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  • A First Look at the President’s Health Summit Proposal: Liberal Proposal Number Three

    President Barack Obama

    In the run-up to his proposed health care summit, President Barack Obama this morning unveiled an 11-page outline of his health care proposal. Within the outline, there are 33 specific policy changes. Of course, there is no legislative text yet, so the full impact of what the President is proposing will not be known for some time.

    The President’s revisions are based on the Senate bill, as amended by Senate majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and passed last Christmas Eve. According to the February 22, 2010, edition of Congress Daily, on paper, at least, the President’s outline would increase the cost of the Senate bill from $871 billion to $950 billion over ten years. Of course, the real costs depend upon the years of implementation, counting both the revenues and the benefits together.

    Bridging the Gap between House and Senate Liberals. The President describes his proposal as a set of policy changes that would “ bridge the gap” between the unpopular House and Senate health care bills. The President stresses that his proposal “… adds new provisions to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse.” He also says that his proposal “puts American families and small business owners in control, of their own health care.” This latter claim is, in point of fact, disingenuous. Americans would have less control over health care decisions today, what kind of plans and benefits they get, and Washington would exercise even more control over health care financing and delivery than it does today.

    Same Policy Direction. Given that the President’s proposal builds off of the Senate bill, that means that a number of features of the Senate bill that many , if not most, of Americans find objectionable are going to be retained. For example, the President insists on an individual mandate for Americans to buy health insurance coverage that is approved by federal authorities. The President’s proposal adopts the Senate approach to imposing an individual mandate but lowers the tax assessments. He also insists on the imposition of an employer mandate, though he would soften it to some extent by providing $40 billion worth of tax credits to small businesses. Consistent with the Senate bill, he would exempt small firms with less than 50 employees from the employer mandate.

    Even more important is what the outline does not spell out. Assuming that the proposals are to be meshed with the Senate bill as the preferred vehicle for enactment, that means that the key mechanisms for federal control are retained: federal control over the content of health benefits packages, including new benefit mandates that federal authorities may improve over time ; the federal mandates on the states to establish a federally-designed health insurance exchange for health insurance; the creation of new powers for the U.S. Office of Personnel management (OPM) to sponsor two health plans nationwide to compete against private health plans (the Senate version of the “public plan”); and the Senate language ( the Reid-Nelson compromise) that provides for taxpayer funding of abortion.

    Some Tweaks. The President’s proposal would cancel the “Cornhusker Kickback”-  the federal taxpayer funding for Nebraska’s Medicaid expansion – but increase more federal taxpayer funding for all of the states. He would close the congressionally-created Medicare drug “donut hole” that is a gap in insurance coverage for seniors enrolled in the Medicare drug entitlement; and increase the Cadillac-tax threshold for high cost health plans from plans valued at $23,000 per years to $27,500 per year, starting in 2018.

    New Federal Powers. In his outline, the President would add to the federal powers embodied in the Senate bill. The most important one is a new Federal Health Insurance rate Authority, which would provide federal “assistance and oversight” to the states conducting reviews of “ unreasonable rate increases” and “unfair practices” of health insurance plans. This, of course, establishes for the first time a legislative basis for the imposition of price controls on health insurance. If government can control both health benefits and health care pricing, that’s the proverbial ball game. Private health care is private in name only.

    Co-authored by Nina Owcharenko

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    20 Responses to A First Look at the President’s Health Summit Proposal: Liberal Proposal Number Three

    1. Evan, Washington says:

      Ugh. He just keeps pushing it further and further. Why aren't our moderate representatives filling in the vacuum? This whole debacle is so frustrating because we've only got one proposal and it's not nearly good enough to let it through. What happened to tort reform?

    2. Bonnie says:

      It seems to me Obama's 11-page outline is a "get something out there" ploy in prep for the upcoming meeting with the Republicans. It is shoddy. It is incomplete. It is totally unprofessional.

    3. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      I suspect the upcoming summit will be nothing more than a leftist back alley con job. Obama's smooth urban rhetoric is to keep bipartisan conservatives talking. These representatives would be better off walking away and scrapping the democrats' entire one size fits all national healthcare monstrosity. Instead, congress must focus on returning our nation to its federalist principles. All social entitlement and welfare offerings should be returned to the sovereignty of independent states.

