Posts Tagged ‘health care’
Guest post from Vulcan’s Hammer
Remember all the ballyhoo back at the end of March regarding billions of dollars in corporate loss write-downs that companies like AT&T, Caterpillar, and AK Steel were going to have to do because of passage of ObamaCare into law? Here is a quote from the WSJ to jog your memory:
Three companies that were among vocal opponents of the legislation have warned they would see an immediate impact on their earnings as a result of the loss of deductions on tax-free subsidies they receive for providing retiree prescription-drug benefits.
On Thursday, Deere & Co. said it would take a $150 million one-time charge in the current quarter related to the loss of deductions. Earlier in the week, Caterpillar Inc. reported a $100 million charge and AK Steel recorded a $31 million charge.
Beginning in 2006, companies have received a 28% federal subsidy, up to $1,330 per retiree, tax-free, to help pay for prescription-drug coverage. Until now, companies could deduct the subsidy from their taxes, essentially getting a second benefit from the money. Under the new law, companies will no longer be able to deduct the subsidy, but it remains tax-free.
Although the changes don’t go into effect until 2013, companies say they have to take the charge to earnings now, to reflect the loss of the future tax deductions. In all, the S&P 500 companies will take a combined hit of $4.5 billion to first-quarter earnings, estimates David Zion, an analyst with Credit Suisse.
Administration officials say companies are exaggerating the impact of the loss of the deduction because of their general unhappiness with health reform.
Of course, this set Democrats aflame when they heard that these companies had the temerity to, in essence, claim outright that ObamaCare was going to cost money and not save it as Obama and Democrats had trumpeted. Enter uber-liberal Henry Waxman who quickly threatened the CEO’s of these companies with being put under the hot lights of Congress in order to explain themselves. Well, several weeks have passed, and Democrats and Mr. Waxman have quietly called off the inquisition:
Mr. Waxman has since canceled those hearings with much less dudgeon or media fanfare, and the report from his own staffers explains his retreat. “The companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the SEC in March and April,” they write. “These one-time charges were required by applicable accounting rules.” This may stand as the first time in history that Mr. Waxman has admitted a mistake.
Oh, those crazy Democrats. You can always count on them for loads of laughs and surprises. And lord knows that there are oh-so-many surprises yet to come from ObamaCare. More importantly, this is yet another example of an administration and a Democratic congress that will stop at nothing—even threats—to silence any iota of disagreement or dissent. Mr. Obama often complains of the lack of political comity in Washington yet his administration has a tendency to vilify opponents and assail their arguments as dishonest, illegitimate or motivated by bad faith. Unfortunately, I think this is a trait that is not going away anytime soon.
Guest Post From Vulcan’s Hummer
I ‘m amazed at the articles that I am finding in liberal rags that are, not only accentuating some of the severe drawbacks in ObamaCare, but how it is ushering our health care system into a single-payer government run system with great alacrity. Here is this tidbit buried deep in the NYT:
Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats laid a foundation on Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs…
…a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, that would give the secretary of health and human services the power to review premiums and block “any rate increase found to be unreasonable.” Under the bill, the federal government could regulate rates in states where state officials did not have “sufficient authority and capability” to do so.
…“Rate review authority is needed to protect consumers from insurance companies’ jacking up premiums simply because they can. Protections must be in place to ensure that companies do not take advantage of current market conditions before health reform fundamentally changes the way they do business in 2014.”
…“about 22 states in the individual market and 27 states in the small group market do not require a review of premiums before they go into effect — and perhaps even more. This is a gaping hole in our regulatory system, and it is unacceptable.”
That’s right folks, here come price controls. You know that this means, it’s the beginning of the end of private insurance. What a surprise, eh? But here is my favorite quote by Dianne Feinstein:
Mrs. Feinstein said her bill would close what she described as “an enormous loophole” in the new law. And she said health insurance should be regulated like a public utility.
