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November 9, 2013, 7:48 amNow, when I tell you...
November 8, 2013, 6:09 pmPromises, nothing but Promises.
November 2, 2013, 5:17 pmIt's called Obama money - Ray Stevens
November 1, 2013, 2:24 pmYou've got to listen to this, Funny as all >>.
October 31, 2013, 5:12 pmYes Virginia, there is stupidity among us..!
October 20, 2013, 9:41 amEven the Low Informed will be able to understand this..!
Too bad the “low information voter” believes in Santa Claus. Educate yourself with this cartoon: Healthcare Explained http://youtu.be/I7pqRjHQ9BU
October 18, 2013, 5:54 pmThe Hidden Obamacare Taxes That Will Crush The Middle Class
The Hidden Obamacare Taxes That Will Crush The Middle Class
By Money Morning Staff Reports
Get ready to be blindsided by a barrage of new taxes. $1 trillion worth...
They'll be coming courtesy of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
And they won't just be affecting those who make over $250,000. The bulk of these taxes will be passed on directly to the middle class.
That's because while a majority of these "stealth taxes" were designed to be taxes on businesses, they're actually transferred directly to ordinary citizens.
They include the investment income surtax, a Medicare payroll tax, even a "tanning tax" on those who utilize indoor tanning services.
"Many of those [hidden] taxes, especially those on hospitals, insurers and medical device manufacturers, will ultimately be passed on through higher health costs," said Michael Tanner an expert on the healthcare law.
In fact, analysts estimate Obamacare will cost the average taxpayer nearly $6,000 in extra taxes as early as next year.
Obamacare Tax Hikes Stoke Outrage
Many of the Obamacare taxes are already in effect, others will hit January 1. But they are already infuriating millions of Americans.
While even Obamacare detractors applaud the requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions and put a stop to lifetime caps on benefits, they say these laudable benefits don't compensate for the bills high cost - especially in new taxes.
According to most experts, Obamacare will create a total of twenty new taxes or tax hikes on the American people.
In fact, the Obama administration has already given the IRS an extra $500 million to enforce the rules and regulations of Obamacare.
The new taxes don't bode well for millions of middle-class Americans. Incomes for the rich have soared this decade but middle class workers have seen their wages stagnate and even drop since the 2008 Great Recession.
Many fear Obamacare with its high insurance costs and new taxes, could provide the middle class a fatal blow.
Of course, the Obamacare plan was primarily designed to decrease the number of uninsured Americans and reduce healthcare costs.
Many experts are saying it will have the exact opposite effect.
They claim that the taxes and costs needed to pay for Obamacare will crush the middle class and most U.S. taxpayers, as well as trigger job losses in affected industries.
Tax experts say you should try to estimate how much you will have to pay when the law goes into full effect - and take precautions to limit the damage to your bottom line.
One expert, Dr. Betsy McCaughey, a constitutional scholar with a Ph.D. from Columbia University, recently wrote a best-seller showing Americans how they can not only survive Obamacare, but prosper through it.
McCaughey claims to be one of the only people in the country - including members of Congress - who has actually read the entire 2,572 page law.
Her book, titled Beating Obamacare: Your Handbook for Surviving The New Health Care Law, breaks the huge bill down into 168 pages of actionable advice.
The book, written in an easy going, easy to read style, shows some startling facts about Obamacare not seen in the mainstream press.
For example, she points to a little known passage in the bill that shows how you could get slapped with a $2,000 fine for not having health insurance - even if you do actually have it.
She also goes into detail explaining how a third of all U.S. employers could stop offering health insurance to their workers.
In one chapter, she shows how ordinary Americans will get stuck paying for substance abuse coverage - even if they never touched a drink or drug in their life.
According to McCaughey's research, senior citizens will get hit the hardest.
Hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery will be especially hard to get from Medicare in the months ahead thanks to Obamacare, according to McCaughey.
She warns seniors to get those types of procedures done now before Obamacare goes into effect January 1.
October 17, 2013, 1:17 pmThis is Really Sad.
Watching one of the news channels, (msnbc, or cnn, ) they were talking about Obama and how he talked about how the American people are fed up with the congress and Republicans. Little did he know the American people are FED up, but not for those reasons. They are fed up with him. And then one of the analyst came on and said the rating on his speech. His speech was at 29%, while Sports center was at 35% for those twenty minuetes . Now that's pretty sad when more people watch sport commentators compared to the president. GO FIGURE....!!!!
