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Thread: For consideration

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by M&K's Retrievers View Post
    What cut and paste?
    Sorry about the confusion. Replace the first "you" with "I". Get it now.

  2. #12
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    To keep this thread fair and balanced I thought I should post this article from a person on the right. Well at least he was the former President's speech writer who worked for a right wing think tank until today.

    How GOP can rebound from its 'Waterloo'

    Editor's note: David Frum writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, he was special assistant to President Bush in 2001-2. He is the author of six books, including "Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again" and the editor of FrumForum.

    Washington (CNN) -- What the hell do we Republicans do now?

    In the very short run, our course is obvious enough: There will be more votes on health care in the Senate, and we will vote nay again. But this is anti-climax territory. The decisive vote occurred Sunday night.

    The "what next?" question pertains to the days further ahead, after President Obama signs the merged House-Senate legislation and "Obamacare" becomes the law of the land.

    Some Republicans talk of repealing the whole bill. That's not very realistic. Even supposing that Republicans miraculously capture both houses of Congress in November, repeal will require a presidential signature.

    More relevantly: Do Republicans write a one-sentence bill declaring that the whole thing is repealed? Will they vote to reopen the "doughnut" hole for prescription drugs for seniors? To allow health insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions? To kick millions of people off Medicaid?

    It's unimaginable, impossible.

    But there are things that can be done, and here are some early priorities:

    1) One of the worst things about the Democrats' plan is the method of financing: an increase in tax on high-income earners. At first that tax bites only a very small number, but the new taxes will surely be applied to larger and larger portions of the American population over time.

    Republicans champion lower taxes and faster economic growth. We need to start thinking now about how to get rid of these new taxes on work, saving and investment -- if necessary by finding other sources of revenue, including carbon taxes.

    2) We should quit defending employment-based health care. The leading Republican spokesman in the House on these issues, Rep. Paul Ryan, repeatedly complained during floor debate that the Obama plan would "dump" people out of employer-provided care into the exchanges. He said that as if it were a bad thing.

    Yet free-market economists from Milton Friedman onward have identified employer-provided care as the original sin of American health care. Employers choose different policies for employees than those employees would choose for themselves. The cost is concealed.

    Wages are depressed without employees understanding why. The day when every employee in America gets his or her insurance through an exchange will be a good day for market economics. It's true that the exchanges are subsidized. So is employer-provided care, to the tune of almost $200 billion a year.

    3) We should call for reducing regulation of the policies sold inside the health care exchanges. The Democrats' plans require every policy sold within the exchanges to meet certain strict conditions.

    American workers will lose the option of buying more basic but cheaper plans. It will be as if the only cable packages available were those that include all the premium channels. No bargains in that case. Republicans should press for more scope for insurers to cut prices if they think they can offer an attractive product that way.

    4) The Democratic plan requires businesses with payrolls more than $500,000 to buy health insurance for their workers or face fines of $2,000 per worker. Could there be a worse time to heap this new mandate on smaller employers? Health insurance comes out of employee wages, plain and simple. Employers who do not offer health insurance must compete for labor against those who do -- and presumably pay equivalent wages for equivalent work.

    Uninsured employees have now through the exchanges been provided an easy and even subsidized way to buy their own coverage. There is no justification for the small-business fine: Republicans should press for repeal.

    That platform is ambitious enough -- but also workable, enactable and likely to appeal to voters. After 18 months of overheated rhetoric, it's time at last for Republicans to get real.

    I've been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes, it mobilizes supporters -- but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.

    Now the overheated talk is about to get worse. Over the past 48 hours, I've heard conservatives compare the House bill to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 -- a decisive step on the path to the Civil War. Conservatives have whipped themselves into spasms of outrage and despair that block all strategic thinking.

    Or almost all. The vitriolic talking heads on conservative talk radio and shock TV have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination.

    When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say -- but what is equally true -- is that he also wants Republicans to fail.

