Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Are the White House and Democrats dumber than a box of rocks on this excise tax?

At this point, yes, dumber than a box of rocks.

We now are arguing about the excise tax which will shaft middle class workers while the White House and congress will attempt to put lipstick on a nasty pig and make us believe that we must do this.

Who is buying this and if so, what are you smoking or even drinking?

I heard from 2 people recently.

One a friend whose brother is a member of the Teamsters and asked his sister directly, "Is Barack really going to try to tax my health care plan? He said he would not do that. If so, I am done with him."

The other, my brother a RN who is also a member of a union who called me in the wee hours of the morning chomping on the bits about congress taxing his health care plan and he heard this in the break room at his job.

I could not say anything to him because those in the bubble at 1600 PA AVE think they can get away with this and they probably will.

Hell, they have gotten away with watering down this health care bill, no health insurance bill, to practically nothing. Our president said that he did not campaign on the public option, when all his statements, speeches pointed that he did but we are looking at selective memory here. Our President said he would get cheaper drugs to us in this country and chastised the Bush Administration for the Medicare D sweetheart deal to the pharmaceutical companies when now the White House did the same damn thing, no cheaper drugs for us, American citizens. To even be more direct, remember this about the pharmaceutical companies?

And the icing on the cake is when the White House put that pressure down on the Byron Dorgan's Drug Importation Amendment and Democrats, yes, Democrats voted no for cheaper drugs to protect the White House sweetheart deal.

Sigh, Turkana is right, we have crumbled down to nothing with this health care bill, no health care insurance bill.

Now the Labor Unions have stepped in. The very same tax the White House is talking about will have direct affect to members of unions across this country. It will tax their health care plans. But do the White House or even Democrats in congress get it?

Union leaders, who are fighting a proposal to tax high-end health care plans (which would hit many union and non-union workers), have been working closely with House Democratic leadership to fight the provision and are slated to go to the Hill to talk strategy soon. (Updated Below)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.), along with Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), have both stressed their opposition to the so-called Cadillac Tax, on both policy and political grounds. In its place, they want to finance reform by issuing a tax on the wealthy -- a provision that labor supports.

But the deck seems stacked against them -- both the Senate and the White House are committed to including the excise tax in the final health care bill, citing the benefit it has in reeling in health care costs. In an hour-long meeting on Monday, the president did his best to present the benefits of the proposal in an effort to alleviate some of labor's concerns.

Details of the White House meeting are scant, with union sources staying uncharacteristically mum. But sources tell the Huffington Post that Obama re-affirmed his support of the excise tax while also signaling that he would try and find ways to dull its affect on working families. Several compromises were broached, including the possibility of raising the tax threshold from family health care plans valued at $23,000 to those valued at $25,000.

Whether this is enough of a concession to win labor's support, which seems unlikely, or at least mollify their opposition remains to be seen. But, at this juncture, the impasse over the excise tax seems quite vast -- to the point where it is no longer unreasonable to wonder if it could trip up the broader reform effort.

President Obama re-affirming his support of the excise tax.

Let me tell you what will happen. Or more importantly, do you remember President Bush (41) and how he got out of office? The Democrats used his own words to vote him out, "Read my lips, no new taxes..." And what did President Bush (41) do? He raised new taxes.

Barack Obama is on video during the campaign promising not to raise taxes on the middle class in this country. If the congress does this, expect videos out after the bill is signed, the next day. And you think we can explain this away? When many Americans are hurting, don't have jobs, hours cut on jobs, wages reduced, families struggling? Do you think the public will take this? I don't think so.

Sure, the Republicans are gas bags and ass hats. The public knows this. But if you want to really suppress voting, don't have boots on the ground, evaporated GOTV, then Democrats tax the shit out of the very public that put your asses in charge.

People that have union health plans, most have given major concessions to have this one luxury. It is called decent health insurance which most Americans DON'T have.

Finally, what happened about repealing the Bush Tax Cuts? We are too afraid to do this, but don't give a damn about taxing the shit out of folks who are barely making it out here?

I am sorry, but none of this makes any damn sense to me. What are the Democrats thinking!!

Update [2010-1-12 14:59:49 by icebergslim]:

Bush Tax Cuts Expiring the end of 2010

Update [2010-1-12 15:2:18 by icebergslim]:

inclusive heart makes a very valid point, it is not just union households that this will affect, but anyone will get clipped by this tax, which will force you to buy a plan at a cheaper cost and less coverage. Good point.

Update [2010-1-12 16:38:52 by icebergslim]:

This from the federal and postal employees union:
The letter from the federal and postal employees frames the tax as both inequitable and potentially damaging to the prospects of recruiting future government employees. The groups write:

"While the excise tax is slated to be imposed on the insurers on so-called high cost plans, the tax will be passed on to enrollees in the form of higher premiums, co-pays or reduced benefits. [Blue Cross blue Shield] plans cover approximately 48 % of [Federal Employees Health Benefits Program] enrollees, or nearly 3.8 million Americans. Single enrollees would be subject to the effects of the tax in 2013, while families are hit in the third year. Including other, non-BC/BS plans, more than one-half of active and retired enrollees will face the effects of these taxes that accumulate to thousands of dollars in the middle to out years of the Senate-passed bill. Because we understand the value of all health care is counted towards the threshold amounts, enrollees with dental or vision coverage, or a Flexible Spending account, could reach the thresholds even sooner and feel the effects of this tax earlier.

Characterizing this tax proposal as a "Cadillac tax" is a misnomer. It hits the average blue collar and white collar employee or annuitant. FEHBP insurers will simply reduce coverage and, as the taxes increase, a downward spiral towards less coverage will ensue, which is antithetical to health care reform's states purpose. Penalizing FEHBP enrollees with this tax is a huge disincentive to qualified applicants seeking federal or postal employment. It is bad for the government and bad policy overall.

People around here forget that Barack Obama told Hillary Clinton that words matter. Well, words do matter, the words matter more so from our president. When you continue to go back on what you said, you deserve to get blasted and many have the right to become suspect. That means we have the right to question every step made by this administration and as the unions have reminded our president, he needs to remember what he said during the campaign.

Cross-posted @ Daily Kos

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