Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare’

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Cartoon: Healthcare Turkey and Eagles

December 1, 2009

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Cartoon: Healthcare “It’s Alive!”

November 24, 2009

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Help Your President — Kill ObamaCare!

November 20, 2009

Help Your President — Kill ObamaCare!

By Larry Elder – IBD: 20 Nov. 2009

‘The political risks of failure are pretty high.”

A former congressional aide offered this ominous assessment following the House of Representatives’ passage of “health care reform.” Warning to the Senate: President Obama and his party face political catastrophe if you fail to do your part so that the president can sign a bill!

Nonsense.

The political risks of success are much, much higher. Taxes would go up — and not just on “the rich.” And since “the rich” provide jobs, they would hire fewer people, spend less on their businesses and take fewer risks.

Costs would explode far beyond government projections — which conveniently limit the estimated price tag to only the first decade.

Expect insurance companies to deny requests for medical treatment more frequently than today. Why? The bill would require insurers to take people with pre-existing illnesses, so denying requests for treatment would be the only potent weapon to reduce costs.

And since those with pre-existing illnesses could not be denied coverage, people would simply wait until they required care before getting insurance — only to drop it and risk paying fines once they were treated.

Government eventually will start “controlling costs” by rationing care — denying requests, imposing waiting times for treatment and withholding treatment from those with “bad” lifestyles (e.g., those who smoke cigarettes or those who fail to exercise and eat “appropriately”) and those considered too old to “sufficiently benefit.”

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt launched the New Deal — a blinding array of expansive and expensive government programs designed to “rescue” the economy. Obama, as did FDR, calls this expansion necessary to achieve economic recovery.

Government expansion — in this case, ObamaCare — and economic prosperity supposedly go hand in hand.

Henry Morgenthau served as FDR’s Treasury secretary. Thus Morgenthau, who served from 1934 to 1945, was to FDR what current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is to Obama.

Morgenthau wrote in 1939: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before, and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. … I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … and an enormous debt to boot!”

Political Armageddon if ObamaCare fails? No. A recent Rasmussen poll shows more “likely voters” opposed than in favor. Preventing Obama from being Obama is job security for both the president and the congressional Democrats.

The then-Republican-controlled Congress stopped President Bill Clinton from passing HillaryCare. People soon forgot about his “failure” and re-elected him by a larger margin than he received for his first term. Republicans also blocked his first-term attempt to pass a multibillion-dollar “economic stimulus package.”

Because of Republican pressure or support, Clinton signed measures unpopular with his base — the Nafta and GATT trade agreements, a reduction in capital gains taxes (as part of a larger budget compromise) and 1996’s welfare reform act, which, for the first time, refused recipients more money if they had additional children and imposed benefit time limits. Many congressional Democrats opposed these measures.

Though he successfully blamed the Republicans for temporarily shutting down the government over a budget impasse, Clinton signed a budget more modest and less expensive than he wished.

For these reasons, among others, Clinton left office with a budget surplus that Democrats constantly brag about — never, of course, giving Republicans any credit for restraining Clinton’s desire to spend.

Besides, if ObamaCare fails in the Senate, watch Obama and the sycophantic media round up the “usual suspects”:

“Anti-women” pro-lifers who reject government money for abortions.

Anti-illegal-alien “racists” who wanted some teeth in the legislation to stop illegal aliens from receiving benefits.

“In-the-pockets-of-insurance-company”opponents of the noble “public option” (government-subsidized insurance designed to keep insurance companies “honest”).

“Evil and greedy” health insurance companies that “misled” the public about the wonders of ObamaCare.

“The rich” who selfishly resisted tax hikes.

And, of course, Republicans who “failed to offer an alternative.”

The media will praise the president for his “heroic” effort, for “going down swinging,” for getting the House — for the first time in history — to pass health care “reform,” for going further than any president since President Truman first proposed government-based universal health care.

After spending trillions to “save” our financial system, signing an $800 billion spending package to “stimulate” the economy and pushing government takeovers of financial firms, banks and car companies, the president stands — pen in hand — ready to enact a dangerous government takeover of one-sixth of the nation’s economy.

President Clinton survived — not in spite of, but, in part, because of his “failure” to “reform” health care.

Obama will survive — and benefit from — this “failure” as well. So, members of the Senate, do the president, yourselves and the country a favor: Stop him.

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Cartoon: Preventative Healthcare

November 20, 2009

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Cartoon: Veterans Day

November 13, 2009

Jeff Parker Cartoon

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Confessions of an ObamaCare Backer

November 13, 2009

Confessions of an ObamaCare Backer

A liberal explains the political calculus.
The typical argument for ObamaCare is that it will offer better medical care for everyone and cost less to do it, but occasionally a supporter lets the mask slip and reveals the real political motivation. So let’s give credit to John Cassidy, part of the left-wing stable at the New Yorker, who wrote last week on its Web site that “it’s important to be clear about what the reform amounts to.”
Mr. Cassidy is more honest than the politicians whose dishonesty he supports. “The U.S. government is making a costly and open-ended commitment,” he writes. “Let’s not pretend that it isn’t a big deal, or that it will be self-financing, or that it will work out exactly as planned. It won’t. What is really unfolding, I suspect, is the scenario that many conservatives feared. The Obama Administration . . . is creating a new entitlement program, which, once established, will be virtually impossible to rescind.”
Why are they doing it? Because, according to Mr. Cassidy, ObamaCare serves the twin goals of “making the United States a more equitable country” and furthering the Democrats’ “political calculus.” In other words, the purpose is to further redistribute income by putting health care further under government control, and in the process making the middle class more dependent on government. As the party of government, Democrats will benefit over the long run.
This explains why Nancy Pelosi is willing to risk the seats of so many Blue Dog Democrats by forcing such an unpopular bill through Congress on a narrow, partisan vote: You have to break a few eggs to make a permanent welfare state. As Mr. Cassidy concludes, “Putting on my amateur historian’s cap, I might even claim that some subterfuge is historically necessary to get great reforms enacted.”
No wonder many Americans are upset. They know they are being lied to about ObamaCare, and they know they are going to be stuck with the bill.
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A24 – 10 Nov. 2009
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Healthcare: Visits or Calls to Capitol Hill Needed Now

