Dems pass cost-raising health plan in committee

Today, with the help of liberal Maine Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, Democrats were able to push some kind of cost-increasing health care legislation out of the Senate Finance Committee and closer to a vote on the Senate floor. The “Baucus Bill,” named for Senator Max Baucus, contains very little to do with increasing health insurance coverage and everything to do with raising taxes, fees and increasing the cost of existing insurance plans by thousands. Sounds like a case of typical Washington incompetence being celebrated by the Democrats.

The most amazingly pathetic part of this story is that the bill, as it is, has not even been written yet. The Finance Committee voted for a “shell” in which the legislative language will be inserted. Nowhere but the halls of congress can something like this happen. If I go to a bank with just a summary of a business plan, I doubt they’re giving me a business start-up loan until they see the entire plan. Not with congress, they can vote “Yes” on a shell summary and act like they’ve done something meaningful.

Reuters reports on the debacle:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A key U.S. Senate committee endorsed a sweeping healthcare overhaul on Tuesday, gaining the support of an influential Republican and delivering President Barack Obama a victory on his top domestic priority.

The Democratic-controlled Senate Finance Committee approved the measure by 14-9, with Senator Olympia Snowe becoming the first Republican in Congress to back a healthcare reform bill.

“Today we reached a critical milestone in our effort to reform our healthcare system,” said Obama, who warned there were still big challenges ahead for healthcare reform.

The bill, the last of five pending health measures to clear a committee in Congress, will be merged with the Senate health panel’s version for a floor vote.

Snowe, who had been courted by Obama and his fellow Democrats, said she backed the plan with reservations and could not guarantee her continued support as the overhaul advances.

“My vote today is my vote today. It doesn’t forecast what my vote will be tomorrow,” Snowe said.

As the Wall Street Journal states, this bill is nothing more than a tax bill:

Remember when health-care reform was supposed to make life better for the middle class? That dream began to unravel this past summer when Congress proposed a bill that failed to include any competition-based reforms that would actually bend the curve of health-care costs. It fell apart completely when Democrats began papering over the gaping holes their plan would rip in the federal budget.

As it now stands, the plan proposed by Democrats and the Obama administration would not only fail to reduce the cost burden on middle-class families, it would make that burden significantly worse.

Consider the bill put forward by the Senate Finance Committee. From a budgetary perspective, it is straightforward. The bill creates a new health entitlement program that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates will grow over the longer term at a rate of 8% annually, which is much faster than the growth rate of the economy or tax revenues. This is the same growth rate as the House bill that Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) deep-sixed by asking the CBO to tell the truth about its impact on health-care costs.

To avoid the fate of the House bill and achieve a veneer of fiscal sensibility, the Senate did three things: It omitted inconvenient truths, it promised that future Congresses will make tough choices to slow entitlement spending, and it dropped the hammer on the middle class.

One inconvenient truth is the fact that Congress will not allow doctors to suffer a 24% cut in their Medicare reimbursements. Senate Democrats chose to ignore this reality and rely on the promise of a cut to make their bill add up. Taking note of this fact pushes the total cost of the bill well over $1 trillion and destroys any pretense of budget balance.

It is beyond fantastic to promise that future Congresses, for 10 straight years, will allow planned cuts in reimbursements to hospitals, other providers, and Medicare Advantage (thereby reducing the benefits of 25% of seniors in Medicare). The 1997 Balanced Budget Act pursued this strategy and successive Congresses steadily unwound its provisions. The very fact that this Congress is pursuing an expensive new entitlement belies the notion that members would be willing to cut existing ones.

Most astounding of all is what this Congress is willing to do to struggling middle-class families. The bill would impose nearly $400 billion in new taxes and fees. Nearly 90% of that burden will be shouldered by those making $200,000 or less.

It might not appear that way at first, because the dollars are collected via a 40% tax on sales by insurers of “Cadillac” policies, fees on health insurers, drug companies and device manufacturers, and an assortment of odds and ends.

But the economics are clear. These costs will be passed on to consumers by either directly raising insurance premiums, or by fueling higher health-care costs that inevitably lead to higher premiums. Consumers will pay the excise tax on high-cost plans. The Joint Committee on Taxation indicates that 87% of the burden would fall on Americans making less than $200,000, and more than half on those earning under $100,000.

