Rather than debate the substance, the White House is in full campaign mode in order to label any opposition to its government-heavy health reform agenda as “misinformation” or “myths you’ve heard.” Case in point: The White House now has a taxpayer-funded Web site to “reality check” credible criticisms and arguments. Problem is the videos “debunking” each “myth” are low on facts. See our response below.
Solving Pre-Existing Conditions Doesnt Take 2,700 Pages
In signing the Senate health bill into law, President Barack Obama said that one of the immediate “benefits” would be the end of pre-existing medical exclusions for people buying insurance. But Heritage expert Edmund Haislmaier points out how under current federal law, people in employer-based coverage don’t face those exclusions. However, it is a problem for people buying insurance on their own (roughly 10 percent of the insurance market). But that problem can be fixed with just three pages of legislation, not 2,700. Instead, ObamaCare goes further than necessary, allowing people to game the system by only buying insurance when they are sick. Having creating that problem, ObamaCare tries to “fix” it with an individual mandate. Congress could actually resolve the pre-existing conditions problem with basic insurance reforms that don’t amount to a government takeover of the U.S. health care sector.
If ObamaCare Dies, Genuine Reform Can Still Live
In his latest “final push,” President Barack Obama has told crowds that if Congress doesn’t pass ObamaCare, the country won’t get meaningful health reform in the near future. But Heritage health analyst Robert Moffit details how that hasn’t been the case. In fact, many health policies that have shaped the current U.S. health care system came after the demise of ClintonCare in the 1990’s. Unfortunately, the bulk of these health reform measures were ill-advised and added to the soaring the nation’s soaring health care costs. If President Obama was truly serious about meaningful reform, he would urge Congress to scrap the current House and Senate bills and start over with legislation that takes a step-by-step approach to health reform, focusing on ideas that have broad bipartisan support.
Reconciliation Maneuvers around the Will of the People
The Obama Administration and congressional Democrats plans to use reconciliation to ram through ObamaCare is an unprecedented and remarkable abuse of power. Heritages government relations expert Brian Darling lays out how reconciliation is used largely for budgeting items like raising the nations debt limit. But taking on something as large as health reform is something Congress has never done with the parliamentary tactic. Furthermore, lawmakers are scheming to use reconciliation so they can amend a health reform bill that has yet to pass Congress. The bottom line is that Congress needs to scrap ObamaCare and start over with measures that actually have bipartisan support.
Health Care Summit Success = Starting Over
This week, President Barack Obama plans to hold a bipartisan summit with congressional members to discuss health care reform. If the President wants this summit to be a success, he must push for Congress to set aside highly unpopular bills in the House and Senate start with a clean sheet of paper. Simply adding “conservative” provisions to these bills (or even the President’s proposal) doesn’t change the fundamental direction of the legislation. If Washington is serious about health care reform, they should start over with small reform efforts that have broad bipartisan support — like letting the states take the lead with reform efforts; fixing the nation’s already-broken public health programs; changing the tax treatment of insurance to make it fairer; and trying targeted insurance reforms that don’t equate to a government takeover of the insurance market.
ObamaCare Doesn't Help Young Adults
President Barack Obama has been promising for the past year that health care bills before Congress would help younger Americans -- often who are healthier and more resistant to buying insurance coverage -- access affordable health plans. But Heritage senior policy analyst Paul Winfree, who tracks health care economics, says those promises are too good to be true. Winfree points out in new research that both the House and Senate bills include changes to insurance ratings so that younger, healthier Americans would lose any potential discounts they would get compared with older, sicker consumers. This would drive up the cost of health insurance for everyone. Additionally, the bills have individual mandates, which would force young adults to pay a fine if they didnt want to buy health plans. Many younger Americans would pay the fine because it would end up being the cheaper option -- even when you add in government subsidies. This is one more tax on young adults who are struggling to pay for rent, food, gas and other living expenses. These are more reasons why Congress needs to start over with health measures that bring real portability to the health insurance market.
