Tag Archives: Obamatax

A Simple Replacement for ObamaCare

HEALTHCARE REFORM

The obvious solution to the health care problem is self-insurance. The Obama Tax is designed to effect those who are young, healthy, and can afford insurance. Who makes the decision about what someone else can afford? But that is beside the point. The point is that if one is young and healthy and can afford insurance, then one can probably afford to pay their medical bills, and in fact they probably DO pay their medical bills. Under the Affordable Care Act they will be punished for being responsible.

The folks running up the tab at emergency rooms are people who are young, healthy and CAN’T afford health insurance, but don’t yet qualify for medicaid.

If we really want what we say we want, patient centered affordable health care, driven by market forces there is a very simple solution; self-insurance.

Average lifetime medical cost per person was roughly $360,000 in 2004 according to a report by Health Services Research. If one were contribute $266.00 per month into a modified Health Savings Account, even at a modest 3% return, they would have enough money to cover their lifetime medical expenses. That is less than the cost of an average insurance plan these days.

Certain areas of the health care arena are already driven by market forces. Those areas are for elective procedures that most insurance doesn’t cover.

A good example is Lasik eye surgery. This is a technique for correcting vision via laser surgery. Lasik is not covered by most insurance, since it is an elective surgery. When it first became available, it cost on average between $2,000.00 and $3,000.00 per eye. Today the cost is about half.

Why the price drop on a highly skilled high tech procedure? Market forces. Most insurance companies don’t cover this procedure, so the customer must pay for for it out of their own pocket. As more physicians have become proficient in the operation (increase in supply) the price has gone down (to meet demand).

A study of any elective procedure which is in demand, but not covered by insurance, will show similar cost reductions.

The easiest way to reduce medical costs is to get rid of insurance altogether. The insurance companies won’t like it, and government fiat may not be the way to go here, but if everyone was invested in a medical savings account that they had control of, was tax free, and could be used for any health related expenses, not only would everyone have coverage, but they would put downward pressure on the cost of entire health care sector. The account would accumulate year after year, so that when the money was really needed later in life, it would be there. There should also be a provision that whatever is left in the account after the owner expires becomes part of the decedent’s estate, thereby providing incentive to leave some money in the account. It could also be used to defray burial expenses. Since everyone is paying for their own healthcare out of their own pocket as it were, they would tend to take better care of themselves. Everyone would have skin in the game. Therefore this type of system provides an inherent incentive toward better health.

A program could be structured so that one savings account could cover a family, in the same way insurance does now. This eliminates the removal of children under 26 argument. It also eliminates the pre-existing condition argument, since the money from one’s health savings account could be used for any health-related costs, including prescription drugs and other medical devices.

For the truly incapable, some system for funding their Health Savings Account could be worked with a refundable tax credit. Those who are at or below the current income level for medicaid insurance could have an amount equal to the requisite contribution credited directly into their health savings account, with a sliding scale up to 150% of that income level. As for employers who currently pay for some or all of their employee’s health insurance premiums, they could use pre-tax dollars to contribute to the employee’s account.

Medicare would need to be left in place for anyone at or above the age of fifty-five, but for those younger, a refund of the amount they paid into the medicare system could be credited to their savings account.

As for catastrophic occurrences, the insurance companies could offer low cost, very high deductible plans, those formerly referred to as major medical plans, to cover high cost, unexpected illnesses. More importantly, though, it should be possible to make a charitable contribution to someone else’s health savings account to help them defray the cost of an expensive unexpected illness. If we are our brother’s keeper, we should be able to be so without government intervention.

The question is one of belief. Do we believe as the founders of this nation did, that the individual is wise enough to make his or her own decisions and provide for his or her own needs, or do we believe that the citizens of this great nation need the government to make all their decisions for them, that they do not have the intelligence or wherewithal to care for themselves? If we believe the latter, then the Affordable Care Act is perfect. If, however we believe the former, that liberty is worth having and that the fruits of our labor should be our own to decide what to do with, then perhaps a health care program such as the one laid out above is the way to go.

Debt and Taxes: Obamacare A Deadly Prescription for America

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As the European welfare state flails wildly on the emergency room medicart, and the EU’s quack doctors try futilely to shock the terminal patient back to life, the brain surgeons in the Obama administration believe prescribing the same deadly medicine for freedom will cure us of our national ills. If the Obamacare plan is not repealed, Americans can look “forward” to sharing the EU’s economically DOA future.

The judicial death panel having blessed the purulent, plague-infested monstrosity known as Obamacare with a clean bill of Constitutional health, we can anticipate its bloated bureaucracy to metastasize throughout the economy like gangrene.