November 6, 2009

Visits or Calls to Capitol Hill Needed Now

Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 3, 2009

I just returned from Capitol Hill, where Nancy Pelosi, unfazed by big conservative victories in Tuesday’s election in Virginia and New Jersey, is still planning to ram through a floor vote in the full House by Friday on the massive, 1,990-page government health care takeover bill that was just unveiled a few days ago. It’s an abuse of power and an utter outrage. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in the face of widespread public opposition, has said the Senate will have to delay its version until December or even next year.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of the most outspoken opponents of the bill, says Republican members were literally locked out of committee rooms where the bill was written. Recall that President Obama promised “transparency” and that any bill would be written in public. That did not happen.

Mrs. Bachmann is asking Americans to take some time on Thursday, Nov. 5, and do one of several things. She is organizing a noon rally at the U.S. Capitol building on the House side. Participants will then be encouraged to visit the offices of their congressman.

Any Americans within driving distance who can get there are encouraged to show up to support the effort to stop the bill. Those who can’t are asked to visit congressmen’s district offices back in their states. And those who cannot do that are encouraged to flood the Capitol switchboard with calls to their congressmen.

Please Take Action.

Please consider taking one of the following actions.

1) Pray that wisdom prevails and that Congress does the right thing.

2) If you can, please come to Washington, D.C. for Thursday’s rally at noon at the U.S. Capitol building on the House side.

3) Or visit your congressmen’s district office locally.

4) Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 225-3121 and ask for your congressman’s office. Click here to locate your representative. Be polite but firm and tell them simply that you do not want this health care takeover passed, period.

More Background

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said Wednesday that it is now clear the health care bill “is not about health care, but about changing the fundamental relationship between Americans and their government.” In short, it will mean serfdom, as Americans will be made entirely dependent on federal bureaucrats for allocation of health care. Yes, this means “death panels” and the rest of it. Senior citizens will take the brunt of the “savings” that will be mandated, including $500 billion in designated cuts in Medicare. A study by Price Waterhouse Cooper estimates that the average family will have to pay $4,000 more for insurance by 2019, and individuals another $1,500.

Also in the bill:

Government insurance. The “public option” is still in. This provision would create a government insurance plan that would quickly drive private insurers out of business and ensure a “single-payer” system that is, in effect, socialized medicine.

Abortions. American taxpayers will be forced to pay for them. Pelosi and her fellow liberals have defeated 30 efforts in both Houses of Congress to prohibit such funding. The bill has language barring school-based clinics from actually committing abortions, but does nothing to keep the clinics from referring or facilitating abortions.

Domestic partners. Insurance tax benefits are expanded to unmarried couples, which means taxpayers will be subsidizing homosexual relationships.

Tax increases. Americans for Tax Reform has found 13 tax increases or new taxes in the $1.2 trillion bill, including the “medicine cabinet” tax that would prevent people from paying for non-prescription drugs through tax-deferred health savings accounts.

Your prayers, visits, calls or emails will make a difference!

Again, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 225- 3121 and ask for your congressman’s office. Click here to locate your representative. Be polite but firm and tell them simply that you do not want this health care takeover passed, period.

Remember, you are not alone. Many other national groups are encouraging their constituents to take these actions, too. If enough Americans respond, we will stop this ghastly power grab in its tracks before it even gets to the Senate.

 

Coral Ridge Ministries

Post Office Box 1920
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33302-1920
1-800-988-7884
www.coralridge.org

 

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Healthcare: Hypocritic Oath

November 6, 2009

Hypocritic Oath

IBD: 6 Nov. 2009

Public Option: Congressional Democratic leaders insist on a government health coverage option. But if it’s so great, why won’t they themselves be covered by it?

If you thought Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., caused a stir when he yelled, “You Lie!” during the State of the Union, just watch him expose the hypocrisy of liberal Democrats in Congress.

Democrats want a government-run health insurance scheme to “keep the insurance companies honest.” But Blue Cross/Blue Shield warns of dire consequences:

• “Millions of people would lose their current private coverage they are happy with …”

• The federal government “will underpay providers — even if negotiated rates are initially used — creating major access issues, including long waits for services with some providers closing their doors …”

• Any “government-run plan will use its built-in advantages — no matter how it is initially structured — to take over the market” via “price-setting based on Medicare” or through the use of “existing government programs as leverage for negotiations.”

If it’s worth turning the private health care industry upside down like that, this must be a solid gold system Congress is establishing. Everyone will want it, right?

Wrong. Members of Congress certainly don’t. They’d rather keep the “Cadillac” coverage they’ve enjoyed for years, with its hundreds of private insurance options and heavily taxpayer-subsidized premiums.

“If this government-run plan is so good, why don’t members of Congress take the plan?” Wilson asked Wednesday. He proposes that the language in the bill stating that senators and representatives “may” enroll in the government plan be changed to “must” enroll.

The Democratic Congress’ hypocrisy typifies the arrogance of professional politicians who like to dictate how others live, while shielding themselves from their own laws’ consequences.

Legions of liberal lawmakers in the pockets of public school teachers unions, for instance, refuse to allow the poor access to private schools through vouchers — yet at the same time send their own kids to the private schools they can afford.

In the same spirit, Congress funded a Congressional Management Foundation study on how politicians can avoid interacting with constituents.

If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid think government health care is so great, let them and their colleagues lead the way in walking the plank.

