Well, My Health Insurance Policy Just Became Illegal

My health insurance policy, which is an actual "insurance" policy that insures me against catastrophic medical costs but leaves me with responsibility for day to day expenses, just became illegal.   Over the last couple of years, I have documented my learning curve as, for the first time, I actually had an incentive to shop around for medical care, or to push back on doctors when I thought they are calling for too many tests and procedures.  I have learned a lot about saving money, but all of this education is now for naught, as I will now be required to buy a pre-paid medical policy that leaves very little of the decision-making to my family and provides zero incentives for me to be cost conscious.  Apparently, the operators of the US Postal Service and US military procurement felt they were better qualified to manage these cost/value trade-offs than I am.

Here, by the way, is my favorite quote from today, from Nancy Pelosi (who else):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the health care legislation for its ability to "unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power into our economy."

Only if one considers rent-seeking to be entrepreneurship.  There will certainly be a mad rush of special interests to Congress to get their pet procedure or drug included in national must-cover rules.  I discussed this rent-seeking process, which used to have to proceed inefficiently state by state but now can be achieved single-source, here.   Naturopath coverage, anyone? (already required under coverage rules in 4 states).   Already a lot of so-called medical research is really just thinly disguised pleas to have a certain procedure in must-cover rules.  For example, I wrote about one study:

In other words, the study surveyed a bunch of cosmetic surgeons.  They were asked "should an expensive procedure you provide be covered by insurance."  They all answered "Hell YES!"  Anyone want to bet whether the funding for the study came from the company that makes the laser equipment?

  • Mal

    "The only difference between truth and fiction is that fiction has to make sense."

  • mal
  • DKH

    It is astounding the number of trite statements made in support of the bill that are incredibly disingenuous. I can't tell whether these people are retarded or deluded or both.

    It's a bit out of date now, but:

    http://centristnetblog.com/daily-news/obama-today-on-obamacare-most-misleading-presidential-speech-in-american-history/

  • http://geistbearbrewing.com Thomas

    We can always hope for a Constitutional challenge in the Courts. (Yes I know how bad it is if we have to hope the courts will actually follow the constitution)

  • DKH

    Also, a glowing "ABC news special report" was just delivered to my TV that closed with a few points:

    "You can't be dropped from your coverage when you're sick." (What does this even mean? I see this repeated as though insurance companies are evil, but I assume people "get sick" and the company is dropping them because their condition was pre-existing.)
    "No lifetime caps on spending."
    "People with existing conditions will get coverage."
    and there was another point but I can't remember it.

    How do any of these points lead to cost control? Our media really screwed us on this one. Our insurance premiums are going to go up quickly in the near future. And people will be enraged at companies, as though they are acting maliciously.

  • ben

    A sad day not only for America, but the world, which has enjoyed the fruits of America's innovation.

    Regarding the Pelosi quote, I have been struck throughout the Obama presidency by how much of what he and leading Democrats says is exactly the opposite of what we should expect. It is obvious this new approach to delivery of medical services will not save money. It is obvious that lowering returns to investment will not encourage innovation.

    Even sadder, if that is possible, is that the marginal votes turned on... abortion funding. Never mind the chasm of illogic behind the entire idea or the $240 trillion in unfunded liability.

    The question now is what is the binding constraint on this new public behemoth. Since the voter does not reward fiscal responsibility, and since politicians want to be re-elected, and since this new medical enterprise is large enough to sink even the US government, the binding constraint is bankruptcy. And it will happen without warning. And it will seriously damage the economies of everyone, including those of us outside the US who do not have a say in your government. Five years? Maybe 10?

    A sad day not only for America, but the world.

  • Doug

    Here's my guess as to what is going to happen sometime in the immediate future. You will receive a letter and it will say:

    "As you are no doubt aware, there have been recent mandates from the federal government that govern your healthcare package. On one hand, we are now required to cap your payments. But on the other hand, we are now also required to enroll a whole generation of people who in the past were incapable of making ANY healthcare payments. This past month, many of those people, in compliance with the new federal law, simultaneously submitted their first $500 monthly premiums along with their claims for over $50,000 in past-due medical bills, along with the certitude of even higher future claims. By law, we cannot deny these new customers.

    It is impossible under any circumstances to turn a profit with this kind of business model.

    "Therefore, it is my unpleasant duty to inform you that our company has no other choice but to withdraw from this business, as there is simply no way we can any longer make any money in the field.

    "Your healthcare policy is hereby terminated. We thank you for your past patronage, and wish you good health in the future."

  • LoneSnark

    This could work. The ideal system would be one where everyone buys catastrophic coverage and then pays out of pocket for everything else. This system will do that!

    Everyone pays the fine, which is the regulated price for catastrophic coverage, and then pays out of pocket for all healthcare spending. Once they get sick, they sign up for insurance and start paying premiums subsidized by everyone else paying the fine.

    This works. Just set the fine so it roughly matches the price of catastrophic coverage and then go on television and tell everyone that is not currently sick to cancel their coverage to pay out of pocket. Brilliant!

  • Roy

    1865 just got reversed.

    Then, by force of arms, a unilaterally imposed right to some person's productivity became illegal. Now, by representative vote (opposing, as far as I can telll, the majority popular opinion) people gained the right to demand another person's time (productivity, life) at a reimbursed rate that person cannot negotiate.

    What makes some people believe slavery will work better this time around?

  • zero wolf

    "slavery will work better this time around because we have a kind, caring, well-educated priestly/governing class overseeing it. because these godlike creatures are immune to the foibles and frailties of normal humans, you may rest assured they will ensure the new slavery...er, "system" is *guaranteed* to be fair to all."

    "no, they're not covered by that particular health plan. why do you ask?"

  • a human

    self-insuring companies are exempt from most of the bad business consequences. wal-mart and other large self-insuring employers lobbied hard to be just about as exempt as government employees from this thing.

    self-insuring also includes a group of small businesses that agree to have a third party administer their claims collectively.

    there is a way around this, at least if the costs of self-insuring one's employees (or oneself, if sole proprietors want to group together to do this-- also allowed) are likely to be lower than the fines and current insurance expenses.

  • http://www.health-insurance-chicago.info/ DEBRA

    This article is terrific and up to date. I totally agree with the writer regarding all this stuff.
    I also came across a site that seemed interesting to me regarding the same issue,you can also check out them at http://www.health-insurance-chicago.info/
    Thanks

  • Methinks

    A human,

    There are also a million ways around the taxes they wish to impose on the top 2% of earners pay for this. Now, that's a scary thought for the future of anyone looking to rely on this POS law to actually get medical treatment. The whole thing hinges (poorly) on successfully robbing the most clever and entrepreneurial people in the country. Oh, that'll work. There are a million different perfectly legal ways to avoid paying the tax - Including kicking back and not working so danged much. What's the point? And life is short.

  • http://maxedoutmama.blogspot.com MaxedOutMama

    Well, very little changes until 2013(first taxes) and 2014, so I would not get too upset about this.

    And truthfully, what would really happen is that most companies would drop health insurance, and most people would too. I don't see this legislation ever becoming law - the costs mandated are too high.

    The real motive of the bill is to cut Medicare drastically without revealing it.

  • Danny

    This bill is so poorly designed that it makes single payer look palatable.

  • http://CoyoteBlog Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas

    The government is going to have to come and get me.

  • Mark

    @Doug: That is actually the plan. They will slowly make it more and more difficult for the private companies to stay in business, but making more and more legislative demands for more service, and at the same time legislate more caps. When the Insurance companies give up en mass, and when Hospitals go bankrupt, the government will step in as heros, and keep open the bankrupt hospitals and take over the insurance that the private companies can no longer provide.

    This is exactly what happened to the student loan program. It was private, and dem senators grumbled about giving profits to the banks, they actually created a private loan service - which no one liked to use because the service was so bad, it became a "bank of last resort" since that didn't work they legislated lower returns for the banks, so that Student loans became unprofitable. Banks stopped lending, and students and parents complained. The Government stepped in and now the student loan program is federalized.

  • Chris K.

    Not mine, from here:
    http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2009/11/by-any-means-necessary.html

    Though I find much in the life, philosophy and words of Malcolm X with which I disagree, there is one phrase of which I am perhaps more fond than he:

    By Any Means Necessary.

    This great Republic is filled with men who - like me - will not submit to tyranny.

    Though I have maintained medical insurance throughout my adult life - at great expense, especially during periods of unemployment - This I vow:
    if this disgusting travesty is signed into law I will immediately and permanently drop my coverage.

    Further, I will take any and all possible steps to avoid paying any taxes or penalties associated with this ridiculous abuse of power.

    Let me be plain: I hereby announce my intention to do everything within my power to willfully violate the so-called "coverage mandate" - for no other reason than the fact that I am a free man and will not be subjugated by this or any other regime.

    Let this statement serve as my declaration and confession of guilt - if I am without coverage it is due to a deliberate and willful act on my part.

    Further, let this serve as a warning that I will resist any and all attempts to use physical force to compel my compliance (or punish my non-compliance) by any and all means which are or may come to my disposal.

    By Any Means Necessary.

    Let me be clear: I have always maintained health insurance and will continue to do so - but an out-of-control government's demand that I do is probably the only thing which could PREVENT me from doing so.

    I am a citizen, not a subject.

    I will not submit.

    I will resist.

    By Any Means Necessary.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    My health insurance policy, which is an actual “insurance” policy that insures me against catastrophic medical costs but leaves me with responsibility for day to day expenses, just became illegal

    Not so fast:

    States Say They’ll Challenge Health Bill for Costs, Mandate

    This is far from over. It’s just beginning, really.

    [prediction: it gets gutted and/or tossed, or there's an armed uprising]

  • Dr. T

    Health Care Financing Plan Winners:

    Government bureaucrats (There will be many new agencies, commissions, bureaus, departments, coordinating groups, etc.)

    Health care lobbyists (There will be more corporatism than ever before, so there will be much demand for lobbyists.)

    Federal politicians (Health care industry lobbyists will offer cash bribes, high salary no-show jobs for relatives and friends, junkets, and high pay consultant or lobbyist jobs once the politician leaves office.)

    Copycat health care companies (These are drug and medical device companies that spend their minimal R & D budgets making "me-too" clones of drugs and devices invented by other companies. They'll do better than the companies who actually innovate.)

    Inefficient hospitals (They should fail, but Obamacare will inoculate them against bad management and low quality care.)

    Mediocre and incompetent physicians (Obamacare will induce many physicians to retire early. Obamacare will induce many people to over-utilize medical care. The combination will produce low supply and high demand, resulting in job security for physicians who should have been drummed out of the profession.)

    Middle-aged to 65-year-old people in poor health or with chronic medical problems (They normally would pay very high premiums for full-coverage health insurance, but, under ObamaCare, their premiums will be subsidized by younger and healthier persons.)

    --------------

    Remember, SSA no longer stands for Social Security Administration. It stands for Socialized States of America.

  • IgotBupkis

    Warren, if you haven't seen this, you'll enjoy it. Penn and Teller debunk "Alternative Medicine"

    It's just the kind of ridiculous crap that will become mandated coverages -- Reflexology, "Magnetic Healing", and Chiropractic Care.

    Penn & Teller -- BS: Alternative Medicine

    You can probably rent it through Netflix/Blockbuster, or you can go the "cheap route" and watch it on YouTube... Here is part 1 of 3

    ============
    DKH:
    > I can’t tell whether these people are retarded...

    Anyone who supported this bill with a straight face and a serious intent is inarguably retarded.

    I have made the case before that Dems have a really low WQ (Wisdom Quotient -- analogous to IQ, but the intelligence metrics related to wisdom/common sense as opposed to "book learning", which is what IQ scores). It's clear some of these people have negative IQs as well --

    >>> Democratic opponents of abortion rights, led by Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, announced that they would vote for the legislation after Mr. Obama promised to issue an executive order “to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services” if the bill passed.

