September 30, 2009

Why slam those of us with great health care benefits? We worked for it. We earned it. And we're the middle-class people Obama said he wasn't going to hurt.

Mickey Kaus writes:
Charles Lane argues that unions are now a "significant" impediment to "sensible health care reform" because of their tooth-and-nail fight against taxing "Cadillac" health plans. ... Even if you think (as I do) that the unions have a point when they argue they gave up wage increases in order to get lavish health benefits, isn't the answer to give them five years (or until their next contract negotiation) to rebalance the mix to what it would be in a world in which employer health benefits didn't go untaxed? ... If the problem for powerful unions is they no longer have quite the clout they used to have to extract wage increases in exchange for giving up "luxury" health benefits ... well, that's their problem. ...
But if we with the "Cadillac" health plans have to start paying taxes on our benefits, that's a huge middle class tax increase, and we were promised that wouldn't happen. Rebalancing the pay package doesn't save us from that tax hit — even assuming our employers would reshuffle things. Plus we love our great health benefits, and we were told if we liked them, we'd get to keep them. How is it fair to change the rules on us after we worked so hard to get what we have? The Democrats, including Obama, got elected by saying "middle class" over and over again. They never said they were going to provide for the less fortunate at our expense, and I don't see how they would have gotten elected if they had.

IN THE COMMENTS: Ari Tai said:
They could go the other direction, a 100% tax deduction for all medical expenses (including insurance payments).
Yes, that would be appropriate. In fact, why not just do that and forget all the other chaotic changes? See how that works out.

165 comments:

tjl said...

"They never said they were going to provide for the less fortunate at our expense, and I don't see how they would have gotten elected if they had."

And how else could they possibly provide for the less fortunate except at our expense? But of course if more people had asked this simple question the Dems wouldn't have gotten elected.

Ari Tai said...

They could go the other direction, a 100% tax deduction for all medical expenses (including insurance payments).

former law student said...

Define "Cadillac." It costs more to ensure adults over 40, because that's when people start to need medical care. Health insurance is most expensive for those just shy of Medicare age. If the tax will apply mostly to middle aged and older people, that's not going to fly.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, the promises were unbelievable, but we can still call them on those promises in an effort to stop them from doing what they threaten to do. And it's true that we already elected them, but they are listening to us because they have to face us again.

rhhardin said...

Think of it as a judge changing a plea agreement.

AJ Lynch said...

Some union members have high-cost "Cadillac" health benefits AND generous tax-sheltered annuity plans.

For instance, one union's members get $5 per hour worked paid into their annuity plan. For those of you from Rio Linda, that is $10,000per year [tax deferred] when you work fifty weeks at 40 hours per week.

The greasy wheel still gets the oil, no? The way to fix this is to limit everyone's tax avoidance on non-payroll compensation to the same fixed dollar amount each year - let's say $7,500.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

They never said they were going to provide for the less fortunate at our expense, and I don't see how they would have gotten elected if they had

Of course they wouldn't say that. They lied. The difference is that Conservatives knew that they lied and we told you so. You just wouldn't listen.

I don't see why you shouldn't be taxed on the amount of premium paid by your employer to provide you with a Cadillac or even Yugo health plan. The money should be treated the same as wages for tax purposes.

The solution would be to give the employee the choice of several plans from a high deductible (less expensive premium) to the Cadillac (expensive cover everything) plan and let the employee decide how much he wants to be taxed.

Do you think the money the employer pays out on your behalf comes from nowhere? Your employer probably pays anywhere from 18 to 25 thousand dollars a year for your Cadillac plan. Have you ever even thought about how much money your benefits cost your employer?

Why is it fair to give you $25,000 tax free when the rest of us without employer sponsered plans and the self employed have to pay for health insurance premiums out of post tax income?

VE: mingod. What Obama thinks he is....a mini god.

Fred4Pres said...

You just assume that bus will stop for you when you walk out in front of it. Why is that? You have seen the bus run over many before.


Hollywood loves to remake movies. Well this is a remake of Jimmy Carter Maliase. Enjoy!

Maguro said...

The problem the Democrats have is that they ran on a "soak the rich" platform, but there really aren't enough rich people to pay for all their grand social programs. In the end, they'll have to get that money from the middle class.

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton replied "Because that's where the money is". Same logic here.

Cedarford said...

Three problems with "leave everything alone!!" for the middle class.

1. The US now competes globally, and poorly, against advanced nations with less than half the US per capita health care costs. We have to reduce costs to get in line with our rivals. No choice. And our inability to compete is eroding Americans financial ability to pay for healthcare...as healthcare costs have exploded annually far higher than workers wage increases have.

2. The middle class is consuming more than they paid into Medicare. The debt grows every day. 37 trillion, now. Either benefits must be reduced, costs lowered, or payments made far higher - or some combination of the 3.

3. Hard to see how the middle class can avoid paying the costs of the poor and parasitical. Somebody has to, and IOUs to China don't present a rational alternate funding path..The supply siders illusion that we will just cut taxes on the middle class and everything would magically grow to provide all we needed for anything from wars of choice to Granny's free Hoveround hasn't worked.

Balfegor said...

The solution would be to give the employee the choice of several plans from a high deductible (less expensive premium) to the Cadillac (expensive cover everything) plan and let the employee decide how much he wants to be taxed.

How about just separating the whole health insurance issue from employment completely? Maybe employers could offer, as a perk, subsidies to purchase health insurance, but the relationship ought to be straight insurer-insuree, not insurer-employer-insuree.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Define "Cadillac."

Very low deductible $500 to $1000
Low out of Pocket $500 to $100
Low copays 10 to 20%
100% coverage (before deductible) for many procedures
Medicines covered with low copay or no copay
Coverage for everything from acupuncture to aroma therapy.
Super high cap on lifetime benefits, in the millions of dollars.

Salamandyr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

As I recall during the campaign the Obama soundbite with JTP blew the smiling socialist's cover, and made poor Joe into public enemy#1. When will the Government Media start asking these same questions? But we have the Rogue's facebook page to find out real information on in the meantime. FYI the American Middleclass are the ones the Marxists blame for everything...The Bourgeoisie...and Los Obamos and his allies in the spreading Central/South American Marxist Revolution financed by oil (that we cannot drill for ourselves) and armed by Iran and Russia are really mad at you Gringos.

Salamandyr said...

I was talking to my wife last night about the concept, essentially solving 90% of any problem is easy and cheap, but the final 10% is an escalating scale of expense and difficulty. Looking at the problem of the uninsured, I look at what percentage of the population is uninsured...10%!

Perhaps we should consider the problem mostly fixed and quit worrying quite so much.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

How about just separating the whole health insurance issue from employment completely? Maybe employers could offer, as a perk, subsidies to purchase health insurance, but the relationship ought to be straight insurer-insuree, not insurer-employer-insuree.


Yes. That is another solution. With some caveats.

1.The subsidy would need to be taxed. You don't get money for free. According to the IRS it would be classified as compensation, just like a bonus.

2. The employees would need to be able to participate in a group plan.

This is why employer sponsored insurance exists....to create a group. In a group plan even the uninsurable or high risk people are admitted to the plan without higher premiums than someone of the same age. The risk is shared by the pool. If the same high risk person tried to get insurance directly from the insurance company as an individual, they wouldn't be able to get the same lowered group premium or maybe even coverage at all.

