[StBernard] Will President Obama Veto Health Reform?

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Wed Oct 7 08:58:29 EDT 2009

Will President Obama Veto Health Reform?

by Newt Gingrich

With the Senate Finance Committee poised to pass health care legislation,
the final contours of the bill that could come out of Congress are starting
to come into focus. The bill will contain new taxes on the middle class. It
will add to the deficit. And it will put government bureaucrats between
Americans and their doctors, among other things.

So it's not too early to ask the obvious question: Will President Obama veto
health care reform?

It's worth asking because so many of the costs to taxpayers the President
has repeatedly promised won't be in the legislation are, and so many of the
benefits are not.

What follows is a list, in no particular order, of the contradictions
between the President's promises and the reality of Democratic health care
reform. Add them up and it's hard to see how President Obama doesn't reject
the bill Congress seems likely to send him.

Contradiction #1: From a Promise Not to Raise Taxes
on the Middle Class to $2 Billion in "Penalties"

As far back as the campaign, President Obama promised he wouldn't raise
taxes on Americans making less than $250,000.

But an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that at least
71 percent of the individual mandate penalties in Senate Finance Committee
Chairman Max Baucus's (D-MT) bill would be paid by Americans earning less
than $250,000. In fact, the nonpartisan analysis found that, of the $2.8
billion in penalties the bill imposes on those who do not purchase health
insurance, a full $2 billion will be paid by taxpayers earning less than
$120,000 for a family of four.

The Senate Finance bill also levies $215 billion in new taxes on employers
and health insurers for offering high-value insurance benefits, which will
surely be passed onto all consumers.

Republicans tried to ensure that President Obama's words would not ring
hollow by offering an amendment that said: "This amendment provides that no
tax, fee or penalty imposed by this legislation shall be applied to any
individual earning less than $200,000 per year or any couple earning less
than $250,000 per year." Democrats defeated it.

Contradiction #2: From a Promise to Reject a Bill That "Adds One
Dime to the Deficit" to $239 Billion Added to the Deficit

In his speech to the Joint Session of Congress, the President was adamant:
"I will not sign [a bill] if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the
future, period."

And yet House bill H.R. 3200 will increase the deficit by an amazing $239
billion over the next decade.

The Baucus bill pretends to be deficit neutral but it's an accounting
gimmick. "It pays for itself" by forcing a new $250-300 billion unfunded
mandate on the states. And it doesn't include nearly $300 billion that will
be spent to adjust physician payments in Medicare.

Contradiction #3: From a Promise That "If You Like Your Current Plan
You Can Keep It" to Half of Medicare Advantage Benefits Being Cut

In his speech to the Joint Session of Congress last month and elsewhere, the
President has reassured nervous Americans that if they like their current
coverage, his reform will let them keep it.

Unless you happen to have Medicare Advantage, that is.

Or employer provided insurance.

The director of the nonpartisan CBO testified before the Senate that, under
the Senate bill, the benefits of seniors under Medicare Advantage would be
cut in half.

And an analysis of the House bill found that 88 million people will lose
their current insurance under government health care.

What's more, both bills would disrupt vision care for more than 100 million

Contradiction #4: From "If You Like Your Current Doctor
You Can Keep Your Doctor" to Squeezing Doctors and
Hospitals Until They Reduce Patient Access

Here's what three doctors who are former chairmen of the American Medical
Association (AMA) say about the cuts to Medicare in Democratic health reform

"Now the government is saying that additional Medicare cuts are coming-thus
forcing doctors to try and make up the difference in volume, by seeing more
patients. If you ask patients about this, they understand that more volume
means less time with the doctor. That's something that all patients and
doctors should oppose. In time, it will be difficult to find a physician."

And here's what the executive director of the Mayo Clinic said: "We will
have to violate our values in order to stay in business and reduce our
access to government patients."

Contradiction #5: From a Promise that No Government Bureaucrat
Will Stand Between Patients and Doctors to a Medicare
Commission With the Power to Deny Treatment

Just this week, in a speech to doctors gathered in the White House Rose
Garden, President Obama reiterated his pledge not to let a Washington
bureaucrat get between a patient and their doctor.

But the Senate Baucus bill creates an "Independent Medicare Commission" with
the ability to deny benefits to the elderly or the disabled based on a
government calculation of the costs versus the benefits.

Contradiction #6: From a Promise to "Slow the Growth of Health
Care Costs For Our Families" to a New Tax on Hearing Aids,
Wheel Chairs and Breakthrough Drugs

In his speech to the Joint Session of Congress, the President pledged to
"slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses and
our government."

But the Senate bill contains a tax on medical technology companies and drug
makers that will raise the cost to American families for thousands of drugs
and devices, including pacemakers, eyeglasses, hearing aids and powered

Contradiction #7: From a Promise that Health Care Reform Will
Fix the Economy to New Taxes on Small Businesses

One of President Obama's main rationales for health care reform is that it
is necessary for economic recovery.

Working against this promise is the provision in the Senate bill that will
tax small businesses - the engine of American economic growth and job
creation - that can't afford to purchase health insurance for their
employees. It's hard to see how the economy recovers when small businesses
are prevented from hiring new workers by a new government tax.

Contradiction #8: From Insuring All Americans to Leaving 25 Million

One of President Obama's three basic goals for health care reform is to
provide insurance to those who don't currently have it.

That's the promise. The reality? The CBO has determined that the Senate bill
will leave about 25 million nonelderly Americans uninsured.

I could go on, but I think the point is made. The differences between what
Americans have been promised from health care reform and what they are
getting go beyond the usual give and take of Washington.

A Congress controlled by the President's party is producing health care
legislation that blatantly contradicts his most basic, often repeated,

What will the President do? Will President Obama veto health care reform?

Stay tuned.

Your friend,
Newt Gingrich

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