    In related news, male teenagers announce that they all "promise to pull out" before they come. Democratic parents of teenaged girls celebrate wildly...

    How long before an "executive order" comes down which reverses this call? How long before some libtard judicial fiat declares it to be unConstitutional?

    Q.E.D. -- retarded

    ===================
    ** Graphically **
    ===================

    I'm curious how many districts are going to actually elect/re-elect Dems at all in November. Not a one, if there's a lick of sense in the electorate.

  • Doug

    @IgotBupkis: "how many districts are going to actually re-elect Dems in November?" I can think of one: San Francisco. You could run Pol Pot himself in San Francisco. Or Saddam Hussein. As long as anyone has a "-D" after his name, he'll automatically take 90% of the vote. San Franciscans are that crazy. How else does one explain Ms. Peloski?

  • Caroline

    I've also worried that this new health bill will outlaw catastrophic plans.

    My health plan's fairly low cost because it's a high deductible plan (it covers more stuff than a catastrophic, but it's still costs less).
    Your plan can be low cost despite all the mandatory bells and whistles if you have a high deductible. I haven't seen anything in the new health bill that outlaws high deductible plans. And of course, the reason you have health insurance is not to get more care, but so that the insurance company will "adjust" the doctor's price.

    If you decide not to get health insurance at all, know that you can object to mandatory coverage in 2014 if you fake a religious objection.
    I like how a business with over 50 employees has to buy health insurance. So if you hire 49 people, be prepared to split your firm in half. This begs the question though, what if your an employer with a religious objection? Does a Christian Scientistist employer have to pay for employee health coverage? The 50 employee mandatory rule kicks in only if one of your employees gets a federal subsidy for his health care. Does this mean you can fire that person for getting a federal subsidy (you can fire anyone for any reason except for race and sex)

  • dlr

    I read that it is being challenged by attorney generals in 12 states for being illegal. Maybe that will slow them down enough for the mid-term elections. I heard some idiot say that even if the Republican's got control of the Senate, they wouldn't be able to 'do anything about it' because they wouldn't, can't, get a veto proof majority. Which is just nonsense. All they need is a majority. Then, if they really want to derail this thing all they have to do is zero out all budget appropriations for it, or the parts of it they find objectionable.

    Oh, well, I also read somewhere that the universal coverage thing doesn't kick in until 2014, so, if that's true, you still have a few years still to stay with affordable health care.

  • Michael

    If this law stands, it sets the precedent that the federal government for force Americans to buy a product or service they don't want from the private sector or face punitive government action.

    What's next. Buy GM or jail.

  • SSH

    This is so dumb. I want to have insurance that doesn't cover me if I develop diabetes, its so much cheaper! And I drink diet soda, so I should be OK, right?

  • Nathan

    It baffles me that Americans think this is a bad idea. You folks realise the rest of the first world did this decades ago right? It isn't "communism", it isn't "governments taking over", it's simply giving people access to health. Something so basic and normal to the rest of us that we can't see what all the fuss is over. Providing quality health care is never going to be profitable. The profits are only there if people aren't using the service. What kind of weird model is that?

    I know it isn't your fault. Your entire nation runs in such a way that you fear anything you don't understand or anything that changes the status-quo. Let me say as someone who has visited your fair nation and seen your excellent health system at work: It's good, but it is bloated and inefficient. It's also totally inaccessible if you can't afford to pay for it.

    I have family in the USA, so I have taken an interest in this issue. I'm quite relieved that this has happened for you. I only hope that those of you who doubt this change you will one day realise that it really is for the best.

  • Michael

    Nathan,

    Since Americans pay to develop new medical treatments which the world exploits, now that we are "developed", who is going to develop future treatments?

    The big lie is that everyone is going to get health care. Once all this is place in 2018, the government still admits 10 of millions wont have insurance.

    The sole purpose of the "reform" is to put health care dollars under the control of the federal government.

