HR676: Serious policy? or Simple political posturing?

by Bruce Webb

A lot of progressives insist that there is a simple golden-bullet solution to the health care crisis. All we need to do is substitute the 30 page HR676 Single Payer/Medicare For All bill for the 1990 page HR3962. Which led me to ask “How can you possibly supply code language to overhaul the U.S. health care system in 30 pages?” Well you don’t, HR676 is in bluntest terms a political joke. I provide a lengthy breakdown in this post at the Bruce Web HR676: Political Fools’ Gold and in the interest of space provide a severely abbreviated version here.

Provisions of the bill:
Universal coverage for all residents including undocumented workers. (Sec 101)
No out of pocket expenses for anyone. (Sec 102 (c) )
Benefits include unlimited medical, dental, vision, perscription drugs, substance abuse treatment, long term care all at no direct cost to the end user. (Sec 102 (a) )
For profit medicine made illegal. Including dentistry, optometric services, pharmacies, out patient or in patient care. (Sec 103)
Investor owned medical facilities to be converted to non-profit status within one year with the government paying for “”reasonable financial losses incurred as a result of the conversion from for-profit to non-profit status. ” (Sec 103)
Private insurance for any benefit covered in the bill made illegal. (Sec 104)
Providers must either be salaried or paid on a set national schedule regardless of geographic variations. (Sec 202)
Costs will be covered by unspecified income taxes on the upper 5%, a “modest” payroll tax, and some tax on stock and bond transactions. (Sec 211)
All costs for construction and renovation of medical facilities to be paid for by the government (Sec 202)
Indian Health Service to be eliminated after five years. (Sec 401)
VA Hospital system potentially to be eliminated after ten years. (Sec 401)

It is pretty common for commenters on the Left to say that no one is proposing a government takeover of medical care on the model of the British National Health System. And they are right. This proposal goes far beyond that. There is not a single hysteric charge by the Limbaugh/Beck/Bachmann crowd that would not be supported by the text of this bill. With one exception, it doesn’t actually provide for death panels. But in every other respect this is a proposal for a communist-style health care system.

Think that is too strong? Well check out the bill as it is presented by its biggest supporter Physicians for a National Health Program.

Let me add my urging to theirs: Read the Text of H.R.676

Don’t let anyone tell you that this is just a case of opening Medicare to everybody, this is a root and branch transformation of the entire medical delivery system. Under this bill Perle Vision Centers and “your neighborhood Walgreens” become illegal operations. As it does any group owned clinic including in all likelihood your dentist. I mean who could afford to finance establishment of a new medical facility out of pocket with no outside investors?

The answer to the question in the title of my post? Blatant posturing for effect. No serious person would put forth a policy that at one and the same time provides unlimited free medical care for illegal immigrants and phases out a dedicated health care system for disabled veterans. Christ the campaign ads write themselves.