Obamacare

ObamaCare, the Upgrade

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Version 2.0

In preparation for Thursday's almost-certain-to-feature-no-bipartisanship bipartisan health care summit, President Obama released a detailed upgrade to his health care reform plan this morning. The proposal, along with the summit, represent a last-ditch, last-chance, last-hurrah, end-of-the-road, double-overtime final showdown in which the White House puts it all on the line, goes for the gold, and takes it to the limit for the American people, or something. Whatever your cliche of choice, what matters is that even some of reform's most ardent supporters seem to recognize that this is it for health care reform; if it doesn't pass now, then the only thing left will be to write R.I.P. columns and fight over the book deals about How It Failed and Why The System Is Broken. 

In other words, a lot is potentially riding on this updated version. So is it any better? If by "better" you mean "includes more spending and more taxes than the Senate bill," then the answer is yes! Philip Klein has the skinny:

President Obama's plan would eliminate the so-called "Cornhusker Kickback" and instead raise the Federal government's Medicaid subsidies to all states; it would close the so-called "donut hole" on Medicare prescription drug benefits by providing more subsidies to seniors; it would increase subsidies for individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance; and it would hike funding for health clinics. To address the controversy surrounding the so-called "Cadillac Tax" on benefit rich health care plans, it essentially gives everybody the deal that unions cut last month, which would delay enactment of the tax until 2018 and raise the value of the health plans that are affected. All of these provisions will make it more costly than the Senate bill.

To finance the changes, President Obama proposes raising taxes even more than the Senate plan does. Under Obama's proposal, higher income workers would see their portion of the Medicare payroll rise even higher. The tax would create a marriage penalty by applying to individuals earning over $200,000 and couples earning over $250,000. When the original version of the Senate health care bill was produced, the Medicare tax on those earning over $200,000 was supposed to be 0.5 percent. In the version that passed in December, the tax had been raised to 0.9 percent. And though it hasn't even been made law yet, Obama is raising the Medicare tax for the third time, by assessing an additional 2.9 percent tax on income "from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents…" This follows the historical pattern of payroll taxes, which have increased 20 times since first introduced in 1935, going from a combined total of 2 percent (including employer/employee contributions) to 12.4 percent today.

The Obama proposal would also raise the proposed tax on drug makers by $10 billion, to a combined $33 billion over 10 years, while delaying enactment by a year.

All of which is to say it strongly resembles the rumored House/Senate compromise plan that failed to emerge in the wake of Scott Brown's upset win in Massachusetts. Will it work? Like Keith Hennessey, I doubt it. Nothing here is likely to garner additional Republican support. And Democrats, with good reason, are still skittish about this bill. As Hennessey suggests, this looks more like a blame-management focused exit strategy than a way forward. 

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  1. Good afternoon Reason!

    Please fail.

    1. Good afternoon, RM!

      1. What’s RM stand for? Ron Mexico?

        1. In the finer operating systems it means “remove”. Not sure what that one means.

          1. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.

            1. Well you didn’t create Berkeley UNIX so piss off.

        2. Richard Milhous?

  2. Obamacare World: Where Nothing Can Go Worngekpuw=erwermdiknpqerugo9f8dxqw

  3. This is definitely a way to say “we tried, the evil GOP and traitorous Dems wouldn’t let us” for future elections. I don’t know if it will work, though, because the only people who will want to hear that are all the health care “reform” fanatics. Most people will see them taking a shitty plan and making it even worse before having it shot down.

    I have to say, the bumbling incompetence of the Obama administration at least provides some amusement. And to think of how many Dems thought he was going to be a competent JFK; a new age of Camelot. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    1. Just wait till we find out that Obama is banging even more skanks than JFK. I’m pretty sure his skanks are even skankier than Tiger Woods’, dude.

      1. That would make my millennium. Especially if they were white or Asian. He would go from beloved black president to hated race traitor instantly. Let those who live by identity politics die by them.

        1. The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But we all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century.

