Op Ed: The Fleecing Of Freedoms: Speaker Pelosi Unveils Government-Run Healthcare (…Again)


The Fleecing Of Freedoms: Speaker Pelosi Unveils Government-Run Healthcare (…Again)

On October 29, 2009, during a press conference held on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic Colleagues unveiled the product of their latest attempt to force through a government takeover of healthcare. As Members of Congress and the American people begin to flip the cover of Speaker Pelosi's new 1,990 page bill, it is quite clear that the Speaker and her Democratic Colleagues have spared no expense in advancing a liberal agenda for healthcare reform which will undoubtedly lead to more lost jobs, higher taxes, fewer choices, and the elimination of the freedoms and liberties which are essential for patients and their providers. As if this is not enough, Speaker Pelosi has also indicated that a Manager's Amendment, likely to exceed the length of the original House bill, will be released to Republicans and the American people early next week. At that time, the daunting task of finding the changes made by the Manager's Amendment will be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, with a 72-hour countdown timer ticking.

Below I have provided the facts behind the latest iteration of Speaker Pelosi's takeover of the American healthcare system.

Washington-Controlled Care Strips Patient-Doctor Autonomy

At first glance, the word "shall" appears 3,425 times -- nearly two per page -- which can be read only one way: the federal government dictating what the American people can and cannot do with regard to their own healthcare. New taxes on middle class families and small businesses, massive cuts to Medicare at the detriment of our seniors, higher health insurance premiums for all, and new mandates which will kill jobs is a recipe for destruction of the American healthcare system and the first step forward toward socialized medicine which the American people have already vehemently rejected time and again.

Higher Taxes for the Middle-Class and Small Businesses

Despite President Obama's promise not to sign a bill which will add to our already-unsustainable federal deficit, this legislative package will add another $200 billion to our deficit through budgetary gimmicks purported to fix a flawed formula which is used to pay physicians providing care to Medicare patients. While problems with the formula, commonly known as ‘Sustainable Growth Rate', are real, tactics being used by this Administration are nothing more than a ‘golden fiddle' (click to view my previous comments) to buy the support of organized medicine for a fundamentally-flawed bill. Separating this provision and moving a ‘doc fix' outside of the context of the healthcare reform package -- exactly as the Democratic Leadership intends to do -- is clearly an attempt to affix a $900 billion price tag to a package well in excess of $1 trillion. President Obama committed during his address to Congress last September not to sign a bill which adds to the deficit, or one which costs in excess of one trillion dollars.

Loopholes for Illegal Aliens to Benefit

Further, I have been a strong advocate for requiring identity and citizenship verification for anyone seeking taxpayer funded benefits. While language pertaining to eligibility has been modified since H.R. 3200, verification requirements are still insufficient to ensure illegal aliens do not benefit from taxpayer-funded healthcare benefits. Language contained within H.R. 3962 simply requires an individual to match a name and a corresponding Social Security Number, thus exacerbating identity theft and fraud which is already a known issue. By these factors alone, promises made to the American people will undoubtedly be broken should this legislation become law. To that end, I am offering an amendment with my Colleagues Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Dean Heller (R-NV) which will ensure proper verification of all individuals seeking taxpayer-funded healthcare benefits.

Massive Cuts to Medicare Destroy Seniors' Choices

As a mechanism to pay for this massive takeover, Democrats have proven they are willing to take away the choices our seniors currently have when selecting a Medicare plan. Medicare Advantage, the only mechanism through which senior citizens are given choice over the direction of their healthcare coverage in the Medicare program, will be devastated through billions of dollars in cuts to this option. Nearly one-quarter of current Medicare beneficiaries who have a Medicare Advantage plan will be forced to change, despite promises that "if you like what you have, you can keep it."

As I begin the process of reading the bill, I invite all of my constituents to join me in reviewing this unprecedented legislation and the Manager's Amendment expected to be released next week. I hope you will take a look for yourself, consider how you and your family will be affected by Washington's takeover of the American healthcare industry, and encourage you to contact me to share your perspective on healthcare reform currently pending before Congress. You may reach me via e-mail here, or contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5211. I look forward to hearing from you.

Links to Speaker Pelosi's Healthcare Bills
H.R. 3962 - Affordable Health Care for America Act as Introduced
H.R. 3961 - Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009