A closer look at the health-care bill

posted at 11:36 am on June 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Democrats leaked their initial draft of a health-care plan over the weekend, the better to keep the press from scrutinizing it too carefully.  After taking a quick read of the unsearchable document, I pointed out a couple of big red flags and asked for more help.  Keith Hennessey has converted the document to a searchable PDF and written an extensive analysis of the bill — and it looks worse than we thought.

First, “gateways” do not mean providers, as I wrote over the weekend.  They refer to state-created insurance-plan markets, which the federal government would oversee.  However, as Hennessey notes, that still doesn’t eliminate the privacy issues:

  • The Secretaries of Treasury and HHS would have unlimited discretion to impose new taxes on individuals and employers who do not comply with the new mandates.
  • The Secretary of HHS could mandate that you provide him or her with “any such other information as [he/she] may prescribe.”

That last comes from Section 6055, directed at providers:

(a) IN GENERAL.-Every person who provides health insurance that is qualifying coverage shall make a return described in subsection (b).

(b) FORM Al’m MANNER OF RETURN.-A return is described in this subsection if such return -

(1) is in such form as the Secretary prescribes,

(2) contains-

(A) the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each individual who is covered under health insurance that is qualifying coverage provided by such person, and

(B) the number of months during the calendar year during which each such individual was covered under such health insurance, and

(3) such other information as the Secretary may prescribe.

Without that HIPAA compliance section, which this draft does not include, what restrictions will the government have on demanding personal information on the enrollees?

Speaking of taxes and mandates, no one in Congress has any clear idea how to pay for ObamaCare.  That may be a big problem, since the bill forsees subsidies for “well over half of all Americans”, meaning that the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats want to adopt yet another “soak the rich” scheme.

Also, health insurers could no longer act to identify risk factors at all.  For some with pre-existing conditions, this will be good news. However, the new plan bars insurers from assessing different rates for risky behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption.  That means that healthy people will effectively subsidize these behaviors as insurers raise costs for the entire pool, rather than the members creating the costs.

What about reforming Medicare?  The Obama administration says that the reforms will make health care less costly through the overhaul of Medicare.  Actually, it makes Medicare more expensive in two ways.  First, it adds a 10% fee bonus for some Medicare patients, which Hennessey says will almost certainly be temporary.  Secondly, it expands Medicare eligibility to people at 150% or less of the poverty line in income, including for the first time childless adults.  Instead of reforming an entitlement that already is headed for collapse, Obama plans on expanding it.

Read more at Keith’s blog.  By the time you get to the end where he concludes, “I strongly oppose this bill,” you’ll wonder why everyone else doesn’t already.


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Without that HIPAA compliance section, which this draft does not include, what restrictions will the government have on demanding personal information on the enrollees?

And even more importantly, what restrictions will the government have on what they can do with that information?

MadisonConservative on June 8, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Ed, kudos to you & Keith H. for sifting through the legalese to learn what the Dems’ evil plot is.

jgapinoy on June 8, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Instead of reforming an entitlement that already is headed for collapse, Obama plans on expanding it.

I’m tellin’ ya. He’s doing the Cloward-Piven strategy.

Daggett on June 8, 2009 at 11:40 AM

If the congress doesn’t tighten up on little Caesar we’ll all be destitute and scrounging for food.

rplat on June 8, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I sincerely hope Obama is even less successful than Hillary was at pushing this through. He may just pull it off, though, and we will all pay for his foolishness.

cs89 on June 8, 2009 at 11:41 AM

This, above all other programs, will make 1929 look like a picnic.

Hope y’all are ready. It might not be tomorrow but it damn sure will before 2016.

Limerick on June 8, 2009 at 11:42 AM

unsearchable document

They did it again! What frickin turds!!

However, the new plan bars insurers from assessing different rates for risky behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption.

These are the people pay taxes to partially fund this. How nice of the government to go easy on this group.

WashJeff on June 8, 2009 at 11:42 AM

I don’t see how the administration can POSSIBLY consider moving ahead on this healthcare scheme. Barry already said himself that “We are broke.” There is no money for it. Even if the top half are taxed until they have nothing, we don’t have the money for it!

Star20 on June 8, 2009 at 11:43 AM

I’m fascinated with the fact that a family of 4 making $150,000/year gets subsidized healthcare.