Obamacare threatens to turn the United States into a diseased quarantine of red tape with a steady overdose of toxic taxation. A post-Obamacare nation will see progressively higher unemployment, mounting inflation, skyrocketing costs, and insurmountable public debt.  Tampened into this volatile crucible will be decreasing productivity, diminished quality of healthcare, and a reduction in private sector opportunity.

That is a deadly prescription for “change.” Sure, before our nation was dragged into radical amputation surgery for the real-world equivalent of a hangnail, there were a few million citizens who lacked healthcare insurance, desired to purchase it, and didn’t already qualify for Medicaid.

Instead of lowering the costs for those few caught in no-man’s land between public assistance and insurance affordability (for real, not just because one’s X-box costs crowd it out), such as by opening up interstate competition and limiting lottery lawsuit awards, the Democrat Party went the exact opposite course: Jacking up premiums and running up costs so high the medical system collapses into unabashed statism.

Within a decade, barring radical intervention by the “conservative” Republican Party, the state will own one-sixth of the economy. And that’s in addition to the inconceivable power our federal government has already accrued. As we can see from countries around the world fleeing from coercion-based medical arrangements, the costs of “universal” medicine are astronomical.

If we compare a “post-op” America with “pre-op” America and its trans-Atlantic cousins, the charts read quite clearly: Continue on this course, and we will experience fundamental transformation (as in “caterpillar into chrysalis or pupa, from thence into”… the grotesque).

Compare how much the United States (blue dotted line) spent on public healthcare as of July 2009 versus other countries:

Now consider that premiums have skyrocketed due in part to the passage of Obamacare. A major designer of the law, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, concedes as much, despite having earlier touted it as a cost-saver.

Next, let’s take a look at public debt per person around the world before Obamatax was passed in the United States.

And while looking at the chart above, compare these debt levels with the type of medical system for each country.

As one can see above, those countries with universal healthcare (dark green), a medical system that Obama supported prior to championing the PPACA (please backup your computer before attempting download), are the most heavily indebted. The United States was the only exception to this rule: It was among the most indebted before it started its suicidal path to universal healthcare.

If the United States progresses towards single-payer over the next decade, it will collapse the entire economy that much faster. The CBO has already put an expiration date on our birth certificate: 2027.

This Fourth of July, as you’re out barbecuing and shooting off fireworks, be extra careful not to drop the M-80s into your gas grill. We already have a doctor shortage that is only going to get worse as Obamacare blows up private medicine.

Also, make sure your family and friends know that your Independence Day celebration will soon be for naught, so long as Obama and his Democrat allies are re-elected this November. Don’t miss your chance to ask for a second opinion of your fellow Americans, before we get Kevorkianed by Dr. Obama’s poison pill.

Even Former Clinton Operative Stephanopoulos Doesn’t Buy Jack Lew’s Spin

Jack Lew

Jack Lew

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional under the taxing powers of Congress, the Obama administration can’t seem to call it a tax.  Instead, they’re trying to peddle the “tax” as a penalty. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew did his run through the Sunday morning talk shows with this entertaining spin. Even former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos was unconvinced: “As you know, President Obama denied all along that this was a tax. Is he now prepared to defend it?”

Mr. Lew stuck to the “not a tax” spin:  “I think we have to take a step back. What is in the law is a penalty. It starts by saying all Americans have a right to health insurance. For Americans who buy health insurance or who can’t afford it and get it through a government program, there is no penalty.”

However, Stephanopolous pressed on with “you keep wanting to use the word penalty…they [The Supreme Court] found it constitutional because it is a tax, not a penalty. Here is the Chief Justice. Right here, he said, “The shared responsibility payment may for constitutional purposes be considered a tax, not a penalty.”  Lew denied it again and indirectly called the American people stupid, stating:

LEW: The Supreme Court looked at what the structure of the law was, and they saw that 1 percent of the people would be paying this charge if they chose not to avail themselves of health insurance. But more middle-class people are going to get a tax cut in this law. There’s a tax cut of $4,000 for people who need help paying for health insurance.

For the very, very few who choose to go uninsured, and who can afford it, and who are saying that if I need health care, it’s going to be someone else’s burden, it says they have to pay a charge.

You know, if you look at the past, since President Obama’s been in office, middle-class families have gotten a $3,600 tax cut. In this law, there’s a $4,000 tax cut for people who need help paying for health insurance. For that 1 percent who have chosen not to buy health insurance and just to pass the burden onto others, there’s this penalty.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you do concede — and you keep wanting to use the word penalty — you do concede that the law survived only because Justice Roberts found this to be a tax?

LEW: You know, I think, if you look at the decision, which is a very complicated one, you know, there are arguments that support different theories. There was…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the argument of Chief Justice Roberts is that it’s a tax.

LEW: He — he went through the different powers that Congress has and he found that there is a power, whatever you call it, to assess a penalty like this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He called it a tax. So you’re conceding that?

