December 29, 2009

"The tax on health benefits is being sold to the public dishonestly as something that will affect only the rich..."

"... and it makes a mockery of President Obama’s repeated pledge that if you like the health coverage you have now, you can keep it."

Bob Herbert writes in the NYT.

83 comments:

AllenS said...

Bob Herbert wrote that? In the New York Times? Now, I can understand why Obama vacations so far away.

WV: exodex

Henry said...

From the column:

In fact, it’s a tax that in a few years will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.

But don't call it a "death panel." A death panel assumes a role for intelligence.

E.M. Davis said...

Testing.

Since my comments never seem to appear.

lucid said...

This bill is such a disaster that I want to think it will never go into effect. But I think that is only true if the Democrats have an electoral disaster in 2010.

Franco said...

The Democrats have become so insular, believing the fawning media, they keep driving home while the wheels are making sparks. Herbert is sounding the alarm. Too late? Probably.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Bad news: both House and Senate bills suck

Good news: my consulting rate will double

Theo Boehm said...

Another reconnaissance in force in the war on the middle class.

Maybe it's shock and awe.

David said...

It's the truth but that won't make any difference.

Michael Hasenstab said...

B+arack better hurry up with those NYT bailout funds or this kind of reporting will only get more accurate.

Fred4Pres said...

It is really cold outside this morning...did hell freeze over?

Almost Ali said...

I'm a little surprised Herbert doesn't recognize reparations when he sees it.

rhhardin said...

It would be good if there were a huge tax on all health insurance, so as to make all health insurance completely unaffordable.

Health insurance is what makes medical costs rise.

There's no food insurance, but you need food. And food is cheap.

Conversely, if you want a haircut crisis, just insure hair care. Haircuts ought to be free to all.

Herbert stupidly sees co-pays as a problem; but brings out the good in the plan.

Lisa said...

This bill is a disaster for my family. I am a teacher with two small children; there is precious little left of my paycheck after daycare but I'm working for my health insurance.

My insurance is good. It covers services (speech/ot) my son needs which they tell me many insurance plans don't. These services have made a huge difference for him but this is hardly a Cadillac plan in my mind. It is what insurance should be.

My plan costs me and my employer about $15,000 a year in premiums (not including copays) but it has been increasing by about 10% or more for years. If that continues, it won't be long before I hit that magic ceiling.

Of course, Senators say employers will choose cheaper (worse) plans and pass the savings on to employees in the form of pay raises. Has anyone EVER had benefits cut and received money for it? Every time I've had my benefits cut, my pay never increased accordingly. This is a fantasy and the bill is a disaster.

Scott M said...

This bill is a disaster for my family.

Ditto. I have spent years getting my family to a situation where we could afford and manage an HSA. We have catastrophic medical coverage through one of the better-known national companies (bought through the Missouri affiliate of course), but other than that, we pay cash for nearly everything.

This monstrosity is going to destroy what I've worked so hard to build. It's a direct assault on my personal liberty.

If there's ever to be a term coined for the legislative equivalent of a war criminal, it will come out of this fiasco.

One lingering and unanswered question still remains...if it's so good, why are the members of congress not included? Another one...if it's so good, why did senators have to be bought off, legally bribed, to vote for it?

Michael said...

I intend to drop my current coverage, pay my own way and pay the fine. If someone has a problem or a bad biopsy I will buy the insurance. No problem. Excellent plan devised by fools. I will save a ton of money as will everyone else with half a brain. This will work for a couple of years when the private insurers will go broke "insuring" people who have pre-existing conditions. Splendid all the way around.

Scott M said...

B+arack better hurry up with those NYT bailout funds or this kind of reporting will only get more accurate.

Michael is winning the thread so far...that was excellent, sir. Well crafted.

rdkraus said...

Michael reveals the "real" plan.

That would be a gaffe if Biden said it.

ricpic said...

Present Zippy is on record and on tape in a speech he gave years ago to a gathering of union big whigs that "We'll get to single payer, that's the goal, it may take fifteen years but we'll get there." Pay no attention to the pablum he doles out to us, the herd, he speaks the truth when and only when he speaks to his fellow shepherds.

T J Sawyer said...

Herbert's analysis failed to note that even if the corporations do "pocket" the money, it is still taxed and the government gets to keep about 40% of it.

miller said...

This is all academic; the bill will pass as-is, but with a "public" option added in negotiations between Pelosi and Reid.

What's not to love?

As all Democrats know, nothing will go wrong when you suddenly change direction on 1/6 of the economy using rules and laws no one with brain has seen and pondered.

Unintentional consequences never happen with a Democrat bill.

Now I see why Baucus was so drunk the day he spoke in the Senate well - he's afraid the American citizens will wake up and see what this disaster will mean for America - and the Democrats in the Senate might -- might -- just feel the wrath of the voters.

I foresee interesting times ahead for Bob Herbert.

AprilApple said...

The democrats can lie all they want.

Sarah Palin said "Death Panels".
That means the democrats can continue to get away with lie after lie, deception after deception.

AprilApple said...

It's also a lie that this isn't a "public option". The bill will lead to private health insurance companies existing at the mercy of the government, over time. That's how this absurdity is set up.

It's a tax payer funded monstrosity that will get the democrats party what they want- the eventual government control over most of the industry, paid for with false competiton - our tax dollars.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I intend to drop my current coverage, pay my own way and pay the fine. If someone has a problem or a bad biopsy I will buy the insurance. No problem. Excellent plan devised by fools. I will save a ton of money as will everyone else with half a brain.

Absolutely. My husband, who is self employed and currently unable to get insurance due to pre existing conditions, WILL get insurance at the expense of the insurance company.

Depending on what type of coverage they ultimately demand that I have, I might also drop my insurance and pay the fine. I have catastrophic only coverage because I rarely use medical services, take no medicines and have no chronic conditions. I just pay my way and never get close to the deductible.

The fine will be cheaper than the insurance coverage that Obama's plan is going to force on me, and if/when I need insurance to cover a situation, I'll just buy some.

These morons in Congress are so divorced from common sense, real life and the economic strategies of the "real" American it is no wonder they produced this abortion of a bill.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

I am self-employed. The CHEAPEST individual health insurance available to me costs $1,035 per month. With a ceiling of $8,500 per year for individual plans, this cheapest option is well into luxury plan territory and is subject to the tax. Not to mention that I have to pay my health care with after-tax dollars because I'm self-employed and therefore don't have an established interest group lobbying for me.

Do you know how the obvious price+tax nonsense is resolved, according to the Democrats? There will be some voodoo voodoo magic magic between now and 2013 and prices for health insurance will magically drop!

The next step is to require us all to believe in Jesus and pray to him daily, because apparently if we all think things will be fine then they will be.

vbspurs said...

Wow, I NEVER expected to read that from BOB HERBERT in the NYT!

cubanbob said...

This bill is really for big business at the expense of small business. Bottom line is this: when small business figures out that it is cheaper to pay an 8% payroll tax than spend an average of 12% to 15% on employee health insurance, they will drop their plans and pay the tax.

What is the government going to do when nearly all of the population gets on the government plan? The government will not be able to raise enough taxes to cover the freight nor will it be able to borrow the funds and provide the 'promised' benefits never mind pay doctors and hospitals enough forthem to continue accepting the government's reimbursement schedules.

For a group that are mostly lawyers, one would think the members of congress would know that this bill will probably never survive intact in the courts and that Obama, a supposedly brilliant lawyer and constitutional law professor would know this as well.

Obama is either truly stupid or ignorant when he equates mandatory health insurance with auto insurance. A driver needs to be insured to drive on a public roadway, not for the driver's sake but to provide in the event he injures a third party. However one can own a car and not have it insured as long as it is on private property. One would think he would know this. Instead this mendacious fool argues in essence that even though you don't own a car or have a driver's license you should be compelled to buy auto insurance to keep the overall rates down. For the greater good.

This bill is only 'reform' if you are a communist. But then again, that is what the democrats have morphed in to, the new communist party.

