Now that it’s passed out of “Finance” (with the help of Maine’s Olympia Snowe), you will be outraged about what follows, unless, of course, you live in Nevada, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Several Senators have made sure that the Obamacare rules are different there.
The Baucus Unaffordable Health Care Bill proposes to cover many of the uninsureds by having them insured by Medicaid. The only problem is that the states pay a large percentage of the cost of Medicaid, and thus, this bill would stick states with some $37 billion in costs at a time when most states are having difficulty balancing their budgets. Senator Harry Reid (D.NV.), who will be fighting for his political life next November, decided that it would be unfair to shift these costs to his state. So, under his changes to the bill, the federal government would pay all of Nevada’s increased Medicare costs for the next five years. Thus, fewer angry voters.
Then we have the tax on the “Cadillac” insurance plans, designed to make sure that those who can afford the best insurance, pay for those who can’t. Under the Baucus bill, if the value of your employer provided insurance plan exceeds $21,000, you will pay a tax of 40% on any value in excess of $21,000. However, thanks to Senator Schumer (D.N.Y.), this so called “Cadillac” insurance plan is merely a Volkswagen in his home state of New York. There will be no tax in New York until the value of the plan exceeds $25,000.
Then we have the $2.3 billion annual tax on pharmaceuticals, many of which are located in New Jersey. This tax was supposed to go into the Medicare Trust Fund. But, enter, Senator Bob Menendez (D. N.J.)…he negotiated a $1 billion tax credit, but, to show he is a hard-liner, the tax credit only applies to companies investing in R&D. Huh…don’t they all?
And finally, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D. Mich.) and John Kerry (D.Ma.) were able to include a $5 billion reinsurance program for unions that is designed to lower the medical costs of union members. I can only assume that Senators Stabenow and Kerry didn’t get the memo…the Baucus bill is being sold to Americans as something that will “lower medical costs”. Or, do they know something they are not telling us?
As the Wall Street Journal points out,
Most senators are saving up their special state demands for when the bill hits the Senate floor. At that point, we’ll get an even better idea of how much health-care change Democrats truly believe in.
Anyone want to guess what the final tab will be?