Friday, October 30, 2009

ObamaCare: What's Really In Those 1,990 Pages (And Yes, Abortion Is Still In There)

* "The House Democrats' health care overhaul bill released Thursday creates a government-run insurance program, provides insurance coverage to 96 percent of all Americans and sets the stage for major battles over politically risky cuts to Medicare, new taxes, high spending and the hot-button issues of abortion and immigration." (Washington Times)

* "The new House health care bill (H.R. 3962) unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday clocks in at 1,990 pages and about 400,000 words. As written, the bill purports to cost only $1.05 trillion over the first ten years and is paid for by over $700 billion in tax increases and cuts to Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug payments. But as troubling as those numbers are, the scariest thing about the bill is the solid foundation it lays for a complete government take over of the health care sector of our economy." (Conn Carroll, "The Pelosi Blueprint for Government-Run Health Care," The Foundry, NRO)

* "Just as Americans United for Life had expected, the new House health care bill unveiled this morning includes the Capps Amendment language added during the Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up. This bill will explicitly allow federal funding of abortion through the public option and permits federal subsidies to go to private insurance plans that cover abortion. The bill also ensures that at least one health insurance plan must cover abortion in every area of the country." (Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest)

* "The word 'report' appears 364 times and 'tax' is used 214 times -- and while some of those refer to bookkeeping such as tax years, the bill does raise several key levies, such as a 'surcharge' of 5.4 percent on individual taxpayers who earn $500,000 or couples with incomes of $1 million.

Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, said the bill uses the word 'shall' 3,425 times, which he said was an indication that a lot of new mandates are being imposed. Among them is a requirement that chain restaurants print directly on their menus how many calories each item contains.

The bill also takes care of some long-languishing measures, such as reauthorizing the Indian Health Service, which has been kicking around for the past decade and was most recently held up by a fight over abortion." (Washington Times)

* "The Medicare end-of-life planning provision that 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said was tantamount to "death panels" for seniors is staying in the latest Democratic health care bill unveiled Thursday. The provision allows Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling to help beneficiaries deal with the complex and painful decisions families face when a loved one is approaching death.

For years, federal laws and policies have encouraged Americans to think ahead about end-of-life decisions, and make their wishes known in advance through living wills and similar legal documents. But when House Democrats proposed this summer to pay doctors for end-of-life counseling, it touched off a wave of suspicion and anger. Prominent Republicans singled it out as a glaring example of government overreach.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, at the time a lead negotiator on health care legislation, told constituents at a town hall meeting they had good reason to question the proposal. 'I don't have any problem with things like living wills, but they ought to be done within the family," he said. "We should not have a government program that determines you're going to pull the plug on grandma.'" (Fox News)

* "The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday a U.S. House health-care system re-write would extend health insurance to 96% of the nonelderly U.S. population by 2019, and spend $1.055 trillion to do so...The costs of the bill are fully offset by cuts to existing spending programs-- including the Medicare Advantage and other programs--saving $426 billion through 2019, and by tax increases raising $572 billion over that time, CBO said. In fact, the combined impact of provisions in the bill would be a net deficit reduction of $104 billion in the next decade, according to CBO." (Martin Vaughan, Dow Jones Newswire)

* "Whole industries and banks are biting the dust; unemployment lingers close to double-digits; government deficits rise like a mountain of nuclear waste; the communist Chinese are buying up our debt in anticipation of God knows what kind of future demands; and more soldiers die needlessly while the President dithers with his golf game. Purely mad social engineers -- Obama, Pelosi, & Reid -- are on a determined march toward nationalizing one sixth of the entire American economy. Their scheme will have far-reaching effects on one hundred percent of the men, women and children in this country. The whole idea is patently ridiculous, especially in light of the host of other impending disasters.

But the fact that these Democrat power-mongers are attempting to foist upon us a system already tried-and-failed so many times in so many places pushes the current national healthcare debate into the realm of pure lunacy.

As one of Einstein's most oft-quoted bits of genius reminds us, doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results, is insanity." (Kyle-Anne Shiver, "Democrats' Healthcare Scheme Is Pure Insanity," American Thinker)

* "It runs more pages than War and Peace, has nearly five times as many words as the Torah, and its tables of contents alone run far longer than this story.

The House health care bill unveiled Thursday clocks in at 1,990 pages and about 400,000 words. With an estimated 10-year cost of $894 billion, that comes out to about $2.24 million per word. .

And for some members, that may not be enough...

And for those who cry 'read the bill,' beware. There are plenty of paragraphs like this one:

'(a) Outpatient Hospitals – (1) In General – Section 1833(t)(3)(C)(iv) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395(t)(3)(C)(iv)) is amended – (A) in the first sentence – (i) by inserting “(which is subject to the productivity adjustment described in subclause (II) of such section)” after “1886(b)(3)(B)(iii); and (ii) by inserting “(but not below 0)” after “reduced”; and (B) in the second sentence, by inserting “and which is subject, beginning with 2010 to the productivity adjustment described in section 1886(b)(3)(B)(iii)(II)'.

The section deals with 'incorporating productivity improvements into market basket updates that do not already incorporate such improvements,' if that helps." (Jonathan Allen, Politico)

* "The first red flag about the new bill is simply the size of it, at 1,990 pages in all. That's much larger than any of the previous House bills. 'The era of the 1,000 page bill is over,' said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sarcastically on the Senate floor.

I'm not going to say I read every page, but I flipped through every one of them. It is mind numbing for sure. But I did come up with a few interesting thoughts along the way.

One trouble spot is still likely to be abortion. The language in the bill is exactly the same language that was narrowly approved in the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which over three dozen Democrats say is unacceptable." (Jamie Dupree, KRMG)