(Alexandria, VA) – As the U.S. Senate finished its scramble to enact hastily crafted health care legislation, Pete Sepp, Vice President for Policy and Communications with the 362,000-Member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), offered the following statement:
“The holidays are supposed to be a time of hope, but thanks to Congress’s big-government health care ‘reform’ plans, Americans are instead confronting a season of fear – fear of higher taxes, heavier debt burdens, and a perpetually stunted economy.
It didn’t have to be this way. The House and Senate could have considered sensible steps to improve health care, such as allowing insurance competition across state lines, establishing equal, less burdensome tax treatment for insurance purchases, and adopting serious medical liability reforms. Instead, both chambers have concocted plans that will add to the system’s problems.
The House’s scheme would propel the top tax rate on small businesses to a level approaching the People’s Republic of China’s rate while creating an unaffordable public option entitlement that will lead to a government takeover of insurance. The Senate’s abomination, meanwhile, hits those having good health coverage with a new tax, imposes a new payroll tax whose reach will worsen with inflation, and, just in time for Christmas, hands a gift to the insurers by forcing Americans to purchase coverage. Both plans contain cost assumptions that are wildly optimistic by historical standards, as well as entitlement savings that lawmakers have little intention of pursuing.
In short, the House and Senate have insulted the American people with health care reform bills that are deficient in concept, impractical in operation, and disgraceful in their parliamentary maneuvers around legislative procedures.
The only way that lawmakers can redeem themselves and save the nation from great suffering in 2010 is to go home now and stay there. The House of Representatives should not rush to get the Senate’s bill to the President’s desk this year, and should instead take time to consider the mistakes it has made with its own legislation
Elected officials should scrap both proposals and start over next year, but at the very least they owe the public an honest debate over these bills after the holidays. Anything less is a slap in the face to the political process – a process taxpayers will use to its fullest measure in November unless their concerns are taken seriously.”
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: additional analyses and commentaries on health care reform are available at www.ntu.org.