By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for a vote this week on the new House health care reform bill, dubbed Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R.3962), even though lawmakers are planning to tack on an extra 800-pages to the already mammoth bill at the last minute.
According to attorney and activist Phyllis Shlafly’s Eagle Forum, the successor of the infamous H.R. 3200 is scheduled to go the House floor for a vote after only a few hours of debate this week. Debate could begin as early as Thursday, Nov. 5.
“Pelosi’s goal is for the this bill to receive as little attention and scrutiny as possible before the vote, so please be aware that once this bill goes to the floor, it will move fast,” the Eagle Forum reports.
For those needing more information about the contents of the new bill, the Forum has compiled a list which includes the following:
• Permits federal taxpayer funding of abortion services, above and beyond the status quo of current law.
• Provides for a “health care czar” called the Health Choices Commissioner, who could forcibly enroll individuals in government-run insurance and whose tasks include requiring random compliance audits on Americans’ health benefits plans.
• Allows for “community organizations” like ACORN and Planned Parenthood to assist the Health Choices Commissioner in enrolling individuals in the Health Insurance Exchange.
• Provides for 13 new and different tax increases, including an employer mandate excise tax.
• “Grandfathers” out of existence individual health insurance coverage.
• Retains the “death panels” by providing for bureaucrats working for a new comparative effectiveness institute funded by a tax on health benefits. The institute could publish the protocols needed to deny patients access to life-saving treatments on cost grounds.
• Contains NO ban on federal promotion of assisted suicide and/or health care rationing of treatments.
• Facilitates social engineering policies such as rewriting current tax law to allow domestic partners to be treated as “spouses.”
• Retains both the individual and employer mandates to purchase health insurance or else face a financial penalty, and compliance to this mandate will be enforced by the IRS.
• Imposes a 2.5% tax on an individual’s modified adjusted gross income if they fail to purchase “acceptable” health care coverage.
• Fails to hold Members of Congress to the same health care system requirements that Americans will have to live by under the public health insurance option.
• Mandates that all health insurance companies accept all applicants, that they cannot deny anyone for pre-existing conditions, and that they cannot increase the monthly premiums for less healthy, more costly consumers.
• Slashes Medicare payments to providers by more than $400 billion.
• Creates 111 new bureaucracies, including the Health Benefits Advisory Committee and the Health Choices Administration.
• Encourages people to drop their insurance in favor of the public option as it provides for underpaying medical providers, who will in turn jack up their rates for those patients who have private insurance, driving more people to the cheaper, government plan.
• Authorizes Medicare to pay doctors for providing advice to patients on end-of-life care.
• Grants the authority to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
• Considers individuals to be treated as “children” up to the age of 26 for the purpose of remaining on their parents’ insurance plan.
• Imposes an excise tax on medical devices.
• Cuts $170 billion from the Medicare Advantage program.
In addition to the many questionable aspects of this bill, Human Events is reporting today that Speaker Pelosi is planning to add an 800-page “manager’s amendment” before the vote which will substantially change the contents of the bill and render the CBO’s $1.055 trillion cost estimate irrelevant. The Speaker has promised to allow 72 hours for a review of this amendment, even though experts say such an enormous and complicated bill will take months to adequately assess.
Concerned citizens are being asked to contact their representatives by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
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