This bill is so obviously unconstitutional in many of it's aspects it is hard to imagine it surviving a court challenge intact. As expressed by some one on the internet this administration and congress is so hell bent on solving the problems of 30 and 50 years from now to the exclusion of solving todays immediate problems.

MadisonMan said...

I'm curious what the spoonful of sugar will be to help this bad medicine go down.

Perhaps I've mentioned this before, but I heard on NPR a fascinating story on how Health Insurance came to be. You can blame Texas on it -- the first Hospital -- looking to fill beds -- that offered Health Insurance was in Texas. It offered the insurance to its employees. From that modest beginning in between the World Wars has evolved what we have today. (Link here.

Tully said...

Scott M: Me too. Years getting situated with an HSA and a high-deductible catastrophic-coverage policy. Despite Obambi's promises, NO, we will not get to keep our policy.

When even Bob Freaking Herbert, one of the world's most reliable Kneejerk Liberalism Defenders Emeritus, can see that the public is being screwed, it's pretty damned obvious.

Rialby said...

Opponents of this bill need to get as much information as they can out of the 2k pages, build a simple "calculator" and start directing people to it - what does this bill mean for me. Lay the facts out for people to see. I couldn't find any such effort on the web through a quick search.

AllenS said...

Rialby, since the bill hasn't been formally defined and signed into law, I don't think you can do that.

Opus One Media said...

cubanbob said...

This bill is only 'reform' if you are a communist. But then again, that is what the democrats have morphed in to, the new communist party.

...is so hell bent on solving the problems of 30 and 50 years from now to the exclusion of solving todays immediate problems."

wow CubanBob...wow. communists? really? and bob, can I call you Bob here?...health care is today's problem....or didn't you get that part of the issue?

edutcher said...

March on Washington, anyone?

Tell these morons impeachment/recall is in their future?

Elect only candidates who will repeal this mess?

Turn RINOs/Demos into an extinct species?

This is the place where Montagne/garage/Jeremy tell us this is all Dubya's fault.

Beaverdam said...

My employer supplied insurance has paid out 700,000$ in three years for my problem. Never denied anything. The best medical care anywhere. Every time I was hospitalized, I saw the uninsured/illegal receiving the same care from the same people that were treating me. We already pay for their coverage. Soon, we'll all get crap healthcare, still paying for the unfortunates.

Arturius said...

health care is today's problem....or didn't you get that part of the issue?

Funny, I thought it was the near collapse of the economy and 10%+ unemployment rate that was the issue of the day. Seems when the nation was on the brink of becoming Argentina circa 1970, the main focus of the administration was health care for all. Evidently they didn't teach Prioritization 101 in Harvard.

traditionalguy said...

The employee benefit of a health insurance plan paying 80% after a dedutcible per person was a way to (1) keep the employee from losing his home by Bankruptcy, and (2) to keep the employees from leaving for a job with a competitor without the size needed to offer it. It was always a pro Big-Business trick and now is becoming the pro-big Government trick.

Roger J. said...

as Allen S points out we dont have a health care bill yet--when harry and nan sit down behind clo9sedn doors to hammer one out then that is what will be voted on--my guess much to the left of the current senate version because the house is more to the left of the senate. (OOPS progressive)

Side to MadMan--might not take NPRs reorting too seriously as they employ the argument by anecdote all too often--you impress me a serious scholar so go back to california in the 1920s to understand the origins of employer based health care.


For the rest of the sheep? anyone under the age of 60 is screwed--I am 68 so I got mine.n good luck with yours

when we repeal the 17th and 18th amednments we might fix the problem; until then enjoy your democratic majority

Robert Cook said...

DBQ says,

"These morons in Congress are so divorced from common sense, real life and the economic strategies of the "real" American it is no wonder they produced this abortion of a bill."

They're not morons at all--well, they are, but not as evidenced by this bill--they're simply serving their true constituents: the health insurance and medical services industries who will see their profits jump as a result of this atrocious bill. They are fulfilling their purpose: making the rich richer.

