LIBERAL 2 HEALTH CARE
Many Liberals believe in a big central government to solve all their problems by regulating and controlling things like free health care. They support politicians like Senator Jay Rockerfeller, (D), West Virginia. Because he, like many liberal politicians, claim they want to unselfishly help the poor live a better life. Yet in an interview on April, 18 1994, to the West Virginia Associated News he admitted that "we are going to push through health care reform regardless of the views of the American people."
A Gallup Poll for CNN and USA Today on reported that, "most people polled prefer access but not mandating coverage. 34% prefer a plan guaranteeing permanent coverage and 63% chose a plan offering access to affordable coverage."
Making companies pay more for employee health care is next on their agenda. One idea was making them contribute into a government pool. This emanates from a mentality that big business and corporate America are out to get people. It sounds nice, but is short sighted. It helps some now, but will encourage employers to hire more part time and temps, to skirt around these and other laws, rather than hiring full time employees as companies would have done. The federal government does it too. The Post Office has an "89 day special": employees are hired for 89 days, then laid off a day so they will not earn a raise and benefits that come after 90 days. They can be rehired for another 89 days and laid off again and again. Isn't this a double standard? With the federal government setting this example won't private industry follow? That is for the business that can survive. Who knows how many will be forced into bankruptcy as a result of all of the new laws and tax hikes? Isn't it convenient that no liberals have made this criticism or the mention of the I.D. card in Clinton's plan being an internal passport with which "Big Brother" can monitor all?
Many liberals praise the Clintons for bringing the issue of health care to the fore-front. I believe that they never expected or dreamed it would spark such controversy. They also neglect to mention all the "Health care losers. President Clinton is mistaken if he thinks he can turn lawmakers' dawdling on health care into an issue to help elect Democrats to Congress this fall.
"A U.S. News and World Report poll shows that the public is increasingly opposing his health plan: Support has dropped 15 points in the past 14 months, to just 47% now, while opposition has grown by 20 points. The poll shows a six point swing to challengers if no health bill passes. But pollsters Celinda Lake and Ed Goeas say Democratic incumbents would take out their disillusionment on incumbents, non-college-educated & people from the South and Midwest. Other trends working against Democrats: Conservative Democrats and those voting occasionally for Republicans think Clinton's handling of the health care is poor. Even among those who do not have health insurance-who would benefit most from Clinton's plan -a third oppose the plan while only a bare majority favor it. Pollster Lake says the best bet is to refer to it as a 'modified Clinton plan'." (U.S. News and World Report, Washington Whispers, edited by Charles Fenyvesi, p.24, 7/18/94)
"What's 'universal' health coverage? It means insuring all Americans, more or less. That's about as succinct a definition as Americans have gotten of a phrase that conjures up visions of health insurance for extra-terrestrials. Although President Clinton threatened to veto any health reform plan that lacked universal coverage, he has not adequately defined the term or fully explained why it is important. Doing so sooner might have rallied more support for comprehensive health reform- but now the goal of truly universal coverage seems to be slipping from Clinton's grasp.
"Few countries with universal health systems manage to cover everybody, not even Clinton's. Their bill, built upon a requirement that employers help pay for covering their workers, excluded about three to four million illegal aliens, and 800,000 convicts. The plan would cover 98% of the population by 1998.
"In fact, there is no way to know how many would be insured under most reform plans. Many eligible for health insurance do not request it-including about 25% of those qualified for Medicaid who do not enroll in the health program for the poor. Clinton's plan probably would have eliminated most gaps through penalties on employers who did provide coverage or an individual who failed to obtain it. But almost no other plan likely to pass Congress has similar enforcement features.
"In fact, many plans getting serious consideration from Congress set their sights considerably lower, aiming to cover about 91- 95% of Americans, up 10% from now. But some of these numbers have been pulled out of a hat- and no really knows how many more people would actually be insured. Consider the 91% solution, a plan proposed by Tennessee Democratic Representative Jim Cooper. The Congressional Budget Office came up with that percentage after estimating that the proposal would add 15 million mostly poor Americans to insurance roles. Yet Congressional Budget Office also calculated that four million of the poor would forgo coverage even if the U.S. paid for it. That is a guess, based on the number of people who currently qualify for public assistance but do not participate.
"No numbers game. All these numbers are far less important than the real test of universal coverage: whether guaranteed sources of insurance and adequate funding exist to cover most Americans. Many plans now in Congress spell out how various uncovered groups could get insurance, but may run drastically short on funds. An example is a bipartisan plan backed by centrists on the Senate Finance Committee. Devoid of any mandate that employers contribute to coverage or that individuals buy it, it aims to make insurance more affordable and accessible through various reforms and provides subsidies for the uninsured to buy coverage. The stated goal is to cover 95% of Americans by 2002, still leaving 14 million uninsured. Yet the evolving plan could fall tens of billions a year short.