Industry fees are even worse because Democrats chose to make these fees nondeductible. This means that insurance companies will have to raise premiums significantly just to break even. American families will bear a burden even greater than the $130 billion in fees that the bill intends to collect. According to my analysis, premiums will rise by as much as $200 billion over the next 10 years—and 90% will again fall on the middle class.

Senate Democrats are also erecting new barriers to middle-class ascent. A family of four making $54,000 would pay $4,800 for health insurance, with the remainder coming from subsidies. If they work harder and raise their income to $66,000, their cost of insurance rises by $2,800. In other words, earning another $12,000 raises their bill by $2,800—a marginal tax rate of 23%. Double-digit increases in effective tax rates will have detrimental effects on the incentives of millions of Americans.

Why does it make sense to double down on the kinds of entitlements already in crisis, instead of passing medical malpractice reform and allowing greater competition among insurers? Why should middle-class families pay more than $2,000 on average, by my estimate, in taxes in the process?

Middle-class families have it tough enough. There is little reason to believe that the pain of the current recession, housing downturn, and financial crisis will quickly fade away—especially with the administration planning to triple the national debt over the next decade.

The promise of real reform remains. But the reality of the Democrats’ current effort is starkly less benign. It will create a dangerous new entitlement that will be paid for by the middle class and their children.

So there it is and the Democrats are acting like this is a groundbreaking victory when, in fact, it is higher taxes and will leave 25 million people still uninsured. Enough with the government incompetence on this issue, it sickens me.

The solutions, as they always have, will come from the private sector, not the morons in Washington trying to pass obscure bills in a finance committee which don’t even accomplish what Democrats allege is needed.

Luckily, for the sake of the country, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell says it won’t get far:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Tuesday regarding the Finance Committee vote on partisan health care reform:

“Sen. Snowe called me this morning to let me know that while she continues to have serious, substantive policy reservations with this proposal, she wanted to keep the process moving. I share her concerns about the direction of this bill once it leaves the committee, and her call for transparency before we vote to proceed to any bill on the floor.

“The fact is, this proposal will never come before the Senate. But what we do know is that the bill written behind closed doors here in the Capitol will be another 1,000-page, trillion-dollar Washington takeover. We know it will slash a half-trillion dollars from seniors’ Medicare, add new taxes and raise premiums. That’s not reform.”

Amen to that, lets hope it goes nowhere. Americans are opposed to government growth and government control of health care, when will the arrogant politicians acknowledge this fact?

Keep fighting for the real solutions.

  • JD

    I can’t wait!!!!

  • Bill Hedges

    Can’t wait for disaster ??? Jd

    Whiner and chief (term omygod is now out dated. No longer a god) has so many troubles while You Decide Politics was being worked on.. I feared Chicago Of the Potomac shut you down.

    Rush not allowed to buy team. Makes me real happy. CNN could easily be sued for putting words in his mouth. Racial misquotes. Never said.

    Guys at CNN need to run clips and get it right. Instead of smear campaign with lies… Like Fox does.

    Go for it Rush. Triple your net worth. Your super high ratings will surpass Venice.
    ………………..

    Did Sarah Palin lie ??? Of course not. Sadly, any educated honest Democrat knows it. Well here is video Kenny and JD should not watch. Would be too upsetting…

    “I’ll actually give you a speech made up entirely, almost on the spur of the moment, of what a candidate for president would say if that candidate did not care about becoming president. In other words, this is what the truth is and a candidate will never say, but what a candidate should say if we were in the kind of democracy where citizens were honored in terms of their practice of citizenship and they were educated in terms of what the issues were and they could separate myth from reality in terms of what candidates would tell them“:

    “Thank you so much for coming this afternoon. I’m so glad to see you and I would like to be president. Let me tell you a few things on health care. Look, we have the only health care system in the world that is designed to avoid sick people. And that’s true and what I’m going to do is that I am going try to reorganize it to be more amenable to treating sick people but that means you, particularly you young people, particularly you young healthy people…you’re going to have to pay more.”

    “Thank you. And by the way, we’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2009/10/13/robert-reich-reveals-brutal-health-care-truths-msm-snores
    …………………

    Surprisingly, health care bill of two houses will change it in negotiation. Obama is for public option, which mean if put in, he promised to veto. Because illegals must be give access to health care insurance according to Supreme Court.

