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Health "reform" from Senate Democrats: Force us all to do business with insurance companies, then tax us for it

Gawd, they suck:

A new tax on employer-provided health insurance is emerging as a likely option to finance an overhaul of the nation's health-care system, key Democrats say, despite opposition from organized labor and possibly the Obama administration.

Critical details have yet to be resolved, including whether to tax the benefits of all workers regardless of income and what portion of their employer-paid insurance premiums to tax. But the idea won a surprising degree of acceptance during a closed-door meeting of the Senate Finance Committee this week, according to several people present. And once-fierce opposition among House Democrats is softening as lawmakers confront their limited options for raising the estimated $1.2 trillion that will be needed to pay for reform over the next decade.

Single payer, which has administrative costs of 3%, versus the 30% that goes to CEO salaries, profits, and heath care denial under health insurance for profit, would easily pay for itself. But single payer is off the table. Why?

So that the Finance Wing of the FKD, which runs the administration, can prserve CEO salaries, profits, and health care denial, and now guarantee them a market by law.

Yay! They suck. They really do suck. It's time to stop defending them.

NOTE Couldn't some clever person, like Bernie Sanders, introduce legislation to take away Congress's public option until the rest of us get one? (Assuming it's genuine, and not some scam like Schumer's.)

No votes yet


Submitted by lambert on

Would be nice to be able to lay out the Republican plan and the Republican, er, FKD plan next to each other...

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

mebbe later in the summer. Unless one of our other single payer contributors gets to it first.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

But this article from last May contains some interesting leads to follow up on.

(I'm still trying to get my takedown of the "people love their plans" idea together, and I'm feeling some urgency about it right now. But, dang, I hate slogging through polling data...)

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

From the WSJ, and the analyst (an economist) is very pro-McCain-plan, but good reading anyway because a lot of what he thinks is good about the plan is what horrifies me about it.

Mainly, note all the lines about reducing the amount people spend (or get their insurers to spend) on primary care, routine exams, etc. Brrrr.... That's what they call reducing health care expenses. Yup. I do that already: just don't go to the doctor. Not what I call a good long-term plan.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on">Talking points on the McCain plan [pdf] - at least, that's what it seems to be.

Veeeery innnnnnteresting...

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

It's time to stop defending them.

but "progressives" will embrace the suck. Send money now for enduring Democratic majorities!

Submitted by jawbone on

He was on the same program as Dr. David Himmelstein:

Bernie Sanders came on briefly, spoke glowingly of the benefits of his first choice which is single player, then said said it didn't have a chance. He will work for a public option where people 48-50 can join Medicare. Uh, what about people younger than that?

He also says he would like single payer administered at the state level, which set off alarm bells for me. We do see widely disparate standards for care when states can set their own standards. Shudder. And how does it work when people travel? Or companies have people in many different states? Or get sick while on business trips?

Perhaps with enough people making their choice known, dramatically, he could be persuaded. But the train is going to pull out of the station pretty soon.

Would we be better off with nothing done as opposed to what's being bruited about?

Submitted by jawbone on

The Repubs would give people --surprise, surprise!-- tax credits (to taxpayers?) to pay for their insurance.

Given the Democrats' control of Congress, the Republican plan has little chance of passage. But it reflects some Republican lawmakers' growing dissatisfaction with a bipartisan effort to fix the health-care system. Congressional leaders hope to pass a health-care overhaul this summer.

The government would run a health plan "with the compassion of the IRS, the efficiency of the post office, and the incompetence of Katrina," according to a summary of the Republicans' plan unveiled on Wednesday. Called the Patients' Choice Act, it would eliminate the tax break that employers receive for providing health-insurance benefits to their workers. Instead, it would give an annual tax credit of $2,300 to each individual and $5,700 to each family that they could use to offset the cost of their health insurance. Low-income families would get extra money to buy into private insurance plans.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said the system of employer-based coverage is becoming "a 21st century relic" as companies become less generous with benefits. (My emphasis)

The Repubs' plan would effectively move all insured persons into buying individual insurance from the for-profit Big Insurers. How ya like them apples, American publc?

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.), who is leading the effort to draft a health overhaul, said that while this Republican measure meets many of his goals, eliminating the tax incentives for employer-provided health benefits "would destroy the employer-based health-care system we have today."

Uh, yes it would and that's one of their objectives, Sen. Baucus. It's so nice to see both Baucus and the Repubs are so concerned about keeping the parasites in business. But, will the BHIPpers* dance with jou for this one?. Well, probably not, actually. They also want mandates to force everyone to buy their shit.

One comment about cost:

Karen Davenport, director of health policy at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund, said the Republican plan's tax subsidy wouldn't cover half of the cost of the average family's health-care premiums.

The individual credit would cover 18% of my state regulated individual single plan, which is not a "Cadillac plan" and far from gold plated. It would cover 11% of the more comprehensive plan with lower copays. Granted, I live in NJ and Big Insurers are not allowed to drop people and must cover preexisting conditions (I think...), and, per Frontline, it's one of several states with this requirement and costs run about a third higher in those states. Ooofff.

Again, I'm in my early 60's, but the rate for any individual payer is the same, whether 20 or 90. This is just one example of what the real world is like as opposed to what our pols seem to see.

And, that tax credit?? Doesn't that mean a person has to pay enough Federal taxes to get any of that "credit"? I do get confused between rebate and credit, but I"ve never had occasion to suss if out fully as applied to my taxes.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

if it works like the Earned Income Credit, you get the money back even if you pay no taxes.

OTOH, making you have to file to get it.

Plus... $2300 for an individual? In what universe?

Submitted by Anne on

is equal to approximately $18,000 in taxable income. Does it put that $18,000 in your pocket, or ensure that it it available to pay a health insurance premium? Hell, no.

Even as a refundable credit, who can find health insurance for $2,300 a year?

[Reminder: Watching Bill Moyers on single payer now...]

Submitted by hipparchia on


no comparison to the mccain plan, and the coburn/burr/ryan/nunes plan is the only republican plan included [the 'patients choice act' that jawbone references].

widget via ezra klein, who, now that he's at his new digs at the wapo, is getting more single payer advocates commenting on his posts. i don't know if this is because single payer is finally making it into the discourse, or if the readers of his former blog were a more narrow echo chamber.