CubanBob says, wrongly:

"This bill is only 'reform' if you are a communist. But then again, that is what the democrats have morphed in to, the new communist party."

The Dems are hardly communists; they're serfs to the tycoons. They do the bidding of the capitalists and the capitalists profit. We the people are shit on.

rdkraus said...

"health care is today's problem"

For most of us, our health care is fine. The cost of health care is a different story.

Do the current bills address that?

No.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

the health insurance and medical services industries who will see their profits jump as a result of this atrocious bill. They are fulfilling their purpose: making the rich richer.


Bullshit. Every memo that I've received in the last 6 months from the carriers that I'm contracted to do business with plead with us to contact our 'representatives' and kill the bill.

The companies can read the handwriting on the wall.
The insurance companies will go broke in 5 years with this plan as more and more HEALTHY people drop coverage and the companies are FORCED to pay humungous medical bills of the sick.

In addition to being forced to pay higher and higher claims without the ability to charge premiums based on risk: the companies are being told that they must not make more profit than the government deems allowable. How is THIS constitutional in any way? Government telling private industry what they are allowed to make as a return to shareholders or as a profit?

Shrinking profits, controlled products that preclude smart coverage like HSA or catastrophic coverage and escalating costs. You think the insurance companies are really thrilled with this?

Drink some more kool aid.

Eventually, within a few years, there WILL have to be government run insurance that people will be forced to turn to as insurance companies shrink, leave the country or change business models.

Arturius said...

The Dems are hardly communists; they're serfs to the tycoons. They do the bidding of the capitalists and the capitalists profit. We the people are shit on.

Robert, we discussed this before. If you're seeking a socialist paradise, I think there are still a few out there somewhere. I'm only mentioning this because if the current Democrat party is now a pawn of the capitalists, there really isn't much left here for you.

Then again, based upon our previous discussion, I'll hazard a guess things are still pretty rosy here for you.

Robert Cook said...

DBQ said,

"The insurance companies will go broke in 5 years...."

Hmmm...I don't think so:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/20/scarborough-health-insura_n_398520.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/21/seeing-public-subsidy-not_n_399733.html

Robert Cook said...

Arturius,

You presume too much. I'm not looking for a paradise, socialist or otherwise. Wherever humans are found, paradise will not be.

However, I would like to see an America where our elected representatives represent us, and where business enterprises are stringently regulated, and where lawbreakers, whether in the boardrooms or in the statehouses, are punished for their violations of law and betrayal of the public trust.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Eventually, within a few years, there WILL have to be government run insurance that people will be forced to turn to as insurance companies shrink, leave the country or change business models.

And when citizens complain to the government about the horrendous care rendered by SEIU-member nurses, the government will blame the insurance industry for abdicating it's responsibilities and forcing the government to enter the insurance industry.

Arturius said...

However, I would like to see an America where our elected representatives represent us, and where business enterprises are stringently regulated, and where lawbreakers, whether in the boardrooms or in the statehouses, are punished for their violations of law and betrayal of the public trust.

My previous statement stands.

Scott M said...

where business enterprises are stringently regulated

Whatever else the debate is over, this point misses the axiom that enterprise is like pressure and will always find the path of least resistance.

The more "stringent" the regulations you place here that don't exist elsewhere, you will loose business to those area of lesser resistance. I'm not making a value judgement about that other than to say that perhaps a better statement is "appropriate" is a better word than "stringent".

While a nuclear power plant, commercially operated, would require an entire room full of regulation manuals, I don't believe the same would apply to the company that makes Snuggy's.

We need to operate from a minimalist starting point in regards to regulation. Only govern what must be governed and allow the market, public, and business people do the rest.

Is it perfect? Nope, but it's better than the statist, centralist, view that would deprive our country of both capital and innovation...both of which become a security issue if left unchecked.

Also, just as a point of order, you cannot say the presence of humans forbids paradise. Paradise is wholly subjective, therefor, it requires a human to describe it requiring the presence of at least one.

Arturius said...

the government will blame the insurance industry for abdicating it's responsibilities and forcing the government to enter the insurance industry.