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Health Care: Unhealthy Taxes

November 5, 2009

Unhealthy Taxes

IBD: 4 Nov. 2009

Health Care: The giant health care bill that just passed will cost far more than its authors estimated. Which means it’ll also require massive new tax hikes on all Americans, rich, middle class and poor alike.

Congress has barely finished blowing the ink dry on its bill, but already its central fiscal premise is being convincingly challenged.

While Democrats have claimed the overhaul will cost $900 billion, the Congressional Budget Office puts the real cost at $1.1 trillion. The Associated Press, citing unnamed Democratic sources, comes up with $1.2 trillion; Republicans say it’ll cost $1.3 trillion or more; others say it’s more like $1.8 trillion.

In short, the bill will spend far more than now estimated over the next 10 years, and certainly more than $1 trillion — requiring at least that much in subsidies.

This means more taxes, of course. Oh, they say only the rich will be affected. And to be sure, the rich do get taxed in this bill — mainly with a new 5.4% levy on those earning more than $500,000. This will raise the new top rate from 39.6% to 45% — highest since the Carter years.

But remember last year’s solemn pledge — actually, it was a promise — that the bottom 95% of taxpayers wouldn’t see their taxes rise one dime during the new administration? Well, kiss that one goodbye. In fact, the 1,990-page House bill contains 13 separate tax hikes on Americans, hitting virtually every income class.

Among them: an Employer Mandate Excise Tax, an Individual Mandate Surtax, an Excise Tax on Medical Devices, a Surtax on Individuals and Small Businesses, a tax on nonqualified Health Savings Account distributions and a cap on Flexible Savings Account spending.

There’s even a Medicine Cabinet Tax. We are not making this up.

If you’re shocked by all this, you shouldn’t be. This is how Congress works these days: Promise one thing, deliver another, and count on constituents being too distracted and frightened to notice what exactly is going on.

It would be bad enough if this was just about taxes. But it isn’t. GOP critics scoured the bill and found it contains the seeds of 111 new bureaucracies. They range from a new Retiree Reserve Trust Fund and Health Insurance Exchange to a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research and an Office of Indian Men’s Health (one of 10 new entities just to handle Native American health care).

It even contains — get this — a “program of administrative simplification.” This bill has Leviathan written all over it.

If the size and power of the insurance industry scares you — health insurers posted revenues of about $405 billion in 2007 — consider that Democrats want to control a $2.5 trillion chunk of the economy that dwarfs what insurers make. That’s why Pelosi & Co. villainize that industry — so you’ll let them take over.

If they do, you can be sure of one thing: They won’t be as efficient or as responsive to individuals as private insurers are. And once in control, government will grow without bounds — endangering all our liberties, not to mention our economy.

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Cartoon: Miracle Healthcare Reform

November 3, 2009

IBD: Michael Ramirez | 3 Nov. 2009

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Cartoon: MWH Airlines Healthcare

October 29, 2009

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Healthcare: Stealth Socialism

October 26, 2009

Stealth Socialism

26 Oct. 2009 | IBD

Sen. Snowe: Finger on the trigger of a single-pay system? AP

Sen. Snowe: Finger on the trigger of a single-pay system? APView Enlarged Image

Health Reform: Congress’ planned health care revolution will be bad enough without a government-run option. With it, Euro-style socialism becomes inevitable. It’s time for a bipartisan way out of this disaster.

Last week proved Democrats want as much big government control as possible in the huge medical sector of the economy. The president’s advisers said he’s still committed to a government-run public option, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lined up three versions of such a plan and the Senate majority leader announced a public plan with a state opt-out.

Why is the public option back at all? It seemed dead after a study earlier this year indicated such a plan would mean private health insurers could lose nearly 120 million customers.

Described as being “prized by liberals as a fundamental pillar of reform,” the public option is really a way to put capitalistic America on a path toward socialized medicine.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank, a longtime co-sponsor of single-payer legislation, said in July, “I think the best way we’re gonna get single-payer, the only way, is to have a public option and demonstrate its strength and its power.” Why not just enact single-payer? “We don’t have the votes for it,” Frank replied.

The public option was conceived by leftist organizations such as the Campaign for America’s Future years ago because polls showed the American people liked private health insurance and would never go for a direct government takeover. Ex-Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign embraced it as “stealth single-payer,” and the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama followed suit.

Renegade Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine may be the one to thank if this new medical entitlement becomes reality, at a time when government accountants warn that Washington is spending the country toward a fiscal doomsday.

The president is reportedly smitten with Snowe’s public option “trigger” — an idea that comes down to this: If private insurers charge customers more than Uncle Sam dictates as they deal with all the new costs Washington imposes, the federal government will become their unfair competitor and wreck the private health insurance industry.

With or without a government-run option, the Democrats’ radical transformation of the greatest health care system in the world still means reams of new regulations on private insurers, including the likely end of anti-trust protection.

It means fines for those — especially the young — who won’t buy what will become high-priced insurance. It may slap uncooperative employers with an 8% payroll tax. And it may impose a $460 billion, 5.4% income tax surcharge sure to kill private sector jobs.

It’s time for new ideas, like the expanded private coverage options of the Patients’ Choice Act, backed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Richard Burr, R-N.C.

As Ryan warns, the federal government would run health care “with the compassion of the IRS, the efficiency of the Post Office and the incompetence of Katrina.”

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Cartoon: Healthcare NOT a Hoax

October 20, 2009

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Dems Go Nuclear

October 19, 2009

Dems Go Nuclear

IBD: 19 Oct. 2009

Health Care: Democrats seem set to use the “nuclear option” to ram their government health takeover into law. Bipartisanship already looked dead; now it looks extinct.

