A solid majority hopes Congress will completely abandon its existing proposals for health care reform and “start from scratch” instead, according to a recent Gallup poll. Yet last Monday, the president tabled a plan thats different in only three significant respects from past congressional bills: Its bigger, its more expensive, and its more complicated than the last version.
Perhaps you didnt like ObamaCare because it included billions in unaccountable grants (read pork) to community health groups.
If so, the presidents “new” plan is about the same. The Senate bill spent $8.5 billion on grants over five years. The House bill spent $12 billion over the same period. The presidents “new” plan: “Bridging the difference, the Presidents bill invests $11 billion.” Why didnt he just split the difference 50-50 to make it easier?
Maybe you didnt like the Senates version of ObamaCare because it set up 50 weak state health exchanges instead of a competitive national market, giving consumers no chance to outflank costly state regulations to save on premiums.
If so, Mr. Obamas “new” plan includes the same Senates state-based formula. Dont be fooled: The White House is now spinning it as a single “competitive health insurance market” to try to hide the details.
If you hated ObamaCare because there was too much spending, take note: The estimated cost of the “new” plan is $1 trillion, more than either version passed by Congress.
If you disliked the congressional bills because they promised more competition but created more regulation instead, then youll hate this plan even more. The presidents plan creates a new agency “to provide federal assistance and oversight to states in conducting reviews” of insurance prices and insurance industry practices. At least half of U.S. states already have agencies that do exactly that.
If you werent happy with ObamaCare because it taxed jobs and innovation in Americas medical device industry, youll hate this version just as much. President Obamas “new” plan changes the medical device “fee” to an excise tax, and delays the tax until 2013. But the “new” plan aims to tax the same amount over the same 10-year period. Meaning:
The rate will actually be higher once the tax is in place.
Id urge you to look at the legislation to find these details, but no legislation has been posted. Yes, thats right: While Democrats insist its time for Republicans to publish their own plans, as of Wednesday, the Democrats hadnt posted much more than talking points and bullet points on the presidents plan.
Yet its clear that the president has legislation ready. After all, the White House document refers to a bill, and it divides the presidents ideas into titles as if a draft exists. Its just hidden behind the curtains of power to protect it from the prying eyes of mere analysts.
So if you hated the 2,000 pages of new powers, new committees, new agencies and new regulations in the congressional version of ObamaCare, theres more bad news. “New” ObamaCare has 10 titles. Think of that the same way book publishers think of volumes. Ten titles is as many as were in the final Senate bill — which by opencongress.orgs count included more than 425,000 words of legislation, or about half as long as the King James Bible.
Its A Corpse
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Bureau of Labor Statistics broadest measure of unemployment — called U6 — is above 16%. Americans want Washington to focus on jobs, the economy and the deficit. Yet the president refuses to give up on his dream of a giant, retro, 1960s-style health program to establish a liberal legacy. And for what purpose?
Once you take away insurance subsidies and a few other trinkets from the presidents plan, its likely that Mrs. Obamas $400 million child obesity initiative will do more to improve health and cut future health care costs than her husbands trillion-dollar monster.
In 2009, I compared the presidents approach to health reform to the movie “Groundhog Day,” in which Bill Murray is forced to wake up to exactly the same events every morning.
In 2010, a better comparison might be the 1980s comedy “Weekend at Bernies.” The presidents “new” health care plan is the corpse of the old Senate plan, propped up on a deck chair to make it seem like its still got life in it.
Mr. President: ObamaCare is dead. And if it isnt, it should be. Let it rest in peace.
Original Source: http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=522421