Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back to Elementary School -- For All of Us

Do you remember being in your elementary school years? "Susie, if you can't bring enough candy for everyone, please don't bring the candy at all." Do you remember saying to your mom or dad, "How come so-and-so gets that if I didn't get it? That's not FAIR!!!" How we feel about what's going on in health care and our government right now might just depend on what you were told in elementary school at that critical moment. Did someone say, "Life's not fair -- buck up and take it?" Or did they say, "Ohhhh... did so-and-so get some? We'll have to get you some, too... So-and-so, give some of that to your brother!"

The House and the Senate are "working hard" to make sure our health care system gets some reform. The Senate is generally in favor of paying for legislation through a "Cadillac" tax -- where people with really good health insurance have to pay, not only their insurance company, but also the government for the privilege of having it. The supporters of this tax are saying that it's a necessary tax for "tamping down medical spending." I was reading this article and trying to figure out how taxing the wealthy on top of having them already pay for their own health insurance was going to reduce medical spending...

The tax, a provision of the bill to be voted on Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee, is one of the few remaining proposals under consideration by Congress that budget experts say could lead directly to a reduction in health care spending over the long term, by prompting employers and employees to buy cheaper insurance.*

What?!? Let me make sure I get this straight... our illustrious government is wanting to make sure that people don't buy the really good insurance programs? They want people to buy the cheaper programs which won't offer as much coverage in order to reduce how much gets spent in our country on health care? Somebody out there, please explain to me where this insanity is coming from!! It gets better --

Under the Finance Committee bill, the tax would be imposed beginning in 2013 on employer-sponsored health plans with total premiums exceeding $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for families, regardless of whether the coverage was paid for by the employer, the individual or both. The tax would be paid by insurers, who would be expected to pass along the cost to customers... Supporters say... employers would bargain-hunt or take other steps to avoid the tax, putting pressure on insurers to offer cheaper coverage and slowing the rise in medical costs for everyone.*

Such stupidity running things right now... What about all the garbage being spewed about the poor underinsured folks - just one medical bill away from bankruptcy? These buffoons in charge cannot believe that it's possible for them to impose a tax, intentionally leading employers to choose cheaper coverage, and have that be the solution to poor insurance coverage!

Max Baucus loves the idea of this tax, and:

Mr. Obama embraced it in his speech to Congress on Sept. 9. "This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies, which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money," the president said then. "This modest change could help hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long run."*

I do not believe that the president is that stupid. And it angers me that he thinks we are. One does not have to be a professor of economics to know that when the government charges a fee for something, it does not make things cheaper -- unless the product is changed for the worse.

Don't worry, though. Nancy Pelosi is not in favor of this tax because it would affect too many union members (and isn't that just a little bit funny?). Her idea? She wants to tax insurers' "windfall profits" as a supplement to the House's main money grab, which would be "an income tax surcharge on the nation's highest earners." You know, you can only bleed the rich for so long... and then they're not rich anymore. The idea that there's a certain class of people who have an endless supply of money with which to care for the entire country is ludicrous.

I find it interesting, though, that the Democrats' plan for lowering spending on health care is to make sure that people with really good insurance don't keep it. If they think that charging a government "fee" for great health insurance will lead insurance companies to lower the cost for everyone else, they're smokin' something.

*Article quoted - New York Times, "Congress Is Split on Effort to Tax Costly Health Plans" Published Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 and written by David M. Herszenhorn and Robert Pear.

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