The health care revolution the Democratic Congress has planned — with its inevitable medical rationing, thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums, and coverage of illegal aliens — may get placed on the familiar fast track used to spend hundreds and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars this year.

Instead of the 60 votes needed in the Senate if proper parliamentary rules were followed, passing this reshaping of the medical system as a “budget reconciliation” measure would mean only a simple majority was needed.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., accused of cheating on his taxes, last week held a hearing to let the House version of the health reform bill be passed this way. As the Washington weekly Human Events reports, Democratic leaders “have apparently invoked the ‘nuclear option’ to shut out Republicans and ensure the bill is passed before the end of the year.”

So all those “town hells” during the summer, where senators and congressmen were given an earful about passing secretly written thousand-page bills without reading them, will be ignored.

In the age of the Internet, Congress refuses to post for computer access the most consequential legislation in history, as far as its effect on human lives (and deaths) is concerned, before voting on it.

The people will have to wait until it’s all signed, sealed and delivered before finding out exactly how this government-imposed monster will devour health care as Americans have known it for all their lives.

And why? Because both congressional Democrats and the White House are afraid of the power of the people. Just as they are both afraid to give the opposing party a seat at the negotiating table.

Rangel didn’t allow Republicans to offer amendments in committee. Why not? Fear that Democrats might be embarrassed by having to reject a Republican amendment to protect Medicare, for one thing. And fear in general that the people might catch wind of a few bipartisan ideas that sound more sensible than their big government solutions.

The magnitude of what Congress is about to do is staggering. The federal government is about to begin dictating Americans’ behavior regarding the most intimate and vital area of life — health.

You play ball with Uncle Sam and pay thousands and thousands of dollars for far more expensive insurance than what you’re now used to, or you get slapped with fines. And as yet we don’t know how heavy those fines will be — or if noncooperation with the new system will mean more than fines.

Doesn’t Congress owe it to us to provide time to mull this over before it takes force?

Shouldn’t the exact wording of this radical transformation of our medical system be available on the Internet for weeks before a floor vote takes place?

And shouldn’t medical experts, health care providers and legal analysts get the opportunity to read every word of such a bill carefully, then give their well-considered analysis to concerned Americans?

Apparently not, according to those now running Washington.

To them, this is a rare opportunity to take a giant step toward single-payer, European-style socialized medicine. And they have no intention of letting the people stop them.

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Senate Bill Taxes Your Current Health Plan

October 14, 2009

Senate Bill Taxes Your Current Health Plan

By GROVER NORQUIST | IBD 14 Oct. 2009

President Obama likes to say that “if you like your current health insurance plan, you can keep it.”  This naive platitude is simply not true.

Under the plan voted out of the Senate Finance Committee and being considered by the full Senate, “your current health insurance plan” will be taxed to the point where it is no longer recognizable, or goes away entirely.

This means the president hasn’t read the Senate Finance plan or he’s misrepresenting its content.  [Or again – He is lying]

Either way, the story needs to be set straight.

It’s not surprising that Obama would want to assure people that his plan will let them keep their existing coverage.

After all, a recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that 85% of Americans with health insurance were satisfied with the quality of medical care they receive, and with their health care costs. [85% satisfied with what we have now]

For this silent majority of Americans, an overhaul means destabilizing their health care arrangements.

This is especially true if the long arm of the IRS will be the agent changing their family’s plan.

Chief Justice John Marshall famously observed that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” That’s certainly true when it comes to the Senate health care bill, which will use the IRS to change or take away your current health insurance plan.

The most significant tax increase on millions of health insurance plans is the Cadillac excise tax.

If a health insurance plan is offered in a high-cost state and/or provides comprehensive benefits to a usually older work force, the premiums can get pretty high.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus wants to impose a price-control cap on these high-end plans, but couldn’t be that direct about it.

Instead, he used his jurisdictional leverage to propose a 40% excise tax on these plans, to the extent they cost more than $21,000 for a family plan or $8,000 for a single plan.

This excise tax would be paid by the insurance companies, which would have little choice except to pass along the cost to customers.

Imagine for a moment that you are a 54-year-old employee of a large company in a higher-cost state.

You and your wife’s health isn’t what it used to be and, of course, the kids need health insurance too. Even though it’s a bit more expensive, you decide to sign up for the high-end plan at work.

This is your current health insurance plan.

The Obama-Baucus bill wants to tax it at a 40% rate. How on earth would it remain unchanged, as the president has claimed?

It gets worse.

Because no company will want to buy a plan that crosses the $21,000 Cadillac line, these plans will be phased out or simply eliminated. An employee may not have any choice in the matter. His plan might not be available at the next open season.

Sadly, that’s not the only tax increase on your current health insurance plan. If you’re one of the 25 million Americans with a health flexible spending account (FSA) at work, you’ll suddenly find these currently unlimited accounts capped at $2,500. People use health FSAs to pay for co-pays, deductibles, nonprescription medications, durable medical equipment and costs associated with special-needs children.

This tax hike directly changes health care plans on day one.  A related provision would deny FSA owners the ability to pay for over-the-counter medicine with pretax FSA dollars.

If you’re one of the 7 million Americans with a health savings account (HSA), the extra tax penalty for nonhealth withdrawals goes up from 10% to 20%.  It’s hard to see how these radical tax-hike changes to pretax health accounts square with Obama’s blithe assurances about keeping your current health insurance plan.

There’s more. Three tax hikes in the bill are simply cash grabs from victimized industries — health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical device firms. Because many Americans ultimately receive their medicine and health equipment by way of their health insurance plan, it’s likely the burden of paying these new taxes will also fall on your current health insurance plan.

Looking at all these tax increases in the Obama-Baucus plan — and these are simply the ones that fall on your current health insurance plan, not all the other many tax hikes included in the bill — Obama’s claim can’t be true.