October 9, 2013, 9:46 pmDemocrats to America: We own the government!
Democrats to America: We own the government!
Ann Coulter rebuts lefties' 'no negotiating on Obamacare' analogy
In the current fight over the government shutdown, Republicans are simply representing the views of the American people.
Americans didn’t ask for Obamacare, they don’t want it, but now their insurance premiums are going through the roof, their doctors aren’t accepting it, and their employers are moving them into part-time work – or firing them – to avoid the law’s mandates.
Contrary to Obama’s promises, it turns out: You can’t keep your doctor, you can’t keep your insurance – you can’t even keep your job. In other words, it’s a typical government program, but this one wrecks your health care.
Also, the president did raise taxes on the middle class in defiance of his well-worn campaign promise not to. Indeed, Obamacare is the largest tax hike in U.S. history.
Among the other changes effected by this law are:
- Obamacare will allow insurers to charge 50 percent higher premiums for smokers, but prohibits insurers from increasing premiums for those with HIV/AIDS. ( You know his " BUTT" buddies.)
- Nationally, Obamacare will increase men’s individual insurance premiums by an average of 99 percent and women’s by 62 percent. In North Carolina, for example, individual insurance premiums will triple for women and quadruple for men.
- Health plans valued at $27,500 or more for a family of four will be taxed at a rate of 40 percent.
- No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.
- A 62-year-old man earning $46,000 a year is entitled to a $7,836 government tax credit to buy health insurance. But if he earns an extra $22 in income, he loses the entire $7,836 credit. He will have more take-home pay by earning $46,000 than if he earns $55,000. (If he’s lucky, he already works for one of the companies forced by Obamacare to reduce employees’ hours!)
- Merely to be eligible for millions of dollars in grants from the federal government under Obamacare, education and training programs are required to meet racial, ethnic, gender, linguistic and sexual-orientation quotas. That’s going to make health care MUCH better!
- Obamacare is turning America into a part-time nation. According to a recent report by economist John Lott, 97 percent of all jobs added to the economy so far this year have been part-time jobs. Ninety-seven percent!
- Obamacare is such a disaster that the people who wrote it refuse to live under it themselves. That’s right, Congress won a waiver from Obamacare.
Responding to the people’s will, House Republicans first voted to fund all of government – except Obamacare. Obama refused to negotiate, and Senate Democrats refused to pass it.
Then the Republicans voted to fully fund the government, but merely delay the implementation of Obamacare for one year. Obama refused to negotiate, and Senate Democrats refused to pass it.
Finally, the Republicans voted to fully fund the government, but added a requirement that everyone live under Obamacare. No more special waivers for Congress and their staff, and no waivers for big business without the same waivers for individuals.
Obama refused to negotiate, and Senate Democrats refused to pass it. So as you can see, Republicans are the big holdup here. ( Ha, Ha.)
A longtime Democratic operative, Karen Finney, explained the Democrats’ intransigence on MSNBC to a delighted Joan Walsh (aka the most easily fooled person on TV) by comparing House Republicans to a teenager trying to borrow his mother’s car. “No, I’m not negotiating!” Mother says. “It’s MY CAR!”
This wasn’t a stupid slip of the tongue that other Democrats quickly rejected. Finney had used the exact same metaphor to a panel of highly agreeable MSNBC guests the day before. (MSNBC books no other kind of guest.)
The left thinks the government is their car and the people’s representatives are obstreperous teenagers trying to borrow the government – which belongs to Democrats.
That’s not how the Constitution views the House of Representatives. To the contrary, the House is considered most reflective of the people’s will because its members are elected every two years.
As a matter of fact, the Republicans who mistakenly assume they have something to do with running the government represent most of the people who pay taxes to run it. So it’s more like a teenager who is making the car payments, maintaining the car insurance and taking responsibility for registering the car being told: “It’s not your car.”
But the Democrats refuse even to negotiate. It’s their government – and if you Republicans think you’re going out dressed like that, you’ve got another thing coming! Needless to say, they absolutely will not consider the Republicans’ demand that Democrats merely live under Obamacare themselves.
Instead, Democrats say “the Koch brothers” are behind the effort to defund Obamacare. (Ha, Ha, Does that sound familiar?)