Time to ditch Obamacare and start over
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama implored Congress to pass through a massive health care bill that would forever change one-sixth of the nations economy. This flies in the face a growing opposition from many Americans who dont want ObamaCare. Instead of ramming through an unpopular bill, Congress should drop ObamaCare and start over with smaller efforts that garner bipartisan support. Heritage health policy expert Robert Moffit lays out conservative health reform approaches that have resonated across both aisles.
Doctors: Obamacare wrong for America
Vice President Joseph Biden in a new White House video urged Americans to ask their doctors, the most trusted source for medical information, about the health care reform efforts in Congress. Ask them. Ask them if they think we should just leave things the way they are, he said. Well, Heritage did ask two esteemed medical professionals, both of whom have lead medical societies, about health reform. They want real measures that fix the broken health care system, but the bills being debated in Congress don't take the country in that direction -- quite the opposite in fact. Dr. Todd Williamson of Georgia and Dr. Donald Palmisano of Louisiana discuss why they're concerned about Obamacare and what it could mean for their patients.
Obamacare is not a good fit for women
First Lady Michelle Obama’s video on health care reform raises important issues about female patients who are falling through the cracks of the U.S. health care system. It’s not a perfect system, but Nina Owcharenko explains that ObamaCare would take women and the rest of the country in the wrong direction. Having to depend on politicians or faceless bureaucrats to make decisions about their care doesn’t empower women or improve their health care situations. Plus, the Obama health reform agenda isn’t what women want. A majority of female respondents told the Independent Women’s Forum in a recent survey that they don’t think government-run health care is best for them or their families.
Congress dismisses transparency promises
This past summer, hundreds of thousands of Americans attended town hall meetings and demanded their representatives be more upfront about the health care legislation being crafted to overhaul one-sixth of the U.S. economy. But Congress continues to operate in a shroud of ambiguity. Members of the Senate Finance Committee even defeated an amendment that would have required Congress to post the actual bill online for at least 72 hours before voting on it. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) went as far to say actual bills use arcane language that ordinary Americans wouldn’t understand. Regardless, the public has a right to have time (at least five days) to read the bills before they're voted on. That’s what President Obama campaigned on and he should hold Congress to keep that promise.
Health bill will hit Medicare Advantage
Despite claims that Medicare beneficiaries won't see any cut in benefits, the legislation in Congress would do just that. Medicare Advantage, used by nearly one in four seniors on Medicare, is a system of private plans that beneficiaries can use to receive additional services. While private plans in Medicare Advantage get more payments than traditional Medicare, those payments mean more benefits covered for seniors. The Congressional Budget Office director contradicted the White House by testifying that Medicare benefits will be cut, meaning seniors will have fewer private options for their health care needs. If lawmakers are going to secure any "savings" in Medicare, they should go back into making the program sustainable.
Fix our current federal health deficit first
While the United States does have a huge deficit problem we can't afford not to fix, the Obama administration is focusing on the wrong aspect in trying to create a new federal health program. Congress needs to address the spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- programs that have existed for decades -- that are primed to explode. Long-term excess costs for Social Security and Medicare alone are $43 trillion. When added to the national debt, that is about $184,000 for every man, woman and child in America. We should focus on reforming the federal health programs so that they'll be sustainable for generations to come.
Two major reforms conservatives support
America's health care system is one-sixth of the entire economy -- larger than Britain's. Restructuring something that large and complex in one massive bill rammed through Congress is a fool's errand. We must incrementally reform health care in stages, by letting the 50 states act as laboratories for solutions. Two major reforms already have broad support and can move us forward: 1) Give states more freedom from federal rules to experiment with reform measures, like medical malpractice reform and allowing people to buy insurance across state lines. 2) Fix the tax treatment of health insurance in a budget-neutral way so that people can buy it outside of their workplace. That way, you would no longer lose your coverage if you change or lose your job.
