Pelosi-backed ObamaCare Health Bill: The final nail in America’s coffin

by Anne Wilder Chamberlain

On October 29, 2009 Rep John Dingall (D-MI) unveiled the latest ObamaCare Health bill. With a price tag of $1.2 trillion, HR3962, the "Affordable Health Care for America Act," which passed in the House on Nov. 7, 2009 with a vote of 220 to 215, has nothing to do with providing affordable health care.
HR3962 has been dubbed "the Pelosi Bill," because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) worked behind closed doors with supporters to write this bill, and then held meetings in her office after its release to coerce fence-sitting Democrats to support it.
Only 39 Democrats* voted against the bill, and one Republican voted for it - Rep. Anh (Joseph) Cao (LA), the only Louisianan to support the legislation.

Penalties for non-compliance a violation of the 8th Amendment

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a letter written Nov 5 by the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the bill could land people in jail. The letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain "acceptable health insurance coverage" and who choose not to pay the resultant tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.
In response to the letter, Camp said: "This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail. It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately."
An article entitled "Warden Pelosi" (Investor's Business Daily 11/10/09) observed that evading the income tax is punishable by jail time, but the income tax required a constitutional amendment. "How can violating a law that's unconstitutional be a felony?" asked the editor.
Quotes from the JCT report include the following:
"HR3962 provides that an individual (or husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain health insurance coverage for himself or herself and [their] qualifying children will be subject to an additional tax…equal to (a) the lesser of the national average premium for single or family coverage as applicable as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury in co-ordination with Health Choices Commissioner or (b) 2.5 percent of the excess of the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income….This tax is in addition to the regular income tax and the alternative minimum tax and is prorated for periods in which the failure exists….the tax applies only to US citizens and resident aliens. The additional tax does not apply to those with religious conscience exemptions. The additional tax does not apply if the maintenance of acceptable coverage would result in a hardship to the individual or if the person’s income is below the threshold for filing a Federal income tax return.
"[If] the taxpayer has chosen not to comply with individual mandate and not to pay the additional tax, [t]he code provides for both civil and criminal penalties to ensure complete and accurate reporting of tax liability and discourage fraudulent attempts to defeat or evade tax….a taxpayer convicted of a criminal tax offense may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties…"

Civil and criminal penalties

Civil penalties include: a penalty of 20 percent of the underpayment of the health care tax, a fraud payment of 75 percent of the underpayment if the government can prove intent to avoid taxes, a $5,000 penalty for taking a "frivolous" position on a tax return, and a delinquency payment of .5 percent due each month.
Criminal penalties include, "depending on the level of noncompliance: Sec 7203 misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year; Sec 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years."
Although Sec 7201 provides for a maximum fine of $100,000, 18 U.S.C. Sec 3571 raises the maximum penalty to $250,000.
In addition to forcibly mandating insurance purchase, the legislation includes a surtax of 5.4 percent on incomes over $500,000, almost four times the current limit. Meanwhile, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is considering higher payroll taxes on the upper-income earners to finance his version of the legislation as well, with an option of raising the Medicare tax on incomes above $250,000 a year. 

What the bribe was 

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann from reported in their commentary, The Hill (11-6-09), that Democratic congressmen rubber-stamped the Obama healthcare reform despite a Rasmussen Reports poll the first week of November affirming that more Americans oppose (52%) health care legislation than favor (45%) it, a flip from earlier this year of nearly 15 percentage points.
Obama trotted out endorsements of the AMA and the AARP to stimulate support, they said. But these and the other endorsements his package has received were all purchased.

Here are the deals:

* The American Medical Association (AMA) was facing a 21 percent cut in physicians' reimbursements under the current law. Obama promised to kill the cut if they backed his bill. The cuts are the fruit of a law requiring 5-6 percent annual reductions in doctor reimbursements for treating Medicare patients. Each year Congress has rolled the cuts over, suspending them but not repealing them. So each year, the accumulated cuts threaten doctors. 
* The AARP got a financial windfall in return for its support of the healthcare bill. Over the past decade, the AARP has morphed from an advocacy group to an insurance company. It is one of the main suppliers of Medi-gap insurance, a high-cost, privately purchased coverage that picks up where Medicare leaves off. But President "W" Bush passed the Medicare Advantage program, which offered a subsidized, lower-cost alternative to Medi-gap. Under Medicare Advantage, the elderly get all the extra coverage they need plus coordinated, well-managed care, usually by the same physician. More than 10 million seniors went with Medicare Advantage, cutting into AARP Medi-gap revenues. Obama solved the problem by eliminating subsidies for Medicare Advantage in the Pelosi bill. The elderly will have to pay more for coverage under Medigap, but the AARP, which supposedly represents them, will make more money. If this galls you, join the American Seniors Association, the alternative to AARP at
* The drug industry backed ObamaCare and, in return, got a 10-year limit of $80 billion on cuts in prescription drug costs. (A drop in the bucket of their almost $3 trillion projected costs to consumers over the next decade.) They also got administration assurances that it will continue to bar lower-cost Canadian drugs from coming into the U.S.
* Insurance companies got access to 40 million potential new customers. However, when the Senate Finance Committee lowered the fine that would be imposed on those who don't buy insurance from $3,500 to $1,500, the insurance companies jumped ship and now oppose the bill.

The hold out

The only industry that refused to knuckle under was the medical device makers. They stood for principle, so the Senate Finance Committee retaliated by imposing a tax on medical devices such as automated wheelchairs, pacemakers, arterial stints, prosthetic limbs, artificial knees and hips and other necessary accoutrements.