"Why would failing to attain universal coverage matter? Clinton hasn’t explained clearly enough that something close to it is needed to banish aspects of health insurance that really plague people. Examples are 'pre-existing condition' restrictions-typical features of individual & small-business health policies-that bar coverage for pre-existing ailments. In a system where not everybody has to have coverage, these restrictions make perverse economic sense; otherwise, people would sign up for insurance when they are sick, bankrupting insurance companies. In fact, most reform plans that aim for less than universal coverage retain these restrictions in some form.But if most people were always insured, the restrictions could be dismantled.
"Health reform is a bazaar of trade offs, yet the White House has not adequately framed the choices for the public. In a system free of pitfalls over pre-existing conditions, is it worth requiring employers to contribute to workers coverage? Would it be worth higher taxes to fund subsidies for millions of uninsured? We'll probably never know how the public might have answered that; since a tax -averse Congress is likely to produce a health reform plan -if- any- that will fall far short of Clinton's universal coverage goal. The president will have no choice but to sign it if he wants a health bill- in large part because so many Americans never had a clue about what he meant." (U.S. News & World Report, Untangling universal coverage, Susan Dentzer, p.47, 7/18/94)
Despite considerable discussion and information available on the Clintons' Health Care Plan many special interest groups like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force still oppose it for various reasons. They are only willing to endorse it if certain concessions are made in the plan. They say things such as "...we will absolutely consider endorsing the Clintons' Plan. In particular we want to see if these two issues can be addressed, as well as some of the things we have outlined.
"And we are very, very pleased with most of the Clintons' plan. But due to several variants we feel uncomfortable with it at this time are going to withhold endorsement until we get some response and see what we can do with it.
"1) The issue of non-discrimination: through out the plan there are various sections that address non-discrimination. Both discrimination by providers against patients and by plans against providers by refusing them entrance. 2) Gays and bisexuals are excluded from the definition of family." (Marj Plumb, Health Policy Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force)
"Yes, we've met with Mike Luck, Special Assistant to the president in the Public Liaisons office of the White House. We presented our concerns and were told that as with the many groups approaching the White House with concern on the Clinton Health Care Act that the White House is not going to micro manage this bill and are turning these specific issues over to Congress and expecting that they'll work it out." (David Smith, Public Information Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force)
Many people justifiably criticize the Clintons' plan. Some say things like "This budget indicates that Clinton cares about research, but not prevention. And that concerns us considerably." (David Bross, Director AIDS Action Council)
"AIDS is a big cost in health care. Yet, nothing is mentioned specifically on reducing it's costs. Many liberals want to increase the amount we spend on it.
"Unfortunately, the fight against AIDS is not going well. Medical breakthroughs have been excruciatingly slow in coming and over a decade of suffering has left our community decimated by this plague. For over a decade the reliance of our presidents upon selfish individualism has led us in to the wasteland of official indifference, to the suffering of many. One stark result of that politics of contempt and neglect driven by homophobia is that millions are now affected by the AIDS epidemic which might have been contained had our officials cared." (Barbara Striesand, Los Angeles Project Benefit, 1/27/94)
President Clintons denied that their plan denies Americans freedom of choice when saying, "If you can recognize the kinds of attacks that are aimed at managed care for what they are: a desire to obstruct and derail period and to mainstream wherever possible the status quo including undermining many of the innovations that you have tried to bring to health care market. Then you will have a very strong voice in trying to reason effectively with the Congress and American public.
"Do you know that the t.v. ads that cost $20 millon to say we are taking away your choice? Well it is flat untrue. We are not eliminating choice. We are giving you more, because the choice won't be your company's. It will be yours. The only choice we are trying to eliminate is the insurance companies who are funding that ad so they cannot disqualify you from health care or charge you more!" (Hillary Clinton)
"President Clinton projected a $56 billion deficit reduction. But, the Office of Budget and Management said it would increase by $76 billion totaling $137 Billion.
"No doctors, pharmaceutical or insurance company are involved in the development of the plan. 560 members of Congress created it." (Bob Rieshower, Chair, Congressional Budget Office)
"Health care must be on budget. The premiums are tax hikes because they are government mandated and go to a government agency.
"The people need to understand that our approach to this is that whatever relates to the federal government is on budget. Let us not make any mistake about that. It is related to medicaid, medicare, defense, veteran's health. Those are on budget and reflected on it. The only items not on budget is the money people will pay to the alliances, not to the federal government. But to the alliances who will in turn pay the insurance company." (Leon Pinneta, Director Office of Budget and Management)
"The first three terms define the basic approaches to health care reform which are being debated by Congress. 1) CANADIAN -STYLE OR "SINGLE PAYER" PLAN: The federal government becomes the monopoly provider for health care financing. It sets quotas on how many doctors can enter various fields of medicine, it establishes a budget for health care and allocates money to hospitals: it sets doctor's fees and is paid for from general revenue.
