Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pelosi Unveils Mis-Named "Affordable Health Care for America Act"

Perhaps that name should just be the LOL of the Day.

House health-care reform bill to include public option

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will unveil a health-care reform bill on Thursday that includes a government insurance option and a historic expansion of Medicaid, although sticking points in the legislation involving abortion and immigration remain unresolved.

Pelosi's bill backs off using Medicare reimbursement rates, which would have been been a deal-breaker, but there's plenty here to still kill it.
Ending the Medicare reimbursement rates will certainly gain Pelosi some votes, but that sounds fishy. The bottom-line number didn’t change from last week to this. How did the House bill calculate the costs of negotiated rates as opposed to the Medicare rates they used in their earlier calculations? How did that not increase the overall cost of the bill?

The answer, as Ed Morrissey goes on to explain, is that Pelosi passes the costs on to states to do her dirty work.
Well, it turns out that Pelosi & Co have decided to shift more of those costs onto the state. Earlier versions had people at 133% of the poverty line eligible for Medicaid, the costs of which states largely have to bear. The new version hikes that to 150% of poverty line, forcing more people onto state rolls rather than federal. That allows Pelosi to claim some cost savings, but the public burden felt by taxpayers will increase, thanks to unfunded mandates on the states.

The bill is chockful of the usual lies and statistics, trying to hide the true costs of this monstrosity by not offering benefits for the first five years, then using that savings to cover the deficit this plan will run.

That doesn't bother Amanda Marcotte at all, who is clapping her hands like someone actually asked her on a date.
In general, the bill is exactly what most of us thought it would be. The big thing is the Health Insurance Exchange that would allow people who aren’t covered for whatever reason to buy insurance through the exchange, which would increase competition and drive down prices. There’s also a mandate, which is uncomfortable but should help drive down costs.

Amanda really should get paid for using the Dem talking points this blatantly. I mean, "increase competition and drive down prices" sounds really nice, but I've yet to see a liberal spell out how, exactly, prices are going to go down (as opposed to going up) when insurers are required to cover every person, regardless of when that person gets insurance. But Amanda just keeps swallowing the Kool-Aid.
One big thing the bill does that will help a lot of people out is it not only bans denials based on pre-existing conditions, but it also bans premium increases. This was a major concern of mine, because simply mandating that insurance companies cover everyone doesn’t really help that much, if they just jack the rates up on the people with pre-existing conditions. The elimination on caps will also help people with catastrophic illnesses.

Emphasis mine.

How are insurance companies supposed to stay in business if premiums can't be raised? Even someone in the comments asked this question, but I doubt thumb-sucking Amanda wants to think that far ahead. She's just clapping her hands that everybody gets free ice cream.
What makes reading this summary of the bill really exciting is that not only did the House make sure to get the minimum basic decency standards covered, but they threw in a bunch of goodies on top of the necessities:
# Guarantees that every child in America will have health care coverage that includes dental, hearing and vision benefits.
# Provides better preventive and wellness care. Every health care plan offered through the exchange and by employers after a grace period will cover preventive care at no cost to the patient.
# Increases the health care workforce to ensure that more doctors and nurses are available to provide quality care as more Americans get coverage.

I hate being such a party pooper (well, no, I really don't, but I feel obligated to pretend I do), but these "goodies" bring up a lot of unanswered questions--at least Amanda doesn't answer them.
1. Doesn't providing "dental, hearing and vision benefits" increase the costs of health care?

2. Who pays for the preventive and wellness care if it is "at no cost to the patient?" Are doctors and hospitals and health care providers just going to work for free?

3. How does this bill "increase the health care workforce"? Are we just going to start calling nurse's aides nurses or something? Or is there going to be some required public service for everyone to work in the hospital now?

Of course, I'm being slightly facetious about the public service part, but I fail to see what in the billwill " ensure that more doctors and nurses are available to provide quality care," given that 45% of doctors would consider quitting if Obamacare passes.

I know it's a downer to keep asking how we're supposed to pay for all this, in the land of sunshine and lollipops, but somebody has to be the adult here. The truth is, insurance premiums will skyrocket under any of the proposed bills, people will have to pay more in taxes and there will be new taxes on things (such as wheelchairs) that have never been taxed before. All this to still not insure millions of Americans. But don't tell Amanda that. She'll just stick her fingers in her ears and sing "LALALALALALA!"

You'd think, since Pelosi is so proud of the bill, that she'd want to exhibit some of that transparency Democrats promised during last year's election. Not so.
House Democrats blocked the public from attending the unveiling ceremony of their health-care bill Thursday morning, allowing only pre-approved visitors whose names appeared on lists to enter the event at the West side of the Capitol.

The audience at the crowded press conference included Hill staffers, union workers, health care providers and students, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who thanked them for attending.

Mrs. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders announced the chamber's long-awaited version of a health care overhaul, which would expand insurance coverage to 36 million uninsured Americans, costing less than $900 billion over 10 years.

The West side of the Capitol - the area where President Barack Obama was inaugurated - is traditionally open to the public. But the entrances were blocked off Thursday morning by metal fences, with Capitol police officers standing next to staff members holding clipboards with lists of approved attendees.

This administration looks more and more like Animal Farm.

UPDATE: Here is a comprehensive list of the taxes in Pelosicare.