OT: Health care update

Current Status

-------------- The House and Senate each passed separate bills. (House: 7-Nov-09; Senate: Christmas)

Each hates the other's bill, but neither has the votes to pass a new one.

Constitutionally, any measure requiring spending must originate in the House then be approved by the Senate.

Further, to have a law, something must pass both houses, then be signed by the President, BUT

- The House can't approve the Senate bill because too many House members despise the Senate's bill, and - The Senate has no ability to pass a new bill due to the election of Scott Brown, R-MA.

The House is currently attempting to: - re-draft the Senate bill more to their liking, - approve this 3rd bill, - then declare this as equivalent to approving the Senate bill as is, yet simultaneously amending it.

The House bill is currently being drafted in secret, a few thousand pages, the text to be revealed roughly an hour before they vote.

The House is several votes shy of the 50% + 1 they need to pass their new bill.

Next steps:


o The House Democrats are considering a procedure whereby they feel they can pass the bill without voting on it, thus avoiding the need for a majority.

o If (and however) the House passes it, the Senate has insufficient votes to approve the House's changes.

o Democrats hope to circumvent the need for the full Senate to approve their changes by using 'reconciliation', a budgetary procedure for adjusting levies and outlays, i.e. tweaking numbers. Policymaking isn't allowed, and all matters handled by reconciliation sunset after

5 years.

o 37 states currently have legislation passed or pending to exempt their citizens from the federal plan.

-- Cheers, James Arthur

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The "BRA" of "COBRA" is for Budget Reconciliation Act.

The Bush tax cuts were far from a "tweak"

It was also attempted to allow drilling in Alaska.

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Budget. Yes, thanks. That's what it's for.

Here's Senator Byrd, the man who invented reconciliation, explaining that this is an improper use of it:

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"Reconciliation was never, never, NEVER intended to be a shield, to be used as a shield for controversial legislation." -- Sen. Robert Byrd, regarding the possible use of reconciliation as a device to pass Hillarycare.

-- Cheers, James Arthur

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Further update: o The Democrats have gained one vote, Rep. Dennis Kucinich(sp?), and lost two more former 'yes' votes, who've now come out against it.

o The Congressional Budget Office

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has released its calculations, based on the Democrats' assumptions. They calculate the taxes under reconciliation proposal, which does not yet have a name or a bill #, exceed expenditures by $138B over 10 years. They get that by cheating.

Basis / assumptions: -- benefits are essentially zip for the 1rst four years. -- Taxes ramp up over the entire projection period, garnering a big surplus in the first 4 years.

The previous CBO estimate relies on the Administration's projection of -- immediate economic recovery, -- return to 4% growth, -- only 2% of Americans actually using the government option. Dunno about these here--they don't break it out, and I just downloaded it. -- drastically lower payments to doctors. (meanwhile, they passed a separate bill increasing same)

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COBRA had nothing really to do with budget. It has been used many times for such things. This is not really unusual.

It was used to pass the Bush tax cuts in spite of the fact that they threw the budget further out of balance and there was considerable controversy at the time.

The senate has already passed a health care bill under their rules. Republicans today find themselves on the losing side of the clever use of the rules.

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Well, you've heard from the mouth of the man who invented the rule that it's an abuse to use it thusly, on health care.

Tax cuts are within the scope of reconciliation, AFAICT. Those are budgetary, after all. Today's question is about nationalizing 20% of the economy, affecting every American.

(P.S. Mr Obama is adopting the 'Bush' tax cuts. FYI.)

The House Democrats don't want to go on record approving the Senate bill. So, they want to approve the bill on the sly. That's just dishonest, not clever.

But that's been the modus operandi anyhow. Did you hear Mr. Obama's speech today? Platitudes, propaganda, quarter-truths and deliberately wrong facts. The President is a shyster.

The bill costs roughly triple what he says, using his own assumptions. It increases costs, not decreases, and so on. For example, it banks on anticipated profit from nationalizing student loans for a decent chunk of its "savings." I know facts don't matter, so I won't annoy you with them.

The reconciliation is a ruse; the House has no power to get the Senate's approval of all those changes. The House is in fact considering adopting the Senate bill they despise. As they should, BTW.