But what I’m really loving is the spin that this bill needs to be passed as an almost deathbed final tribute the the drunken old murderer, Teddy Kennedy. Obama and the Democrats have already spent our great grandkids money so essentially they would be mortgaging the future of a third generation of Americans not yet born. This goes beyond being bad leadership or poor stewardship into the area of pure evil.

highhopes on June 8, 2009 at 11:43 AM

However, the new plan bars insurers from assessing different rates for risky behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption.

Interesting, considering the two bozo’s featured in the screen cap.

ctmom on June 8, 2009 at 11:44 AM

However, the new plan bars insurers from assessing different rates for risky behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption. That means that healthy people will effectively subsidize these behaviors as insurers raise costs for the entire pool, rather than the members creating the costs.

But wouldn’t the members of those groups be paying increased taxes into the system, ala S-CHIP?

JohnTant on June 8, 2009 at 11:44 AM

. He may just pull it off, though, and we will all pay for his and 52% of the voting population’s foolishness

cs89 on June 8, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Small addendum.

WashJeff on June 8, 2009 at 11:44 AM

I sincerely hope Obama is even less successful than Hillary was at pushing this through. He may just pull it off, though, and we will all pay for his foolishness.

cs89 on June 8, 2009 at 11:41 AM

At least Hillary came up with a real plan before dealing with how much it would cost. Then it was struck down because it would cost too much.

Just look at the clues:

1. Obama just allocated the money first with no health plan at all.
2. Obama outsourced the stimulus. He basically said, “Spend a LOT of money, Nancy. I don’t care how, just do it.”
3. Obama outsourced most of the budget and signed it without anyone reading it.

He’s not interested in what gets done with the money. He just wants to spend and over-commit government resources until the economy is destroyed.

…the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Daggett on June 8, 2009 at 11:46 AM

But what I’m really loving is the spin that this bill needs to be passed as an almost deathbed final tribute the the drunken old murderer, Teddy Kennedy.
highhopes on June 8, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Great bookends to a storied Career: His imigration bill in the 60′s and this crap sandwich in 2009. Now taking ideas for the subtitle for Ted’ Kennedy’s story.

- How I Destroyed America
- Spending and Driving like Drunken Sailors>
-
Thank God my Borther’s Were not Alive to See What I have Done

WashJeff on June 8, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Can’t anyone in Washington do simple math? We cannot keep spending like this and expect to survive.

johnsteele on June 8, 2009 at 11:49 AM

The Democrats leaked their initial draft of a health-care plan over the weekend

Did they put a puppy on the cover?

LibTired (KO) on June 8, 2009 at 11:50 AM

How many billions of tax dollars will go to ACORN for their “navigators”? I guess now that their “mortgage counselors” aren’t able to scam as many tax dollars as they used to, they need a new source of taxpayer-funded income.

I hope word of this bill’s provisions gets spread to the public quickly. This thing has disaster written all over it.

AZCoyote on June 8, 2009 at 11:51 AM

state-created insurance-plan markets

If the State creates it, it ain’t a market. States don’t “invest” either, but that’s not keeping the MSM from allowing BO some latitude in his re-branding efforts.

Rising gas prices and socialized medicine are going to lead to the end of the Anointed One’s water-walking era.

forest on June 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Speaking of taxes and mandates, no one in Congress has any clear idea how to pay for ObamaCare.

Sure they do Ed. They’ve sent the IRS attack dogs on my son for a car he had repo’d 10 years ago when he was in college claiming he owes $3,000 in capital gains on a profit he supposedly made on the repo.

WTF?

Knucklehead on June 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM

By the time you get to the end where he concludes, “I strongly oppose this bill,” you’ll wonder why everyone else doesn’t already.

Because it has very little to do with providing healthcare, it’s all about control.

hindmost on June 8, 2009 at 11:54 AM

How is this bill not unconstitutional? A tax will be set by the Secretary of Treasury and DHS? Taxes are supposed to be under the authority of Congress…not the Executive Branch.

This just looks like a job killer. Employers HAVE to provide insurance for employees. If they don’t, they are taxed (another potential unconstitutional item). Well great, what about small businesses like the one my wife is trying to start? She’ll probably never need any more than 10 employees and can’t afford the health care rates for so few employees and likely won’t be able to afford the tax imposed on her either.

