Rest of the Story

The Rest of the Story, editorial, by Pat J. Merriman: just quoted Bernie Sanders, who never met a giveaway program he didn’t like, “the Senate health care bill would throw 22 million Americans off of health insurance.” To which one could only inquire, “Uh… so?”

By Pat Merriman

You see libs in Washington (since Obama) have done a very good job of confusing Bernie’s quote with the fallacy that “22 million Americans would be cut off from HEALTH CARE” which just ain’t true. Obamacare (like the bailouts in the automobile and banking industries) is simply a giveaway program for insurance companies masked as a social welfare program.

Or, said another way, it’s really a subsidy for hospitals/clinics which have de facto monopoly on healthcare anyway. And, one thing lost in the mix is that most of these providers are “charities” which are supposed to be non-profit in the first place. 501(c)(3) organizations who already get a huge federal tax break.

Obamacare was passed in 2010 and it’s a disaster. Essentially, it requires every American to purchase health insurance with a 2.5% tax penalty on your tax return if you don’t. If you can’t afford to pay for your own insurance, Medicaid was extended to families earning $19,127 (single) to $39,040 (families). Yep, another huge expansion (at taxpayer expense) for people who many claim, logically, is ridiculous.

And since this is going to increase each year with inflation, tax credits for the $55,440-$113,160 income group. Business owners (50+ employees) get slapped with a monthly penalty that is calculated in such a convoluted fashion, it’s mind boggling. Regardless, another de facto tax on medium sized businesses.

The immediate effect of Obamacare was predictable. No more access to health savings accounts (HSA’s). What most young people liked to use. Save tax-deferred cash for routine, annual boo-boo’s and purchase catastrophic insurance in case of a disaster. In addition, 30 million private-pay consumers lost their private insurance because of the 10 essential benefits that Obama demanded be in every policy.

Three to five-million employees just flat lost their company-sponsored health care plans because businesses found it more cost-effective to pay the penalty and let their employees purchase their own insurance or use state-sponsored exchanges with lower benefits. The huge increase of “welfare” insures immediately raised overall health care costs. It was simply expensive to treat that which had been untreated for decades.

It was also a hidden tax increase. 4 million consumers simply paid the tax and ducked the insurance–a $54 billion windfall for the US Treasury. Obamacare also increased federal income tax for 1 million with incomes of at least $200,000 PLUS an additional 3.8 percent Medicare tax. Medical device manufacturers/importers (including tanning salons) got slapped with a 2.3-10 percent excise tax too.

Family deductions for health care costs was also jacked up from 7.5 to 10 percent. And, even more sinister, pharmaceutical companies were slapped with $84.8 billion in “fees”. And, for senior citizens or workers in high-risk occupations? Don’t worry, if an annual premium exceeds $10,200 (individual) or $27,500 (family), a Cadillac Tax gets slapped on companies and employees for that privilege. After all, it wouldn’t be fair for you to have that good insurance when others don’t.

On June 22nd, Senate Republicans introduced their Better Care Reconciliation Act. Is it better? Really, who cares? Because, at the end of the day, these programs are simply feel-good, giveaway programs. It’s the old “Bread and Games” distraction of Julius Caesar repackaged as a public necessity. Health “insurance” (not care) is not a Constitutional right and, when did it become so? All we really know is that this is an expensive mess and no one in Washington will admit it.

Share this post