Happy Halloween! Treat or Trick?

Just in time for Halloween, the US House releases H.R. 3962 (IH), Affordable Health Care for America Act. The word Affordable almost certainly means the bill is ghoulishly misnamed. It is mostly trick and very little treat. To keep the cost under one trillion, they kicked out the decade doctor fix of just under 250 billion, stole 400 to 500 billion from Medicare, and promise billions in savings by eliminating fraud and abuse. You can download it from Open Congress (PDF) and US Government Printing Office (text/html or PDF) – all 1,990 pages. And to get “good” numbers from CBO, like the Senate plan, they tax for several years before starting the spending. So if you don’t really start the plan until 2013, would it not be a good idea to get the cost for 2013 to 2023? If you keep the cost under one trillion by counting 10 years of revenue and only 6 or 7 years of expense, that isn’t funny math, it is a blatant LIE! And there is noting in the bill to “bend the curve” of rising health care costs. Like all the rest of these plans, the supporters assume that a single payer government plan will be the final outcome and costs will be contained by rationing. A better name might be, “Welcome to the future worst HMO you could ever imagine”.

But while the bill was out of sight, literally behind closed doors, so we couldn’t see the lobbyists who fought to ensure their part of the pie, we learned a few things. Well perhaps more likely the observation of events only a cynic could interpret.

Based on some of the media releases by organizations who had a seat at the table, we can now speculate why groups who would normally oppose such a bill had signed on.

  • AMA support – most likely they signed on to gain the 250 billion dollar decade doctor fix. Now thrown out of the bill. (They lost.)
  • Health Insurance Companies – If ALL persons had to carry health insurance, they could pick up 30 million customers, the majority young, that would offset the cost increase of including such items as preexisting conditions. The fine was reduced to the point that most young people and small companies will find it less expensive to just pay fines. Plus they were made the villain based on focus groups. (They lost.)
  • Big Pharma – Signed on to reduce drug costs over a decade plus provide advertising to support the bill. This to prevent the government from buying all drugs for Medicare and Medicaid, or even worse, fixing prices. (They lost.)
  • AARP – They knew Medicare payments would be reduced so they would have a chance to sell additional insurance to their AARP members. (They may still win.)

Cynic is defined as anyone older than 30 or 40 who has followed their Congress for a decade or more and now realize that few in Congress truly represent their citizens. Lobbyists come first, which is really money for reelection, for far too many in Congress.

Now for the most cynical conclusion. Remember how Cap & Trade got pushed aside for Healthcare reform? Some said it was because Cap & Trade was moving too slowly and there were many Democrats from states that supplied, or used coal in large quantities, that opposed the legislation. Let’s look at some dots.

Many political insiders were a bit stunned when Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama over Hillary on Jan. 28, 2008. Perhaps Obama promised “Healthcare reform”, while Hillary, remembering 1993, was only lukewarm to the idea of reintroducing such legislation. At the end of May 2008, Ted Kennedy is reported to have a malignant brain tumor. In May of 2009, his cancer is reported to be in remission. This is also about the time health care comes to the forefront over Cap & Trade. This is one of those times when unexplainable events start looking like a time line.

You only have one option. Keep calling, mailing, and e-mailing, your members of Congress telling them they vote for this at their peril.

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