Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Health Care “Reform” Becoming Health Care “Conform”

When stumping for his federal health care legislative package, President Obama repeated over and over at every rally and speech to Congress that “if you like your existing health coverage, you can keep it” under the bill which he signed into law this spring. As the Department of Health and Human Services begins writing the rules and regulations that will carry the provisions of the new law into effect, it is becoming clear that Obama’s promise was just a technicality on the road to limiting everyone’s health coverage to what the federal government wants you to have.

The proposed regulations will provide a penalty of $3,000 per year per employee against any employer whose health plan costs any of its employees more than 9.5% of their earnings. Of course, this penalty will eventually push all employers into offering only the health coverage the federal government wants you to have. Furthermore, there is no guarantee whatsoever that federal bureaucrats won’t reduce the 9.5% figure even lower in the future, in the name of “affordability” of health insurance. Because most Americans get health coverage through their employment, this provision of the new law puts the federal bureaucracy at HHS firmly in charge of what form of health insurance will be available to the vast majority of the population.

Yes, you can keep your current health plan, but only for a little while. Eventually, fewer and fewer employers will be offering health coverage costing more than 9.5% of the pay of the lowest employee on the totem pole, and rapidly declining demand for more comprehensive health coverage will drive insurers which might offer better coverage out of the market. Before long, we will all be on something that looks a lot like Medicaid, regardless of how much we would be willing to pay for better health insurance.
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