    Surprisingly tort reform will only be looked at. Sort of like off shore oil drilling was going to be looked at and public hearings. Well that didn’t happen in my hometown. Maybe in did in your town ?

    Oh, by the way, Trial lawyers is 2nd biggest Democratic contributors. Let me guess the outcome. Similar to off shore oil drilling ??? Or Alaskan oil and gas fields.

    Insurance has a study that differs from obama’s study or whatever. After hammering Fox with treats are being made against Health insurance companies with anti-trust legislation now.
    ……………….

    Just to irritate liberals:

    “Whiner and chief”

    posted by John Nichols on 10/12/2009 @ 8:08pm

    “The Obama administration really needs to get over itself.
    First, the president and his aides go to war with Fox News because the network maintains a generally anti-Obama slant.”

    “Then, an anonymous administration aide attacks bloggers for failing to maintain a sufficiently pro-Obama slant.”

    “These are not disconnected developments. “

    “An administration that won the White House with an almost always on-message campaign and generally friendly coverage from old and new media is now frustrated by its inability to control the debate and get the coverage it wants.”
    ….“As for the Obama administration, whether the grumbling is about Republicans on Fox or bloggers in pajamas, there’s a word for what the president and his aides are doing. That word is “whining.” And nothing — no attack by Glenn Beck, no blogger busting about Guantanamo — does more damage to Obama’s credibility or authority than the sense that a popular president is becoming the whiner-in-chief.”
    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/483551/whiner_in_chief
    ………………..

    $250 to buy old people vote. Take what $500 billion out of Medicare but get their vote with peanuts ??? Pleeease !!!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091015/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_social_security_obama

    ………………..

    Now you as Americans have a site to report Fox news. Manned by brown-shirts.

    We thought President Nixon was paranoid… Welcome to obama-gate…

  • Bill Hedges

    JD

    I hope you have a great health insurane now. With cadilac plan getting 40% charge to company, you most certainly will lose it if gotten through your work.

    High deductable plans will be thing of past if government plan ever kicks in. That date has gone fron 2013 to 2015 ??? Will it hit 2020 ???

    Never fear direct and indirect taxes will kick in quickly…

    If public option added, illegals will get plan. Thank Supreme Court ..So obama promised to veto that. Since man is man his word ???? VETO TIME..

  • “The solutions, as they always have, will come from the private sector, not the morons in Washington trying to pass obscure bills in a finance committee which don’t even accomplish what Democrats allege is needed.”

    So how does the private sector plan to solve the health care issue? Not saying they can’t, just curious as to how since that seems to be the winning argument at this moment.

    Man I can’t wait to leave the US 🙂

  • Kendale,

    Check any of the following for solutions, none of which include a government takeover or “public” option yet they actually drive down costs and increase availability:

    http://healthcare.cato.org/free-market-solutions
    http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm2448.cfm
    http://fixhealthcarepolicy.com/
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/05/20/an_alternative_to_obamacare_96575.html

    All of those contain good ideas which could be implemented in days as a bi-partisan solution. We should not grow the size of government, we should empower the individual with more private choices of the utmost quality.

  • Thank you for the links. What is the next move after we have an option that works? If they do not take a government takeover, how do we get these ideas rolling?

  • Bill Hedges

    Kendale

    It got rolling in town hall meetings and marches. In polls. Reaaching Congress member. In vote if they ignore will of people

  • Here we go again. How worthless was that comment? If the links are there and the ideas are viable, why not lets get them into play rather than you throwing more BS at me, how worthless.

    If you channel your passion for talking crap to me into getting things down in the US, than we’d likely have no more problems.

  • Most of the common sense ideas such as tort reform and allowing insurance to be bought across state lines have been around for years. We know they’d save billions, open up new markets and increase availability yet congress won’t act.

    The “government option” is part of an agenda to centralize power. It is unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, government can do a few things right now to encourage private availability with more government failure.

    The option that works is simply for the government to get out of the way in this area. Another thing is for everyone to move away from the notion of employer-provided insurance. It makes no sense now, individuals should be able to get better rates and shop around from a hundred different plans from numerous providers. Right now, employers may offer 2 or 3 plans which don’t give many options.

    From Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post:

    There is no logical reason to get health insurance through your employer. This entire system is an accident of World War II wage and price controls. It’s economically senseless. It makes people stay in jobs they hate, decreasing labor mobility and therefore overall productivity. And it needlessly increases the anxiety of losing your job by raising the additional specter of going bankrupt through illness.