“Water and power are essential for life,” Mrs. Feinstein said. “So they are heavily regulated, and rate increases must be approved. Health insurance is also vital for life. It too should be strictly regulated so that people can afford this basic need.”
As suspected by many conservatives, we are going to get single payer by hook or by crook. Hang on, it’s going to be a fun ride.
We have a LOT of submissions to get through this week – just what do you think the topic dujour is? Yup – you got it – the new health care bill. You’ll note we have submissions from both sides of the aisle on this one – I recommend you all read both sides of this issue.
Also – The next edition will not be posted until Sunday April 11th – taking a break for Easter to spend it with the family.
Len Penzo presents The Redistribution of Health: Excuse Me, But I Think I’m Gonna Be Sick posted at Len Penzo . Com, saying, “Pass the barf bag, Bobo.”
BWL presents What Obama’s New Health Care Bill Means For Us posted at Christian Personal Finance, saying, “Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you are well aware that our country is about to see some major changes to health care. Health care reform was a top priority of President Obama and it has been very apparent as he has been very determined to sign his reform bill into law…”
Madeleine Begun Kane presents Mitt Romney: Constitutionally Confused posted at Mad Kane’s Political Madness.
Luke Geraghty presents ObamaCare: what’s up, doc? posted at Luke Geraghty.com, saying, “A breakdown of the latest health care amendments and who they are likely to affect, dished up with a side salad of liberal opinion.”
DWSUWF presents Requiem for a Health Care Reform Dream posted at Divided We Stand United We Fall, saying, “President Obama has finally fulfilled the campaign promise of a post partisan political environment. Due to his efforts, many Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Liberals and Conservatives are now united – in opposition to the Obama Health Care Reform Hairball – aka the “BFD”.”
June Tree presents Skip Commercial Banks! How Cash Only Living Can Work posted at The Digerati Life, saying, “Should we take matters into our own hands? Should we stop banking with the big banks?”
Ann Margrain presents Did Missing Chalk River Physicist Know Too Much? posted at Heroin and Cornflakes, saying, “how much tritium has escaped into the environment? Did Lachlan Cranswick know? Was he about to blow the whistle? His disappearance has highlighted the dangers of nuclear plants and the ineptitude of governments. They use our money to fund these dangerous enterprises that add radioactive substances to our drinking water, and provide a means for nuclear terrorism.”
Wenchypoo presents The VAT Cometh posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Mental Wastebasket, saying, “If you ever hear the words FAIR TAX being tossed around on the hill, RUN LIKE HELL! Fair Tax is a VAT tax plan in disguise.”
Wenchypoo presents The Bigger Danger of the Health Care Bill–The Arrogance of Congress posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Mental Wastebasket.
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The BoBo Parnival of politics using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
WARNING – THIS IS A VERY LONG POST – BUT – VERY MUCH WORTH THE READ
Okay – I know I have a tendency to become very impassioned in my posts – but – hey – what do you expect from a freakin’ clown? Today, I have decided to take a rational look at this health care bill. You will not find this detailed analysis anywhere. What I have found is very high-level “myths vs facts” stuff from the MSM. Not one of them ever go in to this detail. Please pass this on to those that want to know the truth about Obama’s upcoming lie-fest. First – you can find the full text of the passed Health Care bill – H.R. 3590 or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
As we all know – Obama is going on a campaign tour again to try to convince everyone that this is a good bill for everyone – and he plans on talking about 5 key points – we’re going to look at these in detail:
1. Insurance companies can no longer deny individuals coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
This is true. However, it doesn’t begin until 2014.
(a) In General- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a temporary high risk health insurance pool program to provide health insurance coverage for eligible individuals during the period beginning on the date on which such program is established and ending on January 1, 2014.
