Dear Mr. Obama ([email protected]):
I’m sick right now with a bad case of poison ivy. I’m not telling you this because I want the government’s help. I’m telling you I’m sick because it explains why I have been sitting at home for days and, therefore, have had time to read the first 500 pages of the new health care bill.
I had no intention of reading the health care bill until a friend of mine – in his second year of medical school – sent me a list of statements about the bill. These statements have been floating around the internet so you may have seen them. After I read the bill, I concluded that the majority of the statements seemed correct. I’ve rephrased many of these statements and put them in the form of several dozen true/false statements.
I would like for you to take the time to answer these questions for two reasons. First, I’ve spent a lot of time reading the health care bill. Second, and more importantly, the U.S. Congress has not spent much time reading the bill.
On Page 22, I saw some language, which suggested that the bill mandates audits of all employers that choose to self-insure. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 29, I saw what appeared to be an admission that health care will be rationed under this new plan. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 30, I discovered that a government committee will be established to decide what treatments and benefits I get. However, unlike an insurer, I see no evidence that there will be a process to appeal their decisions. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 50, I read some non-discrimination language, which seems to suggest that all non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 59, I saw some language suggesting that the federal government will have access to all individual bank accounts for health-related electronic funds transfers. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 124, I learned that no private company can sue the government for price-fixing. Furthermore, no “judicial review” is permitted against a complete government monopoly. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 127, I read that the government will now set wages for physicians. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 149, couched in esoteric “contribution” language, it looks like any employer with a payroll of $400,000 or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll as a penalty. This penalty would go a long way towards destroying the private system. It would also seem to violate your campaign promises – specifically those you made during debates I watched. If I read this correctly, it appears you looked me – via the camera – in the eye and lied. So, Barry, can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 203, I read a very strange sentence: “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter.” I know this is supposed to be a true/false test but do you think calling a “tax” by some other name means it is no longer a tax? This seems to be a persistent theme in this bill. Please explain. Attach extra sheets of paper if necessary.
Page 272 has some of the most esoteric language of the health care bill. But it looks like the government plans to ration health care for cancer patients. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 280, I read that hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems to be “preventable re-admissions.” Once again, I know this is supposed to be a true/false test but, please, tell me this: How is the government in a better position (than a health care professional) to determine what constitutes a “preventable re-admission?”
Page 317 suggests that doctors will soon be prohibited from owning and investing in health care companies. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
The following page suggests that hospitals can no longer expand without government approval. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
On Page 429 things get very disturbing unless, of course, I am reading this wrong. It appears that an advance care planning consultation will be used to dictate treatment as a patient’s health deteriorates. This can include an order for end-of-life plans – specifically, an order from the government. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?
It really bothers me, Mr. President, that I can learn a lot more about pending legislation from an internet chat room than I can from my elected representatives. It also bothers me that I have to read pending bills because, in all likelihood, my representatives will not. Regardless, I want you to read this email carefully and answer all of my questions.
If you answer “true” – even to a single question – you will have lost any prospect of gaining my support. If you answer “false” to every question we can move on to pages 500 through1018.
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