Health Care's Final Countdown Begins


Counting down to…something or other.

The President gave what one can only hope is his truly-and-really-for-real-this-time-not-gonna-happen-again final pitch for health care reform this afternoon, framing his latest proposal—which amounts to a House/Senate plan casserole with a little bit of GOP flavor sprinkled on top—as a bid to reign in abusive, out of control insurance companies. Contrary to rumors that circulated earlier in the week, the speech did not back down from existing plans or substitute a smaller proposal. In some ways, I think it was his best pitch yet—a strong call to let the good folks in government have a little more power to oversee the insurance industry and protect consumers. But as usual, Obama's speech was packed with misleading statements about how he hopes to accomplish this feat.

For starters, he pitched his plan as a middle way between single payer and a more market-friendly approach like Congressman Paul Ryan's. That's true enough, but to drive this point home, he declared, "I don't believe we should give government bureaucrats or insurance company bureaucrats more control over health care in America."

The thing is, his plan would do both. On one hand, the individual mandate would put more people on the rolls of private insurance companies. And on the other hand, it would corral insurance companies into highly-regulated, government run "exchanges," leading to what Philip Klein has called "government designed insurance policies in a government store."

He also repeated the line, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.  If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." He's been saying this since the beginning of the debate; it wasn't true last summer, and it's not true now.

And then there was this:

And my proposal says that if you still can't afford the insurance in this new marketplace, even though it's going to provide better deals for people than they can get right now in the individual marketplace, then we'll offer you tax credits to do so—tax credits that add up to the largest middle-class tax cut for health care in history.

There a

If you like your honey, you can keep your honey.

re two big problems with this. The first is that, at least according to the Congressional Budget Office figures he references later, his proposal doesn't actually provide "better deals" in the individual market, at least not before the subsidies kick in. Instead, it raises premium prices somewhere between 10 and 13 percent. A little more than half of those in the individual market would pay less than they otherwise would, but only because of so-called "tax credits"—otherwise known as taxpayer-funded subsidies. The second is that calling this plan a tax cut is a real stretch; sure, it would dole out a hefty chunk of subsidies for individuals to buy private insurance with, but it would also impose an individual mandate to buy health insurance, a requirement which, according to an estimate by Cato's Michael Cannon, would add a total of more than $1 trillion to the overall cost of the bill. 

On the other hand, at least it's almost over. (Maybe!)

NEXT: Your D.C. Gay Marriage Waiting Period May Now Begin

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  1. Even if health care "reform" fails in Congress, what is to stop states like New York and California from enacting these "reforms" within their borders?

    1. Nothing. But what is the fun of that? The fun is forcing the idiot gun clinging moron red necks in the rest of the country into a plan progressives think is best for them.

      1. They are broke as shit as is, is what is stopping them. Tax hikes don't work so well when your tax base can freely immigrate to nearby states.

        1. No being able to print your own money makes it hard to.

        2. And I thought Obamacare was going to save all this money and solve the deficit? You mean that that might not be true?

          1. Hey buddy, why don't you just iron my shit!

            BTW, I used that line with 2 blue collar guys who have no idea what Hit & Run is. They found it funny as hell.

            1. That line is, objectively speaking, funny as hell.

          2. It was never about saving money. It was all about making us more "equal" by hobbling everyone under the yoke of our brothers. Drink up comrades!

    2. New York and California can't run huge deficits like the one's the Feds will be running if this thing passes.

      Of course that's the reason that all the states go running to Washington to get money to fund things that are their responsibility.

      It's so great to be able to tell the people that you won't have to raise anyone's taxes to pay for X because someone else is paying for it.

      1. As I've always said, we can have Swedish levels of welfare benefits if we're willing to accepts Swedish levels of taxation.

        But then, one also needs to consider the fact that even the Swedes got tired of Swedish levels of taxation.