"2) CLINTON PLAN OR 'MANAGED COMPETITION': Employers, through a federal mandate, must provide their employees with a government approved health care policy and pay for 80% of it; they buy coverage through a regional alliance (or corporate alliances for companies with over 5000 employees) that seek the best rates. Unemployed persons receive equal coverage through a regional alliance. The plan also seeks to set "quotas" on how many doctors enter various fields of medicine; and set doctor, procedure and prescription fees.
"3) MARKET -ORIENTATED OR CONSUMER BASED PLAN: Citizens are allowed to chose the health care plan they want. Families would receive the same amount of government help in the form of tax-credits wherever they obtain the coverage. More tax relief would be given to the sick and low- paid, while less would be given to the more healthy and high-paid. No national budget would be set by the government, and cost control would be determined by consumer choice and competition among providers." (p.1, Anatomy of the Clinton Health Plan, Family Research Council, 700 13th st., N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20005, Gary L. Bauer, President, Information compiled by Joan Prince, Government Relations Dept.)
"EMPLOYER MANDATE: A law that forces every employer to pay a specified portion of the health care premium of its employees which, depending on the size of the company, could be as much as 7.9% of payroll" (Health Security Act, p.1052). "EFFECT: Many small businesses will be unable to bear the payroll tax and will be forced to either reduce payrolls or close. Others may find it cheaper to hire single people, discriminating against people with families" (p.2).
"COMPREHENSIVE BENEFIT PACKAGES: The Clintons' plan mandated services for all Americans (whether they need them or not) include: hospice care, home health care, prescriptions, doctor and ambulance fees, and e.r. services. The plan also covers certain generally considered beyond the realm of historical medical necessity like family planning services (including abortion -on-demand for a $10 co-payment); alcohol and drug rehabilitation.; stress management and sex education" (H.S.A., pp. 32-64).
"EFFECT: This mandated 'one size fits all' package precludes people from choosing which health services they deem important to them or their families. While persons must pay for abortion services and drug rehabilitation, they will have reduced coverage for dental, optical and preventive services." (H.S.A., p. 68-9) "For example, no routine mammography screening (not even a baseline mammogram) is provided for women under 50." (p.2)
"REGIONAL ALLIANCE: Established in each state, these mandatory, government -run entities would organize and oversee the purchasing of insurance for the people in the particular area. They would collect all 'premiums,' and negotiate with insurance providers. It would be illegal to buy, sell or provide health care unless approved by a regional alliance." (p.4)
"EFFECT: Because everyone (except those who work for a company with 5000 or more employees) must enroll, choice and flexibility by the consumer will be eliminated." (p.4)
"FEE- FOR- SERVICE: A policy allowing patients to chose the health care plan and doctors they want. Patients either pay the full bill or split it with their insurer. The more coverage and options they desire, the more they pay. HMO: Health Maintenance Organizations are networks of doctors and hospitals providing comprehensive health care services, combined with payment for care, to individuals and families for a pre -paid premium. Roughly 25% of Americans (who are non- Medicare recipients) are currently enrolled in an H.M.O." (p.4)
"DEFINITIONS-COMMUNITY RATINGS: The Clinton plan proposes setting insurance premiums based on average health care costs in a region. All in that region pays the same amount regardless of age, gender, or health status." (H.S.A., p.95)
"EFFECT: Many American's will pay more. On 10/28/93 Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health of and Human Services testified before Congress that under the Clintons' plan, 40% of insured Americans will pay more for health care (other Administration officials have since retracted her statement, claiming a lower %). Young, healthy people living in areas with rates of drug abuse, and crime will be forced to subsidize those who do not work, and/or those who pursue unhealthy lifestyles." (p.6)
"PRICE CEILING/CAPS OR CONTROLS: The Federal government will set the prices that it deems 'fair' for medical procedures and for the cost of prescriptions. Price caps will set below true market value in order to ensure the 'cost control' that permits the Clintons' plan to make the claim that taxes, to finance universal coverage, 'will hardly rise at all' (except on employers). Tight spending controls will be enforced by the government" (p.6).
"MEDICAL RATIONING: To comply with government -set prices and keep health care expenses down, the government will provide strong incentives for providers to restrict access to certain medical procedures. More expensive procedures --sometimes necessary to save lives --will be strongly discouraged for patients of a certain age, handicapping- condition, or doubtful prognosis. A prime U.S. example of medical rationing is in Oregon where the Clinton Administration approved a plan to limit services for Medicaid recipients. As a result, certain vital procedures have been rationed. Rationing is a likely result of global budgeting which is the main cost control mechanism in the Clinton plan." (p.8).
