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Yesterday, President Obama released his own version of health care reform. His plan was revealed only days before the health care summit which will take place later this week. Although President Obama's proposal is suppose to provide a new way forward and garner a broader range of support, it is strikingly similar to the Senate legislation. In fact, it combines some of the worst aspects of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) bill with new sweetheart deals and more regulations.
The President's proposal includes:
An Unconstitutional Individual Mandate: Like the other Democrat proposed reform legislations, the President's plan includes an individual mandate which will make every American purchase health insurance. Citizens will be forced—at times against their will—to buy insurance simply because they are alive. Non-compliance with this mandate could result in harsh fines.
Our nation's founding document does not grant Congress the authority to force individuals to purchase a product. Such a mandate is both unconstitutional and a complete perversion of the liberties our founders fought and died to protect.
Job Killing Tax Hikes: The President's plan will nearly triple the size of the employer mandate tax which barely passed the Senate. The Senate bill includes a $750 tax per employee acquiring subsidized coverage from the federal exchange. Obama's plan includes a $2,000 tax per employee acquiring subsidized coverage from the exchange.
President Obama would also increase the Medicare payroll tax to include non-wage income. He would place a 2.9% tax on dividends, interest, capital gains and more. Both of these tax hikes would clearly reduce the wages of employees and make it far more difficult for businesses to create new jobs.
Massive Amounts of Spending: Although the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a letter stating that it “cannot provide a cost estimate for [Obama's] proposal without additional detail,” the White House has estimated that the proposal will cost American tax payers $950 billion over the next 10 years. With the national debt soaring above $12 trillion and the federal deficit projected to reach a staggering $1.6 trillion in 2010, now is not the time to consider an additional trillion dollars worth of spending.
New Government Regulations: The President's plan would create a Health Insurance Rate Authority which would allow the federal government to set price controls on private insurance providers. Insurers would be forced to submit proposed increases in premiums to the federal government. The government would then determine whether or not such increases were "reasonable" and--if deemed necessary--it would force insurers to lower their rates or provide a rebate.
Like any price control, the Health Insurance Rate Authority would undoubtedly lead to a shortage of private health care insurance options leaving more Americans reliant upon the government controlled exchange.
What President Obama does not seem to understand, is that the American people have rejected these very proposals time and time again. This past summer, they packed into town hall meetings to speak out against such ideas. On September 12th, they flooded Pennsylvania Ave. to voice their opposition. On November 5th, they filled the halls of Congress, asking their Representatives to stop ignoring their concerns. On January 19th, the people of Massachusetts cast what was framed as the deciding vote against the President's proposal. And, although the President claims to have a "new" version of reform, the American people see his plan for what it is: more taxes, more spending, more government and more of the same tired ideas that they have already rejected. They are still unsatisfied. In fact, a new Rassumen Poll shows that public opinion is not on the side of the President's reform:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of voters favor the proposed health care plan, while 56% oppose it. Those figures include 45% who strongly oppose the plan and just 23% who strongly favor it.
Support for and opposition to the plan are at the same levels they’ve been at since just after Thanksgiving.
Opposition to the President's policies has remained high since last November. Yet, he is still trying to repackage his ideas and force them down the throats of the American public. That is why it is so vitally important that average Americans continue to speak out and tell the President: "We do not want this legislation."