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Health care bill has problems

While it looks ever more likely that a health care reform bill is going to pass Congress before year's end, it looks increasingly unlikely that the bill will be good for the Americans it is designed to help.

Many words have been devoted to the direct tax costs of health reform and at what income level Americans should begin paying some sort of income tax surcharge to pay for reform. The real costs have received little attention, although they are likely to hit every American right in the wallet. Health care reform proposals to date seem to be built on the backs of employers, which is the kind of thing that sounds good if one does not think through the likely result. Faced with skyrocketing health care costs -- for that is what the House legislation would do -- most business employers are likely to pass those costs along to their customers or to their employees. The result will be spiraling consumer costs and an increase in unemployment directly proportional to the costs of health care reform.

As usual, Congress loves a program that it can sell with the idea that it won't cost voters much. As usual, that contention just isn't true and only fools those who can't be bothered to really think about the situation.

Fortunately, at least some conservative Democrats -- a group that calls itself the Blue Dogs and includes Rep. Collin Peterson among its numbers -- seems to be taking a more fiscally realistic look at health care. At any rate, the Blue Dogs are not part of the rush to pass any old health care bill, just so they can say that they've created "reform."

We hope that at least a few reasonable voices emerge in Congress before a new health care plan that is going to hurt more Americans than it helps can become law. --Fergus Falls Daily Journal