Monday, August 17, 2009

Health care bill

The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has released a document about the health care reform bill, outlining developments of interest to evangelicals. FULL DOCUMENT HERE and HERE. Below are excerpts.

"The House health care bill, H.R. 3200, is 1018 pages in length. The magnitude of the bill along with the numerous citations to other legislation makes it nearly impossible to figure out what everything in the bill actually means. The information in this document is a compilation of what we have determined to be the most dangerous language in the bill and our analysis of what that language could potentially mean. The simple fact is that if passed, no one can say for certain how badly this will all play out in practice. However, what we can say with absolute certainty is that this legislation will lead to diminished health care for most Americans, less choice, higher taxes, and unprecedented government intrusion into every level and aspect of society, from business, to education, to marriage, to individual liberty.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a last minute amendment offered by Rep. Lois Capps that explicitly adds abortion coverage to the bill. Though the amendment does not add abortion as an essential benefit, it does allow insurers to include abortion as a benefit and also allows federal money to be used for the abortions, as long as the money doesn’t flow through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS). Much of the money for the health care plan will not flow through DHS, so federal money will be used to pay for abortion under H.R. 3200.
The House Health Care Bill would create a program for senior citizens that likely would include education about end-of-life decisions and impacts on families. This program could essentially encourage the premature death of the elderly. “Advance Care Planning Consultation” could be a slippery slope that potentially leads to euthanasia.
The simple truth is that most Americans will not have the same access to the levels of quality care they currently receive under their private plans. The option would be available through the government created insurance exchanges and will provide the essential benefits package. Bureaucrats in Washington will control the kind of health care that millions of Americans will receive, rather than the people themselves.
The current health care bill would call for rationing of medical services. Even if implementation of a public health insurance option does not occur, rationing will be likely under the health care bill. Private insurers will face mandates to provide the essential benefits package and to cut costs. This will create a situation where rationing is inevitable. The government would decide who should live or die. The government will determine what benefits are essential and who can access them. This will lead to rationing and a total removal of choice from the American consumers and their doctors.
American businesses will be required to pay more for health care. Under the bill the government mandates coverage. Businesses can no longer choose to omit health care coverage from their benefits packages. The government will require them to provide health care in one of two ways.
  • The first option is to enroll their workers in the public health insurance option plan and pay the taxes as listed below.
  • The second option, if American companies prefer their current health insurance over the public health insurance option, is to continue with their private insurance. However, they may still have to pay the taxes in order to keep it.
  • The private plans will be obligated to meet the minimum essential benefits package. Any plan that does not will be assessed the taxes. The tax rates max out at 8% for companies making over $400,000.
  • It will be so financially difficult to keep your private health care plans that many companies will have no choice but to opt for the government option plan.
Americans can keep their health care plan if they want to. However, individuals on a plan that the government does not deem “acceptable,” will have to pay an additional 2.5% in taxes per year. The government will likely consider most private health insurance plans to be unacceptable, making it much harder for Americans to keep their current health care plans.
The government will penalize hospitals for not offering “linguistically appropriate communication” to patients. Therefore, hospitals will have to hire people that can speak languages the government deems “appropriate” or pay a fine or tax. This will drive up hospital costs which will cause the government to raise taxes in order to compensate.
  • The government will create an advisory committee chaired by the Surgeon General that decides(recommends) what treatments and benefits you can receive. The Secretary of Health and Human Services then has the option of adopting or refusing the recommendations.
  • The Government will establish a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research that will implement Evidence Based Medicine.
  • The Government will establish school based health clinics that will treat and “educate” your children.
  • The Bill empowers government to take over medical education through, building, running, developing, or licensing Public Health Training Centers.
  • The government will be intrusively auditing the books of all employers who dare to self-insure.
  • HR 3200 will allow the government to access individual financial records related to health care coverage and will create a national health care ID card.
  • The House bill permits government direct access to your bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
  • For Doctors in Residency – the government will now be involved in educating doctors or indoctrinating them into their government controlled health care mindset. A bureaucrat will determine where you can do your residency and what you will be specializing in during that residency.
  • The Government will develop “Healthy People & National Public Health Performance Standards.” What does this mean exactly? Will the government be telling us how much and what to eat and when and how to exercise? What does this do to freedom and personal choice?
  • The House bill gives unfettered access for the government to come into your home and inspect it to determine if it is a suitable environment for children and ascertain if you are a fit parent. They do this by establishing the Home Visitation Program for families with young kids & families expecting kids. If this program becomes non-voluntary, it would certainly sound like a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.