PatriotPost "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Those were the famous last words1 of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before ramming ObamaCare through the lower chamber in March. The California Democrat surely knew how foreboding her words were.
So what are some of the unfortunate provisions rearing their ugly heads, now that Democrats have succeeded in taking over one-sixth of the economy?
For starters, a loophole in the law enables insurance companies to -- gasp -- raise their premiums. "Although Democrats promised greater consumer protection, the overhaul does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases," reports the Los Angeles Times2. "It is a very big loophole in health reform," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). According to the Times, "Feinstein and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) are pushing legislation to expand federal and state authority to prevent insurance companies from boosting rates excessively." Of course, "excessively" is relative in an industry that averages between 3 and 4 percent profit, and in which most premium increases are driven by the cost increases in medical care caused by government intervention.
Meanwhile, The Hill3 reports, "Taxpayers earning less than $200,000 a year will pay roughly $3.9 billion more in taxes -- in 2019 alone -- due to healthcare reform, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress's official scorekeeper. The new law raises $15.2 billion over 10 years by limiting the medical expense deduction, a provision widely used by taxpayers who either have a serious illness or are older." So much for the pledge not to raise taxes, by not even one dime, on that very group.
The New York Times4, however, blows the lid off the most amusing provision:
In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the "personal health insurance coverage" of senators, representatives and their staff members.
For example, it says, the law may "remove members of Congress and Congressional staff" from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available.
The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?
Let's see them fix it for themselves while leaving the lives of other Americans permanently altered for the worse.
As for the medical side of the equation, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the existing doctor shortage in the United States will be exacerbated by ObamaCare. This could lead to -- surprise -- decreased access to medical care and possibly sub par care in the near future.
Of the 954,000 physicians in the United States today, only 352,908 are primary care physicians. Yet doctors falling under the primary care umbrella -- general practitioners, pediatricians, family doctors and internists -- will be in the greatest demand under ObamaCare. The nation will need another 45,000 primary care physicians by 2020, so medical schools are attempting to lure their students to this field. ObamaCare supposedly encourages this as well, adding a 10 percent Medicare pay increase for those in that field. Even with this incentive, however, primary care is still not as lucrative as other specialties. Since a medical degree carries a six-figure price tag, it's no surprise that young doctors want to enter fields that will free them of their debt more quickly.
Furthermore, ObamaCare squeezes doctor-owned hospitals out of existence by either denying them Medicare/Medicaid funding or forcing them to seek approval from the Department of Health and Human Services, a.k.a. Big Brother. The reason: they cater to high-income patients. Heaven forbid.
Of course, all these things come as little surprise to those of us not wearing Commie-red tinted glasses. http://patriotpost.us/edition/2010/04/16/digest/print/