    If Republicans succeed -- if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office -- Rush's listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less and hear fewer ads for Sleep Number beds.

    So today's defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it's mission accomplished.

    For the cause they purport to represent, however, the "Waterloo" threatened by GOP Sen. Jim DeMint last year regarding Obama and health care has finally arrived all right: Only it turns out to be our own.

  3. #13
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Good article.

  4. #14
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    Good article, in some respects. I thought.

    1) Maybe they actually planned it that way? Makes it appear that the only the "rich" will be taxed, but without an index that changes over time. Sort of what happened with the original concept of the Federal income tax.

    However, I can't quite reconcile how carbon taxes could be a positive thing for employers or their employees (meaning "us"). Replacing one govt imperative (health care coverage) with another (carbon taxes) would just be a "wash" for economic stimulation.

    2) I agree with #2. There is no real reason to continue to rely on employers providing health care coverage. If there is a way for individuals to participate in a larger "group" and receive the actuarial benefits thereof, employers can concern themselves with purely wage compensation.

    3) Logic doesn't quite work for me. The only way that one can maintain actuarial integrity of covering some of the high-cost "requirements" is by mandating that everyone pay a portion of those costs even if they are highly unlikely to use the services For example, everyone's policy includes maternity coverage even if they never use that benefit. Any "overage" from those premiums collected can also be used to offset some of the costs for covering the pre-existing conditions that were not covered before.

    OTOH, co-pays of even $20 for most customary care, could be very useful to overall cost-control and actuarial integrity. The legislators should have not presumed that private insurance companies were mathematically "dumb" when they utilized that mechanism.
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    I think this is a good article as well:

    Source: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Manhattan-Moment/Obamacare-the-day-after-89005267.html
    Paul Howard, Washington Examiner, 3-24-10
    Let's offer this concession to President Obama and House Speaker Pelosi: if everything in the health-care reform legislation plays out exactly as they claim over the next 20 years, the U.S. health-care sector will become a beacon of productivity, cost increases will slow, the deficit will shrink, and health-care stakeholders—doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and patients—will live together happily ever after. That's unlikely in the extreme.

    The historic legislation passed by the House Sunday night builds exploding costs and deficit spending into its structure via a system of subsidies and budget gimmicks. After campaigning for a year to get health-care costs under control, President Obama will sign a law that spends trillions to expand coverage but does little to contain costs. As a result, we've created yet another entitlement program that the country can ill afford.

    Middle-class families who don't get health-care insurance through their employers will receive generous taxpayer-provided subsidies, starting in 2014, to buy health insurance through the bill's insurance exchanges. Currently, employees who do get insurance at work pay for it out of their own compensation (through reduced salaries and pensions). The subsidies will eventually create enormous political pressure to move more people into the exchanges, driving up government spending.

    The legislation imposes draconian mandates on insurers: "guaranteed issue," which forces insurers to sell to any applicant, and "community rating," which requires them to offer cheaper coverage to older, sicker applicants by charging younger ones more (the bill mandates a maximum 3-to-1 ratio for age-adjusted premiums). It bans lifetime limits on coverage by insurers while placing caps on individuals' out-of-pocket spending. All of these measures will help drive up insurance costs in the individual market. (The Congressional Budget Office estimates that insurance premiums will rise 10 percent to 13 percent in this market, but many analysts think that’s a low-ball figure.)

    Since federal regulations on insurance will operate in addition to existing state mandates, provider groups will continuously lobby Washington to add new mandates, boosting insurance costs still higher.

    The legislation's funding is Madoffian in structure. The CBO estimated that the new law would slash the federal deficit by about $138 billion in its first decade. But this is true only if you think that you can rob Peter to pay Paul.

    For instance, the "savings" includes $53 billion in new Social Security revenues—but those revenues should be earmarked for Social Security, not a new entitlement. Scratch that out.

    The purported savings also include $70 billion in premiums for a new voluntary long-term care program, called CLASS. But CLASS is an insurance scheme. Premiums must be held in reserve to cover future payments. Scratch that out, too.

