Grassley: Senate Health Plan Depletes Medicare, Raises Premiums, Thwarts Constitution

Wednesday, 14 Oct 2009 12:56 PM

By Jim Meyers

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The healthcare reform proposal that forces people to buy health insurance could be unconstitutional — and the government's "public option" insurance plan will ultimately lead to the rationing of medical care, Sen. Charles Grassley tells Newsmax.

The Iowa Republican — the ranking GOP member of the Senate Finance Committee — also said the plan before Congress is bound to shift "leftward" as is moves through the legislative process.

Newsmax.TV's Ashley Martella noted that the Finance Committee on Tuesday voted 14-9 in favor of an $829 billion, 10-year healthcare remake, with only one Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, voting for the bill. He asked Sen. Grassley about her vote.

See Video: Sen. Chuck Grassley talks about the costly new mandates in the Democrats’ healthcare plans - Click Here Now

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"I couldn't vote yes for several reasons, and I don't know her reason for voting," Grassley responded.

"But you want to remember one thing: She's pretty meticulous and she moves ahead, and she is not committed to following this thing all the way through the process. That's what she's told me. And it better not get any more leftward or they will lose her."

Grassley added that when the bill moves leftward it may even have a "public option" in it.

Under such a plan, individuals and businesses would be allowed to join a public healthcare insurance system — which critics contend would eventually bankrupt private insurers by offering cheaper healthcare insurance.

"When you have a public option, the Heritage Foundation said, all these people are going to opt out and go into the government plan because the government's not a competitor, it's a predator," Grassley warned.

"When you do that you're going to move into an area where pretty soon everybody's in the government-run plan, and pretty soon you have what they have in Canada — a government-run plan with no choice, with rationing."

Grassley explained why he opposed the Finance Committee bill.

"First of all, it takes $404 billion out of Medicare, and you want to remember that Medicare is in bad shape anyway. So why would you take that money and put it into a new government entitlement program?

"Secondly, this is the first time in the 225-year history of our country that we have forced you as a constituent to buy a product. You've been free to buy or not to buy, but now for the first time you're going to have to buy health insurance. And if you don't buy it, the IRS is going to tax the family $1,500."

As to whether this provision is constitutional, Grassley said: "I'm not a lawyer but I've listened to some lawyers speak on this. I don't think we've ever had this issue before of having to buy something, and a lot of constitutional lawyers are saying it is unconstitutional, or at least a violation of the Tenth Amendment."

That amendment provides that powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the states "are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Grassley continued: "Maybe states can do this, but can the federal government do it? So I have my doubts.

"But here's the untold story — 85 percent of people in this country have health insurance already. So what does the Congressional Budget Office as well as the industry say? That premiums are going to go up for that 85 percent of the people because of our not doing anything to keep them from going up.

"What is this healthcare debate mostly about for those 85 percent of the people? They're tired of their premiums going up so much over the past four or five years. Then you're going to have what's called the individual mandate — you have to buy insurance — and you still have 25 million people who don't have health insurance."

Martella asked if Grassley agrees with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's assertion that the bill approved by the Finance Committee will never come before the Senate.

"I 100 percent agree with it," Grassley declared. "That doesn't mean that none of it will come before the Senate. What he's saying is, it's not going to have an identity all by itself because it's going to be merged with the Senate Health Committee bill that came out of committee back in July when Senator Kennedy was chairing that committee.

"Understand that this thing has moved leftward even in the Finance Committee. I was part of a group of six negotiating what was supposed to be a bipartisan bill. The White House pulled the rug out from those negotiations because they wanted to move ahead.

"So they moved ahead in a partisan way and the bill moved leftward in the Finance Committee. And when it's merged with the Senate Health Committee bill it's going to move more leftward.

"Then when you look at all the left-wing ideas that [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi has in the House of Representatives, with her vast majority over there, it's going to move further to the left."

See Video: Sen. Chuck Grassley talks about the costly new mandates in the Democrats’ healthcare plans - Click Here Now

Special: Get Sarah Palin’s New Book – Incredible FREE Offer -- Click Here Now.

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