Reform's Nasty Little Surprises

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Health Overhaul: Many thought Nancy Pelosi was joking when she said, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it." But the more we learn about her 2,400-page horror, the more we realize the joke's on us. Barely a day goes by without some new revelation of what the health care bill contains — and how its provisions are already starting to hurt millions of people. The overhaul has already begun tearing down our old health care system — the best in the world — and replacing it with something mediocre, bureaucratic, costly and even dangerous.

Here's just a sample of how, as the speaker of the House put it, we're now "finding out what's in it":

• Despite promises that ObamaCare would cut costs for average Americans, we now see a front-page headline in the Los Angeles Times that tells us "Health care overhaul won't stop premium increases." Why? "Although Democrats promised greater consumer protection, the overhaul does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases."

If it did, the health insurance industry would soon go the way of the Dodo bird. Contrary to overhaul supporters' propaganda, the industry's profit margin is tiny — just 3.5% of sales. Premiums are rising not because of insurers' greed, but due to higher health care costs driven by out-of-control government spending, which is growing twice as fast as the private sector.

• An IBD/TIPP Poll last summer showed that as many as 45% of practicing physicians would consider retiring or giving up their practice if ObamaCare was passed. That's bad enough. Now comes this tidbit from the Wall Street Journal: "At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges."

It's no surprise that fewer smart, talented, driven people want to become doctors. Why should they? To face an endless barrage of bureaucratic paperwork? To be second-guessed on every procedure they perform or prescription they write? To have their incomes capped forever?

Government already makes up half the $2.5 trillion spent last year on health care. What reasonable person would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on schooling and more than a decade on training just to work for a government bureaucracy? The answer is obvious. And the numbers show it.

• Along with fewer doctors, we're now about to see fewer hospitals — all thanks to ObamaCare. The new law essentially forbids doctor-owned hospitals from expanding, and makes it nearly impossible for doctors to open new hospitals.

As Molly Sandvig, executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, told CNSNews.com, more than 60 doctor-owned hospitals being developed around the country will be canceled. "That's a lot of access to communities that will be denied," she said.

• The rules of the new bill (with 2,400 pages plus 153 of amendments) are byzantine in their complexity — so much so that even members of Congress still have no idea what they passed.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that, to the surprise of many lawmakers, one provision states that members of Congress and congressional staff may be removed from their current coverage under the gold-plated Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Serves them right. This came to light after the Congressional Research Service was besieged by calls from concerned congressmen who didn't realize they might have to give up their own super-duper health care coverage. They only meant to strip us of our good health care coverage, not theirs. Now they're angry.

• Then there's the promise that only those earning over $200,000 — you know, the "rich" — would be taxed for Obama-Care. In fact, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, those making less than $200,000 will pay taxes of $15.2 billion over the next 10 years — despite what was promised.

By 2019, the JCT says, 14.8 million taxpayers will be affected by the health care overhaul's limits on tax deductions of medical expenses. Of those, 14.7 million will earn less than $200,000.

If you're wondering what the overhaul hath wrought, you're not alone. It's less than a month after passage of the bill that seized control of 17% of the economy with nary a congressman reading it, and already Americans are being hurt. Another few months of this, and repeal may not be an option, but a necessity.

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