Group insurance, however, is more expensive for the healthy participant than individual, because the are sharing the risk of the entire pool.

Angst said...

The elderly are concerned about the $500 Billion in cuts to Medicare ...

The working class are worried about taxes on their existing health insurance ...

Hopefully, the young, healthy voters won't notice the insurance mandate coupled with community ratings are going to force them to pay a lot more for insurance than they currently spend.

madawaskan said...

Military veterans were promised health care benefits for life.

Those benefits have been constantly eroded-but this was something that they were told they had to accept less pay for, and was a "reward" for putting their lives on the line.

But now vets have to hope to find a primary doctor that will still accept Medicare and they are put in a pool with people that didn't pay-shouldn't they be given the pay that the sacrificed back?

OK probably not.

Now, if you try to read the bill it looks like TriCare another military health care subsidy-what have you-does not have to meet the minimum requirements as every other plan ends up having to.

I could be misreading it, but it looks like as an employee -the government is giving itself a waiver not to meet the minimum standards it has set for everyone else.

I'm not sure what is up with that.

And, when we are talking about government and long term promises-Social Security benefits have eroded, and are we all going to get back what we put in to that ?

Now after the track record with the military and Social Security-we are supposed to believe that this will work out?

Hoosier Daddy said...

They never said they were going to provide for the less fortunate at our expense, and I don't see how they would have gotten elected if they had.

I never thought it was possible to crack a rib from laughter.

Ouch.

madawaskan said...

I hate how the Eigthies songs keep beng relevant-

Naked Eyes -Promises, Promises

Never had a doubt
In the beginning
Never a doubt
Trusted too true
In the beginning
I loved you right through
Arm in arm we laughed like kids
At all the silly things we did

You made me promises, promises
Knowing I'd believe
Promises, promises
You knew you'd never keep

Second time around
I'm still believing
Words that you said
You said you'd always be here
In love forever
Still repeats in my head
You can't finish what you start
If this is love it breaks my heart

You made me promises, promises
You knew you'd never keep
Promises, promises
Why do I believe

Arm in arm we laughed like kids
At all the silly things we did
You can't finish what you start
If this is love it breaks my heart

You made me promises, promises
You knew you'd never keep
Promises, promises
Why do I believe
All of your promises
You knew you'd never keep
Promises, promises
Why do I believe!

former law student said...

Military veterans were promised health care benefits for life.

? My dad went to the VA hospital for care, but he always had to jump the "service-connected" hurdle.

Shanna said...

Why is it fair to give you $25,000 tax free when the rest of us without employer sponsored plans and the self employed have to pay for health insurance premiums out of post tax income?

Just make it all tax exempt, for employees and self insured. In fact, make all medical expenses a tax deductible expense, instead of attaching a bunch of conditions to it. Including cough syrup and aleve. I don’t see why you should have to jump through HSA hoops to get a deduction.

Matt said...

Insurances costs are actually so high right now they actually ARE costing the middle class. You are putting a Insurance company spin on your argument. Our premiums will not come down without some accountability. The plans proposed at least try to grapple with this.

Please note that costs WILL NOT come down if we keep things going the way Republicans want them to.

What's more Althouse is you voted for Obama and now you pretend to be shocked that he and the Democrats are proposing all these health care changes. How did you miss that platform? I voted for him almost on this issue alone.

Sissy Willis said...

Glad that some who fell asleep are awakening. Hope it's not to late to change direction.

Der Hahn said...

In fact, why not just do [a 100% tax deduction for all medical expenses (including insurance payments)] and forget all the other chaotic changes?

You are assuming that the objective of the various proposals is reforming health care provisioning.

It is not.

The objective is taking the first steps to government control of health care provisioning.

Big Mike said...

And it's true that we already elected them, but they are listening to us because they have to face us again.

Barack doesn't face the voters again for 3 years and a month. That's plenty of time for us to get used to having been screwed.

And keep in mind that Healthcare "reform" doesn't take effect until two months after the 2012 election.

Bruce Hayden said...

Hopefully, the young, healthy voters won't notice the insurance mandate coupled with community ratings are going to force them to pay a lot more for insurance than they currently spend.

Hopefully, the young healthy ones who didn't go to college will also hopefully not notice an approximate 50% unemployment rate among them, thanks partially to those recent minimum wage hikes.

WV: crowz - past tense of crow, which is what those who voted for Obama and the Democrats should be eating right now.

AJ Lynch said...

A 100% tax deduction is what they are wrestling with. A roadblock is that tax deductions only partially reduce your taxable income. So your taxes still increase.

For union members and some fat cat govt employees [like perhaps UW profs], the tax increase would be hefty.

Mark said...

Maybe employers could offer, as a perk, subsidies to purchase health insurance, but the relationship ought to be straight insurer-insuree, not insurer-employer-insuree.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

Now, this would require a complete overhaul on regulations re: continuation of coverage, but this would be a tremendous boon to small to mid size businesses (which would shed administrative costs and responsibilities) and remove a significant impediment to employee mobility (which would in the short term destabilize a lot of businesses that depend on the American version of the Iron Ricebowl) but would improve overall productivity.

madawaskan said...

former law student-

All I know is that my Dad was shoved out into Medicare as if he never planned for his health care-and had to consider himself "lucky" when he found a primary care doctor that would accept MediCare.

Whoopie! as if he wasn't responsible and hadn't thought he was covered.

As for VA I think the mile radius use to be a 90 mile drive and they might have reduced that to 60 miles-not sure.

The other thing that they were doing for awhile-I thought-was to consolidate VA with active duty facilities-which if the government is going to get into the-

"business of health care" why are they going to insist on maintaining a "dual track"?

Why not consolidate for efficiency?

Wouldn't you like to join us?

Why or why not?

heh.

[wv:grimoss]

TosaGuy said...

"Why slam those of us with great health care benefits? We worked for it. We earned it. And we're the middle-class people Obama said he wasn't going to hurt."

It is all about "spreading the wealth around"

madawaskan said...

Speaking of promises going bust-

all you have to do is look at Europe.

Bruce Hayden said...

Insurances costs are actually so high right now they actually ARE costing the middle class. You are putting a Insurance company spin on your argument. Our premiums will not come down without some accountability. The plans proposed at least try to grapple with this.

The usual liberal talking points. But those who spout them rarely can explain why, if the insurance companies are so unaccountable, they don't make more money. Because, while it may look like a lot, when compared to revenues, it isn't. Not even close.

Please note that costs WILL NOT come down if we keep things going the way Republicans want them to.

And Obama's solution? There is only one - rationing. Sure, he can promise to eliminate waste and fraud in Medicare, but will be, maybe, the eighth consecutive President to do so, and will likely be no more successful than they were.

Or, he can go through with cutting Medicare reimbursement rates, which is part of some of the Democrats' plans. But, doctors are already refusing new Medicare patients, and this would just make a lot more of them do just that. Which is why it ain't going to happen, and if it does, it will be reversed so fast your head will spin.

So, Obama has promised more coverage for more people without depriving people of healthcare they already have, all without raising taxes or healthcare costs for the middle class.

Which means that he has promised to artificially drive down the supply while significantly raising the demand for services. First consequence will be much longer lines, since the system will no longer be in equilibrium. Next, since the transactions aren't really clearing as fast as new ones are being added to the queues, the queues will go to (effectively) infinity (under queueing theory).

