The Firedoglake health care team has been covering the debate in congress since it began last year. The health care bill will come up for a vote in the House on Sunday, and as Nancy Pelosi works to wrangle votes, we’ve been running a detailed whip count on where every member of Congress stands, updated throughout the day.
We’ve also taken a detailed look at the bill, and have come up with 18 often stated myths about this health care reform bill.

Real health care reform is the thing we’ve fought for from the start.  It is desperately needed. But this bill falls short on many levels, and hurts many people more than it helps.

A middle class family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance. After basic necessities, this leaves them with $8,307 in discretionary income — out of which they would have to cover clothing, credit card and other debt, child care and education costs, in addition to $5,882 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses for which families will be responsible.  Many families who are already struggling to get by would be better off saving the $5,243 in insurance costs and paying their medical expenses directly, rather than being forced to by coverage they can’t afford the co-pays on.

In addition, there is already a booming movement across the country to challenge the mandate.  Thirty-three states already have bills moving through their houses, and the Idaho governor was the first to sign it into law yesterday.  In Virginia it passed through both a Democratic House and Senate, and the governor will sign it soon.  It will be on the ballot in Arizona in 2010, and is headed in that direction for many more.  Republican senators like Dick Lugar are already asking their state attorney generals to challenge it. There are two GOP think tanks actively helping states in their efforts, and there is a booming messaging infrastructure that covers it beat-by-beat.

Whether Steny Hoyer believes the legality of the bill will prevail in court or not is moot, it could easily become the “gay marriage” of 2010, with one key difference:  there will be no one on the other side passionately opposing it.  The GOP is preparing to use it as a massive turn-out vehicle, and it not only threatens representatives in states like Florida, Colorado and Ohio where these challenges will likely be on the ballot — it threatens gubernatorial and down-ticket races as well.  Artur Davis, running for governor of Alabama, is already being put on the spot about it.

While details are limited, there is apparently a “Plan B” alternative that the White House was considering, which would evidently expand existing programs — Medicaid and SCHIP.   It would cover half the people at a quarter of the price, but it would not force an unbearable financial burden to those who are already struggling to get by.  Because it creates no new infrastructure for the purpose of funneling money to private insurance companies, there is no need for Bart Stupak’s or Ben Nelson’s language dealing with abortion — which satisfies the concerns of pro-life members of Congress, as well as women who are looking at the biggest blow to women’s reproductive rights in 35 years with the passage of this bill.  Both programs are already covered under existing law, the Hyde amendment.

But perhaps most profoundly, the bill does not mandate that people pay 8% of their annual income to private insurance companies or face a penalty of up to 2% — which the IRS would collect.  As Marcy Wheeler noted in an important post entitled “Health Care on the Road to NeoFeudalism,” we stand on the precipice of doing something truly radical in our government, by demanding that Americans pay almost as much money to private insurance companies as they do in federal taxes:

When this passes, it will become clear that Congress is no longer the sovereign of this nation. Rather, the corporations dictating the laws will be.

I understand the temptation to offer 30 million people health care. What I don’t understand is the nonchalance with which we’re about to fundamentally shift the relationships of governance in doing so.

We started down a dangerous road with Wall Street banks in the early 90s, allowing them to flood our political system with money and write our laws so that taxpayers would subsidize their profits, assume their losses and remove themselves from the necessity of competition.  By funneling so much money into the companies who created the very  problems we are now attempting to address, we further empower them to hijack our legislative process and put more than just our health care system at risk.  We risk our entire system of government.
Congress may be too far down the road with this bill to change course and save themselves — and us.  But before Democrats cast this vote, which could endanger not only their Congressional majority but their ability to “fix” things later on, they should consider the first rule of patient safety:  first, do no harm.



1. This is a universal health care bill.

The bill is neither universal health care nor universal health insurance.
Per the CBO:
  • Total uninsured in 2019 with no bill: 54 million
  • Total uninsured in 2019 with Senate bill: 24 million (44%)
2. Insurance companies hate this bill

This bill is almost identical to the plan written by AHIP, the insurance company trade association, in 2009.
The original Senate Finance Committee bill was authored by a former Wellpoint VP. Since Congress released the first of its health care bills on October 30, 2009, health care stocks have risen 28.35%.
3. The bill will significantly bring down insurance premiums for most Americans.

