(Rep. John Shadegg) – Everywhere I go people tell me that Democrats say Republicans are misrepresenting the health care bills and claiming they are worse than they really are.
They don’t believe this legislation could be as bad as some are saying. One person recently argued my criticism was “over the top.” Others ask to know, specifically, the worst things the bill will do. Well, here’s a starting list and you can decide if Republicans are crying wolf.
1. Premiums Skyrocket:
Under the Senate health bill, 90% of Americans will continue to see their premiums skyrocket or get even worse.
2. Bailout for Insurance Companies:
Americans will be forced to fork over up to 8% of their salary to insurance companies with the IRS enforcing a $1500 penalty on your family if you don’t buy their product.
3. Free Care for Illegals, Penalties for Americans:
Allows illegal aliens to receive free care in emergency rooms, but punishes Americans with a fine from the IRS for failing to buy government-approved coverage.
4. Drug Companies Win, Patients Lose:
Harry Reid refused an amendment that would allow Americans to buy cheaper drugs through reimportation.
5. Benefit Mandates:
Contains scores of direct mandates on every plan sold in America and empowers the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to add even more.
6. Special Deals:
Here is just a fraction of the dirty deals cut in the Senate:
• Senator Nelson negotiated an exemption for Nebraska—they no longer have to pay for their Medicaid and secured a deal to exempt Mutual of Omaha and other Nebraska insurers from paying fees when they sell supplemental health coverage.
• Senators Sanders and Kerry negotiated hundreds of millions of taxpayer cash for the Vermont and Massachusetts Medicaid programs respectively.
• Senator Chris Dodd secured a “competitive” $100 million earmark that can only go to a Connecticut medical school.
• Florida’s Ben Nelson secured a special exemption for Florida health insurance companies from the Medicare Advantage cuts in the bill.
• Senators Baucus, Dorgan and Conrad negotiated increased Medicare reimbursement rates for physicians in their states.
7. Taxpayer Funding of Abortion:
The bill provides for taxpayer-funded abortion
8. Less Jobs:
The Senate health care bill imposes a $750 per worker penalty on employers who do not provide health coverage. According to CBO (Congressional Budget Office), this provision, “would reduce the hiring of low-wage workers.”
The bill contains hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes including a new “Cadillac” tax on health insurance that will make health care more expensive for middle class families, including:
• tax increases for sick Americans with exorbitant medical expenses
• pharmaceutical drug taxes,
• medical device taxes
• a new payroll tax on workers and small business,
• reductions in tax benefits for Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts
• tanning salon taxes
• taxes on employers and families who fail to provide government-approved coverage
10. Medicare Payments Will Be Reduced:
Medicare payments will be reduced by an estimated $493 billion over 10 years including reductions for Medicare Advantage, hospital care, home health care and nursing homes.
(Mr. Shadegg is a Republican congressman from Arizona)