Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Health Care Fines for Congress & Other Health Care Issues

From Reason Magazine: Not only will members of Congress and their staffs lose their health care plans under ObamaCare, it now looks like they'll be fined millions for doing so: Congress may be fined tens of millions of dollars a year under its own health-care law, in part because the bill dumps members of Congress and their staffs from their current health-care plans. But no one really knows for sure what the bill does, not even the experts. For instance, exactly who qualifies as an “employer”—and therefore is subject to fines up to $3,000 per employee—is undefined in the bill.
If Congress were subject to a $3,000 fine for each of its employees, it would need to shell out approximately $50 million each year to Uncle Sam. Congress’s research arm, the Congressional Research Service (CRS), informally confirmed the possibility to Republican aides.
Front Page Magazine reports: The UK Department of Health recently announced that it would loosen hygiene rules for Muslim and Sikh doctors and nurses. From now on, Muslim female staff will not need to wash their hands before procedures as it compromises their modesty. Instead, they will have the admittedly less sanitary option of wearing disposable plastic over-sleeves. Acknowledging the danger of microbes and death, a Department of Health spokesman said, “The guidance is intended to . . . balance infection control measures with cultural beliefs.” [Coming to a hospital in the USA someday?]
Think tank analysts usually brim with pride when the president of the United States goes around claiming that his policies are based on their work. But when President Obama tries to sell his health-care law as a moderate approach that borrows ideas developed by the Heritage Foundation, we get incensed. (Snip) This is why we at the Heritage Foundation respectfully ask President Obama and his acolytes to stop misrepresenting our research. We think this massive health law is abominable and should be repealed. And until Congress repeals it, lawmakers should starve this monstrosity of taxpayer funds.
It began when President Obama told "Today" show host Matt Lauer on March 30 that "a lot of ideas in terms of the exchange, just being able to pool and improve the purchasing power of individuals in the insurance market, that originated from the Heritage Foundation."
First, Heritage did not originate the concept of the health insurance exchange. Furthermore, the version of the exchange we did develop couldn't be more different than that embodied in this law.
For us, the health insurance exchange is to be designed by the states. It is conceived as a market mechanism that allows individuals and families to choose among a wide range of health plans and benefit options for those best suited to their personal needs and circumstances. People would have a property right in their health policy, just like auto or homeowners' policies, and be able to take it with them from job to job.
Under the Heritage design, individuals could choose the health plan they want without losing the tax benefits of employer-sponsored coverage. The exchange we propose would be open to all state residents and -- very importantly -- be free of federal regulation.
The other charge -- repeated on this page and elsewhere -- is that the federal individual mandate in Obama's health-care plan came from us.
For the record, we think that the law's federal mandate is unconstitutional. Our legal center, led by former attorney general Edwin Meese III, notes that Congress has no authority to force an American to buy any good or service merely as a requirement of being alive.
Yes, in the early 1990s, we, along with other prominent conservative economists, supported the idea of such a mandate. It seemed the only way to solve the "free-rider" problem, in which individuals can, under federal law, walk into any hospital emergency room nationwide and rack up big bills at taxpayer expense.
Our research in the ensuing two decades has led us to realize our initial idea was operationally ineffective and legally defective. Well before Obama was elected, we dropped it. In the spring 2008 edition of the Harvard Health Policy Review, I advanced far better alternatives to the individual mandate to expand coverage, relying on positive tax incentives and other mechanisms to facilitate enrollment in private health insurance. This is what researchers and fact-based policymakers do when they discover new facts or conduct deeper analysis.
The president and his supporters invoke the Heritage Foundation to convince the American people that his health bill is somehow a middle-of-the-road approach. It isn't. So please, Mr. President, stop it.
In an election year dominated by health care, dozens of candidates for Congress have a catchy campaign slogan at their disposal: Send a doctor to the House.
Forty-seven physicians — 41 Republicans and six Democrats— are running for the House or Senate this year, three times the number of doctors serving in Congress today, according to a USA TODAY review.
On the most recent "Two Guys Named Joe" podcast from political consultants Joe DiSano and Joe Munem, U.S. Representative John Conyers, D-Detroit, repeatedly referred to tea party activists as "tea baggers" [Do you readers even know what a "tea bagger" is?  Suffice it to say, it is highly derogatory and lewd, and a misuse of tea party principles] and said that their "rational abilities" are "compromised" because of their anger.
"We are here now to understand the frustration of the tea baggers and the people who are angry," said Conyers. "Many times when you're angry, your rational abilities are compromised."
The comments came at the Michigan Democratic Party endorsement convention.
Conyers, who is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, turned the conversation towards the tea parties and the recent health care bill after being asked how Democrats could remain in contention in Michigan.
"The facts are, many of the tea baggers that were hollering and being profane and screaming and using profanity...guess what?  They are going to be beneficiaries [of the health care bill]."  [Here's a news flash for Conyers - we actually put our country and our grandchildren before ourselves.  Imagine that!  Sound to me like something JFK once asked of us. We don't want his health care!]


  1. Terrific, Champ...lies, lies, and more lies from THE One...Heritage Foundation called him out ! And, what would one expect Conyers to say...he is without much of a brain, and his wife is now a convicted felon for her bribery charges while serving as a Detroit City Councilwoman! What a wonderful bunch of folks they are!

  2. That the UK Department of Health would put the safety of ALL patients at risk of infection to accommodate the religious beliefs of any group is outrageous. I sure hope that the US Department of Health is focused enough to uphold the current CDC hand hygiene guidelines, which are now enforced in most (if not all) medical care facilities with progressive disciplinary action leading to
    termination for those who do not comply. Infection control practices are designed not just to protect care providers, but also to protect the patients they serve from
    infections. By reducing the spread of infection, infection control practices SAVE LIVES and also help to manage the cost of care.

    CDC Hand Hygiene guidelines may be found at: