In the two weeks since House Democrats passed health care legislation through three key committees and headed out of town for the August recess, they have gotten an earful from American citizens concerned that their plan amounts to a big government takeover of health care that will raise costs, ration care, and put bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors. Now, a detailed analysis of the Democrats’ bill shows that the American peoples’ fears are well-founded. House Republican Leader Boehner made the following comment in response:
As we’re seeing again and again across the country, the more the American people learn about this plan, the less they like it. Democrats, led by President Obama, need to scrap this job-killing government takeover of health care and work with Republicans to address the biggest concern of middle class families: lowering health care costs.
Despite what President Obama and congressional Democrats say, their bill would increase health care costs rather than lower them by pushing a government takeover of health care. Here are just a few examples how:
Pages 116-118; Section. 221 – Requires the Secretary to establish a government run plan that is supposed to play by the same rules as private plans in the exchange. The bill, however, requires the government to set the benefits of all of the plans, including its own, creating an implicit unlevel playing field by allowing the government to set rules for itself.
Page 120, lines 4-21; Section. 222 – Gives $2 billion and as much money as is needed to pay claims for 90 days from the Treasury to the government plan. While it requires the government run plan to repay the money, it only requires the plan to repay the money over ten years – and without any interest payments. This gives the public plan an enormous capital advantage over private plans.
Page 124, lines 24-25; Section. 223 – This section shelters the government plan from any administrative or judicial review of any payment rate or methodology it uses. No company can sue the government for price fixing.
Page 118, lines 14-22; Division A, Section 221(g) – Unlike private insurance plans, who can be sued in state courts, the government-run plan could only be sued in federal court. This affords the government plan significant advantage over the plans it is supposed to “compete” against.
Pages 41-47; Division A, Sections 141 and 143 – House Democrats would establish a new government-run “Exchange,” through which a new government-run plan would offer coverage alongside private plans. The Exchange would be run by a new “Health Choices Commissioner,” who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. As the Commissioner is serving at the pleasure of the President, some may be concerned about the lack of independence of this individual. The Commissioner would also be required to work with the Secretary of HHS, creating the potential for a serious conflict of interest that could significantly disadvantage the private health plans where more than 170 million Americans currently receive their health coverage.
This is not what the American people want, and not what they need. With polls showing the depth of the American peoples’ frustration with out-of-touch Washington Democrats, what will it take for them to work with Republicans on real bipartisan reforms?