Well its been done before on a state level where strangling regulation and horrendous loss experiences have forced P&C insurers to leave the states (see Florida).

With health care the simplest route would have been to adopt the French system, slap an across the board 15-20% tax on gross earnings and oila, coverage for all. Because its either that or the NHS which I would not wish on a stray dog. We already have the French model more or less with Medicare so it would not be like starting from scratch. Fact is, the bottom line is we're all going to have to dig deep and whether the money goes to the capitalist insurance companies or the Federal government is simply a matter of taste.

Henry said...

Robert Cook wrote: However, I would like to see an America where our elected representatives represent us, and where business enterprises are stringently regulated.

It's impossible to have strict regulation and virtuous representatives. Regulatory capture isn't just about regulators being co-opted, but about lobbyists buying influence with representatives.

The more regulation, the higher the stakes.

Try to regulate lobbyists and you only increase the stakes for lobbyists. Every loophole is a constituency.

And how will you close those loopholes when lobbyists, and your representatives, have everything to gain in the manner in which they are "closed"?

You can decentralize power or you can embrace kleptocracy. You can't have good government and powerful government.

Arturius said...

where business enterprises are stringently regulated

I am not opposed to regulation but I am opposed to dumb regulation and we certainly have more of the latter than the former.

Robert Cook said...

Arturius says,

"My previous statement stands."

So you admit that in America as it has been perverted by the moneyed interests it is impossible--a pipe dream of a socialist paradise--to expect stringent regulation of businesses or application of the law to, with punishment for violations thereof by, business heads or elected representatives. In short, you accept that the American experiment is a failure.

AllenS said...

Sorry, Robert Cook, but you make absolutely no sense. Hard to imagine what you do in life.

Matt Eckert said...

He is a community organizer.

LarsPorsena said...

"In short, you accept that the American experiment is a failure."

Cookie, every one of your posts is a testament to that fact.

LarsPorsena said...

"He is a community organizer."

Government worker?
Teacher?
Librarian?

The Drill SGT said...

cubanbob said...
Bottom line is this: when small business figures out that it is cheaper to pay an 8% payroll tax than spend an average of 12% to 15% on employee health insurance, they will drop their plans and pay the tax.


Had a Directors meeting in our small business today. Our rates are going up around 18% regardless of which health plan we chose because of all the market uncertainity.

Overall, health care costs about 16% of payroll. So dumping all our coverage and paying an 8% tax will be great :(

We also today offer 3 different plans, High, Med, Low. Based on what we have read only our high plan will survive the Bamacare floor, and even it will get changed to add in more boutique coverages. Those Low and medium plans? we paid a larger share of costs on those, so that dropping them means our employee's will end up with higher costs across the board.

traditionalguy said...

The Times is a changing. They just let Bob Herbert say to Obama "You lie!"in print.

Arturius said...

So you admit that in America as it has been perverted by the moneyed interests it is impossible--a pipe dream of a socialist paradise--to expect stringent regulation of businesses or application of the law to, with punishment for violations thereof by, business heads or elected representatives. In short, you accept that the American experiment is a failure.

In short I accept that no system is perfect, the American experiment notwithstanding. Define ‘stringent regulation of business’ or better yet, I’d like to introduce you to my brother-in-law who works for a pharmaceutical company and discuss how unregulated his particular industry is. American business is pretty regulated Robert; I could regale you with the hoops and ladders of HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley but I’m quite confident you’d glaze over in five minutes. I don’t know what industry you work in but I can assure you, the financial services and medical industry has regulations to spare. Again, there is regulation and dumb regulation and you have to strike a balance otherwise, well you just regulate a business out of existence. Or with SOX, prevent them from starting up altogether.

One problem with our regulatory system is we like regulations we just don’t like the enforcement part. Yes Robert I’d like to see the financial regulations on the books enforced just like I want to see the immigration laws on the books enforced. But enforcement is selective, whether its traffic or securities trading. That’s life and my folks raised me on the one truism is that life ain’t fair.
The flip side is that I have seen a fair amount of the rest of the world and in relative terms, I’ll stick it out in the US for a tad longer hoping for the best. You seem to have some idealized version of what America should be but based upon your past comments that America never existed and more than likely never will.