    Further, the savings estimates ignore as much as $114 billion in appropriations needed to get Obamacare up and running. Taken together, these three charges are more than enough to wipe out any expected deficit reduction in the first decade.

    And all this is on top of the program's biggest gimmick: close to $500 billion in cuts to Medicare reimbursements. Democrats claim that the reductions both shore up the Medicare program and help fund new coverage expansions, but they can't do both. Medicare faces a staggering $38 trillion long-term deficit. Putting the program on solid financial footing should be the top priority. Instead, Democrats are using Medicare savings to fund a new entitlement program.

    Obamacare's defenders argue that reimbursement cuts and a new Medicare super-committee empowered to drive Medicare reforms from the top down will usher in productivity savings, as hospitals and doctors become more efficient to make up for lost revenue. In a market environment, where firms compete for consumer dollars based on price and quality, this might actually happen.

    But in Obama's post-reform world, the competition will be fought most fiercely on K Street, as interest groups lobby Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Medicare officials to tilt the rules (and spending) in their favor.

    At the end of the day, President Obama has won the biggest expansion of the government since Medicare's creation in 1965. What should conservatives do next? While repeal sounds like an attractive line of attack, it would be extremely difficult—requiring a supermajority in Congress—especially once the subsidy spigot opens in 2014. Moreover, America's health-care woes would still need to be addressed. The more sensible approach might be to reform the reforms: to take the shell of Obamacare and make it market-friendly.

    Conservative policymakers could replace the sliding-scale subsidies (which discourage work with high marginal tax rates) with a single flat-tax deduction or tax credit, funded by phasing out the employer tax deduction.

    Risk pools can be expanded with federal dollars and made permanent to cover the highest-cost patients who can't afford to buy their own insurance without help. Real interstate competition would help lower insurance costs. Exchanges are a sound idea but should be lightly regulated to hold down prices. The federal government should also concentrate on creating transparency in health care so that consumers can easily compare price and quality.

    Finally, medical malpractice reform would help reduce the practice of defensive medicine, saving billions every year.

    Further, Medicare reform must be separated out from health-care reform. The temptation to squeeze one entitlement to fund another is just too powerful. Instead, we should gradually transform Medicare into a premium-support initiative for private insurance, in which seniors choose their own private plans based on price and coverage. Medicare's Part D already operates this way.


    The battle over Obamacare has been fierce, bitter, and highly partisan. It's not likely to end now; on the contrary, the legislation's design guarantees fights for years to come. Conservatives should strive not just to fix its worst features, but more broadly, to make health care better for all Americans.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
    "Know in your heart that all things are possible. We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none ever happened." -Libby Fudim

    ​I don't use the PM feature, so just email me direct at the address shown above.

  6. #16
    Senior Member HuntsmanTollers's Avatar
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    Extremists on either side are bad for the country. The accusations made regarding to the far right can also be made against the far left. Does the generalizations either side make help? When Nancy Pelosi equates her actions to the Selma march is she not personnally attacking anyone in opposition? Yes the battle over health care has been partisan, I will not argue that point. The math made this a partisan issue because no compromise was required from the either party. That equals bad politics in a two party system. Promoting health care reform legislation and taking items off the table before discussions start is not a way to promote collaboration. In my opinion this bill hasn't done anything to control one of the biggest costs of health care in the US and that is administrative/policy costs. Now we have only added more administrative controls and personnel how is that going to control costs? You want to have a discussion let's discuss. If you want to enflame the conversation that easy to do, just target the extreme 10%. Unfortunately our news organizations have led us down this path because sensation sells. Whatever happened to reporters being fact finders and keepers of the public good? Now no matter what news source you read, the personal bias always seems to shine through. One of the things I learned in a college sociology class several years ago is that the left and right really aren't that far apart. Read articles in true left wing journals and compare them to articles in right wing journals. The line is more fuzzy and gray than most feel comfortable admitting.
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