Tuesday, October 13, 2009

That "Cadillac Tax"? Looks More Like A "Minivan Tax"

If I may quote the New York Times:

A proposed tax on high-cost, or “Cadillac,” health insurance plans has touched off a fierce clash between the Senate and the House as they wrestle over how to pay for legislation that would provide health benefits to millions of uninsured Americans.

Supporters, including many senators, say that the tax is essential to tamping down medical spending and that over 10 years it would generate more than $200 billion, nearly a fourth of what is needed to pay for the legislation.

Critics, including House members and labor unions, say the tax would quickly spiral out of control and hit middle-class workers, people more closely associated with minivans than Cadillacs...

The tax, a provision of the bill to be voted on Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee, is one of the few remaining proposals under consideration by Congress that budget experts say could lead directly to a reduction in health care spending over the long term, by prompting employers and employees to buy cheaper insurance.

In other words, everyone who has a halfway decent medical plan is going to get hit with an increase - some say up to 40% - in their premiums. Thus, the middle-class will be essentially footing the majority of the bill for uninsured Americans. And what will they get in return for this? Well, Obama's budget experts are hoping they get worse medical care, as the spiraling costs will either force employers to buy shittier plans for their employees, or dump them entirely into a "public option", or "exchange".

Jennifer Rubin notes the lies and impossibilities of this approach:

....the idea that the problem will be “solved” by taking away current health-care benefits runs smack into Obama’s promise that we’ll all get to keep the health-care benefits we have.
Apparently we won’t.

And let’s suppose all employers cut back so there aren’t so many Cadillac plans out there. Where is the money going to come from to pay for the whole scheme? We were promised, you recall, that this reform was going to save money. Well, not if the tax doesn’t materialize.

You can’t help but marvel at what’s going on here. The Democrats are fighting among themselves on how to tax and slash health-care benefits for their own constituents.

And of course, let's assume the Democrats are politically unable to cut Medicare by $500 billion, as they promise. Doesn't this bring the price tag closer to $1.5 trillion rather than the $800 billion the Dems are touting? And what about the second ten years of socialized medicine?

Ah, socialism. How many middle-class Americans voted for Barack Obama, thinking he would tax the rich and give them their fair share? Seems like they're finding out a bit to late that under this system, they're the ones who are rich, and it's their "wealth" that will be spread....

Explained here by Robert Reich:

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