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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meet the New D.M.V-Department of Medical Value

In what is clearly becoming a trend in Washington these days, the House Demigods....er, Democrats are set to ram-rod through sweeping healthcare reform. With falling Presidential approval ratings, an astronomical and rising federal deficit, climbing unemployment and growing opposition to government run healthcare , now is the optimum time to go for higher taxes, placing more burden on working people and small business. Good plan.

With the double straw man of a failing healthcare system and falsities of better care for everyone under the emerging plan, it is easy to fool those who want to believe. Utopian thinking is great in fables and books for children, but they have no place in real life. The fact is most Americans get excellent care in this country even when you don't have insurance or are an illegal immigrant. Americans enjoy higher survival rates, better and quicker access to care and more choice in their treatment, unlike most of our socialized counterparts. Government driven healthcare will eventually eliminate all competition, leaving us with only DMV-like treatment.

More false arguments? The healthcare system is not the reason our economy is tanking. It is complete bunk to pretend that getting the government involved will make treatments cheaper or better and care more efficient. It has been shown in report after report, not only have costs gone up under the Medicare/Medicaid programs, but fraud and waste are at an all time high in both programs. To somehow elude to costs going down is simply a falsehood that can't stand up to any real scrutiny. How about the spending now to reduce cost later? Take a look a this chart from Philip Klein at The American Spectator-it outlines how not only are the CBO's projected cost calculations misleading to the naked eye, but are flat out wrong about where they go in the last five years. A government option, costing the American tax payer $230 billion in 2019, will be the cause of a ruined economy, driving us over the brink. There is no possible way our current economy-or even one from a fairy tale-can support not only this unmitigated growth, but that of Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and Social Security. Just how much money does this Administration think Small Business and "the rich" have? Just how long do they think Small Business and "the rich" will put up with 35% to 50% to eventually 80% tax rates? Clearly they do not see the fallacy in their thinking-the higher they raise taxes, the more rules and regulations are shoved in the faces of these folks, the less business they will do; the less jobs they will provide and in turn, the less revenue (yes income to TAX) there will be. This plan is unsustainable. There is no preventative care reward and resultant savings or realistic budget cuts that are going to make this a practical solution. What it will happen in the end is a poor, over-burdened system which rations healthcare and asks old people to just "take the pain pill" and die.

Instead of this approach, we need something that allows us to continue to have the most innovative system in the world. We are leaders in pharmaceutical research and medical technology. Innovation would all but cease under this type of plan. Who in their right mind would invest and create in a losing system like this?

Better and more feasible ideas exist; we must look for them. With a few very important changes such as bridging the gap for the under-insured, creating a better system for those with pre-existing conditions and providing a more affordable way to continue coverage for the unemployed, we would be well on the way to achieving the goal of an extraordinary system. Addressing only the real short-falls, while preserving what does work right, is less expensive and more rewarding. Creating more entitlements, removing competition, punishing innovation and installing a huge government bureaucracy to be the final determiner of medical decisions is the wrong way for America.

UPDATE 1: Well, this is fun information.....see free healthcare is decidedly NOT free. Some initial figures and taxes from the House proposal:

*a tax on individuals failing to sign up for health care equal to the lesser of 2.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI) or the average individual premium amount
*a tax on employers for not providing a health care plan equal to 8% of payroll. This becomes 0, 4, or 6 percent of payroll as payday totals dip below $400,000 annually
*a new and undetermined excise tax on health insurance plans
*codification of the "economic substance doctrine," whereby businesses would not be able to avoid engaging in legal tax avoidance techniques without demonstrating a bona fide business purpose
*delay of worldwide interest allocation, a baby step toward the full double-taxation of corporate profits earned overseas
*the big one--a new "surtax" on the AGI of small businesses and other high income earners. Click on over to ATR to get the rest of the details.

UPDATE 2: Read the CBO Preliminary statement HERE. (PDF) As expected, illegal immigrants (one of the leading drags on the healthcare system now) remain uninsured (and pay NO penalty, as Americans will) and small business bears the brunt of the actual out of pocket expense. How nice.

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