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Gayle in MD
03-26-2010, 08:58 AM
Oh, and before we go to the facts on the HC Bill, check out this link on Bush's Tax Cuts for the wealthy...with a chart...from a reliable source....

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?DocID=327&topic2ID=40&topic3ID=52&DocTypeID=2

Now, here are the facts from factcheck.org, respected as THE most reliable source on the net, which is easy to prove, just by checking their sources for the information they reveal. This is not current because it does not include the recent fixes, see date at link, but the overall Bill has not changed inasmuch as the following points made, to my knowledge....

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Final Weekend of Whoppers?
Health care legislation could be heading toward the final showdown. We look at the biggest falsehoods of the recent debate.
March 19, 2010


Summary
With the House preparing for a final vote on the Senate health care legislation, with revisions, Sunday afternoon, we thought we’d give our readers a wrap-up of the top falsehoods of late. The debate over this bill has stretched on almost as long as a presidential campaign, and we suspect this weekend will be filled with politicians and third-party groups making their final — and faulty — pitches. There’s little doubt they’ll repeat wrong and misleading statements about premium costs, a government takeover, keeping your plan, Medicare cuts and more. Keep reading for details.

Analysis
This may — or may not — be our last roundup of health care whoppers. We posted an earlier collection in August, and bogus health care claims led our list of the top whoppers of 2009.



Americans’ premiums will go up. Americans’ premiums will go down.

The battle over what happens to insurance premium costs under the bill was most pronounced during President Obama’s health care summit Feb. 25. Obama and Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee argued over whether premiums would increase (Alexander’s view) or decrease (Obama’s), compared with what premiums would do in the absence of legislation. The truth is that for most people, premiums wouldn’t change significantly.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that for those in the group market — those who get insurance through their employers — premiums would largely stay the same. The change in the average premium in the large group market would be between 0 percent and a 3 percent decrease, for instance, compared with where they’d be under current law in 2016. The average premiums for those who buy insurance on their own would go up, however, by 10 percent to 13 percent. The reason is that benefits would become a lot better for this market under the bill. Also, most people buying their own coverage would receive subsidies that make their net costs for these plans substantially lower than they otherwise would be.

Health Care Summit Squabbles, Feb. 25



It’s government-run health care.

Despite the fact that the federal health insurance plan (a.k.a. the “public option”) is now gone from the bill, Republicans and conservative groups have continued to claim that the bill institutes a system like the one in the United Kingdom, or Canada, or otherwise amounts to a government takeover. It doesn’t. A pure government-run system was never among the leading Democratic proposals, much to the chagrin of single-payer advocates. Instead, the bill builds on our current system of private insurance, and in fact, drums up more business for private companies by mandating that individuals buy coverage and giving many subsidies to do so. There would be increased government regulation of the insurance industry, however, to require companies to cover preexisting conditions, for example. These “government-run” claims have also included heavy criticism of health care in the U.K., such as the outrageous assertion by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop that seniors would be “too old” to qualify for artificial joints and pacemakers in the U.K. The majority of those getting joint replacements and pacemakers in the U.K. are, not surprisingly, seniors.

Koop’s False Claims, Feb. 1

Breast Cancer Ballyhoo, March 12

Voting for a Health Care Takeover? March 3

A Practically Fact-Free Attack on Reid, March 5



If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.

Obama has repeatedly made this claim, and it’s true for the most part. But not for everyone. Employers could still drop coverage under the bill — just as they can now — and, in fact, the CBO estimates that some would. Under the Senate bill, the CBO said that 8 million to 9 million people who would be expected to have employer-sponsored insurance under current law wouldn’t be offered such benefits by 2019. These would mainly be low-income workers, CBO said, who would be eligible for subsidies to buy their own plans. Others would gain coverage through their jobs under the bill, resulting in a net decrease of 4 million people on employer-sponsored insurance. That figure holds for the final legislation.

Obama’s Glowing Assessment, March 4



The bill cuts Medicare by $500 billion.

Whether these are "cuts" or much-needed "savings" depends on the political expedience of the moment, it seems. When Republican Sen. John McCain, then a presidential candidate, proposed similar reductions to pay for his health care plan, it was the Obama camp that attacked the Republican for cutting benefits. Whatever you want to call them, it’s a $500 billion reduction in the growth of future spending over 10 years, not a slashing of the current Medicare budget or benefits. It’s true that those who get their coverage through Medicare Advantage’s private plans (about 22 percent of Medicare enrollees) would see fewer add-on benefits; the bill aims to reduce the heftier payments made by the government to Medicare Advantage plans, compared with regular fee-for-service Medicare. The Democrats’ bill also boosts certain benefits: It makes preventive care free and closes the "doughnut hole," a current gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors.

Rove vs. Brokaw, and Other Sunday Squabbles, March 15

Health Care Summit: We Rebut A Pre-buttal, Feb. 24



The health care plan would be the largest middle-class tax cut for health care.

Note the “for health care" part of this claim that has been made by President Obama and other Democrats. This may be true, given the qualifier. But we’re not sure who would even maintain a list of the biggest “middle-class” tax cuts, since there is no agreed upon definition of who’s “middle class.” (The vast majority of Americans say they’re "middle-class," making this a popular buzzword for politicians.) This grandiose-sounding assertion, however, is only being made about tax cuts for health care. The bill includes about $460 billion over 10 years in subsidy money. Incidentally, President Bush’s 2001 tax cut totaled about $1.3 trillion over 10 years, with about 42 percent of the benefits going to the middle 60 percent of all income earners, according to a breakdown by the Tax Policy Center. That amounts to $566 billion over 10 years, a bigger cut for the middle earners than the health care tax cut.

Obama’s Glowing Assessment, March 4



Medical malpractice is the biggest driver of health care spending.

Economic studies simply do not support this claim. Many Republicans strongly back limiting liability awards in medical malpractice cases, and it’s true that doing so would save money. The CBO said measures that conservatives have proposed would save $54 billion over 10 years and "reduce total U.S. health care spending by about 0.5 percent (about $11 billion in 2009)."

That’s real money, but it’s a tiny part of the more than $2 trillion spent on health care annually in the U.S. There’s disagreement over what exactly the biggest drivers of spending are, but medical malpractice doesn’t top the list. About 75 percent of spending, for instance, goes to taking care of chronic disease.

Summit Extras: Medical Malpractice, Feb. 26



Cadillac plans and a sweetheart deal for unions

The controversy over those cushy Cadillac insurance plans just keeps on running. Here are the details: The bill places a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored plans – specifically there’s a 40 percent tax on the value of plans above $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families, starting in 2018. The tax falls on insurers, but would be passed along to policyholders one way or another. First, the thresholds were increased after union leaders lobbied for them, which led Republican leaders to charge that the new tax was a sweetheart deal for labor — and they were increased again for the final bill. But the tax would affect mainly nonunion workers, according to an analysis partly authored by a former Bush adviser. Under even lower thresholds than the bill has now, union workers would have made up only 17 percent of those affected by the tax in 2019, the analysis said.

Of course, liberal groups and union leaders have made misleading claims about this Cadillac tax, saying it would really hit middle-class workers – lots of them. But economists in general back this idea, and the thinking behind it isn’t to raise money by slamming workers with a 40 percent tax. On the contrary, the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office believe the tax will boost paychecks. They say the existence of the tax will prompt employers and employees to choose less expensive health plans. In lieu of the higher cost benefits, employers will raise salaries. And that’s how the government really makes its revenue here: on payroll and income taxes on those higher paychecks.

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http://factcheck.org/2010/03/a-final-weekend-of-whoppers/

Deeman3
03-26-2010, 10:24 AM
There is no advantage for the poor to higher taxes on the rich. Increased costs are passed along. Yes, there is some re-distribution but, be and large, these costs get passed down in higher prices, higher taxes even on the poor. The poor will certinaly win in the short term with subsidised health care but the middle class and retired will suffer much higher costs.

Obama said we will all save $2,500 a year on our premiums. We just talked to our health care provider and they say adding all the features of the plan will be more expensive. We shall see.

MSNBC has aan article about how the Obama recovery will be a "rich Man's" recovery. I know you may consider them another right wing news group but I think they understand the real situation of the Obama plan.

Gayle in MD
03-26-2010, 10:55 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Deeman3</div><div class="ubbcode-body">There is no advantage for the poor to higher taxes on the rich. Increased costs are passed along. Yes, there is some re-distribution but, be and large, these costs get passed down in higher prices, higher taxes even on the poor. The poor will certinaly win in the short term with subsidised health care but the middle class and retired will suffer much higher costs.

