- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 13, 2009

Please check out page 203 of the main House version of health care reform. It contains all the evidence you need that the entire bill is a nasty bait-and-switch.

“The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax imposed by this chapter. …”

Yes, it really says that. The tax shall not be considered a tax. Or at least not “… for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter or for purposes of Section 55.”

Gee, that really clears things up. It is especially helpful to know that the bill itself does not even contain a Section 55; the bill begins with a section numbered 101. (Section 55 apparently refers to the Internal Revenue Code, which it wouldn’t do if the health care bill were not a tax bill, too.)

The bill does contain new taxes — plenty of them. Pages 167 and 168 impose an income tax of 2.5 percent on any individual who chooses not to buy government-approved health insurance. Pages 149-150 impose a tax of between 2 percent and 8 percent on the payrolls of all companies whose payrolls exceed $250,000. Pages 197 and 198 outline income tax surcharges to be imposed on individuals with incomes over $350,000, rising to a highest surcharge of 5.4 percent.

Meanwhile, as the bill specifically acknowledges imposing a tax without counting it as a tax, it also imposes all sorts of requirements that act as indirect taxes under names such as “mandates” and “requirements.” Page 146 requires employers to provide insurance even for part-time workers. Page 280 begins to outline a penalty for hospitals that are adjudged to have “excess readmissions.” Federal bureaucrats, of course, will determine which patient readmissions are reasonable and which are excessive. The bureaucrats will do this by following the simple rules for such determinations laid out on pages 281 and 282 … and 283 … and 284, 285, 286, and … oh, forget it; we got lost.

The legalistic gobbledygook in that section is mind-numbing. For instance: “IN GENERAL. — Except as provided in subparagraph (B), for purposes of this subsection, the term ‘base operating DRG payment amount’ means, with respect to a hospital for a fiscal year, the payment amount that would otherwise be made under subsection (d) for a discharge if this subsection did not apply, reduced by any portion of such amount that is attributable to payments under subparagraphs (B) and (F) of paragraph (5).”

All of which is further modified by an “adjustment factor” and a “risk adjusted ratio” and further “adjustments” that are “normalized to a benchmark.”

Is it any wonder that ever-larger majorities of polled Americans are quite literally afraid — not just worried, but actually frightened — by the prospect of a central bureaucracy, mired in the red tape of inscrutable governmental lingo, deciding what treatments can and can’t be provided, by which doctors, at what costs, and at what time in the far-distant future after the waiting lists have been exhausted?

If it wants, Congress can try to impose a tax but not “treat” it as a tax. But the American people know when they are getting taxed — and when they are getting mistreated. And the American people still can, and will, vote out of office the congressmen responsible for the mistreatment.