They say Republicans are trying to “burn the whole house down” (Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz); “have lost their minds” (Sen. Harry Reid); are trying to negotiate “with a bomb strapped to their chest” (senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer); are “legislative arsonists” (Rep. Nancy Pelosi); and are engaging in “blatant extortion” (White House press secretary Jay Carney).
The MSNBC crowd calls Republicans “arsonists” every 15 minutes. They ought to check with fellow MSNBC host Al Sharpton. He knows his arsonists! In 1995, Sharpton whipped up a mob outside the Jewish-owned Freddy’s Fashion Mart with an anti-Semitic speech. Some time later, a member of the mob torched the store, killing seven Hispanic employees.
Every single Democrat in the country uses the exact same talking point: We “refuse to negotiate with a gun being held to our head.”
Which means the Democrats will not negotiate at all – not now, not ever. House Republicans have already passed three-dozen bills defunding, or otherwise modifying, Obamacare. Senate Democrats and liberal commentators had a good laugh at Republicans for passing them.
Now they’re paying attention!
If you are in the minority of Americans not already unalterably opposed to Obamacare, keep in mind that the only reason the government is shut down right now is that Democrats refuse to fund the government if they are required to live under Obamacare.
October 9, 2013, 5:09 pmHow to kill Obamacare and save the GOP.
How to kill ObamaCare and save the GOP
Ted Cruz, the Tea Party, and the GOP fought hard and courageously, but it’s time to recognize that we aren’t going to win the current battle. Obama will negotiate with madmen in Iran over a nuclear bomb, and with madmen in Syria over chemical weapons, but he won’t negotiate with Republicans in Congress over healthcare. So who’s the crazy one here?
No matter. Obama will not defund ObamaCare. He will not even allow reasonable changes. It’s his law and he’s in charge.
We are fighting a “no win” battle over both ObamaCare and the government slimdown or shutdown as other describe it. Especially because the media protects him at all costs.
The message the media puts out is that “Obama is for the little guy. The GOP is evil and greedy.” Unfortunately we are playing right into Obama’s hands with both a defunding of ObamaCare and a federal government shutdown.
How can Obama look into the camera and say that congress and the president should have the right to different health care than American citizens?
Great generals change tactics constantly to win battles and wars. They recognize it is all a chess game and as circumstances change and evolve, tactics must change and evolve. Now it’s time for the Republican congress to change tactics.
How can the GOP message be changed to win the battle instantly? By changing our demand. Here’s a way to turn this into a “win-win” for the GOP. Republicans will in fact end the government shutdown, pass the budget, and fund ObamaCare if this one single simple demand is met:
REMOVE ALL EXEMPTIONS, EXCEPTIONS, AND WAIVERS TO OBAMACARE.
It’s that simple. The message is: If ObamaCare is so good for the people, then let everyone have it.
Right now. This instant.
The poor, the rich, the big unions, the big corporations, the politically connected, the lawyers, the lobbyists, and of course, Congress, too. Everyone means everyone.
“Everyone” must specifically include Senators, Congressmen, their staffs, Obama himself, Michelle, Sasha and Malia. It’s everyone in the rowboat, or no one.
That's the only GOP demand. Forget defunding -- it's not going to happen. Fund it, but only if Obama agrees to end all exemptions, exceptions, and waivers today.
How’s that for a simple, clear and concise, easy to understand message? A message that puts the GOP clearly on the side of equality and fairness for all.
This is a message a majority of Americans will support. This is a message that puts Obama on the defensive and paints him into a dangerous "no win" corner.
That’s how you win the war with Obama and kill ObamaCare.
That’s how you win the public relations battle.
That’s how you leave the media speechless.
That’s how you outmaneuver Obama.
Think of Obama's only two options at that point. He can either tell the American people that government will stay shut "Because I refuse to force corporations, unions, and Congress to live by the same rules as the rest of you"....or he can immediately re-open the government and fund ObamaCare, but cause a war inside the Democratic Party by abandoning his big corporate donors and unions.
Either way, he loses.
If this was wrestling or MMA fighting, the GOP just flipped Obama on his back. How can he say ”no” to the GOP demand?
Is Obama only for the rich, big corporations, and politically connected? What is he protecting the rich and privileged from?
If ObamaCare is so great, why did he delay it for big corporations?
What about the rest of us? Are we human guinea pigs?
More importantly, how can Obama look into the camera and say that Congress and the president should have the right to different health care than the citizens? Talk about an unwinnable position.
Make the president explain why he will keep the government closed so that congress can have a different health care plan than the rest of us peasants.
Obama has broken the law and violated the Constitution with these special exemptions and waivers.
Hold his feet to the fire.
The GOP isn’t against poor people getting health care. We certainly hate ObamaCare. We know it's a disaster for health care, jobs, and the economy. But if it's the law of the land (for now), then we demand equality for everyone.
If Obama wants the law, let’s ALL have the law. Everyone.
Michelle, Sasha and Malia can wait in the same long lines as the rest of us. So can Congress and their staffs.
So can big corporations like GE, WalMart and Exxon.
So can every union member.
So can every government employee. If the rest of us can’t have “Cadillac health insurance plans” without paying big fines or taxes, then unions and government employees can’t either.
It’s one for all, and all for one. Let’s see Obama oppose that argument.
Let’s see him defend waivers and exemptions for some, while the rest of us get screwed.
Let’s see Obama defend keeping the government closed in order to retain the one-year waiver for big business, while forcing small business and the middle class to suffer immediately.
Obama is between a rock and a hard place. He must agree that everyone gets it today, ready or not, with no exceptions. Or no one gets it.
Suddenly the GOP has turned the tables. We have exposed Obama as the fraud he is.
With this one change in tactics, the GOP represents "equality and fairness for all." Let Obama defend inequality, unfairness, and special favors for the rich and connected.
ObamaCare is a disaster. The exchanges aren’t ready. Mass confusion reigns.
The American people have no idea how bad this is going to get. But it's clear the unions, big corporations, and Congress understand.
That’s why they desperately want out. From this day forward we let no one out. We are all in this together.
Make Obama own it. Make him tie his friends and donors into it right now -- with no wiggle room. Then watch the fun begin.
Watch the unions and big corporations demand the repeal of ObamaCare.
Watch mass protests in the streets by union members.
Watch the Democratic Party devolve into screaming and fighting matches amongst themselves.
Watch Washington implode as Congress, Congressional staffers, and lobbyists refuse to accept ObamaCare.
In other words, watch the rats desert the sinking ship.
But if Obama keeps the government closed to protect his biggest donors, the public will turn on him with a vengeance.
By November of 2014 every single Democrat who ever voted for this disaster will be thrown out on his or her rear end.
Oh and one big bonus. I can't wait to see the faces of Democrats in Congress when they hear that they must live under the same law as the rest of us. I'd pay for tickets to watch that one.
October 7, 2013, 11:46 amShowing True Colors...
October 5, 2013, 3:25 pmI'd like to see them turn these facts around.
Obamacare Will Increase Health Spending By $7,450 For A Typical Family of Four [Updated]
Ron Kirby holds a sign while marching in protest of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Image credit: Getty Images North America via @daylife)
Update: At the bottom of this post, the author responds to criticism of his argument. Over at National Journal Avik Roy says the critics are missing the point of Conover’s post.
It was one of candidate Obama’s most vivid and concrete campaign promises. Forget about high minded (some might say high sounding) but gauzy promises of hope and change. This candidate solemnly pledged on June 5, 2008: “In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year….. We’ll do it by the end of my first term as President of the United States.” Unfortunately, the experts working for Medicare’s actuary have (yet again) reported that in its first 10 years, Obamacare will boost health spending by “roughly $621 billion” above the amounts Americans would have spent without this misguided law.
What this means for a typical family of four
$621 billion is a pretty eye-glazing number. Most readers will find it easier to think about how this number translates to a typical American family—the very family candidate Obama promised would see $2,500 in annual savings as far as the eye could see. So I have taken the latest year-by-year projections, divided by the projected U.S. population to determine the added amount per person and multiplied the result by 4.
Simplistic? Maybe, but so too was the President’s campaign promise. And this approach allows us to see just how badly that promise fell short of the mark. Between 2014 and 2022, the increase in national health spending (which the Medicare actuaries specifically attribute to the law) amounts to $7,450 per family of 4.
