Chattanooga Times Free Press - Chattanooga Times Free Press Editorial
There are few issues before our people and our country today that have more immediate potential for terribly bad economic effects on us than the rush in Congress to enact Obama-Care medical legislation in one form or another.
The issue is big because it threatens to socialize medicine, affecting nearly everyone personally, and it would invite an economic cost disaster, which certainly would affect almost everyone, if not all of us.
We are fortunate that Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., intelligently and clearly addressed these big problems in a speech on the U.S. Senate floor several days ago. Here are some of his pertinent comments:
“The bill coming out of the Finance Committee does three big things. Instead of reducing costs, it brings higher premiums. It increases taxes. It calls for higher Medicare cuts. That’s not health care reform. If it will lead to higher premiums, higher taxes and Medicare cuts, then what is the goal of this exercise? The first goal should be reducing costs.
“How does it drive up premiums? The Congressional Budget Office has stated the obvious — that when you impose taxes on insurance companies, they pass them on to us in the form of higher premiums.
“It’s very likely that for millions of Americans, this bill will raise premiums instead of reducing them — and 250 million Americans pay insurance premiums or have them paid by someone else. And here we are in the middle of a recession with 10 percent unemployment, and we’re talking about nearly $1 trillion in tax increases passed on to us in one way or another. Then there’s a $1,500 penalty per family for not buying insurance. And on top of that: employer mandates. If you own a small business, you’ll have to either provide insurance to your employees or pay a penalty.
“Americans who like their catastrophic policy because they get to pay a lower premium and pay for their own medical expenses unless something really terrible happens to them or their families — a pretty wise choice for many Americans — may not be able to do that quite so easily under this bill because they’ll have to buy a likely more expensive government-approved plan — or pay a fine.
“The governors of both parties are in near cardiac arrest over the prospect of Medicaid expansion. Fourteen million new people, low-income Americans, will be dumped into state Medicaid programs. I say ‘dumped’ because doctors and hospitals are reimbursed so poorly for treating Medicaid patients that 40 percent of doctors won’t see them. So we’re going to say, ‘Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Low-Income American, welcome to the failed Medicaid program.’ ”
Sadly, this isn’t all. There are efforts by members of Congress — behind closed doors — to blend five different monstrous bills into one horrible example that the Democrat congressional majority believes it can pass.
Sen. Alexander has tried to warn us in time to avoid disaster.
The worst may be yet to come.