I have to admit to being impressed with President Obama's health care plan in his last speech. What's not to like? Millions of uninsured provided with coverage, subsidies for those who can't afford insurance and less expensive health care for everyone. All of this without increasing taxes on the vast majority of Americans, or cutting Medicare for seniors, or increasing the budget deficit. Of course, his plan is not what is currently being discussed in Congress. I can state this as a certain fact, because, while there are over a half dozen health care reform bills frantically being written and re-written even now, they cannot create what cannot exist. There is no free lunch, no perpetual motion machines and no magical unicorns, no matter how cleverly they write their legislation.

Providing free health insurance to tens of million of people, and handing out checks to tens of millions more to subsidize their health care costs hundreds of billions of dollars a year. This money will have to come from some place, shouldn't we expect our legislators to address this seriously? The ways put forward so far are sheer fantasy.

Their first source of revenue to pay for making health care more affordable comes from taxing.health care! They plan to tax expensive "Cadillac" health insurance plans. However, the unions are trying to eliminate this, since many of the plans they negotiated fall into this category, and even if passed, little will be raised, because companies will avoid the heavy tax by simply cutting these plans. They plan on taxing medical supplies and instruments, which will make health care more expensive for Americans, in order to help subsidize.the high cost of health care! And who is a major purchaser of medical supplies and instruments? Medicare, meaning a lot of the taxes the government will collect will come from itself. What a great new source of revenue, taxing government!

They plan to save hundreds of billions by eliminating "waste, inefficiency and fraud" from Medicare and Medicaid. How is that for "boot-strapping"! They plan to pay for the next government bureaucracy with the money wasted by the previous one! This assumes they will actually make cuts, for each year Congress has deferred making the cuts they promised in past legislation. One cut the Democrats seem determined to carry though on is Medicare Advantage. Used by one in five seniors, funds saved by reducing their access to health care will go to.increasing other American's access to health care.

The Democrats can always fall back on taxing the rich. However, as has been proven over and over again from experience, raising tax rates on the wealthy doesn't increase total revenues all that much, and it certainly doesn't do much for an economy in recession. In the end, I predict the funds for any health care reform that is passed will come from the Democrats new favorite piggybank: the federal deficit. Despite outrage at Bush's spending, the Democrats have had no problem with tripling last year's deficit to $1.4 trillion this year, with projected trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. And so eventually, this money will come from all of us, in the form of reduced income and eroded savings when double-digit inflation starts kicking in around a year from now.

If, as President Obama says, the high cost of health care is a crisis, these plans to reform it are worse than just "re-arranging the deck chairs" on a sinking ship. What they do is simple: take money from one citizen to put into the pocket of another (often times the same taxpayer!), minus the bureaucrat's cut, which only makes health care more expensive for all.

There is plenty more not to like about the Democrats' plan for health care reform, other than the obvious fiscal irresponsibility. Federal funding of abortions, health insurance subsidies for illegal aliens and most importantly the loss of freedom when the federal government decides what health care you will or will not receive. If this health care reform is passed, it will be without any Republican support, and maybe 90% support from the Democrats. If you do not want to see this mess become law, I suggest you start calling Sen. Cantwell, Sen. Murray and Rep. Baird right away.

Brett Malin


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