by Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) | BigGovernment.com
Today, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on Senator Max Baucus’ health care overhaul. Like most Americans, I believe that our health care system needs to be reformed. However, this bill is a tax and spending bill masquerading as a health reform bill. It gives government bureaucrats far too much power and encroaches on freedom more than any legislation since LBJ’s Great Society experiment. It is bad for the country and bad for the economy.
Senate Democrats are pushing a vote on the 1,000-page bill now because the Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that the bill cost “only” $829 billion over the next 10 years. In truth, the bill raises taxes immediately, but the benefits do not kick in for another four years, so the 10-year numbers are distorted. This is an expensive experiment that cuts Medicare, and exacerbates state government budget problems by dramatically expanding Medicaid without providing additional funding.
How do the Democrats propose to pay for the rest of the new spending? There are a massive amount of tax increases in the bill, including over $200 billion in tax increases on insurance premiums, new taxes on individuals and employers, and over $120 billion in new taxes on medical device makers and other health care businesses. All of these tax increases concern me, but the latter category does so especially: My state is the home of Medtronic, Boston Scientific, 3M, St. Jude Medical and other medical technology makers that employ 60,000 Minnesotans and save and improve countless lives. Increasing taxes on these businesses would not only be an unwise burden on these employers, but would siphon money otherwise spent on research and development. It would also risk the cost of increased taxes being passed on, directly or indirectly, to those who rely on such devices or who cover their cost.
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