From the What Else is New Department...
The Obama White House left open the possibility Sunday that the president would break a campaign promise and raise taxes on people earning less than $250,000 to support his health care overhaul agenda.
White House adviser David Axelrod said the administration wouldn't rule out taxing some employees' benefits to fund a health care agenda that has yet to take final form. The move would be a compromise with fellow Democrats, who are pushing the proposal as a way to pay for the massive undertaking without ballooning the federal deficit.
"There are a number of formulations and we'll wait and see. The important thing at this point is to keep the process moving, to keep people at the table, to the keep the discussions going," Axelrod said. "We've gotten a long way down the road and we want to finish that journey."
But if President Barack Obama compromises on that point, it would reverse a campaign tax promise.
"I pledge that under my plan, no one making less than $250,000 a year will see any type of tax increase," Obama told a crowd in Dover, N.H., last year. "Not income tax, not capital gains taxes, not any kind of tax."
At the time, his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was proposing a tax on health benefits similar to the plan Obama is now considering. Just a year ago, Obama spent millions on campaign commercials attacking the idea.
One ad accused McCain of favoring "taxing health benefits for the first time ever ... taxing health care instead of fixing it. We can't afford John McCain."
A second Obama ad called McCain's approach "the largest middle-class tax increase in history." Driving the point home, it contended the "McCain tax could cost your family thousands. Can you afford it?"
Under the current proposals, a tax on health benefits would affect only those with pricey health plans. The idea would be to tax as income the portion of health benefits worth more than a specified limit. Officials are considering several options, including one that would set the limit at $17,240 for family coverage and $6,800 for individuals.
Plans worth more than that would be taxed; those worth less would see no increase.
Obama has faced similar criticism before. When he increased taxes on tobacco to pay for a children's health bill, his critics said he was raising taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year.
Obama left open the possibility of a tax during interviews last week, insisting he wasn't taking any option off the table despite his personal opposition. But two of his high-profile advisers — budget chief Peter Orszag and economic adviser Jason Furman — both have indicated they support some taxes on health benefits to pay for the overhaul.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that Obama should step in an oppose the tax if he's truly against it. Otherwise, he faces a loss to his own Democratic Party and his own campaign credibility.
"I think it's going to take presidential leadership to get people of his party to see that we shouldn't be subsidizing high-end health insurance policies that drive up inflation in health insurance," said Grassley, the top Republican on the powerful finance committee.
Grassley — and, to be sure, other Republicans — remember Obama's scathing criticism of their GOP presidential nominee.
"Since the president denigrated John McCain's effort to move in this direction during the campaign, it's going to take, in order to win over Republicans, presidential leadership in that direction," Grassley said.
To help sell his plan, Obama scheduled a town hall-style meeting this week in Annandale, Va., a Washington suburb. He plans to take questions Wednesday from the audience and from online sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Axelrod insisted that the White House has made progress on a health care plan and is working with Congress. Even so, the emerging legislation is hardly the bipartisan collaboration Obama's top advisers had sought.
"One of the problems we've had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand and they stop talking to each other," Axelrod said. "And you don't get anything done. That's not the way the president approaches us."
Axelrod appeared on ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet the Press." Grassley appeared on "This Week."
You know what, you're waffling on. sorry, but at least you're going to admit it. it's ok, don't cry, I know it's hard to kick the habit....(not!)
I can't disagree with you because I don't know what "waffling on" is.
First time I have actually agreed with you
Let him 'waffle.' Free speech, you know...we take much of our common law and heritage from Britain. Get to that stuff yet in school?
No? OK, well...why don't you start a thread on Harry Potter or something? 'Twitter' like speech doesn't amuse some of us either!
What's the point of that attitude? What can that accomplish?
Attitude, TK? You are the one with the attitude, literally, of a bar brawler. It looks to me like a discussion was accomplished. I simply cannot believe you are/were a teacher.
I am a strong believer in 1st amendment rights...would vastly prefer it (no lie...you contribute next to nil to anything) if you stop your passive aggressive stalking behavior...but as long as you keep it up, expect 'attitude.'
Yes, attitude. You know, the "why don't you take your uneducated twitter-speak out of here and go talk about Harry Potter" attitude. Remember that?
She's a kid. I live with two of those. I DID tutor kids. Your word (which so vastly shows you for what you are/fear) is 'uneducated.' So, no, I don't remember that...not to mention, several other ladies on the forum saying roughly the same thing as I did--yet you continue to single me out.
I don't want to even think about you being a teacher..scary. A nightmare...reminds me of my 7th grade, lol, history teacher. Not a vision!
Done with your limited-ness for the night, thanks muchly,
Oh, she's a kid! That's why you felt a dismissive attitude would be appropriate! It all makes sense now.