If “your current health insurance plan” is going to pay a 40% excise tax, going to see its FSA capped and/or going to face an industry excise tax, it can’t stay the same.

Make no mistake about it — Obama-Baucus will use the tax code to take away your current health insurance plan.

• Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.

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Snowe’s Storm

October 14, 2009

Spec  Col Snow

Remember the names: Specolsnowgram

Snowe’s Storm

IBD: 14 Oct. 09

Politics: After hemming and hawing for weeks, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe did what many knew she’d do: support the abominable Baucus health care overhaul.

The GOP has a big problem. Some who march under its banner don’t really accept the basic philosophy it espouses — one of low taxes, small government and support of the Constitution. Snowe is one of those.

Her decision to vote “aye” on the Baucus bill, which passed out of the Senate Finance Committee on an otherwise partisan 14-9 vote, was called a “surprise” by some. It wasn’t.

She’s done this for years, undercutting her party and lending support to the opposition. Don’t look for some transcendent reason.

“My vote today is my vote today,” Snowe said, clarifying nothing. “It doesn’t forecast what my vote will be tomorrow.”

Nothing like standing firmly on principle.

What’s galling is Democrats could have passed this without Snowe’s help. By lending her voice and senatorial prestige, she weakened her party’s otherwise resolute stance against the health care bill. In short, she gave Democrats badly needed bipartisan cover to ram Baucus — or something worse — down all our throats.

As we’ve said before, the Baucus bill will lead, inevitably, to higher taxes, lower-quality care, rationing and the intrusion of government into the most sensitive decisions we make. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it will cost $829 billion over 10 years, but economists expect costs to soar north of $1 trillion.

There are lines in the sand for both parties, and this bill should be one. A person can’t support Baucus and still say he or she’s for small, or limited, government. This is Leviathan writ large.

The GOP has this problem with lots of its members — including Snowe’s fellow Maine senator, Susan Collins. And don’t forget Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who abandoned his party for the Democrats as soon as it was politically expedient to do so.

By the way, Specter, Collins and Snowe, * all voted for the stimulus. So you can partly thank them when your taxes shoot sky high.

South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, who’s joining Democrats in support of cap-and-trade, is another example. Cap-and-trade is one of the worst bills in history — doing literally nothing to curb carbon dioxide emissions while slapping American families with an estimated $1,700 in added taxes each year. Graham’s for it.

The GOP must be wondering: With members like these, who needs Democrats?

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Cartoon: Healthcare headed to the Morgue

October 14, 2009

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Random Notes On A Peculiar Passing Scene

October 12, 2009

Random Notes On A Peculiar Passing Scene

By THOMAS SOWELL

IBD: 12 Oct. 2009

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Upon learning that the Constitution requires a president to be a natural-born citizen, a college student said: “What makes a natural-born citizen any more qualified than one born by C-section?”

Airlines that keep passengers trapped for hours in planes sitting on the runway should be prosecuted for unlawful imprisonment.

When politicians propose some hugely expensive new program and are asked how the government is going to pay for it, a standard ploy over the years has been to claim that they will pay for it by eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse.” At a recent town hall meeting, a citizen raised the obvious question: If you can do that, why haven’t you done it already?

Marxism is an ism that has become a wasm.

What is called “universal health care” can turn out to be universal “don’t care” medical treatment, when Washington bureaucrats can overrule what you and your doctor want to do.

Whatever happened to Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel? Could she have met with foul play? Where is the FBI when we need them?

The older I get, the more I learn to tolerate human shortcomings — and the less I tolerate bad attitudes.

After political crusades for “affordable housing” ended up ruining the housing market and much of the economy with it, many of the same politicians are now carrying on a crusade for “affordable health care.” But what you can afford has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of producing anything. Refusing to pay those costs means that you are just not going to continue getting the same quantity and quality — regardless of what any politician says or how well he says it.

Want to win an easy bet? Bet someone that Babe Ruth had a lower lifetime earned run average than Cy Young, Whitey Ford or Sandy Koufax. During his early years with the Red Sox, Ruth pitched nine shutouts in a season, which is still the American League record for a left-handed pitcher.

He would have made the baseball hall of fame, even if he had never hit a home run.

Congressman Joe Wilson got into more trouble for telling the truth than President Barack Obama got into by telling a demonstrable lie about adding millions of people to the insurance rolls without adding a dime to the deficit. As regards providing medical insurance for illegal immigrants, I doubt that the president will do that. More likely, he will legalize them first and then give them medical insurance.

The way Hollywood elites have sprung to defend Roman Polanski to keep him from being extradited to the United States, despite the heinous crime he is accused of, suggests that — like other egalitarians — they consider those who are “one of us” to be more equal than others.

When I contemplate the direction in which this government and this society are moving, my biggest consolation is that economists’ predictions are often wrong. I can only hope that my expectations are wrong by miles.

What is most frightening about the political left is that they seem to have no sense of the tragedy of the human condition. All problems seem to them to be due to others not being as wise or noble as they are.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Think things, not words.” In words, many see a need for “social justice” to override “the dictates of the market.” In reality, what is called “the market” consists of human beings making their own choices at their own cost. What is called “social justice” is government imposition of the notions of third parties, who pay no price for being wrong.

Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Moammar Gadhafi and Vladimir Putin have all praised Barack Obama. When enemies of freedom and democracy praise your president, what are you to think? When you add to this Barack Obama’s many previous years of associations and alliances with people who hate America — Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfleger, etc. — at what point do you stop denying the obvious and start to connect the dots?

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Coral Ridge Ministries: Urgent Action Call: Healthcare

October 12, 2009

URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED to stop what political strategist Dick Morris calls “a bloodless coup” now underway.

Please read this special report from Robert Knight, Coral Ridge Ministries Washington, D.C., Correspondent and then call your senators and representative. The Capitol Hill switchboard is (202) 224-3121. (Click these links to identify your senators and representative.)

