At the time of this writing no one outside a select group of Democrats knows what will be in the final healthcare bill, but enough is known to draw some conclusions. It relies on pay-offs, mandates, price controls, and accounting gimmicks. Without special deals reform would not be possible.
Whether Senator Ben Nelson's (D-NE) gets to keep his deal, whereby the federal government picks up the cost of new Medicaid patients in Nebraska, is beside the point. "The Cornhusker Kickback," as Nelson's deal has been dubbed, enabled the bill to be passed through the Senate.
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) was favored with funds to pay for Medicare Advantage benefits. Medicare Advantage presently allows private insurers to contract with the government, but the program has been targeted for elimination by Democrats. Without Medicare Advantage millions of seniors will see their premiums go up, and their services restricted -- but not in Florida.
It took all sixty Democratic senators to pass the bill out of the Senate. Ben Nelson's and Bill Nelson's votes were paid for with special deals; taxpayers in states with poorly connected senators will be subsidizing benefits in Florida and Nebraska.
A mandate requiring that every American buy "approved" health insurance is essential to Obamacare. Individuals would be fined $750 if they don't buy the type of insurance Democrats think they should have. The Congressional Budget Office has written that the mandate would be an "unprecedented form of federal action." The Heritage Foundation questions whether the mandate is constitutional, as the authority to force individuals to buy a product is not within the enumerated powers of the Constitution. The mandate may also be an unconstitutional taking of private property described by the Fifth Amendment.
According to the Heritage Foundation, over half of the new coverage comes from the expansion of Medicaid:
Medicaid was chosen to do the bulk of the health insurance expansion under Obamacare because it is cheap. But as Americans instinctively know: cheaper does not mean better. The President's own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have warned that the lower Medicaid reimbursements will mean those who gain insurance under Obamacare through Medicaid will have a very difficult time finding doctors to treat them.
The federal government under Obamacare will be offloading the cost of coverage to state governments. Governor David Patterson says that Obamacare will leave New York $1 billion in the hole, and Governor Schwarzenegger says that reform will cost California $3 to $4 billion annually -- even these free-spending governors have reached their limits. It's not a hard job for Congressional Democrats to decide that state governments should bear the burden of increased costs.
And there will be new taxes: on high cost health plans (40 percent), on insurance companies that will be passed on to everyone with private insurance, on medical devices, tanning beds, and brand name drugs. Other taxes could well emerge as the leaders of the House and Senate reconcile their plans behind closed doors.
These taxes are designed to be invisible to taxpayers, and they will go into effect at the passage of the bill. However, the benefits of Obama care are not scheduled to begin until after the 2012 presidential election. The delay in benefits allows the Democrats to pretend that the costs of Obama care will not increase the federal deficit. Ten years of tax increases pays for six years of benefits -- this is not honest accounting.
There are many broken promises. President Obama said that reform would increase access to healthcare -- not for people with Medicare or Medicaid: doctors will stop seeing patients because of cuts in reimbursements. President Obama said the healthcare costs would go down -- young people will subsidize the elderly; people buying outside of large pools will see higher premiums. President Obama said that people will be able to keep their doctors and present insurance if they like them -- it will be cheaper for employers to pay fines than to cover higher premiums, so many employees will see their coverage dropped.
President Obama said that he wanted to change business as usual in Washington, that his would be a transparent government, and that there would be no place for special interests.
Without payoffs this bill could not be achieved. Harry Reid crafted the Senate bill in secret from his office -- not even Dick Durbin (D-IL), the number two Democrat in the Senate, knew what was happening. Instead of having an open Conference Committee to reconcile House and Senate bills, as is tradition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are making secret deals out of public view.
President Obama promised that negotiations on the final bill would be bipartisan and open, televised on C-SPAN.
What is likely to emerge is a dense, 2000-page bill. Considering the methods Democrats used to pass the $787 stimulus bill, and the House cap-and-trade bill, Representatives and Senators will be given mere days, or hours, to debate the bill before voting. *
"He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing." --Benjamin Franklin
Some of the quotes following each article have been gathered by The Federalist Patriot at: http://FederalistPatriot.US/services.asp.