Other aspects of the Pelosi bill

As independent researchers read the entire 1990 pages of this bill, overviews are becoming available. Scanning the table of contents, the first 9/10 of the bill appears to pertain to insurance and how it will be managed and enforced. However, towards the end, under 2301: Prevention and Wellness, sec. 3111 provides $2.4 billion for FY 2011 for prevention and wellness: $30 million for carrying out subtitle C (Prevention Task Forces); $155 million for subtitle D (Prevention and Wellness Research); $1.065 billion for subtitle E (Delivery of Community Preventive and Wellness Services); and $800 million for sec. 3161 (Core Public Health Infrastructure for State, Local, and Tribal Health Departments). These figures increase substantially over the next five years to $3.6 billion annually.
How these funds will be spent is defined under Sec. 3132: Task Force on Community Preventive Services, which reads that the Secretary and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shall establish this Task Force to review community preventive services and "the scientific evidence" related to "benefits, effectiveness, appropriateness, and costs of community preventive services" for the purpose of "disseminating evidence-based recommendations," identifying gaps in "community preventive services research," and recommending "priority areas for such research"  with another Task Force, one on Clinical Preventive Services established under section 3131. Sec. 3131 states that the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality would establish that Task Force to review and recommend more services for application at the community level.


The Task Force on Community Preventive Services would also enforce Sec. 3121: The National Prevention and Wellness Strategy. The Strategy includes:
"(1) Identification of specific national goals and objectives in prevention and wellness…
(2) Establishment of national priorities for prevention and wellness…
(3) Establishment of national priorities for research on prevention and wellness…
(4) Identification of health disparities in prevention and wellness;
(5) Review of prevention payment incentives [for] the prevention workforce and prevention delivery system capacity;" and a plan for addressing and implementing (1) through (5) by consulting myriad heads of federal health agencies.
Nowhere in this section is "prevention and wellness" defined. But the designation of from $2.4 billion to $3.6 billion annually suggests that the focus will not be on education or healthy food, air and water, but rather on a continuation of the same federal "prevention" policies that have made our nation so sick.

Repercussions and consequences

Investors Business Daily gave these insights to repercussions of the passage of this bill, should it be approved by the Senate: "This monstrosity would raise insurance premiums and taxes to prohibitive levels and add unconscionably to the national debt…force physicians to leave the medical profession in droves, exacerbating an already perilous doctor shortage… lead[ing] to rationing."
IBD added that the mechanisms for deciding who gets what, if any, care are already in place, as they were slipped into the failed stimulus bill.
The New York Times said, "It has become clear to consumers that everyone's interest but theirs are being leveraged through the federal legislature. No wonder Congress's own healthcare is exempt from the bill."
Former NY Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey cried, "While the bill will slash Medicare funding, it will also direct billions of dollars to numerous inner-city social work groups with vague standards of accountability…
"Section 223 of HR 3962 requires an individual making $44,000 before taxes to pay 17% of his pre-tax income for mandated insurance. Higher earners will be required to pay 20%. How these mandates differ from taxes escapes us, and they are big mandates hitting the middle class."
If a person has a business with employees, section 412 states he must pay 72.5% of the cost for his staff or incur an 8% payroll tax, reported the American Association of Health Freedom (, adding, "Section 202 takes away your freedom to choose. One is required to enroll in a ‘qualified plan.’ The government defines what qualified means and will have lots of help on this from special interests. Natural health and integrative medicine do not have much clout in Congress. Section 222 provides Medicare recipients the ‘right’ to language translation services at all times without co-pay.  What about the rights of those who pay taxes to pay for all this?
"Section 1302 moves Medicare away from fee for service to a strict managed care model… Other sections require doctors to share your private records with numerous other parties."

Chip you?

Reporting on, November 13, the Daily Paul pointed out that buried deep within the bill, Subtitle C-11 Sec. 2521, National Medical Device Registry the bill mandates: 
"The Secretary shall establish a national medical device registry (in this subsection referred to as the ‘registry’) to facilitate analysis of postmarket safety and outcomes data on each device that—(A) is or has been used in or on a patient; and (B) is a class III device; or (ii) a class II device that is implantable."
In "real world speak", according to this report, this new law, when fully implemented, provides the framework for making the United States the first nation in the world to require its citizens to have implanted in them a radio-frequency identification (RFID) microchip for the purpose of controlling who is, or isn’t, allowed medical care.

The point in the article "Saturday Night Special: ‘Historic’ Vote Kills Health Care Reform for Another Generation (11-8-09)" quotes commentator Arthur Silber’s summary of this bill, which he called "The F--- You Act:"
"Why is a bad bill better than no bill? Why is a bill that funds absolutely useless parasites like health insurance companies at the expense of our grandchildren's unearned pay better than nothing? Why, when blocking a bill would almost guarantee a better debate in round 2, is it more important to pass the bill and close off the opportunity for valuable reform?
Because a bad bill is the intended result of the whole exercise…The fact that insurance companies will reap huge rewards on the backs of ‘ordinary’ taxpaying Americans is not a regrettable byproduct of an allegedly good but imperfect effort at reform, or a flaw that will be fixed at some unspecified future date… as already powerful and wealthy interests become more powerful and wealthy, the State will also increase its already massive power over all our lives still more. None of that is incidental: it's the point."

*Democrats who opposed the bill include all in Alabama, Mike Ross (AR), Betsy Markey (CO), Kosmas and Boyd (FL), Marshall and Barrow (GA), Minnick (ID), Chandler (KY), all Louisiana, Kratovil (MD), Peterson (MN), Childers and Taylor (MS), Skelton (MO), Adler (NJ), Teague (NM), McMahon, Murphy and Massa (NY), McIntire, Kissell, and Shuler (NC), Boccieri and Kucinich (OH), all of Oklahoma, Altmire and Holden (PA), Herseth (SD),  Davis, Gordon and Tanner (TN), Edwards (TX), all of Utah, Nye and Baucher (VA), and Baird (WA).