The bill will not bring down premiums significantly, and certainly not the $2,500/year that the President promised.
Annual premiums in 2016, status quo / with bill:
Small group market, single: $7,800 / $7,800
Small group market, family: $19,300 / $19,200
Large Group market, single: $7,400 / $7,300
Large group market, family: $21,100 / $21,300
Individual market, single: $5,500 / $5,800*
Individual market, family: $13,100 / $15,200*
4. The bill will make health care affordable for middle class Americans.The bill will impose a financial hardship on middle class Americans who will be forced to buy a product that they can’t afford to use.
A family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance. After basic necessities, this leaves them with $8,307 in discretionary income — out of which they would have to cover clothing, credit card and other debt, child care and education costs, in addition to $5,882 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses for which families will be responsible.
5. This plan is similar to the Massachusetts plan, which makes health care affordable.Many Massachusetts residents forgo health care because they can’t afford it.
A 2009 study by the state of Massachusetts found that:

  • 21% of residents forgo medical treatment because they can’t afford it, including 12% of children
  • 18% have health insurance but can’t afford to use it
6. This bill provide health care to 31 million people who are currently uninsured.

This bill will mandate that millions of people who are currently uninsured must purchase insurance from private companies, or the IRS will collect up to 2% of their annual income in penalties. Some will be assisted with government subsidies.
7. You can keep the insurance you have if you like it.
The excise tax will result in employers switching to plans with higher co-pays and fewer covered services.
Older, less healthy employees with employer-based health care will be forced to pay much more in out-of-pocket expenses than they do now.
8. The “excise tax” will encourage employers to reduce the scope of health care benefits, and they will pass the savings on to employees in the form of higher wages.
There is insufficient evidence that employers pass savings from reduced benefits on to employees.

9. This bill employs nearly every cost control idea available to bring down costs.

This bill does not bring down costs and leaves out nearly every key cost control measure, including:
  • Public Option ($25-$110 billion)
  • Medicare buy-in
  • Drug reimportation ($19 billion)
  • Medicare drug price negotiation ($300 billion)
  • Shorter pathway to generic biologics ($71 billion)
10. The bill will require big companies like WalMart to provide insurance for their employees
The bill was written so that most WalMart employees will qualify for subsidies, and taxpayers will pick up a large portion of the cost of their coverage.
11. The bill “bends the cost curve” on health care.

The bill ignored proven ways to cut health care costs and still leaves 24 million people uninsured, all while slightly raising total annual costs by $234 million in 2019.
“Bends the cost curve” is a misleading and trivial claim, as the US would still spend far more for care than other advanced countries.
In 2009, health care costs were 17.3% of GDP.
Annual cost of health care in 2019, status quo: $4,670.6 billion (20.8% of GDP)
Annual cost of health care in 2019, Senate bill: $4,693.5 billion (20.9% of GDP)
12. The bill will provide immediate access to insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition.Access to the “high risk pool” is limited and the pool is underfunded. It will cover few people, and will run out of money in 2011 or 2012
Only those who have been uninsured for more than six months will qualify for the high risk pool. Only 0.7% of those without insurance now will get coverage, and the CMS report estimates it will run out of funding by 2011 or 2012.
13. The bill prohibits dropping people in individual plans from coverage when they get sick.The bill does not empower a regulatory body to keep people from being dropped when they’re sick.
There are already many states that have laws on the books prohibiting people from being dropped when they’re sick, but without an enforcement mechanism, there is little to hold the insurance companies in check.
14. The bill ensures consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to challenge new insurance plan decisions.The “internal appeals process” is in the hands of the insurance companies themselves, and the “external” one is up to each state.Ensuring that consumers have access to “internal appeals” simply means the insurance companies have to review their own decisions. And it is the responsibility of each state to provide an “external appeals process,” as there is neither funding nor a regulatory mechanism for enforcement at the federal level.
15. This bill will stop insurance companies from hiking rates 30%-40% per year.

This bill does not limit insurance company rate hikes. Private insurers continue to be exempt from anti-trust laws, and are free to raise rates without fear of competition in many areas of the country.
16. When the bill passes, people will begin receiving benefits under this bill immediately

Most provisions in this bill, such as an end to the ban on pre-existing conditions for adults, do not take effect until 2014.
Six months from the date of passage, children could not be excluded from coverage due to pre-existing conditions, though insurance companies could charge more to cover them. Children would also be allowed to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. There will be an elimination of lifetime coverage limits, a high risk pool for those who have been uninsured for more than 6 months, and community health centers will start receiving money.
17. The bill creates a pathway for single payer.