Not only that – but it still follows the same conditions as insurance companies with regards to insuring those with pre-existing conditions – you still have to wait 6 months and have not been treated during that six months leading up to your coverage:
(d) Eligible Individual- An individual shall be deemed to be an eligible individual for purposes of this section if such individual–
(1) is a citizen or national of the United States or is lawfully present in the United States (as determined in accordance with section 1411);
(2) has not been covered under creditable coverage (as defined in section 2701(c)(1) of the Public Health Service Act as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act) during the 6-month period prior to the date on which such individual is applying for coverage through the high risk pool; and
(3) has a pre-existing condition, as determined in a manner consistent with guidance issued by the Secretary.
So – let’s break this down real quick – on June 23, 2010 the DHHS will BEGIN creating a TEMPORARY high risk pool insurance program. That doesn’t mean the pool will be available at that time. It could be years before they actually get the details figured out. The reason for the end date of the high risk pool is that it provides everyone in the high risk pool will be put in the regular exchange program beginning 2014. So – this high risk pool ONLY covers services related to the pre-existing condition – it doesn’t provide full insurance coverage. You can see the rest of the details to this section. Additionally, it has a maximum annual funding of $5,000,000,000. See paragraph (g)(1) of this section.
With regards to the 6 month requirement – this is standard language in most insurance policies – nothing new here either. The government can still reject you also. So, if you have a chronic pre-existing condition, i.e., Diabetes, where you require regular treatments (insulin) – you cannot be covered under this high risk pool if you can’t wait 6 months for treatment.
Also – you will note there is nothing in this section that says children with pre-existing conditions are automatically covered at the time of enactment. They too have to wait until 2014.
2. Parents will continue to provide insurance coverage for their “children” up to age 26.
True – however – here is exactly what the text of the bill states:
‘(a) In General- A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage that provides dependent coverage of children shall continue to make such coverage available for an adult child (who is not married) until the child turns 26 years of age. Nothing in this section shall require a health plan or a health insurance issuer described in the preceding sentence to make coverage available for a child of a child receiving dependent coverage.
‘(b) Regulations- The Secretary shall promulgate regulations to define the dependents to which coverage shall be made available under subsection (a).
‘(c) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify the definition of ‘dependent’ as used in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 with respect to the tax treatment of the cost of coverage.
Here is what this means – right now – dependent coverage for all insurance carriers is up to age 22 IF the dependent is a full-time student. Unless – as stated in (b) above the Secretary changes that particular definition – ONLY dependents that are full-time students will be eligible for insurance coverage. Really – how many “kids” are still students by age 26? If you thought that you could keep your loser kids at home and still keep them on your insurance – you’re wrong. If your “kids” aren’t in college after high school – they better damned well be out working a full time job getting their own damned insurance. If they are 25 years old, still living in your house, and not in school – they’re losers!
3. The bill will cover 32 million additional Americans immediately.
Umm…NOPE! It WILL cover 32 million OVER a 10 year period. Here is the official CBO Analysis. You need to look at Table 2. I will bottom line it here for you:
|Post Policy Insured All Residents||81%||82%||82%||82%||89%||91%||92%||92%||92%||92%|
|Post Policy Insured excluding illegal immigrants||83%||83%||83%||84%||91%||93%||95%||95%||95%||95%|
So – according to all reports – adding 32 million means that 95% of the population will be covered – you can find that number EVERYWHERE if you google it. Funny that they indicate that the illegal population is 2% of the total population all across the board. Anyway – what we are interested in is the bottom line. Let’s break down the numbers:
32,000,000 Will be covered by 2019 (according to table by 2016). That still leaves 15 million uninsured – which by chance is the 2% illegal population. They finally admit that.
(300,000,000 – 32,000,000)/300,000,000 = 89% hmm..this is odd. This would mean that at this very moment 89% of the population is insured already. I would say their numbers are off a bit. According to the U.S. Census – there are actually 308,932,351 people in the country. If there are 47 Million uninsured that would be 261,932,351 that are insured – or 85% of the population. So – what the hell is happening in 2010 that only 83% of the population is uninsured? Oh – that’s right – we’re in a FREAKIN recession with 10% unemployment. So – beginning in 2010 – there are NO additional people added to the coverage. Here is a nice table that shows year by year how many of the 32 Million gets added to insurance under this bill
Wow – look at that jump from 2013 to 2014! Again – this provision doesn’t really kick in until 2014 – as will all the other provisions. So – those of you who are uninsured now – you still get another 6 years to wait in total. Hopefully, you’ll be one of the lucky one’s in 2013 – 2015. Are you still playing the lottery? You have a better shot at that than you do of getting insurance under this bill between now and then.