        1. Especially Ingmar Bergman. Considering that he was taxed around 106% of his income, that would get old quick.

          1. Baked Penguin, you're probably thinking of Astrid Lindgren

          2. BP and Ted

            Swedes who came up far short of the 100%+ marginal rates still found the Swedish tax system crushing.

          3. BP and Ted

            Swedes who came up far short of the 100%+ marginal rates still found the Swedish tax system crushing.

  2. The second is that calling this plan a tax cut is a real stretch

    You're too kind. In fact, one might reasonably call Obama's assertion a lie.

  3. What, alt-text? What countdown? They were heading for Venus, alt text. Maybe you better learn about Europe before asking questions they already answered. Punk.

    1. Maybe they've seen us and welcome us all. Yeah.

    2. I'm stunned you'd admit to that level of familiarity with Europe. What next, Rainbow? You and your Ronnie Dio fetish disgust me.

      1. Dio is the man, Epi. Holy Diver FTW. He also currently has stomach cancer, but is being treated by "horrible" American private health care. It's a good thing he saved money over his lifetime to plan for contignencies like this. It'd be nice if more rock stars/people were that responsible for their own lives.

    3. I have to think the Magician's Alliance is going to frown on this.

  4. Gee, I thought Obama's number one focus was on jobs and the economy.

    That's what he told us all after Brown won in Mass.

    But he still seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time focusing on his health care plan.

    Strange isn't it?

    1. The president's lie was not unresponsive.

    2. Dude, they kicked out a whopping $15 billion for "jobs," which clearly indicates his dedication to repairing the economy. With that problem solved, there's nothing wrong with plunking down a measly trillion dollars to ensure that grandma isn't left to die at the front entrance of the emergency room.

  5. On the other hand, at least it's almost over.

    No, the game's not over. No, you can't get away. From hell's heart I stab at thee... for hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.

    1. Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Read Winnie the Pooh's shirt backwards. It says, "Thank you, Satan."

  7. "insurance premiums bought on the individual market?that is, premiums not purchased through employers?would go up by 10 to 13 percent in 2016 if Congress passed health care reform legislation now in the Senate." In the first place, insurance in the individual market is already increasing. The argument that cost will further skyrocket with more participation does not make a lick of sense.

    1. In the first place, insurance in the individual market is already increasing.

      And yet it can increase more.

      The argument that cost will further skyrocket with more participation does not make a lick of sense.

      Right, insurers and doctors and hospitals would never raise their prices just because the government was picking up some of the tab, or additional coverage was mandated? Just like universities would never raise their tuition when the federal government provides financial aid.

      And yet the CBO says that they will; the defense from Administration supporters is that after the subsidies the cost to many people will go down, and that thanks to the mandates, what people are paying more for will be better coverage.

      1. The argument that cost will further skyrocket with more participation does not make a lick of sense.

        The argument is that richer plans that have to admit people with pre-existing conditions will cost more.

        Which seems like common sense to me.

        1. RC, insurers already charge people with pre-existing conditions more money. They will continue to do so under any plan. So yes, their insurance will cost more than yours and mine but the difference will be financial aid for the government.

      2. JT, yes, it can increase much more and that will eventually lead to an opportunity for healthcare to be received without the traditional insurance market. I was reading about some physicians who have decided to go back to cash only. I like that you see what you pay for and that the doctor can spend more than five minutes with you (they find that they can cut their patient load). I don't like to compare healthcare to education because as you are well aware, you don't need to remain in the US for your studies and there is the convenience of time to plan. As for emergency care, initially insurance was started by Baylor hospital (Dallas), to solve the problem of unpaid care. I would love to see hospitals return to their roots and have memberships for catastrophic care. It does not look like coverage will be mandated and I am skeptical of the CBO findings, as it is unclear which revised plan they are speaking of.

    2. Try reading the CBO report linked in the post and see if you can understand the argument and it makes a lick of sense to you afterwards.

