Monday, November 9, 2009

Sinking the "Affordable" House Bill

Bob Laszewski posts in Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review and Kaiser Health News a new article on the House health care bill.  Laszewski compares the bill to loading more people on the Titanic in hopes of making the sinking health care ship, well, sink faster.  The bill fails to contain costs and will pose new tax burdens on the middle class:

Under the legislation, an uninsured family of three earning $54,930 a year would be expected to pay $5,493 each year for their health insurance plan from the new insurance exchange-net of the government subsidies the bill would provide. A family making $73,240 a year would be expected to pay $8,789 for their health insurance. These costs are not affordable for these families.
If these families didn't pay these premiums, they would be subject to fines equal to 2.5% of their income--$1,373 annually in the case of the family making $54,930.
The bizarre result is an incentive for families to skip buying coverage, and pay a fine that is only a small percentage of their premium costs. They'll still be able to get insurance on demand from the exchanges should they have a big medical problem. That's like being able to buy insurance on your house after it burns down. This kind of system will not make insurance costs lower.
Laszewski tackles the moral argument frequently used by health care supporters; we must reduce the number of uninsured.  The implication from such an argument is clear, we're leaving the poor Irish immigrants trapped below to go down with the ship.  A better analogy might be demanding the Irish immigrants board the ship we know is sinking.  Laszewski believes supporters intend to sink the ship faster so that Congress will be forced to deal with reform and exploding costs.  I wonder if this strategy comes with musicians to play "Nearer my God to Thee," while we wait for the ship to sink.

James Capretta lays out four points conservatives must hammer home in order to prevent the Titanic from hitting the iceberg straight ahead, namely the "Affordable Health Care for Americans Act"
  • One, Obamacare will impose substantial new costs on the already insured middle class. 
  • Two, Obamacare will destroy jobs. 
  • Three, Obamacare will ration care. 
  • Fourth, Obamacare is entirely unnecessary.
Capretta elaborates on these four points so be sure to read the whole article.  It is important to continue driving these points so Independents and moderate Democrats continue to abandon ship while the liberal Democrats attempt to force them on board.

Ezra Klein (via Memeorandum) is outraged that the poor don't have equal opportunity to abort their babies as the rich with the addition of the Stupak ammendment.  Klein argues the largest government subsidy for health care is the preferential tax treatment  given to those who get their insurance to their employers.  Expanding Stupak to include that subsidy would effectively force anyone who wanted an abortion to pay for it (gasp) themselves.

Here's a crazy idea, how about we equalize the tax treatment for those who purchase their health care on their own, give them a voucher and/or tax credits to purchase their own health insurance and leave the government out of the health insurance business altogether?  That might start to actually look like reform:
Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, explained the benefit to be gained from revising the federal government’s tax treatment of employer health plans in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee in June 2008.
“Imagine what the world would be like if workers [understood] that today it was costing them $10,000 a year in take-home pay for their employer-sponsored insurance, and that could be $7,000 and they could have $3,000 more in their pockets today if we could relieve these inefficiencies out of the health system,” Orszag said.
The Republicans’ plan would increase workers’ take-home pay and decrease their tax burdens, allowing them to better afford the health insurance policy and benefits of their choice.
People might actually have some extra money to make a few purchases, spur along economic recovery which might actually lead to job growth.  That's a Republican plan though, better the ship should sink faster with the government at the helm.  


  1. Yeah this health care reform thing seems like its going to be more bust than bang.  

  2. This is a monster, I can't think of anything that will create more problems in the name of solving them.  They seem to have gone out of their way to make it as destructive as possible.


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