    The one positive to come out of this is that Canadians and Europeans are going to have to face their own health care systems. Their rich and politicians wont be coming to America for treatment since we'll have the same lower quality health care as the rest of the world.

  • zero wolf

    oh look. the sophisticated foreigner weighs in with his best wishes for the provincial american boobs. couldn't help but notice that his condescending little commentary failed to include mention of canadians dying while enduring 8 and 10 month waits for MRI's or transplants & such. or stories about our british cousins, despite the excellent dental coverage "guaranteed" by the NHS, resorting to pulling their own teeth because the wait for a dentist is...uh...quite long. nor was there any mention of the recent spate of exposes in the brit papers spotlighting the atrocious, filthy, inadequate neglect masquerading as "care" in the NHS hospitals. remember the lad who called the bobbies because he hadn't seen a nurse in 3 days and was dying of thirst? remember how that turned out? the professionals "providing quality health care" told the cops the lad was loony, and they went away. the young man died soon after - of, oddly enough, "thirst", apparently. there are *thousands* of stories like that he neglected to mention. what kind of weird argument is that? what kind of whacko *defends* such an inefficient, impersonal, uncaring system?

    i know it's not his fault. his entire nation and worldview has been polluted by a nanny-state mentality so pervasive that "self defense" is now evidently a serious criminal offense in large swaths of europe. (google the name "tony martin" sometime.) naturally, he fears anything he can't understand or challenges his "almighty state" status quo. "competition"? "free choice"? "no long lines or waiting lists"? eeeeekkk!!

    go suck some arse, you pompous twit. (presuming, of course, that your masters in brussels will allow you to do so without prior authorization.)

  • Michael

    "Providing quality health care is never going to be profitable."

    Are you admitting the world provides poor quality health care? The WHO ranks the US tops in quality, choice, and freedom of health care. We lose points because the government does run the system and the WHO's statistician uses one standard for the US and another for the rest of the world.

  • http://www.devilish-details.blogspot.com Methinks

    Though I have maintained medical insurance throughout my adult life – at great expense, especially during periods of unemployment – This I vow:
    if this disgusting travesty is signed into law I will immediately and permanently drop my coverage.

    Chris,

    That's awesome. And I appreciate your willingness to stand up to the government. It's not your fault, but you'll be doing it at everyone's expense, including yours in the end.

    The penalty for not buying insurance is the higher of 2.5% of income or whatever that nominal fine is. The fine won't be given to the insurance companies to have on hand when you get sick. Oh no. It'll be handed out to buy the vote of this or that political congressclown and flushed down the government toilet. Meanwhile, those entrepreneurs and other high producers earning above $250K whose taxes are now being raised by almost 10 percentage points will have to pay a huge enough fine to opt out of health insurance that they won't. So, the cost of the coverage you cannot be denied will have to shift to them.

    When people in that group have to write a check to government larger than the check they write themselves (which, in most states, will happen next year), time playing ball with their kids and walks with their spouses seem a lot more enticing than risking capital and slaving away the weekends expanding their business and ----employing you. So, you will pay. They will pay. We will all pay in ways that are seen and unseen. For the ruling class extracts from serfs until the serfs build a guillotine.

  • Chris K.

    Methinks,
    1. I didn't write it.
    2. Your missing the point. I don't care about any penalties, because I won't be paying them.

    This is the course of action the FEDGOV is moving towards.
    1. I won't pay
    2. I'll be fined
    3. I won't pay the fine
    4. They (the powers that be) will send people to arrest me.
    5. I won't be going to jail. (read into this all that you can.)

    The FEDGOV drew the line behind me and told me to back up. I won't.

    Not to go to far off course here but Charlton Heston famously used the expression "from my cold dead hands" when referring to the government getting his guns.

    To me that is a defeatist attitude. It says they will get my guns but they will have to kill me for them.

    To Commie Healthcare and Gun control I say that there are quite literally things I AM WILLING TO KILL OVER rather than pay.

