Cloak and Dagger Health Care (HR 3590)

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,

Twitter: @gbworld


2 Responses to Cloak and Dagger Health Care (HR 3590)

  1. Dale says:

    All this while Michigan falls into a full blown depression with people leaving the state faster than winter is coming because there is no work. More people will be on the street every day here. Why is it that our government ignores the fact that jobs are going away? Are they so obtuse to think that any of us can pay for this stupity if small businesses are dying? The number one problem in the United States is liberalism and their thirst for power. The rest of us are getting closer to slavery every day. This health care (power grabbing) bill is nothing less than a reduction in the freedoms we’ve enjoyed. Every person will pay $3,000-$4,000 a year for health care that will diminish to waiting lines, government control over who gets care and death for the terminally ill who cannot wait months to see a doctor, or they will pay $750 a year in fines for not having purchased healthcare through the new insurance exchange that Democrats are hailing as a wonderful "New Idea." It amazes me how many buzz words a group of people can use to describe the same thing when one phrase fails to sell us something we don’t want.

  2. Gregory says:

    I am not convinced it is a Liberal problem as much as a Congress out of touch with reality problem. And, in the long run, most of us will benefit, but the CBO only compared this year to 2016 in their "estimates". Over the next couple of years, it will get worse. And there are provisions in the bill that require a certain percentage payout for the insurance companies. If the fees they are charged are not separated out of this percentage, it may well lead to insurance companies getting out of the business and the idea of a public option taking forefront again. This does have a benefit of spreading the costs across the entire population, but it gives no real incentive to reduce costs or for people to try to be healthy. Both of these are detrimental to the country as a whole. I expect this bill to pass the Senate unless people from states like yours, where the reps support the bill, get up in arms and write, write, write. Bug them and let them know they will get a pink slip from you if they continue the madness.Peace and Grace,Greg

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