Healthcare Reform – Good or Bad?

A few of you want to know my take on the healthcare bill.  My first take: I have never been so happy as to NOT be a health care lobbyist as I have been this past year.  I don’t know exactly what to tell you because I have not been steeped in the Healthcare Debate.   Of the things I do know: our health care system is ranked 37th in the world by The World Health Organization.  I need to hire an expert to understand my Insurance and the forms I get when I simply go to the Doctor.  I know that no matter how good I am at Math, I can’t get the figures to add up to tell me why it costs someone $2400 a month to be self insured.  I know that our healthcare system has a lot of problems.

I also know there are some good things in this bill.  As you all know I am ESTATIC about the 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps  This provision is one of the few that starts immediately…effective July 1!  It’s about time!  The bill expands healthcare coverage to $32 million people…and who can argue that if American’s want health insurance, and they have a job, they should be able to afford health insurance.  I also like the fact that if you decide not to have health insurance, that is fine, but you have to pay the government $695 a year.  That will help (in a very very very small way) offset the cost I am currently paying to cover those who don’t have insurance.  The legislation allows you to cover your kids on your insurance until they are 26.  I think that is a good idea.  The bill prevents you (in certain situations) from being excluded from insurance because of a pre-existing illness.  There are some small business tax credits, and insurance companies will be barred from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.  These are all great things!

But, there are some things I don’t like and I am not so sure this bill will actually make things better.

First – Let me say SHAME ON THE MEDIA for making it seem like all of sudden these right wing nut cases are coming out of the woodwork threatening people and saying they want to kill them over the healthcare bill.  Wake up folks…this isn’t news.  This happens ALL the time, to Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents.  You should have heard the death threats when they were trying to impeach Clinton.  Don’t forget Anthrax was delivered to members offices after 9/11.  This isn’t news folks.  There are a lot of idiot wierdo’s out there and when they can find a phone number of an elected official, they like to use it.

Below are a few of my concerns with the bill:   

1.  This bill is the largest tax increase we have passed. It is $437 Billion over a 10 year period.  In a down economy, that makes me nervous.  It also makes me nervous that we are building up funds via taxes for several years before we even start providing most of these benefits.  And the way we pay for this bill is through various methods that can be repealed.  So I am not comfortable with the budget of this bill. I fully believe certain provision will be rolled back or altered but laws will be left on the books that will require deficit spending to cover. We are digging ourselves a giant hole.

2.  Your health care is now going to be added to your overall benefits and net pay.  So, you will pay taxes on this if you make over $200K or two people over $250K.  Most of you say, well that is fine, that is the wealthy.  This number will not adjust for inflation.  So 10 years from now, when $200K is middle class, you will get hit with the taxes.

3.  We are now taxing savings and investment income.  Doesn’t that seem counterproductive?  Don’t you want people to save and invest so they can pay for their retirement since we know Social Security isn’t going to be here for us. 

4.  This bill expands Medicaid for the State of Texas by $24 Billion over 10 years.  That is a $24 Billion unfunded mandate that the State of Texas HAS to pay.  Where are we getting that money from?  You look at a state like Texas with no income tax and the need to raise $24 Billion in 10 years….look for some new taxes (or maybe this will be the tool that pushes them to legalize gambling).

But, it was a historic vote and we have been trying to pass some sort of Healthcare Reform for years.  Perhaps this is the first step.  Will it costs votes at the mid-term election. I am not exactly sure.  I do think it all depends on the economy.  I do not believe we are coming out of this recession.  But, I do have to give my hats off to Nancy Pelosi.  That is right, I said it, Hats off to Nancy Pelosi. This woman has lasted longer than I ever expected and with the healthcare bill she showed her skill in the end.  She was able to twist arms and get the votes she needed, plus 3 extra (219-212) by getting some Members of Congress to vote yes, even though it was counter to the will of their district.  They put their re-election on the line to vote on the Healthcare bill.

The Future:

I think most of the D political capital was spent on Healthcare.  I am not sure how many more licks they want to take in the next year.  I hear rumors of Immigration reform, but I don’t think they can do it.  I will tell you this..things were very quiet for me while Healthcare was the hot item.  But this week alone I had 3 bills start moving and we testified on the Hill. They are no longer engaged on one issue and I think they want to get some stuff done. 

Enjoy your Healthcare Reform.

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One Response to Healthcare Reform – Good or Bad?

  1. Matt Hunt says:

    Jenn! It’s “Mr. Hunt” from your senior year. What a terrific blog. I knew you were in DC but I had not seen this. Your analysis is refreshingly non-crazy even though I am on the D side of things now: don’t tell my fellow Ags.. :P. I will keep my fingers crossed that its the first step in a solid complete overhaul–

    Please feel free to move this as its off point, but I can’t see how to email you. I am just devastated to learn of Julie’s passing. Here smile was infectious, her spirit just. . well.. . glowingly transparent. The energy you two both brought to a room made the 17.5 k per year for 80 hour weeks worth it, lol. I have very fond memories of her father as well. He really set us up to build sets, and we actually went over to his shop to weld that fire escape for Guys and Dolls. If he is still living I would love to send a note. Contact me if you can either way, I would also like to get you and April’s latest email. I am assuming you as the admin can see my email. if not, one of them is my full name matthewhunt and then use the google mail ending. (please cull this part. . the spam robots are getting so good they will probably be able to read even that. . lol)

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