Thursday, May 14, 2009

Obama Demands Cheaper Health Care

Oh, Canada, we love your health care ways. Everyone is covered. You just wait for hundreds of days.

Oh, Canada we think your ways are great. The only nit we'll pick. You will die... while you wait.

President Obama loves the Canadian system of health care and is working diligently to implement it in the United States. Now the president who is hard pressed to come up with $17 billion in "savings" from a federal budget he has expanded by a thousand billion or so is demanding that the private health care system cut its costs by $2,000 billion.

Tax hikes may pay for health care

Senators discuss increasing fees on alcohol, tobacco, soda


Associated Press

Washington — Senators are con­sidering limiting — but not eliminat­ing — the tax-free status of employer­provided health benefits to help pay for President Barack Obama’s plan to provide coverage to 50 million unin­sured Americans.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Tuesday that there are no easy options. Sen­ators began grappling with how to fi­nance guaranteed coverage, a corner­stone of Obama’s plan to overhaul the health care system. Independent ex­perts put the costs at $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

Obama sees a world in which doc­tors and hospitals compete to offer quality service at lower costs, and the savings help cover the uninsured. Turning that vision into reality re- mains the biggest challenge for the president and his backers, because hard cash — not just ideas — is re­quired to cover upfront costs of ex­panding coverage. The president put health care in­dustry leaders on notice Tuesday that he expects them to fulfill their dra­matic offer of $2 trillion in savings over 10 years. “I will hold you to your pledge to get this done,” Obama said in a letter released by the White House that went to groups representing in­surers, hospitals, doctors, drug mak­ers and others.

But those savings — even if the in­dustry delivers every penny — won’t all accrue to the government. So the fi­nancing package for Obama’s plan is likely to include a mix of tax increases and spending cuts in federal health programs.

Among the possibilities: tax in­creases on alcoholic beverages, tobac­co products and sugary soft drinks, and restrictions on other health care­related tax breaks, such as flexible spending accounts.

But some taxes don’t seem to be on the table, such as a federal sales levy to pay for health care or a new payroll tax.

Congressional leaders say they want to pass legislation in the Senate and House this summer.

On the controversial question of taxing health benefits, Baucus is stak­ing out a position that could put him at odds with Obama.

The president adamantly opposed such taxes during the campaign, argu­ing they would undermine job-based coverage. Obama’s aides now say he’s open to suggestions from Congress, even if he criticized Republican presi­dential rival John Mc Cain for propos­ing a sweeping version of the same ba­sic idea.

Baucus said he wants to modify the tax break, not abolish it.
“We are not going to repeal it,” he said.

Baucus suggested that the benefit could be limited by taxing health in­surance provided to high-income in­dividuals, although he did not specify at what income levels. He also said that plans offering rich benefits — for example, no co-payments or deducti­bles — might be taxed once their value exceeded a yet-to-be-determined threshold.

Employer-provided health insur­ance is considered part of workers’ compensation, but unlike wages, it is not taxed. The forgone revenue to the federal government amounts to about $250 billion a year.

President Obama, to health care industry on offer to save $2trillion

Pablo Martinez Monsivais /Associated Press

Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., center, and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, right, discuss overhauling the health care system.
So, let's get this straight... the president who has never actually run anything is telling the world's most dynamic health care system that it should destroy itself because he thinks it should be run his way... and we'll be taxed for that benefit.
IDIOCY: something notably stupid or foolish
That pretty much sums it up.


Can"t Find It?

Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

Blog Archive

Cost of Gasoline - Enter Your Zipcode or Click on Map

CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

My photo
Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)