    4. John B. San Diego says:

      Federal Government does not belong in the "Entitlement Business"; "They”, our three branches of U.S. Gov. have proven themselves without a doubt "They" are poor stewards of Americans' dollars.

      Let me apologize for using the term "Entitlements”; we have paid into these programs for decades, and this so-called entitlement is just your hard earned U.S. Dollars put through the sausage grinder of Washington D.C. only to be returned to you citizens and the states at nickels on the dollar.

      You salt of the earth Americans you grass roots Patriots this is sham.

      To any that will listen, loyal citizens, hard working honest tax payers; this is the biggest rip-off of your natural lives. And the greatest forfeiture of "YOUR FREEDOMS" in the history of this republic.

      This AIN'T about health of your body or health your family in general this is about hamstringing each and every one of you at the most personal level

      Look; call, write, email, fax those in Fed.Gov. And talk to your neighbors; be determined to stop this social take-over. You think the feds mismanaged SS or Medic-care or Medic-aid wait until you witness this mess coming at you like a fast train on a track you are tied to.

    5. Kevin Habib, Glen Bu says:

      These comments seem misguided. Hard to complain about there being only a summary of the 33 changes, when the Dems have had thousand page bills run through House and Senate and there were endless complaints about the length and size.

      Seeing insurance rates increased 39% in CA last week and rates jump as high as 55% in MI and so many other states – hard to believe the insurance lobbyists like Conservatives for Patients Rights have been able to brainwash so many. So many in GOP listen to groups like that, even though they were formed by for-profit hospital CEOs and sole care is about making profit.

      the only ones who will pay are the every day americans – many of them are opposed to the bill because of the untruths spread by groups like Conservative's for Patient's Rights and Freedom Works. It's sad, because most of these Americans who oppose are the one's who woudl gain the most – but they beleive the GOP lies.

      Hopefully, the Dems take advantage of the reconcilation process and push it through. A majority is all that is needed. That is what America is about – majority rules.

    6. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      President Obama stated just last week, that JOBS were going to be at the top of the list. So what is he doing? Trying to sell his ObamaCare 2 plan to a Country that has already said "No" to ObamaCare 1. Version 2 is not much different than version 1 was but the Obama-Pelosi-Reid machine keeps pushing a bad product in our face.

      The Administration is not listening to the American People (translate this to VOTERS), this is not what we want.

    7. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Kevin of MD – "majority rules" has dangled many an innocent victim from the end of a rope. You've obviously bought into the leftist propaganda machine. This debate has never been about healthcare but rather individual rights and state sovereignty. A basic understanding of U.S. history would clarify the fallacy of your "misguided" comment.

    8. Andrea I, Atlanta, G says:

      I do not want the Federal Government in the Health insurance business. If there is a problem with rate hikes, it is the state's responsibility to handle it.

      I have not been brain washed. I have taken the time to find out the details of these proposals.

    9. John B. San Diego says:

      Yeah Habib/Burnie hopefully we do prevail, seems to be you don't intend to pay for this extension of benefits that is beyond the treasury’s ability to pay!

      How exactly do we Americans pay for this?

      And I intend to say or explain we can't pay for this, however, I'm a fool and you are a genius.

      I will lay it on you to explain how we pay for this, you have all the answers and I’m waiting.

      By the way what group hired Habib/Burnie to do such inept studies, coming to the conclusion fiscal conservatives are misguided?

      I think there is groups representing those who don't pay much if any tax, are you with them? Are those the ones poised for a free lunch possibly?

      That group will sap America into poverty by the plan you have, not you necessarily, but the group I talk of is trying to bankrupt America

      Well that will never happen friend.

      You can count on it; that will never happen!

      Prove me wrong Habib/Burnie…who is your group?

    10. Phil says:

      Obama & company are sick.

    11. Curtis, Seattle WA says:

      Why does every version of this include the IRS in our health care? Do you want the revenue Gestapo "enforcing" your health care plan? Is the CONgress exempt from their own legislation, that is good for you and the entire US? Ask your representatives. Tell them you want their coverage. And retirement package while we're at it.

