The House Has Passed Its Healthcare Legislation by the Narrowest of Margins

November 10, 2009
Category: Uncategorized

What is and what isn’t in a bill that is nearly 2000 pages and weighs nearly 20 pounds?

The heft of the bill and its unveiling shortly before the vote testify to the deal-making behind the scenes. As the New York Times says: “The medical industry grumbles, but it stands to gain”. It has become clear to consumers that everyone’s interest but theirs are being leveraged through the federal legislature. No wonder Congress’s own healthcare is exempt from the bill.
Former NY Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey has been reading the bill’s fine print. She reports in a Wall St Journal article:  “While the bill will slash Medicare funding, it will also direct billions of dollars to numerous inner-city social work groups with vague standards of accountability.” What are these groups supposed to do with the billions? Counsel people about the new Federal system?
McCaughey goes on: Section 223 of HR 3962 requires an individual making $44,000 before taxes to pay 17% of his pre-tax income for mandated insurance. Higher earners will be required to pay 20%. How these mandates differ from taxes escapes us, and they are big mandates hitting the middle class.
Section 202 also takes away your freedom to choose. You are required to enroll in a “qualified plan,” The government defines what qualified means and will have lots of help on this from special interests. Natural health and integrative medicine do not have much clout in Congress.
If you have a business to make a living for you and those you employ, section 412 states you must pay 72.5% of the cost for your staff or incur a 8% payroll tax.
Section 222 provides Medicare recipients the “right” to language translation services at all times without co-pay.  What about the rights of those who pay taxes to pay for all this?
Section 1302 moves Medicare away from fee for service to a strict managed care model. Section 1158-60 says that Medicare will stop paying more in expensive places. The payment in New York will not be higher than in rural areas.
Other sections require doctors to share your private records with numerous other parties.
The healthcare debate now moves to the Senate. We will keep you posted and ask for your help in shaping that vote.

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