Thursday, October 8, 2009

Socialized Medicine: You've Been "Baucus-ed"

The Max Baucus (D-MT) Socialized Medicine proposal will be voted upon this week in the US Senate. The plan paves the way for the following wonderful attributes:

(a) price distortions, demand shock, and over utilization, leading to long waits for services

(b) two to one pricing scheme with the younger insureds subsiding older insureds,

(c) government making decisions on cost effective procedures,

(d) rationing and cascading rationing due to price distortions,

(e) low out of pocket costs leading to cascading over utilization,

(f) increased costs,

(g) higher taxes passed onto consumers,

(h) reduces benefits to the elderly,

(i) vast expansion of the welfare-state via Medicaid with State Governments picking up the tab,

(j) another un-read, not available to the public, rammed through Bill.

Feeling warm and Fuzzy? Feeling like you will pay more for less?

The half-baked Baucus Bill, scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), based on "conceptional legislative language"is going to save money? The plan supposedly costs $829 Billion dollars over 10 years, yet reduces the deficit by $81 billion over 10 years? Hmmm. Unfortunately, the major increase in taxes are left out of the headline. Increased taxes are a cost savings? George Orwell would be proud: savings equals increased cost which increases taxes, consumers ultimately pay the increased tax, which means you saved money (1) (2) (10). Pure genius it is!

Why is the Baucus Bill half-baked? First of all the Bill will never see the light of day (1). Secondly, the CBO scoring was based on "conceptional legislative language". That means the CBO scored the bill on highly dynamic assumptions that can change at the drop of a hat. Its more like the CBO scored a moving target, the moving target changing in size and scope, with the moving target changing speed as it crosses the horizon. The only scoring approach you can use on a target like that is the old shotgun scoring approach. That is to say, the CBO numbers are basically real, real, real fuzzy math.

Regardless of the validity of the CBO scoring, lets talk new taxes and new fees. That's right, the half-baked Baucus Bill has plenty of new taxes and fees. (1) (2) (10) Like all Politicos, the headline numbers are lauded but the new taxes and fees are buried. Plus national polling shows the majority of Americans will only support health care/insurance reform if no new taxes are involved. (3) Polling also shows that the majority of Americans do not support monetary penalties (tax) for not buying health insurance. (4) (7)

Besides the new taxes and fees, what about those Medicare cuts? They are going to cut Medicare payments, cut corruption in Medicare, yet not reform Medicare? Huh? (5) Those reduced Medicare payments have no effect on the elderly? (6) That the reduced Medicare payments are not an indirect tax on the elderly?

The public has decided that ramming through un-read legislation is ridiculous. After the Spruce Goose of all stimulus plans was voted upon and passed without Legislators reading the bill and the consequential 16% real unemployment rate. Then Cap and Trade rammed through the House of Representatives with out being read by Legislators. The result was the eruption of a major public battle cry: for Legislators to make Bills public, read the Bill, and debate the Bill before voting.

When the House of Representatives made their Health-Care/Insurance Reform public, the blow back from the public was amazing. Matter-of-fact, some one million people marched on Washington D.C. in July with many carrying signs reading "Read the Bill".

Guess what? The Public and Legislators will not get to read the Baucus Bill! (8) Why? Because that would take time, public input, and of course that nasty idea of "debate". These are all considered "time wasters" by Progressives/Socialists who want the Health-Care/Insurance reform Bill passed by Thanksgiving. (9) In other words, more rammed through Legislation. Recognize the song just a different beat?

Saved the best for last. The Baucus Bill adds $37 Billion to State Budgets as it vastly expands Medicaid. That's really good news to State Governments that are already bankrupt. You may find you are a citizen of one of the 50 States. If so, fasten your seat belt. Also enjoy your ride as you will also be subsiding Nevada, Michigan, Oregon, and Rhode Island as they are exempt from participating in the the $37 Billion price tag for five years. Huh? Thank Mr. Harry Reid (D-NV)for that little amendment. (11)

Saved the best-of-the-best for the very last. One of the increased tax revenue items in the Baucus Bill is a tax on "Cadillac Health Plans". Who has these Cadillac Plans? Most Unions negotiate for Cadillac Plans for their members. Oh no! Unions are upset about this tax! Enter the Top Socialist of them all: Charles Schumer (D-NY). The arbitrary dollar figure assigned to Cadillac Plans ($21,000 per year) has been increased to a threshold of $25,000 in Massachusetts and other highly unionized states. (11)

One can only wonder why our Legislators have such a abysmal approval rating and the Public doesn't trust the Government. Go figure.









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