          1. I’m pretty sure that this was exactly the correct response. You can derive it from first principles.

    2. JFK wasn’t competent. He couldn’t get anything done and Russia thought he was weak.

      JFK only became this mythical figure after he was assassinated. I’m guessing Obama will be built into a mythical god after he’s out of office, too.

      1. I guess you didn’t understand why I wrote “a competent JFK”. See the qualifier there? It meant that JFK was incompetent.

        1. Chow-dah! Say chow-dah!

  4. I don’t understand why he needs the teleprompter if he’s an automaton.

    1. I just want to be clear…*head explodes*

    2. Well, I don’t know what the circumstances would be in that situation. I would–you know, it’s an interesting fact situation. I’d want to think (OFF-MIKE).

  5. Keith Hennesey links to the “slick new website” the White House put up for this new non-Bipartisan Bipartisan Health Care dealio.

    They have a FAQ.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/health-care-meeting

    One of the questions was under “I do not have health insurance”.

    Here was the answer –

    “You will have access to new insurance choices in the same insurance marketplace where all members of Congress will buy their insurance, receive tax credits to help you afford coverage if needed, and get protections from insurance company abuses like denying you coverage based on pre-existing conditions.”

    Wow. That is some powerful Bullshit they expect us to believe.

    1. “Wow. That is some powerful Bullshit they expect us to believe.”

      They assume, since they managed to get elected in the first place, that a majority of the voting public is extremely gullible.

      1. Yeah, I know, but the idea that Joey Plumber will be able to buy insurance from the same “marketplace” as Pelosi was repeated all the time during the presidential debates and it was just as full of shit then as it is now.

        This particular lie seems extravagant by normal bullshit standards.

        I guess I would just like a happy ending if they are gonna have their way with me, is what I’m saying.

        1. I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.

    2. Except, of course, Congress won’t actually be subjected to this plan themselves.

  6. “All of which is to say it strongly resembles the rumored House/Senate compromise plan that failed to emerge in the wake of Scott Brown’s upset win in Massachusetts.”

    Perhaps it actually is? That would save our Lord and Savior Barack Obama some work. We do not want to make him do any actual work do we? He has to rest up for his speeches.

    1. The fact that it’s not the same as the bill the House passed means they have to vote on it again, and it only just squeaked through the first time. I suspect Pelosi doesn’t have the votes for this monstrosity. And don’t you love a plan to make health care less expensive that involves new taxes for pharmaceutical companies? Yeah, that’ll help!

  7. I don’t like you Peter Suderman.

    1. A zebra does not change its spots.

  8. You’ll never guess which key issue might make passage of the bill more difficult!

    From a report in the New York Times:

    ‘In the House, [President Obama] needs 217 votes (the number is ordinarily 218, but two seats are vacant) ? a number that could be difficult to muster, especially because Mr. Obama’s bill does not include the tighter restrictions on payments for abortions favored by abortion opponents among House Democrats.’

    1. Ah, I see that Suderman’s 4:27PM post has a press release from one of the prolife groups.

  9. When the original version of the Senate health care bill was produced, the Medicare tax on those earning over $200,000 was supposed to be 0.5 percent. In the version that passed in December, the tax had been raised to 0.9 percent.

    Consider this step one. Should something like this pass the next three moves in rapid succession will be to decrease the benefits, to increase the age at which one becomes eligible for Medicare and to means test recipients. It is axiomatic that productive people who have their eyes set on getting back their Social Security “contributions” will enjoy the same defenestration in the near future.

    1. Actually, if you average more than the equivalent of fifty grand over your career, you *already* don’t get back what you put into SS. This is how we subsidize the benefits of the working poor.

      I know, you are a libertarian, and would prefer that they go feral and fight your dog for scraps, but thankfully most of us are not quite so insane.

      1. I expect the working poor to do what I did when I was working poor. Live in poverty with two kids for the duration of college, then spend 10 years paying back their students loans. Then they can make lots of money so they can support all the rest of the working poor that are too dumb or too lazy to better themselves.

