Healthcare Bill Ramblings

This chart may not be 100% accurate but I think that it is representative of the concerns that many of us have about involving the bureaucratic federal government into this area.

Congress is scheduled to vote this weekend on the 2,700 page healthcare bill. President Obama has postponed his trip abroad to stay home and twist arms.. a lot of Blue Dog Democrats on the fence.. I think that this arm-twisting is such an example of how the politics of Washington, DC has not changed much since the prez was sworn in a little over a year ago.. sad that arms need to be twisted and power-plays are ruling the day.. especially when these folks are saying that the majority of Americans want this bill.

To help us understand the content of those 2,700 pages PolitiFact yesterday published a piece called Top 10 facts to know about health care reform. Following is the list in brief:
  1. The plan is not a government takeover of health care like in Canada or Britain.
  2. Insurance companies will be regulated more heavily.
  3. Everyone will have to have health insurance or pay a fine, a requirement known as the individual mandate.
  4. Employers will not be required to buy insurance for their employees, but large employers may be subject to fines if they don't provide insurance.
  5. The vast majority of people will not see significant declines in premiums.
  6. The plan might or might not bend the curve on health spending.
  7. The government-run Medicare program will keep paying medical bills for seniors, but it will begin implementing cost controls on health care providers, mostly through penalties and incentives.
  8. Medicaid, a joint federal-state program for the poor, will cover all of the poor, instead of just a few groups the way it currently does.
  9. The government won't pay for elective abortions.
  10. No one is proposing new benefits for illegal immigrants.
If you want more detail you can read the expanded version here.  My issue in large is not the reform of healthcare.. I think insurance companies need more oversight.. but the power-play that is on display this week in DC. In my opinion something this big needs more of an overwhelming consensus rather than an eked out majority.

As far as the bill goes I am concerned about #3 above - how will this one be enforced? How much will a person who has lost their job be fined? There does seem to be caps on premiums - gotta wonder how these numbers will be calculated? And I am wondering what kind of assistance will be given to folks out of work in this area - will Medicaid cover them?

I have a lot of questions and basically think that a bill of this magnitude will be tweaked for many years.. it seems like a full employment act for government bureaucrats. What do you think? Do you think the bill will be ramrodded through this weekend. I predict it will not.


  1. One day, we may reach a point when every American has ready access to healthcare... the same way we equally enjoy access to police, fire and education today. I would have preferred if the current bill was more of a medicare-for-everyone approach, maybe one day.

    In the meanwhile, as a small business owner who pays top dollar for a family plan -- and then has to pay top dollar for a second policy for the one person in my family who actually needs healthcare -- i am glad that action is being taken.

    Your idea of a "super-majority" makes sense in theory Bob, and would have worked earlier in my lifetime. Today, our elected officials care more about beating down the other party than they do about the citizens who sent them there.

  2. 1.Not yet - baby steps.
    2.Probably a good thing.
    4.Benefits like this never should have come about to begin with. It was caused by wage and price controls set by the government years ago.
    5.Everybody will see significant increases in premiums.
    6.Most people will spend more and get less.
    7.Health care providers will stop providing health care for medicare patients.
    8.I wish the bill would have concentrated on this for now.
    9.The number of abortions will triple.
    10.Soon there will no longer be "illegal" immigrants.

    When trying to post I found it no longer takes yahoo account - so here is my name: "Doug Johnston" -
    And I will post as anonymous but as you can see, I am not anonymous.

  3. Just wanted to pipe in that here in Massachusetts we have near-universal coverage (97.4%) and #3. If you have insurance, you receive proof of that from your insurance company each year, and you file that document with your state income tax return. There are waivers for financial hardship, unemployment, etc. I've always had very good health insurance through my employers, but my understanding is that the program has worked well in our state and that public and employer support for it is fairly high. There's more info on how it works at

  4. @JRC - I'll be over as soon as it passes Scott :)

    @Ed - Not sure that the plan will offer any help for small business owners. Perhaps the caps on insurance will help. Agree with your thoughts about the two parties not working together.

    @Doug - Sorry about the Yahoo account not accepted - feel free to stay anon and just sign it DougJ and I will know who you are. I do wonder if the will be a challenge to #3 if it passes.. the SCOTUS may be deciding the fate of the bill after all? Ditto #8. Why do you think abortions will triple when the govt will not be paying for them?

    @Kristen - Good to hear that it is working well in Massachusetts! Thanks so much for your informed input.

  5. DougJ
    The reason I think abortions will increase is the bill as it is currently written does pay for them. If the bill passes on Sunday, it will be via the reconciliation bill, but only the house is voting on that, the senate will have to approve it "later". In the mean time Obama will sign the bill as is.
    So the bottom line is, this "reconcilation" thing is just a sneaky way to remove accountability from those who did not have the stomache to vote on the Senate bill.
    Will reconcilation really happen? When and to what degree? Maybe they will take out funding abortion, maybe not. Probably not.

  6. ...something tells me America better be prepared for the bill passing and our worst nightmare yet to unfold in America's History. I thiink the bill should be scrapped and written all over again....this time with the PEOPLE including the unborn in mind.

  7. Here’s how our representatives voted on health care reform: Remember in November!

  8. A victory for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is refreshing to see that American values are alive and well. As an American, a christian and the parent of a child with "pre-existing conditions" it is exciting to see that we are moving forward as a country.

  9. Actually we give up liberty for this bill. Specifically, allowing the government to force us to buy something, whether we want it or not is a loss of liberty. So, now the saying goes, "life, health care and the pursuit of happiness". On the other hand we do have some liberty remaining, so probably it would be better as, "life, liberty--, and the pursuit of happiness". Works for C++ or Java.

    But I am glad that the president signed an executive order regarding abortion, to override the part that would have provided free abortions.


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