Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Will You Be Helped or Harmed by the Health Care Bill? And What About Student Loan Reform?

Several of our blog roll friends have posted their thoughts on the health care bill and the student loan reform bill.

Esq. Brutus:
The middle class is indeed being destroyed. Why? Well, you do the math:

America = Military Industrial Complex + Healthcare Industrial Complex + "Education" Industrial Complex + Big Agriculture Industrial Complex + Banking Industrial Complex²

With those fat cats getting such huge slices of the pie, how could much be left for a middle class?

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch: "You reach a point where you say, who is going to pay for all of this? And it's going to come down to us taxpayers. And like I say, it's the Europeanization of America, and that's the worst thing that could possibly happen to our country."

Who is going to pay for all this? Well, probably the same Debt Children who will be paying for the gazillion dollar prescription drug benefit that
you voted for in 2003, Senator. Oh, I forgot - Repubs don't ask such questions when a fellow Repub is in office.

What a joke. And who's kidding whom? These republicans would be supporting this healthcare bull if McCain had won.

Well, what can I say folks? Virtually any major legislation passed that affects Americans living in America primarily benefits one of the industrial complexes that I mentioned earlier in this post.

Let's call them The Big Five - Military, Healthcare, Big Agri, "Education," and Banking².

They don't care about the debt incurred to finance their feasts. If they can't pay their own debt, they'll be bailed out or handed another government contract. If they fail, they will be given more power and funding. If they crap their pants, the Debt Children will clean their runny boxer shorts pursuant to dictates from Washington D.C. and IRS agents.

The Angry Future Expat

Yup, whatever garbage was being spread around about how the health insurers didn’t want the Obama health plan to pass was just so much shadow boxing and bullshit. The stock market speaks the truth. Tens of millions of new captive customers, forced to buy insurance from companies that maintain their antitrust exemption, and face no real competition from a government plan, e.g. Medicare buy-in or public option.

This plan is nothing but the wholesale transfer of wealth from the middle class (via the treasury) to the health insurers enforced by the world’s biggest and most aggressive collection agent – no, not Sallie Mae – the IRS. Sound familiar? It is eerily similar to TARP, TALF, free money from the Fed, and non-recourse loans backed by Toxic waste at par.

Education Matters on the "historic" student loan reform bill:

While I give it some credit, it offers nothing, absolutely nothing, for those who are:

(a) already in default,
(b) those who are on the brink of defaulting,
(c) and those who are simply struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills month-by-month.

Based upon the number of emails I am now receiving each week, the people I already know who fit the criteria I listed above, etc., etc., it feels like a big blow to millions and millions of people in the U.S. I have made it clear to Sec. Duncan in a recent e-mail that, "[the indentured educated class] comprise a large segment of the electorate who voted you and President Obama into office. We are enormously unhappy with both the Department of Education's lack of response to the student lending crisis and the utter silence from the White House. This is not change that I voted for - this is more of the same."

But I think political blogger Ian Welsh explains best how the HCR bill will help some Americans while harming others:

Some people will get care they wouldn’t have otherwise. People on Medicare will have half the “donut hole” for drug coverage covered, some people will get insurance who would have otherwise been refused. Etc…

But here’s something which WILL happen as a result of this bill: some people who are not on Medicare will not be able to afford their medicine, due to the ban on reimportation and the increase in time before generics are allowed on the market. Many of them will die, others will go bankrupt.

Others will be forced to buy insurance they can’t afford, and will be fined if they don’t. That money will have been money they would have used to buy out-of-pocket health insurance. They will be harmed by this bill.

The excise tax will inexorably make employer provided health care plans worse, meaning more and more things won’t be covered by good plans (aka: plans that cover what you need.

Some women who need abortions won’t be able to afford them, and some of them will wind up bearing children they don’t want or will go to back alley abortion methods, and some of them will die or be permanently injured by so doing.

The point is that while there is no denying that some people will be better off under this bill there is also no denying that some people will be worse off. People will die who wouldn’t have without this bill, people will live who wouldn’t have without this bill. People will not go bankrupt because of this bill, people will go bankrupt because of the bill.