But it is ironic that "reconciliation" means "divide the country."

Besides being dumb, costly, and ineffectual toward their advertised ends, all the bills are illegal, and none need respect them.

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The man who made the tool doesn't like how it is being used this time. The rules are the rules and they are using the rules.

But it was the first time that the rule was used to increase the deficit.

Nobody is nationalizing 20% of the economy. Even if they had done the public option it wouldn't be that. The only thing that is being changed is the rules on the health insurance. In the public option or the more extreme case of the single payer, the providers will remain as private companies. Other countries have gone this route and it works quite well.

Healthcare is about 20% of the economy. The insurance companies take about 20% off the top so that makes them only really about 4%

It is just politics as politics always is. They don't like the senate bill but they see a way to get something better than nothing out of it so they are doing that. The Republicans have said that they want to make healthcare Obama's Waterloo. For them this obviously is about their political position and not the good of the nation.

At least the democrats are managing to do something even though it is a rather poor version of what it could have been.

You appear not to like Obama. That is not new.

The CBO said that it will decrease the deficit. They are the best unbiased judge we have.

We will have to see what comes of it in the long run. I hold out a little more hope that at least a few of them may act for the good of the nation.

The country is already divided. In fact it has come to the point where I wonder if the nation really makes sense any more. Why keep a bunch of people together who obviously hate each other?

In 2 years time most people will have forgotten how it got passed. The majority will like it and thank the democrats for doing it. The Republicans have made it clear that they think that this will be the case. This is why they are working so hard to try to prevent anything from getting done.

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! You must be kidding!

These bills make gigantic changes across all parts of our society, wholly unrelated to medical care, including

- the largest tax increase in United States' history - nationalizes the student loan program - requiring your medical data be entered into a national, internet- accessible database. - it requires that you prove acceptable insurance to the IRS monthly - raises income taxes, - adds a Medicare tax on income, - adds a 3.8% tax on unearned income,

and, generally, taxes wealth and investment, plus so many more.

It completely eliminates people's ability to choose and buy the amount of medical care or insurance they like, with the provisions they value and are willing to pay for, substituting a product strictly specified by the government.

To make sure you're eligible for handouts, there's a "data matching" requirement whereby they track every detail of your financial, family, and medical affairs, to see if you're worthy. The intent is to reduce fraud, the result is Orwellian intrusion. (See Sect. 1413(c)2-3, "STREAMLINING OF PROCEDURES FOR ENROLLMENT...blah blah blah.)

Another: the following is added to the Internal Revenue Code:


12 The [IRS], upon 13 written request from the Secretary of Health 14 and Human Services, shall disclose to officers, 15 employees, and contractors of the Department 16 of Health and Human Services [tax] return informa- 17 tion of any taxpayer whose income is relevant 18 in determining any premium tax credit under 19 section 36B [...]

The bills are /rife/ with these examples, possibly fifty, or a hundred.

Health care is effectively nationalized when government seizes control of the purse strings, dictates what must be provided, to whom, and at what price, and puts non-compliers in prison. A dictatorship.

It's a sub-prime mortgage, just like the Democrats' other bankrupt budget-busting entitlements gobbling 2/3rds of all federal spending, only this one's huge-r. It'll increase costs and degrade care.

Insurance companies? Their entire profit is roughly $14B, 1/5th of what Medicare loses to *fraud* each year. Hope and change.

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Obama did that. It's part of his laser-like focus on jobs.

Our Founders gave us a collection of independent states, so that like- minded people could live and thrive together. You want to go against that, take that away, and force everyone to live identically, equally. Or go to jail.

The people don't hate each other, you simply can't force 1/2 the people of a free nation to do something they absolutely detest and oppose. And why the heck would you presume to do so? That's asking for trouble. Big trouble. If this does pass, and half the country be embittered, we shall not thrive.

This bill is 100x worse a threat to civil liberty than the Patriot Act ever was. And, it affects 100,000 times as many people, innocent people. That cannot be.

Right. The People are stupid. The Democrats know better, and intend to impose idiocy by force.