Let us hope this family hasn’t already spent or borrowed the $22,500 in savings they might have expected over this same period had they taken candidate Obama’s promise at face value. In truth, no well-informed American ever should have believed this absurd promise. At the time, Factcheck.org charitably deemed this claim as “overly optimistic, misleading and, to some extent, contradicted by one of his own advisers.” The Washington Post less charitably awarded it Two Pinocchios (“Significant omissions or exaggerations”). Yet rather than learn from his mistakes, President Obama on July 16, 2012 essentially doubled-down on his promise, assuring small business owners “your premiums will go down.” He made this assertion notwithstanding the fact that in three separate reports between April 2010 and June 2012, the Medicare actuaries had demonstrated that the ACA would increase health spending. To its credit, the Washington Post dutifully awarded the 2012 claim Three Pinocchios (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”)
The past is not prologue: The burden increases ten-fold in 2014
As it turns out, the average family of 4 has only had to face a relatively modest burden from Obamacare over the past four years—a little over $125. Unfortunately, this year’s average burden ($66) will be 10 times as large in 2014 when Obamacare kicks in for earnest. And it will rise for two years after that, after which it hit a steady-state level of just under $800 a year. Of course, all these figures are in nominal dollars. In terms of today’s purchasing power, this annual amount will decline somewhat [corrected as per update 5 below].
But what happened to the spending slowdown?
Some readers may recall that a few months ago, there were widespread reports of a slow-down in health spending. Not surprisingly, the White House has been quick to claim credit for the slowdown in health spending documented in the health spending projections report, arguing that it “is good for families, jobs and the budget.”
On this blog, Avik Roy pointed out that a) since passage of Obamacare, U.S. health spending actually had risen faster than in OECD countries, whereas prior to the law, the opposite was true. Moreover, to the degree that U.S. health spending was slowing down relative to its own recent past, greater cost-sharing was likely to be the principal explanation. Medicare’s actuarial experts confirm that the lion’s share of the slowdown in health spending could be chalked up to slow growth in the economy and greater cost-sharing. As AEI scholar Jim Capretta pithily put it:
An important takeaway from these new projections is that the CMS Office of the Actuary finds no evidence to link the 2010 health care law to the recent slowdown in health care cost escalation. Indeed, the authors of the projections make it clear that the slowdown is not out of line with the historical link between health spending growth and economic conditions (emphasis added).
In the interests of fair and honest reporting, perhaps it is time the mainstream media begin using “Affordable” Care Act whenever reference is made to this terribly misguided law. Anyone obviously is welcome to quarrel with the Medicare actuary about their numbers. I myself am hard-put to challenge their central conclusion: Obamacare will not save Americans one penny now or in the future. Perhaps the next time voters encounter a politician making such grandiose claims, they will learn to watch their wallet. Until then, let’s spare strapped Americans from having to find $657 in spare change between their couch cushions next year. Let’s delay this law for a year so that policymakers have time to fix the poorly designed Rube Goldberg device known as Obamacare. For a nation with the most complicated and expensive health system on the planet, making it even more complicated and even more expensive never was a good idea.
UPDATE 1: Igor Volsky at ThinkProgress has declared this article is “totally wrong.” Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ Paul Van de Water “described this calculation as one of the stupidest things he’s read in a long time” asserting that I’ve calculated “an average that doesn’t mean anything for anyone.” To his credit, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber at least concedes my basic point: “The bottom line is that the government has consistently reported that Obamacare will raise national health spending by about 1 to 2 percent.” But then goes on to say ““This is a small fraction of the typical 5 to 7 percent annual growth rate in health care – and is a small price to pay for insuring 30 million or more Americans.” Notably absent from Mr. Volsky’s scathing critique is any mention of the person who started this use of a “typical American family:” President Obama. Most important, Professor Gruber’s point essentially substantiates my own: it was the President’s claim of $2500 premium savings for the “typical” family that was and continues to be totally wrong. It’s simply not possible for national health spending to rise by $621 billion and for the “typical” family to expect a $2500 (per year!!!!) premium reduction. Did Paul Van de Water or anyone else at CBPP call candidate Obama’s promise “one of the stupidest things he’s read in a long time”? If not, why not?
People are welcome to argue that Obamacare is a great deal, that it’s worth all that added spending to get extra coverage for tens of millions of Americans. But of course, that’s not how Obamacare was sold. Rather than tell Americans the truth that they’d have to pay more and that the extra price was worth it, candidate Obama promised the ultimate free lunch: we’ll cover 30 million uninsured AND the typical family will see their premiums go down by $2500 (per year!!!!). And Jonathan Gruber seems to have changed his tune since the fierce debates about health reform, since as Avik Roy has recounted, “What we know for sure,” Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber told Ezra Klein in 2009, “is that [the bill] will lower the cost of buying non-group health insurance.” Obamacare was sold on the promise that it would not increase health spending or the deficit or increase taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year [“I can make a firm pledge under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”] Every one of these promises/claims/predictions turned out to be totally wrong. We can start having a productive debate when progressives are willing to concede these simple, easily demonstrable empirical claims. And then perhaps we can move on to junking this unworkable law and replacing it with the world-class patient-centered health system Americans deserve.