"REAL- LIFE EXAMPLE: In Canada, two- year-old Joel Bondy needed cardiac surgery in 1/90. But the operation was repeatedly postponed due to higher priority cases. Concerned about Joel's deteriorating condition, his parents arranged for surgery in Detroit. Ontario officials, embarrassed by press coverage of Joel's situation, told the Bondys that Joel could have the needed surgery in Toronto immediately. Joel endured the four -hour ambulance ride to Toronto, but there was no hospital bed available when he arrived. He died in a hotel room four hours before the scheduled surgery." (Canadians Cross the Border to Save Their Lives," Wall St. Journal, 12/12/90, p. , by )
"GLOBAL BUDGETING: The determination by government on how much will be spent either on total health care costs in the nation, and/or for specific types of services such as heart transplants, CT- scans and other procedures." (p.8)
"Under the Clintons' plan, the regional alliance to which a person is assigned will buy health care for all in the area, finding the cheapest plans. These plans will probably be in the form of a government approved HMO." (p.5)
"In an attempt to save money, the government will set fees for medical procedures, expenditure limits on insurance options, and will indirectly regulate the price of prescriptions (like rent control). Since Fee- for-service type for services type policies are usually more money than other policies, government will not offer this form of insurance as we know it. It may go by the same name, but beware! It will not be the same service, even if a person is willing to pay more." (p.5)
On September 27, 1993, the president said, "If we do not provide for substance abuse treatment and mental health we are not dealing with health care problems. And in the comprehensive plan we have submitted we are for the first time ever provided guaranteed coverage for this."
"Q and A: What is the Clintons' health care plan?" (p.3) "It mandates that all employers must provide a government- approved health insurance policy in the form of a 'comprehensive benefit package' and pay 80% of their employees' premiums." (H.S.A., p.298) "Employees must buy this coverage through a government agency called 'a regional alliance.' These regional alliances are similar to a government 'middle man' established according to regions, like election districts.
"What is the Health Security Card?" (p.3) "It is a government issued I.D. that identifies the health plan and medical records of the family or person enrolled. Also, it could access a national electronic data network which could hold any relevant patient information." (H.S.A., pp.6, 14, 145-7, 845-58). "Despite the plan's 'safety guards' on privacy, the card creates ample opportunity for government tracing and the invasion of privacy. If enacted, who is subject to this health plan?" (p.3) "Anyone who does not receive health care through Medicare, the Military, Indian or Veteran benefits, or is not employed by a large company, is required by law to buy health insurance from those plans offered by your government sponsored regional alliance." (H.S.A., pp.15 & 16)
"It is illegal for any insurance provider to operate outside the regulatory system. Many fee-for-service plans will be unable to afford the new regulations and are forced to join an alliance. However, Federal employees are included but not required by law to buy this form of health insurance until 1998, after all other Americans have been incorporated into the system." (pp.3 and 5)
"EFFECT: Quality of care will decrease. The way a producer responds to a price fixed below the true value of the product is to reduce the quality or volume of that product or service, correspondingly, until it equals the new lower price." (p.6)
"What we've found in other nations when the lid had gone on there were longer waiting lists, deterioration of facilities and a marked slowdown in the adaption of new [medical] technologies. It is an economic model that does not deal with the real world of the doctor -patient relationship." (Newsweek, 10/4/93)
"If I live a fairly healthy lifestyle will my premiums be lower?" (p.7) "No. Another rule, 'community rating,' mandates that insurers offer the same comprehensive benefit package to all in the region for the same price." (H.S.A., p.95) "Smokers and non-smokers, drug users and non-users, HIV-infected and non-infected, all pay the same price. While this rule is aimed at ensuring that all have coverage, it also forces those who live healthy life styles to subsidize those who engage in high-risk behavior, while reducing disincentives for self-destructive behavior." (p. 7)
"The Clintons' plan covers services for pregnant women." (H.S.A., p.60) "This means mandated coverage for abortion services effectively forcing all employers, insurance companies and ultimately, all taxpayers to subsidize abortion on demand for all nine months." (p.7)
"Can I buy extra insurance? It can be costly or unavailable, depending on which regional alliance you are assigned." (p.7)
"If I want to see a specialist, can I? Consulting a specialist may be difficult, and will become more so. Under the Clintons' plan, the primary doctor is the 'gatekeeper' for referral to specialized care, she must approve specialist referrals. If your 'gatekeeper' does not feel your condition warrants special care, then you may not be able to see one legally." (p.7)
"The Clintons' plan also proposes to create 'quotas' for the number of specialists allowed to practice in each region. And because of the price ceilings, a specialist won't be able to charge what a particular procedure will actually cost to perform. In turn, there will be little incentive for doctors to go into or remain in a field if they cannot be fairly compensated. Medical rationing of both specialists and special procedures (as is the case in Canada) are very likely to result." (p.9)
"Canadians often endure long and sometimes dangerous waiting periods to see a specialist and/or undergo medical procedures that are readily available in America. According to the Washington, D.C.-based Blackwell Corp., the average waiting for Canadians to see an internist is 6.4 weeks, Neurosurgery -9 weeks, Urology-10.7 weeks, Gynecology -13.7 weeks, Orthopedics -20.9 weeks." (p.9)
"In August, 1990, Quebec Primer Tobert Bourassa charted a plane at his own expense and flew to Washington, D.C. for consultation at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland after learning that he had melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. The following November, he returned to the United States for surgery." (Heritage Foundation Backrounder #883, Ed Haislmaier)
"On the whole will the quality of health care decline? Under the plan, pressure on primary care doctors serving as 'gatekeepers' to curb access to specialists will increase in order to meet federal spending limits, thereby limiting a person's access to needed medical procedures." (p.9)
"Canada 1990: 15 patients on a waiting list for cardiac surgery died before they undergo surgery. That waiting list is typically 7- 800 patients long. For elective procedures, like hip replacement, the waiting list can reach 1300." ("Health Assurance," In Health, January - Febuary, 1991)
"According to a 5/90 report by Canada's Fraser Institute, a patient in British Columbia waits 23.7 weeks for coronary bypass, 16.3 weeks for a hysterectomy, 21.4 weeks for open heart surgery, and 30.9 weeks for a proctectomy." (p.10)
"Would it be legal for people to buy medical care outside the system the system? Yes. A parent concerned about a child's illness and whether the gatekeeper will okay a specialist might consider going outside the system. The Clintons' plan anticipates the problem of 'payment of bribes or gratitudes to influence the delivery of services' (H.S.A., p.995) by imposing criminal penalties. Presently, medical bribes are unheard of in this economy. This provision makes it obvious that the inevitable rationing of health care will create a 'black market,' punishable by law." (p.10)
"Can a doctor charge a patient what a procedure actually costs me to perform? No. This plan will be have the probable effect of driving doctors out of private practice by empowering health alliances (the government) to set doctor fees on a fee-for-service basis." (p.10)
"The plan states that 'A provider may not change or collect from a patient in excess of the fee schedule adopted by the alliance.' (H.S.A., p.232) That would be illegal or considered black market for a doctor to change fair market value." (p.11)
"Dr. David Himmelstein, a leading proponent of the Canadian-style system, projects that the Clintons' plan will obliterate private practice." ("Health Plan's Devilish Details," by , p. Wall St. Journal, September 30, 1993)
"How much will this program cost?" (p.6) "The Clinton's plan has been conservatively estimated to cost $700 billion over the next five years-- larger than the entire 1981 federal budget. It adds 50,000 government workers to the bureaucracy and creates at least 60 new bureaucracies and programs." ("Boarding Pass: Special Health Care Edition," House Republican Conference, Legislative Digest, p.1)
"Will this affect jobs, perhaps my spouse's or mine? It may. This plan levies up to a 7.9% payroll tax on business, requiring employers to, pay 80% of their employee's health care premiums. If small businesses (75 or less employees) cannot afford to pay the tax, they may be forced to limit other benefits, or eliminate jobs." (p.11)
"Part- time employees who seek to supplement family income are especially at risk of losing their job. The Clintons' plan requires that the employer pay part of the part time employee's salary for health care coverage." (p.11)
"Congressman Dan Rostenkowski (Democrat-Illinois), Chair of the House of Ways and Means Committee with jurisdiction over the tax aspects of the bill, told the Chicago Sun Times 'Clintons' proposal will adversely affect the small businessman." (p.11)
He was Clintons' main supporter on the health care plan. On May 30, 1994 he was indicted on 17 various felonies and has turned down a plea bargain offer which included his resignation as Chair of The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. His lawyer publicly admitted that they are seeking a plea bargain. His impending resignation is a major blow to Clinton and quite possibly the passage of his health care plan too. The president has already met with the Republican leader and House Minority Leader, Newt Gingrich, (R) Georgia. And (D) leader in an attempt to strike a deal that will pass his plan.
Many Republicans feel that "this budget plan by contrast will by 1997 cut $140 Millon in that year, alone from the deficit. A real spending cut, a real revenue increase using the independent numbers of the Congressional Budget Office.
Well, you can laugh my fellow Republicans, but I will point out that the Congressional Budget Office has been more conservative and closer to right than previous presidents.