In fact, the exact reason these temporary Democrats are in such a hurry is: they know the People oppose this, intend to throw them out in a few months, so they have to get it done while htey can, before the People can stop them.

That's tyranny, and it's extremely dangerous. We've already had a couple suicide attacks. Expect more.

This is getting ugly.

James Arthur

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Not kidding.

The amount of change is actually very small.

I don't agree. Every time a new law is suggested by the democrats, that claim is made about it. Wolf has been cried.

The student loan system already had all of the losses nationalized. The profits were privatized the government was on the hook for the losses and subsidizing the loan generation. It make more sense to do it directly.

This is part of the effort to reduce costs and errors by reducing the amount of transcribing of paper work. Currently many doctors offices have entire departments just for the filling of insurance forms. It is massively inefficient.

It requires that people get insurance. The other option is to have some people use the emergency room for primary care. Other nations and at least one state have done this sort of thing and the sky didn't fall.

So far, if you are among the great majority, the Obama government has decreased your taxes.

[... I may come back to this later ...]

I disagree. Those counties that have done this such as Canada and France have had no trouble with providers remaining in the business.

We can look to thos other countries as having done the experiment for us.

There you go with the "sub-prime" nonsense again. The total of the sub-prime mortgages that were in default were a tiny fraction of the real problem they were just the match that touched off the pool of gasoline. If it hadn't been them, something else would have done it. It was a corrupt system of valuing investments that was the heart of the problem. Things were happening that did not make economic sense.

The profit of an insurance company is what they have left over after all of the inefficiencies in their operation.

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So Obama was around and dividing the country while Clinton was president. The country was very divided then. It became more so under Bush-II.

I am pointing out that the level of disagreement has reached the point where the nation no longer lives and thrives together. People will refuse to do business with each other when they discover what political party they are from.


About 1/2 the country wants democrats to be in office. They want the public option health insurance or single payer etc. If this does not pass, they will be embittered. Either way it goes, 1/2 the country will hate the other for the outcome. The nation is thus doomed in the long run.

The founders saw factions (parties) as a risk to the nation. We now have such factions. It may be time to start dividing up the furniture. I think that the democrats will find this a sadder outcome than the republicans.

The republicans have stated that they consider the deficit to be a threat to the nation. When they were in power they took actions that increased the deficit. This can't have been an accident.

I disagree. The patriot act allowed the government to act against the individual without stated reason. No such thing is done in the health care bill.

The people are not stupid. They will see that the sky does not fall and see that the opposing side cried wolf once again.

They know that the mid terms historically go against the party in power.

Yes, I expect there to be many more attempts on the US both from the outside and the inside. the external one has nothing to do with healthcare. The internal ones may. Their are those on your side who will kill to get their way. I expect to see some of them in the news over the next few years.

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sunset after


to be

reconciliation as

=46unny how finding out about turnabout sours one on shenanigans.

How about some data to support that?

No. It is as realistic as it can be. The nutcases (extremists) are = calling=20 the shots.


Neither do i, BO will prove to be worse than GWB, and that is going some.


No; they said it will decrease the increase in the deficit if the crazy=20 ASSumptions they made hold.

Those are way too few, over 70% are extremists.

Not the middle class minority.

No; the middle class minority has taken this position, the repugncan=20 legislators are mostly extremists. Compare what the demonstrators=20 are saying with what the repugnican party is saying.

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The low end of the income spectrum desperately needs health care reform.

Anybody with ANY ability to influence legislation already has good health care and doesn't want to pay for the less fortunate. There's strong incentive NOT to change the system.

Your job as legislator is to block passage while blaming it on the other guy so you can get reelected.

Short of revolution in the streets, nothing substantive is gonna happen. We'd be better off to send all of them home and use the salaries they're not collecting to pay for health care.

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It's not about Obama, it's about what we're doing.

Again, I won't trouble you with the facts, but I was making an objective judgment. That judgment was that, listening to the speech, reviewing the text twice, the President was reeling out a string of statements he knew to be untrue, to sell something on falsehoods. A shyster.