Other than that, and a couple of other small issues being glossed over by the MSM and liberals, ObamaCare should work just fine.

Shanna said...

Insurances costs are actually so high right now they actually ARE costing the middle class.

And raising taxes on it will bring costs down? Also, insuring a bunch of new people will bring costs down. And making sure a bunch of new stuff is required to be covered will bring costs down. Oh, but no rationing, because all the cost savings are going to come from “cutting waste”.

Uh, huh.

Look, anyone who can do pretty simple math has known for a long time that "no taxes raised on the middle class" was a bunch of bs, with the list of costly things that were also going to be done.

John Lynch said...

Heck, why not something like the EITC fro health care costs?

miller said...

It's not possible to subsidize the need for health insurance to a level that doesn't increase overall spending. So taxes will need to go up, and more sources for taxes will need to be found.

You who voted for the Big Oh. Are you being served?

John Thacker said...

It costs more to ensure adults over 40, because that's when people start to need medical care. Health insurance is most expensive for those just shy of Medicare age. If the tax will apply mostly to middle aged and older people, that's not going to fly.

But with employer-provided health care, we all pay the same premiums, so the younger subsidize the older, as will happen with the mandate, since the premiums of the old will be capped relative to the young.

The young subsidizing the old is even worse than the other way around. Yes, most of the young are healthy right now, but most of the old were young and healthy once. You can say that the young will benefit when they get older, but what about those that will die before they're old?

It seems horrible to me to have people who will die at an early age subsidize people who got to enjoy a long life.

John Thacker said...

And don't say that those who die at a young age will benefit either; their conditions often come on suddenly, or, more likely that age, death is from accident or homicide and wouldn't affect medical care.

miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatCA said...

Candidate Bill Clinton also promised to never raise middle class taxes; at least he had the honor to go on TV and publicly admit that he was going to take it back.

Matt said...

Bruce Hayden

Let the insurance companies tank. If they can't compete with the government too bad. I think they would find a way [and quick] to make things still work in their favor. And your favor too.
Are you interested at all in health care costs coming down? Even a little bit? If so what plan do you have?

And personally I have no problem with taxes. We right now pay when we fork out for insurance or we pay when we fork out to doctors because insurance doesn't cover some things. We also pay because of the under-insured and the uninsured who go straight to the Emergency room. Either way money comes out of your pocket. So why quibble over exactly where that cost comes from?
And in fact a tax of the Middle Class [which Obama had not proposed by the way] would most likely be less of a cost than the costs most Americans pay right now for health care.

Peter V. Bella said...

There is one way to solve this whole created crisis. The Congressmen and Senators are servants of the people. The have Rolls Royce health care benefits. Any doctor, any hospital any kind of treatment and no caps; plus it is mostly free.

They should be required by law to have the same exact health care they are foisting upon us. They are servants. We are the masters. If they want to push a plan then they should be subject to it.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama's goal is to destroy the economy completely. So far the car industry and banks are in shambles. They represent about 15% of GDP. Health care is 15% and it will be destroyed very soon. After that, Obama will destroy education which is another 9-10%. He already controls the military which is another 6-7%. That's damn near 50% and Obama is only in his 1st year in office.

wv = avill

Bruce Hayden said...

Let the insurance companies tank. If they can't compete with the government too bad. I think they would find a way [and quick] to make things still work in their favor. And your favor too.
Are you interested at all in health care costs coming down? Even a little bit? If so what plan do you have?


Sure, let's increase taxes some more so that the public plan can compete, and watch the insurance plans with no taxpayer funding fail. Which just pushes more people into a system where more health care for more people is being promised without losing coverage or raising taxes. Won't happen, because it can't, which is why we are back to rationing.

madawaskan said...

edit:

Shoot! I meant government as an employer seems to have exempted the insurance plan-TriCare-that it provides its employees-the military-from the minimum standards they require of most other plans.

[and it's damn possible I am misunderstanding that part of the bill, but for some reason HR 3200 goes on about it.]

Seven Machos said...

The argument that we must have a government takeover of health care because we are competing with the rest of the world in trade is hokum. I believe our Jew-hating acquaintance Cedarford made it.

Do China and Vietnam offer Cadillac plans? Because lots of stuff is made in those places. Lots of stuff is hecho in Mexico, too, so I'm sure you can get first-class, free health care down there. Right?

You don't need free health care to create quality products, or products that people can afford to purchase. And why is it that so many people who pontificate on economic matters have no understanding of basic economics?

Henry said...
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Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickenlittle said...

In the USA Today this morning there was an article about how a significant portion of Americans would or could not spend $20 to vaccinate their kids. The call was to subsidize the vaccinations. Not mentioned was that some people wouldn't pay $2 to vaccinate their kids, but they would spend $2 on gas to drive somewhere to get "free" vaccinations.

That's part of the mentality that needs to change.

AJ Lynch said...

Henry said:

"If you want reform to provide for the chronically underinsured, let's figure out the price and do it."

That is sorta what Ben Stein said the other day..."Just give the needy a voucher and leave the rest of us alone".

AJ Lynch said...

CL:

The USA Today reporter and editors had to be a little clueless too huh. It sounds like a WTF moment [by that I mean the Wisconsin Tourism federation]. Heh.

Henry said...

Matt wrote: Are you interested at all in health care costs coming down? Even a little bit? If so what plan do you have?

Start with the proposals here:

http://cei.org/issue-analysis/2009/09/08/political-malpractice

After you read that, consider that all the current proposals in Congress will LOCK IN the most expensive aspects of the current system -- community rating, guaranteed issue, first-dollar coverage, mandatory enrollment. Mandatory enrollment is what they have in Massachusetts. You either buy the health insurance you're told to buy or you pay a fine. The Health insurance companies love this feature because it will force healthy people to buy the most expensive coverage, whether they need it or not.

As for the public option, it too locks in the most expensive aspects of the current system. Invariably the public option is coupled with mandates for required coverage by private insurers, which again drives up costs.

BTW, the reason costs are so high is not because of health insurer profits or waste and mismanagement or torts. The reason costs are so high is because all of us are willing to pay almost anything to not die. The current system and all aspects of "reform" currently under debate shield us from the actual costs of our decisions.

If you want to cover the chronically underinsured, let's figure out a price tag and make it happen. If you support "reform" because you think you'll save money, then you almost deserve the screwing you're going to get. The rest of us don't.

Henry said...

AJ -- Thanks to my deletions and edits, you responded to me from the past. Ah, the magic of blogger.

Seven Machos said...

Every pro-insurance person seems to claim to be worried about the one-in-a-million young, healthy uninsured person who goes under a bus.

If that's really keeping you up at night, here's a simple solution: government deductible insurance. Your first $100,000 in legal bills are your own problem. The government will take care of anything above that. You pay a yearly fee, only if you don't have insurance, which should be negligible. Prices subject to CPI.

10ksnooker said...

Oba-Mao lies, all commies lie. It's just what they do.

I bet there are still people waiting in line to get their free gas.

Original Mike said...

How is it fair to change the rules on us after we worked so hard to get what we have?

They won.

The Democrats, including Obama, got elected by saying "middle class" over and over again.

And you fell for it. Hook. Line. Sinker.

careen said...