The question is not “will some people benefit” or “will some people be harmed”, the question is “on the balance does this bill do more good than harm?”

I come down on the side that says it does more harm than good. I may be wrong, I may be right. We won’t know for a good 10 years or so.

If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it and eat crow.

But I think I’ll be missing a meal.

And whether it does more good than harm, having the Federal government mandate that people buy a private product that costs as much, in many cases, as their tax bill, or the IRS will fine them, sets a bad precedent. Saving a private industry which was in a death spiral (the insurance companies were only maintaining profits by cutting customers) sets a horrible precedent. And refusing to do the right thing, which would have cost less, well, doesn’t set a precedent, but does continue a very tiresome trend of the US being unwilling to do the brain dead simple thing that has worked everywhere else, because its government is captured by moneyed interests.

has put together this really handy chart that you should pass along to any family and friends still confused about the health care bill. Most of the people I know still have many questions about it and how they will be affected.



  1. I highly recommend the FDL analysis for those who haven't clicked over to it already. This is an insurance company bailout. As a person working a hated job (one which is socially noxious and for which I am incredibly overqualified to boot) ONLY so that my family will have health insurance, I would have LOVED to have had health CARE reform. This ain't it. Look at Massachusetts -- people still don't get health care and a significant portion of people who are insured can't afford to use their damn insurance. There is nothing in the new law that prevents insurers from jacking up copays, etc., and basically robbing their indentured customers. What a deal, huh? We sure are lucky that McCain didn't get in -- the corporations might have been in charge! (/snark)

  2. I don't like the bill. Eventually we the taxpayers will suffer.

  3. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch: "You reach a point where you say, who is going to pay for all of this? And it's going to come down to us taxpayers. And like I say, it's the Europeanization of America, and that's the worst thing that could possibly happen to our country."

    While Hatch's statement is certainly correct, he has left out alot. He should have included the fact that this bill will reduce health care services, will raise costs, and is the very system that Canadians and the British are running away from.

    Ultimately the legislation Obama bullied into law is not about health care at all but a vision of centralized control over people.

  4. I'm no fan of this bill, but Ian's right - it will help some and destroy many. The big problem is that the political system in the U.S. is so corrupt that the only part of the entire plan that will be "effective" is the tax penalty imposed on those who either can't or refuse to buy the junk insurance.

    And, of course, the shout out is much appreciated.

  5. A European complained to me recently about his health care "woes". He is employed, owns a nice home, pays $200/month for health care through the public health care system. He thinks the fact that he has to wait up to two weeks to see a doctor means his country's health care system is ineffective and only benefits "people on welfare". Some people really don't realize how lucky they are to: 1) have a job, 2) have health care, 3) be able to see a family doctor in 2 weeks or less, 4) only pay $200 month for quality health care.

  6. I can never see a doctor within two weeks. Even if I call with something acute, I have to wait for 3 to 4 before a doctor can give me an appointment. Or I just show up when the office opens and ask to be squeezed in... which amounts to a 2 minute appointment. That bastard is lucky.

  7. Thanks for the shout out! And, btw, I make sure to feed the fish every time I'm here.

    This health care reform is really no reform. It's the current system on steroids, HGH or some other substance the gov't arbitrarily "controls" or bans.

    The issue of the IRS forcing us to pay into one of D.C.'s pet industries aside, I'll just throw the following out there:

    1. Everyone's being "covered" does not mean that everyone will have health care. That line of thinking has had its part in our being driven to start "WTF" blogs.

    To draw a parallel, I'll quote AngryFutureExpat's summary of such logic: "If we give everyone an MBA, we will all be CEO of GE!"

    - If we give everyone a BA, standards of living will increase.
    - If we give everyone a JD, we will all be wealthy lawyers.

    2. Prices for health care will skyrocket for all Americans whose income is not low enough for their care to be subsidized. There will be torches, pitchforks and gnashing of teeth. That will be the government's justification for the total public option.

  8. Obamacare will lead to an expansion of these forms of medicine:

    1. Concierge
    2. Wal-Mart
    3. ER
    4. HMO
    5. Mexican



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