PatriotPost.US ObamaCare, Baucus Style
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) made public his health care proposal this week, and no one on either side of the aisle or in the White House liked it very much. As Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Baucus took it upon himself to put a package together that he thought stood the best chance of drawing bipartisan support, but, instead, his plan landed with a resounding thud. None of the Republicans and Democrats from the so-called "Gang of Six" who were working with him on the bill showed up for the press conference to announce the bill, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated that Baucus's plan did not reflect Barack Obama's vision for health care. This is bad news for Baucus, and it may be bad news for ObamaCare in general -- which, of course, is good news for America.
The plan does not include a public option, but that's about the only good thing that can be said about it. It advocates heavy regulation of insurers, forcing them to accept all comers regardless of pre-existing conditions, and it also establishes "exchanges" where insurers will be required to develop standardized plans for comparison-shopping.
The plan also includes an absolutely brutal tax and fee structure to "pay" for itself. Insurers would be forced to fork over an excise tax of 35 percent for high-value health plans, because liberals won't be able to live with themselves if they allow some Americans to have better health care plans than others, even though it's often a matter of personal choice. (And here we thought liberals believed in "the right to choose.") Arbitrary fees for insurers and makers of drugs and medical devices would also be used to fund the plan. While Congress always seems to forget this, keep in mind that all of these costs will be passed on to you, the consumer.
All Americans would be required to have health insurance or face stiff penalties. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that even after a low-income family receives government subsidies to purchase health insurance, their personal "investment" into a mandatory plan could amount to more than 15 percent of their annual income.
Baucus's plan also takes a swing at business. Companies are not now required by law to offer insurance to their employees, but those with 50 or more employees that don't offer coverage will face a $400 per employee fine. This fine would kick in if any one employee receives subsidies to buy insurance.
Conspicuously absent is tort reform -- the billions of dollars spent by doctors to pay up or settle frivolous lawsuits, the ever-increasing malpractice scam that requires them to buy expensive insurance policies -- all of which raise the costs to the insurers.
Could this be a result of all the contributions made by trial lawyers to the Democrats? Surely not!
Criticism of Baucus's plan has come from all sides, and with virtually no support, it may very well die an ignominious death. It will go before the full Senate Finance Committee for dissection and potential rewrites, but there is little reason to believe that it (or any other Democrat proposal) can be made to fit within federal government powers enumerated in the Constitution.