Obama said we will all save $2,500 a year on our premiums. We just talked to our health care provider and they say adding all the features of the plan will be more expensive. We shall see.

MSNBC has aan article about how the Obama recovery will be a "rich Man's" recovery. I know you may consider them another right wing news group but I think they understand the real situation of the Obama plan. </div></div>

Couldn't b3e any worse than this:http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?DocID=327&topic2ID=40&topic3ID=52&DocTypeID=2

Qtec
03-26-2010, 11:10 AM
I remember seeing a tv programme years ago [ 70,s or early 80,s] about the introduction of computers and robots etc into the work place. They were predicting 25 hours working weeks and what will we do with all that free time. They presumed that the extra profits would be shared between the share holders and the workers.
Funny eh?
This of course was before Wall St went online, went ballistic and became one gigantic casino where you play with other peoples money.

Q

LWW
03-26-2010, 12:26 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Now, here are the facts from factcheck.org, respected as THE most reliable source on the net, which is easy to prove, just by checking their sources for the information they reveal.</div></div>

Good idea to check out the integrity of a source. Too bad you never do it. FACTCHECK.ORG is a part of Annenburg Foundation.

One of the founders of the "ANNENBURG CHALLENGE" was domestic terrorist William Ayers.

President and Board Chairman of the Chicago Annenburg Challenge was Barack Hussein Obama Jr.

You really should investigate who is wielding the spoon that feeds you.
&gt;&gt;&gt;HOIST BY THINE OWN PETARD ... AGAIN&lt;&lt;&lt; (http://deathby1000papercuts.com/2008/10/obama-bill-ayers-and-factcheckorg-all-have-ties-to-annenberg-foundation/)

LWW

Gayle in MD
03-26-2010, 02:08 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Qtec</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I remember seeing a tv programme years ago [ 70,s or early 80,s] about the introduction of computers and robots etc into the work place. They were predicting 25 hours working weeks and what will we do with all that free time. They presumed that the extra profits would be shared between the share holders and the workers.
Funny eh?
This of course was before Wall St went online, went ballistic and became one gigantic casino where you play with other peoples money.

Q </div></div>

I recall that program. You might be interested in this article, which I think is very true, and very good.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> The Jeffersonian anti-federalists feared that a strong national government would lead our fledgling nation back towards monarchy. Instead they wanted government closer to the people where it would better serve their interests rather than interests of the moneyed merchants and traders.

That not good enough for Tea Party and other conservative activists today: They're against all government, at all levels. They don't want government to provide much of anything except maybe a vast military industrial complex. But public schools, environmental protection, social services for low and moderate income people? Fugetaboutit!

The Wall Street-led crash has created the perfect climate for this crusade to eviscerate the public sector, especially at the state and local level. It's ugly and getting uglier.

With 29 million American unemployed or forced into part-time jobs, tax receipts have plummeted more steeply than any time since the Great Depression. State and local governments are slashing their services--at the very moment when people most desperately need them. This is the very definition of a fiscal crisis.

In a saner world it would be obvious to everyone that state and local governments are not to blame for this mess. They didn't cause the Great Recession--Wall Street did. And if you can't see that, then you're enveloped in an ideological cloud so thick that no facts can penetrate. Even Alan Greenspan, the life-long anti-government libertarian, has confessed that under his watch as Fed chair, Wall Street ran wild, touching off a global economic calamity. So let's not argue about this any more.

State and local governments are far from perfect, of course. More than a few got suckered into Wall Street's financial engineering schemes. Some foolishly invested their pension funds in toxic assets. Some allowed their debt to pile up, even while balancing their budgets. Many states, if not most, have been letting their super-wealthy residents pay too little at tax time. Even before the Great Recession, middle and lower income residents shouldered a heavier tax burden than the super-rich (who, of course, deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes -- assuming they pay any taxes at all).

These problems can be addressed without destroying state and local governments. But now that a genuine budgetary crisis has hit 42 out of 50 states, the knives are out. It's not just about fixing problems. It's about revenge.