The Congressional Budget Office said, "The Clintons' plan is a big government, big bureaucracy, big tax plan that will to a bigger deficit and I think it indicates why those of us in the house who oppose it want to pass a practical bill should work together to create a by -partisan bill. But we should recognize that we should recognize that the Clintons' bill is D.O.A. and we must work together to create a by- partisan bill." (Representative Newt Gingrich, (R), Georgia)
"Even the Clintons' Administration's own economic advisors concede there may be substantial job loss. Council of Economics Advisers Chair, Laura Tyson, said that 'the job loss from an employer mandate would be about 600,000 jobs. But she considers this impact to be 'very small.'" ("Jobs Impact of Clinton Reform Plan Expected to Be Small, Officials Say," Daily Labor Report, Bureau of National Affairs, October 2, 1993)
"The NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) estimates that 900,000 jobs would be lost as a result of the Clintons' mandate." (p.12) "Time Magazine recently reported the loss of a million jobs." (Prognosis: Fewer Jobs, September 6, 1993, p.32) "The Washington, D.C. -based Employment Policy Institute estimates the loss of three million jobs." (Impact of Health Insurance Mandate on Labor Costs and Employment, September, 1993)
"Are there other legislative proposals besides the Clintons' Plan? Yes, several. Senator Wellstone is promoting a Canadian-style system of socialized medicine; Senator Chaffe and Representative Cooper have both submitted managed competition proposals; the House GOP is offering an incremental approach to reform; and the Nickels/Stearns and Gram proposals include a system of tax credits and Medical Savings Accounts to promote consumer responsibility, insurance portability, and choice." (p.12)
"How does the Clintons' plan compare to the average American's?" (p.5) "As many as 77% of Americans- are- enrolled- in- a- 'fee-for-service' plan." (Health Plan's Devilish Details, Wall St. Journal, September 30, 1993, p. ) "This type of policy allows people to pick a doctor and consult a specialist when they feel they need one, get a second opinion if they have doubts, and select a hospital they desire." (p.5)
Clinton said, "The amount of Americans who cannot afford health insurance rose from $35 to $37 millon this year." The Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. said, "The number is only six million." The presidents are working on a plan that they say will be paid for by raising the cigarette tax $1 per pack. Conveniently no one ever mentioned that would increase "Black Market" sales tremendously, or some people will quit. Either one of these would cause ramifications like massive layoffs by the tobacco industries which are already diversifying into various industries, like R.J. Renyolds recently purchase of Miller Beer and Kraft foods. It is vague on many specifics, especially in the way of cost, except for a medical advisory board. Although it does state that "A provider may not charge or collect money in excess of that which is adopted in the schedule by an alliance. A plan and its participants are not legally responsible for any amount in excess of the allowable charge." (P.68) This is intended to eliminate private practice. I resent and fear the government telling me how much money I can make. Since we are still a democracy, the mentality of "Big Brother" watching bring us a step closer to George Orwell's 1984.
In a speech on September 22, 1993, President Clinton discussed the concept of a national health care plan that would use identification cards. He said, "This card will give comprehensive coverage. It will cover people for doctor visits, lab tests, hospital care, emergency rooms, diagnostics like pap smears, mammogram, substance abuse and mental health care."
The plan outlines the creation of a regulatory board to govern the system. It would be composed of seven people named by Clinton and confirmed by the Senate. Under it depending on how you count would be a system of dozens of officers. It would have unprecedented powers in the health care system.
Little discussed, less understood it would be given unprecedented powers to regulate the health care system -set up with structure; make rules for doctors, hospitals, medical schools, insurers; decide how much could be spent; and say which ailments and treatments are covered beyond the basic package, down to how often a mammogram would be paid for.
The board is mentioned is mentioned 122 x in Clintons' bill." (Proposal adds layer of 'new bureaucracy', USA Today, Jodi Hanson and Jody Keen, p. , 12/16/93) Mrs. Clinton defended her plan in a press conference, on November 1, 1993, by attacking the health care industry in an attempt to discredit it by saying, "The Health Insurance Association is spending millions of dollars on essentially what is a score campaign."
In an article on November 17, 1993, in the Washington Post, on p. , entitled White House Reduces Drug Abuse Coverage In Health Care Plan, by Michael . It was reported that, "The White House this cut back coverage for alcohol and drug abuse and the mentally ill in order to keep costs down."
