'House Call' Today; CBO Says GOP Health Care Plan Reduces Costs

Actor Jon Voight and nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin are joining Cong. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn), Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga), Cong. Mike Pence (R-Ind), Republican House leadership and other Republican members at noon today to welcome citizens coming into town from all over the country today to make calls on their representatives.  

Their message is to kill this turkey of a government-takeover of health care. Action is important today because Speaker Nancy Pelosi has hinted at a floor vote on the Dems’ massive bill this Saturday. Thousands are expected to join in the rally and the march through the House Office Buildings.

The rally/press conference starts at noon on the West Capitol steps where Presidential inauguration ceremonies are held.

HUMAN EVENTS will be there in force tweeting from the scene; follow @jedbabbin for live updates. We’ll bring you full coverage tomorrow.

CBO Analysis Says Repub Healthcare Alternative Reduces Costs

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) last night released a preliminary analysis (pdf) of the Republican alternative health care bill offered in the form of an amendment.  The amendment would eliminate Pelosicare bill in its entirety and become the replacement bill.  

The CBO and JCT found that the Republican alternative would lower premiums by up to 10 percent and reduce the deficit by $68 billion over 10 years without tax increases.  The letter confirmed what Republican have been saying all along:  their alternatives offer common sense, free market solutions which are always cheaper than leviathan government programs.

“When it comes to reforming health care, controlling skyrocketing costs is the American peoples’ top priority.  Now CBO has confirmed that the Republican plan will lower health care costs for American families, and that’s good news for everyone struggling in today’s economy.  The choice now could not be clearer: Speaker Pelosi’s plan raises costs. Our plan lowers them,” said Rep. John Boehner, the House Republican Leader.

“Across the country the American people are calling on Washington to pass responsible reform that will lower health care costs.  Yesterday, House Republicans answered that call by putting forward common-sense health care legislation that reduces the deficit, lowers premiums, and ensures coverage for those with pre-existing conditions,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

“The Democrats’ 2,000-page plan to give Washington more control via tax increases, mandates, bureaucracies, czars, and government-run insurance will not lower costs. We seek to lower costs by giving Americans more control over how they spend their health care dollars, allowing the purchase of coverage across state lines, ending costly lawsuit abuse, and providing important protections for those with pre-existing conditions,” said Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.), Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

The CBO also found that health insurance premiums for many American families will cost nearly $5,000 more under Democrat reforms than they would under the Republican plan.

The CBO estimated that by 2016 the ‘average of the three lowest-cost basic plans’ under the House Democrats’ bill would be $15,000 for a family.  Last night the CBO estimated that the Republican alternative bill would lower the cost of premiums for individuals at a rate of up to 8 percent, the small group markets would be lowered by up to 10 percent, and the large group market by up to 3 percent.  

According to the CBO, average health care premiums in the individual market would be $11,000 in 2016 under current law.  An 8 percent reduction in those costs would mean a premium of $10,120 — nearly $5,000 less expensive than the cheapest Democrat plan.  The CBO estimates the least expensive Democrat plan is unlikely to attract many families, which would result in the average premiums costing even more in the Democrats’ government-run exchange.

“With this bill, Republicans are proving you can lower health care costs without raising taxes, without cutting Medicare, without spending over $1 trillion and without putting the federal government in charge of your health care decisions,” said Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Ways and Means committee.

CBO and JCT:  Pelosicare Raises Taxes by $729.5 Billion

The elections this week in Virginia and New Jersey proved overwhelmingly that Americans are not happy with unemployment, the economy, out of control government spending and debt and taxing and borrowing and spending even more.  Apparently, the House Democrat leadership hasn’t yet gotten the message.

They are determined to shove their $1.6 trillion dollar Pelosicare bill through the House this week.

According to reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), H.R. 3962, the new Pelosicare bill, will raise taxes a whopping $729.5 billion.

The JCT is nonpartisan committee with a staff of Ph.D. economists, attorneys, and accountants, to assist members of both parties in both houses of Congress on tax legislation.  This week they released their official score of Pelosicare.  The JCT found that the taxes aimed at “high-income filers,” aka small businesses, would have their taxes raised by $460.5 billion.  This is a job killer that is not indexed for inflation, meaning every year this bracket would reach down and grab more people who are lower on the income chain.

The bill mandates that every individual purchase insurance.  Those who do not comply will pay a fine.  The JCT confirmed that the consequence of not paying the fine could be a jail sentence — all for not purchasing the health insurance your government will be selling.  Something’s really wrong with that picture.  How is it Constitutional for the government to force you to buy a product, any produce, especially one that they’re selling themselves?

Both the CBO (pdf) as well as the JCT say this mandate would raise $33 billion in taxes.

The bill also mandates that businesses pay 72.5 percent of health insurance (65 percent for couples), hitting small businesses with a job-killing tax of 8 percent if they cannot afford to buy the insurance.  This mandate also includes same sex couples.  According to the CBO and JCT, these provisions would tax the businesses another $135 billion.

Here’s where it gets sticky.  As happened in Tennessee with the fiasco called TennCare, employers who are already buying insurance for their employees will find it less expensive to pay the 8 percent fine.  In these tough times is it unrealistic to believe that employers would not cut costs by merely paying the fine and moving their employees to the government-run system.  Some estimates say as many as 114 million people will lose their private health insurance as a result.

JCT also scored $56.4 billion in other taxes including corporate reporting ($17.1 billion), worldwide interest penalties ($26.1 billion), treaty withholding ($7.5 billion), and codification of the economic substance doctrine ($5.7 billion).

This “economic substance doctrine” is the Orwellian process by which the IRS can disallow perfectly legal tax deductions if they decide your motive in making a purchase was to lower your taxes.

Flexible Spending Accounts, Medical Savings Accounts, Medical Reimbursement Arrangements and Health Savings accounts would no longer be able to reimburse individuals for purchasing over-the-counter medications.   All of the medicines that have been made more readily available by eliminating the requirement for a prescription from your doctor would no longer be a tax deductible purchase.  The bill increases penalties on these accounts for non-qualified withdrawals from these accounts from 10 percent to 20 percent.  According to the JCT, this would add up to $19.6 billion in taxes.

The bill also caps amounts that can be placed into these accounts annually, so the more than 8 million people also use Health Savings or Flexible Spending accounts as the means to purchase their health insurance coverage would not be able to keep the coverage they have without facing these stiff penalties and tax increases.

The bill also taxes “Cadillac” health plans held by union members.  This provision would raise another $2 billion in revenue.

Also found in the bill is the repeal of tax deductions offered to companies that subsidize their retirees’ prescription drug plans.  This will tax businesses an additional $3 billion and likely cause some to drop the subsidy from plans offered to retirees.

Pelosicare also hits manufacturers of medical devices such as pacemakers, wheelchairs, hip replacements and heart valves, with an additional $20 billion in taxes.  If you want less of something, tax it.  The tax will undoubtedly be passed on to consumers resulting in higher prices.  Wasn’t this supposed to be about lowering costs?

All of that adds up to new taxes in the amount of $729.5 billion dollars on individuals and America’s businesses, large and small.  And these are just the estimates.  Never in the history of government-run health programs have they ever been anywhere near the actual cost of the programs.