Sun, July 21

Letter: Is Congress' health-care plan really what we want to do?


No wonder the liberals want to rein in talk radio. Without them to inform, and warn, the public of the contents of the health care legislation being drafted in Congress, there is little doubt that many of our representatives who are hesitant to sign on to it wouldn't be feeling pressure from their constituents to vote it down. Many of them have no idea what is in the legislation and only learn of it from those constituents. Mr. Obama, himself, asked, in a live interview, if it were true that people would be forced onto public insurance plans if the House version were passed, claimed to be unfamiliar with that portion of the legislation. That seems unlikely, since his handlers would obviously expect such a question.

Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, took the time to read both the House and Senate bills. What she found should be made common knowledge to every American. Consider the following:

Yes, you will be forced into a "qualified plan," one that a new government bureaucracy considers "in your best interest." There will be several so you feel you have a choice.

If you are currently covered by your employer they will have a "5 year grace period" to switch you to a "qualified plan." If you buy your own insurance you'll have less time. Regardless of whether you and your employer are willing to foot your own bill you will be limited to a managed-care plan (Senate bill, p.57-58).

As soon as any change occurs in your policy, such as co-pays or deductibles, you have to move into a qualified plan (House bill, p.167-168).

The Congressional Budget Office cost estimate of $1.04 trillion to $1.6 trillion, if true to form for all government boondoggles will be woefully short. Half the cost is supposed to come from "the rich" - tax increases on those making over $280,000, those taxes to double in 2012 (House bill. p.199). The rest of the cost is to be paid for by cutting seniors benefits under Medicare.

The Senate bill allocates huge sums to "community transformation grants," home visits for expectant families, services for migrant workers (Dems just struck down, Friday, a Republican amendment preventing illegal aliens from receiving government-backed care) and creates a multitude of government jobs in new councils, programs and advisory boards. And, of course, they slipped in a clause exempting Congress from all this.

The House bill is more than 1,000 pages. Rest assured that few members will have read it. The idea of insuring every American (and illegal) is a noble one. But at what cost? And who are these estimated 47 million uninsured?

The Center for Immigration Statistics says up to 10.1 million are illegals (the figure would be higher if you accept Vincente Fox's estimate of 22-23 million illegals in the U.S.). George Will recently found that another 10 million are eligible for V.A. benefits, SSI, SCHIP or other government programs but have not registered. And another 9 million have incomes of $75,000 or more but choose not to buy insurance for their own reasons.

If we take those people out of the equation, it would surely be cheaper to simply buy insurance for the remainder.

The truth is that a recent ABC/Washington Post poll found that 83 percent of Americans are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their health care. The Concord Five Continent Study found that, if you are diagnosed with cancer, you have a better chance of surviving it in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. And, no less than the World Health Organization "ranked the United States No. 1 out of 191 countries for being responsive to patient needs, including providing timely treatments and a choice of doctors."

There are alternatives that are not being allowed to be discussed. Think about it, folks. Do we really want to do this?

Jim Barber

Camp Verde