      1. John, I will read the CBO report when the dust as settled on which plan Obama will put forward.

  8. I'll say it:
    It's a big pile of Pooh.

  9. One more fairly obvious question: if individuals are offered tax credits for buying insurance, what employers are going to be dumb enough to keep offering insurance?

    1. Federal, State and Local governments.

    2. I have another question as well, one that I have not seen addressed anywhere:

      If the government privides you healthcare, then doesn't that mean that people would have no healthcare deductions on your income taxes? That would then increase a sort of stealth tax, wouldn't it?

      1. You weren't supposed to notice that.

        1. Thanks, Slid Marx. Smartass sob, don't you want full disclosure?

  10. Ooooh, Santa Claus in March too! Can't wait to see what the Easter Bunny brings next month.

  11. Preemptive shut the fuck up, Tony et al.

  12. Luckily, we have a guide for understanding our holy president.

    1. Plague Dog, here is mine
      Dating Advice: 10 Ways to Tell He's Lying
      #1 he is a he
      #2 balls for brains
      #3 male
      #4 calms down & stops lying only adter neutering
      #5 genetically flawed
      #6 spare the rod...
      #7 thinks he can
      #8 knows he can
      #9 ton of practice
      #10 he's speaking

  13. "I don't know how this plays politically, but I know it's right."
    "And so I ask Congress to finish its work, and I look forward to signing this reform into law."

    If there ever was any doubt Obama is a lying sack of shit, that ends it. He doesn't have any idea what the polls say? No one has told him that this thing was unpopular? He has no idea?

    Obama is truly a repulsive human being.

    1. "Obama is truly a repulsive human being."

      He doesn't think of himself as a human being at all - more like a god.

      I'd say he fancies himself as being more along the lines of the setup the Emporor of Japan had going for himself - being the son of Heavan.

    2. Obama is truly a repulsive human being.

      Closely followed by the loathsome Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

      And people should make absolutely no mistake about this whatsoever: if the socialist democratic scum are able to get away with circumventing the senate filibuster and they succeed in ramming this through with the nuclear option against the clearly stated wishes of the majority of the people, they will NOT be satisfied and just stop there.

      No sir, on the contrary, it will only embolden them to go even further, and they will do the same thing again and again and again. This creep Obama has the mentality of a little dictator.

  14. I can tell you as the father of two young girls, I would not want any plan that interferes with the relationship between a family and their doctor.

    I am able to tell you X; however, in this statement I am not actually telling you X.

    Moreover, this is addressed only to fathers of two young girls.

    Continuing to study Obamaese ...

    1. Yeah -- I'm sure Obama's kids would have to wait 6 months for an MRI just like everyone else if this monstrosity passes.

      1. That Congress has exempted itself from this steaming pile should tell us all we need to know about it. Who needs to read the damn bill?

  15. Those aren't my numbers; those are the savings determined by the Congressional Budget Office, which is the Washington acronym for the nonpartisan, independent referee of Congress in terms of how much stuff costs. (Derisive Laughter.)


  16. And my proposal says that if you still can't afford the insurance in this new marketplace, even though it's going to provide better deals for people than they can get right now in the individual marketplace, then we'll offer you tax credits a way in which your fellow taxpayer can pay for you?tax credits other people's money that add up to the largest middle-class tax cut redistribution of wealth for health care in history.

    Imagine if every journalist, news commentator, pundit, etc. - or anyone even discussing "governement spending" - actually spoke with such specificity!? Ah....fuck it. I'm just kidding around. Hope and change!

  17. "Instead, it raises premium prices somewhere between 10 and 13 percent."

    Bullshit. There is a reason why Obama never ever mentions what has already happened in Massachusetts.

    13% my ass: 70% increase, still skyrocketing, and access to doctors is already sharply limited compared to only a few years ago.

  18. "Health is wealth" is known to all and everyone wants good health. That means no one wants to leave this wealth. So, Let us build a food habit discipline, keep pace with work, rest and or exercise to Achieve good health, The ultimate wealth.

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