By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
The healthcare reform bill introduced Tuesday by members of the House of Representatives is something only Rube Goldberg could love. More than that, it's a bureaucratic nightmare that contains so many "revenue enhancers" and "pay fors" that it could send tax rates skyrocketing back near where they were before Ronald Reagan was president.
For the first time, under the House leadership plan, there would be a per capita tax on all health insurance policies. The revenue that tax generates, say those who have read the bill, would be put into a Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund that would pay to compile and analyze data about medical care that the new healthcare bureaucracy would use to determine what lifesaving treatments and services people could no longer receive because they were too expensive, because they were too old, or because the chances of success were too small. To put it another way, the people with health insurance would be taxed to pay for the government to figure out what medical care would no longer be available to them.
The House bill also includes an employer mandate that imposes a tax on a firm's total payroll of up to 8 percent if it does not cover its employees. But, says Americans for Tax Reform's Ryan Ellis, many businesses would actually find this helpful—as larger companies tend to have healthcare costs of anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of payroll, meaning the government's 8 percent figure represents to them a potential savings of 2 to 6 percent—if they dump their private insurance, forcing their employees to move to the government plan.
That's just a few of the problems with the House bill which, in point of fact, makes the HillaryCare bill of the early 1990s look like a sane and reasonable approach to reform. It's almost as though the writers of the bill sat down, looked at every promise about healthcare reform that President Obama had made to date, and deliberately tried to break it for him.