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Making the Affordable Health Care bill more affordable

Only the federal government, in general, and, Sen. Dodd (D. Ct.), in particular, could try to pull this one off with a straight face.  When Americans gasped at the cost of the “affordable” health care bill (some $1.6 trillion), the administration saw the chances of it passing drop precipitously.  So, Sen. Dodd, and democrats on the Senate health care committee set about to make it, well, more affordable.

Good news… per the Congressional Budget Office, affordable health care now will cost only about $611 billion.  Forgetting, for the moment that we can’t afford that either, you need to know why the new estimate is considerably less…fewer people will be insured under it, and, taxes will be increased.  Now, why didn’t I think of that!

First, the taxes.  Individuals who do not participate in a qualified plan will see a tax of $1000 per year (the tax for families will be even higher); and employers with more than 25 employees who do not insure their employees will pay a tax of $750 per year for each full time employee, and, $375 per year for each part time employee.  Gee, that should help our unemployment rate.

But, here’s the best part…the new plan will only insure about 12 million of the 46 million uninsureds in this country.  What happens to the others, you ask, and what about Debbie, the Obama operative who narrated her plight at Obama’s recent town hall meeting? Her case is a compelling one … but even so, would she even be covered under this plan?

You will be happy to know that those other 34 million people (perhaps including Debbie) will now be covered by Medicaid!  And, what will that cost, you ask?  Well, we don’t know.  But, cynic that I am, I would venture a number close to the $900 plus billion that has been “trimmed” from the health care bill. 

Why don’t we know the cost of that yet, you ask?  Well, it seems that Medicaid is within the province of the Senate finance committee, not the Senate health committee, and the Senate finance committee hasn’t yet written that bill so, the Congressional Budget Office can’t give us a price tag.  (Does anyone else find it ironic that Sen Dodd, in addition to pushing the Affordable Health Care bill, also chairs the Senate finance committee?)

Bottom line…this mess will still cost us $1.6 trillion, only under the “revised” plan, the cost will be shared by two government “pockets”, not just one.  The theft from your pocket in the form of increased taxes, however, will be the same.  And, if my math is correct, it will only cost $5,000 per year per person to cover those 12 million uninsureds.  Now, there’s thrift for you.

How stupid does Sen Dodd think we are?

Food Police: How many calories are in that olive?

And, does it matter whether it is a black olive, or a green olive?  Luckily, we’ll soon find out.  Given the obvious, clear cut dangers to our health posed by salad bars, the Affordable Health Choices Act being pushed by Sen. Dodd (D. Ct.) will come to our rescue.  This proposed legislation provides,

Section 403(q) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is amened by adding (H)(iii)…in the case of food sold at a salad bar,…a restaurant [with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name]…shall place adjacent to each food offered a sign that lists calories per displayed item or per serving…

You can find this laughable section beginning at page 401, line 22 of the above link.  I’ll let you ponder who pays for these signs, and how large the serving area will have to grow to accommodate all these signs.  I just hope I’m not in line at the “salad bar of the future” behind someone who wants to read each and every sign for each and every food item before making a selection.

But, it gets worse.  Subsection (viii) is also added to provide,

…in the case of food sold from a vending machine that…is operated by a person who [owns or operates] 20 or more vending machines, the vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food…that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories in the article.

You can find this section of the proposed legislation beginning at page 404, line 4.  So, I’m wondering, with all these clear and conspicuous signs on the outside glass of vending machines, will we even be able to see what’s inside?

Feeling left out as you don’t own 20 or more restaurants, or 20 or more vending machines?  Well, not to worry.  Subsection (ix) provides that you can choose to be covered by the above rules if you want to!  Any volunteers?

I sincerely wish I was making this stuff up.  It is so silly that it is better suited to a Three Stooges comedy routine than a federal program paid for with your money.  But, on the bright side, thousands will become employed checking each restaurant and vending machine to ensure compliance.

Yet another reason you will not be able to keep your own health insurance

After a slight diversion into the Cap and Trade fiasco, I’m back to Sen. Dodd’s (D. Ct.) Affordable Health Choices Act.  From earlier posts, you already know that keeping the insurance you like may be difficult because if it doesn’t get the government’s “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval, a tax will be imposed on you to “enhance” your switch to Obamacare.

