By Hans Bader
Two million seniors are expected to be dumped onto Medicare from company prescription medication plans, thanks to a poorly-vetted provision of the new health care law signed by the president this week. It will cost the taxpayers billions in higher Medicare costs, and the companies hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax deductions.
It’s one of many penny-wise, pound-foolish provisions in the new health care law. It spends money on frills like “cultural competency,” while cutting spending on crucial things like anesthesia.
Fourteen attorneys general are challenging provisions of the new health care law in court. Their lawsuits argue that forcing people to buy health insurance is not a valid exercise of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce.
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The new law imposes many middle-class tax increases, such as taxes on uninsured individuals, on cosmetic surgery, on medical devices, and on certain health care plans. It also increases taxes on many investors and imposes marriage penalties.
The new health care law will reduce lifesaving medical innovation, raise taxes, drive up insurance premiums, break many campaign promises, and increase state budget deficits. It will jeopardize the quality of medical care, while imposing restrictions that failed when tried at the state level. It ignores advice from doctors and federal experts, and lessons from countries with universal healthcare, about how to keep costs down.
Governors of both political parties assailed the health care bill as a job-killer that will drive up state deficits, increase taxes, and harm the economy. The governors of New York and California earlier warned that “their states will be crushed by billions in new costs.”
While the CBO has scored the health care bill as not increasing the federal deficit, thanks to the many tax increases in the bill, it has done so only by accepting many accounting gimmicks that even pro-administration journalists have admitted conceal the bill’s enormous cost and the fact that it will massively increase the deficit. The New York Times‘ David Brooks, once a staunch supporter of President Obama, recently said that the bill’s drafters were “corrupted by power” and called arguments for the law “unbelievable” and “insane.” The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle, who also voted for Obama, wrote that the law “is a fiscal disaster waiting to happen.”