On a nearly party line division, the 1,990 page healthcare reform bill passed Congress tonight with a 220 - 215 vote. Only one Republican voted for it, while 39 Democrats voted against it. The deciding factor for allowing passage of the vote was the elimination of federal funding on abortions. And while some Democrats are touting that the bill "provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans", the truth is written in the bill iteself.
According to Betsy McCaughey of the Wall Street Journal, "An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income. Individuals and families earning less than these amounts will be eligible for subsidies paid directly to their insurer."
This is not a provision of healthcare from the government, rather, it is a mandate from the government to buy healthcare. And it is not necessarily cheaper. A friend of mine just purchased her own health coverage for around $2,400 per year, while making close to $27,000. That is just less then 9 percent of her income.
From the same article, "Sec. 412 (p. 272) says that employers must provide a "qualified plan" for their employees and pay 72.5% of the cost, and a smaller share of family coverage, or incur an 8% payroll tax. Small businesses, with payrolls from $500,000 to $750,000, are fined less."
Many companies do not have the financial means to provide health coverage to their employees. Remember what happened a few years ago when minimum wage was increased? Thousands of people lost their jobs simply because some companies could not afford to give their employees a $2/hour pay raise. Having to pay out the cost of healthcare as well, will cripple these companies, removing the concept of having mom and pop shop top businesses, in favor of large corporations. I don't think Michael Moore even wanted this.
Finally, the healthcare bill requires the purchase of a "qualified plan". What is the qualified plan? That will not be determined for 18 months.
I think we can all agree that healthcare reform is a necessity, but did we ever imagine it would have these kinds of financial restrictions? From the many proponents for national healthcare I have spoken with, they believed that the healthcare bill was designed to provide coverage based on an increase in tax, just like all the other countries with socialized medicine. This is not that. This is a financial push into our lives.
More to come this week as I speak directly with local business owners on their feelings about the passage of this bill.