4. Preventive Medicine is Free.
Okay – again – true. HOWEVER – BAM! That only applies to people who currently have insurance. If you have insurance – you will be able to get Pap Smears, Mammograms, Prostrate exams, Cancer Screening, and one annual physical exam per year at no additional premium cost. FYI – Public Health facilities already provide these for free to the uninsured. Here is the main point to this – there is NO effective date right now! This kicks in at the whim of the Secretary – again! Who knows how long it will take them to get this program in place?
‘(a) In General- A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall, at a minimum provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements
and then there is this little ditty
‘(c) Value-based Insurance Design- The Secretary may develop guidelines to permit a group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage to utilize value-based insurance designs.
What this means is that insurance carriers get to decide along with the Secretary when and how it works. Do you not think that every carrier in the country won’t move to one of these types of plans now?
5. Small businesses will get a 35% Tax Credit for premiums for those that offer coverage to employees.
True – sorta – of course they won’t give you all the details about this section…it just sounds good to say it.
Okay – honestly, you will need to read these provisions yourself. I will summarize – but – the eligibility to be considered for the tax credit is extremely convoluted. This is only for small businesses with less than 25 employees. The actual tax credit is actually UP TO 35%. There is a formula they apply – it will never be less than 0 but it will not go over 35%. So – in reality – depending on where you fall in the formula – your tax credit is actually 1% – 35% of “eligible health plans.” So – you have to provide the “right” health insurance to your employees to be eligible.
There is also a dollar cap on the total premium amount that you pay on behalf of employees – you must be in a plan where you are required to contribute NOT LESS THAN 50% of the total premiums. So – if you are a “qualified” small employer with less than 25 employees at minimum you also need to be paying 50% or more of their premiums.
The average group plan today costs $12,000 per employee. So – just to be modest – let’s say an employer has only 10 employees. That means the total premiums are $120,000. In order to be eligible – the employer has to be contributing at minimum $60,000 towards the premiums. What small employer with only 10 employees can afford to do that? If you go with the full 25 employees – that is a total annual premium of $300,000 and the employer needs to be contributing a minimum of $150,000.
Oh – did I also mention that there is a salary cap as well? That’s right – in order for the small employer to be eligible – there is also a formula based on his/her salary. According to (d)(1)(b):
‘(B) the average annual wages of which do not exceed an amount equal to twice the dollar amount in effect under paragraph (3)(B) for the taxable year, and
‘(B) DOLLAR AMOUNT- For purposes of paragraph (1)(B)–
‘(i) 2011, 2012, AND 2013- The dollar amount in effect under this paragraph for taxable years beginning in 2011, 2012, or 2013 is $20,000.
‘(ii) SUBSEQUENT YEARS- In the case of a taxable year beginning in a calendar year after 2013, the dollar amount in effect under this paragraph shall be equal to $20,000, multiplied by the cost-of-living adjustment determined under section 1(f)(3) for the calendar year, determined by substituting ‘calendar year 2012’ for ‘calendar year 1992’ in subparagraph (B) thereof.
Holy cow! That means that the employer him/herself is NOT allowed to make more than $40,000 in annual salary to be an eligible small business employer under this bill. If this employer is only making that kind of salary with just 25 employees – how the hell could that employer afford a $150,000 minimum premium contribution? These salary caps stay fixed through 2013 and then are subject to a measly 3% COLA allowance each year after that. So, 2014 the salary cap is 41,200 – oh boy.
Oh – and – NO – it doesn’t take effect right away like they are saying – paragraph (f)(1)
(1) IN GENERAL- The amendments made by this section shall apply to amounts paid or incurred in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2010.
