Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Hydra of the Health Care Bill

Reading John Lewis's analysis of the health snare bill (see -- this was discussed for a half-hour on Rush Limbaugh last week and distributed at Tea Parties), it occurred to me to search for the word "review". What I came up with was

Section 223;
(f) Limitations on Review- There shall be no administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology established under this section or under section 224.

Section 1123:
‘(C) LIMITATION ON REVIEW- There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, 1878, or otherwise, respecting--

Section 1151:
‘‘(6) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of— . . .

Section 1156:
‘(H) LIMITATION ON REVIEW- There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of the exception process under this paragraph, including the establishment of such process, and any determination made under such process.

Section 1301:
‘(4) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW- There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of--

Section 1303
‘(4) LIMITATION ON REVIEW- There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise, respecting--

Section 1128G:
Actions taken and determinations made under this subsection shall not be subject to review by a judicial tribunal.

Section 1741:
Such a determination shall not be subject to judicial review;
Has it not occurred to anyone that the Left, which "crafted" this bill, show more concern for providing terrorists access to the courts than it does doctors and ordinary Americans?

You can try other potentially ominous phrases that strike you as you read. For instance, "shall not be" turns up what I'd call the "Hydra" clause:
If any provision of this Act, or any application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of the provisions of this Act and the application of the provision to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected.
Sounds like they know where it's going and if any part gets lopped off, they want to make sure all the other snakes will continue devouring you.

"Shall not be" search turns up a LOT of clauses that basically appear (the legalese is very dense) to prohibit employers from reducing salaries or taking any credit or deduction whatsoever for health insurance provided employees. For instance, Section 313 sent me back to section 312 which says,
(4) SALARY REDUCTIONS NOT TREATED AS EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS- For purposes of this section, any contribution on behalf of an employee with respect to which there is a corresponding reduction in the compensation of the employee shall not be treated as an amount paid by the employer.
Translation: "contributions" (amounts that employers *must * pay in this Orwellian world) can't be offset by cost reductions in lower salaries. To me, this appears to enact wage controls that set a "floor" on wages equal to their present level. For everyone in every business in America. This is a formula for mass layoffs and bankruptcies -- businesses that have profit margins of a few percent (if that) which are now forced to absorb 8% increase in wage costs in the form of "contributions" to the "Health Exchange" will have no other choice but to cut people or fold.

The surcharge on high income individuals (section 59C) is nothing short of draconian. Any part of your *gross* income over $1M (pre-deduction!) is subject to an additional tax of 5.4%. If you translate that into post-deduction terms, that could amount to a tax increase of many tens of percent. Imagine you are a small business with many legitimate costs to deduct. To add insult to injury, this section says
‘(4) NOT TREATED AS TAX IMPOSED BY THIS CHAPTER FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES- The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for purposes of section 55.’.
A tax is not a tax and whatever you pay gets you no credit. Interestingly, I couldn't find a section 55 anywhere. I wonder how many more missing sections are referred to.

While searching I also ran across:
(B) FUNDING- There are hereby appropriated to the [Health Care Exchange] Trust Fund, out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, an amount requested by the Secretary as necessary to carry out this section, except that the total of all such amounts requested shall not exceed $10,000,000,000.
A cool 10 billion dollars just thrown in there as part of a slush fund.

Another thing that comes out throughout the bill is that the bureaucrats administering it are charged to review the effectiveness and cost of every single medical procedure, and are given carte blanche authority to determine when these procedures can be used and how much can be charged for them -- and there is no review allowed of their decisions.

This bill is literally overwhelming to read and sometimes takes quite a bit of time to translate the legalese to figure out what even a simple sentence is saying, and especially what the implications are. This much I have to say: this bill is so overwhelming in its scope and consequences, and so evil in its intent and means that if it passes in even dilute form, this country may not get another chance.


No "Public" Option is No Option

White House appears ready to drop 'public option'

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run health insurance as part of his ambitious health care proposal.

This article highlights the newest danger in the health care nationalization battle that was to be expected. Obama is going to appear to "compromise" and give up the "nationalization" part, and unless people speak up, many of the feckless Republicans will doubtless join him, while betraying the rest of us.

"Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Obama's team is making a political calculation and embracing the co-op alternative as "a step away from the government takeover of the health care system" that the GOP has pummeled. "I don't know if it will do everything people want, but we ought to look at it. I think it's a far cry from the original proposals," he said. "

No, we shouldn't even look at it, except to expose what's in it. Any new bill that comes out is going to have all the government oversight and other 1984-ish provisions of the old bill, with the foundations for a later "public option" -- a dead certainty. Exhibit A:

As proposed by Conrad, the co-ops would receive federal startup money, but then would operate independently of the government. They would have to maintain the same financial reserves that private companies are required to keep to handle unexpectedly high claims.

Obama's ultimate goal is socialism in America in every sphere of life, and this health care "overhaul" bill is only a means to that end. He won't give up on it. (Many of the provisions in the bill establish a legal basis and precedent for government involvement and takeover of other industries.)

I think the primary goal we should support right now is the total abandonment of any health care bill, but I also think now the time is ripe to help achieve that end by boldly putting forth the free market alternative (as John Mackey almost did): get the government out of health care entirely. (There's a protest sign for you.) This is the time when people need to hear that the alternative is not one form of government involvement or another, but no government involvement at all, whether in regulation or in tax policy. People need to realize that nothing in that health care bill should be salvaged.

(FYI, if you read Toohey's speech to Keating in The Fountainhead, he makes the point that a key method of the Left is to provide false alternatives -- I don't know if Saul Alinsky said it, but Obama certainly subscribes to it:

"Watch the pincer movement. If you're sick of one version, we push you into the other. We get you coming and going. We've closed the doors. We've fixed the coin. Heads--collectivism, and tails--collectivism. Fight the doctrine which slaughters the individual with a doctrine which slaughters the individual. Give up your soul to a council--or give it up to a leader. But give it up, give it up, give it up. My technique, Peter. Offer poison as food and poison as antidote.

I made this point in my "Good Night, America" piece which the guys at Wall Street Journal seemed to be considering for a week or so. (Scroll down a few posts.)