Showdown on health care

March 23 marks the two year anniversary of the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, popularly known as ObamaCare.

The controversy over this government reform of healthcare is heating up.

On March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court opens three days or oral argument on whether or not ObamaCare is unconstitutional.  A majority of the States and numerous organizations will argue that it is.

The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote to repeal one of ObamaCare’s most unpopular creations, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which promises to ration health care based on age. The repeal has bi-partisan support.

The President promised repeatedly that enacting this comprehensive government program would lower health care costs (“bend the cost curve”) while extending medical insurance to all.

Obama also promised that you would keep the health insurance coverage and the doctor of “your choice”.

According to a report released this week by the independent Congressional Budget Office, none of these promises will come true.

The CBO originally forecast a ten year cost of $940 Billion. The new estimate is $1.76 Trillion, nearly double.  And ObamaCare isn’t even fully in effect until 2014.

Already, health insurance premiums for employer plans and for individual policies are rising faster than they did before ObamaCare

The CBO report estimates that by 2016, four million Americans will lose their employer provided health insurance as employers drop plans made more expensive by federal coverage mandates.

CBO says 17 million more Americans will be added to Medicaid and 22 million to government run insurance exchanges.

Even so, the CBO report projects that while 93 percent of Americans will be covered by some kind of health plan (up from 83 percent before ObamaCare), 7 percent still will not.

After 2014, you will not choose your plan or your doctor, the government will choose for you.

Even if you still get health insurance from your employer, the terms of coverage after 2014 will be dictated by the feds.

If you are enrolled instead in a government run insurance exchange, you will be covered for “essential health benefits” mandated by the government, regardless of your actual medical needs.

Worse, where the CBO report does project cost savings, these are federal revenues coming from cuts in Medicare and from 20 new taxes, including increased penalties on employers for not providing government defined health insurance coverage

In short, the CBO projects that ObamaCare will result in higher health costs, less choice, more mandates, more paperwork, higher taxes, and lower quality medical care.

The most controversial part of ObamaCare is the “individual mandate”, a government requirement that everyone be covered by health insurance whether you want or need it.

This mandate is really a tax (in the form of health insurance premiums) on young, healthy Americans to subsidize the cost of health care for older Americans.

To enforce this mandate, ObamaCare requires disclosure on your federal tax forms of your health insurance status and provides for 6,000 new IRS agents to enforce the law.

The government definition of “essential health benefits” is also causing controversy.

Where a plan covers elective abortion, everyone will pay for it. 

Federal law prohibits federal funding of abortion, so funding will be provided by the federally regulated “private” insurance companies and also by a one dollar “abortion surcharge” on every insured person in the plan, regardless of their opinion of abortion.

Contraceptives for females are required in every health plan, with a narrow exception for “houses of worship” who object and then only as to employees who share that church’s moral law.

Catholic hospitals, universities, homeless shelters, and other Catholic charities would be forced to include and pay for morally repugnant “health care” for employees.

The Church says it will not comply.

Despite congressional testimony by a proponent of “free” contraceptives from a Catholic university, last week’s New York Times/CBS News poll had a sizable majority of Americans (57 percent to 36 percent) favoring an exception for religious-affiliated employers.

The most disturbing controversy swirling around this government controlled health insurance reform is how much of the motivation is “government control” and how much is “health care”?

The Obama administration has cut off federal funds for a program that provides 130,000 low income Texas women with free annual exams and free birth control. 

The feds acted after the Texas Legislature banned Planned Parenthood from competing for the contract to administer the program for the State. 

Looks like Planned Parenthood is more important than the “reproductive health care” of 130,000 poor women.  Where’s Sandra Fluke now?

In the latest Associated Press poll, 35 percent of Americans support ObamaCare, 47 percent oppose it.

Memo to Congress:  Repeal ObamaCare and start over.