March 25, 2010

The Vote Down the Throats

~ “LETTERS FROM AMERICA” - by The Metaphysical Peregrine ~

Due to illness and now going on vacation until next week, The Metaphysical Peregrine has been unable to create a fresh blog for the Wind Rose Hotel. I felt the need to post this because of Rob's last post on ObamaCare. I agree with Giannino from that post. I posted this regarding the health care battle going on here in the U S. on my own site. What follows is a bit wonkish, but gives an idea of some of the things in the nearly 3000 page bill that not one Senator or Congressman that voted for it has read. Lots of bribes and threats were made to pass this. When I get back from vacation, I'll provide an update about the political repercussions, and some of the terrible costs imposed, both financially and to people.

The Vote came down to this.

U.S. House Roll Call Votes On Passage of the Bill "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (H.R. 3590) Sunday, March 21, 2010.

YEAs: 219 (Voting yes were 219 Democrats and 0 Republicans)
NAYs: 212 (Voting no were 34 Democrats and 178 Republicans)
(There are 4 vacancies in the 435-member House.)
How each Congressman voted here.

It's estimated that this bill will add somewhere between $1.5 - $2 Trillion, while at the same time saving billions and reducing insurance premiums by 3000%. The 3000% is a quote a couple days ago by Obama. How costing trillions more reduces costs and lowers the deficit is a mystery to me. Whenever I spend more money, I have less of it. When I borrow money and spend it, I shoot right past zero and have less than less of it.

Here's one accounting trick the Dems are using. They will collect revenues for Obamacare for four years before spending or "outlays". Of course they will use that money for their other Statist programs, not invest it in health programs.

Doctors will receive cuts in Medicare payments; so do you think they will continue to provide Medicare services? Would you work for less money? About 30% of doctors say they will change professions. These are smart people, and have plenty of professional options open.

Taxes: $409.2 billion in additional taxes by 2019, and who do you think will pay those? Of course the Dems say rich people will, but rich people can hide their wealth. Who's left? You, middle class America. The "poor", the nearly half of the population that doesn't pay taxes, get an even bigger free ride. Do you have a really good policy? Cadillac plan penalties of course won't be paid by union members, rich people have their own coverage, and poor people get a free ride. Who does that leave? Middle class people. We're talking about a 40% excise tax. If you're a small businessman making $250,000...that's your income from your business that is taxed as personal income, would you expand your business so you can pay more taxes?

Need a wheelchair? Taxed an extra 2.3%. How's that for compassion? I have several friends in wheelchairs, and every one of them struggles financially. Need a hip replacement? Added tax.

Business. They already know it's cheaper to pay the fines to not cover their employees than cover them. Insurance executives that get paid over $500,000 will be penalized, and will not be able to take deductions. Someone want to show me where in the Constitution it says the government can control private citizens' pay?

This last really caps all this. Citizens who don’t buy insurance will be fined $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016. After that you can get penalized as much as 2.5 percent of your income in 2016, if the total is greater than the flat payment. Someone want to show me where in the Constitution the government can force citizens to buy a product and fine them if they don't? Dems say health care is a "right". Can anyone show me a "right" that you decide not to indulge, that you'll be fined and/or sent to prison?

Complete esoteric details of tax, prison, fines, and the rest of this unconstitutional mess here.

My suggestion, after Obama signs this, if you have a complaint about your insurance company, call your representative and senator. Have a complaint about your doctor, call your representative and senator. When your insurance rates go up, call your representative and your senator. If you're on Medicaid, and your state decides it's cheaper not to have it, that the Fed's have to carry the weight, and you're denied care, call your representative or senator. If the cost of your meds go up, and they will, call your representative or senator. I say all this because they know better than you and your doc how to treat what ails you. Next time you're in the DMV, and waiting forever to be called for a 10 minute transaction, just be thinking, "Boy! I can't wait until my medical care is so great!"

By the way, Leftist CNN has new poll today, shows 59% of Americans are against this. Before today 52%-56% against.

Even more esoteric details of this plan here.

ObamaCare. A view from over here

ObamaCare: to be honest, I think I do not yet have a sufficient understanding of the whole matter, nor do I think most Europeans do, since everything, in this important and vital field, is—or seems to be—very different over here. Thus, what has been going on in the US in the past few months is perhaps a bit “too American” for us. Hence my silence on this issue … until now. What made me change my mind? What moved me to break my silence is this post in Italian by Oscar Giannino—as usually I asked Mirino to translate into English some excerpts from the post: thank you once again my friend!