UPDATE 2: Wonkette is the latest to weigh in on the purported stupidity of my post: “In other words, this is incredibly stupid. Sure, the latest Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services report [PDF] says that “Obamacare” will lead to “roughly $621 billion” in additional health spending over the next ten years. But that emphatically does not mean that you, me, and the other two members of our typical family will be paying this money out of pocket. Most of it will be paid out by insurance companies, who will have a whole bunch of new policyholders because of Obamacare. Much of it will be paid by the government in subsidies and increased Medicaid enrollment. And yes, some of it will be paid by healthy (for now), well-off (for now) young (for now!) people who would otherwise forgo insurance and roll the dice on not ever being carted to the hospital in an ambulance” (emphasis added).
Wonkette’s attitude about the $621B illustrates precisely the attitude that has led to the mess we’re in (both related to Obamacare specifically, and entitlements more generally). “Don’t worry. Families won’t have to pay the tab. We’ll stick it to greedy insurance companies or Uncle Sam will cover it. No problem!” But of course, we can be pretty certain that insurance companies (especially if they are greedy!) are unlikely to be paying for any tab without turning around and passing that cost along to (gasp!) American families. Similarly, Uncle Sam has nowhere else but American families to keep replenishing tax coffers. In short, American families manifestly WILL be absorbing every single penny of the $621B in added health spending created by Obamacare and it is intellectually disingenuous (and certainly no contribution to informed public debate) to pretend otherwise.
UPDATE 3: Avik Roy at NRO has done a splendid job of explaining the genesis of President Obama’s original estimate of $2500 savings for the “typical family.” It’s essentially identical to the method used for my own calculation. Avik’s post also includes a very entertaining montage of the number of times President Obama made this claim. I encouraged anyone interested in actually understanding this issue to read his piece.
UPDATE 4: Reader Thomas Rudder makes the following comments (submitted on 2013/09/24 at 4:53 pm for anyone who cares to read his comment in its entirety): ”Authors presentation of CMS report is not accurate.” “ACA is summed up in the final sentence of the CMS Major Findings, ***it is still slower growth than over the longer-term history*** ACA Saves according to this report.” I’m not trying to single out Mr. Rudder, but his is the clearest articulation of an apparent misunderstanding of the CMS report that I’ve observed in quite a number of comments I’ve received.
To be sure, there has been a slowdown in the growth of health spending. But it is manifestly NOT due to Obamacare. The whole point of Tables 2 and 2a in that report was to compare a set of projections assuming ACA was in place to an alternative set of projections in which ACA was assumed NOT to be implemented, i.e., that the pre-Obamacare world had simply continued forward until 2022, inclusive of slightly rising numbers of uninsured etc. The critical point Mr. Rudder and other readers seemed to have missed is that the recent slowdown in health spending happens in both scenarios. Why? Because the slowdown in spending relates principally to the slowdown in the economy and to more cost-sharing such as the growing number of Americans who have jumped into high deductible health plans. The reason we know for certain is not the cause of the observed slowdown in spending is because in every single year from 2010-2022, health spending is higher in the set of projections that assumes ACA is implemented than in the scenario in which it is not (readers can examine the tables themselves if they have any doubt on this fundamental point). If Obamacare truly slowed down health spending more than in the counterfactual world without it, then it obviously would make no sense that spending would be $621B higher under Obamacare than without it. In short, the CMS report manifestly is NOT drawing the conclusion Mr. Rudder erroneously attributes to it.