Queasy on June 8, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Why do y’all think Obama is pushing so hard to git-r-done?
Just like the Stimulus bill. The quicker he can get it through, the less chance Americans will figure out what it is all about. Spread the word.

kingsjester on June 8, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Arnold, you magnificent bastard.

lorien1973 on June 8, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Obama’s only interest is to encourage as many crises as he can, while not having a hand directly on any of them.

beatcanvas on June 8, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Did they put a puppy on the cover?

LibTired (KO) on June 8, 2009 at 11:50 AM

No — an actual puppy came with every printed out copy of the healthcare bill. In fact, if you download the .pdf’s, they send you a puppy. Cost of puppies: $150 billion.

Ferris on June 8, 2009 at 12:02 PM

Knucklehead on June 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Wow. I mean…just, wow.

ladyingray on June 8, 2009 at 12:04 PM

kingsjester on June 8, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Yep

ladyingray on June 8, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Looks like it will be easy to kill it based on what I have read. Alot of people are for “free health care for all” until they hear the details. Which are, it ain’t free, and the coverage sucks. DOA.

echosyst on June 8, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Also, health insurers could no longer act to identify risk factors at all.

this is going to raise rates for healthy young people to the point where they can’t afford it. If healthy young people can’t afford to purchase medical insurance, then the costs will skyrocket. The system depends on healthy people paying in to dilute the costs of the sick people.

The government is going to screw us royally on this bill.

I can only hope that they do some token bill that doesn’t do very much and then they use their hype overdrive machine to claim that they ‘reformed health care’. If they stopped at digital imaging of doctor’s records, that would be fine.

I just don’t understand why Obama is ‘leading’ this effort.
What possible qualification does he have in this field (which happens to be nearly 1/5th of a free economy). If the government takes over 1/5 of our economy, our economy won’t be free any more.

And all this talk about jobs. . . the ONE industry that has created more jobs than any over the last 10 years is the health care industry. If the government wants to stop that job gravy train, they’ll get as involved as possible. But the unemployment rate will skyrocket again.

ThackerAgency on June 8, 2009 at 12:06 PM

We are doomed, if this debacle passes.

capejasmine on June 8, 2009 at 12:06 PM

So, let me get this straight. I have to fill out paperwork to have medical documents released, or transferred, but now the government can access them all without asking???

Wonderful!

cntrlfrk on June 8, 2009 at 12:08 PM

I hope Dear Leader fails.

rbj on June 8, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Here’s hoping Barry’s “health care” plan goes Up In Smoke.

Christien on June 8, 2009 at 12:08 PM

4th amendment go bye-bye?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 8, 2009 at 12:08 PM

(3) such other information as the Secretary may prescribe.

And if you don’t give up your info, you get this look.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 8, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Just a reminder….it was HillaryCare that spanned the Republican Revolution in 1984…..

This pile of Ted Kennedy crap is 10 times worse than Hillary Care was…..

SDarchitect on June 8, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Of everything Obozo is doing/has done, this scares me the most.

txag92 on June 8, 2009 at 12:18 PM

In an other place and time…………

………… something like this would have the writers of this document in a cold dark cell awaiting the gallows.

Seven Percent Solution on June 8, 2009 at 12:19 PM

This is not something you filibuster.

This is something that we MARCH on Washington to STOP!

Sapwolf on June 8, 2009 at 12:22 PM

If this passes, it will eventually lead to a conservative/libertarian explosion, will help the GOP to retake Congress in either 2010 or 2012, and catapult Sarah Palin to the POTUS.

The only question will be: Can the country turn back the system and come back from the s**thole we put ourselves in?

Sapwolf on June 8, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Sure they do Ed. They’ve sent the IRS attack dogs on my son for a car he had repo’d 10 years ago when he was in college claiming he owes $3,000 in capital gains on a profit he supposedly made on the repo.

WTF?

Knucklehead on June 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Wow. Aren’t there time limitations on this kind of thing? I think they can go back as far as they want only if they are charging some kind of intentional fraud, or something.

I’ll assume the IRS isn’t saying it’s a “common, honest mistake that could have been made by anyone etc etc etc”.

forest on June 8, 2009 at 12:27 PM

(3) such other information as the Secretary may prescribe.

Under ordinary circumstances, this is an ordinary provision so that the law has some flexibility if there is a need to change what information is needed. In the hands of Democrats with a thirst for intruding in all aspects of private life, it is damned scary.

