Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DemCare Update

I wanted to give you another update on the DemCare debacle that's barreling down on us like a freight train. Most of this is more strategic than tactical, so it's information to tuck away for future reference.

First, rest assured that the Dems' strong-arming of DemCare through the Senate didn't exactly make them more popular than ever. Quite the opposite, in fact, with 58% in opposition and only 39% in support now. In fact, there's so much anger over it that there's already talk of the GOP running in 2012 on the repeal of DemCare.

A look at history shows us that never has a bill with such high unpopularity been pushed into law with such a slim party-line vote. Other examples have ended badly for the party doing the pushing, too.

Part of that, I'm sure, is that the American people understand how Congress works. A full 78% believe that DemCare's enormous multi-trillion dollar projected costs will be just a drop in the bucket when things are all said and done.

So what's the timeline with DemCare? What can you expect to see out of it? Heritage lays it out:

2010: Physician Medicare payments decrease 21% effective March 1, 2010

2011: “Annual Fee” tax on health insurance, allocated according to share of total premiums. Begins at $2 billion in 2011, then increases to $4 billion in 2012, $7 billion in 2013, $9 billion in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016, and eventually $10 billion for 2017 and every year thereafter. Two insurers in Nebraska and one in Michigan are exempt from this tax.

2012: Medicare payment penalties for hospitals with the highest readmission rates for selected conditions.

2013: Medicare tax increased from 2.9% to 3.8% for incomes over $250,000 (joint filers) or $200,000 (all others). (This is stated as an increase of 0.9 percentage points, to only the employee’s share of the FICA tax.)

2014: Individual mandate begins: Tax penalties for not having insurance begin at $95 or 0.5% of income, whichever is higher, rising to $495 or 1% of income in 2015 and $750 or 2% of income thereafter (indexed for inflation after 2016). These penalties are per adult, half that amount per child, to a maximum of three times the per-adult amount per family. The penalty is capped at the national average premium for the “bronze” plan.

2015: Establishment of Independent Medicare Advisory Board (IMAB) to recommend cuts in Medicare benefits; these cuts will go into effect automatically unless Congress passes, and the President signs, an override bill.

2016: Individual mandate penalty rises to $750 per adult ($375 per child), maximum $2,250 per family, or 2% of family income, whichever is higher (capped at the national average premium for the “bronze” plan). After 2016, the penalty will be increased each year to adjust for inflation.

2017: Itemized deduction for out-of-pocket medical expenses is limited to expenses over 10% of AGI for those over age 65.

Just so you know.

The best news of the past week, though, was this little ditty from rock star conservative Senator Jim DeMint:

When Senator DeMint engineered, and Republican Leader McConnell actually objected to the appointment of the conferees, he was really handing the ball off to the left wingers — progressives if you will — and now they have their shot to either hold their own clan members who are against the Senate compromises and force them to vote No, or have their policy demands be ignored and take the crumbs from Senator Nelson’s and Senator Lieberman’s table.

Now, because of the Senator DeMint’s objection, unless the House votes for the Senate bill unchanged — which is highly unlikely (see below) — then the Senate ObamaCare bill must be amended on the House floor to gain the votes they need to pass it on the House floor. And because of Senator DeMint’s objection to the appointment of the conferees, there will be no conference, or conference report.

If the House amends the Senate bill, they then have to send the amended bill back to the Senate — where all the 60 vote margin cloture votes still apply — cloture on the motion to proceed, and cloture to end the filibuster and cloture on any amendment.

Do I believe that this objection to the appointment of the conferees will kill ObamaCare? Yes, if the progressives or those 64 House Democrats who voted for the Stupak amendment do not roll over and play dead.

This monkey wrench may explain why the White House is putting out the word that it wants the health care bill to pass the House after the State of the Union, in February.

Dan Perrin goes on to lay out the case for why this is the kiss of death for DemCare, but I'm not so optimistic. Why? Because it depends entirely upon Democrats to stand on their supposed principles, even if they are completely opposite of conservatives'. If there's one thing we can count on when it comes to Democrats, it's that they can be bought.

Still, there's hope, I guess. Regardless, it's good to see at least a little fight in someone on the Right.

There's my two cents.

Related Reading:
Dodd heckled back home over DemCare vote
Ben Nelson trails potential challenger by 31 points
Dems wave white flag on cap-n-tax due to difficulty with DemCare
Lawsuits threatened over DemCare
8 Reasons why the Dems will lose the House in 2010
10 new reasons DemCare can still be killed
The health care fight is not over

No comments: