Thursday, October 29, 2009

PelosiCare unveiled

PelosiCare was released today. The first thing you’ll notice about it is that it’s even bigger than HR 3200, weighing in at an eye-popping 1,990 pages. This should guarantee that no one in congress reads it.

I did run a few searches through the pdf file:

“Tort” – The word comes up twice, first on page 1,452 in relation to “Community-Based Collaborative Care Networks.” “Nothing in this section shall be construed to expand medical malpractice liability protection under the Federal Tort Claims Act for Section 330-funded Federally qualified health centers.” I think that means this bill doesn’t address tort reform, at least as it may apply to Community-Based Collaborative Care Networks.

The second reference to “Tort” shows up on page 1,949 in a section titled “Hospital Privileges for Practitioners.” Now we’re talking. Wait… Nope. Never mind. This section bestows the existing federal tort protections on practitioners who treat Indians (the bill’s word, not mine) while on the government payroll.

“Malpractice” – This word shows up six times in the 1,990 pages, but not in the context of proposing any changes to the current malpractice laws.

“Public Health Insurance Option” – Thirty-three instances, starting with page 4 where the bill “creates a new Health Insurance Exchange, with a public health insurance option alongside private plans.” This was promised, so no surprise. You’ll recall what Barney Frank said on July 27, 2009: “I’ve been a co-sponsor of single payer for a very long time. We don’t have the votes for it. I wish we did. I think if we get a good public option, it could lead to single payer and that’s the best way to reach single payer.”

“Tea Party/Bagger” – Doesn’t appear.

“Nazi” – Nope.

“Death Panel” – No again.

“Euthanasia” – Occurs twice in the context of not promoting “suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.” (See page 130, “Prohibition on the Promotion of Assisted Suicide.”) The escape clause, however, is on page 131, where it says “Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt or otherwise have any effect on State laws regarding advance care planning, palliative care, or end-of-life decision-making.” Oregon, you’re good to go with your assisted suicides.

“Citizen” – This comes up four times in the context of denying benefits to people who are not “lawfully present in a State in the United States (other than as a nonimmigrant described in a subparagraph, excluding subparagraphs (K), (T), (U), and (V) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act).” I don’t know what that means, but it does appear that the only application of a “legal status” test is in relationship to Individual Affordability Credits (page 225), which are available to low income individuals. There doesn’t seem to be anything preventing access to the Public Option for illegal immigrants as long as they pay the premium.

“Salad Bar” – This appears on page 1,513 and is one of the exceptions to the requirement that all menus in restaurants with 20 or more locations disclose calorie content and other nutritional information for each of their offerings. It’s hard to count calories when the customer is dishing out his own grub, but salad bars and buffets will still have to comply with the mandatory display of “suggested daily calorie intake,” as promulgated by your health conscious federal government.

I can’t wait to see the look of horror on the faces in the next booth when I order the 12-inch BLT, Super Stacked Grinder at Blimpie’s. Hey, the place is named Blimpie’s. Does anyone not get that?

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt


  1. During the Massachusetts debate on this issue in 2006, estimates on the cost of this program were unrealistic and I believe everyone knew so; however, it was politically correct to pass this mammoth social program without considering how much it will cost. My fear was then and is now that we have grossly underestimated the long term cost of this program and there will be many unintended consequences that will far outweigh any perceived benefits.

    We have a real chance to do something meaningful and good regarding health care reform, but that will mean making tough decisions and taking tough votes to really reform the way we deliver health care services. Thus far, it looks like the solution from Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill is to simply spend more money and make government more intrusive into your personal choice. Both are indeed disappointing. The real lesson from the 2006 Massachusetts "universal" mandated coverage law is that without real (as opposed to political) reform, costs will continue to increase which is likely to lead to tax increases, followed by price controls and bureaucratic rationing. What I have seen so far in the 1,900 pages, does not look like real reform to me....

  2. 13 new taxes in this Bill. No new taxes for 95% of the population huh?


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