“Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?”
~ Question asked of President Obama on ABC’s This Week
First of all, I want to say Happy Birthday to Maya, I mean Malia. Innocent mistake since her own father doesn’t know her name, and last year he didn’t know how old she was. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Obama mispronounced his daughter Malia’s name. He said the first family, including daughters “Maya and Sasha,” would wait their turn for flu vaccines, seeming to mix up Malia with his sister, Maya.
If he has trouble getting his children’s names and ages right, do we really trust him with our healthcare?
Obamacare is so much more than a 2700 page bill. It now has 18,000 pages of rules attached to it and they are still writing feverishly as they legislate from the White House instead of Congress.
Obama gave lobbyists great hope when he said he wanted to amend the bill.
Now that Obamacare looks like it will move ahead barring a change of Presidents in November, most of the very companies who conspired to pass it with the President – drug companies, hospitals, insurers and employers, are now angling for advantages and trying to set the policies.
The weekend edition of the WSJ, p.1, states, “Hospital owners want the government to reduce the $155 billion in health-care payment cuts as agreed upon during negotiations.”
WSJ – “Makers of medical devices hope to roll back a 2.3% tax on their sales contained in the measure.” That probably won’t happen and the devices will end up being made abroad instead of in this country.
Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana representatives want changes to the way they vary premiums according to age. Insurance companies want more leeway to charge older people higher rates than younger ones. The very people who paid into insurance companies all their lives and now have the lower incomes will pay the higher premiums. The industry wants to charge older patients up to five times what they charge younger patients. This will encourage young people to join the system.
The insurance companies, according to the WSJ, have the biggest presence, probably because they will soon cease to exist if they don’t and you won’t get to choose your doctor or keep your insurance. They want short windows of time for these new government exchanges so the penalties kick in.
“Drug makers are aiming at a provision that could squeeze how much medicare pays for medicine.” They want IPAB gone. The IPAB, the rogue government panel without oversight, is made up of 15 members who will decide all and IPAB’s main job will be where to find the billions they are short. Much of it will come from Medicare. The government already took $500 billion from Medicare. Drug makers know that seniors require more medicines and Pharma does not want the payments made to them by Medicare to put them in the red.
Retailers, hospitality, and restaurant companies have asked for a two-year delay.
Hospitals say that the bill, which allows states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, will force Medicaid patients out and hospitals will get even more uninsured patients.
Obama said Obamacare would lower premiums but it has raised premiums.
It was supposed to force “free riders” to pay, to quote Nancy Pelosi.
There will be huge subsidies in this redistribution of wealth, which is what this bill is really about. People up to 300% of the poverty line could pay a maximum of $750 per year if they don’t have insurance, and up to $1,500 per family. Above that line, the excise tax for individuals is $950 per year, with a family maximum of $3,800. [Politico]
Therefore, if you are below or above the line, you will pay for your “free” healthcare and you will pay for a lot of free loaders. You will pay through the nose as grandpa used to say. In other words, the “free riders” still ride for “free” but you pay for them through Obamacare. Obamacare now makes every nosebleed, every hangnail, every cut finger, all our responsibilities. If you are a producer and make a little more, you will get killed.
So who do you think will pay for all these givebacks? The middle class, the rich, and seniors is your answer. I am sure the very sick and handicapped will also pay more – so much for the elimination of the “pre-existing conditions” clause – the money has to come from somewhere.
Insurance companies said they would keep the pre-existing conditions provision and the insurance for adult children even if the law went down. Those are really the only two seriously popular provisions – we don’t need the bill for them.
What about all those waivers? Over 1,000 employers and union insurance plans won waivers from Obama that allow them to continue to cap how much in insurance benefits they pay out. If the unions get an opt out, which this president would favor, do we pick up their tab too?
A must-read is the American Spectator piece on Undoing Obamacare. It doesn’t even cover the corrupt back room deals for certain states such as the Cornhusker Kickback. Check out the companies who sold out to Obamacare under threat of annhilation –
- Under the leadership of Billy Tauzin, the Big Pharma lobby agreed to do a $150 million Obamacare-friendly advertising campaign in return for protection against strict price controls on Medicare prescription drugs and drug re-importation from Canada (one of Obama’s campaign pledges). Tauzin also agreed to chip in $80 billion from the industry to help close a gap in Medicare drug coverage For his success in brokering a deal with the administration, the former congressman turned pharmaceutical industry lobbyist, was paid $11.6 million in 2010.