I really don't care, TK. There are more than a few who note your attitude and display of negativity here on the internet. No, IMHO, I would not find you a very good teacher--probably the very worst kind. I would find you lacking seriously in depth, but that is just me.
Again, why didn't you attack the other women?
Oh, and just to put it out there, I hear this one 'writer' we had, a certain U., was stalking some of the women and offering threats so that his account was yanked. It's all good to recognize and appreciate people as individuals and all, but some see what they see.
DONE. Now I dismiss you, O great 'teacher,' lol
Thought you were stopping talking in the forums, only I think you may be annoying some people,,,,,
try swimming out of that particular forum and make a new one of your own
I feel bad for the original poster. So far everyone is just talking about talking, not about the issue.
I know in personal fights that's always a bad sign...
So, health care anyone?
Pat says We (2patricias) both live in England, and are accustomed to the NHS.
London Girl has recently published a couple of excellent Hubs on the NHS, which I would recommend American Hubbers to read.
Sometimes Englsih people make the mistake of saying that the NHS is free. It isn't. It's paid for by taxpayers. There is no such thing as free health care.
The difference is that the NHS is accessible to all citizens, and some residents.
My cousin lives in the USA. He is in his early 50s and permanently disabled after a spinal tumour left him paralysed from the waist down. We have recently exchanged a lot of email about healthcare!
I sincerely hope that Americans are not about to turn on Obama over the healthcare reforms.
I hope not too. A substantial number of Congresspersons receive large donations from the insurance lobby and the pharmaceutical companies. They don't want to see a public option, not any public option, and are busy trying to scare Americans into thinking the health insurance companies know what they are doing and need to be preserved at all costs.
The insurance lobby (and the Republicans) say two opposite things:
1) That the government can't run a public option efficiently (as if health insurance companies, with their 30% administrative overhead, are efficient, and ...
2) The government will be SOOOOO competitive it will drive private companies out of business.
I mean, it can't be both. They should pick one pack of lies and stick to it instead of embracing all the lies they can lay their hands on even if they contradict each other.
1. Wait to see 100 to 200% overhead, if not more, plus shortages.
2. Pam, I can't believe you are serious. You are a reasonable person, and I will never believe you don't understand that government has a power edge over any company and can drive every single one and all of them out of business at wish, by using legislative power. Can't really understand why you need to muddy the waters with that outright BS.
Because I spent years working for a multinational insurance company, I have an agent's license, I understand what stealing is, and I can't believe YOU are serious.
Poor insurance companies. I am so worried about them now. Maybe I will send them some extra money just to help them out.
#1 is correct. The government does NOTHING efficiently. It is not designed to.
#2 isn't because it would be sooooo competitive, but because it would not be 'competitive' at all. When one company has to turn a profit and another 'company' has the backing and guarantee of the folks who print the money there is no real competition.
The "pick one lie" stuff and all that is very dramatic though.
Yeah, I agree.
And what about those of us who don't want health insurance?. I'd rather pay for a doctor's visit when I need to go, which is rarely, if ever, than pay hundreds of dollars a month for nothing.
This whole "health insurance" thing is nonsense. It's a way to make "some" people pay for everyone else.
Actually they can be both. A private company has to show a profit of some sort, America on the other hand does not have to show a profit. How can you compete with a entity that does not have to be effecient or show a profit?
I too think its funny that people are not focusing on the isue at hand. The author of this post did not seem to criticize health cae but rather the blatant lies told to win an election.
Pam, you are avoiding the question and trying to switch away.
Do you really believe that government using legislative powers can't drive out of the market any company, if it wishes so?
You are asking the wrong question, that's why I'm not answering your question.
The right question is, why are HMOs and insurance companies being allowed to basically rig prices at an artificially high level and siphon obscene profits through breach of contract and outright fraud? If you believe in a free market, then let's have one. Right now, there is no competition--they are the big spoiled gorilla in the middle of the room--working together to drive out any shred of sanity.
That I definitely can agree to - yet another point
Yet how they managed to get there in the first place? Because of all previous and current regulations imposed by the government on a free market.
And now you are pro removing those silly companies altogether and just giving this market to government. What makes you thinking government will be more efficient in running a business (what it was not created to do) than in establishing and enforcing rules (what it was created to do, but obviously failed to do properly)?
Fine with me though, this is your health and your healthcare. I personally will never again rely on government for my health.
Because they helped Obama into office and now it's payback time. The insurance companies have always been in bed with the government. Ever since it became law that you MUST have auto insurance. Now they just want more money, so they're expanding it to "healthcare". Same old story.