    The health-care benefit exemption is the largest tax break in the entire U.S. budget, costing the government a quarter-trillion dollars annually. It hinders health-insurance security and portability as well as personal independence. If we additionally eliminated the prohibition on buying personal health insurance across state lines, that would inject new and powerful competition that would lower costs for everyone.

    That entire article is fascinating, you should read that too:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/06/AR2009080602933.html

  • Bill Hedges

    You going nuts again Ken

  • Nate,

    I mean it does sound good. I suppose I’m just anxious of not knowing. I’m not sure why they don’t allow people to buy insurance from another state, that’s just weird. If we got rid of employer based insurance I suppose buying private insurance would become more affordable? I’ll read the rest of that article later. Thanks again for the links.

    I mean there is no reason to want employer insurance being that when your employers pays the bulk of the cost of insurance it makes it easier on the employee’s pockets. If there was no such thing as getting insurance through an employer and buying private insurance out of pocket was as affordable as it was with employer paid insurance, than of course, that would be excellent. But will the cost of private insurance be just as a affordable without an employer paying that bulk of cost?

    I agree, health insurance certainly causes people to continue working for an employer that they do not want to work for because they want to not only make sure they have health insurance but their family as well.

    Bill, I only go nuts when you throw stupidity my way man. Perhaps if you were a bit more rational like Nate is being then I’d avoid going so nuts as you say it. Grow up.

  • Bill Hedges

    Kennith

    Point out the “stupidity” and “if you were a bit more rational.”

    Quote me…

    Can hardly wait…

  • “What to do? Abolish the entire medical-malpractice system. Create a new social pool from which people injured in medical errors or accidents can draw. The adjudication would be done by medical experts, not lay juries giving away lottery prizes at the behest of the liquid-tongued John Edwardses who pocket a third of the proceeds.

    The pool would be funded by a relatively small tax on all health-insurance premiums. Socialize the risk; cut out the trial lawyers. Would that immunize doctors from carelessness or negligence? No. The penalty would be losing your medical license. There is no more serious deterrent than forfeiting a decade of intensive medical training and the livelihood that comes with it. ”

    That is a little scary. I suppose since the physicians will be reviewed by their peers, they will be fair. I am scared that those peers can be influenced. But that is simply being a conspiracy theorist. As long as they lose their license for blatant malpractice and not a physician attempted to help someone and that help didn’t go the way it normally would in an average case. I know that sounds a bit off, but perhaps you know what I mean.

    “If we additionally eliminated the prohibition on buying personal health insurance across state lines, that would inject new and powerful competition that would lower costs for everyone. ”

    This seems so common sense, I’m not sure why this is prohibited.

    “Repealing the exemption has one fatal flaw, however. It was advocated by candidate John McCain. Obama so demagogued it last year that he cannot bring it up now without being accused of the most extreme hypocrisy and without being mercilessly attacked with his own 2008 ads. ”

    That would be a weak excuse. I mean if I as a president did something to help people to receive better and less expensive insurance by going against what I said during my campaign, I would not care. I mean do what you said you would do and help us to receive better and more affordable health care, even if you do have to side with the opposition.

    “But that’s a political problem of Obama’s making. As is the Democratic Party’s indebtedness to the trial lawyers, which has taken malpractice reform totally off the table.”

    That’s a problem with politics since the beginning of government in the independent United States. Since the creation of a central government banking system, created to hide the debt of the US after many years of war. Perhaps our government is owned by people who throw money at it became a problem when our first government tried to hide our debt by selling it to rich instead of paying it off. Since then it’s be politics (money) as usual.

  • Bill,

    Here’s an idea, let’s discuss the issues, not each other. Oh wait, the purpose of this site as you said it is to dismantle each others comments, not discussing the issues as we see them. I mean it’s You Decide Politics, not who is the best at making the other guy look dumb……

  • Bill Hedges

    Again

    Bill Hedges Oct 15th, 2009 at 9:23 pm
    Kennith

    Point out the “stupidity” and “if you were a bit more rational.”

    Quote me…

    Can hardly wait…

  • Here is an idea. I take that back Bill. You are a wonderful man through and through. From now on I will remember this scripture when I read what you write, no matter what it is that you write.

    ” 3″Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Mathew 7:3-5

    Since I will never be perfect I can never point out your faults. Instead I will respond with my opinion and name it as such. Let us see if you are man enough to do the same.

