Conservatives, overwhelmed by the 2000-page House bill drafted by the Democrats, countered with a simple, 230-page bill (complete with common-sense illustrations on every page), called the "Pat the Insurance Companies Act of 2009, or Whenever." The bill required many months of careful drafting by insurance agents and CEOs, along with high tax-bracket experts from the Nero Institute. Its list of large-font bullet points includes extending the tax protections of health savings accounts to hundreds of desperate high-income earners, faced with elimination of the Bush tax cuts.
To simplify compliance and preserve the fragile status of those with sufficient common sense to be currently insured, the bill contains no mandates, incentives, or regulations of any sort.
Here are some of the highlights (in fact, this is pretty much it):
"See Dick Armey feeling for the uninsured. Now you try to feel for the uninsured!"
For those who were too thoughtless or lazy to become sick and uninsured (i.e., unemployed), this section of the bill (entitled, "Extending Access To the Untouchables") promotes high risk pools, where they can either sick or swim.
"See Michele Bachmann put her finger through the loopholes. Now why don't you try to put your finger through the loopholes!"
This section (entitled, "Crossing Stately Lions for Immortal Porpoises") encourages insurance companies to file their plans in the state with the least regulations, so that they need not cover extras like maternity cases, cancer treatments, and crutches (which after all are merely crutches). However, the fine print in their policies must at least be in a size 2 font. Texas Governor Rick Perry and Alaska's governor Sarah Palin reported are looking forward to this exciting "race to the bottom."
"See Newt Gingrich connect the dots. Now you try to connect the dots!"
The bill includes financing for technology expert, Newt Gingrich, to set up a web site to enable those who can afford coverage to be able to simply compare all 1,300 insurance companies, with each of their 20-plus variations of plan designs. The web site will allow patriotic English-speaking, native born Americans of all stripes to easily compare co-pays; per-admission and per year deductibles; coinsurances, in-network and out-of-network provisions; daily, per admission, per-episode of treatment, and per visit maximums; out-of-pocket limits, coverage exclusions and limitations, termination provisions, premiums, enrollment requirements, generalist and specialist provider networks, and insurance company solvency ratings.
"See Michael Steele kiss up to seniors. Now you try to appease up to seniors."
While the Republicans did not vote for Medicare and have tried to eliminate the program several times in the past, the new bill preserves the current fee-for-all provider payment structure, utilization and cost variation around the country, and inherent cost enhancement trends for frequently voting seniors. It also continues the 14% average extra payments to insurance companies under Medicare Advantage, so that their executives and shareholders can afford to maintain their own health care coverage. There is no guarantee, however, that future seniors will have a Medicare trust fund. Anyway, their health savings accounts, invested in quality mutual funds and stocks, should be able to cover whatever medical care they will need in their golden years.
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