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Keep government out of health care

By Staff | Nov 12, 2009

After the U.S. House passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009 on Saturday night, Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) called the vote “historic” and “a watershed moment for our country.”

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson was less enthusiastic: “Members that voted for this abomination have signed a political suicide pact for which they will be held accountable. They have gone against the express will of their constituents who opposed this legislation.”

A Congressional Budget Office summary released Friday raises serious questions about this bill and its impact on citizens and businesses.

H.R. 3962 would REQUIRE individuals to obtain acceptable health insurance coverage, as defined in the bill; REQUIRE employers to either offer health insurance to their employees or pay an excise tax to the federal government; raise taxes for high-income individuals; and establish a government health care plan administered by the secretary of Health and Human Services.

Luckily, Hawaii is a national leader in health care, so impacts of the bill would be lessened here. The measure includes the “Hirono Amendment” that provides an exemption for Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act, as long as it meets or exceeds the national standards in H.R. 3962.

Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act applies to certain full-time employees and their employers, but H.R. 3962 would apply to part-time employees, seniors on Medicare, those without health insurance, government employees or workers covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Hirono didn’t say who would foot the bill.

Washington bureaucrats obviously don’t grasp that facing increased costs, businesses would cut employees. Is that good for the economy?

The federal government has failed miserably in “reforming” education and housing, but maybe the critics are wrong this time.

“This health care vote has been likened to the votes creating Social Security and Medicare; programs that the nay-sayers of the time called socialism, government takeover, too expensive, not necessary. Sound familiar? And yet, Social Security and Medicare have significantly improved the lives of millions of Americans. So too will this bill. I believe that this vote will be a watershed moment for our country, and it was a great privilege for me to be here to vote ‘Yes,’ ” said Hirono.

“It’s taken more than 60 years to get here — and the forces in support of the status quo are powerful foes indeed. They have resorted to scare tactics and outright lies to fight this bill tooth and nail. And it’s not over yet.”

Rep. Hirono claims the act establishes sweeping health care reforms; provides stability and security for Americans who currently have health insurance; creates an affordable, quality public option for those without coverage; strengthens Medicare for seniors by improving benefits, including closing the “doughnut hole” on prescription drug coverage; ends the practice of discriminating against consumers for preexisting conditions; stops insurance companies from charging more to cover women because of their gender; and creates a process for annual insurance rate review, with the goal of keeping private insurance companies accountable to their customers.

Wilson blasted the House of Representatives for voting to approve a “$2.1 trillion takeover of the nation’s entire health care sector in spite of overwhelming public opposition to the measure.”

“This bill will ration care away from seniors, water down and reduce the quality of everyone’s care, increase health premiums, put bureaucrats between doctors and patients, break the public treasury and leave taxpayers with a bill that cannot possibly be paid back,” he said.

Fortunately, Saturday’s House vote is considered a show of support for President Obama.

Any measure faces tougher scrutiny in the Senate, and members may not deal with it this year.

If this issue is important to you, call Sen. Daniel Inouye at (202) 224-3934 or contact Sen. Daniel Akaka via http://akaka.senate.gov/.

While you are at it, ask them to get to work on the economy.

The Affordable Health Care for America Act is too oppressive and dangerous. Congress should fix health care step-by-step with citizens on board.