  • Bill Hedges

    Bill Hedges Oct 15th, 2009 at 9:44 pm
    Again

    Bill Hedges Oct 15th, 2009 at 9:23 pm
    Kennith

    Point out the “stupidity” and “if you were a bit more rational.”

    Quote me…

    Can hardly wait…
    ………………

    How funny. No answer.

    If your comments don’t hold water, I will point it out. That is purpose of site.

    Time after time alternative choice to government plan has been presented here. You should have read instead of ignored.

  • I did read, and commented on article that Nate posted. I even agreed with trying out an alternative. You have even said multiple times that I stated I was not for the government health care bill. So Your comment here holds no water. It’s worthless. You are simply trying to bait me into yet another worthless debate. You ignore the fact that I took back the comment that you are using to bait me with. Why? Obviously you have nothing better to do. I hope something grasps your attention.

  • Bill Hedges

    You baited…You started..I will quote…

    I said:

    Bill Hedges Oct 15th, 2009 at 8:50 pm
    Kendale

    It got rolling in town hall meetings and marches. In polls. Reaaching Congress member. In vote if they ignore will of people

    You said :

    Kendale Sturdivent Oct 15th, 2009 at 8:52 pm
    Here we go again. How worthless was that comment? If the links are there and the ideas are viable, why not lets get them into play rather than you throwing more BS at me, how worthless.

    If you channel your passion for talking crap to me into getting things down in the US, than we’d likely have no more problems.

    Now you say:

    “You ignore the fact that I took back the comment that you are using to bait me with. Why? Obviously you have nothing better to do. I hope something grasps your attention. ”

    Did you really:

    “Here is an idea. I take that back Bill. You are a wonderful man through and through. From now on I will remember this scripture when I read what you write, no matter what it is that you write.”

    ” 3?Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Mathew 7:3-5″

    No, not a real “I take that back Bill”.

  • Goodnight Bill, take care. I’ll comment you later if it’s something worthwhile….

  • Bill Hedges

    A simple- my mistake. No Bible quote. Say “stupidity” and “if you were a bit more rational.” is not proven, accutely wrong.

    That you can’t back with quotes to prove I am stupid or not rational. Be a man, as you say.

  • Bill Hedges

    Yes Ken, like rats running from a burning house.

    I dismantled your faulty comments.

    It is not “something worthwhile” to continue when you are shown wrong.

    Come back tomarrow honest… You not I started the baiting…

  • Bill Hedges

    Stop Sacrilegious use of Bible for your diabolical pleasure. Your announced intentions for helper others, in religious setting, makes a macabre of the Bible you say you cherish. Who else hides behind the Bible but you.

    Bible is your personal guide, not your source for insulting me personally.

  • Bill Hedges

    “House: Working hard or hardly working?”

    By JAKE SHERMAN | 10/7/09 5:03 AM EDT

    “Like most Americans, members of the House are expected to report promptly — no excuses — when summoned by their bosses for the start of another workweek. One difference: For lawmakers, starting time doesn’t come until about 6:30 Tuesday evening.”

    “After taking control of the House in 2006 — and again when President Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) boasted that lawmakers would work four or five days a week to bring change to America.”

    “But midway through Obama’s first year in office, Hoyer’s House has settled into a more leisurely routine. Members usually arrive for the first vote of the week as the sun sets on Tuesdays, and they’re usually headed back home before it goes down again on Thursdays.”
    “Two and a half days a week is plenty of time to consider the ideas coming out of this Democrat-led House,” said Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). “Imagine the damage they could do with five-day workweeks.”

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/28015_Page2.html

    Roy Blunt is a down to earth Missourian like me. Don’t disagree with him. However, maybe instead of 2 ½ work week maybe a three day work week and Congress members might be able to read bill before voting on it. Doesn’t seem like a unreasonable request does it ???

    Just heard guess say on Fox News one hour a day would be plenty to try and protect our money…

  • JD

    I disagree with nate’s links because per a 2 party system i must choose one side and ignore all other options.

    Kind of like what Nate is doing… Such a wonderful system.

  • Bill Hedges

    JD

    I must be misunderstading. I thought you said you agree with obama as well as disagree with obama.

    As Nate does.

    As Snow voted for Democrat health care plan in committee..

    As I vote for Democrats at election…