However, from the language of the following sections of the proposed bill, I’m beginning to think that you will not need to be “enhanced” to join Obamacare.  Your insurance company will just disappear.

Section 2702(a) of the proposed legislation provides,

Subject to subsections (b) through (e), each health insurance issuer that offers health coverage in the individual or group market in a State must accept every employer and individual in the State that applies for coverage. [emphasis supplied]

Before moving to the substance of my post I have to point out that there are no subsections (c), (d), or (e) of 2702!  Perhaps someone in Connecticut could ask Senator Dodd about that, or, perhaps, this is just a “pop quiz” for all of us to just fill in the blanks.  (Please go to the link, and to page 9, line 6, which is the beginning of  Section 2702…it is only 21 lines long.  Can anyone find a subsection (c), (d), or (e) in Section 2702?)

Section 2701(a) provides,

With respect to the premium charged by a health insurance issuer for health insurance,…(2) such  rate shall not vary by health-status related factors

Coupling these sections results in the following: an insurance company must accept you if you apply, and the company can’t charge you a higher premium than anyone else in the plan, no matter how bad your health is.

This is more than lunacy.  It would be like telling the auto insurance industry that it must accept all who apply, and, by the way, you can’t charge the guy with 12 DUI’s any more than you can charge the guy who has a 20 year record of safe driving.  Or telling the casualty insurance industry, you must accept all who apply, and, by the way, you can’t charge the folks who live in hurricane prone areas of the country any more then you charge the folks who live in South Dakota.

Why will this legislation cause private insurers to disappear?  Here’s how.

Let’s say you are an individual who has your own individual policy with “Good Health Insurance Company”, and you like what you have.  If this legislation is approved, let’s say 6000 people apply for coverage with Good Health, and, all 6000 have a serious illness of some sort requiring the expenditure of a great amount of money to cover the costs of their illnesses.

Good Health is required to accept these 6000 applicants, and, it can’t charge them a premium any higher than what you pay.  The only way for Good Health to cover the costs of the medical treatment of these 6000 people is to raise your premiums.  This will continue, and more and more insureds of Good Health will be forced to drop their coverage with Good Health due to the cost.  Soon, either Good Health will will cease to exist, or, you, too, will be forced to leave due to the ever increasing premiums.

What’s left?  Crummy, rationed Obamacare.

Please, Mr. President, don’t mislead us about keeping our current plan if we like it.  You have endorsed legislation that, for a multitude of reasons, will force all of us out of our current plans.  America’s health care is too important… we deserve honesty.

National Oral Health Surveillance System

At this point in my wanderings through the “universal health care bill” being pushed by Sen. Dodd (D. Ct.), I thought a bit of levity might be in order. Either that, or my brain has turned to mush at only page 376 of this svelte 615 page proposed bill.

Oral hygiene is certainly a good thing.  At least that’s what my parents taught us…brush your teeth after every meal, use dental floss, go to the dentist at least twice a year.  But, this section seems to trump even my Mom and Dad’s advice with language like “oral health leadership” and “multi-dimensional delivery system for oral health”, and “verification of dental utilization”.

I’m not making fun of the program, simply the choice of words used to describe it.

Title III, Subtitle B, Section 313 of the Affordable Health Choices Act (found beginning on page 376) is entitled, “Oral Healthcare Prevention Activities”.  From the title, though, it almost sounds like they are trying to prevent oral health care, rather than promote it.  But, maybe that’s just me.

This section also includes funding for what’s called the National Oral Health Surveillance System.  I haven’t a clue as to what that is, as the proposed legislation is silent on that.  Just the words, however, conjure up images of a name more suited to a missile defense program or a covert CIA operation, rather than something dealing with oral hygiene.  But, apparently 16 states already belong to this “surveillance system”, so hopefully, someone out there could fill the rest of us in on exactly what it is.

The troubling part of this section, though, is the funding allocated to it.

There is authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2014 to increase the participation of States in the National Oral Health Surveillance System from 16 States to all 50 States, territories, and the District of Columbia [emphasis supplied].

