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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 19, 2009 4:14 PM. The previous post in this blog was It's Election Day. The next post in this blog is On their way. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Didn't Bush want the same thing?

Senator Ron Wyden (R-N.Y.) is taking some heat these days for his proposal to tax the health care benefits Americans receive through their jobs.

Comments (20)

Bush also wanted y'all to investerate their health care monies in the stock market so's they could keep what they earneded.

Finding new groups to tax is going to be an interesting struggle since the govt is protecting more of these groups and we're running out of splinter groups to tax like smokers and high-income types. Give it a year before we have an ugly scene between Congress and the White House.

The other thing I noticed now that I re-read this, is the the public employee unions will lose gold-plated and subsidized insurance and have to take the ugly plain jane insurance.

Look for public employee unions to be exempted from universal health care.

What?!? Senator Ron Widen switched parties and moved to New York? As if his position isn't popular enough the party switch (Jon's R-NY) should show how misaligned Ron is with the people.

Yeah, this works. Every year in my working life, it seems reps from the insurance companies come to "open enrollment" Q&A sessions, bearing the bad news... a 20% increase over the year before. Sometimes it's 10%, but it always seems to be 20.

Mr. Wyden- I'm not an anti-everytax wackjob, but taxing something so expensive and bloated as health insurance is just political suicide. Go back to bird-dogging the oil companies and prove you deserve to be re-elected.

Mr. Wyden- I'm not an anti-everytax wackjob, but taxing something so expensive and bloated as health insurance is just political suicide.

Is that the same as wrong?

BTW: understatement of the year award for the "...anti-everytax wackjob..." line...

...except for the "wackjob" part.

Your word, not mine.

heh

"taxing something so expensive and bloated as health insurance"

To clarify, I think the thrust is to shove everyone into taking universal health care:

"The plan would eliminate employers as a source of insurance. Instead, businesses would convert the cost of coverage into additional salary for employees, according to Slate.com. Individuals would then be required to buy their own health care, which would be subsidized for families living below 400 percent of the poverty line."

So the issue is more getting people into universal health care, but I think by the stink they are raising, pub emp unions will somehow get a work-around while the rest of us are forced into taking govt med insurance.

What's rich about this is the biggest opposition is the Oregon Education Association (OEA). I can't believe I'm on the same side as this corrupt organization, but that's politics.

Today, the government takes away your ability to get private healthcare insurance. Tomorrow they direct you to state run hospitals, destine to eventually become like the hospital featured in One-Flew-Over-the-Cuckcoo's Nest. All of this brought to you by the current party running the state of Oregon and its senior Democratic Senator in DC.

Actually, it was a McCain proposal, not from Bush.

Before that, it was in Co-President Hillary's health care program.

Today, the government takes away your ability to get private healthcare insurance.

Yeah, like that's really great for most people.

I grew up in Vancouver Canada (1972-90) and I did not see the nightmares people seem to see in single-payer.
-I could see any licensed doctor-try that w/kaiser or pacificsource.
-Doctors don't spend time jawboning with bean counters over whether a procedure etc is covered by insurance
-Less paperwork by far than in the U.S.
-Hospitals and clinics are non-profits so they operate for less because there is no need to make a profit for shareholders or overpaid executives
-We already have socialized medicine-medicare and the VA. Try getting any politician to call for eliminating those programs-yeah right.
-Canadian doctors are still very well-paid; they still drive BMWs and live in nice parts of town
-Far fewer bankruptcies; as someone who has worked in collections I can tell you medical costs are a big reason for BKs
-My 81 yr old Dad had a hip replacement in Oct 2007 the wait list was pretty short and no out-of-pocket cost to him.

Forget about turning health care fringe benefits into straight cash raises. Hillary and McCain had the best idea: treat the fringe benefits as a taxable item. Reasons include (1) new revenue of between $150 and 200 billion to help move Obama's health budget, and (2) showing clearly that the gold-plated benefit packages have a higher market value than the bare-bones coverage. When you pay taxes on it, you try to curb your usage to avoid more taxes. That ought to be enough to get Obama's support but, for whatever reason, his health policy team refuses to accept it. Odd.

Individuals would then be required to buy their own health care, which would be subsidized for families living below 400 percent of the poverty line.

Interesting. The poverty level set by the feds for a family of 4 is $22,050.

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/09poverty.shtml

So a family of 4 with a household income of $88,000 would get subsidized health care? But not if they make $90k?


"the wait list was pretty short"

What the heck does short mean? It's still rationed health care. Otherwise, Canadians wouldn't be suing to have the right to private health care.

"When you pay taxes on it, you try to curb your usage to avoid more taxes."

So your company gives you health insurance and you will turn it down to pay less taxes? That would mean most govt employees would be looking at a large bill.

showing clearly that the gold-plated benefit packages have a higher market value than the bare-bones coverage

Just who is it you imagine is ignorant of this? One of the reasons I work for a place that pays me a lower cash wage than I could make somewhere else is because I make it up in the total compensation package: low co-pay health, dental, prescription and vision insurance for my whole family (and I pay no part of the premium) among other things. If I wanted I could easily find a different job that paid more in salary and less in benefits. Why is it wrong that I get to make that choice for myself?

So your company gives you health insurance and you will turn it down to pay less taxes?

I could see people turning down raises to stay under the 400% level to keep their insurance "subsidized", unless its a very large raise and offsets the difference.

My big question is...is this going to change the insurance industry at all? Right now insurance companies cannot deny you for any reason if you are getting coverage through your employer. But they can deny you for whatever they want if you get it yourself.
And this isnt small change for a lot of people. If it costs $1000/mo to cover your family, (pretty normal if you include what you and your employer pay) thats a lot of taxable income to be in your hands at the end of the year. Also, employers get volume discounts for more employees, individuals do not. So insurance could be a lot more expensive.


"My big question is...is this going to change the insurance industry at all?"

I should've quoted the sentence from the article before - but assume your answer is yes.

"With Republican co-sponsor Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah, Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has put forth a plan to provide universal health insurance to Americans.
The plan would eliminate employers as a source of insurance."

"If I wanted I could easily find a different job that paid more in salary and less in benefits."

Congratulations, the govt is working hard to force your hand.

"What the heck does short mean? It's still rationed health care. Otherwise, Canadians wouldn't be suing to have the right to private health care."

We have rationing here.It's called waiting while appealing your insurance companies' denial of coverage for your care or trying to get any care beyond basic "take 2 aspirin and call me tomorrow" from an overworked ER/free clinic doctor if you are uninsinsured.

As for the lawsuits I'm not opposed to allowing a private option too; most universal healthcare countries other than Canada allow for a private option.


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