Pam, you're avoiding the issue. The problem, at it's base is a question of supply. We limit the number of doctors who can practice in this country, so we have a limited supply vis a vis the demand. What does this mean, price goes up. It's pretty simple. The main problem with insurance companies is that they distort the pricing mechanism for determining how much you pay for health care. I would like to point out that it was the government, during WW II that allowed insurance companies to step in and provide insurance. The fact is we don't really know what we spend on health care. Would you walk into a store and just start putting stuff into your cart without knowing the price? Would you go to a mechanic and have them fix your car without getting a quote? Would you take your pet to the vet and not get an idea of what you'd be paying for the visit? No you would not.
The problem with not knowing what you pay for something is that it leaves you open to fraud and getting fleeced. Insurance companies are as bad as the government in this regard. The health industry is so distorted that it's no wonder we have such a mess on our hands.
Who didn't see this coming? I mean come on, nothing is for free.
does anyone else here think this thread has suddenly become ridiculously hilarious?
It's been hilarious for about two months, Mason... All over the forums.
By the way health care reform should be something like an ethics boars appoionted by the government that the insurance companies answer to.
And what would keep the insurance companies from getting sympathizers appointed to the ethics board. How would an ethics board even be able to pass judgment on the ethical context of a situation they have nothing to do with. Shouldn't those decisions be made by the people involved?
I applaud you for taking an postion against my opinion while not taking postionn against me. To answer your question the dangers you speak of are inherent in a state run program as well but you can counter act theese by having the board apointed half by democrats and half by republicans and they should of had nothing to do prior with the health care industry. And when it comes to what is eithical and what is not it is not hard to realize that canceling someones coverage for preexsisting illnesses that you could have investigated for is unethical. It should be the responsibility of the person appying to list all information as acurately as possible but then the companies responibility to investigate the records to see if the applying person missed anything. It is ludacris for a company to think that a person that does not have a high school education can answer specific medical questions on a application.
I do try to avoid ad hominem attacks, some people just scream for them, but I give the benefit of the doubt first.
Still your solution has a flaw. What keeps insurance companies from donating to both parties to ensure that whomever is elected they still have influence in picking board members. Having two parties is not proof against corruption. Only by taking the economy out of the hands of government can you clean government up.
In addition, I'm opposed to insurance in general. For the most part insurance companies spread the costs of medical care across everyone who has insurance. This has the effect of raising costs over time, which is one reason of many that health care costs are rising today. It's a somewhat less evil than government based health care in that governments can spread the cost over everyone in the country. This has a greater impact on raising the costs of health care.
Most people have a hard time seeing that so I like to use a college degree as an example. For years now the cost of tuition at universities has risen more than the rate of inflation. So there must be some mechanism at work that is increasing the cost of college above and beyond that of inflation.
The answer is federal student loan programs. Since schools can be assured x amount of money per y amount of students, they can continually increase tuition because they know kids will finance their education using debt. Since the true costs are delayed, people don't consider the effects of a continually rising college tuition. But now we're to the point where people cannot afford to go to school and even if they can, they often times cannot pay their loans back. Sooner or later costs will be so high that the vast majority of potential students will be priced out of the college market even with financial aid.
Without subsidizing education, colleges would be forced to control costs and keep tuition as low as possible in order to get the maximum number of students on board. This would, over time, make college more affordable for everyone and people would not have to mortgage their future in order to gain an education.
Obama Breaks Promise, Moves Toward Middle-Class Healthcare Tax
All I can say is: Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!
I see your point and have to admit you may be right. That being said one thing that you have to take into account when talking of tution costs are supply demand and dwindling funding. Also college degrees are still paying for themselves over time. As far as stopping the ethics board from coming corupt you only have the same safe gaurds as the rest of our democracy, public outrage and voting. Yes you would still have some of the same moral problems that are inherent in helath care but it would become politicized and therefore more subject to change. As far as insurance in general the over pricing of our health care has also lead to us having the most suppieor care in the world. I know that an ethics board or a new set of ethic standards imposed on the health care system sould not be perfect but it would be much better than the alternatives that i have seen.
The best alternative would be to stop messing with the supply of healthcare. Despite the grumblings of statists everywhere, free markets really do a better job in every market at regulating itself than any board or politician. There's no reason to believe that there won't be the health equivalent of Consumer Reports of health care treatments and providers. You can't get that with government anything, because governments are susceptible to corruption and bribery. Should a company like Consumer Reports take bribes and lie, they'll soon find themselves out of business as customers desert them for a more truthful source of information. No company can afford to sully their good name, at least not for very long.
and to think, this guy actually got to take office. it just makes you wonder exactly what powers are at work.
I find the comments on this post far more informative than the post itself. Sources or it didn't happen.
Economics at work. If you reduce the price of something artificially, demand increases and supply decreases. You think people would learn, but they don't.
Government can run private healthcare options out of business not because of its efficientcy, but because it can print endless money to pay for whatever it wants. Sure we pay the price later on (our dollar becomes worthless) but in the short run private healthcare will cease to exist. Further, the government run insurance doesn't have to show a profit to continue, whereas insurance companies do.
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