Well, because generally it's those folks who supported health care reform, "covering the uninsured" etc. in the FIRST PLACE - until they discovered it would mean they would pay for it. Blue Collar unions generally are a bit more street smart and cagey - and were excoriated for being racist white trash all through the elections IIRC. There are exceptions, but generally the professional class, especially in the university sector, supported Obama and the idea of universal coverage. I

What did they not realize Ideas Have Consequences and it would have to be PAID FOR? Oh, they just didn't personally expect to pay? They thought the greedy insurance companies would be made to pay? Dick Cheney would personally pay? What? What did they think? Does it matter that their plans are taxed instead of another 1040 tax increase?

This plan is the worst of both worlds - universal and corporate. "There are people who aren't covered and it embarrasses us when we're having tapas with our Euro friends."

Hey, I know! Just pass a law making it ILLEGAL to NOT have private insurance - or we'll fine you the amount of insurance and if you can't pay, cart you off to a for-profit PRISON. There you GO!!! Problem solved!

Idiots and insurance cuckolds. I hope someone challenges it in the courts if it passes.

former law student said...

a significant portion of Americans would or could not spend $20 to vaccinate their kids

Reminds me of my early experience with free government health care. Periodically, the township sent a van to all the schools to immunize us, and to test our vision and hearing, without our parents paying a dime from their pockets.

The township had fallen into such socialist ways during the Depression, when it realized it was paying General Assistance to people who were too sick to work. Treat the sickness, people went back to work. From their paychecks, they could afford to pay the taxes that kept everything going.

Similarly, during WW II, Kaiser on the West Coast needed workers to build Liberty Ships. He started the hospital system, to fix up potential workers, so that they could go work for him.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Just make it all tax exempt, for employees and self insured

@Shanna. I assume you mean the premiums paid for the health insurance?

When the employer pays for YOU and it is tax exempt that sounds like a pretty sweet deal. However, for others who are not covered under an employer plan the money has to come directly from their own pocket. It doesn't fall like mana from heaven.

Matt says Let the insurance companies tank. If they can't compete with the government too bad. I think they would find a way [and quick] to make things still work in their favor. And your favor too.
Are you interested at all in health care costs coming down? Even a little bit? If so what plan do you have?


Matt makes the mistake of confusing health care costs with insurance costs.

Health care costs will come down when people don't frivolously use the services.

If the government was serious about competition between the private insurance companies and affordability of insurance they would

1. Allow policies to be sold across state lines
2. Not limit, like they are proposing now, to eliminate the high deductible/catastrophic coverage plans.
3. Raise the co pays and deductibles that can be allowed to allow for lowered premiums.
4. Give us the opportunity to pick our own coverages, cafeteria style. I don't need to pay for possible maternity coverage for example, yet I can't get a policy without it.

5. AND this is a biggie. Allow people to form their own groups for reduced rate coverage and guaranteed issue. Now the usual ways to get a group plan is to be in a Union, work for the government, have your employer sponsor a plan or be old enough to join AARP . My husband, a self employed plumber, has no way to join a group and is therefore denied ANY coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

If they want to reduce the cost of medical care.
1. TORT REFORM
2. Speed up the FDA approval process for new drugs and procedures
3. Allow medical companies that supply equipment/drugs etc to compete on the world market. There are drugs from other countries that are cheap effective and forbidden in the USA.

That's just to start.

None of these things require a government take over of the insurance or health care distribution system.

elHombre said...

Fortunately, everyone's problems are solved.

The Senate Finance Committee has apparently decided to act as a "death panel."

Cool. Oblahblah and the AARP are sure lookin' out for seniors, not!

Original Mike said...

I get a kick out of the concept that any entity could possibly "compete" with the government.

What a maroon.

former law student said...

If they want to reduce the cost of medical care.
1. TORT REFORM


Even if malpractice suits were barred completely, the cost of medical care would decrease only 3%, according to an article in the NY Times business section last Wednesday.

2. Speed up the FDA approval process for new drugs and procedures

I don't see how adding new, unproven remedies will lower the cost of care. Let's err on the side of caution: The anti-HPV vaccine, Cervarix, taken by the dead fourteen year old British girl, has not been approved by our FDA.

former law student said...

I get a kick out of the concept that any entity could possibly "compete" with the government.

Happens all the time. For example, in Wisconsin, Marguette University still turns out lawyers, despite the existence of the lower cost (and higher rated) public option, UW Law School.

chickenlittle said...

2. Not limit, like they are proposing now, to eliminate the high deductible/catastrophic coverage plans.

I will never tire of restating that that is why I oppose this overhaul.

WV: "vishmed" Healthcare for Hindu's?

Seven Machos said...

Even if malpractice suits were barred completely, the cost of medical care would decrease only 3%

Does any leftist in the entire world understand the difference between medical costs and costs for insurance?

It's truly embarrassing to watch this same error occur over and over and over and over and over.

Original Mike said...

Terrible analogy, FLS.

Original Mike said...

I will never tire of restating that that is why I oppose this overhaul.

And I will nevet tire of hearing you restate it, as I agree 100%.

Bruce Hayden said...

Well, if the problem is that unions tend to have the best "gold plated" insurance plans, then the obvious solution would be to exempt them from the new laws.

Why would I think this might happen?

The Obama Administration, along with its Congressional allies, have bent over backwards for the unions. Think "stimulus" package rigged for union contracts; government takeover of two of the big three U.S. automakers in such a way that the only parties protected were the unions; and that silly trade war with China over tires.

I would think that it would be easier to sneak something into ObamaCare legislation protecting union health insurance plans, than getting "card check" through Congress. Oh, and I have heard from several places that some of the proposals make it easier to organize health care workers - one of two growing areas of unionization (the other, being those on the public dole in the form of government employees - just what we need, more job protections for government employees).

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't see how adding new, unproven remedies will lower the cost of care. Let's err on the side of caution: The anti-HPV vaccine, Cervarix, taken by the dead fourteen year old British girl, has not been approved by our FDA.

Maybe we can start by pointing out that much of the cost for new drugs is in the stuff required for FDA approval. Or, that much of the term of their patents is eaten up by that same FDA approval process, so that cutting that down would allow the drug companies more time over which to spread the cost of their R&D (which, again, is primarily driven by the FDA approval process).

Big Mike said...

@Professor, right on cue comes this article in The National Review pointing out that the Democrats have become the party of the poor but also the party of the very rich.

That means they can screw the middle class -- the rich and the poor are part of their coalition, not folks in the middle.

El Presidente said...

"In fact, why not just do that and forget all the other chaotic changes? See how that works out."

Don't be naive, it's not about health care.

chickenlittle said...

@FLS: your parable at 4:11 misses (deliberately?) the point I was trying to make. Perhaps you deny it.

John Thacker said...

"Look, anyone who can do pretty simple math has known for a long time that "no taxes raised on the middle class" was a bunch of bs, with the list of costly things that were also going to be done."

Beside the point, because people believed him. More people believed that McCain would raise taxes (partially because they didn't understand how tax credits differ from deductions) than believed Obama would. And especially people who voted for Obama believed that their taxes wouldn't be raised.

Also, a lot of people can't do pretty simple math. Look at the results of the poll at the Volokh Conspiracy about the evenness of 0.

former law student said...

Even if malpractice suits were barred completely, the cost of medical care would decrease only 3%

Does any leftist in the entire world understand the difference between medical costs and costs for insurance?