From Robert Knight:

Folks, in my nearly 20 years in Washington, I have seen a lot of deception and chicanery. But what’s unfolding now takes my breath away. It should raise the blood pressure of every freedom-loving American. The Democrats are still trying to ram through a national health care takeover despite being told over and over by Americans that we do not want it.

The Senate Finance Committee is poised to vote on a massive health care reform bill on Tuesday authored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). A glaring, outrageous fact unreported by the media is that the bill has been kept secret. No one actually knows what’s in it – not even senators, who will be told to vote for it. Entire sections will be added later. That’s what happened with the House version. Nobody read the bill, and 75 “phantom” amendments were added after the vote. A similar maneuver happened in the Senate, when a key committee approved another version of a sweeping health care bill in July without seeing the text. Actual language was unveiled months later in September.

Senators will be voting on something that does not even exist yet.

Even the Congressional Budget Office was operating without actual text when it issued a report this week saying the Baucus plan would cost under $900 billion instead of more than a trillion. When the CBO crunched the detailed, 1,018-page House version this summer, it reported that it would cost far more than President Obama claimed. Obama then broke precedent and summoned the CBO director to the White House for a “talk.” Now the CBO says the Senate bill will cost less. They think. They hope. They speculate.

What’s more, CNSNews.com reports that an aide to Sen. Harry Reid said that current debates may be irrelevant because an entirely different version might be inserted into an unrelated House tax bill, HR 1586. This is a way of getting around the constitutional requirement that all tax bills originate in the House. Sen. Reid wants a “public option” that would ensure a “single-payer” system, which means socialized medicine.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week that she has the votes necessary to ram through a bill with “the public option” as soon as it comes back to her chamber.

“The real bill will be another 1,000-page, trillion dollar experiment… that vastly expands the role of the federal government in the personal health care decisions of every American,” warns Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer would not rule out the possibility that the House would vote for identical Senate language, thus avoiding the bill going to a House-Senate conference committee for more examination and debate and getting it quickly to President Obama’s desk.

Stunned by the August town halls, TEA parties and the massive Sept. 12 taxpayer rally in Washington, liberals know the window is closing on their plan to nationalize one sixth of America’s economy and put your health care decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats. So they are working in the dark to ram this through before most Americans find out.

Some details have slipped out:

Do what we say, not what we do–Congress has exempted itself from mandatory coverage provisions that they want to impose on their fellow citizens.

Taxing Class II medical devices, such as breast pumps, pacemakers, ventilators, wheelchairs and needles. Call this the “mommy tax.”

Different tax rates for people in different states. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel reports: “Majority Leader Harry Reid …worked out a deal by which the federal government will pay all of his home state’s additional Medicaid expenses for the next five years. Under the majority leader’s very special formula, only three other states – Oregon, Rhode Island and Michigan – qualify for this perk.” This means that Americans in other states would subsidize constituents of Harry Reid and some of his political friends. A dozen Democratic governors have come out against the Medicaid mandate as a budget buster, but Reid is covering his own political interests.

Are you angry yet?

Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Minn.) took to the floor of the House during the earlier spendathon and said the nation is now in the grip of “gangster government,” in which powerful interests are raiding the treasury to ensure their own continued power. The health care “reform” bill is more of the same, but even more dangerous.

The liberal “mainstream” media are providing cover for all this. None is asking to see the bill language. They will get away with it unless Americans speak out now and let them know in no uncertain terms that this is unacceptable and tyrannical.

Please, for the sake of your children and grandchildren and your own ability to choose your insurance and your doctor, take a moment. Call your congressman and senators and let them know you want them to start over with a transparent process and consider real, workable reforms, such as curbing malpractice awards and making it easier for people to buy insurance out of state. Tell your friends and neighbors that they need to act, too.

Send them this simple message:

“Show Us the Bill!”

The Capitol Hill switchboard is 202 224-3121. (Click these links to identify your senators and representative.)

Special Note: To learn more about the health care “reform” debate, request the powerful new DVD from Coral Ridge Ministries, The Health Care Lie!

Coral Ridge Ministries Logo

Post Office Box 1920
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33302-1920
1-800-988-7884
www.coralridge.org

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White Coats In The Rose Garden

October 7, 2009

Those White Coats In The Rose Garden

IBD: 7 Oct. 2009

Politics: The administration stages a photo-op with handpicked doctors who support its health care reform. Fortunately, most doctors still believe that the first rule of medicine is to do no harm.

It would seem some doctors still make house calls. Some 150 of them made one at the White House Monday in an attempt to give a booster shot to the administration’s chaotic and stalled health care reform drive.

Rather than a grass-roots uprising of physicians, this was a classic case of AstroTurfing.

Attendance was by invitation only, and 40 of the 150 were said to be members of Doctors for America, a reincarnation of the Doctors for Obama arm of the Obama campaign that boasts of having more than 15,000 members.

The physicians were told to bring their white lab coats with them to make sure the TV cameras to capture the proper image. Those who just showed up wearing suits or dresses were provided with lab coats hastily rustled up.

White House spokesman Reid Cherlin insisted that the doctors “were not invited based on their support for a public option.” We’d like a second opinion on that. Doctors for America as an organization embraces a government-run insurance option.

“It just appears that the president of the United States, at this point, is choosing to meet only those who support his agenda,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers, a Maryland pediatrician and congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program, a group not invited.

Perhaps the reason is statements such as Dr. Flowers’ that the “current health reform being written in Congress, particularly that being put together in the Senate Finance Committee (by Sen. Max Baucus), will not be universal and will not control health costs. … It will not produce a health care system that uses our health care dollars wisely.”