Millions will lose their private coverage
The White House's assertion that you'll be able to keep your health insurance if you like it is wrong. With incentives like employer mandates and a public plan, companies will find it easier to pay a tax or fine and dump their employees out of their existing private coverage and onto a public plan or other alternatives. Moreover, under current legislation, the government would have the authority to determine the benefit packages that Americans get, from medical treatments and procedures to drugs and devices. At the end of the day, Americans will get what the government decides they can receive in terms of health benefits.
En Español: Don't shortchange Hispanics
Israel Ortega, senior media associate and Spanish newspaper columnist, discusses why Obamacare shortchanges Hispanics in America and why it’s a wrongheaded approach to effectively provide health insurance for those who need it. True health reform will put the individual -- and not the government -- behind the steering wheel.
Israel Ortega, columnista y asociado de prensa para la Fundación Heritage habla acerca en como el plan del Presidente no le conviene a la comunidad hispana. Una verdadera reforma nos pondría detrás del volante para decidir por si mismos que plan mas nos conviene -- no el gobierno.
Special-needs patients face fewer choices
Since many Americans with special needs, or their caretakers, use Medicare Advantage plans as a way to pay for their higher medical costs, they have every right to be concerned about the reduced funding congressional leadership is proposing to pay for its massive health care legislation. Dennis Smith, who worked tirelessly to improve options for disabled Americans when he was at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, notes that H.R. 3200 would reduce reimbursement for Medicare Advantage plans, resulting in fewer health insurance plans tailored to those with disabilities being available. That would mean fewer choices for people with special needs, not more as the White House claims.
Congressmen opted out of public option
Contrary to the White House's video, member of Congress in the House Ways and Means Committee already have exempted themselves from a government-run health plan with the defeat of an amendment by Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV). The amendment, which would have required members of Congress to enroll in the newly created public health insurance plan, failed with 21 Democrats voting no. Here's the truth behind the entirely private coverage options offered to Congress and government employees through the successful Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
Obama's plan will hurt small businesses
Proposed solutions to pay for a new public health care program have included taxing the wealthy. In reality, this will impact thousands of small business owners who are creating the jobs and wages for most Americans. These taxes will hurt small businesses by keeping them from expanding and adding new jobs. It will hurt workers by stagnating wage growth or even eliminating jobs. New research from Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis reveals these new taxes could mean 400,000 employees could lose their job each year. Spending and new taxes will not be the way to bend the health care cost-curve downward. It will only exacerbate the problems businesses already face.
Medicare won't be safe if history is a guide
“Nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits,” except the lawmakers on Capitol Hill who have proposed to cut roughly $150 billion from the highly popular Medicare Advantage program, which now enrolls about one out of five senior citizens. These plans in this program provide Medicare patients with richer and more varied benefits than those in traditional Medicare. There are a lot of options the government can do to reign in spending for Medicare, which currently is $38 trillion in the red. But any savings need to go toward lowering Medicare’s long-term cost -- not creating a new government-run health care program.
Medicaid has a long history of rationing
The creation of a publicly run health insurance option is no laughing matter. Government-run health care programs like Medicaid have a history of low-quality care. By reducing payments to doctors and hospitals, Americans on these programs have a harder time finding a doctor who will accept them as a patient, thus rationing their access to care. The White House might accuse insurers of rationing care, but research shows patients with Medicaid and SCHIP end up in emergency rooms more often than the privately insured and even the uninsured.
88 million will see their coverage disappear
Despite claims from the White House that it’s “disinformation,” the Lewin Group — a health econometrics firm that has been cited by think tanks and lawmakers across the ideological spectrum -- forecasts more than 88 million Americans could see their current employer-based health coverage disappear under the House drafted bill that includes a new public plan. Part of the shift would be the result of employers making the economic decision to drop their current plans in response to financial incentives built into the bill.
Plus, a health plan modeled after Medicare won’t necessarily be more efficient. American taxpayers could end up subsidizing a health plan that would have an unfair advantage in the marketplace, driving many insurers out of the marketplace and limiting patients’ choices.