It's truly embarrassing to watch this same error occur over and over and over and over and over.

dude, dbq was talking about lowering the cost of medical care and her first suggestion would lower it only 3%. I don't know why you're nattering about insurance -- that's your own private obsession.

From the article:

The fear of lawsuits among doctors does seem to lead to a noticeable amount of wasteful treatment. Amitabh Chandra — a Harvard economist whose research is cited by both the American Medical Association and the trial lawyers’ association — says $60 billion a year, or about 3 percent of overall medical spending, is a reasonable upper-end estimate.

Now, while $60 billion is nothing to sneeze at, for an individual to hear that the cost of medical care could be reduced 3% is not going to get him excited. Not even 105 off is enough to get me to buy something on sale.

vw: trupric (7n? Nah.)

Alex said...

The mandate and public option are coming, and you're gonna like it. Whether you want to or not. Besides, anyone who's against covering 100% of all Americans is evil and should be ridiculed.

Alex said...

The government taking over 50% of the economy is not a bug, but a feature. Right FLS?

former law student said...

Chicken -- we kids were at school anyway, so there were no additional transportation costs to be vaccinated. Besides, a vaccination, unlike, say, an ice cream cone, benefits the entire kid population, not just the vaccinated one. Think of a jab as the government exercising eminent domain on your kid's arm -- would you pay for that?

former law student said...

The government taking over 50% of the economy

Do you mean that the government is taking over health care, and health care has shot from 7% of the economy to 50%?

Government's role in the economy is a mixed blessing. Thirty years ago, if you lived in Oshkosh you likely either worked for Oshkosh B'Gosh or Oshkosh Truck. Well, Oshkosh B'Gosh is long gone, but Oshkosh Truck's government contracts have kept it going.

AJ Lynch said...

Govt has helped to f-up even more the banks and the car business.
That is about 15%. Health care is another 15%. Military is 7-8%. Education is probably aother 10%. Do the math, that is almost 50% of all GDP.

Do you want 50% of your economy i the hand so of the most inexperienced president EVER and the DEMS? A simple yes or no will suffice. heh.

wv= laportio [where most of will be sleeping whe we lose our homes].

Pogo said...

The unions and middle class are sure a bunch of racists.

former law student said...

Along with Oshkosh Truck, I notice the two other big Oshkosh employers are a health care system and the UW-Oshkosh.

Maybe the government's share of the economy is increasing because we have essentially offshored our manufacturing sector?

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse should conduct a "death" pool so we can vote on which members of the White House staff get fired or resign first.

It will be a very busy holiday season. I suggest Obama have a revolving door installed in the West Wing to expedite the departing and arriving advisers.

Seven Machos said...

Maybe the government's share of the economy is increasing because we have essentially offshored our manufacturing sector?

This statement is so rich with a layered mix of stupidity and irony that I don't know where to begin, or end.

I will merely observe that unions and government over-regulation and its abetting of unions have driven up prices and wages and time-prices so much that it is not profitable to manufacture here. The solution? Why, more regulations and unionizing. Of course.

It's just zany to watch at this point.

AJ Lynch said...

FLS:

The govt share expands when they take more and money from your paycheck.

No one spends money in the govt sector unless they are required to and then it is thru what they call a tax.

Steven said...

You know what really irritates me when it comes to discourse about "greedy insurance companies" and "greedy banks" in this country?

Those are the two areas of the U.S. economy where nonprofit organizations are major players. Mutuals and credit unions are already out there in vast numbers, providing services entirely for the benefit of their members, taking no cut for profits.

If you want zero percent of your insurance premium or credit card interest being collected as a profit, it's quite easy; switch to a nonproifit. It's a heck of a lot easier to do it in those sectors than in, say, clothing or food.

Methadras said...

Balfegor said...

The solution would be to give the employee the choice of several plans from a high deductible (less expensive premium) to the Cadillac (expensive cover everything) plan and let the employee decide how much he wants to be taxed.

How about just separating the whole health insurance issue from employment completely? Maybe employers could offer, as a perk, subsidies to purchase health insurance, but the relationship ought to be straight insurer-insuree, not insurer-employer-insuree.


The government won't allow that to happen. You can blame FDR for this one since health insurance benefits became tied to employment for men returning to work from war and government has been in your healthcare ever since.

Then lower the medicare age and allow anyone to join. Problem solved.

Methadras said...

former law student said...

Define "Cadillac." It costs more to ensure adults over 40, because that's when people start to need medical care. Health insurance is most expensive for those just shy of Medicare age. If the tax will apply mostly to middle aged and older people, that's not going to fly.


Then lower the medicare age and allow anyone to join. Problem solved.

AJ Lynch said...

FLS:

Last point. Remember how Bill Clinton has said taxes on wealthy people like him should be higher?

Do you think Clinton has ever sent in extra money [over and above his actual tax bill] to the IRS just because he thinks govt should have more of his money?

former law student said...

If you want zero percent of your insurance premium or credit card interest being collected as a profit, it's quite easy; switch to a nonproifit

You might have to move around the country to do that -- a lot of the Blues, for example, were once non-profit but are now for-profit companies.

traditionalguy said...

No taxes sounds great, but adding an extra $6,000 per year per household in Fees paid into the Environmental-Industrial Complex slush fund and into the UN Death to Capitalism Panel is what? Those are called dues to live in a country that has adopted a State established Church that believes in a Mystical Religious fear of plain old harmless CO2 emissions. Thanks a lot for the sweet smiles while you have lied thru your teeth about fantasy Global Warming, President Obama of the Lies.

Bruce Hayden said...

dude, dbq was talking about lowering the cost of medical care and her first suggestion would lower it only 3%. I don't know why you're nattering about insurance -- that's your own private obsession.

Dude, the 3% is the direct cost of malpractice insurance, and does not include the cost of defensive medicine, which by pretty much all estimates, is far higher.

We go round and round on this. You keep citing the same 3%, and it is just as bogus each time you do it to prove what you assert it proves. It doesn't.

David said...

Dust Bunny Queen defined Cadillac as:

Very low deductible $500 to $1000
Low out of Pocket $500 to $100
Low copays 10 to 20%
100% coverage (before deductible) for many procedures
Medicines covered with low copay or no copay
Coverage for everything from acupuncture to aroma therapy.
Super high cap on lifetime benefits, in the millions of dollars.


That's a pretty good definition. It's what I had before medicare and because I was a partner in my firm not an employee it was very expensive. The employees got the same benefits for a very small contribution to premium. It's one of the reasons we were able to hire great employees.

I now have medicate. With the supplements and Part D(they cost of course) it's damn good insurance at a very reasonable cost for someone over 65. Pretty much the same as my "Cadillac." Will they tax medicare benefits too?

John Lynch said...

Well, if we are penalizing people for making more money, why not penalize people for making more insurance, too? It's just progressive taxation, isn't it? What's the difference?

wv bututs

really

Penny said...

The government can't run a blessed thing better than the private sector. They allowed this mess to happen in the name of being reelected year after year.

Those who are in any way tied to the government's purse will do whatever they can to stay attached. This group includes the old, the poor, the disabled, federal and state employees, teacher's, unions, deadbeats and illegal aliens.

And on the other side of this line, you have worker's engaged in private enterprise.

