Halfway to Where? Answering the Key Questions of Health Care Reform

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Although neither the House nor the Senatepassed a health care bill by President Obama’sAugust deadline, various pieces of legislationhave made it through committee, and they providea concrete basis for analyzing what the proposedhealth care reform would and would notdo. Looking at the various bills that are movingon Capitol Hill, we can determine the following:

  • Contrary to the Obama administration’s repeatedassurances, millions of Americanswho are happy with their current health insurancewill not be able to keep it. As many as89.5 million people may be dumped into agovernment‐​run plan.
  • Some Americans may find themselves forcedinto a new insurance plan that no longer includestheir current doctor.
  • Americans will pay more than $820 billionin additional taxes over the next 10 years,and could see their insurance premiums riseas much as 95 percent.
  • The current health care bills will increase thebudget deficit by at least $239 billion over thenext 10 years, and far more in the years beyondthat. If the new health care entitlementwere subject to the same 75‐​year actuarial standardsas Social Security or Medicare, its unfundedliabilities would exceed $9.2 trillion.
  • While the bills contain no direct provisionsfor rationing care, they nonetheless increasethe likelihood of government rationing andinterference with how doctors practice medicine.
  • Contrary to assertions of some opponents,the bills contain no provision for euthanasiaor mandatory end‐​of‐​life counseling. Thebills’ provisions on abortion coverage are farmurkier.

In short, Americans will pay more and get less.Whatever the variation, however these bills aremerged or compromised, this would be bad newsfor Americans.