In New Jersey, where I live, we're watching Governor Chris Christie try to devour the teachers union as if it were a slice of his favorite cheesecake. He's not worried that his plan to cut the state's education budget by a whopping $820 million might harm our children. No, he's loving the crisis because now he can stick it to teachers all over the state. You choose, he tells them: Do you want wage and benefit cuts, or layoffs? And sorry, parents: If your kid's after-school tutoring program closes, you know who to blame. It's those greedy teachers. (In our town the teachers union made concessions and 85 teachers still will lose their jobs.)

We'll feel the awful effects of state and local budget cuts all over the country, in virtually every area of public life. Parks will be closed and privatized. Libraries will cut hours or close altogether. And we'll all be trained like Pavlov's dogs to detest government as we wait on longer and longer lines for basic services and have to tangle with stressed out government employees whose jobs have become a living hell. (When you have a lot of time to kill, try getting your New Jersey license renewed.)

When you strip away all the loose talk about getting our fiscal house in order, Governor Christie and many other conservatives see this as a golden opportunity to crush the last bastion of trade unionism in America. Only 7.2 percent of private sector workers were in unions in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pretty grim, from a union point of view. But in the public sector, 37.4 percent of workers are unionized -- with the teachers leading the way.

Christie's no dummy. But you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to use this financial crisis to gut public sector workers' wages and benefits. The argument is simple: Why should private sector workers who've lost most of their benefits have to pay taxes to support decent healthcare plans and pensions for those lazy public workers? Hey, those teachers even get the whole summer off!

It's certainly true that private sector workers' benefits are vanishing before their eyes. In 1991, 88 percent of Fortune 500 workers got medical coverage if they retired before Medicare kicked in. Now it's 33 percent. In 1998, 68 percent of Fortune 500 workers had pension plans. Now only 42 percent had them. Meanwhile, public workers not only have pensions, they have good pensions: 80 percent still have "defined benefit" retirement plans. (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago) So at a time when other workers are watching their 401(k) retirements tank (assuming they have any at all), public workers are still slated to get a fixed monthly pension check. How dare they! Better that we all should have next to nothing than have those pampered teachers get more than we do!

It's a pathetic argument, but it works.

You hate government? You hate unions? Fine. But do you hate yourself as well? As this race to the bottom accelerates, the budget-cutting mania will act as a gigantic anti-stimulus program, sucking jobs out of the public and private sectors. It's estimated that in 2010 and 2011, the states' budget shortfalls will total $375 billion. That will just about wash out the positive job impact of the federal stimulus program.

Job loss leads to reduced tax revenues, which leads to more job loss. No wonder most economists predict we'll suffer through years and years of high unemployment. (And if you think that the private sector is going to pick up the slack as workers' purchasing power goes down, please pass me whatever you're imbibing.)

If we could just get over our blinding hatred of unions and public sector workers, we might see that we do in fact have the money we need to rebuild our ramshackle infrastructure, enhance public education and create a new green economy. It's right there--in the hands of the few. Since 1979 the wealth of the top 1/100th of one percent of all earners increased by 384 percent, while the median earner gained only 12 percent in real wages! (New York Times, ) And yet the effective federal income tax rate for the 400 top taxpayers with the very highest incomes has declined by nearly half over the past two decades--even as their pre-tax incomes have grown five times larger, according to new IRS data. The 400 wealthiest Americans alone have more than $1.3 trillion (not billion) in wealth - just 400 people!

A surcharge on these super-rich individuals could help fund our collapsing public sector. Plus, as a matter of simple justice we should have our Wall Street barons pay reparations for the damage they have done and still are doing. After all, they've just walked off with $150 billion in bonuses derived directly from our bailout money.

The moment is right for the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress to make a very simple case: Wall Street crashed our economy and knocked a giant hole in every state budget. Let's tax Wall Street's gambling and bonuses to make the states whole. Under Nixon, it was called revenue sharing. Let's do it again, and avoid a grim future of service cuts and job loss.

Dream on, you say? Maybe. But each of us actually has a choice. We can either sit and watch as our state and local governments are turned into slaughterhouses, or we can work together to compel the financial elites to pay their fair share. Those of us who are ready to tackle our billionaire bailout society need to form a progressive populist alternative to the Tea Party, and fast.

Les Leopold is the author of The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and What We Can Do About It Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2009.


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