Critical Condition

‘We aren’t going to give low-income Americans more choices or options for better health coverage

John McCain on Baucus “budgetary gimmickry”

“Americans must understand the smoke and mirrors used to make the Democrat proposal appear to improve the budget over the next ten years. 

“The following taxes start next year:  if you have insurance, $201 billion is raised in excise taxes on health plans.  If you don’t buy a plan or buy one that the government doesn’t think is good enough, the concept proposal raises $4 billion in fines on the uninsured.  If you are an employer who today can’t afford to provide health insurance to your employees, the concept proposal raises $23 billion in employer penalties and contributions.  If you use medical devices like hearing aids or artificial hearts, the concept proposal raises taxes by $38 billion on medical device manufacturers.  If you take prescription drugs the concept proposal raises $22 billion in new taxes on medicines. 

“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that Americans will face higher health insurance premiums while waiting four years for the much hailed reform proposals to begin.   This budgetary gimmickry is how the President and the Senate Democrats claim the proposal is under $1 trillion and slightly reduces the deficit over ten years.  This is a joke: ten years of taxes but only five and a half years of implementation.  To get the true ten year cost of implementation, you must look at the ten years beginning 2013.  Using the CBO numbers, we are told that the proposal spends $1.8 trillion. 

“You might be justified in wondering what Americans get for $1.8 trillion.  The answer is more government with 13 million more people placed into the failed Medicaid program.   Medicaid is a program that is busting federal budget and state budgets all over America.  Medicaid is a program that fails in patients having access to physicians: 40 percent of doctors will not see Medicaid patients.  Medicaid is a program that fails in health outcomes for low-income Americans.  We aren’t going to give low-income Americans more choices or options for better health coverage – we are just giving them status quo. 

“It’s bad enough that the proposal massively increases government regulation of health care and insurance, massively expands the government-sponsored Medicaid program, massively cuts Medicare and drives up insurance premiums in the process.  But, the proposal completely ignores what Americans want – less government, less taxes, more freedom and more choices.  Instead, the bill… no, excuse me.  The concept paper in the Senate Finance Committee – it’s not even a bill – slams Americans with an entitlement program that will grow faster, according to the CBO, than the economy while at the same time dramatically increasing the tax burden on all Americans.” 

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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