While Democrats' latest back-room deal is being reported as a moderate compromise now that press reports indicate the Medicare buy-in has been dropped at Sen. Lieberman's insistence, legislation being considered in the Senate (H.R. 3590) would still represent a government takeover of health care, with all of its adverse effects on the American people:
Higher Premiums: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has confirmed that the legislation would raise health care premiums for struggling middle-class families, resulting in non-group premium increases of $300 per year for individuals and $2,100 for families. While the Obama campaign promised that its plan would reduce premiums by $2,500 per year for families, CBO confirmed that premiums will still continue to rise-and for millions, premiums will rise higher than under current law.
Job-Killing Taxes: The bill still contains more than $400 billion in tax increases, many of which start in 2010-exactly the wrong solution for American families during a severe recession. The Congressional Budget Office previously noted that mandates on employers to offer insurance "could reduce the hiring of low-wage workers, whose wages could not fall by the full cost of...a substantial pay-or-play fee if they were close to the minimum wage." Moreover, other taxes included in the bill-such as those on drugs, medical devices, and -would be based on to individuals and families in the form of higher premiums.
Lost Coverage: CBO has confirmed that up to 10 million people will lose their offer of employer-sponsored health coverage under the Senate bill-to say nothing of the millions of seniors who will lose access to Medicare Advantage plans. Contrary to President Obama's repeated promises that "You will not have to change [health insurance] plans," CBO also found that "relatively few non-group policies would remain grandfathered by 2016"-meaning millions of individuals will lose their current individual health insurance plans as a result of Democrats' government takeover of health care.
Higher Health Costs: The Obama Administration's own actuaries have confirmed that the Senate bill, like the Pelosi House bill, would raise, not lower, the growth of health care costs-raising serious questions about the sustainability of the massive new entitlements being created.
Trillions in New Spending: While Democrats allege the Senate bill would spend "only" $848 billion, a more accurate picture of the bill's spending provisions finds that in its first ten years of full implementation, this "moderate" legislation would spend $2.5 trillion-this at a time when the federal government is already suffering from record deficits and debt.
Government-Run Insurance: Press reports indicate that the Senate bill will maintain a "Fannie Med" program of government-run insurance spearheaded by the Office of Personnel Management; while the details of such a program have yet to see the light of day, a "Fannie Med" type approach would likely result in additional taxpayer liability and massive federal bailouts should this insurance program prove unsustainable. Moreover, the bill places new restrictions on insurance plans, causing millions to lose their current coverage and funneling these individuals into government-run Exchanges.
The American people remain greatly concerned about uncontrolled federal spending and record-high unemployment, yet the Democrat "compromise" in the Senate would exacerbate both problems. Many may question: Is this the best "reform" Democrats can achieve-and what are the majority's misplaced priorities that it remains so fixated on enacting a government takeover of health care?