Baucus Health Care Plan: Another Burden for Taxpayers

Senator Baucus’s new healthcare proposal serves as a springboard for discussion, taking health care reform into new territory though talk’s have been ongoing for decades. On the surface, people might smile in relief but those grins turn to frowns as one reads further. Do taxpayers, the average working American, really need yet another burden laid at their feet? $856 billion dollars has to come from somewhere. Face it, when the federal government wants money, it’s the working class, the tax payers, who foot the bill.

The biggest fly in the ointment here are proposed government mandates on American’s to purchase health insurance coverage or pay fines if they do not. For those who can’t afford insurance, this is a kick in the teeth. Does this men that, like the federal mandate of car insurance, that if you get caught not paying for something you can’t afford, you must pay even more? This doesn’t make sense. The basic concept of health care reform should be to lower costs, not raise them or impose prohibitive fines. This is another case of the government telling people how to spend money, requiring something citizens must then pay for out of pocket. How does that lower costs?

Insurance exchanges, similar to Medicare, sound good at first but delving deeper, isn’t it just another way for government to spend more money, and control more of the healthcare industry? Face it, Medicare as it exists is a disaster, hence the supplemental programs offered by major insurance companies to collect even more money for profit. This plan would require insurance companies to sell coverage to all seeking it, without exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions or prohibitive premiums. This plan would create exchanges requiring companies to sell policies that meet government criteria, with federal subsidies for low-income individuals and families unable to afford coverage. Any policies offered have to cover preventive measures as well as dental, mental health, and prescription, and vision. But is this coverage available for all, or only certain groups of people. Is it income based or age based? What would be the qualifications for lower cost insurance? In all honesty, government criteria often excludes working class taxpayers, the very people who pay their exorbitant salaries.

A new six billion dollar tax on high cost insurance plans is also proposed, a long with a series of fees and taxes on insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and other health care providers. This money supposedly helps pay for reforms as insurers will theoretically have millions of new customers due to the individual mandate of the government. In all practicality, these new taxes and fees will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher premiums and from employer to employee in the form of lower wages.

The idea of healthcare reform is to make it more widely available and to lower the costs of healthcare, not burden taxpayers with yet another government expense. Politicians on both sides of the fence need to work a little harder to come up with an acceptable plan for those ultimately footing the bill.