To me that sounds like a blank check, and, I don’t like blank checks.  Unless, of course, I am the payee.

Mr. President, read the health care bill, Part II

My earlier post explaining that you will not be able to keep your health care plan even if you like it, brought a good question from several readers. It concerned the “tax” that will be imposed on you if you do not participate in a “qualified plan”.  Remember, that’s the tax designed to “enhance participation” in a qualified plan.

How will government know if I’m in a qualified plan, you asked?  Some scofflaws even suggested that they would simply tell the government they are in a qualified plan, even if they are not, and, that will be that.

Not so fast.

Subtitle D, Section 161 of the Affordable Health Choices Act amends the Internal Revenue Code, to add the following:

Every person who provides health insurance that is qualified shall make a return…contain[ing] (A) the name, address and taxpayer identification number of each individual who is covered under health insurance that is qualifying coverage…and (B) the number of months during the calendar year during which each such individual was covered under such health insurance…[emphasis supplied]

You can find this Orwellian provision beginning at page 107 of the above link.

Armed with this information, the Internal Revenue Service can simply match the taxpayer ID numbers of those in qualified plans with the taxpayer ID numbers of all taxpayers, and voila.  The scofflaws are identified, taxed, and “encouraged” to change their ways.

President Obama, read the health care bill

You will not be able to stay with your current health insurance plan.

I’m still slogging my way through the mind-numbing 615 page  “Affordable Health Choices Act” being pushed by Senator Chris Dodd (D- Conn.), so this is likely to become the first in a series of posts dealing with the issue.  But, as “keeping your own plan if you like it” has become a mantra of President Obama, I thought I would address this topic first.

Much has been said about the fact that a government plan will simply undercut the prices charged by private insurers, thus driving them out of business.  But, the Dodd plan is even more insidious than that.  Regardless of cost, you will be driven into the government plan like it or not, and here is the convoluted path that will get you there.

Under Section 3103(h), the government will determine if the insurance plan you currently have, (and perhaps, like), meets a laundry list of criteria.  If it does, your plan will be deemed “qualified”.  One obvious problem, here, is that the secretary of Health and Human Services can, by regulation, set the specific criteria for what is and is not a qualified plan… no vote of Congress, no open discussion, no public input.  An “all wise” cabinet appointee will decide what’s best for you.

Some will take heart in the language of Section 3101 that provides,

Nothing in this [bill] shall be construed to prohibit [an individual] from enrolling in a health insurance plan where such plan is not a qualified plan.

But, read on.

Section 161 of Subtitle D provides,

In the case of any individual who did not have in effect qualifying coverage for any month during the taxable year there is hereby imposed a [tax]…[The Secretary of the Treasury] in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish the amount [of the tax…which shall be] the minimum practical amount that can accomplish the goal of enhancing participation in qualifying coverage. [emphasis supplied]

So sure, you can keep your own coverage, and your own doctor, even if they are part of a non qualifying plan, that is, until you are taxed to the point where you are forced into the “Obama” plan.

What kind of sick, twisted mind came up with this idea?

Dodd on Government Health Care: First we go after the smokers … then

First they came for the smokers … but we already know they are evil so that’s OK. But if you think it’s going to stop with the smokers you are oh so wrong. When the government becomes your health care provider … the government will control your lifestyle too. All of you … all of it. Senator Chris Dodd on how the universal plan will save money.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Al01N260lg

And lest you think you will have a choice with a private option, not likely says Mitch McConnell.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZ6omK26-JE

Dodd: Another day … Another dollar – Update: Video

Well it seems that Kevin Rennie was correct. It seems I was correct. It seems your better instincts were correct. That Irish cottage that the senior Senator bought for a song with the help of his financial friends is worth just a little bit more than he had disclosed. OK … more than a little bit.

A new appraisal of the Irish cottage owned by Sen. Christopher Dodd concludes that it is worth about three times as much as Dodd has been reporting on his financial disclosure forms.

The new value of the cottage, located on Inishnee in Galway County, is $658,000, according to Dodd’s 2008 financial disclosure form released today.

The appraisal was done by the same person who did the original one in 2002 when the 1,200 square-foot cottage was evaluated at about $190,000.

