Saturday, March 27, 2010

A New Feature at Touched With Fire:
What's in the Bill?

OK, so technically it's a law, but I'm still calling it a bill because I'm a flaming optimist and I hope this crap sandwich will be repealed. I'm going to start posting here things that I find out about the health bill that maybe are (or maybe aren't) going to be reported on by Obama's lapdog media.

Mark Levin has a link to this on his website: Timeline of Major Provisions in the Democrats' Health Care Package. This information comes from the Committee on Ways & Means Republicans, ranking member, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI).

We've heard two talking points from the Democrats, ad nauseam, about what this bill is going to do for people right away: 1) it will allow dependent "children" to stay on their parents' insurance plan until the age of 26; and 2) people will not be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. But what else is going to go into effect this year or next? Some excerpts below; for the entire list, go to the Timeline link.

Seniors ought to be screaming bloody murder over this thing, because Medicare is taking some major hits. And this is only the beginning. Rush Limbaugh said on his show on Thursday that if you are a couple, retiring this year, you need to plan on spending $250,000 on medical care for the rest of your lifetime. Gee, I forgot to save for that. Do I get a do-over?
  • Medicare Advantage cuts begin (how much? Don't know--we'll have to find it in the bill, I guess. Who is reporting this?).
  • Medicare cuts to home health begin.
  • Medicare reimbursement cuts when seniors get diagnostic imaging like MRI's, CT scans, etc. (My 85-year-old mother paid out $1,000 for an MRI last year that wasn't covered by Medicare, so it's not exactly like those things were free to seniors before the bill went into effect.)
  • Medicare cuts to ambulance services, ASCs, diagnostic labs, and durable medical equipment.
  • Seniors prohibited from purchasing power wheelchairs unless they first rent for 13 months (evidently the authors of the bill are hoping for DEATH sometime during that time).
  • New Medicare cuts to long-term care hospitals begin.
  • Additional Medicare cuts to hospitals and cuts to nursing homes and inpatient rehab facilities begin.
  • Medicare cuts to dialysis treatment begins.
I could go on--there are lots more.

Other nuggets from the timeline:
  • In 2011, employers are required to report the value of health benefits on W-2. (That's called a tax hike.)
  • Requires plans to cover, at no charge, most preventive care. (Oh, that's not going to increase my insurance premiums, I'm just sure.)
  • Imposes 10% tax on indoor UV tanning. (That's hilarious, unless you own or use a tanning salon. Why the specific heartburn about tanning?)
  • FDA authorized to approve "follow on" biologics.
  • Deny "black liquor" eligibility for cellulosic biofuel producers credit. (Huh? This was evidently just stuck onto the health crap bill and has nothing to do with health care. They do it all the time.) 
  • Increase adoption tax incentives for two years. (Would someone tell me what that has to do with health care?)
  • Provide income exclusion for specified Indian tribe health benefits provided after 3/23/10.
  • Prohibits non-group plans from canceling coverage. (Another reason our health insurance premiums will increase.)
  • Impose new annual tax on brand name pharmaceutical companies. (I'm just sure they won't pass that on to their customers.)
  • New tax on all private health insurance policies to pay for comp. eff. research. (I have no idea what "comp. eff." is, but glory hallelujah, it's another new tax.)
  • Generally increases threshhold (7.5% to 10%) at which medical expenses, as a % of income, can be deductible.
  • Impose a 2.3% excise tax on medical devices. (Is there a theme here?)
  • In 2013 a CO-OP Program begins: Secretary awards loans and grants for establishing nonprofit health insurers.
  • In 2013, individuals with "government approved" (it actually says that) coverage are subject to a tax of the greater of $695 or 2.5% of income.
I'm done here for now, since blood has started shooting from my eyes and I'm pretty sure my doctor isn't available. For more of this nightmare, go to the link. Seriously, I think most people are in denial about how fundamentally this is going to change our health care. I would have been happy to have my taxes pay for a voucher for every uninsured person in the country rather than have this obscene bill passed. But as they've been telling us for a year: this abomination isn't about health care; rather, it's about government controlling our lives. Think it isn't? Just wait.

With his signature on this bill, Barack Obama has made Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Service, one of the most powerful people in this country. More on her later.

"Oh, my eyes, my eyes!" Sorry for the photo.

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