Health care reform will harm public

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Here is the other side of the story U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) failed to mention recently in TimesLedger Newspapers on the supposed benefits of the new health care law.

The following is a list compiled by Dr. Betsy McCaughey, a former New York state lieutenant governor:

1. The Obama health law forces you to buy a one-size-fits-all health plan, whether you can afford it or not.

2. It expands the powers of the Internal Revenue Service to punish you for noncompliance. This violates your rights. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution permits this coercion. In fact, the Tenth Amendment prohibits it.

3. For the first time in history, the Obama health law empowers the federal government to dictate how doctors treat privately insured patients. The federal government will be in control of your care even if you have Aetna, Blue Cross or any other qualified insurer.

4. Your insurer can pay only doctors who implement whatever regulations the federal government imposes in the name of improving health care quality. That covers everything in medicine from whether to use a stent or perform open heart surgery to whether or not to perform a pelvic sonogram or PAP Smear.

5. The president is exempt from the new law while the public is not, and he can continue to enjoy “the widest selection of health plans in the country and can choose from health savings accounts, Catastrophic plans with high deductibles, fee-for-service plans, and preferred HMOs” as described by the U.S. Office of Personal Management. Also, Congress enjoys far wider choices than the public does.

6. This law slashes future Medicare payments by nearly $500 billion. The chief actuary for Medicare, Richard Foster, warns that these cuts are so severe that some institutions may face severe losses or end their participation in Medicare. Some seniors will not know where to go for care.

7. Patients of all ages and incomes will suffer when hospitals are in financial distress. Hospital budget cuts will mean shortages of nurses, equipment and cleaning staff.

8. More New Yorkers have jobs in health care than in any other industry. The work force at New York Presbyterian Medical Center is bigger than that at Macy’s or Time Warner. The cuts will lead to layoffs.

9. Doctors will leave the profession in droves as a result of the new law, which will require more to treat the newly insured. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 30 percent of all doctors surveyed said they would leave, retire early from the profession or quit practicing medicine altogether. This will lead to longer waits, reduced care and rationing for all of us. Welcome to European-style socialized health care.

10. After the bill was rammed though Congress with no bipartisan support, the president declared the vote historic. That is true: It is a warning sign that the people are losing control of their government and have elected officials who do not represent them.

Phil Orenstein

Committeeman Queens Republican Party

Queens Village

Updated 5:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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