Let’s see … a 65% increased in 8 years and a 300% plus increase in 6 years. Dodd’s people say he doesn’t think much about the cottage but reported the new value in the interest of “good faith”. My guess is, and Michelle Malkin’s guess is, there’s a little bit more at work here than good faith. She points to this in a complaint filed by Judicial Watch in April.

(Judicial Watch has sought additional documents about this property from government authorities in Ireland.)

According to the complaint, Senator Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, allegedly failed to report the gift in 2002 and may have filed inaccurate Senate Financial Disclosure forms related to the property ever since, in violation of the 1978 Ethics in Government Act. The penalty for filing false financial disclosure forms is $50,000 and up to one year in prison.

Dodd’s initial investment in this little gem was $12,000. That’s right, $12,000. They then bought out their partner Kessenger (who owned 2/3 of the house) in 2002 for $177,000. And from that point on … the value of the cottage never changed on a single Senate disclosure form, until now.

And Dodd’s not the only one getting rich … Good old Dick”Pol Pot”Durbin apparently is psychic too. Enough!

Update: Go here to see what Dodd had to say about his Countrywide mortgage in March. “I disclosed everything.”

Then go here to see how we questioned the value of the cottage in March.

Update 2: Oh yeah …. and remember this one?

Update 3: Dodd also addressed his wife Jackie’s presence on the boards of Pharmaceutical boards and receiving an income of about $500,000 last year. We address this issue here.

What struck as I read through the article was not so much her appointments to the boards … which come after her marriage to Dodd, but her qualifications. She lists her consulting firm as one of her qualifications but there apparently is no record of any clients in recent years.

But Clegg Dodd’s consulting firm has neither clients nor a current business phone listing. ”There are no clients now and there have been no clients for three and a half years,” she said, responding to written questions.

Her only other qualifications appear to be her time as a legislative staffer on the banking committee and vice president for congressional affairs for the Export-Import Bank. These are fine indeed, but I would question whether they qualify a person to be the board member who overseas audits.

Dodd’s explanation is a familiar refrain … “Hey, you wouldn’t be saying this if she weren’t a woman.” Nothing like addressing the issue.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VsJseM0SI8

Uh Oh … Dodd stops the bleeding

Well, could it get any worse for a Democrat in a blue state? Based on why most people in Connecticut dislike him, I would expect he is far from rehabilitated.

Dodd, who has served in the Senate for close to 30 years, trails Simmons, 45 percent to 39 percent, the poll found.

However, those numbers are an improvement over the 50 to 34 percent advantage Simmons held in the last Quinnipiac poll, which was released in early April, on the heels of the AIG bonus controversy.

Dodd appears to have “stopped the bleeding,” Quinnipiac poll director Doug Schwartz said in a press release accompanying the poll results. Connecticut voters disapprove, 53 to 38, percent of the job the Democratic incumbent is doing, a gain over the 58 to 33 percent margin in the April 2, his lowest approval rating ever.

The uptick in approvals from 31 to 38 is hardly reason to plan the re-election party. Maybe what Dodd really needs is another credit card bill. After all, then he can be introduced by the President as a “partner in crime” again. 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R4FSryS92Y

Obama on the evils of credit cards

We used to say the company that gets a union deserves a union. On Friday the President outlined the reasons behind the new credit card legislation and I can’t say that I disagree with many of the things he says here … whacking people who pay on time with higher rates to boost profits may be legal but clearly … knowing the Democrats were in charge … likely not smart … leading to tougher rules. It is pretty outrageous on the part of the banks.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R4FSryS92Y

But there’s an easy solution and that’s putting away the cards and telling the banks to take a hike. That though, is not going to happen … so the Feds ride to the rescue and the banks get what they deserve and what they should have expected. More regulation.

The banks says they will retaliate by eliminating rewards and charging fees to their most credit worthy customers and offer feweer cards to less credit worthy.

I say fine. My guess is the market will step in an offer some competition and the banks will continue to push cards on … welll everyone and the dog. What do you think? Take the poll.

And as an aside … notice how Obama introduces Senators Dodd and Shelby … using the phrase “partner in crime”. Ha!

httpvd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R4FSryS92Y