Joe said...

In short, you accept that the American experiment is a failure.

If this is a failure, what the hell does success look like?

Henry said...

In short, you accept that the American experiment is a failure.

I'm not sure the Federal Government represents the American experiment anymore. So yes, it is a kind of failure.

There are worse failures, luckily.

Arturius said...

I'm not sure the Federal Government represents the American experiment anymore. So yes, it is a kind of failure.

Excellent point.

Paul Zrimsek said...

What punishment should business heads and elected representatives face for violating the Doing Only What Robert Cook Wants Act of 2009?

c3 said...

My husband, who is self employed and currently unable to get insurance due to pre existing conditions, WILL get insurance at the expense of the insurance company. One of the beneficiaries of these bills (though not till 2014) are those who can't/won't pay for an individual or small employer policy.

OTOH as the ability to "adjust"
for risk is taken away (especially for those insurance companies that have a lot of individual and small business cliets) rates for others will go up.

Its not yet clear how this will play out for the insurance industry. On the negative they will have greater financial risk; on the positive they may have more customers. As with all budgeting the test will be whether the increased premium income (from more customers) offsets the increased costs.

Unions have opposed the "Cadillac tax" from the get go. So in that light Mr. Herbert's criticism is not all that surprising. (And can I add its not a tax but a limitation of tax benefit)

Finally, the majority of Americans are satisfied with their healthcare. Their consistent beef is the cost of premiums. As these bills do nothing to control costs, Americans will logically see increased health costs AS A RESULT of this bill. That's the trouble I see "post-passage"

Having said that I know the immediate response back will be "Its those evil insurance companies again!

Pogo said...

Sen. Baucus was drunk when he spoke against GOP opposition to the unilateral Democrat takeover of 1/6th of the economy.

The rest of us will like this health care debacle a lot better if we too get plastered.

And if it passes Constitutional challenges (of course it will, now that it is as malleable as Play-Doh), expect doctors and nurses to strike soon after.

Once I am working for the gummint, I will demand the rules be followed. And good day to you! once the clock strikes 4:30 p.m. Your concerns can surely wait until tomorrow.

Larry J said...

I've come to the cynical conclusion that no problem, no matter how dire, can't and won't be made worse by Congress.

Robert Cook said...

The present nature of the Washington beast is a failure of government "of the people, for the people, and by the people." However, to assert that the American experiment itself has failed is to assert that there is no possibility to turn the ship of state from its present course. If even to envision a return to government responsive and responsible to we the people is nothing but a crazy seeking after a "socialist paradise," then yes, the American experiment is dead.

And this might be the case; the American experiment might very well have failed, and we might have reached a point where only overt tyranny or utter collapse await us. Certainly, as long as people misperceive (or are misled as to) the nature of our present circumstances, as long as policies of state continue to be formulated according to the protocols of the corporatocracy, we can never make the corrections necessary to recover a people's government. This is not matter of achieving an ideal, but simply of trying to steer as closely as can be achieved in the direction of that ideal.

Scott said...

The health care insurance industry is a cosy and fat oligopoly that has erected discount barriers to make it prohibitively expensive for individuals to buy their own health care -- see your own "explanation of benefits" statement if you want to know how this works. Why does your insurer get an 80% discount off your lab work bill? It's to keep you from buying the same work out of your own pocket.

The first step to affordable health care is to abolish discounting, with a "most favored payor" rule: Providers have to allow everybody to buy services at the same rate as the most favored payor. This would flatten the playing field immediately, and make insurance cheaper, because the insurance companies would be in a fair competition with the uninsured consumers of health care services themselves.

Then, make health care insurance available across state lines.

Then, limit physician liability AND make state health boards liable for the actions of the professionals they license. That will weed out incompetent doctors fast.