The fact is, most doctors are not happy with either the House bill or the Baucus bill. “This is war,” Dr. George Watson, a Kansas physician and president-elect of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, told FoxNews.com. “This is a bureaucratic boondoggle to grab control of health care. Everything that has been proposed in the 1,018-page bill will contribute to the ruination of medicine.”

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the AAPS, told the Washington Examiner: “Promised coverage is not the same thing as care. All you’re getting is a place in the waiting lines.”

A survey last fall of 270,000 primary care physicians by the Physicians Foundation found that if health care reform passes, 30% expect to see fewer patients, 13% will find something that does not involve patient care and 11% plan to retire altogether.

No less than the Mayo Clinic has given proposed reform two thumbs down. “The proposed legislation,” Mayo says on its policy blog, “misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients. In fact, it will do the opposite.”

Our own IBD/TIPP Poll found that 72% of the doctors polled disagree with the administration’s claim that the government can cover 47 million more people with better-quality care at lower cost. Two-thirds, or 65%, of more than 1,300 randomly selected doctors say they oppose the proposed government expansion plan.

Nearly half, or 45%, said they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passes the plan the Democratic majority and White House have in mind.

Considering that we have around 800,000 practicing physicians, that’s a lot more than belong to Doctors for Obama, er, America and more than showed up in the Rose Garden. And they will take their white lab coats with them.

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Broke

October 5, 2009

This should be read and understood by all Americans—Democrats, Republicans, EVERYONE!!

healthcare


To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature,

It is now official—you are ALL corrupt morons:

  • The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775—you have had 234 years to get it right—and it is broke.
  • Social Security was established in 1935—you have had 74 years to get it right—and it is broke.
  • Fannie Mae was established in 1938—you have had 71 years to get it right—and it is broke.
  • War on Poverty started in 1964—you have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor”—and they only want more.
  • Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965—you have had 44 years to get it right—and they are broke.
  • Freddie Mac was established in 1970—you have had 39 years to get it right—and it is broke.
  • The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, it has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before—you had 32 years to get it right—and it is an abysmal failure.

You have FAILED in every “government service” you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars—AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM??

Are you crazy, or do you just believe all Americans are morons too???

Truly, the inmates are running the asylum—and what does this say about us, as voters who put such idiots in office??  If we do not vote against EVERY incumbent currently in office—we are ALL morons, regardless of our political leanings.

“Govt. medicine, the best patient is a dead one”

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The Revolt Up North

October 2, 2009

The Revolt Up North

IBD: 1 Oct. 2009

Health Care Systems: A return to private health care is rising from the grass roots north of the border. While we rush headlong toward socialized medicine, Canadians are saying, “No, thanks — been there, done that.”

We recently told the story of Ava Isabella Stinson, born 13 weeks premature at St. Joseph’s hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. She weighed all of two pounds and had no time to be put on a waiting list. But there were no open neonatal intensive care beds for her at St. Joseph’s or anywhere else in the entire province of Ontario it seems.

Canada’s perfectly planned and cost-effective system had no room at the inn for Ava, who of necessity had to be sent across the border to a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital to suffer under this supposedly chaotic and costly system of ours. She got the care she needed at an American hospital under a system the administration has labeled “unsustainable.”

Canadians are getting sick of this — many quite literally. Last year, Calgary resident Christina Woodkey went to her local government-run health clinic when her leg pain became so severe she could no longer hike or ski. She was told she needed to see a hip specialist, but because her condition was not life-threatening, she’d have to wait a year.

In January, while she was waiting, she was told she needed a back specialist as the pain was likely being caused by a narrowing of the spine that was compressing her nerves. She was told she could see the back specialist this month about possible surgery a year and a half after that. Instead, she drove across the border into Montana and got the needed surgery done in two days.

As a result of Canada’s health woes, a network of private health clinics has spring up. More than 70 private clinics in British Columbia now schedule simple surgeries and tests in as quickly as a week. Such clinics are also opening all over Quebec. They are technically illegal, and a court case in October may settle the matter.

“What we have in Canada is access to a government, state-mandated waiting list,” says Brian Day, former director of the Canadian Medical Association, who now runs his own private clinic in Vancouver. “You cannot force a citizen in a free and democratic society to simply wait for health care, and outlaw their ability to extricate themselves from a wait list.”

At least Canada doesn’t threaten the voluntarily uninsured with incarceration.

The door to re-privatizing health care in Canada was opened in 2005, when the Canadian Supreme Court answered the question of whether health care can be effectively delivered by the same people who deliver the mail. The answer was no.

The case was brought by George Zeliotis, who needed and wanted hip-replacement surgery but was told by the government he had to wait a year. He told the government that was too long and he’d pay for his own surgery. That was illegal. But instead of heading south to a hospital in Boston, Buffalo or Cleveland, as many Canadians do, he sued.

Canada’s high court found that “delays in the public health care system are widespread and that, in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care.” As Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote, “Access to a waiting list is not access to health care.”

This is what we can look forward to as the health care system is dismantled and replaced with one where cost takes precedence over care and where health care decisions that are now made between you and your doctor will be made by a government bureaucrat and a computer.

We hope the Canadian courts once again decide that the first rule of government as well as medicine should be to do no harm. Canadians have routinely made a run to the border to get the health care they need. Soon the traffic might be Americans headed in the other direction.

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45% of Doctors Would Consider Quiting

September 16, 2009

45% Of Doctors Would Consider Quitting If Congress Passes Health Care Overhaul

By TERRY JONES
News Analysis by IBD
| 16 Sept. 09

Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.


IBD Exclusive Series: Condition Critical: What Doctors Think About Health Reform


The poll contradicts the claims of not only the White House, but also doctors’ own lobby — the powerful American Medical Association — both of which suggest the medical profession is behind the proposed overhaul.

It also calls into question whether an overhaul is even doable; 72% of the doctors polled disagree with the administration’s claim that the government can cover 47 million more people with better-quality care at lower cost.

