Deformed health care reform
Many conservatives, including Heritage Foundation experts, have been arguing that the President's supposedly "fresh" 11-page health care proposal is virtually no different from the Senate bill. It's true. The President's draft includes most of the same bad proposals that the Senate bill does. But there is one key difference between the two: The Senate bill actually exists.
Until the President's proposal is drafted as official legislation, the only proposal the House can and will consider is the bill the Senate passed. But the differences between the Senate bill and the one that cleared the House are stark.
To get their bill through the House, Senate liberals and the White House are offering some flaky "fixes." As Heritage's Conn Carroll explains:
The "fixes" that the White House is promising wavering House Democrats they will make all sound easy at first glance: 1) scaling back the tax on high-end health insurance policies; 2) closing the Medicare D loophole; 3) boosting insurance subsidies; 4) increasing Medicaid payments; and 5) fixing the Cornhusker Kickback. But when you take a second look, you see that all of these "fixes" will cost more money. Just look at the Cornhusker Kickback which the President chose to address, not by taking away Nebraska's special Medicaid payments, but by extending those extra Medicaid payments to every state! Every single item in the President's proposal either increases spending or reduces new revenues. And he didn't put forward any way to pay for them. If passing health reform were as easy as giving away free candy, Obamacare would be law already. Finding a way to pay for all these fixes is going to be just as difficult as every earlier effort to pay for this bill. So don't expect any solutions anytime soon.
This doesn't even begin to address abortion, a major roadblock the Senate bill faces in the House. Fox News reports that a coalition of seven House Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), has threatened to kill Obamacare altogether if federal funding for abortion is not explicitly prohibited in the final legislation, as it is in the House bill.
So, to appease their colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are offering a "pie-crust promise" -- easily made and easily broken -- to remove abortion language after the House vote during the Senate's reconciliation process. Is this realistic, though? "Never before in the history of the 34-year abortion funding debate have pro-life members of Congress approved a bill containing abortion funding on the promise that a subsequent vote will fix the problem," Heritage expert Chuck Donovan argues. In short, the left is resorting to bad procedure to advance an even worse health care policy.
Instead of rushing the process with oddly-structured concessions, and instead of passing the bill to "find out what's in it," as Speaker Pelosi argued, lawmakers should focus on starting over. The American people support health care reform, just not this one.
A better idea would be a reform that upholds core American principles. For example, our experts advocate a state-based approach to reform. "Home-grown reforms tailored to the prevailing conditions in the states make the most sense," writes Heritage health care expert Bob Moffit. So let's start over by allowing states to "compete in the arena of health policy and see which ones best achieve the nation's universal health care goals.