Saturday evening, when most of the country will be otherwise distracted, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is prepared to call a vote on the now 2,000-page House version of the health care bill. Naturally, Pelosi has also broken her promise to post the bill online 72 hours prior to voting.
With the sting of Tuesday’s gubernatorial defeats still fresh, the bill’s pouting bully-leftist authors have stopped pretending that there is any bipartisan support. As The Wall Street Journal so eloquently put it, Democrats have “moved into the realm of pure power politics as they race against the unpopularity of their own agenda.” Five Republicans introduced an amendment that would automatically enroll members of Congress in the public option, but it’s not likely Democrats will take the bait.
It’s all about counting votes now, and it could be a squeaker for Pelosi. It is likely that not a single Republican will lend support, and not a few Democrats have announced their opposition — and for good reason.
The 10-year trillion-dollar price tag, which is more than Barack Obama “wants” to spend, is still a low-ball estimate, and independent analysts believe the cost could be double what the government currently predicts. Pelosi’s bill would essentially begin the slow but sure process of putting the entire country on Medicaid. For $425 billion, it would expand “free” coverage to everyone at or below 150 percent of the poverty level, which is $22,050 for a family of four. The government would also subsidize coverage for people making between 150 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, covering almost three-fourths of the cost for a family of four earning up to $78,000 per year.
Democrats plan to pay for this entitlement scheme with typical eat-the-rich liberal tax hikes that effectively drive the top federal income tax rate as high as 45 percent. Corporations will also get slammed with Euro-style tax rates and fees that will drive companies and jobs out of the country.
According to a press release from Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), “What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run plan. It’s right there on line 16, page 96, section 213, under ‘Insurance Rating Rules.’ The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account — and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services.”
The bureaucracy created by the Pelosi bill is also staggering. The House Republican Conference counted 111 new agencies, boards and committees that will be created by this legislation. And you thought there was already too much bureaucracy in your health care. Now we will have grant programs, review boards for specific types of care, review boards for gender and ethnic-specific groups, and technological implementation boards that would intimidate the most die-hard Soviet apparatchik.
The Pelosi bill seeks to create what would be the most expensive bureaucratic boondoggle in American history. It puts state-centralized European health care plans to shame, and it eclipses any previous liberal attempt to tear freedom of choice and responsibility away from the American people. There’s no mincing words here. Should this bill pass, the bells will ring loudly for the “irate, tireless minority” to set a brushfire that will consume the nation.