The length of each of the above paragraphs speaks volumes.

Photog714 said...

Ann said: But if we with the "Cadillac" health plans have to start paying taxes on our benefits, that's a huge middle class tax increase, and we were promised that wouldn't happen.

During the campaign, your boy promised he would take public campaign financing. He broke that promise, but you voted for him anyway.

Isn't it a bit late for you to now complain that your boy is breaking promises?

He's a promise-breaker. Character counts most. Now you see why.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Dude, the 3% is the direct cost of malpractice insurance, and does not include the cost of defensive medicine, which by pretty much all estimates, is far higher.


Correct. Doctors perform all sorts of unnecessary and duplicate procedures to protect themselves on the off chance that they have made a mistake or for the unavoidable. They aren't God and not every illness is curable.

The premiums on malpractice insurance are very high. The other ancillary costs however are never included arguments against Tort Reform.

The cost of extra staff to manage all the paperwork. The cost of equipment and supplies that might not be necessary but for the defensive medicine they must practice. High end diagnostic machines that might not need to be in as many locations. All these costs are included in the overhead of the practitioner and passed onto the consumer.

Not to mention the cost to the insurance companies in paying for all these procedures that are passed on to the rest of the rate payers. AND the extra costs to the patient to pay for unnecessary or duplicate procedures.

Tort reform would do a great deal in reducing some of these costs.

Penny said...

The country IS at a tipping point, and continuing as we have cannot be sustained given the huge amount of baby boomers coming into the "on the government dole" group.

We, baby boomers, will all most likely be dead by 2045, so we have this 30 plus year period here where the "normal rules" cannot apply.

The USA needs change, and we need it NOW.

Instead no one is even capable of talking about what the real issues are, let alone coming to any conclusions that do not have the government getting even bigger, which OBTW, caused this problem in the first place

Jane said...

My early 40-something hubby and his friend have been slaving at a relatively low-paying, unrewarding job (relative to what they'd make as contractors) for seven years solely because their families depended on the good health benefits.

If those are taxed, we plan to just give up, move in with our parents, work part-time somewhere and grow our own food. I'm beginning a spreadsheet on the government benefits for a family of five at just below the poverty level. It's starting to pencil out nicely.

We are looking forward to the new and improved government cheese. I'm sure it'll have to be free of trans-fats -- so different from how it tasted during the Carter years (how well I remember).

Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Methadras said...

Look, the bottom line is that you leftist idiots have saddled this country your moronic policies that have mired us into these frivolous discussion because your foolish adoptions of political correctness have blocked the ability to use common sense and reason when it comes to how government regulates or tries to regulate aspects of our lives.

This is your albatross and now you are trying to pawn it off on the rest of us that can see through your bullshit and we are telling you no and you don't like the pushback. There was nothing wrong with peoples healthcare to begin with. Instead you caved to whiners who talked about inadequate coverage, problems with their insurers, pre-existing condition minutiae, the poor, and of course 47 million allegedly uninsured Americans which as we all know was a lie that you just love to perpetuate. We are dealing with you lies, the lies that your ideology creates and the lies that your ideology has inserted into the social, cultural, and political fabric of this country. This is your fault, you did this, you are to blame. Your ideology and your ideas suck. They are worthless and without a basis in reality. You've created this problem and now you are pretending to be the heroes coming to fix it. You are liars that have believed a massive and corruptible lie and I will never forgive any of you for what you have done to this country with these lies. I frankly hope you all drop dead so that your miserable ideology goes with you because you cannot and will not see the lies you have foisted into any and every discussion.

Henry said...

A 3% decline in health care costs is more than I've ever been offered in my lifetime. I'll take it.

Elliott A said...

@David- They tax social security benefits, so why not?

AJ Lynch said...

Methadras:

Always end a good rant like that with "Best regards" or "Sincerely".

It lets people know you are very serious but polite. Heh.

paul a'barge said...

See how that works out

You folks who voted for Obama, we told you how this was going to work out. You voted for Obama anyway.

So. Hows this all working out for us?

former law student said...

I'm disappointed in Bruce -- a lawyer's reading comprehension should be top notch:

The fear of lawsuits among doctors does seem to lead to a noticeable amount of wasteful treatment. Amitabh Chandra — a Harvard economist whose research is cited by both the American Medical Association and the trial lawyers’ association — says $60 billion a year, or about 3 percent of overall medical spending, is a reasonable upper-end estimate.



let me parse this for Bruce and dbq:

Doctors' fear of lawsuit --> wasteful treatment.

Amount of wasteful, lawsuit-fear-motivated treatment = $60 billion a year, or 3% of total medical care costs, per respected Harvard economist Amitabh Chandra. Note that the words "malpractice insurance" do not appear in the calculation. But all are agreed that the cost of insurance is quite a bit less than the cost of defensive medicine.

former law student said...

Henry, I respect your position. But as health care costs go from 7% of GDP to 16%, a 3% discount doesn't go all that far.

elHombre said...

I frankly hope you all drop dead so that your miserable ideology goes with you because you cannot and will not see the lies you have foisted into any and every discussion.

That's because they are "impervious alike to documentary evidence and moral discrimination." This point cannot be made often enough!

chickenlittle said...

I frankly hope you all drop dead so that your miserable ideology goes with you because you cannot and will not see the lies you have foisted into any and every discussion.

Of course what would be ideal would be for some of those ultra lefties in the SF Bay area to tax the crap out of themselves to pay for all their nonsense. That would lead to an accelerated decline in the local economy and reasonable fall in property values, which in turn woud allow the the likes of me to move there and help revitalize an otherwise beautiful part of the state.

Steve said...

Ann, darling, I love you, have been reading you for years and years.

But expressing any kind of shock and any kind of left-leaning Democrat would raise any particular tax...

...they haven't made a violin small enough, or tears crocodilish enough to express my lack of sympathy.

elHombre said...

@fls: Try this one on.

If the Kessler and McClellan estimates were applied to total U.S. healthcare spending in 2005, the defensive medicine costs would total between $100 billion and $178 billion per year. Add to this the cost of defending malpractice cases, paying compensation, and covering additional administrative costs (a total of $29.4 billion). Thus, the average American family pays an additional $1,700 to $2,000 per year in healthcare costs simply to cover the costs of defensive medicine.

Of course, even if your study is accurate and the cost is only 3%, what is your point, that it is not worth saving those billions?

Just askin'.

AST said...

In fact, why not just do that and forget all the other chaotic changes? See how that works out.

It's in MY health care reform proposal.

BTW, has anybody else noticed that the words used for verification have become a lot easier to type? They really resemble ordinary English words, but aren't.

lucid said...

Obama is committed to half-baked and dramatic redistributive schemes that he learned about at cocktail parties while having the convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko buy his backyard for him.

Rialby said...

Amen, Steve. Amen.

Rialby said...

I will repeat my question from last night - Ann, love your blog, but please explain wtf you saw in this guy?

TRundgren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TRundgren said...

The Dems voted down photo ID to winnow out non citizens trying to get health care.

Obama knows the Congress is not serious about restricting access to citizens.

Another lie from a Democratic party that lies over and over and does it's best to hide its governing intentions.

Richard said...

For those of you who believed, if God hadn't wanted you to be shorn, he would not have made you sheep.

algie said...

