As you have no doubt heard, President Obama is once again trying to push health legislation through Congress. The White House has released an 11- page document outlining the bill the President will try to push through Congress. Though we don't have many details, the President is obviously recycling his already discredited bill. I want you to be aware of the following facts:
The White House proposal is more expensive than previous proposals. The White House estimates that this new proposal will likely cost $950 billion?"nearly $100 billion more than the Senate passed bill and almost $60 billion more than the House passed bill.
Health care costs will still go up. The White House proposal still increases health care costs and will drive up premiums. CBO already indicated that the base Senate bill would raise individual health insurance premiums by an average of $2,100 for every family.
More Tax Increases. The White House proposal adds a new 2.9% "Medicare tax" on unearned income such as capital gains, interest, and dividends for those individuals with more than $200,000 in income or couples with more than $250,000.
The White House proposal also includes new insurance, medical device, and pharmaceutical taxes. Americans for Tax Reform estimates that the entire White House proposal is a net tax hike of $748 billion.
Medicare Cuts: The White House proposal includes additional cuts to Medicare Advantage above and beyond those in the Senate bill.
The government-run plan is still being discussed. The White House has not specifically ruled out the inclusion of some form of government-run plan in the legislation.
Another federal board is proposed. The White House proposes the establishment of a new Federal Insurance Rate Authority to conduct reviews of unreasonable rate increase and other insurance practices. This new bureaucracy will give the federal government the authority to determine whether insurance rate increases are unreasonable and unjustified and the regulatory enforcement to lower insurance premiums, require rebates, or "take other actions" to lower premiums.
The so-called "Cadillac tax" is still included. The White House increases the threshold for the excise tax from $23,000 for a family plan to $27,500 and delays the implementation date to 2018 for all health plans.
The employer mandate is more onerous. Relative to the Senate bill, the White House proposes increasing the penalty payment for employers who do not offer health care coverage to employees who are eligible for government subsidized health programs.
Please be assured that I will continue to keep you informed of these developments and I will continue to do all that I can to make sure that this proposal does not become law. As I have stated before, I do support commonsense reforms to our health care system but I refuse to vote for legislation that will ration care, lead to a government takeover of health care, allow government bureaucrats to stand between patients and their doctors and jeopardize the coverage of millions of people.
PETER T. KING
Member of Congress