Dueling Health Care Plans Unveiled

House Democrats on Friday finally unveiled their long-awaited 852-page health care “reform” legislation (pdf) that engineers a government takeover of medicine. The bill is a staggeringly expensive bureaucratic nightmare that Democrats will try to defend in a series of hearings beginning this week.

As details of this leviathan bill begin to emerge, what is becoming increasingly clear is this plan, if passed, will cost American jobs. Democrats would use the cost of a business’ annual payroll to define whether or not a small business is subject to a new eight percent federal tax. Only those with less than 10 employees on average would be spared the onerous new tax. Subjecting these small businesses who employ 47.3 million people and provide $1.7 trillion in wages annually to the Democrats’ new tax will place these jobs and wages at risk.

Additional employer mandates that will require some small businesses to offer employee coverage would cost another 4.7 million jobs according to a model from the President’s own economic advisors.

The House Democrats’ plan also places mandates on every individual American citizen to buy health insurance or pay a hefty penalty to Washington equal to almost two percent of their annual income. Of course, if you can’t afford to pay for the coverage, you would be forced into the government-run system that will make health care more expensive and ration care based on age, cost and survivability rates. The government system also puts bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions, like putting the DMV in charge of your medical decisions.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has admitted that their health care plan would be financed by raising taxes. There have been reports of a whole slew of new taxes on individuals being considered, from a national sales tax to additional taxes on cigarettes, new taxes on sodas, and raising taxes on everyone making more than $200,000 a year.

According to a Lewin Group study published earlier this year, a similar Democrat plan would force more than 100 million Americans out of their current health coverage and into the government system. The Congressional Budget Office issued a report last week on the similar plan authored by Senate Democrats that would force at least 23 million people out of their private health care coverage. According to news reports, even the White House has admitted that statements made by the President promising you can keep your current health care coverage if you like it shouldn’t be taken literally.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House Republican leader, talked Friday about the Democrat plan.

“This plan is nothing less than a government takeover of health care, and families and small businesses who are already footing the bill for Washington’s reckless spending binge will not support it,” Boehner said. “Raising taxes, rationing care, and empowering government bureaucrats — not patients and doctors — to make key medical decisions is not ‘reform.’ This plan will make health care more expensive, reduce the quality of care for millions of families and small businesses, cost American jobs, and force untold millions of Americans off their current plans and into a government-run nightmare operated by federal bureaucrats.”

House Ways and Means Committee ranking Republican Dave Camp of Michigan expressed concerns about the cost of this undertaking.

“The Democrats are refusing to reveal the price tag of this bill or how they will pay for it, but it is obvious it will cost well over a trillion dollars,” Camp said. “We will certainly need to examine the details, but I fear this plan will force tens of millions of Americans to lose their current health care coverage and put the federal government in charge of determining what doctors and treatments are available to patients. Those dangers will be magnified by the hundreds of billions of dollars in hidden tax increases that could cause millions more Americans to lose their jobs.”

“Americans need a real bipartisan solution on health care — this bill isn’t,” Camp added. “The sooner Democrats invite us to sit down together, not just as Republicans and Democrats, but as Americans, the sooner we can craft a commonsense solution that will make health care more affordable, accessible and available for all Americans.”

Gohmert Introduces Health Savings Accounts Health Care Plan

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), the man who brought you the Tax Holiday stimulus plan, has a fresh, innovative health care plan that centers on health savings accounts that give individuals control over health care spending.

(Gohmert’s “tax holiday” alternative to Obama’s stimulus plan would have simply excused Americans from paying taxes for most of the year. It would have worked — at far greater speed and lower cost — than Obama’s failed stimulus package.)

Every American citizen would maintain a personal, family, household or employer-provided Health Savings Account (HSA), all contributions from pre-tax dollars. Rather than filtering money through “premiums, profits and taxes first,” patients would spend the money directly from their own HSA. There is no limit on how much pre-tax money could be put into this health savings account. This would work in conjunction with a catastrophic insurance policy that is adjustable as the savings account grows over years and even generations. These HSAs would roll over each year and would also be an asset that would be passed on to your family or designee.

Any amount over $3,000 could also be invested in a manner that would “include stable, inflation-protected federal treasury bonds so that your investment can have added growth. A separate type of federal Treasury bond may be created in other legislation specifically for such investment. That way, as long as there is a United States, your healthcare savings will be there for you when you need it.”

Each person would be issued a debit card to access the funding. These cards would be coded and could only be used for health care purchases. No hassles or paperwork.

“We are rolling out a new health care plan because the plans we’ve seen so far have involved too much government and too much insurance company involvement, which has been a big part of our problem,” Gohmert said at the announcement. “If you liked my Tax Holiday Plan, you’re going to love this one. This plan will give every American the treatment that they need, when they need it, with the doctor of their choosing and at a price that is affordable.”

You can read the plan online here.