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Democrats Refuse To Learn Lesson of ‘94

Today, President Obama made it official.  The beginnings of the government takeover of health care has begun.  This year alone, the Heritage Foundation says we’re going to see:

  • Prohibition on revoking insurance for patients who falsify applications to fraudulently obtain private insurance coverage (however, penalties for fraud against federal health programs are increased).
  • “Annual Fee” tax on prescription drugs of $2.3 billion, allocated according to market share.
  • New 10% tax on indoor tanning services effective July 1, 2010.  (What?!  Seriously?  Why was this in the bill?)
  • New restrictions on not-for-profit hospitals.
  • Special tax benefit for Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations that maintain medical loss ratios of at least 85%.
  • Physician payments decrease 21% effective March 1, 2010.
  • Group and Individual policies issued after this date may not contain lifetime coverage limits, must provide first-dollar coverage for preventive care as defined by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and must cover “children” of primary policyholders up to age 26.

And that’s just in the remainder of calendar year 2010.  I don’t know about you, but as a “child” of 26, I was married and had been gainfully employed for over four years.  But it was sixteen years ago that Democrats read the tea leaves and realized that a government takeover of health care wasn’t what the country wanted and wasn’t the way to go.  Just pursuing was it was one of the major reasons that Democrats lost control of both chambers in Congress.

Something to consider about the makeup of Congress in 1994, the Senate had 57 Democrats and 43 Republicans.  The House began with 258 Democrats and 176 Republicans.

The current makeup of 111th Congress?   The Senate has 59 Democrats and 41 Republicans.  The House has 253 Democrats and 177 Republicans and five vacancies.

Big deficits to be sure, but Republicans took control of Congress in the ‘94 midterm.  Can history repeat itself?

The evening of the vote, I had the chance to speak with Senator Dan Coats to get his perspective on the vote as well as what the atmosphere was like in Washington at the time as well as talk to him about what he would do if elected.

Much like I was, Senator Coats was practically at a loss for words when I spoke with him.  He called it nothing short of stunning and that in his travels across Indiana, the people he spoke with were angry with arrogance of the Democrat controlled congress.  Health care hasn’t been the major concerns of Hoosiers.  It’s been jobs.  Democrats would most likely chime in that people without jobs don’t have insurance and that’s the problem that needs to be solved.  I’ll grant that, but that’s backwards problem solving.  People may have insurance now, but they still don’t have a job and the stimulus still has been a colossal failure when it comes to job creation in the private sector.  Coats pointed to former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who, seeing writing on the wall ahead of the ‘94 Republican Revolution, said that pursing a government controlled universal health care was “killing the goose that laid the golden egg”.

When I asked Coats about Bart Stupak, he was blunt and harsh with his criticisms.  He called him a sellout and said that it wasn’t worth sacrificing life for an Executive Order, especially when an Executive Order can be rescinded at any time.  He even pointed out that when the pro-choice caucus signs off on it, you know something is wrong.  Coats sentiments have been echoed over the last few days when he said that with President Obama’s history of broken promises that the Executive Order wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

That led me to asking him that if he made it past the primary and were to be elected what steps would he take to challenge Obamacare.  Coats then cited his prior experience in the Senate as an advantage and that he could hit the ground running and form legislation that would work towards the immediate repeal of Obamacare citing that he believes this bill to be a massive job killer and that it will deter businesses, large and small, from wanting to hire new people because of the fines implemented on them for not supplying insurance to employees.

When I asked him why he thought Brad Ellsworth voted for health care reform, he said that “Ellsworth had bought into the (Democratic) leadership’s plan”.   He must have.  And with that buy in, Ellsworth received a $1 million dollar reward.

Sen. Evan Bayh has given the Indiana Democratic Party $1 million from his $13 million campaign fund.

It will be used to help U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth, who is now seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Bayh’s seat.

Coats closed by saying that Republicans must worth together to make 2010 and 2012 a referendum on Obamacare. I couldn’t agree more. And if you need a little encouragement consider this. In 2011:

  • FSA plans limited to $2,500 per year (currently no limit).
  • New limits on what health care can be paid for with FSA, HAS, and HRA funds.
  • Deduction for Part D eliminated.
  • “Annual Fee” tax on medical devices of $2.0 billion, allocated according to market share (rises to $3.0 billion after 2017).
  • “Annual Fee” tax on health insurance, allocated according to share of total premiums. Begins at $2 billion in 2011, then increases to $4 billion in 2012, $7 billion in 2013, $9 billion in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016, and eventually $10 billion for 2017 and every year thereafter. Two insurers in Nebraska and one in Michigan are exempt from this tax.
  • 10% Bonus for primary care physicians and general surgeons.
  • Restrictions and substantial cuts to Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Allows states to expand eligibility to 133% of the federal poverty line (FPL) for childless adults.
  • Private health plans must maintain a “medical loss ratio” of at least 85%. Failing that, they may rebate policyholders or increase medical expenditures. “Annual fee” tax does not count toward this ratio.

And in 2012:

  • “Annual Fee” tax on health insurance increases to $4 billion.
  • Payment penalties for hospitals with the highest readmission rates for selected conditions.
  • Health insurance company employees may not be paid more than $500,000 per year.

Feeling motivated yet?

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