Of course, leftists can't think in terms that don't involve lots of tax money and lots of control. As Abraham Maslow is said to have observed, if the only tool you know is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. And Democrats are going to hammer the fuck out of health care in the United States until it is permanently broken.

Penny said...

If we spend time looking at where these government health plans are leading, spend time learning as much as you can about this "excise tax on insurers". Don't only look at what they say it is, but think about how this will all play out down the road five years.

The designers themselves know that the only way their plan will work financially is if this part of the plan goes as they anticipate. Needless to say, they are NOT sharing their "anticipations" with us in any honest way.

Penny said...

One of the largest groups to be impacted by this "excise tax on insurers" will be union plans, including state and federal government employees. For years these groups have said that their benefits are greater because their wages are lower than private industry. I think we all know that's rubbish. It's also rubbish to think that benefits the union believes it gave up wages for will not be given back in dollar for dollar wage increases. It wouldn't surprise me that would include an additional sum for the taxes they would now have to pay on these extra wages. Let's call that a "wholeness factor".

Government employees will be negotiating these things with and for other government employees. Just how do you think that will turn out for the rest of us taxpayers? As you answer that, keep in mind that during this latest SEVERE downturn, only government worker payrolls have continued to get larger. Also ask yourself if Obama would do ANYTHING that might hurt his union brethren.

Arturius said...

If even to envision a return to government responsive and responsible to we the people is nothing but a crazy seeking after a "socialist paradise," then yes, the American experiment is dead.


Robert, when you say a 'return to
government responsive and responsible to we the people' can you refer me to a point in America's history that this was the case and at what point we strayed from the path?

Becasuse based upon your past comments, it doesn't appear you ever thought the country ever hit this sweet spot our 200+ year experiement.

AllenS said...

For the life of me, I can never figure out what Robert Cook's point is.

Mike K said...

"I heard on NPR a fascinating story on how Health Insurance came to be. You can blame Texas on it -- the first Hospital -- looking to fill beds -- that offered Health Insurance was in Texas."

I have the story in my book. The Dallas school teachers were the first although it began in many places about the same time. Never did anyone dream it would cover routine care. That is what has broken the bank and why the monstrosity will not work. They are devoted to a command economy in this, as in every area of the economy. One would think that they would have learned from the failure of the USSR but there are some things that a Harvard degree makes impossible. Common sense is one.

Eric said...

My plan costs me and my employer about $15,000 a year in premiums (not including copays) but it has been increasing by about 10% or more for years. If that continues, it won't be long before I hit that magic ceiling.

It never will. What's going to happen is that magic ceiling will be where every plan stops. Instead of raising prices they'll start increasing copays and reducing coverage. This tax will raise almost no money at all.

Eric said...

Once I am working for the gummint, I will demand the rules be followed. And good day to you! once the clock strikes 4:30 p.m. Your concerns can surely wait until tomorrow.

My doctor starts procedures at 8:00 AM and is usually in the office filling out paperwork twelve hours later. I asked him what he would do if he ends up working for the government and he shrugged and said "Retire. I don't really need the money, but if it's not there I won't put up with the aggravation."

Robert Cook said...

Arturius,

Obviously, we have never had a government that was ideally responsive and responsible to we the people, and my comments are in the nature of rhetoric, discussing that which we should always be striving for. However, it seems that in the past several decades, accelerating with the the Reagan administration, American government has become more than ever a tool of the powerful to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.

The progressive gains of the early 20th Century, which turned back many of the more brutal realities of American life for many up to that time have been dismantled one by one; the President, and no longer Congress, as is Constitutionally required, declares that we will send our military hither and yon to steal other peoples' riches--er, to "defend their freedoms;" torture has become acceptable not merely to debate but as official practice; the President has become free to ignore Congress and the law and acts through fiat, (i.e., Presidential signing statements); habeas corpus has become more or less a dead letter; we are all subject to pervasive electronic surveillance; and a Vice President, when told that a majority of Americans oppose the ongoing occupation of Iraq, can say "So?" with scornful indifference and no one blinks. That same Vice President disdained public preferences on American actions as mere "fluctuations in public opinion polls," thus dismissing the philosophical and political underpinnings of our system of government as if they were the but the delusional notions of malcontents seeking a "socialist paradise." (I'd say that we must all be perpetual malcontents if our system of government is to work at all.)

