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Posted by on Sep 14, 2009 in Health | 33 comments

The Landmine in Obama’s Health Care Plan

o_laugh.jpgFollowing the last round of speeches, we have found out one thing… President Obama has claimed the Max Baucus compromise health care bill as his own. So you can call it the Baucus Plan or the Obama Plan or the compromise, or whatever you like. But this is, at least for now, Obama’s plan. While we still don’t have a full copy of what the Finance Committee is cooking, some of the details have been released to the press, and it includes some eye-opening factoids.

As usual, the largest looming questions focus on how this will be paid for, and now we’re getting a pretty good idea. Check this out.

COST: Under $900 billion over 10 years.

HOW’S IT PAID FOR: Fees on insurance companies, drug makers, medical device manufacturers and insurers. Tax of 35 percent on insurance plans costing more than $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for families, applied to premium amounts over the threshold. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. A fee on employers whose workers receive government subsidies to help them pay premiums. Fines on those who fail to get coverage.

Did you catch that little item they slipped in there? A tax of 35% on plans costing more than 8k in premiums. (Please note… for those of us who get our coverage through our employer, that’s not what you pay out of your check. It’s the total premium paid by both your portion and that paid by your employer.)

My wife and I each have our own plans through our employers so I ran off to check on mine. And guess what? DING DING DING! Yep… mine cost more than 8k annually. This is a “Cadillac plan?” I intentionally took the one with higher deductible levels and co-pay to keep the cost down! And I’m going to get nailed with a tax of more than one third the cost of it? Or my employer is? What could possibly go wrong?

And in case you missed the last sentence there, any American who, for whatever reason, isn’t paying for a health insurance policy from a private corporation out of their own paycheck will now have a fine imposed on them by the Federal government. I can just imaging the Supreme Court taking a look at that one.

Here’s where some of that money is going:

SUBSIDIES: Tax credits for individuals and families making up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, which computes to $66,150 for a family of four. Households up to 400 percent of poverty line could also get some relief. Tax credits for small employers.

66K? Are you kidding me?

CHANGES TO MEDICAID: Income eligibility levels raised to 133 percent of poverty for parents and children 6 and older. Childless adults making up to 133 percent of poverty would be eligible for the first time. The expansion would be delayed until 2014.

The more I read of this the more I shake my head. We’re spending our time talking about “death panels” and pulling the plug on granny while we should be looking at the specifics of the disaster we’re about to have foisted off on us, even if it doesn’t include the even more crippling “public option.” (For the record, the Obama / Baucus plan does not, as currently written in Finance.)

GOVERNMENT-RUN PLAN: None. Would create nonprofit, member-owned co-ops to compete with private insurers.

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