Taxes Come And Taxes Go

This is one of the few posts I will ever do on the ACA (Obamacare) because there is way too much BS flowing around the subject……but there is a firestorm going on on the web because of something a restaurant did to its patrons……

An otherwise nondescript restaurant chain in Florida is suddenly national news thanks to a new policy: Gator’s Dockside has added a 1% surcharge to cover the costs of the Affordable Care Act, reports CNN Money. Participating restaurants aren’t trying to hide it, either. “The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” reads a sign to patrons. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.” An executive with the chain estimates that it will cost $500,000 a year to provide all its workers with insurance when the employer mandate kicks in next year, and she figures the surcharge will bring in about $160,000 annually.

As one would expect there is a wealth of opinions…….

  • Dumb move: “Obviously, the restaurateur is thinking about this from the perspective of an angry talk-radio-listening Republican rather than that of a hard-headed capitalist,” writes Jonathan Chait at the Daily Intelligencer. “There are costs associated with all kinds of government regulations and spending, but he’s not creating a line item on his tab to highlight his share of, say, financing the Department of Defense.”
  • Smart move: “As the surcharge shows, Obamacare is no free lunch,” writes Katrina Trinko at the Heritage Foundation. “Most businesses probably won’t opt to add a specific surcharge in order to cover their new health care costs, but some will certainly raise prices—or reduce quality of their products. Obamacare hasn’t driven down the costs of health insurance, or found a magical new source to cover those costs.”
  • Similar move: Eater notes that a popular Los Angeles restaurant, Republique, asks diners to pay a 3% surcharge for employee health care costs. The restaurant makes it optional, however, and says it is not specifically tied to the new law’s mandates.

Now my take……you may call it whatever you like surcharge or tax….it is the same thing……my problem is with the 16th amendment…….

Article I, Section 2, Clause 3:

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Number

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

If it is a tax then why is only one individual doing it?  The name is irrelevant……..it is like the visit to the auto repair shop….take a look at you bill…….there will be a ‘surcharge’ for shop supplies……I do not like that either….but if these people can get away with it why not Gator’s Dockside?

If one opposes taxes then one should be in opposition to this ‘surcharge’.  I was unaware that an individual could level taxes I thought that was the duty of the state…….call it what you like a tax is a tax…….I will admit that it is creative….but is it legal?

Enough said?

Poll: Interest in Obamacare on rise among uninsured | Al Jazeera America

With the horrible rollout of Obamacare…I am sure that there is some good news in there somewhere and of course it is something that the opposition would rather not see in the printed page…..so just to piss them off….I submit…..

Poll: Interest in Obamacare on rise among uninsured | Al Jazeera America.

What Is In The Mandate?

Oh God!  The ballet has begun again…….the debate on the law called Obamacare.  Silliness and absurdity are the chorus…….we are hearing all the crap over and over….kinda like the House votes on repealing the Law, 39 times I believe and yet it is still the LAW!  GOP has its head firmly placed in their anus…….before we go on let me say something clever to the Right wing….Obamacare is LAW!  Get over it you twats!

The taxes and the fines and lastly that damn pesky MANDATE.  But wait what is the mandate?  Can you describe it without dashing to the Google machine?  (pause here for the clicking of keys in search of mandate on Google).

Ezra Klein has attempted to explain the mandate……..

The individual mandate is a requirement that all individuals who can afford health-care insurance purchase some minimally comprehensive policy. For the purposes of the law, “individuals who can afford health-care insurance” is defined as people for whom the minimum policy will not cost more than 8 percent of their monthly income, and who make more than the poverty line. So if coverage would cost more than 8 percent of your monthly income, or you’re making very little, you’re not on the hook to buy insurance (and, because of other provisions in the law, you’re getting subsidies that make insurance virtually costless anyway).

The theory behind the mandate is simple: It’s there to protect against an insurance death spiral. Now that insurers can’t discriminate based on preexisting conditions, it would be entirely possible for people to forgo insurance until, well, they develop a medical condition. In that world, the bulk of the people buying insurance on the exchanges are sick, and that makes the average premiums terrifically expensive. The mandate is there to bring healthy people into the pool, which keeps average costs down and also ensures that people aren’t riding free on the system by letting society pay when they get hit by a bus.