A words meaning is just what I said
A fact that should fill you with dread
For it is a fact
That it's all an act
For deception's the mark of a RED

....nnnn..'o.o'..uu!u....algie
Illegitimi nOn carborundum

Pogo said...

Some folks are just figuring out that Obama had always planned to say ' “I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!”'..

Daryl said...

1 - 100% tax deduction (federal and state) for medical payments & insurance payments. But it would need to exclude things like diet food (which people might claim is medical).

2 - Portability across jobs - employees should be able to extend the health insurance policies they got from their employer indefinitely, as long as they keep making payments, even after they leave their job.

3 - Portability across state lines - people should be able to get policies that can travel across state lines.

4 - Mandatory catastrophic health insurance - forget all of the fluffy stuff. This would be a high-deductible insurance plan designed to cover only catastrophic illnesses. These are cheaper than full-service plans, so we can feel less bad about forcing people to buy them. If everyone had one of these, people wouldn't get serious pre-existing conditions while uninsured.

5 - No public option. Keep government out.

6 - To better ensure portability, keep states off of the catastrophic health insurance plans. No state regulation of them would be permitted.

7 - Employers should have to pay 150% of catastrophic coverage premiums. So when the employee quits, for half as long as he's been employed, he will have health insurance premiums already paid for. Work for four years before getting laid off? The next two years, your catastrophic premiums (premia?) will be already paid for.

8 - Under my plan there would be no subsidies for abortions or immigrants (legal or legal). They can buy health care at the market rate, just like the rest of us.

Penny said...

Precisely, Dick! ;)

Nagarajan Sivakumar said...

Sorry Prof.Althouse, you voted for this guy. You were'nt expecting to get ObamaWonderland health care without raising taxes on most middle class people, did you ? - "soak the super rich" people only works for so long.

Wait for cap and tax laws to go through the Senate and for your taxes to go up even higher... after all you have to do your part in promoting the climate change hysteria.

hicks said...

What is the actual cost of the health insurance policies that are granted to members of Congress, their families and their staffs?
Will they be subject to the tax on "cadillac plans"? How about the members of the executive? Will the "Rangel" loophole be available?yat1363

fpaynter said...

God save us from those who would "provide for the less fortunate at our expense." Next thing you know they'll be denying our right and responsibility to torture prisoners of war.

Really, if we the fortunate don't shoulder the responsibility to care for the less fortunate, who will?

Swen said...

"Why slam those of us with great health care benefits? We worked for it. We earned it."

D'oh!

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

You're supposed to contribute to society to the best of your ability, and consume from society however much you need, regardless of how much you have contributed. Hope I cleared that up for you..

Seven Machos said...

Really, if we the fortunate don't shoulder the responsibility to care for the less fortunate, who will?

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Right?

Edward Von Bear said...

Professor:

You seriously believed Obama? Who is the not so bright one then?

Oligonicella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oligonicella said...

The last nine months have proven empirically that the intelligentsia and having a college degree (in any field and to any level) don't mean a damned thing when it comes to common sense and eyeballing a shuckster and that the 'common man' is far better at both.

wv: ought - Ha! Some people ought to have known better.

Seven Machos said...

You seriously believed Obama? Who is the not so bright one then?

Okay. How many I-told-you-so moments are we going to have? The you, a law professor innuendo is just a bonus.

Look, people. Both candidates were terrible. And 53 percent of the voters voted for Obama. They all aren't idiots. In many ways, it was good to that the Republicans got their clocks cleaned. I sense a renewed vigor and focus that was utterly lacking -- if not altogether dead -- before November.

M. Simon said...

Ii is going to get Jammed through Congress next week

JAL said...

Althouse: They never said they were going to provide for the less fortunate at our expense, and I don't see how they would have gotten elected if they had.

I just tuned in. It's late. I haven't read the comments, so skip this. ;-)

Question: Did you all not hear his conversation with Joe the Plumber?

Candidate Obama stated that he wanted to "spread the wealth" around.

What did you THINK he meant? How did you THINK he was on going to accomplish that? [Answer absolutely any and every way he possibly could.]

And TAXING a business's health plan is just crazy -- unless you WANT to "reform" the industry by shooting it in the back so you can rescue the poor "workers" (not citizens) and provide them health care. And get into their bank accounts, health records, family health choices, and control parts of their lives that the federal government has ZERO right to be involved in.

The people who most want the government to stay *out* of their bedrooms want most to get *into* bed with it.

Go figure.

And yes -- making health insurance premiums and costs tax deductible 100% would increase the quantity and quality of health covergae -- as well as the nunmber covered.

A certainly cheaper experiment to try that trashing the economy to pay for something that in every place it is tried eats the providing government's lunch.

M. Simon said...

Ann A.,

Buyer's remorse much?

If our best and brightest believe in a free lunch what chance does the Republic have?

mbabbitt said...

I have always been fairly naive about people, but to see so many smart, worldly people fall so hard for Obama in his campaign even though his history screamed RADICAL is just pathetic. Buyers remorse? You were self blinded suckers. Anyone with the least bit of scholarly ability should have been able to see through Obama's two-duplicity. You have no one to blame but yourself. Enough said. Let's kill this radical healthcare poison!

John Clifford said...

The Dems are going to ram some sort of healthcare bill through the Congress this fall... because they're stuck.

If they don't then it's game over for the Democrats in Congress, and for Obama too. The GOP will win enough seats to lock everything up, and no one will be afraid of Obama anymore.

If they do ram something through, then it's game over for the Democrats in Congress, and for Obama too. The GOP will take back the Congress in 2010 and Obama will be a lame duck one-term president, and he will slink out of town faster than Carter did.

In the meantime, the amateurs in the White House will let Iran get the Bomb, totally blow it in Afghanistan, watch al Qaeda take over Pakistan and its nukes, be bowled over by Russian efforts at hegemony in the ex-Warsaw Pact countries, and suck up to the Chinese who will use the threat of not buying any more of our debt to beat Obama senseless. The next four years will be like the Carter years, only much worse. And, the US economy that is gotten back to its knees lately will receive the knockout punch as the economy collapses in 2010 and stays down until after the 2012 election.

This is not the hope and change Obama supporters expected... is it? And, trusting Obama to keep his word is a pathetic excuse. He didn't keep his word before the election, half the country was screaming about what was coming, and you STILL voted for him.

John Burke said...

The worst of it that even if a plan, as of adoption, really taxes only "Cadillac" plans, it won't be long before the Buick and Chevy plans get hot too. Inflation and continued increases in health care costs (you don't REALLY believe costs will be cut or contained?) will gradually extend the taxation to a wider array of plans, and if the deficits become too great even for Pelosi to ignore, the tax will be extended directly to raise added revenue.

Frankly, I think we'd be better off with a hike in income taxes (or the Medicare tax), since at least it would be clearly visible. Creating a whole new type of tax is like handing Congress your wallet.

Revenant said...

Is it accurate to say union employees "worked" for their benefits? Unions generally extort benefits by threatening to not work, i.e. to strike.

terrye said...

It is always interesting to me to see Obama voters come to the realization that they have been had. As in suckered. As in exactly who did you think Obama was going to tax to pay for all these goodies? hummm?

Oh yes, evil rich people. Them. Well guess what, as far as Obama and his ilk are concerned that is just about everyone.

Rich V. said...

