can to right the ship.

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    44. DVance says:

      This women has got to go before her and her buddies distroy this country. Please people see this women as what she is and fire her. We are not safe as long as this out of controll idiot idiot isd in office

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    47. Doc Hilliard, Calif. says:

      "government run" and "health care" are contridictions in terms.

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