Bel Air Tea Party organizer Tony Passaro loaded up two charter buses in the parking lot of the Harford County Government building in Bel Air this morning, headed for a health care protest in Washington D. C.
Passaro said he had about 100 people, whom he called “The Old Maryland Line”, ready to join a broader movement to oppose the health care bills currently under consideration in Congress.
The effort started with a call from Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to “Storm the Capitol” today, November 5, 2009. Passaro says he has heard from Tea Parties in Texas, Ohio, Virginia, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Florida, West Virginia and Pennsylvania who also plan to answer the call.
The idea is to meet on the Capitol steps today at noon, enter the halls of Congress to find elected officials, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in particular, and deliver letters adorned with tea bag tags and petitions protesting what Passaro calls “the abomination of Obamacare”.
Passaro’s group will also be handing out flyers outlining the health care reforms they do favor. The following is an excerpt from one of the flyers provided to The Dagger by Cindy Sharretts, a Harford County resident and self-described activist who is working with Passaro:
Insurance Reform: Allow insurance companies to compete across state lines and to offer varieties of policies, including “catastrophic,” so consumers can choose coverage to fit their budgets, rather than being limited by state regulations. Create new types of risk pools so that individuals, associations, and small businesses can access affordable coverage choices. Reform pre-existing condition and medical underwriting exclusions. Require that insurance companies cover high-risk patients, based on the company’s share of the consumer market, and in conjunction with tax incentives. Allow private insurers fair competition with the non-profits, which presently insure the majority of the market due to preferential tax treatment. Allow insurers to innovate with wellness incentives.
Medical Business Reform: Doctors, labs, hospitals, and other medical businesses should charge consistent prices for procedures, rather than negotiating different prices with each covered group. Prices should be posted and readily quoted so consumers can shop. Let consumers access care across state lines. Let health professionals practice across state lines. Allow normal business innovations, such as medical clinics in retail outlets and wellness programs.
Lawsuit Reform: Current liability insurance premiums over-burden doctors’ cost of doing business. Reform the legal process, by using medical panels and by implementing new guidelines for pain-and-suffering and punitive awards by juries. This will reduce the use of costly, defensive medical procedures.
Tax Code Reform: Let each person pay for insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars. Use mechanisms such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to encourage consumers to prepare for their own care, while reducing tax on moneys used. Revise deductibility of medical expenses against income tax. There should be NO TAX on any medical expenses (services, goods, insurance premiums). Provide tax breaks for employers who bear the administrative burden of group health insurance.
Safety-Net Programs Reform: Use advance tax credits and subsidies to assist those with low income to purchase health insurance from private companies. Create penalties and incentives for insurance companies to provide affordable coverage for all, while still operating within the free market. Reform the current aid programs, including the role of state and federal governments. Rather than fining those who do not purchase insurance, enable the uninsured to get insurance upon need, by creating practical methods of financially participating in the existing pool, with appropriate co-pays.
Medicare Reform: Fix flawed payment policies. Reform payment schedules to reflect actual cost so that doctors will continue to treat Medicare patients. Clean up the bureaucratic mess that encourages deception, misuse, and waste. Allow people to opt out and choose private insurers without penalty.
Later today, Passaro said he plans to join a rally in Bel Air organized by Stephen Wright, president of the Rt. 40 Republican Club and a candidate for Harford county executive. Passaro and Wright had split over a proposed repeal of the impact fee, but Passaro says they will come together to protest the current health care proposals.
Wright made robo calls last night urging people to join him, the Rt. 40 Republicans, Americans for Prosperity and the Campaign for Liberty on Main Street in Bel Air from 4 – 6 p.m. for the rally to oppose what Wright called “socialized medicine.”