Bill a bailout for insurers, disastrous for Americans

NEW YORK­--The details of President Barack Obama's health-care plan are finally starting to come out. They are ugly.

I want to socialize medicine, but America desperately needs smart, strong opposition to Obamacare. The worst part is the "mandate," requiring the uninsured to buy insurance at hyper-inflated prices.

We can't count on so-called liberals to fight. We need a passel of old-fashioned conservatives to come to our rescue. What we've got instead are fools like David Rivkin.

Rivkin, a right-wing lawyer who worked in the Reagan-Bush Justice Department, recently fired the first salvo against Obama's health-care mandate in The Wall Street Journal.

Requiring Americans to buy health insurance from a for-profit monopoly is stupid and immoral. But Rivkin and other federal society types rely on a different approach: suing. They say the Obamacare mandate is unconstitutional. "If you say the government can mandate your behavior as far as this insurance goes," he wrote, "there will be nothing the government can't do. They can control every single way in which you dispose of your income."

As Mark Hall, a law professor specializing in public health at Wake Forest University, points out Congress enjoys "ample power and precedent through the Constitution's 'commerce clause' to regulate just about any aspect of the national economy." Congress can make us buy health insurance.

So the court challenges will be fun for lawyers. Meanwhile, we will be stuck. Obama's proposed solution will pour billions into the pockets of those who caused the problem.

Insurance companies routinely deny claims. Their lobbyists protect monopolies. They jack up rates, underpay doctors and kill tens of thousands of people a year while paying their CEOs tens of millions--with our premiums.

But Obamacare won't rein in the insurers.

Under the Obama/Senate plan, the poor--earning less than $14,500--would be required to go on Medicaid. Unless they don't qualify, in which case they would have to pay at least 2 percent of their income to private insurers or get dinged $750 a year.

The working poor, meanwhile, would get charged a percent of their income on a sliding scale. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, federal subsidies for poor workers would be too low. People who earn between $14,500 and $43,000 a year would pay between 4 and 12 percent of their annual income to private insurers.

And let's not forget about deductibles. Like the subsidies, the "actuarial value of coverage" would slide on a scale. Under the Senate bill a family of three earning less than $27,000 would be fairly well covered. Obamacare would cover 97 percent of their bills. But a family of three earning between $45,000 and $73,000 would only have 70 percent coverage.

There would also be co-pays: $20 per doctor's visit, $250 if you had to go to the hospital, and lab tests and X-rays would come completely out of your wallet.

Faced with a disaster like this, America needs opponents on the right ready to fight back. What we've got instead--incoherent Tea Partiers, idiotic lawyers like Rivkin, and Rush Limbaugh, who claims that the existing system is perfect as it is--might as well be working for Rahm Emanuel.

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