Giannino is among the most respected economic opinion-makers in Italy, a columnists for several Italian newspapers, and the author of many publications on economic issues. What I appreciated most in Giannino’s post is that it’s focused first and foremost on the differences between Europe and America, which, in turn, somehow helps me focus what is peculiar about the American health system—the ways of Providence are infinite!

But first of all, to make it easier for American readers to understand what Giannino means, let me summarize what the Italian health system is all about and how it works. The National Health System offers inexpensive healthcare to all European citizens. However, even though the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale ranks number 2 on the World Health Organization’s list of top countries for quality health care services, there are some state hospitals that are substandard, providing a comfort level below what most Americans would expect. These hospitals are normally found in Southern Italy (where, paradoxically, public health spending per capita are twice or three times as high as in the Northern Italy…). In-patient treatments which are covered include tests, medications, surgeries during hospitalization, family doctor visits, and medical assistance provided by paediatricians and other specialists. The health system is also responsible for drugs and medicines, out-patient treatments, and dental treatments. This being said, however, can we really speak of free healthcare for all? Well, if you are employed your health insurance is paid in part by employers and in part by wages withheld from workers’ paychecks. Of course, if you are unemployed you don’t have to pay anything, and you still get healthcare.

Now let’s see what Oscar Giannino has to say.

I’ll be brutal. The enthusiasm of the media, even more than that of the Italian left wing, for Obamacare, indicates two things. They don’t know the reform, or they pretend not to know it. They’re only drinking a toast to the political patron. That almost no one has read the 2,800 pages of Obamacare is obvious. Why would they otherwise exult, if the reform excludes clandestine immigrants from every cover? In Italy they would accuse anyone who came up with such a thing as a fascisto-racist. What is there of “left wing” in a reform whose aim is to save the hole—estimated to be six times the US GDP—of American private insurance companies, that nevertheless remain private but with tariffs and services decided by politics, and with levels of debit charged to enterprises and tax payers? In Italy anyone who proposed such an idea would be accused of being a lackey to insurance companies.
Who are the great beneficiaries of the reform? The insurance companies, whose shares in recent months have in fact climbed by 30%.
I then omit what would happen in Italy, if State Prosecutors had intercepted the numerous telephone confrontations during the final days before the risky ballot to the House of representatives. How would they manage to avoid filing corruption charges to Nancy Pelosi and Obama himself, when the ballot is “bought” in exchange for concessions for every constituency whose vote counts so much?
Rhetoric is an indissoluble part of politics. But rarely does one hear so much rhetoric diffused in Europe for Obamacare, which has been compared to the approval of the Civil Rights anti- segregation Act of 1964, or even to the Constitution written by the Founding Fathers, in the skillful emphasis by which President Obama and the heads of the Democratic party knew how to enclose the vote to the tightest margin with which the law would pass, in spite of the defection of forty democrat congressmen.
For every American cautious of the many taxes he or she will have to pay in future, for a national debt increasing towards 100% of the GDP, such an onerous reform—to save private insurance—entrusting everything to politicians, induces a distrust very different from the enthusiasm expressed by European (right or left wing) statists. But Obama has preconstituted a cunning advantage. At the time of his re-election campaign in 2012, when the reform will begin to enter in force with the greater covers, the accounting effects will not be evident. Nor they will be much more evident four years later, when Obama might intend to “bequeath” the White House to another Democrat: the taxes and the additional, obligatory contributions come into force as from 2014, but the public levels of the costs of the pharmaceutical prescriptions won’t be released before 2018. They will fall on his successors, and on future taxpayers. A slow passage of Lord and Master’s politics, with private companies kept on a tight rein by party leaders. The European Public Health systems, directly managed by the State, and only integrated by private companies, are more coherent. The Obamacare is a real, fundamental attack on the America we love. That’s why the democratic left à la Pelosi is so fanatically favorable. How ghastly! If we were Americans, we would be rallying in the streets.

As for me, after reading this, I’m beginning to convince myself that, if I were American, I could not support the healthcare reform bill—even without ignoring the arguments in favor (it offers more equality: expanded insurance, more redistribution). I could not help but fear that the legislation will add to the fiscal burden Americans are leaving to future generations. And, yes, I guess that, if I were American, I would be also rallying in the streets …