I’ve spent some time going through Harry Reid’s 2,074 page health care restructuring bill. If you read the dozens of prior posts regarding prior versions, you pretty much know the story. There are many good analyses of the tax and other aspects, so read up.
While some details have changed, this is one massive play by Democrats to create permanent control by the federal government of just about every aspect of your health care life. Whether the penalty for not having government-approved health insurance is $300, or $500, or $750, is a minor detail. Creating an unprecedented federal mandate power is the key point, and will open the door both to higher penalties and new areas of federal power.
What also is striking is how difficult it is to understand the provisions in the 2,074 pages of Reid’s bill. Just look at how Reid’s $100 million payoff of Mary Landreiu was cloaked in hard to understand language.
And many provisions are just guidelines, with discretion vested in the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promulgate rules and regulations fleshing out the details.
2,074 pages are just the beginning. It is fair to say there will several times that number of pages of regulations delineating who must do what, when and where. There will be dozens of new bureaucracies created generating hundreds of new forms and reports which must be filled out.
A glimpse at the future is the current structure for retirement plans under ERISA. It is almost impossible to do the calculations and prepare the tax filings without the help of a specialized benefits administrator. The cost is in the thousands of dollars even for a small employer.
Under Reid’s bill, and the House version, employers of all sizes will have to hire someone — either on staff for larger companies or third party vendors for small employers — to navigate the new health care regulations, reporting requirements, and tax provisions. This bill will create jobs, but in the least productive sectors of our economy.
Already, so much of our economy is devoted to satisfying federal paperwork requirements. This is unproductive work which adds nothing to our economic competitiveness. Every dollar spent on a tax lawyer or accountant is a dollar not spent creating economic opportunities for the business.
This bill is so bad, that it is beyond repair. Arguing about this detail or that detail almost is beside the point, because the entire thrust of the bill is the problem, not just the details.
There are not many times when we truly can say that we are at a turning point. If anything close to the Obama-Reid-Pelosi plans passes, there will be one last chance in November 2010 to stem the tide of government control. It is not too much to say that several more years of Democratic control will result in an almost irreversible economic and political disaster, at least for people who prefer capitalism and individual liberty.
Tonight’s vote is procedural, on whether to open debate. In a few weeks there likely will be a vote on some bill. That vote needs to be fought with every lawful means, recognizing that our tax dollars will be used to bribe Senators with pork projects to win their votes.
But the real battle comes in November 2010.
I believe Barack Obama when he says that he would rather get his way on health care legislation even if it meant he were a one-term President.
Obama knows what is at stake. Do we?
Update: Landrieu (the $100 million woman) and Lincoln (price unknown) are on board to move Harry Reid’s bill to debate, so tonight is a mere formality. Now comes the test of whether Harry Reid and Obama can force debate to end. We’ll see if Lieberman lives up to his promise to filibuster any plan with a public option, if Landrieu has been bought and sold, if Ben Nelson will hold to his abortion-language position, if Lincoln wants any political future (she has none if she votes “yes” on cloture), and if Olympia Snowe will hold the Republican coalition firm so that the disaster is owned by the Democrats.DONATE
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