  • Sherri

    Perhaps if the Republicans participated in the process to craft a good bill instead of throwing temper tantrums, we'd have a better solution. Instead we end up with a half-baked law just because that was the only thing that could get passed.

  • Chris

    Sherri,
    Yes you are right the republicans are just as at fault for using the system when it suits them.

    The problem lies in one simple fact and I'm going to type it in caps so that maybe it gets through your thick skull; THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO BE INVOLVED WITH HEALTHCARE.

    Now I'll let you digest that a little first and then we can talk about the failings of the collaboration party.

  • Chris

    Nathan,
    Let me make this plan.

    There is nothing ABSOLUTELY no "need" that you can think up that will ever constitute a moral obligation on my part.

    If you would have asked me for charity I would have likely given it.

    If you wanted to participate with me in some sort of co-operative to provide for our mutual healthcare I do (I have the same type of policy as Warren).

    But the second you DEMAND from me anything is the same second I would rather see you and everyone with your last name dead than be FORCED to give you anything. I don't care if taking my money will guarantee a lower infant mortality rate, Or that your aunt Ginny needs a transplant. I'd rather shovel dead babies off my driveway to get to work, I'd rather see your aunt's head on a pike, than be forced to "GIVE" you and your ilk one red penny.

  • Bob

    There is some nice reporting on Obamacare's immediate impact.
    http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2010/03/22/obamacares-immediate-impact/

  • Jeremy

    My biggest concern with this is that the government will dictate what "kind" of healthcare I receive. My family doesn't have insurance coverage as a combination of not being able to afford it and not wanting to participate in 30%-50% of what modern medicine would want us to swallow. We use our money to treat ourselves with alternative medicines and methodologies and when appropriate take advantage of modern medicine. With this passage we will be fined for not having insurance, we won't qualify for any credits - I'm sure 50K a year is too much for a 5 person family. And then we won't have money to spend on alternative medicines that are effective for me and my family.

  • http://www.devilish-details.blgospot.com methinks

    Chris,

    My point is that this thing is a hot mess that doubles back and bites everyone in the tail so that they're screwed from all sides.

    I have a lot of respect for your position. You will not be a serf.

    The only question I have for you is: if you don't buy insurance and your kid gets very sick, will you also refuse the insurance paying for that pre-existing condition your kid just developed? Think about it before you answer. Will you pay out of pocket? Will they allow you to not accept the insurance company paying?

    Hot stinking mess this thing is.

  • http://www.devilish-details.blogspot.com Methinks

    Perhaps if the Republicans participated in the process to craft a good bill instead of throwing temper tantrums, we’d have a better solution. Instead we end up with a half-baked law just because that was the only thing that could get passed.

    Sherri,

    Would those be the same Republicans whose amendment EVERY amendment was voted down in committee and who were completely locked out of those closed door meetings with Obama and the Democrats?

    I'm sorry. You cannot blame this stinking pile of shit on Republicans.

  • Tim

    Methinks: I can blame this stinking pile of shit on Republicans.

    When they impeached Clinton over a minor sexual imbroligo, and with their continued involvement in the private bedroom activites of private citizens, they created an environment where any transgression will completely hobble, if not completely disqualify, the candidacy of a Republican.

    When Jeri Ryan (a/k/a 7 of 9) filed for divorce from her husband Jack; and alleged non-normative sexual activity; his 2004 Senate campaign was done. The Republicans, facing the loss of a somewhat sure seat; brought in carpet-bagger (and nutball) Alan Keyes. Keyes lost to an almost complete unknown community organizer. This loss provided a fundamental cornerstone in the health care legislation.

  • DKH

    Tim:

    Can you even name one piece of legislation enacted at the national level from 1994-2006 that represents Republicans' "continued involvement in the private bedroom activities of private citizens"? Aside from abortion, I can't think of many social legislative wars in which Democrats aren't explicitly the anti-liberty side (and a significant portion of America views anti-abortion legislation as pro-liberty by protecting a living being's life). What comes to mind for me are seat belt laws, motorcycle/bike helmet laws, trans-fat laws, recycling mandates. These are nanny-state policies enacted by liberals (not precisely the same as Democrats, but nearly). Does anyone think freedom is advanced thanks to the elimination of trans-fats?

