If your doctor has recommended a hip or knee replacement or a diagnostic screening, best you get that scheduled in case Congress passes health care reform legislation and before it goes into effect.
According to Page 339 of the House Bill (HR 3269) you will be charged an Excise Tax of 2.5% of the cost of any "devices." What is considered a "device?" Page 339 refers to Section 201 (h) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (dating back to the early 1960's and amended several times since.) My research of Section 201 (h) provided the following:
"The term device...means instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro (cell and molecular biology-parentheses mine) regent, or other similar or related article, including any component, part, or accessory which is (1) recognized in the Official National Formulary...(2) intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease...(3) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man..."
According to this broad definition, device could mean mammograms, colonoscopies, CT and PET scans, MRI's, not to mention hip and knee replacements, prosthetics, and heart defibrillators to which, according to the language in the bill, will be subject to the 2.5% Excise Tax.
Every American will be required to have government approved coverage (page 302.) Contrary to the thinking of some, it is not a free ride. Costs under the public option will be according to your income (to be verified by tax returns.) If you can afford health coverage, but you fail to get it, you will be taxed "2.5% of the excess of 1) (your) modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over (2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012 (a) (1) with respect to the taxpayer.
Assertions have been made that one's failure to pay the fine will result in jail time. On www.speaker.gov, someone named Karina (a staffer?) writes, "...the IRS--which will enforce the insurance requirement--uses the civil process to settle delinquent penalties and taxes (in other words, they will see you in court.) She does refer to "100 criminal prosecutions for willful failure to pay taxes" in 2008.
A much more entertaining reaction comes from Speaker Pelosi in response to a reporter's question on jail time. This can be found at www.youtube.com. To see the Speaker dance around the issue, type in "Nancy Pelosi Supports Prison Time."
Because this kind of health care "reform" is one fat turkey I don't want to be handed this Thanksgiving, I'm continuing to call the Senate switchboard. How about you?