Senator Orrin Hatch held a blogger call last Friday where he explained the numerous problems with the Democrats health care reform plans. It should be noted that Senator Hatch has a history of working across the aisle on health care issues. He definitely wants health care reform, but believes the current attempts at reform are fatally flawed.
The most glaring problem with health reform plans is the cost. Only the Baucus plan attempts to be budget neutral and it does so by raiding Medicare, Hatch described the plan to cut Medicare by 4.4 trillion as, "a joke". It also appears that Congress may try to address the problem of doctors' Medicare compensation outside the scope current health care reform plans. This issue, commonly referred to as the 'doctor fix,' will cost a significant amount of money, therefore labeling it as something other than 'health care reform' is a way of adding the cost to the deficit while masking the true cost of health care reform.
Senator Hatch also noted that the head of the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) Doug Elmendorf has proven himself as a honest and reputable person. He explained that one of his major concerns about reform plans is that the CBO has stated that they have no idea what effect reforms will have on the cost of health care and the cost of health insurance premiums. Senator Hatch, like Senator McConnell, also stated that the Democrats should make good on their campaign promise of transparency and at minimum should have the CBO grade any congressional plan and post their online 72 hours prior to a vote as promised last election by President Obama.
It should be noted that their are currently several different health reform plans that have come out of committee. The Baucus plan from the finance committee is the only one that can make any claim that it is budget neutral. It reaches budget neutrality through huge cuts to Medicare, and increased taxes on things like medical devices. However the other plans, one out of the Senate HELP committee lead by Senator Dodd, and those from House committees are nowhere near budget neutral as promised by the President. Now these plans are being merged together behind closed doors in a decidedly un-transparent manner. What the final bill will look like is still a bit of a guess, but considering how poor the committee bills are that the final bill will be based upon, Senator Hatch's assessment that the best hope for real health care reform is to defeat the current plans and make the Democrats start over and truly attempt a bipartisan bill appears to be right on point.
Orrin Hatch Details Serious Flaws with Dems Health Care Reform Plans
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