Monday, August 17, 2009

Health Care Reform - HR 3200 review, Part 1

Most Americans have heard a lot about what is and is not in the leading Health Care reform bill now in the U.S. Congress. The bill, HR 3200, is officially titled America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Mr. Obama and others have spent the last several days denying that euthanasia, taxpayer funded abortion, and tax increases are in the bill. This week's blog entries will be devoted solely to hitting the highlights of what is in the bill. The bill is a little over 1000 pages long. As I read through it this week, I'll cover about 200 pages in the blog each day. Plus, I will place a link to the bill ( in each day's post so that you can go read it for yourself. You can even save the bill in Adobe Acrobat to your computer if you like. A week or so ago, a friend forwarded me an e-mail with these points in it. However, I decided to go read the bill to verify everything. I have added a few things that I discovered myself to the list. Remember, President Reagan said, "trust, but verify." I must warn you - this may be a long, boring read. However, if health care reform is truly important to you, then I think you will want to stay with me for the entire series. I hope that when I conclude on Friday, you'll have a truthful understanding of what's in the bill and be able to contact your Congressman and Senators to voice your informed opinion. Today we'll look at pages 1 - 200.
  • p. 16 lines 11 thru 16 say that an individual will not be able to enroll in private coverage if the first effective date is on or after the first day of the year the bill becomes law.
  • p. 21 lines 5 thru 9 say that premiums can vary based upon age. However, the variance can not be more than 2 to 1. What happened to "free health care for everyone ?"
  • p. 21 lines 22 thru p. 23 line 7 - all employers will be studied (a.k.a. audited) to determine capital reserve ratios and whether they can remain a viable business. Based upon the findings of the "study", the law may be adjusted so that employers do not have an "incentive" to self-insure. In other words, the government can change the rules to encourage employers to join the public / single-payer option.
  • p. 29 lines 9 thru 16 basically say that out-of-pocket costs could be as much as $10,000 for family coverage and $5000 per individual per year and will adjust each year based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI). So, if we experience a period of severe inflation and the CPI increases, guess what ?? Your out-of-pocket max GOES UP, ALSO.
  • p. 30 line 11 thru p. 33 line 13 says there will be a government committee that will determine what benefits you get. The committee will be made up of as many as 27 people as follows :
  1. 1. 9 appointed by President that are not Federal employees or officers,
  2. 9 appointed by Surgeon General that are not Federal employees or officers,
  3. as many as 8 appointed by President that are Federal employees or officers, and
  4. 1 doctor (yes, that's right only 1).
  • p. 42 - The Health Care Choices Commissioner will choose your health benefits for you.
  • p. 50 line 21 thru p. 51 line 3 - some have said this section would provide health benefits for illegal aliens. While it does not say those words exactly, the phrase that health benefits "... shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics ..." leaves that possibility open.
  • p. 57 line 10 thru p. 59 line 8 allows the government real-time access to your bank accounts and requires a national health ID card to be issued.
  • p. 66 line 1 thru 21 makes it possible for the government to subsidize plans for retirees and their families in unions and community organizations (i.e. -ACORN)
  • p. 72 creates a Health Care Exchange which could make it possible to bring private health insurance companies under government control.
  • p. 84 line 4 thru p. 87 line 2 mandates requirements for all benefit packages for private health care plans in the Exchange. Talks also about Basic, Enhanced, and Premium Plans. Some opponents of the bill have said these different levels of coverage are where the rationing comes into play. However, the bill's language here is very unclear and it could be argued that this section is simply discussing the different plans to be offered. It's open to interpretation.
  • p. 95 line 3 thru p. 97 line 19 - opponents of the bill say this section will enable groups like ACORN to be used for signing people up for this government health care program. The wording is such that it is possible.
  • p 102 lines 12 thru 18 - people eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled. No choice for them.
  • p. 124 lines 1 thru 5 says participating service providers in Medicare are automatically enrolled in the government ran health care option unless they opt-out.
  • p. 124 line 24 thru p. 127 line 16 says the government will set reimbursement rates for medical service providers and they will not be able to appeal. Furthermore, the government will tell doctors how much they can make. Also, it does not address who pays the difference between what the government pays the doctor and the actual charges. So, who pays the difference ?? Is it the patient ??
  • p. 135 line 12 thru p. 138 line 4 appears to saying that premiums will be based upon your income. What happened to free ??
  • p. 139 thru p. 141 line 18 talks about income verification during your initial application for health care. This is government-speak for audit. Yes, you WILL be audited before being issued health care insurance and you MUST notify the government of any "significant" changes to your income.
  • p. 149 line 16 thru p. 150 line 18 says small businesses that choose not to offer health care insurance will be taxed as much as 8% if their total annual payroll is over $400,000 and ones with payrolls between $250,000 and $400,000 will be taxed from 2-6%.
  • p. 153 lines 7 thru 18 say that periodic "investigations" (audits) will be done to ensure compliance with the health coverage participation requirements.
  • p. 167 lines 18 thru 23 say that any individual without insurance that meets the "requirements" of the government will pay a tax of 2.5% of income.
  • p. 170 lines 1 thru 3 say nonresident aliens are exempt from the 2.5% individual tax mentioned above.
  • p. 194 line 10 thru p. 195 line 9 amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and says the IRS "... shall disclose to officers and employees of the Health Choices Administration or State-based health insurance exchange ..." your income tax return information. So, where does this disclosure of personal tax information stop ??
Tomorrow, we'll look at pages 201-400. See ya then.
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Anonymous said...

This one is a keeper for sure. Great research.


The Contemplative Mama said...

Thanks Johnny...this is very helpful!!!