      2. Actually, I’d rather they just fight over you for scraps.

        Oh, and it isn’t to the working poor, but an intergenerational wealth transfer. Sure, they can be poor and working, but they usually are retired and middle class, if they’re anything like my relatives.

      3. Actually, if you average more than the equivalent of fifty grand over your career, you *already* don’t get back what you put into SS. This is how we subsidize the benefits of the working poor.

        You know it is generally considered better to keep quiet and be thought the fool than to put your foot in your mouth and remove all doubt. It is profoundly obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.

      4. The feral dog for scraps thing is only if they didn’t take care of themselves in the first place. Generally, my preference is for people to save for themselves and not work their whole life with the implicit expectation of someone else to doing it for them.

        I know, you’re not a libertarian, and think all property and wealth ultimate belong to the beneficent state anyway, but thankfully most Americans are starting to intuitively realize just how dangerous that idea is.

  10. “This follows the historical pattern of payroll taxes, which have increased 20 times since first introduced in 1935”

    WRONG WRONG WRONG … Get your facts straight.

    Payroll taxes have increased over 50 times since their 1935 introduction.

    Increases in the cap are far more significant than increase in the rate. If you doubt that, which would you rather pay, the original 1% rate on the current cap of $106,800, or the current 7.65% on the original cap of $3000?

    For those unfamiliar with the history of SS, the original rate was indeed 1% of $3000, or $30 per year. Remember that when you hear a politician say that a 5% VAT would help close the deficit and wouldn’t be too much of a burden on consumers.

    1. Increases in the cap are far more significant than increase in the rate. If you doubt that, which would you rather pay, the original 1% rate on the current cap of $106,800, or the current 7.65% on the original cap of $3000?

      Never, ever lose sight of the fact that those percentages are only half of what you “contribute”. If you are paid on a 1099 you pay double, if you are W-2 your employer shorts your compensation and puts in the same amount as you do.

  11. There’s never an industrial press around when you need one.

  12. As Hennessey suggests, this looks more like a blame-management exit strategy than a way forward.

    I’ve not read a more suck-sinked yet accurate description of the Obama presidency yet. Keep up the good work.

  13. Man, RM, don’t sully Suki’s morning greetings. Like my coffee and cigarette, a “Good morning, Reason!” is part of my routine.

    1. rho,

      LOL, I don’t have IP rights to the Good Morning thing. It is bad form (as I was informed) to put a cap R in front of reason for that.

  14. Sir, your charicature of Obama as a robot is racist. A robot is a machine and, as you know, black slaves were once used, essentially, as agricultural machinery. Therefore, your image is implying that Obama is a slave who should just go back to the cotton fields. You disgust me deeply.
    Good day, Sir.

    1. You’re way off–the picture is meant to be ironic. As we privileged few know, Obama is actually a reptilian entity. WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

      1. It’s sort of a duel to the death between the Battlestar Galactica and V interpretations.

        1. Wow, a BSG reference was made, and seven hours later there are still no responses to it? I can hardly believe my eyes.

      2. I, for one, welcome our new reptilian overlords.

  15. The article fails to mention one major addition, federal price controls on insurance premiums. New and improved Obamacare authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to block insurance premium increases.

    Most states, 29 I believe, apparently already have such controls in place.

    Nothing better than making a dyfunctional market even more dysfunctional, I guess.

    Maybe they could just repeal the law of gravity while they’re at it.

  16. PUT THE GLASSES ON! PUT ‘EM ON!!

    1. Is this what you’re referring to?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp_K8prLfso

      1. No this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsZpdUUdd3I
        😀

        But yeah, that picture of Barack reminded me of it.

    2. The goggles
      THEY DO NOTHING!

  17. I was reading the “bullet points” fromt he white house website and it is a joke:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/heal…..ordability

    There is a section there called “Improving Individual Responsibility” were the word is not even mentioned in the 2 paragraphs nor is there any explanation as to how improved individual responsibility would be improved.

    1. I believe they equate individual mandates with individual responsibility.

      I love the Orwellian title at the top of the page “Putting Americans in Control of their Health Care.”

