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Obamacare: Just give us a bill to hype; we don't care what it is

By       Message Paul Craig Roberts     Permalink
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7. The Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans or the "Cadillac" Health Insurance Plan Tax -- So-called Cadillac plans are generally fully paid for by employers. This tax, delayed until 2018 to protect Obama's union supporters, will impose a 40% excise tax on the recipients when fully enacted.

There are at least 13 other significant taxes imposed on all businesses, employers, and "high income" individuals ($125,000/year) and families ($250,000/year) within PPACA. A summary of these other taxes and the history behind Obamneycare can be found at Wikipedia. It is worth taking time to review this entry, so that one can understand how invasive and costly this legislation really is.

For "low income" individuals and families, subsidies for insurance obtained from "insurance exchanges" will be provided for those between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For example, the 2016 FPL is projected to be $11,800/year for an individual and $24,000/year for a family of four. DHHS and CBO estimate that the average annual premium cost for a family of four without PPACA would be $11,328/year. With PPACA in place as presently enacted, the same family at 200% of FPL would be paying $2,778/year out of pocket and at 400% of FPL, $8,379/year. In participating states, Medicaid eligibility will be expanded to all individuals and families earning up to 133% of the FPL. The Wikipedia entry referenced above contains several tables that explain this in more detail.

The Internal Revenue Service will be the implementer and enforcer of PPACA (up to 16,000 new agents). The Act will be partially paid for by taking $716 billion from Medicare and Medicaid; AARP claims that the money is taken from doctors and hospitals, but the lower payments to health care providers will reduce the services that Medicare patients receive.

The Congressional Budget Office reports that costs will rise for all Americans; and, more than 30 million will remain uninsured when Obamneycare is fully implemented. The CBO further predicts that the average family's insurance premiums will rise at least $2500/year, in spite of candidate Obama's repeated promises that they would go down that same amount. Be of good cheer, however, as all illegal immigrants will be exempt from the health insurance mandate and, yet, will remain eligible for emergency services under the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).

As a kid (and, I confess, as an adult) I always loved the 1950's science fiction thrillers. One of the classics from that era is "The Blob" (1958). Though silly in many ways, it remains metaphorically appropriate today. Starring a young Steve McQueen, the story revolves around an extraterrestrial bit of alien protoplasm that arrives on Earth via a meteorite. This goo proceeds to engulf every living thing that comes in contact with it until it fills the town's cinema and engulfs the local diner. In this thriller, the Blob is finally defeated by freezing it with CO2 bottles and the U.S Air force airlifts the blob to the arctic. Problem solved -- at least, until global warming kicks in.

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In reflecting on Obamneycare over the past few months, I have been unable to discover any such easy solution for eliminating PPACA.

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Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His books, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available (more...)

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