The irony of the mandate is that it’s been presented as a terribly onerous tax on decent, hardworking people who don’t want to purchase insurance. In reality, it’s the best deal in the bill: A cynical consumer would be smart to pay the modest penalty rather than pay thousands of dollars a year for insurance. In the current system, that’s a bad idea because insurers won’t let them buy insurance if they get sick later. In the reformed system, there’s no consequence for that behavior. You could pay the penalty for five years and then buy insurance the day you felt a lump.

The Right is fighting the law and in particular the mandate as a TAX….and we know how Americans have been brainwashed into a “no taxation” mode……now we can debate the legitimacy of the argument that it is a tax but it will always depend on your political ideology……..I want to believe that the consumer is smarter than the GOP gives them credit………(I say that and I live in a state where I question the mental capacity of 75% of the voters….so I could be mistaken)……..

Actually the law is too weak….more so than too punitive to the taxpayer……personally, it does not go far enough…..but I can live with it….for now….

Now you have an idea what the mandate is……there is so much more to the law but the mandate seems to be what most are focusing on….at least for this week……

Is This NOT Important?

I realize that Wisconsin situation and the horrible quake and tsunami are breaking stories and the world needs to hear them….but on the same hand there are things happening in news that are just as important….if not more so…..in a couple of months the two mentioned above will be replaced by other issues and most likely other disasters…..

There are things that the media will cull out of  the story board….why?  Most media outlets are owned and operated by corporate interests and some stories are not at all flattering and in as such will be either not reported or glazed over quickly and then move on…….Newser has reported on such a story……

A trove of leaked documents apparently reveals that Bank of America may have been involved in a scheme to bilk homeowners—a claim the bank rigorously denies. Hacker group Anonymous, which leaked the documents, says that more damning information is on the way, reports Business Insider. The emails, which allegedly come from an ex-employee of BoA subsidiary Balboa Insurance, apparently show the bank, insurance providers, and mortgage brokers all knew of a scheme to cancel people’s insurance agreements, forcing homeowners to buy much more expensive mortgage insurance far above normal requirements. Often, this would also lead to home foreclosures. Anonymous put BoA in its crosshairs last December after the bank cut off contributor payments to WikiLeaks. The hacker group has created bankofamericasucks.com,and promises to post more damning leaks. Bank of America, however, called the leaked materials non-foreclosure related clerical and administrative documents, telling Reuters: “We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue.”

And yet, this is somehow NOT important enough to be covered in its entirety…..WHY?

The best answer is……the media, the government and the country are ruled by special interests and the people are there only to service them….for the people NOTHING!

A Sad Day For Vets

Daily Agitator

This is one of the most disgusting stories this year!

Lots have been said about the care of vets and their treatment…..remember the sad condition of the vet hospital in Washington?  Remember the high number of suicides?  Remember the church that protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers?  The list goes on and on….all this is shabby and should be a crime but there is one that I could hardly believe when I first read it………this piece was posted on the Newser website:

It turns out that insurers handling death benefits for American soldiers have got a sweet scam going that enables them to keep profiting from the money even after it is supposedly paid out to families. They tell bereaved relatives that they’ve opened a convenient, interest-bearing account for their money that’s a nice, safe place to keep it and they give them a “checkbook.” But it’s not a normal checkbook, they don’t open individual accounts for each soldier, and they skim off most of the interest the money is making—giving beneficiaries 1% while it’s earning 4%.The military families are getting less than half the interest they would in a normal account, Bloomberg reports. Not only that, the money held in these general corporate accounts at Prudential or MetLife, isn’t insured by the FDIC. Prudential says they make it clear to military families that they can take their money out anytime they want, but an insurance law professor isn’t impressed. “It’s institutionalized bad faith,” he says. “It’s turning death claims into a profit center.”

