Monday, September 21, 2009

7 flaws in the new government healtcare plan

The Heritage Foundation has done some excellent research and come up with a list of Seven Fatal Flaws in this Baucus healthcare bill, many of which would ultimately lead to tax increases.

  • Middle Class Tax Hike: The Baucus bill would impose a new sales tax on drugs and medical devices and a new federal excise tax on insurance plans that exceed $8,000 for an individual and $21,000 for a family. These taxes will ultimately be passed down to the consumer, putting many middle class families on the receiving end of a tax hike.
  • An Individual Mandate: In 2013, almost everyone would be required to purchase health insurance that complies with new federal standards. Those making more than three times the poverty level would face a tax penalty of $950 (maxing out at $3,800 per family) and $750 (maxing out at $1,500 per family) for those below 300 percent poverty. This penalty could apply to individuals with incomes as low as $10,831 a year.
  • No Privacy: In order to enforce the tax penalty provisions, the government would be forced to collect detailed health insurance information on Americans, reducing patient privacy and adding significant administrative costs to employers and insurers.
  • A Pay-or-Play Employer Mandate: Employers with more than 50 employees that don't offer health coverage would have to pay a penalty for each employee who qualifies for new federal subsidizes under the bill. Inevitably, low-income workers will be hurt the most as employers would simply downsize or cut wages.
  • A Thinly Disguised Public Option: The Baucus bill invites indefinite federal control of a "co-op" by providing an unnecessary $6 billion in federal funding for startup loans and grants and it gives broad latitude to the HHS Secretary to regulate co-ops and promote them. The co-op created in this bill is literally an acronym for a new government-run health plan.
  • Medicaid Expansion: Under the Baucus bill, millions of Americans would end up on Medicaid. The current Medicaid program is unsustainable and poorly serves the needy and indigent now. Taxpayers will pick up the new costs of Medicaid, and states will have little flexibility for real reform.
  • Medicare: The Baucus bill establishes value-based purchasing, requiring compliance with government guidelines on the delivery of medical services. Hospitals and physicians who don't comply would get lower Medicare payments. This approach could bias or compromise doctors' decisions and contradict U.S. law on the federal interference in the practice of medicine.


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