    That's not to say Republicans didn't do dumb things while they were in power, but there are far too many people out there trying to justify how deluded and moronic they were during the 2008 election.

    ==================

    On another note, Obama has apparently signed the health care bill already. Guess that whole "wait 5 days before signing" promise has been broken so many times it isn't even acknowledged anymore?

  • Tim

    DKH:
    Do you mean besides their continued action on "defense of marriage" acts at the state level; where they are moving to outlaw same-sex marriage? California Prop 8? Alabama's ban on selling, er, bedroom accessories? (Upheld by the AL Supreme Court in 2007) The whole Janet Jackson Superbowl thing? The parents television council, which identifies pretty Red-State Republican?

  • DKH

    I suppose the Defense of Marriage Act (at the national level) qualifies, although Democrats supported it as well. On the other hand, it doesn't restrict any individual action, as I understand it, just the legal definition of marriage. Your other comments are about state-level legislation, or aren't linked to legislation.

    Maybe we can broaden it to national policy in general, in which case your concern with Republicans boils down to...you can't show nudity on national broadcast television. So as long as Democrats are in general more ok with that than Republicans, you'll blame the Republicans for any anti-freedom policies passed roughly along party lines, like health care reform, cap and trade, the stimulus, etc.? That's some messed up logic, and I guess we'll just have to disagree.

  • DKH

    Look, I get that you probably dislike this piece of legislation about the same as I do (which is to say, intensely). I just don't think we'd be here if McCain were President, and I think too many people blinded themselves to the clear tendencies of Democrats in 2008.

  • Jim Collins

    I would like to know how Obama signed this bill into law before the change package has gone through the Senate? There were so many end arounds on this that it will be tied up in Court for years. Maybe Obama should have thought of that before he pissed off the Supreme Court.

  • Tim

    DKH: In general, I'm lumping Republicans into a big bin -- to me, it doesn't matter if their action is at the Federal level; or at the state level. The typical voter isn't going to distinuish party policy as different between the states and Feds -- because the parties don't.

    (Oh, I forgot one more Republican litmus test -- legal immigration. Anybody who's pro-liberty; like our host, isn't really welcome...)

    My point of blame may have been a bit too subtle. The Republicans chase off *good*, or less bad, candidates who fall on the wrong side these social issues. That's one of the reasons McCain selected Palin as his vice president instead of Romney -- the party wasn't so sold on his 'pro-life', anti-gay marriage credentials.

    This goal of 'purity' is what got Ryan run out of that election in 2004 and replaced by somebody who was unelectable, but with impeccible conservative credentials.

    The major opponent in that election? Obama.

    Had the Republicans been more rational about sex; the country would have never really heard of Obama, let alone elect him president.

  • Tim

    Jim:

    There were three peices of legislation, the House bill, the Senate bill, and the reconciliation package. There's a fourth bill needed, but more on that in a moment.

    Instead of the traditional process, where the House and Senate bills would be conferenced and a single bill sent back to both houses for final approval; the House elected to pass the Senate bill without changes. Since the Senate bill had already passed (pre-Scott Brown); it could be forwarded on to the President for his signature.

    The reconciliation bill took an existing bill, gutted the language, and replaced it with the changes that the House wants to make to the Senate bill. Why an existing bill? Reconciliation rules require a bill to be on the docket by such-and-such a date; so they couldn't draft a new one. It is a separate bill. This is what was voted on Sunday; and forwarded to the Senate. The Senate will then begin to amend this; and if it is changed, it will need to be sent back to the House; or conferenced and sent back to both houses. It's the reconciliation rules that allows cloture to be decided with a simple majority instead of a supermajority -- making it fillabuster proof.

    Under this scheme, the House bill is dead.