The IBD/TIPP Poll was conducted by mail the past two weeks, with 1,376 practicing physicians chosen randomly throughout the country taking part. Responses are still coming in, and doctors’ positions on related topics — including the impact of an overhaul on senior care, medical school applications and drug development — will be covered later in this series.

Major findings included:

• Two-thirds, or 65%, of doctors say they oppose the proposed government expansion plan. This contradicts the administration’s claims that doctors are part of an “unprecedented coalition” supporting a medical overhaul.

It also differs with findings of a poll released Monday by National Public Radio that suggests a “majority of physicians want public and private insurance options,” and clashes with media reports such as Tuesday’s front-page story in the Los Angeles Times with the headline “Doctors Go For Obama’s Reform.”

Nowhere in the Times story does it say doctors as a whole back the overhaul. It says only that the AMA — the “association representing the nation’s physicians” and what “many still regard as the country’s premier lobbying force” — is “lobbying and advertising to win public support for President Obama’s sweeping plan.”

The AMA, in fact, represents approximately 18% of physicians and has been hit with a number of defections by members opposed to the AMA’s support of Democrats’ proposed health care overhaul.

• Four of nine doctors, or 45%, said they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passes the plan the Democratic majority and White House have in mind.

More than 800,000 doctors were practicing in 2006, the government says. Projecting the poll’s finding onto that population, 360,000 doctors would consider quitting.


View larger image

• More than seven in 10 doctors, or 71% — the most lopsided response in the poll — answered “no” when asked if they believed “the government can cover 47 million more people and that it will cost less money and the quality of care will be better.”

This response is consistent with critics who complain that the administration and congressional Democrats have yet to explain how, even with the current number of physicians and nurses, they can cover more people and lower the cost at the same time.

The only way, the critics contend, is by rationing care — giving it to some and denying it to others. That cuts against another claim by plan supporters — that care would be better.

IBD/TIPP’s finding that many doctors could leave the business suggests that such rationing could be more severe than even critics believe. Rationing is one of the drawbacks associated with government plans in countries such as Canada and the U.K. Stories about growing waiting lists for badly needed care, horror stories of care gone wrong, babies born on sidewalks, and even people dying as a result of care delayed or denied are rife.

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Taxing High-End Health Plans May Pit Obama Vs. Labor Allies

September 15, 2009

Taxing High-End Health Plans May Pit Obama Vs. Labor Allies

By JED GRAHAM, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY 14 Sept. 09

President Obama will likely enjoy a warm reception when he speaks at the AFL-CIO convention on Tuesday, but Big Labor isn’t happy about his latest idea for how to pay for a health care overhaul.

His speech to Congress last week left out House Democrats’ plan to slap a surcharge on high earners. Instead, he embraced taxing insurers on high-cost health plans, which is part of Senate efforts to craft a centrist bill.

Obama offered few specifics beyond a slimmer $900 billion price tag. But his financing idea is drawing fire from union allies, driving home how difficult it will be to pay for even a scaled-down health bill.

In his Sept. 9 speech, Obama made the idea sound like a no-brainer:

“This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies, which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money — an idea which has the support of Democratic and Republican experts.”

He added, “This modest change could help hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long run.”

The idea of taxing insurers on high-value plans emerged in July as an alternative to the more politically controversial idea of limiting the open-ended subsidy for employer-provided health benefits. The latter approach, which would tax some non-wage income, would directly affect take-home pay.

But while taxing insurers is more appealing to lawmakers, the version floated by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus last week has hit a raw nerve.

Baucus proposed a 35% excise tax on the value of policies in excess of $21,000 a year for families and $8,000 for individuals.

That threshold “would capture a significant number of rank-and-file worker plans,” said Chuck Loveless, director of legislation at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Union workers tend to enjoy generous health benefits, so they would be particularly affected.

AFL-CIO’s incoming president, Richard Trumka, said Sept. 1 that Big Labor strongly opposes any tax on employer-based benefits.

Loveless says the excise tax would be unfair to people in parts of the U.S. with higher health care costs, such as New York, despite a proposed three-year transition.

And the Baucus plan would only index exemption levels to the consumer price index. So more-modest plans would quickly be affected as health costs outpaced inflation.

This is “a major concern of the entire labor movement,” Loveless said. “We’re very focused on it and working with various senators to increase the threshold and change the form of indexation.”

Higher Taxes, Pass It On

Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy & Strategy Associates, said the Baucus tax on health care policies, in effect, “appoints the insurance industry to the IRS,” since the tax would merely be shifted onto customers in the form of higher premiums.

As that becomes widely known, the excise tax may lose its appeal.

But it would raise about $150 billion over 10 years, says Daniel Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas Research Partners.

Clifton notes that the tax would raise more money over time due to the inflation indexing. That could be key, since any health bill passed via reconciliation would have to be deficit-neutral in later years.

But Clifton continues to expect Congress to shrink the cost of reform to $800 billion “to make it more politically palatable.”

In addition to the excise tax on insurance policies, the Baucus plan also slaps a tax on insurers equal to $6 billion a year, which also would be passed to customers, Laszewski said. Drugmakers would face a $2.3 billion annual tax hike, medical device makers $4 billion, clinical labs $750 million.

Obama’s new financing plan isn’t the only concern of liberals. They’re also unhappy about his sub-$1-trillion price tag.

“I’m worried about a federal law that requires people to buy health insurance,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the union-friendly Campaign for America’s Future. “Democrats need to ensure that there are adequate subsidies so that people can actually afford coverage.”

Without generous subsidies, he sees potential for a “middle-class backlash.”

But increasing subsidies would raise the overall price tag, exacerbating deficit and tax concerns.

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Cartoon: Obama’s Shark

September 15, 2009