So – really – this doesn’t take effect until 2011. The bottom line here – you will be struck by lightening during a lunar eclipse in a leap year before you qualify for this tax credit.
Okay – I was originally going to do this as an update to my previous post – but – it would be lost in everything else.
Here’s the deal people – especially you loonies on the left that don’t get it – Health Insurance does not equal Health Care. You have all been lied to and sold a bill of goods that does not do what you think it does. Giving EVERYONE in the country HEALTH INSURANCE does not equate to ACCESS to AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE!
The comments I keep getting from you guys – and what I’m seeing around the blogosphere – is that if I don’t support this bill – I am against people having health care. What the fuck is wrong with you people? First – health care is a personal responsibility. Health care is NOT a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution! However, what I DO believe in is that we need to be able to provide ACCESS to AFFORDABLE health care for all. Giving EVERYONE HEALTH INSURANCE does not do that! What it does is give everyone access to affordable HEALTH INSURANCE by taking money from those who have and giving it to those who have not – but – it does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to bring down the costs of health care itself.
This whole bill is a ruse for you boneheads too dense to think critically. You believe that by getting HEALTH INSURANCE you will be given ACCESS to HEALTH CARE! What a load of shit you’ve been fed and believe. Do you not understand that by putting 30 Million more people on health insurance – this will absolutely and necessarily require a rationing of health care services? There is no way the government can guarantee and force private health insurers to provide absolutely every single service to absolutely every individual in this country at discounted rates. This bill will absolutely ensure the death of private health insurance forcing the country in to a single-payor universal government controlled health care. If you think our system of health care is bad now – you just wait until we have U.K. and Canadian style health care in this country.
I will say it one more time in case you didn’t understand it – health insurance does not equal health care! Imagine what will happen when you put 300 million people on to insurance but private insurance is not allowed to raise premiums and has to cover 100% of all high risk patients. 1 of 2 things happen – 1 – insurance reimbursement rates to physicians have to go down in order for the private insurance companies to stay in business – which means more physicians leave health care which means a huge shortage of services – or 2 – private insurers go out of business leaving only government controlled health care whereby reimbursements to physicians go down meaning more physicians leave health care which means a huge shortage of services.
In the end – it means high demand – low supply – which means – long lines and rationed care. Thanks for nothing people. It would be nice if you so-called “enlightened” people on the loony left would actually think for yourselves one time rather than toe that party line and believe everything coming from those idiot politicians. Your dishonesty with yourself and your inability to think critically is putting this country in jeopardy.
And, Finally – this whole thing about “pre-existing” conditions that Democrats are hanging their hats on and that you morons on the left are all swooning over is a bunch of bunk! For crying out loud the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) already does away with denials for pre-existing conditions.
1.) If you go from one employer to another and you had group health insurance previously – your new employer and insurance carrier are not allowed to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.
2.) If you have a pre-existing condition and you sign up for health insurance – if you have not been treated within the previous 6 months for that pre-existing condition – they cannot deny you coverage.
3.) If you have a pre-existing condition and you have had treatment within the previous 6 months – they cannot deny you coverage outright. However, they can require that you wait 6 months while being insured to be treated for that condition in order for them to pick up coverage for that pre-existing condition.
I am very familiar with these provisions – not only because I have been heavily involved with HIPAA since 1998 – but – my step-daughter has Crohn’s disease. When I remarried – I already had insurance. My wife and children were covered under Medicaid prior to our marriage. When I put them all on my insurance policy – my step-daughter was covered for everything except services related to Crohn’s. After 6 months – she became fully covered.
Again – if you buy in to all this nonsense – you really are dense because that means you didn’t even bother to research it. You bought it all hook, line, and sinker. How smart do you feel now? It’s time for you to do the right thing and help elect candidates that promise to repeal this piece of shit legislation and then let’s enact true health care reform legislation that actually works for the people – all people. What has just been approved does none of that.