Ann,
Not that you'll read this far down...but

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR. YOU! Voted for this man, now he wants to take from you. You were stupid and naive to think that he wouldn't raid your pocket to give to the poor.

Many people tried to tell you who he really was, but you refused to listen. Instead you bought the hopey changey line of bull shit that he was throwing around. Unforntunately, now the rest of us have to pay for it as well. Quit crying and try to get fiscally conservative men and women elected to Congress, and overturn what you have wraught.

Sage said...

I'm pretty sure that nobody wants to hear now about how disappointed you are in Obama. If you admit those promises were unbelievable, then you're totally without excuse, and not only that, you've got zero moral standing to call anybody on anything.

In fact, everybody who voted for an OBVIOUS flaming leftist liar like Obama needs to have his damned head examined if he's going to turn around now and complain about being governed by a flaming leftist liar. And if it wasn't obvious to you, then you're too much a damned fool to be in the voting booth.

El Presidente said...

Congress and the Senate are in the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) system, same as every other federal employee. Your elected may choose any plan from available in their location, typically there are dozens.

The FEHB negotiates a rate with the individual insurance providers. Benefit levels vary greatly, as do costs. The plan allows members to change plans once a year during open season and does not exclude anyone for preexisting conditions.

The government, as employer, provides a supplement to offset part of the cost of insurance but does not cover the entire cost.

Ninety percent of the nations health insurance issues would go away by opening up the FEHB to all citizens, with no need to subsidize.

Chris said...

"They never said they were going to provide for the less fortunate at our expense, and I don't see how they would have gotten elected if they had."

I literally spit coffee through my nose upon reading this.

WHERE EXACTLY did you think they were going to get money to help the less fortunate from?!

Christ on a motorbike, I continue to be shocked at the gullibility of those that supported the big "O".

Ann Althouse said...

The assumption that because I voted for O I bought everything he promised or didn't see the downside is illogical. All I had was a choice between him and McCain. If you want to understand why I voted for O, read my post "How McCain lost me."

Squid said...

All I had was a choice between him and McCain.

Not true. I voted for Mike Rowe and Joe Paterno, and I don't regret my vote for one moment.

WV: vation. noun: an abbreviated vacation. I guess a long weekend is about the most we'll be able to afford in the coming (Looking-For-) Worker's Paradise.

former law student said...

I'd like to remind everyone I voted for Romney. I seriously doubt he would have picked Caribou Barbie as a running mate. By demanding ideological purity, conservatives elected Obama.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I knew there had to be a reason why we nominated McCain. Ideological purity! Rightrightright.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I knew there had to be a reason why we nominated McCain. Ideological purity!

You beat me to it.

You know, sometimes FLS has some pretty interesting posts. Other times I find a few belts of Stolichnaya are required to follow the logic.

former law student said...

Romney was a born-again conservative.

Conservatives couldn't bring themselves to vote for a flip-flopper.

So they voted for Huckabee and McCain.

Then McCain became a born-again conservative.

To shore up his base, he picked Sarah Palin.

Then independents who had been enthralled with the rev. 2.000 McCain were appalled by the rev. 2.008 McCain, and decided to take a chance on Obama.

QED

miller said...

Nope.

Did not prove point.

FAIL

AllenS said...

Sorry, Professor, but I don't think anybody wants to go back and read why "How McCain lost me." What we're interested in is why Obama won you over. What is it that you saw in him? I think that's what is baffling everyone.

Photog714 said...

Ann said: The assumption that because I voted for O I bought everything he promised or didn't see the downside is illogical. All I had was a choice between him and McCain.

I had a choice to vote for neither, and I exercised that option. You didn't have that choice in Wisconsin?

Ann again: If you want to understand why I voted for O, read my post "How McCain lost me."

Speaking of illogical: From the fact that McCain lost you, it doesn't follow that Obama won you. McCain's faults don't magically become Obama's virtues.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So McCain became a born-again conservative to win the support of the people who wouldn't vote for Romney because he was a born-again conservative? I don't really think we need a special explanation for why a guy that astute could lose an election.

Krista Janicki said...

Re: the tax exemption solution: It won't work because Dems want to provide free medical services for those who don't pay taxes, and how are they going to do that unless they tax you workers MORE not less?

elHombre said...

fpaynter wrote: Really, if we the fortunate don't shoulder the responsibility to care for the less fortunate, who will?

Lefties, who are notoriously stingy about charitable giving, don't shoulder the responsibility to care for the "less fortunate." They delegate the responsibility to the government to squeeze others disproportionately to do so.

The real "trickle" effect in the economy is the few bucks that actually trickle through the federal bureaucracy to benefit the professed recipients.

elHombre said...

fls wrote: Then McCain became a born-again conservative.

This is nonsense. McCain had no significant conservative credentials. His only appeal to conservatives and independents was as a maverick.

After he selected Palin, his campaign should have focused on the systemic corruption in DC and Congress, earmarks and the stupidity of the bailout.

This would have separated him from Bush and Obama was vulnerable on these issues.

When he refused to distance himself from his buddies on the beltway, he was just another old political hack. His refusal also abandoned Palin and diminished her value to his campaign.

Oxbay said...

I agree with this 100%: "Ari Tai said:

They could go the other direction, a 100% tax deduction for all medical expenses (including insurance payments)."

GridWizard said...

I detect more than a hint of buyer's remorse from Anne.

But what did these so-called middle of the road voters expect? Even though there was scant evidence of how he would govern, what there was of it suggested he would embrace bigger government and more taxes.

I guess there are worse things than being governed by a "meanie."

glenzo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
glenzo said...

Think Willy Sutton. You are where the money is!!!! He he He.

SH said...

"Yes, that would be appropriate. In fact, why not just do that and forget all the other chaotic changes? See how that works out."

Because the real goal is forced equality.

Thats the whole game. Use whatever tool (like the public option) to make health care single payer and equal. Good old 'fairness' (remember when O screwed up and talked about that?) and equality.

Go read some lefty blogs. They've got the double think down.. ie, we are liars for saying this about them but then they go ahead and say it themselves!

dick said...

You essentially said that McCain lost you because you felt that Obama would be more intelligent and more pragmatic. How is that one working out. ALso Obama promised that he would work for bipartisanship. Is that one working well? Personally I never understood why McCain lost you and Obama won you over the reasoning you used. It never did make sense. I still think that both of them should have been in DC trying to get the economic mess under control or at least understanding what they would have to do when they were elected to get the mess under control instead of holding another dog and pony show where they just gave rote speeches from their position papers and talked past each other. For that reason your bit about McCain losing you just does not compute.

Elmer Stoup said...

Remember that the Baucus Committee version of ObamaCare imposes a hefty excise tax on insurance companies for their "Cadillac plans. You'd have to believe in the Tooth Fairy to think that the insurance companies won't pass that cost on to its insureds or close shop.

The Democrats' promise not to raise taxes on the middle class was a big lie.

Grant Jones said...

How's that Hope and Change working out for you? It was clear before the election just what Obama is. You just thought it would be others who would do the sacrificing for the greater good. That's not how socialism works. Now the whole country must suffer because of the gullible, stupid, envious and vicious.

..WW.. said...

from goodhealthissues.......it feels like we are under attack.....the pols,,the pundits,,the life long elected socialist senators,,the liberals..

last time i checked...we were a conservative, christian, constitution following nation.."this from an atheist libertarian"

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