The President’s Health Care Proposal: Deceit, Arrogance or Desperation

by Richard H. and Jayne D. Frank

What kind of game is President Obama playing on the American people?  He appears before the television cameras and acknowledges that the People are correct in identifying the “economy” and “jobs” as the most important priorities for the Country (where has he been?).  He criticizes Congress and Government for uncontrolled spending in one breath and then introduces his new budget and more spending proposals purported to cure our ills.  Then when over 66% of Americans are opposed to Government health care reform as envisioned by Congress,  he attempts to resurrect an ill-conceived Bill under the guise of bi-partisan cooperation.

Just when we think Congress and the President have received our message and shifted their priority to the economy,  Mr. Obama uses a bi-partisan summit on health care alleging he is open to any ideas to control costs that will make insurance affordable for all Americans.

Today, four days before the summit at Blair House, the White House has posted on their website, President Obama’s Proposal for health care reform.  Careful reading of his proposal reveals a warmed-over manipulation of language contained in the Senate Bill hastily passed on  Christmas Eve 2009.

The Proposal is cleverly crafted in such a way as to cloud its ultimate intent, to move to a single-payor system,   and further, the Progressive agenda for “massive redistribution of wealth.”

Here is the simple truth behind The President’s Proposal dated February 22 which is nothing more than more punishment for the “rich” in our society, additional spending, punishment of businesses, more Government intrusion, and is true wealth distribution and nothing more.  It does NOTHING to change what has been on the table before the American people for the last year.  Here are the key points that most affect Americans that were not in either of the previous House and Senate bills.  We have attempted to boil down 11 pages of the warmed-over Senate bill by highlighting the revisions of the President’s Proposal in 15 key elements:

  1. Included in the Proposal is a new mandate that insurers must lower premiums if the Government feels they are unreasonable; this replaces simply an oversight review. This is a usurpation of the authority vested in the States by the Constitution.
  2. Preventative care is covered in grandfathered policies only beginning in 2018.  That is an attempt to hide increasing of the deficit because costs beyond that point are not considered by the CBO.
  3. Uninsured Americans will still make a payment (tax/fee) for not being insured but the threshold is lowered to $18700; i.e., taxes on more Americans.
  4. The Proposal gives $40 billion  to businesses in tax credits; those tax credits are a drain upon the Federal revenues, that if insufficient, end up adding to the deficit.  This is still a mandate to businesses because if they don’t provide coverage they will pay an “assessment” of $3000 (fee/tax) to help defray the “taxpayer’s cost” for those workers which the businesses don’t cover; eventually this will lead to cancellation of all employer coverage and move everyone to a “Government-controlled Healthcare Program.”
  5. There is a great deal of language involved in inundating health providers with more paperwork, database requirements and  “law enforcement” threats for catching fraud and abuse. Hidden in this language section is a “Real-Time Data Review” to identify potentially fraudulent payments more quickly.  When you walk into your doctor’s office, you can see that he will be required to get an on- the spot determination by some bureaucrat if your treatment is to be covered, in essence placing Government between you and your doctor under the guise of reducing fraudulent payments.  The President has just moved his  intent to oversee patient’s treatment into a “Fraud and Abuse” control.
  6. The President wants to return overpayments under this section to the Medicare Trust Fund.  That fund has been robbed by the Government, spent, and has been empty for years.  Are we to trust that they now are honorable and will reestablish this Trust Fund?
  7. In line with real- data review, under the President’s prescription proposal, he wants providers and states to “review and update their care plan to reduce utilization” of certain prescriptions.  The end result of course, will be that people will not be able to get elective prescriptions such as those for weight-reducing, smoking cessation, ED drugs such as Viagra,  depression, and certain senior drugs, because the Government is lining up to determine what prescriptions do not improve “beneficiary quality of care”.
  8. The President proposes to change the Medicare Review process from a “random” process to one with “statutory reviews.”
  9. Cadillac plans are once again attacked, and the Proposal seems to be looking to “average out” fee for services costs in all areas, and the Proposal still taxes high-cost health insurance premiums, although not until 2018.
  10. More importantly, The Proposal on Page 8 requires a “payment adjustment for unjustified coding patterns” than have raised costs …more…than the evidence of their enrollees’ health status…”  In short, Government will determine if treatment for the elderly is justified based upon cost, not “improving quality of life.”
  11. The President’s Proposal adds a total of 5.2% increase in the hospital insurance portion of these plans.
  12. The President wants to tax brand name pharmaceuticals in the interest of “fairness”.  Many prescriptions given to Americans are not yet in a generic form and I assume, the legislation intends to restrict these drugs.
  13. The President has a new “Improvement.”  He wants to give states “100% Federal Support for newly eligible individuals” for 2014 through 2017.” Surely that will give him enough time to get the millions of illegal aliens covered under his proposal.
  14. The Proposal changes eligibility for certain low income  programs (not defined) from adjusted gross income to modified adjusted gross income. That would allow more people to be subsidized or exempted.
  15. There is still a fee on medical device manufacturers, which most certainly is either going to prohibit seniors from receiving scooters, walkers, more “unconventional” oxygen devices, etc., or those costs will be passed along to the consumer to pay.

The President’s Proposal is all smoke and mirrors again, is a rehash of the Big Government intrusion into our personal health care decisions and more importantly does nothing about tort reform, portability, or being able to purchase across state lines, and fraud/abuse which could all be addressed with simple standalone legislation.  He also phrases several of the changes he wants to appear as they are “budget items” to more particularly conform to the requirements for the reconciliation Process.  This “Reconcilation Process” would allow passage of a health care bill with 51 votes as opposed to 60 required under current Senate Rules.

The Republican position at the February 25 meeting should demand including the four principles above under a simple, understandable and controllable piece of legislation, not the massive Senate Bill and the bureaucracies that will be created. The President’s Proposal was aptly described by Brad Blakeman on Fox News this morning as “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”