Bernie Sanders’ provision in the Senate bill does not start until 2017, and does not cover the Department of Labor, so no, it doesn’t create a pathway for single payer.

Obama told Dennis Kucinich that the Ohio Representative’s amendment is similar to Bernie Sanders’ provision in the Senate bill, and creates a pathway to single payer. Since the waiver does not start until 2017, and does not cover the Department of Labor, it is nearly impossible to see how it gets around the ERISA laws that stand in the way of any practical state single payer system.
18 The bill will end medical bankruptcy and provide all Americans with peace of mind.

Most people with medical bankruptcies already have insurance, and out-of-pocket expenses will continue to be a burden on the middle class.
  • In 2009, 1.5 million Americans declared bankruptcy
  • Of those, 62% were medically related
  • Three-quarters of those had health insurance
  • The Obama bill leaves 24 million without insurance
  • The maximum yearly out-of-pocket limit for a family will be $11,900 (PDF) on top of premiums
  • A family with serious medical problems that last for a few years could easily be financially crushed by medical costs
*Cost of premiums goes up somewhat due to subsidies and mandates of better coverage. CBO assumes that cost of individual policies goes down 7-10%, and that people will buy more generous policies.

by above video poster...
"Section 5210 -
"(c) PURPOSE AND USE OF READY RESEARCH.-"(1) PURPOSE.-The purpose of the Ready Reserve Corps is to fulfill the need to have additional Commissioned Corps personnel available on short notice (similar to the uniformed service?s reserve program) to assist regular Commissioned Corps personnel to meet both routine public health and emergency response missions."(2) USES.-The Ready Reserve Corps shall-"(A) participate in routine training to meet the general and specific needs of the Commissioned Corps;"(B) be available and ready for involuntary calls to active duty during national emergencies and public health crises, similar to the uniformed service reserve personnel;"(C) be available for backfilling critical positions left vacant during deployment of active duty Commissioned Corps members, as well as for deployment to respond to public health emergencies, both foreign and domestic; and"(D) be available for service assignment in isolated, hardship, and medically underserved communities (as defined in section 799B) to improve access to health services.Comments from Charloteer:"To boil it all down, President Obama with the stroke of his pen, signed into law a bill that gives him the power to create a standing army of soldiers to carry out his direct orders without consulting anyone or any group including Congress.Obama's private army plus FEMA camps equals American detention camps
So far I have shown you two facts that cannot be disputed. The first fact is that President Obama's Healthcare bill mandates the creation a civilian army chosen by him and answerable to him. The second fact is that FEMA has been commisioned to create "national emergency centers" that will be located inside existing military bases. Now I ask you - is it a HUGE leap to put the two together and see where we go from here?"

Obamacare, the Great Swindle

Monday, July 02, 2012
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of

(NaturalNews) Now that Obamacare has been ruled a tax by the U.S. Supreme Court, reality is starting to sink in for all those who emotionally supported it. Promoted as a way to provide either free health care or low-cost health care to the masses, the sobering reality is that under Obamacare, health insurance prices keep rising, not falling. That's no surprise, of course, since the Obamacare legislation was practically written by the health insurance companies, and they sure didn't put their weight behind a sweeping new law that would earn them less profit.

In an era when the so-called "99%" are sick and tired of being exploited by the one percent who control everything, they just handed their medical futures over to precisely the one percent who skillfully monopolize the conventional health care system!

Obamacare is, at every level, a huge victory for the one percent.

A costly new tax on the middle class

By the year 2016, the Obamacare "penalty" tax will reach roughly $2,000 per year for a two-person household. According to Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, 75% of the financial burden of Obamacare's new taxes will fall onto Americans making less than $120,000 a year ( The great Middle Class, in other words, will bear this new tax more than anyone else.

In effect, what has really happened here is a great swindle: Obama got the middle class to support his legislation by promising it was NOT a tax, and by promising it would LOWER health insurance costs. In reality, however, it RAISES health insurance costs, it IS a tax, and the majority of that tax burden falls squarely on the very same middle-class voters who put Obama into office under false pretenses. That's a swindle, by any definition.

