Obama Healthcare Plan: Pushback on the Hill…Orszag’attacks’capitalism..Grassley fires back over proposed Medicare Advantage elimination…

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Airtime: Tues. Mar. 10 2009 | 4:18 AM ET

A preview of the Senate’s scrutiny of the President’s plan for healthcare reform…and discussing the administrations involvement in business, with Sen. Charles Grassley, Senate Finance Committe ranking member (R-IA).

What you mean it isn’t all, ‘the days of wine and roses’? You mean once the Kumbayah Summit is over some Critters begin to balk at Health Care restructuring aka Medicare Cuts??No!

What happened to the magical rainbow ponies that mean old Hillary just didn’t understand how to work with? What, you mean some Critters don’t want to cut Medicare when most of their voters are Seniors? Really? Gee whoudda thunk it??

You mean you can start out trying to do something good for America, and get twisted inside out upside down and then lambasted for it? No!

You don’t suppose someone will later use this against Team Obama and the Dems as an ‘overreach’ in an election do you?! Nahhhh, Hey at least fellow DEM candidates won’t use it against Team Obama, cause that would be wrong! What’s that you say? Obama used Harry and Louise ads against Hillary in the primaries, modeled after GOP arguments against UHC? GASP!

BWAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAAA!!!!!

AND THEY ARE GAMBLING IN RICK’S PLACE! SHOCKAH!!

The Note:

…But, health care reform will happen in the halls of Congress, not at White House summits. And things were a bit more heated on Capitol Hill today when Obama’s Budget Director Peter Orzsag discussed health care reform with the Senate Finance Committee.

The budget proposed by the President, Grassley pointed out, would cut funding for Medicare Advantage programs by more than $170 billion. Seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs account for nearly a quarter of all Medicare enrollees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“Question, if we take $176 billion out of this Medicare Advantage program through plan bidding, how many of the ten million beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage do you estimate would lose their current coverage?” asked Grassley.

The budget director took the opportunity to “take a step back” and consider the entire logic behind the Medicare Advantage programs, which are subsidized by the government.

VIDEO AT ABC HERE

Audio here

“First, I know many people believe that capitalism is founded on private markets, and it is.  But I very firmly believe that capitalism is not founded on excessively high subsidies to private firms.  That is what this system delivers right now,” said Orzsag. “For every Medicare beneficiary in Medicare Advantage, the federal government pay $1,000 more than covering the same beneficiary under traditional fee-for-service.  In addition, it is true that Medicare Advantage plans then take part of that extra payment and deliver it in the form of either additional benefits or lower premiums to beneficiaries.  But the data also suggests that every dollar of additional benefits costs the federal government $1.30 in cost.  So what we’re doing is we’re all paying $1.30 in order to deliver a dollar to a subset, 20 percent, of Medicare beneficiaries.  I don’t think that is competition.  I think that is an unwarranted subsidy.”

The attack on the programs, which Grassley has championed, drew a heated response from Grassley.

“Well, you’re going to take half of my time lecturing me on capitalism,” said an agitated Grassley, “Can you answer — can you answer my question about how many of the ten million beneficiaries enrolled would you estimate would lose?  And if you can’t give me a figure on the savings, how much comes from less enrollment versus less expenditures?  At least tell me how many of the ten million you think will go because, in 2007, your agency that you headed at that time said that it would cause plans to leave the program and it would effect my area of the country, rural America, more than urban America. So I want to make sure that we — if we have a national system of health care, it’s going to deliver the same thing in Iowa as it does in California.  Because, for 40 years, it didn’t.”

(more…)

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March 11, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Film, Healthcare, Hillary Clinton, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Uncategorized, Wall St. Comments off.

Market Mover Thursday: Team Obama Budget Presser…Healthcare funding via new additional tax increases in 2011….

Uh oh. For a bunch of people who like to read about FDR, they seem to be repeating some well known policy decisions that increased the severity and duration of the Great Depression here, ie Smoot-Hawley talk tariffs and tax increases on sources of production….our previous posts here and here

The Obama administration will announce a 10-year, $634 billion reserve fund Thursday aimed at expanding health care coverage – and will pay for half the plan with a new tax hike on wealthy Americans that surprised health care advocates and angered Republicans.

This is NOT the rollback of the Bush tax cuts alone, this is a NEW tax increase to be effective concurrently with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2011…a double whammy, the one-two punch….IMO a bad idea…this is exactly what happened before, they raised taxes before the recession was over and made a Depression…can they be this obtuse? Is it deliberate? Seriously!

Politico:

Under current law, high earners who are in the 35 percent tax bracket can take deductions at that rate. Under Obama’s plan, they would be capped at 28 percent – meaning instead of getting $3,500 back from $10,000 in mortgage interest or other deductions, these taxpayers would get $2,800. The plan would phase in during fiscal year 2011, just as Obama plans to let the Bush tax cuts expire.

OMB chief Peter Orszag is to announce the plan while outlining Obama’s budget in a press conference Thursday.

8 ‘Goals’ for Healthcare Reform:

Ahead of the release of his budget Thursday, Obama has endorsed eight guiding principles for health reform, the White House officials said on the conference call. They stressed that they intend to work with lawmakers and other stakeholders on how to accomplish the goals, but the principles will lay down a marker for any congressional plan.

Other goals include maintaining choice of insurance and doctors, ensuring affordable coverage, protecting Americans financial health, investing in prevention and wellness, improving patient safety and quality of care and is fiscally responsible, sustainable and portable.

So how is the initiative funded on an ongoing basis? Dunno. He seems to expect to recoup itemizations people get now, but if they keep taxing the producers to death their income will dry up no? Yes, Big Dawg said so and we all did well with Big Dawg policy of growing the economy for everyone, not taking one person’s share to give to someone else…IMO…

And he’ll pay for half his plan — $318 billion over 10 years – with new tax hike on Americans making more than $250,000.

Obama had pledged throughout his campaign to roll back Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 a year in fiscal year 2011 – a plan that also will be included in Thursday’s budget — but this is different, aimed at reducing the itemized deduction rate for those taxpayers.

Some advocates for universal health coverage said they were surprised to learn that Obama would turn to a tax increase to create a dedicated fund for his program

Huh, Seems odd to eliminate a subsidy that incentivizes RURAL CARE doesn’t it?

The other half of the $634 billion would come from changes in savings in Medicare, including ending subsides to private insurance companies that participate in the Medicare Advantage programs in rural areas.

From experience in the health insurance field, I can say rural care is an area that can least afford cuts like this. Urban areas are served by many charities and government programs, and their very ‘urbanity’ draws physicians there.

Getting an excellent doctor to a tiny town, and getting the attention of charities and glamorous Hollywood fundraiser types for rural areas is not doable. Seems Obama is not as concerned with the RURAL POOR..Country Mouse City Mouse Class Warfare and it sucks…

February 25, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Uncategorized, Wall St. 1 comment.

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