Friday, October 16, 2009


Public support for health care reform is based on a desire to help the sick or, at the very least, to protect the non-wealthy from the financial impact of illness, chronic disease, and accidents.  Unfortunately, the reform proposals under active consideration in Congress do precisely the opposite, say Heritage Foundation researchers Robert A. Book, Guinevere L. Nell and Paul L. Winfree.

In particular, the Baucus health reform proposal, recently passed by the Senate Finance Committee, imposes new taxes on those who need health care the most and on lower-income people with the least ability to pay -- in some cases to fund coverage subsidies that will primarily go to young, healthy people with moderate incomes.

The proposal would impose:
  • Higher taxes on taxpayers at all income levels who face high out-of-pocket medical expenses or have high-cost health plans, including patients living in poverty.
  • "Annual fees" (i.e., taxes) on the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, which would have to be passed on in the form of higher prices to patients who pay out of pocket, and to insurance plans, which will have to raise their premiums.
  • An "annual fee" on insurance companies that will be passed on to patients directly in the form of higher premiums.
Despite President Obama's promise not to raise taxes "one dime" for those earning below $250,000, this proposal would increase taxes on households with incomes substantially below that level -- and especially on households facing the worst health problems, say Book, Nell and Winfree.

The revenue from these taxes is intended to offset premium subsidies for households with incomes below four times the federal poverty level (FPL), but these taxes would be imposed on Americans who need medical devices or prescription drugs, have high out-of-pocket costs, or pay their own health insurance premiums -- including many households with incomes below four times the federal poverty level (FPL).

Source: Robert A. Book, Guinevere L. Nell and Paul L. Winfree, "Adding Insult to Injury: The Baucus Health Plan Imposes New Taxes on the Sick," Heritage Foundation, WebMemo No. 2651, October 15, 2009.

The EdgeHealthcare and Catholics: True and False Arguments

Some important points for Catholics to consider regarding healthcare.

Healthcare reform – it’s one of those causes almost everyone favors, but which almost automatically produces sharp arguments when we ask what it means and how it might be realized. You would have had to be living in a cave for the past eight months to be unaware that Americans are deeply divided on this matter, and that the division runs clean through the middle of many communities. That includes Catholic America.

Of course, there are a small number of non-negotiables for Catholics, whatever their politics, when it comes to healthcare reform. These principally concern any provisions that facilitate or encourage the intentional termination of innocent human life, or which diminish existing conscience exemptions.

Without question, these are the primary issues for Catholics who take their Church’s teaching seriously when it comes to healthcare legislation. They dwarf everything else.

No matter how good the rest of the legislation might be in, for example, widening access to affordable healthcare, it is a stable principle of Catholic faith - and natural law - that you cannot do evil in order that good may come from it. St Paul insisted upon this almost 2000 years ago (Romans 3:8), and it is constantly affirmed by Scripture, Tradition, and centuries of magisterial teaching. Try as they may, no amount of rationalization by the usual suspects can get around this point.

story here

cross-posted from A Catholic View


Insurance companies have another made-to-order report saying that the Senate Finance Committee's health bill would drive up health cost, says the Wall Street Journal.  The logic is pretty simple: If lots of sick people sign up for insurance, while many healthy people take their chances on going uncovered, the price tag on a health-insurance policy is going to rise sharply.

That was the scenario outlined in a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers released Monday by America's Health Insurance Plans, the leading industry trade group.  Now the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is hawking its own report by Oliver Wyman, a consulting firm that is part of Marsh & McLennan Cos.:
  • The Oliver Wyman report says that unless the Senate beefs up the proposed mandate on Americans to carry insurance, average annual medical claims five years after the overhaul takes effect would be 50 percent higher than today, not accounting for medical inflation. 
  • That would increase the premiums for family coverage by $3,300 in today's dollars, it says.
The latest report isn't likely to get any friendlier reception among Democrats than the first one, which Democratic senators denounced for what they described as faulty assumptions.  In fact, the pressure among some senators, including the all-important Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is for an even more lenient individual mandate.  Critics of the strong mandate sought by insurers say it isn't fair to make people buy insurance they can't afford.

Source: Peter Landers, "Another Insurer's Report Warns About Cost of Senate Health Bill," Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2009.

Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief

In the June 18, 2008, issue of JAMA, Dr. Emanuel blames the Hippocratic Oath for the "overuse" of medical care: "Medical school education and post graduate education emphasize thoroughness," he writes. "This culture is further reinforced by a unique understanding of professional obligations, specifically the Hippocratic Oath's admonition to 'use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment' as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of cost or effect on others."
Read the rest here

House Democrats Give Senate Nuclear Option on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bills

House Democrats appear to have given the Senate the go-ahead to use a controversial process called reconciliation to railroad the pro-abortion health care bill through the chamber. Abortion advocates may use a process called reconciliation to get around a potential filibuster.

With the health care bills in Congress having the potential to increase the number of abortions by one-third, making sure they are amended to prevent abortion funding is crucial.

story here

cross-posted from A Catholic View