The ineptitude shown by elected representatives by not reading this 1,018-page monstrosity and their arrogance in exempting themselves from all provisions of the proposed law is just the beginning. They have ignored and refused many debate forums, countenancing thugs (Service Employees International Union) at some Town Hall meetings to intimidate citizens from free speech and debate. These and a patently illegal move by the White House encouraging “snitches” to report (firstname.lastname@example.org) opposition to the bill are appalling beyond belief.
By the time you read this, politicians will be back in Washington and up to no good. I suspect that by now violence (we saw the SEIU involved Aug. 6 in St. Louis, Mo.) will have been injected into dialogue over H.R. 3200, which citizens oppose overwhelmingly. Even an ABC News poll found that 83% of Americans are very or somewhat satisfied with their health care and 81% feel the same about health insurance. In a Yahoo poll in mid-August, when this was written, 79% said Presidential handling of this issue was “not good,” 8% said “fair” and 10% said “well.”
What this article intends is to summarize impacts on business and readers of this journal that could come from H.R. 3200. But before getting to that, it is important to know how political chicanery is involved here. First, legislation that passes into law does not specify all details; matters are left to interpretation as expressed in regulations. For example, on bill page 253 lines 10 to 23, government “validates work relative value units” (sets price for a doctor’s time) and uses “professional judgment” (defines value of humans). Don’t take my word for it, read it yourself. You can do that by going to www.thomas.gov (Library of Congress), enter HR3200 in the “search box” and scroll down.
Words in a bill do not translate to law with specificity, which later appears as rule and regulation. Second, since the Senate side is concerned that public reaction will scare enough vulnerable Democrats to vote “no,” Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to use the “reconciliation” vote process, which is defined in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and is now PL93-344. It is reserved solely for budget bill passage (H.R. 3200 is not a budget bill). Also, using this method allows passage by a majority vote (51) instead of the 60 votes required for non-budget bills. Sneaky snakes, aren’t they?
There are many features of this proposed legislation that can have a devastating effect on industry, especially small businesses. Notice that tort reform is not part of the bill and many unfunded mandates are placed on states. The following is a list of features that give the idea of bill content and shows page number and synopsis of provisions.
- Pages 21-22: mandates a government audit of all employers that self-insure to “ensure that the law does not provide incentives for small and mid-sized employers to self-insure”
- Pages 50-51: health care will be provided to all non-U.S. (illegal alien) residents
- Page 59: government has direct access to bank accounts for electronic fund transfer
- Page 95: government will use groups (like ACORN) to “inform and educate” about government plan(s)
- Page 124: no company can sue government for price fixing; there is no “administrative or judicial review” against a government monopoly in insurance
- Page 145: employers must auto-enroll employees into a public-option plan
- Pages 149-150: any employer with a payroll of $400,000 and above that does not provide a public-option plan must pay an 8% tax on all payroll; businesses with payroll between $251,000-400,000 that do not provide a public-option plan will pay a scaled 2-6% tax on all payroll
- Page 167: any individual who does not have acceptable care defined by government will pay a 2.5% tax on income
- Page 195: Health Care Administration will have access to every American’s financial and personal records
- Pages 502-503: government will create a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research on medical treatments and counseling, collecting data both “published and unpublished,” and employers are compelled to cooperate
- Page 800: government will determine which health-care conditions and services will be paid (rationed)