Fact of the matter is that we cannot trust our elected leaders to do right by the nation (as this bill proves).

highhopes on June 8, 2009 at 12:28 PM

This is something that we MARCH on Washington to STOP!

Sapwolf on June 8, 2009 at 12:22 PM

I like your thinking but I think you’ve got the venue wrong. Washington is part of the problem and Pelosi, Reid, Obama and the rest of the evil people running the nation have long ago turned a deaf ear to ordinary citizens. This is something that calls for prolonged marches at the district offices of each Congressman and marches on state capitols to dissuade governors and state legislators from abetting the thieves in DC.

highhopes on June 8, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Who the h–l do they think they are!

jeanie on June 8, 2009 at 12:34 PM

That means that healthy people will effectively subsidize these behaviors as insurers raise costs for the entire pool, rather than the members creating the costs.

We already to subsidize them, by paying taxes for Medicare, so we might as well bring everyone in to coverage. That’s the way it used to be. Why should we shield insurance companies from risk? Granted, I think the government should not be writing policies, but private carrier.

PattyJ on June 8, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Obamacare: We are all going to DIE.

Mazztek on June 8, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Fact of the matter is that we cannot trust our elected leaders to do right by the nation (as this bill proves).

highhopes on June 8, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Absolutely right. What we need to do is [remaining content deleted by Internet speech Czar]

Daggett on June 8, 2009 at 12:45 PM

To put it all simply for persons in my age group(old)–the Government gets to decide whether you live or die. Other than this lighthearted consideration, I do not see it affecting we seniors much. But, for you youngsters, I suspect the red tape alone will send up the population in various mental institutions considerably.

jeanie on June 8, 2009 at 12:48 PM

i’m telling you, start calling/emailing/writing/protesting.

those of us close to DC can go sit in our reps office until someone takes notice. for those from far away, email your fellow kansans, say, that live close to DC & get them to go to washington.

we can do this. we can stop this. but we have to put our money where i mouth is.

kelley in virginia on June 8, 2009 at 12:48 PM

NO one listened to me about this before. simply because I work for an insurance company and therefore am trying to save my job.

I was right. I now reserve the right to say “I told you so.”

This is a boondoggle that will only end in disaster. And I told you so.

Screw it. I don’t care anymore. People wanted this. They can have it. To H*LL with them all.

mjk on June 8, 2009 at 12:53 PM

kelley in virginia on June 8, 2009 at 12:48 PM

I kind of like the ‘sitting in our Rep’s office’ idea. Enough of us sitting in their various offices around the state night and day, MIGHT get the point across. However, they are, in general, a pretty dense lot and it would take some time. Not necessary to go to DC–can do it right here at home.

jeanie on June 8, 2009 at 12:54 PM

The Secretaries of Treasury and HHS would have unlimited discretion to impose new taxes on individuals and employers who do not comply with the new mandates.

What happened to that quaint notion, from the Constitution, that tax bills were supposed to originate in the House of Representatives?

MarkTheGreat on June 8, 2009 at 1:04 PM

I’m fascinated with the fact that a family of 4 making $150,000/year gets subsidized healthcare.

That’s a buy off just like anyone making under $250,000 will get a tax cut. As Dr. Phil would say: “How’s that tax cut working for you?”

katablog.com on June 8, 2009 at 1:05 PM

I just don’t understand why Obama is ‘leading’ this effort. What possible qualification does he have in this field

Same qualifications he had to become president ………

katablog.com on June 8, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Wonderful opportunity to see via this snapshot exactly what/where America is these days. Coming so soon after Obama’s win, and before the most dire consequences of his economic policies are felt, I think most people will think it’s all peachy. Luckily, we don’t get to vote on it, but instead it will be fought-out in the media, and somewhat in Congress.

JiangxiDad on June 8, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Now taking ideas for the subtitle for Ted’ Kennedy’s story.

WashJeff on June 8, 2009 at 11:48 AM

1. Socialism for Dummies (and that means you)
2. How to assualt Women, Minorties, and a Country, and get away with it.
3. I’m Ted Kennedy.

BobMbx on June 8, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Wonderful opportunity to see via this snapshot exactly what/where America is these days. Coming so soon after Obama’s win, and before the most dire consequences of his economic policies are felt, I think most people will think it’s all peachy. Luckily, we don’t get to vote on it, but instead it will be fought-out in the media, and somewhat in Congress.

JiangxiDad on June 8, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Exactly. Just like the hooker going through the john’s wallet. Better get it quick before the orgasm-released endorphins subside.