Not surprisingly, this realization doesn't sit well with many middle class taxpayers. While the original emotional appeal of Obamacare was nicely packaged and seductively marketed to the masses, the sobering, post-honeymoon reality slaps us all in the face like a wet fish: Smack! This thing is another huge tax increase on the working class! And on top of that, it gives the IRS scary new powers to pry into our private finances. How did you all think compliance with Obamacare was going to be enforced, anyway? It's going to empower the IRS with even more agents!

Government monopoly for Big Pharma

Even worse than the trillions in new taxes and the IRS spy grid that's now being set up to monitor compliance with Obamacare, there's also the sobering fact that Obamacare never even attempted to give consumers a free choice in their health care providers. There's no coverage of naturopathic medicine, herbal medicine, acupuncture or nutritional therapies. The entire law is written around -- and for -- Big Pharma and the conventional "sick care" industry that's best described as a "medical racket."

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, we don't even have a chance to opt out of this corrupt, failed system of patented chemical medications and overpriced surgical procedures. Now, we are forced to hand over our hard-earned money to the very same medical system that we already know is responsible for killing over 750,000 Americans a year. It's called "iatrogenic death," and it means death by health care.

So not only are we being chemically abused and medically enslaved in America, we are now financially forced to pay for the privilege of being raked over the coals by the medical establishment. It makes you wonder... where is the "care" in Obamacare?

But wait, there's more! From this position of being coerced by the government to pay for a system of medicine you don't even want, it's not much of a leap to being coerced to undergo medical procedures you don't want, either.

How Obamacare will lead to mandatory vaccinations for everyone

Forced vaccinations -- for adults! -- are on the way, friends. And here's why: Once everybody is "in the system" of mandatory health care, we will begin to hear arguments like this:

"Anyone who refuses to get vaccinated against influenza is thereby at risk of being an influenza carrier and infecting other people, thus increasing health care costs for us all. To save money, government must force everyone to get vaccinated!"

It's a false argument, of course, but it will be used to literally line people up at courthouses (with the threat of arrest and jail time) and force them all to be vaccinated against their will.

The same false logic can be used to force people to undergo chemotherapy, take AIDS drugs, undergo coronary bypass surgery or be subjected to almost any medical procedure deemed "necessary" by the government. In the realm of mental health and psychiatry, this opens up a Pandora's Box of exploitation of patients for the purpose of raking in record profits for the criminally-operated psychiatric drug industry.

Such is the inevitable abuse of monopolistic market practices enforced by a corrupt government that serves the interests of its corporate masters: Once the sick care industry has this monopoly and can force everyone to participate, they will exploit that advantage to its fullest profiteering capacity. 

Remember: It is the dream of every corporation to dominate the world. Obamacare just gave Big Pharma and the other sick care giants huge monopolistic cheats to pursue precisely that goal.

Sober up, America

In a time when consumers are increasingly demanding transparency, free choice and the ability to shop around for competitive bargains, Obamacare codifies secrecy, mandatory compliance and monopolistic practices.

Maybe it's time to sober up and take an honest look at what Obamacare really is instead of what Obama promised it would be. People bought into the dream, but what they actually received was a monumental swindle.

Learn more:

health care bill exemption

Healthcare Bill Exemption

In March of this year, President Barak Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, officially known as H.R. 3590, or Healthcare Reform. Part of this law will require that by 2014, most Americans must purchase government regulated health insurance. In fact, Section 1501 of the act adds a new chapter to the IRS code that mandates all “applicable” individuals to either obtain health insurance that meets the bill’s “minimum essential coverage” standards. If they do not, they will be required to pay a penalty.
Religious Conscious Exemptions
There are, however, some healthcare bill exemptions. First, the new law creates a religious conscience exemption for those who are members and faithful adherents of a recognized religious sect or division. The provision may exempt those individuals from the mandatory health insurance purchase requirement if they are members of religions that have established tenets or teachings that bar the “acceptance of the benefits of any private or public insurance.”
The religious conscience exemption is defined as:

RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE EXEMPTION. – Such term shall not include any individual for any month if such individual has in effect an exemption under section 1311(d)(4)(H) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which certifies that such individual is a member of a recognized religious sect of division thereof described in section 1402(g)(l) and an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division as described in such section.
It must be made clear that personal religious objections do not exempt an individual from the mandate. Therefore, those who do not belong to a denomination with specific bans on insurance, for example, will not be considered exempt from the law.
In addition, the religious conscience healthcare bill exemption does not specifically exempt the members of any one particular religion from the health insurance mandatory purchase requirements.
Health Care Sharing Ministries
The new legislation also provides another type of healthcare bill exemption for those individuals who are members of a Health Care Sharing Ministry. These organizations are in fact the only “organized healthcare concept” that has obtained an exemption from the requirement to purchase health insurance or face a fine.
Health Care Sharing Ministries are defined by the law as an organization that:
  • Is described in Section 501(c)(3) and is exempt from taxation under Section 501(a);
  • Has members of which share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses among members in accordance with those beliefs and without regard to the State in which a member resides or is employed;
  • Has members of which retain membership even after they develop a medical condition;
  • Has (or has a predecessor of which) has been in existence at all times since December 31, 1999, and the medical expenses of its members have been shared continuously and without interruption since at least December 31, 1999; and
  • Which conducts an annual audit which is performed by an independent certified accounting firm in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and which is made available to the public upon request.
In essence, Health Care Sharing Ministries provide a cost sharing arrangement for health care among people of similarly held beliefs. They are not-for-profit religious organizations, and they typically do not receive any type of funding from the government.
Health Care Sharing Ministries focus on developing a Christian worldview, and work under the premise that is essentially the opposite of the entitlement mindset that is so endemic in our culture today.
So if you’re afraid you will be forced to purchase a mandatory health insurance plan that you either cannot afford or do not want or need, Health Care Sharing Ministries may provide an alternative for you. As a part of these organizations that have a healthcare bill exemption, you too would be considered exempt from the mandatory requirement to purchase health insurance and therefore, the taxes, penalties, and high costs would not pertain to you.
How Health Care Sharing Ministries Work and Why They Qualify for the Healthcare Bill Exemption
Health Care Sharing Ministries can be a great solution for those seeking an alternate way to combat the issue of rising health care costs. They encompass thousands of Christians that are united in helping to share each other’s medical expenses.
These Health Care Sharing Ministries organizations are not considered insurance companies and in fact, they do not assume any type of risk. Nor do they guarantee the payment of any health care related bills. Several states have even recognized Health Care Sharing Ministries and have exempted them from their own state insurance codes.
Because of this, members are afforded several advantages of joining, often including no pre-existing condition requirements, no waiting periods for accidental injuries, and no healthcare provider network requirements.
However, although Health Care Sharing Ministries are not considered insurance companies, they still qualify for the healthcare bill exemption based in part on their 501 (c)(3) status and their exemption from taxation under Section 501(a).
Members of Health Care Sharing Ministries from a wide spectrum of Christian entities banded together in order to support each other’s health care needs. Each month a publication is distributed to a group of Christian members who have offered to provide a specific amount of money. These funds are shared by the members of Health Care Sharing Ministries in order to assist those in need with medical expenses.
Some examples of Health Care Sharing Ministries that will qualify for the healthcare bill exemption include Samaritan Ministries International, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Medi-Share Christian Care Medical Sharing.
Article Sources:           H.R. 3590 – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act



Cost of ObamaCare: Obama Care Cost

What is the Cost of Obama Care

What is the cost of ObamaCare? ObamaCare, also known as the American Health Care Plan, is said to have a massive cost for the American government and is estimated at up to $2 trillion dollars in the next 10 years. The truth is however that Obamacare will save the govenerment money by reducing the health care costs of all Americans via a universal healthcare plan will actually help to decrease the national deficit.

How Do We Pay For Obama Care?

There are a few steps proposed by Obama Care to help pay for the ObamaCare health care reform plan that will be enacted by the Obama Care Health Care Bill.
First United States employers will be expected to provide health coverage to their employees equal to what is proposed by the Obama Care Bill. If they do not choose to provide their workers with affordable and reliable health care than they will pay a modest and fair tax to help support health care for all Americans.
This aspect of Obama Care will ensure employers cover their employees cost of obtaining healthcare through ObamaCare if the employer does not choose to provide comparable health endurance. This system is like the current unemployment tax already in effect which requires American businesses to play a modest and fair tax to aid the state run unemployment and workers compensation programs.
This aspect of the ObamaCare bill that handles workplace reform helps to ensure equal care for all Americans.

How Much Does Obama Care Cost The Average American?

The Obama Care Health Care Reform Plan or Health Care For America Plan will cost the average American around $70. For those Americans who cannot afford this premium and who's income is at or over %200 below the national poverty level there will be a free option. This ensures that Health Care For America covers every American and can be sustained by the people of the United States of America and Our Government.