Once Obamacare proponents reluctantly reach the conclusion that Obamacare will increase national health spending, many seem to want to switch to the argument that of course spending rose since we’re covering more people. I agree, it is pretty obvious we should have expected that to happen, but unfortunately, that’s not the way candidate Obama and his advisors saw it. They were convinced their plan–notwithstanding its expansion of coverage for tens of millions of uninsured–would SAVE $200 billion in health spending a year, which translated into roughly $2500 a year. And candidate Obama’s claim that he could pull this astonishing feat off before the end of his first term was not some off-script overenthusiastic bit of puffery that occurred during a campaign speech. As Kevin Sacks at the NYT reported: “Mr. Obama’s economic policy director, Jason Furman, said the campaign’s estimates were conservative and asserted that much of the savings would come quickly. “We think we could get to $2,500 in savings by the end of the first term, or be very close to it,” Mr. Furman said.” Thus, the savings was not some long-term aspiration to “bend the cost curve” that would happen down the road outside of the range of the latest CMS projection (as many other readers have claimed).
In my post, I have avoided trying to speculate on whether the President was delusional. lying or simply mistaken in his forecast (readers can view below the many instances in which he made this claim and draw their own conclusions). The indisputable truth is he was dead wrong–not even close to hitting the mark. That was the simple take-home message I’d hope to deliver in my piece, but which way too many readers appear to be furiously shutting their eyes to see. It’s hard to have a productive debate about what to do about this terribly misguided law without agreeing on some pretty indisputable facts.
UPDATE 5: Regrettably, in its eagerness to defend Obamacare, Andrew Lazarus at DailyKos has made a flagrant misstatement of fact: ”The $7450 figure is calculated as a mean, what we colloquially call an average. By “typical”, Obama is evoking the median family.” Unfortunately, Kevin Sacks at NYT (known to many as a newspaper of record) has put on the record exactly how candidate Obama and his advisors came up with their figure of $2500 in premium savings for the “typical family:”
The original arithmetic was somewhat basic. In May 2007, three Harvard professors who are unpaid advisers to the Obama campaign — Mr. Cutler, David Blumenthal and Jeffrey Liebman — produced a memorandum offering their “best guess” that a menu of changes would produce savings of at least $200 billion a year (it has since been revised to $214 billion). That would amount to about 8 percent of the $2.5 trillion in health care spending projected for 2009, when the next president takes office…..The total savings were then divided by the country’s population, multiplied for a family of four, and rounded down slightly to a number that was easy to grasp: $2,500.”
If that calculation sounds familiar, it’s because it’s precisely the one I did in my post–the only difference being that unlike President Obama, I manifestly did NOT characterize the result as the expected change in premiums. It’s the total change in health spending, which will end up being borne in a variety of forms, higher premiums, higher out-of-pocket costs, higher taxes etc. If Obamacare were financed honestly and transparently, we actually could say how much of an increase would be faced by any given family. Because it’s quite the opposite, we have to resort to talking about “average” effects recognizing that some will pay more, some will pay less than this average. Perhaps Mr. Lazarus will do his homework a little better in the future.
I did make an error that Mr. Lazarus was correct to point out and now have deleted this original sentence: “Of course, all these figures are in nominal dollars. In terms of today’s purchasing power, this annual amount will rise steadily.” It was a goof, pure and simple, for which I apologize. It does not materially affect my central conclusion–that Obamacare increases health spending by many thousands of dollars for the average family of 4–but for wonks who are interested, the $7,450 in present value terms (using the GDP deflator as projected by CBO) is $6,777 in today’s dollars. Somehow I don’t think most Americans will be comforted to learn that the Obamacare hit on their pocketbooks will amount to only $6,777 per family of 4. Perhaps this will pave the way for Mr. Lazarus to apologize for his own mistake.
October 5, 2013, 12:00 pmAnd the Dummycrats are trying to exploit the Kock Brothers!
Under siege in state legislatures around the country – and fearing the consequences of a Republican in the White House – union leaders say they have little choice as they try to beat back GOP efforts to curb collective bargaining rights or limit their ability to collect dues.
"People are digging deeper," said Larry Scanlon, political director of the country's largest public workers union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "If Republicans take over the presidency, Congress and enough state legislatures, unions will be out of business, pure and simple."
Scanlon's union was the biggest overall spender in the 2010 midterm elections, doling out about $93 million to help state and federal candidates, mostly Democrats. This year, AFSCME is expected to spend at least $100 million or more on political action, including television advertising, phone banks and member canvassing. The effort is to help the president, Democrats running for the House and Senate, gubernatorial candidates and key state lawmakers.
With increased spending planned by other labor groups, including the powerful Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, unions are likely to top the $400 million they spent to help elect Obama four years ago.
Not all union expenditures on political action are publicly disclosed, so some numbers are based on self-reporting. But unions have long been known as one of the most reliable supporters of Democratic candidates and their efforts have increased with every election as the threats to organized labor grow.