Here, “most” people are still writhing in esctasy over the election, and just ain’t payin’ attention.

BobMbx on June 8, 2009 at 1:22 PM

If Ted Kennedy had received the kind of “Health Care” that he wants to impose on the masses of the U.S., he would probably be very dead right now.

MB4 on June 8, 2009 at 1:33 PM

ok, we’ll call/write/email our dumb congresspeople.

then go sit in their offices.

c’mon people. obama will do this to us before august.

kelley in virginia on June 8, 2009 at 1:38 PM

It’s unpatriotic to take closer looks at THE ONE’s dreams.

burt on June 8, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Is there a single plan being proposed? I thought several were being floated.

AnninCA on June 8, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Edward Moore Kennedy has worked to destroy this country in some manner every day since 1964 and having enjoyed some success the Democrats are using his unassailable moral authority assigned to him from physical disability to gleefully, finish us off.

Speakup on June 8, 2009 at 1:53 PM

This is the C-P strategy.
And the people are eating it up, hook line and sink us.
Two things, the irs recently has become scarey in its pursuit of citizens and secondly, healthcare, around here has suddenly become union like. Neither development is really very comforting.

ORconservative on June 8, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Is there a single plan being proposed? I thought several were being floated.

AnninCA on June 8, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Options would merely serve to delay the agenda. They know the time to develop a Marxist society is very short (in fact, they plan on having it done or at least irreversible, by Nov 2010).

Ladies and Germs, the upcoming mid-term elections will either seal the fate of the country as a socialist failure (by maintaining or increasing the Democrat majority), or keeping us afloat for another 2 years (by substantially reducing the majority of the Democrat party), or handing the Socialists their own asses (by reversing the majority in both Houses to super-majority levels.

It can be done. We did it in 1994.

BobMbx on June 8, 2009 at 2:12 PM

I’m tellin’ ya. He’s doing the Cloward-Piven strategy.

Daggett on June 8, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Totally. I’ve been squawking about it since before the election- much to everyone’s chagrin, but it’s happening!

The question is how to stop it from working before it’s too late (and what too late means to the average American.)

It seems pretty hopeless at this point. Any ideas?

NTWR on June 8, 2009 at 2:23 PM

torch ——– check
pitchfork —- check
Were is the angry mob?

darktood on June 8, 2009 at 4:03 PM

This one is begging for a lawsuit. Let’s see how the SCOTUS interprets giving taxing authority to the Secretary of HHS as constitutional.

College Prof on June 8, 2009 at 4:35 PM

I’m just looking forward to having Obama, Pelosi, and Bawney Fwank making my healthcare decisions for me.

elduende on June 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Quick! Pass it now! Don’t read it! Don’t analyze it! We need to pass it now! People are dying in the streets! Woman and children are dying as we speak! Besides, it’s FREE!

GarandFan on June 8, 2009 at 6:56 PM

This is not something you filibuster.

This is something that we MARCH on Washington to STOP!

Sapwolf on June 8, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Name the day and I will bring a carload of like minded folks! I have never demonstrated for anything in my life but this would be it! We will lose great doctors, loving,caring nurses and no new research! This cannot go thru!

A March for those those that have battled cancer or other diseases and won, a March for our soldiers that are alive today because of modern medicine. They know the fight. A March for OUR right to choose our own personal Healthcare options!

Coastal Paradise on June 8, 2009 at 7:50 PM

# People in high cost areas (e.g., New York City, Boston, South Florida, Chicago, Los Angeles) would get much bigger subsidies than those in low cost areas (e.g., much of the rest of the country, especially in rural areas). The subsidies are calculated as a percentage of the “reference premium,” which is determined based on the cost of plans sold in that particular geographic area

So the left gets subsidized and the right gets to pay. What a shock.

amkun on June 9, 2009 at 12:41 AM

If this passes, buy guns, buy gold, buy food.

Theophile on June 9, 2009 at 4:50 AM

Being a pessimist I suppose “age” is not a pre-existing condition that cannot be taken into account in determining treatment and coverage.

{o.o}

herself on June 9, 2009 at 9:41 AM

There’s now a “Health Care Ration Book” available in pdf at Smart Girl Politics:

http://smartgirlpolitics.ning.com/forum/topics/health-care-ration-book

Potter on June 9, 2009 at 9:54 AM