Monday, November 2, 2009

Rep. Franks: 'New' Democrat Health Care Plan Just More of the Same Failed Ideas

October 30, 2009 - Congressman Trent Franks today released the following statement on the heels of Democrats' official unveiling of their health care proposal:

"Yesterday morning, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats officially unveiled their 'new' health care proposal on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. However, despite their attempts to brand H.R. 3961 and H.R. 3962 as a new take on the health care debate, in reality, the bills are the same terrible ideas that Democrats have been stubbornly pushing for the last nine months, and prove once again that liberal, Nancy-Pelosi-Democrats have not heard the outrage of the majority of Americans who clearly oppose a government takeover of our health care system.

"These bills are incomprehensibly large expansions of the size and scope of the federal government. The two bills contain an incredible 2,000 pages filled with new bureaucracies and red tape with which average Americans seeking simple, affordable health insurance will now have to struggle. And Democrats' insistence on including a so-called 'public option' in their proposal, despite months of vocal protests from hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country causes me to wonder who, exactly, these 'Representatives' are representing. I'd suggest that they certainly do not reflect the interests of the majority of Americans, who have consistently indicated that they do not want to see passage of any sort of 'public option,' which will undoubtedly pave the way for a complete government takeover of our health care system.

"And in a shocking display of fiscal irresponsibility, H.R. 3961 accounts for an incredible $200 billion in un-funded proposals, and Democrats have made it clear they have absolutely no idea how they will pay for any of them. In other words, in the midst of an economic recession and a health care crisis, Democrats are seeking to 'improve' the situation by spending hundreds of billions of dollars that they don't actually have, violating every empty spending promise, including PAYGO, they have made to the American people over the last view years. It also flies in the face of President Obama's campaign promise to never support a bill that is not completely paid for. This is on top of the nearly $900 billion cost H.R. 3962 is currently expected to incur— and we all know the historical inaccuracy of the federal government when estimating the cost of new bureaucratic programs.

"Unsurprisingly, in a vain attempt to cover the costs of so many new and expanded federal programs, the Democrats' bill would impose numerous new taxes, including a 5.4% tax that would primarily be shouldered by small businesses, a penalty tax on those who do not acquire health insurance coverage, taxes on a wide variety of health plans (including HSAs and HRAs), and a 2.5% tax on medical devices, to name a few.

"Furthermore, by not specifically and thoroughly preventing the federal funds involved in the bill from being funneled toward paying for abortions, the proposal would amount to the largest expansion of abortion-on-demand since Roe v. Wade.

"America's health care system does need to be reformed. But requiring the federal government to seize all control of our health care system, removing the decision-making process from the hands of patients and doctors and placing it into the hands of government bureaucrats, is not the kind of reform the American people are looking for.

"The American people must continue to speak clearly about their opposition to this thinly veiled attempt to enact policies that could actually bring about the collapse of our health care system, which, with all its flaws, is still among the best in the world. And Congress must finally respond with policies that will accomplish the injection of more competition into the health care market, while adhering to the free market principles that are have been the engine of our unparalleled economic system."

While the two newly-introduced health care bills (H.R. 3961 and H.R. 3962) are currently projected to cost about $1 trillion to fund, that remarkable figure will nonetheless likely prove much lower than the actual cost, given historic precedent. For example, when Medicare passed in 1965, the Congressional Budget Office predicted it would cost $12 billion per year by 1990; in reality, the cost of Medicare in 1990 was over nine times greater than projected -- about $110 billion. Likewise, the Medicare expansion of 1987 was projected to $1 billion annually, by 1992; the actual cost was $17 billion.

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