      I want the CONgress to do nothing and the President to veto every piece of legislation sent to him. Be very fearful of this, look what they've done to our currency and our economy.

    12. Michael, Chagrin Fal says:

      To Dr. Habib – your comment "That is what America is about – majority rules." displays an astounding ignorance of what America is about. The founding of this country was all about individual freedom, and the Founding Fathers worried considerably about the tyranny of the majority. I highly recommend reading Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" – you'll get a sense of the direction "Majority Rule" will take us.

    13. stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      Cosidering the dems have already a plan to try to push this "dead horse" across the finish line (with 51 votes) it's clear the administration is just looking for a PR spin at the meeting. The actual content of his purposal means nothing realistically except to say "this is my plan, work with it or be blamed for saying no." The GOP needs to put poll numbers in front of the president and say the american people don't want this, and we are just supporting what they want, while you Mr. President are not on the right side of the arguement here. I would wager if this bill actually passes that the democrats will loose so badly in November that it will make the GOP losses in 06, and 08 look mild.

    14. Lloyd Welch Valdese, says:

      To Kevin of MD. What rock have you just crawled out from under? Every poll consistantly has supported the idea that the overwhelming majority of Americans DO NOT want Obamacare. Please open your eyes and look. Social Security, broke and hopelessly in debit, Mediacare, broke and hopelessly in debt, Medicaid, broke and hopelessly in debt. Government run health care does not work. It has neither given Americans good nor inexpensive health care. I have the words "waste and fraud" come out of Obamas mouth so many times and if I thought government could stop waste and fraud it might be something I could get behind, but the plain truth of the matter is government involvement promotes waste and fraud.

    15. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 2.23.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    16. John B. San Diego says:

      Obvious, insurance companies in California and Michigan are pre-positioning themselves for a government run program or regulations that may be directed at that industry. California and Michigan have some of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. and could logically have the larger groups coming onto Federal Funded programs. That only equates to one thing greater expenditures by the U.S. Treasury. We are headed to break the back of our Treasury.

      Among clues are a "T.A.R.P." that didn't have anything to do with troubled assets, and to date still has not addressed bad securities held on the books by banks and investment firms.

      A "Stimulus" that didn't stimulate jobs leaving many Americans without ability to provide demand for products and services of our small businesses. With no jobs many lost their homes and are still not managing to avoid foreclosure now.

      Home and Commercial mortgage is the root of all our ecoomic demise start there.

      A proposed budget from the Pres. claiming to lower the deficit by appearing to cut discretionary spending a very small insignificant minute portion of overall gov. spending. Some say those programs targeted for cuts will mysteriously find their way back into the budget.

      Now a "Healthcare Reform’ that has little to do with true reform or improving our individual health or health of our nation collectively. C.B.O. has missed cost estimates on this proposed program just as they did on Medic-care and Medicaid. We have no idea what this train wreck will look like.

      Next a "Cap and Trade" bill intended to cut co2 emmisions and will save our planet this bill will do neither it will not cut co2 and there is no way it will save the planet. Green jobs how many components of our generating facilities are coming from overseas now? Is a better way to start to address jobs and renewable energy in one fluid motion, manufacturing components here?

      There is a very disturbing trend here and it has practically speaking been only one year since this all started. Is Obama trying to get as much done before the honeymoon is over or is he going for one term and will spend everything possible so the next administration has no monetary leverage.

      And the scenario I don’t know about, tear the entire place to the ground so when it’s rebuilt it no longer resembles what was there before, curious, frightful.

      We must stop this guy and his reckless congress now.

    17. Pingback: Morning Bell: Can They Make Obamacare Worse? Yes They Can! | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    18. Ben, Tucson says:

      I am in favor of health care reform. Specifically, I would like to see pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps eliminated.

    19. Thomas ,Jefferson GA says:

      Let's see…A gov't -run health care program that is supposed to crack down on "waste ,fraud and abuse"; is that possible??

    20. Pingback: A Weak Attempt to Salvage Obamacare « Chicagobluesgirl’s Blog

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