Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baucus Bill Explained

A new healthcare bill has been developed in the US Senate. It is nicknamed the Baucus Bill, named after the Senator controlling its development. This article takes a close look at the new proposal.

Cost of the Bill

The cost of the new proposal is $856 Billion dollars. This was estimated by the team that developed the bill, not the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). On the face of it, it seems a bit cheaper than the House version HR 3200. It is still being analyzed by the CBO and they have leaked that it will probably be over $1 - 2 trillion dollars in its present form. We will have to wait and see exactly how much over the estimate REALLY is and then you can decide.

How Is It Funded
The bill will be funded by cutting Medicare of $500 Billion dollars. This is unchanged from HR 3200. This would still short change senior citizens who need healthcare more than anyone else in the country! So the unfairness and redistribution of care is still present in the new bill.

The revenue would come in immediately, building a small reserve before the entire plan takes effect. This gives one the overall false impression that the plan is cheaper and is lower cost. It really is not cheaper. It just doesn't spend in the beginning and consequently appears to be saving money.

Public Option
The so-called public option is gone in this plan. This is the government controlled plan that so many object to having. However, this is just a game of "Smoke and Mirrors" because the plan contains something called the co-op option. This option is government controlled healthcare with a "New" name. It's been re-packaged to appear different so people will accept it. This is the Democratic Senate's way of playing the old "Shell Game" on Americans. Look, we have a new package. We renamed it and added more taxes so you won't recognize it as the original government takeover package and it appears to be cheaper.

Hidden Penalties and New Taxes
The Baucus plan contains several new schemes to attempt to pay for (and consequently reduce) the overall cost of the plan. If you do not have any healthcare, you will be forced (mandated) to buy into the government plan to the tune of $800 to $1,000 per person or up to $3,000 per family. You must pay to join. Thus, you are penalized for not having any health insurance - even if you originally chose not to buy any in the first place.

Employers will still be required to provide employees with health insurance. In order to get employers to drop their coverage on employees and jump over to the government plan, this new plan only charges employers $400 per employee to join the government co-op plan. Remember, employers would have an 8% tax penalty if they didn't cover employees before in HR 3200. Consequently, this is much cheaper for employers and they would all drop employee healthcare in favor for the co-op government controlled plan. This leaves the employees with NO CHOICE but to take government healthcare. This is a subtle way of literally screwing working Americans into joining-up with big government while being told that they will have a choice in the matter. This is MOST UNLIKELY!

What Do Doctors Think?
Briefly, doctors are NOT in favor of any government run healthcare programs. In fact, if they do occur, many doctors will retire or leave this occupation. Why? Because the government will lower the rates that doctors can charge patients. This will add the shortage of doctors and healthcare professionals. In turn, this will guarantee MANDITORY RATIONING of healthcare services.

What's Missing?
Tort reform. Doctors have to charge higher fees because they have to pay for expensive malpractice insurance. WHY? Because doctors get sued in many frivolous cases. So why not add tort reform and keep crazy lawsuits out of the equation? Because the Democratic party receives Millions of dollars yearly from lawyers as special interest groups. You can't spite the person (or group) who donates thousands of dollars to your re-election, now can you?

Little Competition
What else is missing? Competition. Currently, the Federal government places restrictions on the number of insurance companies that can operate in any state. This reduces competition and keeps selection low and prices artificially higher than they should be. This benefits insurance companies (more special interest groups). Are you getting the picture? We need to allow all insurance companies to sell their insurance across state lines to increase competition, increase choice, and reduce costs to taxpayers.

Even if the program is not working, the government will always keep adding to it by adding more benefits and entitlements. When the government starts - it NEVER stops. Take these for examples:

Example 1 Medicare: Medicare started with a projected annual budget of $65 Million dollars per year. Today its budget is over $1/2 Trillion dollars.

Example 2 Prescription Drugs
: Starting budget under the Bush administration was projected to be no more than $150 Billion dollars per year. Today the plan costs $1 Trillion dollars and is climbing as more seniors join the plan.

Example 3 Cash for Clunkers: Original estimate was missed by a factor of two and we added an additional $2 Billion dollars to it because the original estimates were wrong.

Example 4 Stimulus Home Buyer Credits
: The tax credit for new home buyers is going to have to be doubled because original estimates were woefully incorrect.

All these examples are programs that the government is in control of and has made budget estimates that were all terribly incorrect. And as usual, they always underestimate the total costs to make the initial program look affordable. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!

Government Healthcare is NOT going to work. It is a known fact and proponents can't argue that! Dump ObamaCare or whatever you want to call it! It's bad for individuals! Fix what's broke. Don't reinvent the wheel!

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