House Democrats introduced their plan Wednesday morning to revamp health care. Congressman Steve Kagen (D-Appleton) says the America's Affordable Health Choice Act of 2009 will drive down medical costs by introducing transparency and allowing market forces of competition.
"There is no marketplace today in health care because you don't know the price of a pill before you swallow it. You don't know the price of a pill before you're going to get it," says Kagen.The Democratic House member admits some may pay higher taxes, including his own family, to fund the plan, something he calls "the price to pay for a civilized society."
The thousand page bill calls for a 5.4% tax increase on those making more than a million dollars a years, with the gradual tax starting at those pulling in $280,000 dollars annually.
Kagen, who is also a physician, says everyone would be covered under the plan as the measure prevents insurance companies from discriminating against anyone with pre-existing conditions. The bill would also penalize those individuals who've declined an offer of affordable insurance and punish employers who don't provide coverage, small businesses would be exempt.
Republicans, business groups and the insurance industry immediately called it a jobs-killer. Kagen considers it "jobs stimulus" as transparency would lead to cheaper drugs and services, thus creating less of a burden on businesses paying for escalating health insurance costs.