Broun's Briefing - 8.26.2009
Aug 26, 2009 -
As the debate on government-run health care continues, some folks are feeling lost in a fog of sound bites and statistics. With President Obama stating that those who don’t agree with his $1.5 TRILLION bill are spreading “disinformation,” “opposing health care reform,” and “defending the status quo,” I think now is a great time to get down to specifics so you can decide what is real and what is rhetoric. This update will examine some of the provisions of the first half of the President's health care bill. If you would like to follow along with my examples, feel free to read the actual bill - H.R. 3200 - here.
Pages 21-22, Section (b) “Study and Reports”: This section mandates a government audit of all businesses that self-insure. Though many businesses have decided to self-insure to save money and hire more people, a government bureaucrat will now decide if these businesses are insuring properly. The ultimate goal will be to eliminate all self-insurers.
Pages 30-32: An unelected committee, appointed by the President, will make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on what treatments and benefits will be provided. Not only is this bad, but it gets worse: unlike with private insurance providers, appealing the government’s decisions will not be allowed.
Pages 65-70: Tax payers will be forced to subsidize the retirement plans of unions and community organizers. This section mandates that the Treasury Department create a “Retiree Reserve Trust Fund” to pay for this and fund it with up to “$10,000,000,000.” Not only is it unconstitutional for Obamacare to do this, but it is also highly immoral to force taxpayers to pay for the health care of those who advocate policies they disagree with. In other words, do you want your tax dollars to pay for ACORN’s insurance?
Pages 124-125: This section sets the government plan’s health care rates and states that “there shall be no administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology established under this section or under section 224.” If the President really wants competition “to drive down costs,” why would he allow price fixing? If private companies cannot complain about unfair government price fixing, how can they compete?
Pages 317-318 “Prohibition on Expansion of Facility Capacity”: Because of this section, hospitals will be forced to ask for government permission before expanding “the number of operating rooms, procedure rooms, or beds.” I don’t need to explain the absurdity of this provision.
Page 501, “Comparative Effectiveness Research”: This part of the bill establishes a government research center which will determine the “outcomes, effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care services and procedures in order to identify the manner in which diseases, disorders, and other health conditions can most effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, and managed clinically.” When asked about this specific provision at his first health care town hall, President Obama said, “Look, the first thing for all of us to understand that is we actually have some -- some choices to make about how we want to deal with our own end-of-life care… we as a culture and as a society [can start] to make better decisions within our own families and for ourselves... at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn't going to help. Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” This statement seems as unbelievable now as it did when I first heard it.
As a doctor, I know that correctly diagnosing a problem is not a solution. The real solution comes with proper treatment. I believe that there are problems with the high costs of health insurance, and that too many people uninsured. But turning health care over to a new government bureaucracy is not the necessary treatment. That will only make the problem worse.
Congressman Paul C. Broun, M.D.