      Reminds me of “The Employee Free Choice Act.”

      I also love the last section titled “Strengthen Employer Responsibility.” WTF? I thought individuals were supposed to be responsible (see above)?

      Where did they come up with all the numbers for new tax rates and different income cutoffs?

      I could just see them sitting around smoking a few doobies and just making up $%#@ as they went along.

      Funny $%#@.

  18. Wishful thinking indeed, but it will never happen!

    Hess
    http://www.anonymous-tools.se.tc

  19. Obama’s cuntability just ballooned to Hindenburg territory. He is an amazingly egotistical twat that gets off on its own self-produced ejaculations.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better.

    2. You need to be less moderate and restrained, Jamie. Man up and say what you REALLY feel. 😉

      1. Fuck you, Nazi. 🙂

  20. I predict it will be 13,680 years, give or take a decade, before the American psyche recovers enough to dissolve the disillusionment over this man’s ascendancy to the White House and elect a another black president. Thanks Obama! Thanks for fucking over all the civil rights workers, the educational establishment and the millions who stood up for racial equality! You fucking nightmare.

    1. If we’re using the performance of the most recent representative of a race to occupy the White House as a criterion for electing another of that race, Bush II pretty much screwed us whiteys as well. I guess it’s going to have to be between the Hispanics and the Asians next time.

      1. Yes, Tulpa, we’ll NEVER get another white Christian into office because of him. Great point.

      2. (I watch…I wait…I lick my paws)

  21. To finance the changes, President Obama proposes raising taxes even more than the Senate plan does.

    Makes sense, because there is a demonstrable correlation between hiked tax rates and public revenue . . .

    . . . uh, except it is NOT a positive correlation, so . . . what gives?

    Are you guys not ready yet for returning to a barter, under-the-radar economic system?

    1. I’m up for it.
      You can pay me in shares of the dividends on human smuggling operations. We’ll just create baskets of shipments all along the border, and then divide these up into people “tranches” rated from “hard-working honest and reliable” to “crippled, elderly, and criminal”.

      But we’ll get my cousin Alhonso in El Paso to rate all this, and everyone has to take his word for it, okay? What could possibly go wrong?

      1. I was thinking of trading favors like welding or house repair for food, but ok . . .

  22. Obama’s upgrade is even worse than the original bill. In addition to the new taxes and spending it still contains the compulsorary health insurance coverage mandate. Even after Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts the empty suite in the White House doesn’t seem to get the message.

    Hey Obama…we don’t want your revenue-enhancement / government-jobs-creation scam/bill.

    1. the empty suite in the White House

      The Lincoln Bedroom?

      1. Suit, wiseguy. 😉

  23. Applying the Medicare portion of FICA to investment income, presumably with no cap? That’s a massive tax increase all by itself. It’s only a small step from there to applying the entire FICA tax to investment income.

    1. Exellent, then we can tax the Social Security Trust Fund for it’s “investment” earning in Treasury Bonds. I’m sure this will improve it’s solvency. Multiplier effect or something.

  24. Why people fail to support change to the health care system is like chickens voting for Col. Sanders. One of the items I hear many people talk negatively about is the current health care system and because the DEMs try to do a plan then the Republicans talk about death committees. The only mistake I think the DEMs made was trying to get by partianship. They should have rammed it through.

    1. So what you’re saying is, you’re borderline retarded and you have no clue what actually constitutes “change” from the Democrat’s (or most Republican’s) point of view?

      I doubt you’ll find a person who regularly posts on this blog who doesn’t want some radical changes in health care in the US… What you won’t find is the kind of idiocy that Harry Reid has been pimping, which basically does nothing to increase supply of goods & services (and in fact does a great deal to inhibit production & innovation) and just about everything humanly possible to increase demand.

      So let’s think here… No more doctors, nurses, hospitals, clinics, drugs or machinery… Millions more patients expecting top quality service for $0.

      What could possibly go wrong?

      Dumbass.

  25. OMG! Obama is a Fembot! I knew it!

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