Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Continuing Obamacare Nightmare

J.C. Watts, in the article below, reviews the massive fraud, destruction of healthcare and hidden costs of Obamacare. If for no other reason than to defund this program (and eventually after 2012 to repeal it), Republicans must be returned to office in droves this fall.

The continuing health care nightmare

J.C. WATTS Aug. 22, 2010 Las Vegas Review-Journal

Repeal of ObamaCare can't come fast enough

We "have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it," proclaimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the end of last spring's congressional health care debate. Indeed, Americans are rapidly witnessing just how much an ever-expanding federal government is siphoning away states' power and saddling them with new costs.

A first glimpse was seen with communications firm AT&T's $1 billion write down against earnings thanks to the tax changes buried in the new 2,300-page health care law. The Heritage Foundation calculates that is a full third of AT&T's $3 billion earnings for the fourth quarter of 2009.

Other write downs have occurred, and a major reason involves the new tax treatment of prescription drug benefits for retirees. Companies that currently deduct part of their costs for providing these benefits to retirees will no longer be able to do so. Roland McDevitt, director of health research at Towers Watson, estimates that just this tax change alone eliminates $14 billion in U.S. corporate profits. At a time when the national jobless rate hovers at almost 10 percent, this wholesale destruction of wealth and capital is a national tragedy toward unemployment.

ObamaCare not only limits doctor-patient choice, it will -- if not reversed -- eventually force private insurance companies out of business and put everyone under a government-run system.

An Aug. 5 Wall Street Journal editorial warns, "ObamaCare mandates that insurers spend a certain percentage of premium dollars on benefits, but Democrats never got around to writing the fine print of what counts as a benefit. So, a handful of regulators are now choosing among the tens of thousands of services that doctors, hospitals and insurers offer. Few government decisions will do more to shape tomorrow's health market, or what's left of it."

What will the government's final regulations be when they are issued this fall? Will the bureaucrats decide on a narrow definition of medical expenses? The insurance industry hopes not, and is rightfully lobbying for a less rigid standard. After all, as the Journal notes, it will be easier to run a business and turn a profit if more of the costs are considered truly medical in nature.

Critics were right to ask how President Obama and proponents said they wouldn't raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year, yet their bill included $20 billion in new taxes on medical devices (along with the aforementioned new costs regarding prescription drugs). Even the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office warns that these taxes will be passed along to patients.

The Medicaid program, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum notes, could soon be eating up 36 percent of his state's budget -- and that's before ObamaCare's new costs kick in. Federal health, educational, environmental and labor mandates are chipping away at the states' ability to keep their taxes low, to expand jobs and to target money for their own priorities. So it is no wonder McCollum's counterparts in 19 other hard-pressed states joined him to file a constitutional lawsuit to get out of Obamacare. (It is also no wonder that more than 70 percent of the Missouri residents who turned out at the polls recently voted to annul the "individual mandate" within state lines -- the ObamaCare requirement that everyone buy insurance or else pay a tax.)

"The brazen nature of this administration is undermining the basic rule of law, the confidence of the public, and taking away states' authority -- creating an ever stronger federal government. My role is to make clear we're not going to put up with this," says McCollum about the lawsuit.

President Obama and the Democrats controlling Congress still refuse to admit that their budget-busting legislation, bullied through on a party-line vote, doesn't "lower costs." The president has been less than forthcoming because he never admitted that his real goal is the imposition of federal power over everything from doctors to health insurance.

The CBO confirmed the dishonesty when it concluded the other day that the new bureaucracy the health care legislation creates is so complex and indiscriminate that its size and cost is "currently unknowable." Incredible.

The defunding of this new health care bill by a new Congress next year, as well as driving a stake through its heart by its eventual rollback, cannot come fast enough.

J.C. Watts ( is chairman of J.C. Watts Companies, a business consulting group. He is former chairman of the Republican Conference of the U.S. House, where he served as an Oklahoma representative from 1995 to 2002.


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