2009-07-30 / Letters

President's Health Care Option Scary

To The Editor:

Congress is rushing to pass the president's public healthcare option before the August 3 congressional recess. Introduced in the House on July 14, with less than 17 days of debate, this legislation would be a government takeover of the healthcare system, which is six percent of the U.S. economy. Our healthcare decisions would be put in the hands of presidential appointees. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, appointed as health policy advisor at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research, wrote last year that "vague promises of savings ... are ... more for show and public relations than a true change."

Douglas Elmendorf, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director, confirmed that the congressional Democrats' government takeover of healthcare will drive costs even higher for American families. Remember, this $1.5 trillion plan over 10 years will continue to be law and cost taxpayers year after year.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the healthcare plan seeks to provide coverage to nearly all Americans by subsidizing the poor and penalizing individuals and employers who don't purchase health insurance. Did you get that? Low income families, those earning up to 4X the poverty level, $88,000 for a family of four, will receive a monthly deposit into their bank account. If you happen to fall within these guidelines, this may sound pretty good to you, but this is redistribution of wealth, also known as socialism. Why is this in a healthcare bill? And, you and your employers will be forced to purchase insurance. Failure to comply will result in financial penalties up to $2,500 and then you will be assigned a healthcare plan. Small businesses not offering insurance will have penalties up to 8.5 percent of their income. How many jobs will this create?

"If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep that too" according to President Obama in the Rose Garden July 15, 2009. Not true! The nonpartisan CBO reported 23 million Americans would lose their current plans if the Senate Democratic healthcare "reform" bill is enacted. "White House officials suggest the president's rhetoric should not be taken literally: what Obama really means is that government isn't about to barge in and force people to change their insurance." (AP) But, if there are any changes in your insurance after the government option becomes effective, such as the insurance company's changing copays or deductibles or you changing jobs, you will be required to go into a government plan. (See pages 16-17 of the House plan). But, members of the House and Senate are exempt from the plan as it's currently written. If it's a good plan for everyone, why is Congress exempt?

Dr. Emanuel believes that "communitarianism" should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the nondisabled, not given to those "who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens ... an obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia." He plans a nationwide federal hospice program. And, the elderly will be required to have counseling by a government psychologist every five years. Is that to prepare you for hospice, no more healthcare, and a dignified end of your life? According to our president, after a certain age, you can't have surgery; you should "take a pain pill instead." If you fall and break your hip, do you go to a hospice for pain pills instead of a hospital for surgery? It'll be based on age, not quality of life. At what age are you too old?

Wake up! This plan should scare you to death, maybe literally. Pick up your phone and call your representative and senators today. I have. Sen. Arlen Specter, 202-224-4254; Sen. Robert Casey, 202-224-6324; Rep. Bill Shuster, 202-225-2431. Sue Schooley McConnellsburg

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