Unions already spent more than $40 million last year to successfully repeal an Ohio law that restricted collective bargaining rights and to recall lawmakers who backed a similar measure in Wisconsin. They are spending millions more in a bid to recall Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who led the charge to curb public employee union rights as a way to balance the state's budget.
But unions are being spread thin as they deal with a new wave of measures they say are designed to weaken their clout. Indiana passed a right-to-work measure earlier this month, and Republicans in New Hampshire are pushing a similar bill. Legislatures in Arizona and Utah are weighing measures to limit bargaining rights for their public employees.
"Part of the Republican strategy is to try to bleed us," said Mike Podhorzer, political director of the AFL-CIO. "There are certainly more union members now who understand the importance of political engagement and are willing to go door-to-door and make phone calls and do campaigns."
Tim Phillips, president of the conservative anti-tax and anti-regulation group Americans for Prosperity, denied any grand strategy to weaken unions. His group, founded with the support of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, spends millions on anti-Obama and anti-union ads across the country.
"It's not accurate to say there's some master plan to drain resources," Phillips said. "These are genuine public policy efforts."
But Phillips said he thinks that, for the first time, unions have to confront organized grassroots opposition in a number of states.
"And Americans for Prosperity is absolutely a key component in that," Phillips said. "The unions have always had the advantage and we are now matching them."
The stakes are even higher for unions this year, as GOP presidential hopefuls seeking conservative support have made unions a regular punching bag. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says he would support states pursuing right-to-work laws and seek to ban unions from using automatic dues deductions for politics. He would also reverse Obama's executive order encouraging the use of union labor in large government construction projects.
AFSCME, the 1.6-million member union, started early this year, spending $1 million on television ads during Florida's GOP presidential primary to weaken Romney, the candidate organized labor presumes will emerge as the Republican nominee.
The SEIU teamed up with Priorities USA Action, the major super PAC backing Obama, to buy ads in Florida and Nevada accusing Romney of flip-flopping on immigration policy. SEIU is the single largest contributor to Priorities USA after making a $500,000 contribution in December.
The 2.1 million-member union is expected to spend at least $85 million to help Obama win, similar to what it spent in 2008.
So far, unions are finding a way to pay for all the political spending. Union members are contributing more to political action committees, agreeing to special assessments and spending more time working on political causes.
The AFL-CIO is following a new strategy outlined last summer to contribute less money to specific candidates and spend more on building its infrastructure. The goal is to lay a foundation for year-round mobilization that keeps going in the months following an election. Competing for the union money are the various races, from president to state lawmaker.
"We have to use 2012 not just to win for its own sake, but to use as a springboard for 2014 when the governors in all these states are up," Podhorzer said.
The new strategy emerged after some unions grew frustrated last year that Obama and Democrats in Congress were not doing enough to stand up for labor's agenda. But leaders say union members have become more enthusiastic about Obama since the president increased his focus on job creation.
HA. HA. HA .HA. Yep the unions got a bundle of job created for them didn't they?
The AFL-CIO also started its own labor super PAC, which allows it to raise unlimited amounts of money and mobilize support beyond its traditional base. The new super PAC has already pulled in $3.7 million.
October 4, 2013, 10:59 pmA wake up call to the low informed cling ons...
Obama Personal Money To Open Muslim Museum Amid Government Shutdown
Let there be no mistake where this man’s loyalties lie.
Obama uses his own money to keep open a Muslim museum during the government shutdown and at the same time sees to it that WWII veterans are barricaded from their memorial.
Share this story with your Obama supporting friends and ask them for a response!
Washington, DC — While up to 800,000 federal workers faced life without a paycheck as Day Two of the government shutdown kicked in, President Barack Obama held a press conference to announce that he is using his own money to open the federally funded International Museum of Muslim Cultures.
“During this shutdown, people will have to deal with some of their favorite parks and museums being closed,” Obama told reporters. “Just keep in mind, they will always be there. The Grand Canyon and the Smithsonian are not going anywhere.”
Obama continued, “The International Museum of Muslim Cultures is sacred. That is why I have taken it upon myself to use my own personal funds to re-open this historic piece of American culture.”
It took more manpower to try to barricade the memorial than it would have to simply keep it open!
An obvious concerted effort by the Obama administration to block our veterans from their natural right to visit their memorial!