Halfway to Where? Answering the Key Questions of Health Care Reform (Policy Analysis)

Although neither the House nor the Senate

passed a health care bill by President Obama’s

August deadline, various pieces of legislation

have made it through committee, and they provide

a concrete basis for analyzing what the proposed

health care reform would and would not

do. Looking at the various bills that are moving

on Capitol Hill, we can determine the following:

  • Contrary to the Obama administration’s repeated

    assurances, millions of Americans

    who are happy with their current health insurance

    will not be able to keep it. As many as

    89.5 million people may be dumped into a

    government-run plan.

  • Some Americans may find themselves forced

    into a new insurance plan that no longer includes

    their current doctor.

  • Americans will pay more than $820 billion

    in additional taxes over the next 10 years,

    and could see their insurance premiums rise

    as much as 95 percent.

  • The current health care bills will increase the

    budget deficit by at least $239 billion over the

    next 10 years, and far more in the years beyond

    that. If the new health care entitlement

    were subject to the same 75-year actuarial standards

    as Social Security or Medicare, its unfunded

    liabilities would exceed $9.2 trillion.

  • While the bills contain no direct provisions

    for rationing care, they nonetheless increase

    the likelihood of government rationing and

    interference with how doctors practice medicine.

  • Contrary to assertions of some opponents,

    the bills contain no provision for euthanasia

    or mandatory end-of-life counseling. The

    bills’ provisions on abortion coverage are far

    murkier.

In short, Americans will pay more and get less.

Whatever the variation, however these bills are

merged or compromised, this would be bad news

for Americans.

Although neither the House nor the Senate

passed a health care bill by President Obama’s

August deadline, various pieces of legislation

have made it through committee, and they provide

a concrete basis for analyzing what the proposed

health care reform would and would not

do. Looking at the various bills that are moving

on Capitol Hill, we can determine the following:

  • Contrary to the Obama administration’s repeated

    assurances, millions of Americans

    who are happy with their current health insurance

    will not be able to keep it. As many as

    89.5 million people may be dumped into a

    government-run plan.

  • Some Americans may find themselves forced

    into a new insurance plan that no longer includes

    their current doctor.

  • Americans will pay more than $820 billion

    in additional taxes over the next 10 years,

    and could see their insurance premiums rise

    as much as 95 percent.

  • The current health care bills will increase the

    budget deficit by at least $239 billion over the

    next 10 years, and far more in the years beyond

    that. If the new health care entitlement

    were subject to the same 75-year actuarial standards

    as Social Security or Medicare, its unfunded

    liabilities would exceed $9.2 trillion.

  • While the bills contain no direct provisions

    for rationing care, they nonetheless increase

    the likelihood of government rationing and

    interference with how doctors practice medicine.

  • Contrary to assertions of some opponents,

    the bills contain no provision for euthanasia

    or mandatory end-of-life counseling. The

    bills’ provisions on abortion coverage are far

    murkier.

In short, Americans will pay more and get less.

Whatever the variation, however these bills are

merged or compromised, this would be bad news

for Americans.

Michael D. Tanner is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and coauthor of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It (second edition, 2005).

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