Probably, 'twas ever thus, more or less, and I have fallen victim to the tendency to view the past through a golden haze. Nonetheless, as long as outright tyranny has not been instituted, we can always try to keep alive the dynamic process that is the American experiment. However, the cancer of corporate power (money) in Washington must be arrested if there is to be any possibility that this may be.

Meade said...

Obama-supporting union leader to rank and file worker who punches the clock and has always played by the rules: "All union members are equal, well, I mean, were equal, but some union members, i.e., you, are now a little less equal than other union members, i.e., we, the ones who make the rules but don't have to punch the clock. Now get back to work, vote the way we tell you to vote and -- oh yeah -- for the sake of your own health, stop smoking, lose weight, and be careful out there."

former law student said...

No rational being taxes behavior they want to encourage. Therefore, the Democrats are trying to discourage/eliminate individual health care plans.

One dose of Chinese hamster medicine costs $500 -- you don't want to be on the hook for 20% of leukemia, let me tell you.

Robert Cook said...

I had leukemia some years back, and you're correct. Fortunately, my employer provided insurance covered nearly every bit of the costs. Otherwise, I'd have been bankrupted.

Penny said...

"I'd say that we must all be perpetual malcontents if our system of government is to work at all."

You may have a point there, Cook, which is why I am exercising my malcontent about this "innocent" 40% excise tax on insurance companies whose profit will be capped at 15%.

Eric's right about a few things. The government won't be collecting excise tax money from anyone to fund this health care overhaul, and as each year goes on, more and more of us will see our current benefits erode as the costs are capped at $25,000 plus the CPI.

That's the good news. Right? Our healthcare costs are KILLING our paychecks...And dammit, the government can't even make a DIME off this in taxes to support, who? Those who don't pay a dime in taxes? OR Those who live off of government paychecks? OR Government expenses in general? OH...and for PORK! MY PORK, dammit!

Penny said...

It's funny to me that we worry about the sheep when we PIGS are clearly in control.

Penny said...

Why, yes. I think I just called you a pig.

BUT, it could be "worse"!

*baa* *baa*

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

I've never seen you misquote a person, but this time I had to read it to believe it.

Old Bob's a little late to the party. Maybe because even Michael Bloomberg says no one knows what's in this bill?

Worse, Herbert's protests are based on the CBO's estimates. Ha ha! He thinks we're screwed? Try dead.

Arturius said...

However, it seems that in the past several decades, accelerating with the the Reagan administration, American government has become more than ever a tool of the powerful to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.

Robert that statement alone displays an ignorance of American history that I'm afraid can't be remedied due to Blogger's character limits.

Suffice to say that Lincoln, Wilson and FDR exercised more executive power and disdain for the Constitution than Bush/Cheney ever considered. Not sure what progressive gains of the 20th century have been dismantled as this country has been shifting further progressive (leftward) than I thought possible so I'm not sure why you're so distressed.

Skookum John said...

Once I am working for the gummint, I will demand the rules be followed. And good day to you! once the clock strikes 4:30 p.m. Your concerns can surely wait until tomorrow.

I am also a physician and I agree. We are preparing to go full-on Alinsky and organize the hell out of ourselves, with the deliberate goal of sabotaging nationalized health.

I will picket, work to the rulebook, strike, and be the biggest pain in the ass I can possibly be. And I'll make damn sure that all my patients know that I am only following the rules that the union-loving Democrat filth imposed on the citizenry against their will.

Skookum John said...

That same Vice President disdained public preferences on American actions as mere "fluctuations in public opinion polls," thus dismissing the philosophical and political underpinnings of our system of government as if they were the but the delusional notions of malcontents seeking a "socialist paradise."

You don't say! How is that different from Pelosi and Reid ramming through a health care bill that the citizens oppose by nearly a 2 to 1 margin?