Insurance Q&A

January 6, 2010

Broken Promises

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrroark @ 1:42 pm

Transparency: When Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) emerged from a closed-door meeting with top House Democratic leaders, the press asked her about C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb’s request that she permit cameras to televise the final health care negotiations between the House and Senate. After Pelosi first demurred, a reporter reminded Pelosi about President Barack Obama’s frequent promises to the American people throughout 2008 that he would ensure C-SPAN was allowed to televise exactly such negotiations, to which Speaker Pelosi quipped: “There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail.”

Taxes on the Middle Class: Speaker Pelosi is right: President Obama’s broken health care promises are legendary. According to reports, Speaker Pelosi wasn’t even referring to Obama’s whopper from last month that he never campaigned on the public option. No, Speaker Pelosi is apparently most upset with Obama’s support for the Senate’s tax on high cost health plans, which she believes is a violation of Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class. But really, President Obama’s current health care plan breaks so many of his previous health care promises, there is no need for Pelosi to have to name just one. Here are just some more.

Individual Mandate: There were not a lot of actual policy fights in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary, but one of the few major policy disagreements between then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was over the individual mandate. Clinton was for it and Obama was against it. On January 31, 2008, Obama made the case against mandates in a Los Angeles, CA, debate: “Now, under any mandate, you are going to have problems with people who don’t end up having health coverage. I think we can anticipate that there would also be people potentially who are not covered and are actually hurt if they have a mandate imposed on them.” Both the House and Senate bills now contain an individual mandate. According to the President’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, under the Senate plan, 19 million Americans would pay $29 billion in taxes/fines and still receive no health care in return.

You Will Not Lose Your Doctor: On June 15, 2009, President Obama promised the American people: “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” Again, the President’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirms that the current Senate health bill breaks this promise. Seventeen million Americans will be forced out of their existing health insurance. Worse, the CMS explains that continued Medicare cuts will encourage more doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients entirely, and the 18 million people added to Medicaid will also make it next to impossible for those already on Medicaid to find a doctor who will treat them.

No Tax Hikes for People Making Less than $250,000: On February 24, 2009, President Barack Obama promised the American people: “if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” Speaker Pelosi believes the Senate bill’s excise tax on insurance plans breaks this promise, and she is right. But it is not the only way that Obamacare shatters the President’s no-middle-class-tax-hike pledge. There are a slew of new taxes in the Senate bill, many of which will hit the middle class, including taxes on medical devices, tanning beds, insurance user fees, and brand name drugs (not to mention the individual mandate which is enforced by a tax or the employer mandate which kills jobs and punishes the poor).

Your Health Premiums Will Be $2,500 Lower: On October 15, 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) promised the American people: “The only thing we’re going to try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed onto you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, Americans in large-group employer-sponsored plans would, on average, see their premiums remain flat, while individuals who purchase insurance in the non-group market would see much higher premiums in 2016 under Obamacare than they would under current law. And many believe those estimates are optimistic. According to the Lewin Group, once fully implemented, health care spending per worker will increase for all employers who do not currently offer coverage — $316 per worker under the Senate bill and $800 increase per worker under the House bill.

Health Reform Reduces the Deficit: On September 10, 2009, President Barack Obama promised the American people: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.” Even the President’s most ardent supporters are now admitting the Senate bill is full of budget gimmicks to make it appear Obamacare will reduce the deficit. When the true cost of Obamacare is considered, the final tab comes to $2.5 trillion with an honest accounting of Medicare reimbursement rates netting a $765 billion deficit all by itself.

Tax Payer Funded Abortion: On September 10, 2009, President Barack Obama promised the American people: “No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” While the House bill’s Stupak amendment language fulfills this promise, the Senate’s Nelson compromise does not. If the Senate language were to become law, it would overturn the precedent set by the Hyde Amendment, the FEHBP (Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan), Military insurance through TRICARE, and the Indian Health Service. Your taxdollars most definitely would be paying for elective abortions.

No one expects a President to fulfill 100% of his promises. But when the failures to live up to your past pledges pile so high, it shouldn’t be any surprise that the American people have turned so strongly against President Obama’s health care plan.

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