- The health insurers’ lobbying group under Karen Ignagni cut a deal with the administration in which it gave up A and B in order to get C and D: It agreed A) to bite its tongue in the face of avalanche of new mandates and other problems, and B), to commit publicly to squeezing some $2 trillion in costs out of the system, in order to get C), a law that was supposed to force 30 million uninsured to buy insurance, and D), the all-important promise that administration would not put them all out of business by exercising the so-called public option.
- The American Medical Association lent public support to Obamacare in return for promises of a “doc fix” — protecting doctors from the automatic imposition of future reductions in their compensation. In a truly remarkable display of docility, 150 doctors from 50 states played dressy-up for the president in October, 2009 — wearing White House-provided white lab coats as they applauded his pep talk on Obamacare. “Nobody has more credibility with the American people on this issue than you do,” Obama told his guests at the photo op in the Rose Garden.
- Hospital groups agreed to $150 billion in future Medicare and Medicaid cuts — just to protect themselves against even steeper cuts down the road.
- Then there was the AARP sell-out. In the fall of 2009, many people were surprised when the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) announced its support for Obamacare even though one of the ways the Democrats proposed to “pay” for the health care law was by taking an axe to the popular Medicare Advantage program and forcing millions of seniors back to the more expensive coverage of traditional Medicare. As David Catron wrote in this space (“The American Association for Retiree Plunder,” 3-30-11), AARP is really an insurance company fronting as an advocacy group. Most of its revenues come from sales of “Medigap” policies that fill in for gaps in standard Medicare. As Catron explained, “AARP endorsed a law that does real financial harm to seniors in order to reap a crop of new customers when Obamacare guts Medicare Advantage.” That impression was partly confirmed later in a trove of emails made public by House Republicans. “We really need to talk,” an AARP lobbyist wrote in an email to the White House, noting that calls from seniors were running 14 to one against Obamacare.
Before I get into whether Obamacare is a tax or penalty, I have to say, who cares? The IRS is going to hound us into paying a punitive tax, period. Let’s move on.
Mitt Romney says Obamacare is a tax though Obama is trying to call it a penalty.
Etch-a-sketch Eric Fehrnstrom – a Romney advisor – who needs to get off TV and stay off immediately – got sucked up into MSNBC’s Chuck Todd’s verbal legerdemain last Sunday. Todd went after it three times and Fehrnstrom fell into the trap –
Obama’s Chief-of-Staff, Jack Lew said it is a penalty –
The reason for all the deliberate confusion is Justice Robert’s opinion which called the individual mandate a tax, but, at the same time, he got around the tax anti-injunction act by calling it a penalty for the purposes of the tax anti-injunction act (the law prohibits the SCOTUS from ruling a tax that has not been levied and taken to court).
Who wouldn’t be confused? However, for the purposes of the bill and what it means to the American people it is one enormous tax bill. It includes new taxes on real estate, medical devices, and so on, up to $800 billion, over 70% of which hit the middle class. In addition, it punishes people who don’t buy insurance by TAXING them. The penalty so far could mean as much as $3800 per family if they don’t comply.
The mandate is indeed a tax and that is why our government is hiring unprecedented numbers of IRS agents.
The bill clearly states throughout that “The excise tax would be assessed through the tax code and applied as an additional amount of Federal tax owed.”
Page 29, in the first sentence of the bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) says, “The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax.”
The House bill also says the penalty is a, “tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage” and amends the tax code to implement it.
President Obama, this past Sunday, insisted it is not a tax and he can keep his promise to not raise taxes by making better use of the money already in the healthcare system. Would that be the waste and fraud he has done NOTHING about to date? In saying this, he completely ignores all the taxes in the bill, the penalty which is a tax, and all the new IRS agents who will hound us into submission.
In 2008, Obama, the FlipFlopper-in-Chief, said he was opposed to Hillary Clinton’s funding mechanism (individual mandate) for her similar version of a healthcare bill –
Do you remember when the bill made it a criminal penalty if people did not pay the healthcare tax? Do you really think that can’t and won’t be easily put back in if this bill is allowed to stand?