Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I smell a rat

After weeks of fighting to include a “public option” in the health care bill the Obama administration suddenly backs off, saying the public option “is not the heart of the health care bill”. This may be good news, but there is still much to dislike in the health care bill:

  • Funding the health care system in part by taking $500 billion from Medicare over 10 years. Many doctors already refuse to take new Medicare patients, as I found out when I moved from Michigan to Texas last year. Currently Medicare pays 80% of the amount Medicare has established for a procedure (not 80% of the price the doctor quotes). If this reimbursement goes down to 60% or lower, fewer doctors will be willing to take Medicare patients. Seniors beware if you are contemplating a move.
  • Not only does the bill cover the 48 million Americans who allegedly lack health insurance, it extends to illegal aliens – upwards of 20 million people. With the bill’s stringent limits on how much doctors can be paid for their services, the number of doctors in the U. S. is likely to decline, leading to rationing of health care.
  • The so-called “Insurance coops” proposed by the health care bill can serve the same purpose as the public option: Giving the government control over coverage and treatment, eventually squeezing private insurers out of the health insurance business.
  • The public option is still in the House version of the bill and could be reinserted in conference.
At the end of the day the health care bill is not about health care at all. It’s about the Federal government taking control of health care decisions that ought to be made by private individuals and their doctors

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