Absurd propaganda, misrepresentations, evasions, non-truths and false appeals. Basically he says we'll all more care, the uninsured will be covered, and it's all free. In fact, we'll make a trillion dollars. It's a small change, but it's an enormous historic change that will revolutionize society. Evil insurance companies have been stealing your money, so I'm going to steal it back. Blah blah blah. I annotated it point-by-point, but that would only bore you.

I've actually spot-checked the thing--the legislation, the CBO summary, etc. I'm not relying on other analysis. I can simply add up the numbers, and report the that either the President's a fool or a pathological liar. He claims opposite things on different occasions.

It pains me to say that--I despise it--but there it is.

No! The CBO strictly runs the spreadsheet for the numbers and assumptions they're given. So, if the President says "assume full employment and 10% annual GDP growth," that's how they calculate it.

Have you read the CBO report? They were fed a number of outlandish false premises. Yet, even with Obama's projections, the CBO projects insurance premiums will go up, not down. (logical, since you'll be forced to buy more of it.) National medical costs as a whole are projected increase from ~17% to 20% of GDP, not down. The CBO projects the typical policy for a family of 4 will cost $15,000.

The 'deficit going down' is for six years' services rendered in the first ten years, and absurdly low claims assumptions (basically, they assume that almost no one will actually use it, just like they assumed no one would default on their mortgage.).

And they assume Medicare reimbursements being cut 20%, which is simply a $347B lie, since they're raising those exact payments in another bill, and so forth.

Again, I know that you don't care if anything they say is true, whether their numbers add up, and that you're not interested enough to read the actual documents. So, I'm powerless to persuade you on those points.

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It is not like i have the time to much more than give a quick look; but=20 a link to the CBO estimate with the setup assumptions they were told to=20 use, please. I promise to give it a quick look.

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r. Obama's




This article's decent for a quick understanding:

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The CBO's score of the recent debacle--I sometimes slip and say 'estimate', but that's wrong, the CBO just tallies the assumptions offered--is linked on their home page,

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but it takes some detective work to root out all the assumptions.

For example, if you check, you'll find they project the cost of health care in the US under Obamacare to escalate at 8% per annum. That's right, 8%. Mr. Obama speechified about insurance rising 70% (IIRC) this last decade. That's only 5.4% per annum.

IOW, Obamacare doesn't control costs at all.

-- Cheers, James Arthur

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Should Obama's figure be true, then I am disappointed in his math, since health insurance inflation in USA has been more like 10% per annum ever since 1985.

- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)

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Don Klipstein

I skimmed my links for the "70%" I thought I remembered, but the best I could find was Mr. Obama's Ohio speech:

"A study came out just yesterday -- this is a nonpartisan study -- it's found that without reform, premiums could more than double for individuals and families over the next decade." --President Barack Obama, Strongsville, Ohio [1]

(Doubling in a decade would mean +7.2% a year.)

This link analyzes the results of Massachusetts' experiment. Medical costs rose 33% in the USA from 2003-2008 (5.9%/year), and 40% in MA (7.2% per annum).

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In that same speech[1] he spoke of a woman who dropped her insurance after her rates rose 40%. Mr. Obama said: "And over the past year, she paid more than $6,000 in monthly premiums." --ibid

That leaves the casual impression she paid $6k per month. It was $6k / year, if you read carefully. That's cheap.

Not mentioned: -- the leukemia she has now is a predictable risk from reatments for the cancer she had 16 years before, -- the average cost of the plan he offers is considerably more than $6k, for /healthy/ people.

IOW, she was getting a screaming deal from her insurance company, and was a fool to drop it. If she's been sick at all during this time then she's been making out like a bandit.

[1] transcript here:
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-- Cheers, James Arthur

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The low end already gets government medical care--Medicaid.

Tasty government care. Yum.

-- Cheers, James Arthur

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Oh yes it is. This is far worse.

Now, merely because you exist--this is now reason enough to require you to buy anything they specify, and for the IRS to pry into your net worth, all the private dealings that produce your livelihood, and your medical affairs. Merely because you exist, this now entitles them to know every detail of your medical history, and post it on the internet, available to all they deem worthy of access to it.

Never before has the government coerced private citizens into entering any compact, much less one government-specified.

Now, failing to do something--buy health insurance--makes you a criminal.

James Arthur

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