The vote on Obamacare draws neigh, and the blogosphere is abuzz with analysis, commentary, and rebuttals of all the latest developments as the Democrats make a final bribes bid push for the votes they need, and the Republicans intensify their opposition.
John Campbell at Townhall outlines some of the tax increases embedded in the Obamacare bill.
– A new tax on “Cadillac” health plans. This is an up to 55% tax on any health insurance that costs over about $800 per month including employee and employer contributions. This tax does not apply if you are a union member or your plan is from AARP or Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. These are major Democratic constituencies and they exempted them. For everyone else, this discourages comprehensive health coverage. Isn’t that what the President says he is trying to achieve? Like most of what the President says, his actions are not even close to his words.
– There is a new tax on all ‘for-profit’ health insurance companies (except for a few favored ones). This will also raise the costs of premiums for everyone not getting free care from the government.
– If you don’t buy health insurance (as dictated acceptable by a new federal czar), you will be fined up to 2.5% of your income even if you pay all of your medical expenses yourself. If your company does not provide said health insurance to all employees, the company will be fined up to $2,000 per employee.
All of this will cause growth and jobs to decline, medical costs to go up, deficits and debt to increase, and quality doctors and providers to leave the business. It will cause fewer people to pay for their own care, and more to seek government care. And that is exactly what the authors want.
In spite of all of these taxes, this bill will create deficits of at least half a trillion dollars MORE than what we already have at the federal and state levels over the next 10 years, and a great deal more after that. So, lots more taxes, lots more spending, and lots more deficits. The time at which the Treasury will not be able to sell debt any more, except at a huge rate, is approaching fast. America, in my opinion with this bill, is much more likely to collapse under the weight of our own fiscal excess than to be seriously threatened by any external force.
Michelle Malkin mentions some of the amendments to Obamacare that are being glossed over or ignored as Democrats rush to get the bill through. It’s a very, very long list.
These amendments to the Demcare behemoth were posted on the House Rules Committee website last night at 9:23pm Eastern. The committee meets at 10am this morning. GOP Rep. Pete Sessions will be live-tweeting the hearing. Follow him here.
I want you to read the whole list (click here for link-throughs to all of the amendments) and keep in mind that Pelosi’s Slaughter House wants all of these debated, voted on, and dispensed with by tomorrow.
Just a few randomly picked amendments:
Would allow for 100% deductibility of individual medical expenses.
Would repeal the individual mandate.
Would repeal the sections of the bill that require the IRS to enforce the individual mandate.
Would require that all cuts to the Medicare program in this bill be used to ensure the solvency of the Medicare program and not for any other program.
Would eliminate any cuts to Medicare in the bill.
Would make Members of Congress a mandatory covered population under Title XIX of the Social Security Act (Medicaid) without consideration of any other asset or qualification test. Family members of Members of Congress are not impacted and remain eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FHEBP).
Would strike the current section 1302, essential health benefits requirements, and replace with a new section, medicare waste, fraud, and abuse prevention pilot program.
Would strike the individual health care mandate.
Shadegg (AZ), Broun (GA)
Adds a section to establish universal access programs to improve high risk pools and reinsurance markets.
Shadegg (AZ), Blackburn (TN), Broun (GA)
Would add a section on interstate purchasing of health insurance.
Would provide funds to Medicaid recipients so they can buy into employer-sponsored insurance.
Would require a certification that the bill would lower national health costs.
Would allow states to opt-out of the Medicaid expansion.
Would allow individuals or states to opt out of any fee or tax imposed or increased under the bill.
Would require the co-equal heads of the three branches of government – the President, Congress and Supreme Court Justices to be enrolled in the health exchange.
Would strike Sections 9009 and 10904, which tax medical devices.
Michael Steele at Politico offers some more observations on Obamacare:
The simple truth is that you can’t add a trillion dollars to the budget and claim it’s “revenue neutral” unless you are raising taxes or cutting benefits somewhere else. The simple truth is you can’t cut a half-trillion dollars from Medicare and claim it won’t affect seniors. The simple truth is you can’t procure votes with special deals for certain states and not others, then claim that all Americans are treated equally. The simple truth is you can’t claim transparency when every meeting, conversation and deal is behind closed doors. The simple truth is you can’t claim to be accountable when you’re willing to ignore the Constitution, on a technicality, to avoid having to answer for a shameful vote.
Greg Richards at American Thinker compares the underhanded manipulation involved in pushing Obamacare to the sub-prime mortgage fiasco:
I wonder if anyone else is struck by the similarity between the collapse of the financial system in the last two years due to finagling in the subprime mortgage market* and the current vote on ObamaCare. Let’s look at the parallels.
The fast-talking salesman – the president is in this role, selling very forcefully a program he doesn’t fully understand, hasn’t fully studied and the consequences for which he expects to take no responsibility.
The ignorant buyer – The ignorant buyer is not so much the public, which smells a rat and does not want to see hospitals and doctors’ offices turned into post offices, but rather Congress which thinks it is getting something for nothing and getting paid for it (in logrolling) to boot!
The teaser rate – vote for it now; nothing bad happens until 2014.
Nobody has read the documents. One of the heroes of Michael Lewis’ book, Dr. Michael Burry, was noteworthy for actually getting the prospectuses of the subprime bond offerings, but he was the only one in the story who actually read them. This includes the managements of the selling firms, the managements of the buying firms and participants in the transactions on both sides. Nobody could be bothered to do their homework. Same with ObamaCare. The more important the decision, the less effort goes into it. That is certainly proving out once again in the ObamaCare process.
Clarice Feldman, also at American Thinker, discusses the possible intervention of the Supreme Court should congress resort to the Slaughter Rule:
Stanford Constitutional law professor Michael McConnell,whose argument that the Slaughter Rule is unconstitutional we cited to the other day, explains that the Constitution forbids the Slaughter rule technique and argues that while the Supreme Court normally avoids interfering with Congressional Rules, this is far different.
The MaryHunter at Moonbattery posts a short video blasting Pelosi for supporting the Slaughter Rule on passing Obamacare.
Rick Moran at American Thinker mentions Pelosi’s deal with pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak, and how it may affect Democratic support of Obamacare.
Earlier yesterday , Pelosi seemed to reject Bart Stupak’s idea to amend the senate bill after the vote for reform had been taken. But faced with the desperate necessity of getting votes any way possible, Pelosi is gambling that liberal pro-choice members will not bolt entirely and pass the senate bill despite Stupak’s “Enrollment Corrections” bill.
Basically, this maneuver allows the senate language on abortion to be passed while Stupak’s amendment would be an add on after the fact. The Democrats ran against this kind of tomfoolery when the GOP was in the majority so chalk up another case of hypocrisy to the Democrats.
Pro-choice members, although complaining bitterly, will probably not jump ship. With the vote so close, no Democrat – no liberal – wants to be known as the Democrat who sank health care reform. That’s the argument Pelosi is making and it’s a darned effective one.
As we enter the final run for Obamacare, it seems less and less likely that this bill will become law. The numbers have been fudged, it will be a disaster for the economy, the proposed means to pass it are likely unconstitutional, as are some provisions of the bill, and the Democrats can’t bribe buy get enough support from their own to pass it through legitimate means. It looks less and less likely that the government will succeed in co-opting 1/6 of the economy, and it looks more and more like the harder Democrats try to do so, the more likely they are to tear their own party apart and destroy its last shreds of credibility.
We’ll see how the Democrats are rewarded for their dedication to Obamacare come November.