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Round up of a Few Health Care Stories

Editor’s note: This from Greg Scandlen’s blog:

The Resistance Movement

Meanwhile, back home people are getting increasingly upset about the lies and intrusions coming out of Washington. Some Virginia Congressmen are getting phone calls 15 to one against passing the House bill. Here in DC, the CBS affiliate did a story about a town hall meeting Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) held in Clinton, MD. One constituent was not happy that he would be fined $2,500 a year because he had to take a lower-paying job and dropped his coverage. Instead of sympathizing with the fellow, Mr. Cardin accused him of being a deadbeat. Not the best way to win friends, Ben.
SOURCE:
CBS News, WUSA

Even on the country’s most Left Wing blog, the Daily Kos, people are beginning to get worried about what this legislation will mean for them personally. One poster wrote, “I work for the largest third party administrator of Flexible Spending accounts, health savings accounts and pretax commuter and dependent care accounts for 100s of companies. Apparently the government is tossing around the idea of getting rid of these pretax accounts (the Flexible Spending Acct and the Health Savings Account) as a way to raise money to pay for the health care bill. There are millions of Americans that use these plans and since no one is quite sure how all this coverage is going to happen to take away these plans from people seems a little ridiculous.”

This is followed by 110 comments, most of which are from people who use FSAs and HSAs to pay for things like prescription drugs and don’t want to lose them.
SOURCE:
Daily Kos on FSAs. HSAs

Writing in Investors Business Daily, David Hogberg reports that small businesses believe mandatory coverage will result in a massive loss of jobs. This article is important because it reveals yet another hidden provision of the House bill. The bill would mandate coverage on every firm with a PAYROLL of $250,000 or more. That ain’t much. The penalty for non-compliance is a payroll tax that goes up to 8% on firms with payrolls of over $400,000. This is an enormous incentive to keep payroll down by either not hiring or by not raising wages.  The company would have to pay the tax even on workers who decline coverage because they are covered by their spouse or parents. And the company would have to pay 72.5% of a workers premium and 65% for a family.

NFIB estimates that one million jobs would be lost.

The article says there would be a teensy bit of credit available, “Tiny companies could be eligible for a tax credit for up to 50% of the cost of insurance. Businesses with up to 10 employees and average annual salaries of $20,000 or less could get the full credit. The credit phases out when staff hits 25 or the average salary approaches $40,000.” But, “The bill wouldn’t count health care spending as satisfying the mandate when it’s offset by lower pay.”

Huh? Benefits are always “offset by lower pay.” Do these Congressional yahoos have any idea what they are doing?
SOURCE:
Investors Business Daily

Even the governors are wary of what the Democrats are doing.  The New York Times reports, “The nation’s governors, Democrats as well as Republicans, voiced deep concern Sunday about the shape of the health care plan emerging from Congress, fearing that Washington was about to hand them expensive new Medicaid obligations without money to pay for them.”

The article adds, “The governors’ backlash creates yet another health care headache for the Obama administration, which has tried to recruit state leaders to pressure members of Congress to wrap up their fitful negotiations.” It goes on, “Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, a Democrat, said he feared Congress was about to bestow “the mother of all unfunded mandates. Medicaid is a poor vehicle for expanding coverage,” added Mr. Bredesen, a former health care executive. “It’s a 45-year-old system originally designed for poor women and their children. It’s not health care reform to dump more money into Medicaid.”
SOURCE:
New York Times

All of this takes a toll. Rasmussen finds that a majority of likely voters now oppose the Congressional efforts on health reform by a margin of 53% to 44% in favor. Of people with strong opinions, 37% strongly oppose and 24% strongly favor.

The write-up notes, “The survey question did not in any way describe the plan as it stands to date. It was simply presented as “the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats.” But public opinion could shift in either direction as details of the plan become clearer and if agreement is reached.” That is telling because we have seen that the more people know about the details the less they like it.
SOURCE:
Rasmussen Surveys

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July 24, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , ,

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