Health Care Reform Is Making Me Sick

o-laughThe House of Representatives passed their health reform bill and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed a $600 billion version today – a version that will require individuals to get health insurance and require employers to contribute to the cost as well.

And what if an individual does not buy a health insurance plan? For about 8 million of us, it means we will pay a new tax of 2.5% – and still not have health insurance.

Keith Hennessey lays it out:

As expected, the House bill would mandate that individuals and families have or buy health insurance.

But what if they don’t buy it?

Then Section 401 kicks in.  Any individual (or family) that does not have health insurance would have to pay a new tax, roughly equal to the smaller of 2.5% of your income or the cost of a health insurance plan. …

I assume the bill authors would respond, “But why wouldn’t you want insurance?  After all, we’re subsidizing it for everyone up to 400% of the poverty line.”

That is true.  But if you’re a single person with income of $44,000 or higher, then you’re above 400% of the poverty line.  You would not be subsidized, but would face the punitive tax if you didn’t get health insurance.  This bill leaves an important gap between the subsidies and the cost of health insurance.  CBO says that for about eight million people, that gap is too big to close, and they would get stuck paying higher taxes and still without health insurance.

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Wondering where your income falls in terms of the federal poverty line? The numbers are on the Health and Human Services web site. Here is the chart for the 48 contiguous states and DC:

Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $10,830
2 14,570
3 18,310
4 22,050
5 25,790
6 29,530
7 33,270
8 37,010
For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,740 for each additional person.

You can do your own math. With figures as ridiculously low as those, even multiplying the appropriate number by 4 isn’t going to give you an income that would have you living in the lap of luxury.

But if you do happen to be among the so-called wealthy with an income of $250K or more, you may end up paying even more – a 5.4% “surtax” whether you have your own health insurance or not. Interestingly, the “surtax” would be mostly charged to… doctors.

Good plan there – make the doctors angry about having to pay a big new tax and then force them to take on a boatload of new patients. What could go wrong?

Yet all of this for “reform” would enroll less than 5% of Americans and will very likely surpass the $1 trillion price tag currently attached to it according to the Congressional Budget Office.

On a preliminary basis … the proposal’s provisions affecting health insurance coverage would result in a net increase in federal deficits of $1,042 billion for fiscal years 2010 through 2019,” the report said, citing additional expenses for Medicaid and other federal subsidies. One Democratic aide said the bill would add up to $1.5 trillion over the next decade. But the CBO estimate showed that even if the price tag holds to $1 trillion, more than 80 percent of the costs will hit in the last five years. This indicates that after 2019, taxpayers could be hit with a rising tidal wave of health care expenses resulting from the shift in health care coverage from the private to public sector. 

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So, what will health care “reform” look like? According to House Republicans, it will look like this:

But this is a crisis and we can’t do nothing, right, Mr. President? We need to get this thing going before the end of the year!

So buck up, America. Hey, it’s for your own good. Don’t you want top-quality health care like military women get from the VA, like wounded soldiers get from Walter Reed or like Indian Health Services?

Then again, on second thought, no. Universal health care just isn’t worth our freedom.

 

More links on this topic – if you’re feeling up to it:

Health care reform still has a long way to go before passage
Committee: Health care overhaul a yes
Concern grows that healthcare overhaul won’t cut costs
House Democrats would have us believe that the rich can pay for it all
9 reasons Pelosi’s healthcare surtax is disastrous
Small Business Faces Big Bite
What if Obamacare Fails?

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