LEW: I’m saying that it was set up as a penalty for people who choose not to buy insurance, even though they can afford it, and for that 1 percent, we call it fair.

Lew’s assertion of the opinion being complicated, even though the part we’re discussing is explicitly clear in the written opinion, highlights the progressive left’s inherent condescension.  I guess the vast majority of Americans, who aren’t members of educational elite with learned diction, can’t possibly understand the difference between a tax and a penalty.  How progressive of them?  Mr. Lew’s shameless spinning and distortion of the facts even has liberals in the media saying he’s wrong.

Senate Fails to Block New EPA Regulations, War on Coal Continues

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Barack Obama in January of 2008 stating his policies will bankrupt coal

As conservatives recover from the Supreme Court ruling, we cannot let Obama off on his unrepentant assault on American coal.  Obama’s war on coal is killing job throughout the country and it was disappointing that the Senate  failed last week to block the new EPA regulations that could bring the destruction of the entire industry one giant step closer.  As reported by Human Events:

Legislation to defeat an EPA emissions rule that critics say would kill thousands of jobs and raise electricity rates for consumers was killed in the Senate Wednesday. A handful of Republicans sided with Democrats to block the measure on a procedural vote of 46 yeas to 53 nays, including Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine.

Democrats who crossed over to vote with Republicans included Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Warner and Jim Webb of Virginia. Republicans say the mercury emission rules for coal-fired plants are the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s war on coal.This effectively kills coal in America, said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), author of the measure. Republicans said the regulations are the most expensive rules ever created by the EPA, and will cost consumers $10 billion a year in addition to killing 50,000 jobs.

This comes after the closure of ten power plants in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic last February. A move that will increase the cost of electricity.  As the Washington Post reported at the time:

Jeffrey Holmstead, who headed the EPA’s air and radiation office under President George W. Bush and now represents utility companies, wrote in an e-mail that new wind projects coming online cannot simply substitute for coal plants because wind power generation is intermittent. And gas units, according to Holmstead, face pipeline supply constraints that can “take years” to resolve.

“The cost of electricity will go up — and in some places (including Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania), it will go up a lot,” Holmstead wrote. “Existing coal-fired plants — even the old ones that don’t run very often — play a major role in controlling costs because they keep the marginal costs down during peak periods.”

It appears that this is one of the few pledges Obama has kept concerning bankrupting new coal plants. A promise he made back in January of 2008.  In the video the president states “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”  As Hot Air reported last March:

GenOn Energy Inc. plans to close five of its older coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania over the next four years.

The company, based in Houston, said Wednesday that tough new environmental rules make it unprofitable to operate the plants, which generate a total of 3,140 megawatts of electricity. The plants are in Portland, Shawville, Titus, New Castle and Elrama. Two plants in Ohio and one in New Jersey will also be closed. The company said the timeframes are subject to further review based on market conditions.

The Sierra Club cheered the announcement, of course, claiming it will prevent 179 premature deaths a year.  The Sierra Club is located in San Francisco, California, of course, and not in Pennsylvania, which will have to find some way to replace the production of 3140 megawatts of electricity each year.  The lack of production will make electricity even more expensive in the Rust Belt state where unemployment is 7.7% (about midrange for the US) and rising fuel prices will hammer the middle class already.

 

In addition, West Virginia placed three plants on the chopping block, which was probably a factor, besides distancing himself away from this toxic presidency, in Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.) decision to skip this year’s Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte.  As Gateway Pundit reported via Metro News:

Ohio based FirstEnergy Corporation announces it will close three coal fired power plants in West Virginia by this fall. The closings come directly from the impact of new federal EPA regulations.

The plants to close are Albright Power Station, Willow Island Power Station, and the Rivesville Power Station. The company says 105 employees will be directly impacted.

The three plants produce 660 megawatts and about 3-percent of FirstEnergy’s total generation. In recent years, the plants served as “peaking facilities” and generated power during times of peak demand for power.

The plants operated under subsidiary Monongahela Power. Mon Power recently finished a study of unscrubbed coal fired plants in the system to determine the potential impact of the most recent environmental regulations from EPA. Company officials determined the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) made it unfeasible to retrofit or continue operating the three plants.

“The high cost to implement MATS and other environmental rules is the reason these Mon Power plants are being retired,” said James R. Haney, regional president of Mon Power and president of West Virginia Operations for FirstEnergy.

Obama’s reckless policy of destroying affordable energy should be another issue in the Romney camp’s arsenal that could be used to hammer the president as anti-job and too beholden to the environmental left.  The war on coal continues and the fate of 100,000 jobs and the price of electricity hang in the balance.  Does anyone want to pay the Obamatax on top of a higher electric bill?  And that’s not counting federal and state income taxes, social security taxes, and medicare taxes. Feeling taxed enough already…you’re not alone.