"Private and nonprofit voluntary hospitals, which comprise the vast majority of hospitals in New York, actually showed a small collective surplus of $47 million." (Dr. Mark Chassin, New York State Health Commissioner, Gannett News Service, 9/19/93)
"Meanwhile government run hospitals lost $188 million last year, $3.5 million more than in 1991. Hospitals run by New York City accounted for $167 million of the loss." (Kyle Huges, Garnet News Service, 9/19/93)
There are a few facts that are unknown about Clintons' health plan like the fact that malpractice suits are illegal and "There is a national limit upon health care." (p.102, Health Care Reform Act) "We will only be able to choose from one of the government programs." (p.62) On p.6 President Clintons tries to scare people by saying, "You're just a paycheck away from being wiped out by sickness." "By that same argument aren't we also a paycheck away from starvation and homelesness!" (Rush Limbaugh) We do not know how we are going to pay for it. The president says he will raise the cigarette tax. Won't that encourage people to quit and bootleg? What will the creation of a new agency cost taxpayers?
"In just six weeks five details changed: 1) estimated federal savings drops from $91 to $60 billion, 2) date of universal coverage delayed a year to 1/98, 3) estimate of annual inflation raised from 2.7% to 3.5. 4) increased allowance for "unexpected subsidy" $30 to 45 billion. 5) plan now defined as a "Capped Entitlement", meaning congress has to vote on what to do if costs exceed estimates.
At a town meeting in Sacramento, California, in October, 1993 a woman named Shelley Chase asked President Clinton, "Could people chose to undergo an experimental procedure if that is the only choice available?" He responded, "In most cases the answer would be yes... The insurer will not take that option away." The benefit package does not cover services that are medically necessary or appropriate (including investigational treatments, except as described below); An approved research trial... As defined by the Department of Health and Human Services.
In 1965, the government projected a cost of $6.5 billion to taxpayers, in 1992 it cost 132. President Clinton said, "I'm willing to compromise on my plan in order to ensure security to all." No one mentions that the plan will probably destroy Medicare, Medicaid and the private industry. Or the fact that the "500 member committee" took no notes of meetings and have little or no records documenting how they created a 1500 p. proposal, plus 150 p. supplement.
Despite the presidents concern over health care, Dan Monyhan, a prominent member of his own party, said "I do not mean to suggest that what President Clinton said is a crisis is not one or a priority. But health care is not a crisis. Welfare is and need to reform it."
Among the many, many drawbacks to problem with free health care is that many people will run to the doctor for every little sniffle, ache and pain because it is free, or included in their plan. Conservatives are often accused by many liberals of not caring about people and in essence being Social Darwinists. Yet, the Clintons' health care plan's main way of saving money is the rationing of health care. How can we dare put a monetary value upon human life? Competition has been proven time & again to be the main way of getting the best quality for the lowest price & is the foundation of capitalism. If competition were unimportant we would not compete in the Olympics, which has been a part of many societies since the Greco- Roman Empire.
Another negative side effect to Clintons' plan is the discouragement of progress because the government sets price control on prescriptions. That discourages people from becoming venture capitalists and developing things like new orphan drugs, genetic research and technological breakthroughs.
"Perks and pork: Despite a public air of confidence, the White House privately realizes that President Clinton's Health Care Plan is in deep trouble on Capitol Hill. In the House, a key Democratic leader is about 25 votes short of passing a measure satisfactory to the White House. But since no Republicans are likely to support any measure that resembles the Clintons' plan, the leadership is bargaining with wavering Democrats who might back Clinton's plan in exchange for personal perks and pork barrel projects. In the Senate, where a moderate coalition of Republicans and Democrats hold the balance of power, the focus is on substantive compromises. Democrats have given up hope for implementation of universal coverage, and Senator Tom Aschle of South Dakota- a top candidate for majority leader-says that negotiators are seeking a new mechanism that would allow Clinton to say that universal coverage would be guaranteed. But moderates in both parties still oppose any guarantee forcing to pay for health coverage-even in ten years." (U.S. & World Report, 7/11/94, Washington Whispers, edited by Charles Fenyvesi, p.18)
"...Bob Dole delivered a televised address on health care to National Governors' Association last week. 'He's flat' President Clinton declared happily while working on his own speech to be delivered to them that day. Dole had a better day. By the time Clinton left, his idea that universal coverage might really mean 95% ignited a firestorm in Washington. The remarks seemed contradictory to his long standing promise that he would veto any bill that did not include universal coverage for 'all Americans.'
"Liberals were outraged; moderates were thrilled. ...Clinton's remarks had a catalytic effect: they jumped -started already nervous Democrats into searching for a new deal, leading to speculation -vociferously denied by the White House- that Clinton's off-the-cuff remarks were premeditated. After a meeting with the Clinton's and V.P. Gore on Thursday, top White House aides and Democratic Congressional leaders announced that they would write another plan to kill Clinton's. Details are sketchy, but two points are clear: 1) Democrats distanced from the bureaucracy of Clinton's plan. 2) They reaffirmed universal coverage, but agreed to achieve it slower than President Clinton wanted.