    The fourth bill, yet to be drafted, is the burden an upcoming Congress needs to face. This is the one that implements medicare/medicade payment cuts, increases taxes on high-value plans, and otherwise pays for the bills. This is one of the tricks they pulled to get the cost under US$1T -- the CBO scores the bill based on intent. Since this Congress intends to make these future cuts and taxes; the CBO has to assume they will come to pass.

  • tomw

    Tim:The reconciliation bill took an existing bill, gutted the language, and replaced it with the changes that the House wants to make to the Senate bill.

    *In Theory* reconciliation is allowed to only change dollar amounts, or wording to affect dollar amounts spent. It is not spozta add or remove function, just dollar spending. I *assume*[with all that means...] that they intend to do stuff such as say "the amount to be spent for the Connecticut hospital transmogrification is $0.00" thus effectively killing those parts they don't like.
    Did I steer the bus off the cliff?
    tom

  • me

    Folks, you've got to learn to reign in your anger. This is yet another awful bill that takes US tax payers closer to full indenture, and a bold step in the wrong direction structurally. However, an unprecedented attempt at enslaving all US citizens it is not.

    To put things into perspective some random quotes about cost:
    Bush Wars - $0,975,000,000,000 (http://costofwar.com/)
    Bush Bailout - $8,000,000,000,000 (http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/16620)
    Obama Bailout - $3,270,000,000,000 (http://www.examiner.com/x-268-Right-Side-Politics-Examiner~y2009m2d12-Obamas-bailout-to-cost-327-trillion)
    Obama Healthcare Reform - $0,849,000,000,000 ($http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/11/18/health.care/index.html)

    Bottom line - politicians of all parties continue to milk tax payers for their personal agendas and to satisfy the needs of their cronies and have done so for a while.

    The amount of money taken from the productive members of society for no structural benefit and with spurious reason in the name of healthcare is in line with other amounts taken from productive members of society for no real benefits and with spurious reasons (although around 30% of Americans apparently firmly believe that we actually found WMDs in Iraq. I am not even going to argue with that, except to point out that the Easter Bunny told me on good authority that was untrue.)

    So, in arguing, stick with the specifics - the bill is bad because it doesn't accomplish anything. It doesn't fundamentally improve the complex and inefficient American Healthcare "market". This is a missed opportunity to do much good.

    It is also *another* example of rampant and irresponsible spending by our elected representatives, one that is worthy of condemnation - but make damn sure you're honest enough to condemn all of this spending equally.

    Otherwise you'll end up looking as a hypocrite.

  • me

    Folks, you've got to learn to reign in your anger. This is yet another awful bill that takes US tax payers closer to full indenture, and a bold step in the wrong direction structurally. However, an unprecedented attempt at enslaving all US citizens it is not.

    To put things into perspective some random quotes about cost:
    Bush Wars - $0,975,000,000,000 (http://costofwar.com/)
    Bush Bailout - $8,000,000,000,000 (http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/16620)
    Obama Bailout - $3,270,000,000,000 (http://www.examiner.com/x-268-Right-Side-Politics-Examiner~y2009m2d12-Obamas-bailout-to-cost-327-trillion)
    Obama Healthcare Reform - $0,849,000,000,000 ($http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/11/18/health.care/index.html)

    Bottom line - politicians of all parties continue to milk tax payers for their personal agendas and to satisfy the needs of their cronies and have done so for a while.

    The amount of money taken from the productive members of society for no structural benefit and with spurious reason in the name of healthcare is in line with other amounts taken from productive members of society for no real benefits and with spurious reasons (although around 30% of Americans apparently firmly believe that we actually found WMDs in Iraq. I am not even going to argue with that, except to point out that the Easter Bunny told me on good authority that was untrue.)

    So, in arguing, stick with the specifics - the bill is bad because it doesn't accomplish anything. It doesn't fundamentally improve the complex and inefficient American Healthcare "market". This is a missed opportunity to do much good.

    It is also *another* example of rampant and irresponsible spending by our elected representatives, one that is worthy of condemnation - but make damn sure you're honest enough to condemn all of this spending equally. Otherwise you'll end up looking as a hypocrite.