Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obamacare Update

Here are the latest developments in the battle over Obamacare.

All you doctors out there had better get your game on, because if Obamacare gets passed, you specifically will get screwed:
A senior administration official says billions of dollars to raise fees for doctors treating Medicare patients are not covered by President Barack Obama's pledge to pay for health care legislation.

Budget Director Peter Orszag said Tuesday that's because the administration always assumed the money would be spent to prevent a cut of more than 20 percent in doctor fees.

The Congressional Budget Office said last Friday the higher payments cost $245 billion over 10 years. It said including the money in the overall bill would result in deficits totaling $239 billion.

On Friday, a few hours earlier, the president declared: "I've said that health-insurance reform cannot add to our deficit over the next decade. And I mean it."
Speaking of doctors, what about the fact that the AMA has officially endorsed Obamacare? It's simple: they were bought off:

Those increased fees for Medicaid doctors' payments that Obama forgot to budget? Payoff to the AMA.

In the bill, Democrats provide $245 billion to eliminate an annual shortfall in payments to doctors under Medicare. Democrats resolved this annual headache, in large part, to win crucial support for the bill from the American Medical Association. That money currently counts against the overall costs of the bill, but Democrats have introduced legislation that would remove remove this obligation from federal deficit.

As they say: Every professional organization is a conspiracy against non-members.

In politics, the golden rule is to follow the money, and here it works yet again.

Speaking of money, Obamacare would be at least partly funded by yet another tax on the 'poor' - those making less than $36,000 a year!

Throughout his campaign, President Barack Obama repeatedly promised the American people: “If you’re a family that’s making $250,000 a year or less you will see no increase in your taxes. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your personal gains tax, not any of your taxes.” Just 15 days into office, President Obama signed a bill expanding the children’s health insurance program that was paid for with a 156% tax hike on tobacco. Since slightly more than half of today’s smokers (53%) earn less than $36,000 per year, Obama’s first effort at expanding government’s role in health care also became his first broken promise.

But that first Medicaid expansion was minor league compared to the estimated $1.3 trillion health care plan Congress is considering now. And how is Obama planning to pay for his health care bill? Tax hikes. Including employer health care mandates, which as Heritage scholars James Sherk and Robert Book explain, are really just a tax on low-income workers:

Both the House and Senate drafts of health care reform include so-called “employer mandates” or “pay or play” provisions. These mandates require employers to pay higher taxes if (a) they do not offer health insurance, or (b) they offer it but have employees who decline it and instead use the government system.

The ostensible purpose of such a tax penalty is to discourage employers from dropping workers onto the taxpayer-subsidized government plan. The tax will pay a portion of the public’s costs when employees use the new government system instead of employer-sponsored insurance. However, the actual result will be lower pay and job losses, especially for low-income workers.

If Congress makes health coverage more expensive for employers, or requires new payroll taxes, employers will be forced to cut wages to make up the difference. Even if the law stated (as the House bill does) that employers could not cut pay directly to make up for the cost of health care, they will ultimately, somehow have to do just that.

Still, as long as the numbers add up to a staggering amount of debt, the American people will continue to get restless about it. So, Obama made a rare trip last week to meet with the head of the CBO. Hm, I wonder what in the world might happen to the CBO's numbers next? Might they possibly go down, thus portraying Obamacare's costs much more normal? Nah, surely not.

Here's the worst part. Obama is being utterly and completely dishonest about this:

With the public’s trust in his handling of health care tanking (50%-44% of Americans disapprove), the White House has launched a new phase of its strategy designed to pass Obamacare: all Obama, all the time. As part of that effort, Obama hosted a conference call with leftist bloggers urging them to pressure Congress to pass his health plan as soon as possible.

During the call, a blogger from Maine said he kept running into an Investors Business Daily article that claimed Section 102 of the House health legislation would outlaw private insurance. He asked: “Is this true? Will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though H.R. 3200 is passed?” President Obama replied: “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.”
And yet, despite confessing he doesn't know the bill, he continues to push the hysteria that drives the issue forward:
This is a truly disturbing admission by the President, especially considering that later in the call, Obama promises yet again: “If you have health insurance, and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period.” How can Obama keep making this promise if he is not familiar with the health legislation that is being written in Congress?

Don't be a Chicken Little.

There's my two cents.

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