Cloak and Dagger Health Care (HR 3590)
December 21, 2009 2 Comments
The Senate agreed at 1 AM to close the debate on HR 3590, with a schedule of passing the legislation on Christmas Eve. The bill passed on party lines, and was negotiated with the Republicans locked out of the room. Many news outlets herald this bill as a compromise bill, but is there really any compromise when only one side is sitting at the table?
Unfortunately, there is no unified document for the full 2400 page bill yet, and I doubt the American public will see the legislation before it passes the Senate. There are a few things known about the bill, or at least those things that have not been amended according to my reading of the amendments.
- There is no public option (at least not a true government run option)
- The Congress will not have to take the same health care being forced on us
- The CBO estimates are worthless, as the Medicare reductions for payments have been stripped from the bill. There is no update on the true costs of the bill, nor will there be until after it passes.
- Great strides were made to make provisions to key Democratic and Independent senators to agree to cloture
- Louisiana gets an additional $100 to $300 million for Medicaid (prior to the November 20th vote)
- Vermont and Massachusetts will get over a billion dollars in additional Medicaid funds
- Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming get new, higher reimbursement rates for doctors taking Medicare. In addition, Montana gets Medicaid for mine workers in Libby, MT.
- Florida, New York and Pennsylvania got guarantees on no cuts for their seniors on Medicare
- Nebraska gets permanent federal aid for the expanded Medicaid provisions created in the state
- Health Insurance premiums will rise tremendously next year, as “fines” (fees) to the Insurance industry are enacted for all policies sold after December 31, 2008. The “fines” amount to about 10% of the profit of the health insurance industry, meaning 20% in a single year (as 2009 has already been paid for). Interesting that many people will experience this spike about the same time as their COBRA subsidies end. The CBO estimates the cost of health care to be lower by 2016, but how many will feel the pinch prior to this time?
- Medical costs will increase with new “fines” (fees) on medical equipment manufacturers and drug companies. These are also retroactive to all devices/drugs sold after December 31, 2008.
- The average American will receive no benefits from this legislation until January 1, 2014.
I can’t help but agree with McConnell, who stated “Make no mistake: If the people who wrote this bill were proud of it, they wouldn’t be forcing this vote in the dead of night”. It seems almost like a sick spy novel when Washington is doing its major business at times when the public cannot contact their elected officials and tell them what they think about it.
Reid plans on having the Senate pass the bill by Christmas Eve, even if it requires keeping Congress in session all night. When I see this bill as my Christmas gift from the government, I wonder what I did so bad that I have been put on the naughty list.
Peace and Grace,