"This put the 1,300 page Clinton plan in a deeper grave. Democrats were finally finished with mandatory alliances the giant purchasing cooperatives that the Clintons hoped would increase consumer buying power. Congressional leaders seemed willing to phase in a requirement that employers pay for workers health care. Yet, Democratic leaders and the White House struggled to overcome the obvious problems of employer mandates: The White House insists upon them, the Senate lacks the votes to approve them.
"In the House, leaders began writing a plan that would phase in the controversial mandate requirement. But, in the Senate, Majority Leader George Mitchell was shopping for a proposal to keep even his anti-mandate conservatives on the board. The idea: pass a measure without mandates. If that did not produce near-universal coverage within a set period of time, then mandates would take effect automatically-unless Congress instructed otherwise. The plan provides political cover, giving moderates a chance to say the bill has no mandates and the liberals a chance to claim that it does. Yet White House officials knew that it might not even get them the moderate Republican votes. They were clearly preparing for a 51 -vote strategy in the Senate-reminiscent of the 1993 Budget vote. If they had any hope that Republicans would ignite public ire with a filibuster, it was fading. Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole told U.S. News that while Republicans may not like the Mitchell compromise, which could be debated in the Senate next week, 'It doesn't mean we will filibuster.'
"There are other problems in the Senate. By one leadership count, there are 14 Democrats opposing, including David Boren of Oklahoma and Richard Shelby of Alabama. The group includes votes that the president needs, like Senator Bob Kerrey, Nebraska, who says he told Mitchell privately, 'If somebody introduces something to strike mandates, I will vote for it.' How many would buy into Mitchell's compromise is anyone's guess. Meantime, assorted other groups are searching for a middle ground.
"The White House hoped that Mitchell's middle ground would get them a conservative Democrat like John Breaux, of Louisiana, who might then bring along others. Clinton met with Breaux last week to pave the way. But some, like Kerrey, who is no fan of the White House or its health plan, intend to hold Clinton to his statement in Boston that universal coverage may mean covering 95% of the population. 'He can say whatever he wants now,' Kerrey says. 'They can fill the air with spin control. But the words are out there- and we have banked them.' And the president is facing problems caused by liberals who insist that any health plan include abortion coverage. House leaders met last week to work out a compromise so the controversial issue does no have to go to a vote on the floor. One solution that congressional leaders are considering is to allow people to opt for plans with or without abortion coverage.
"Even within the Clintons' administration, though, there are gripes about where the administration is going. When Paul Begela, a White House political consultant, unveiled the Democrat's newest ads on health care before a cabinet meeting earlier this month, they were met with jeers. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala complained that the commercials didn't prominently feature women. And one ad now airing that touts Hawaii's employer-mandated health system got thumbs down from the senior advisers, who felt that Hawaii seemed too much like paradise and too distant from the typical American's experience. Whether it is before the governors or in his own cabinet room, President Clinton's words and ideas and have yet to sound thee right note." (U.S. News & World Report, 8/1/94, Stumbling into a deal, Matt Cooper and Steve Roberts, p.21)
"Many different health plans are being promoted by Democrats and Republicans. Democrats like Richard Gephart's goal is to replace the poorly approved Clinton plan. Many other Democrats will support the Clinton plan, or a similar plan without Clinton's name on it in hopes that they can help insure Clinton's re-election. One plan even outlined a health care melting pot to provide coverage for part time, unemployed, and temps.
"Mrs. Clinton unsuccessfully toured the country in 'The Health Care Express': a bus decorated with campaign material promoting their health care plan and seeking support for it from Americans.
"Many liberals say that Health Maintenance Organizations are the future of health care. They say this will eliminate their freedom of choice in choosing doctors. What they do not say is that many doctors are cheating the government and carriers by performing unnecessary tests. Some doctors will buy an expensive piece of equipment like an MRI and prescribe it to as many patients as possible to get recoup their money. They bill insurance companies. The government pays all Medicare bills without question causing taxes to rise. Many carriers and employers must join an HMO to cut costs."
Fortunately, for them many European Nations they have Socialized- health care. Unfortunately, we have a much bigger population than them. And- an- abundant- supply- of legal and illegal immigrants. We just cannot afford that. Although the idea of a-for profit H.M.O. is taking advantage of Democracy. We should not be denied basic health care for lack of money. If we strive for it we can attain some kind of affordable health care without creating a governmental bureaucracy to do it.
I cannot help but feel that if the Clinton plan or a version of it passes it is the "beginning-of-the-end" for many things: I greatly fear the government arbitrarily deciding that doctors make too much money. If it passes what will be next on the "hit parade?" What will we do if one day the government will decide that lawyers or accountants earn too much money?