Read more: http://www.newser.com/story/96760/insurers-rip-off-families-of-fallen-us-soldiers.html#ixzz0v6QzD2fA

Remember the names of the insurance companies….write them and let them know how you feel about their tactics toward the families of fallen soldiers…..this is what capitalism is all about?!  This is just a horrible thing to do to families after their loss.  This is CRIMINAL and these a/holes should be prosecuted and prosecuted hard……As a veteran who lost 9 of my closest friends in war…I find this offensive and unacceptable in all ways….there is a special place in Hell for pricks like these companies!

Health Reform–Revisited

After a year of health reform back and forth….after a year of lies and misinformation…after a year of name calling and insults……after a year of political jockeying…….after a year of total Hell in Washington…..we have a health reform law…..that is NOT good enough states are trying to sue the government to stop the law….but all the while are preparing to implement the law….

The Dems have gone on the air and taunted the benefits of the law…..have talked about the victory for the people….but is it everything good that the Dems have echoed?  Is it all that and a bag of chips?

According to the Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn:

Part of the health care overhaul due to kick in this September could strip more than 1 million people of their insurance coverage, violating a key goal of President Barack Obama’s reforms.

Under the provision, insurance companies will no longer be able to apply broad annual caps on the amount of money they pay out on health policies. Employer groups say the ban could essentially wipe out a niche insurance market that many part-time workers and retail and restaurant employees have come to rely on.

This market’s limited-benefit plans, also called mini-med plans, are priced low because they can, among other things, restrict the number of covered doctor visits or impose a maximum on insurance payouts in a year. The plans are commonly offered by retail or restaurant companies to low-wage workers who cannot afford more expensive, comprehensive coverage.

Obama and his cronies have told us all about the millions that will now have health care…..they left out the part where some people could lose their plan altogether..

Dems: Try This!

With the election of Brown from Mass the super majority is dead and with that so is health reform…..may I suggest a direction for the Dems to try….one the whole “Big Bang” approach just plain sucked!

You guys are making this whole health thing more complicated than it has to be…just keep in mind K.I.S.S.!

That bazillion page health reform bill…scrape it!….absolutely NO one knows what is in the damn thing…..it is so large that it only aids the opposition in their track down the misinformation highway….throw the damn thing in the trash and try again…..

I have an idea….put together a bill that contains a reversal of the anti-trust exemption for the insurance companies, insert a provision for a national exchange so that insurance can be bought like car insurance and finally, eliminate the pre-existing condition thing……send this to the Congress and wait…..

Let the opposition take shots at it all they want and then go before the people and say that the Repubs are fighting against people having choice, want insurance companies to keep their antitrust exemption and that people are not important…..

Then go back to the Hill and dare Repubs to vote against it……..their political future would be bleak if they do…..it would be hard for them to justify why they are against the bill to the voter….now you have them by the short hairs!

All bills are a political chess game….it helps if the players know the moves……unfortunately, just being in opposition is not a good move……maybe then the Repubs would offer alternatives other than tort reform….

Simplest answers are usually the best answers…..what could it hurt?

Where Is Health Reform Headed?

Now that the weather in Washington has cooled off, (is that because the hot air from politicians is missing?), and all the heated rhetoric of health reform has been silenced by some moronic words uttered by yet another dipstick politician……but what does it look like the final product, if they manage that, will look like?

The public option is pretty much dead, it has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, and that the senate bill maybe the final curtain call for health reform…..

Senior House Democrats have largely abandoned hopes of including a government-run insurance option in the final compromise health care bill taking shape, according to several officials, and are pushing for other measures to rein in private insurers.

They also want the final measure to include a House-passed proposal for a nationwide insurance exchange, to be regulated by the federal government, where consumers could shop for private coverage. The Senate bill calls for a state-based system of exchanges.

Additionally, House Democrats want to require insurers to spend a minimum amount of premium income on benefits, thereby limiting what is available for salaries, bonuses, advertising and other items. The House bill sets the floor at 85 percent; the Senate-passed measure lowers it to 80 percent for policies sold to small groups and individuals.

So it looks more and more like the exchange idea will prevail….but what the hell is it?

This is how people would buy insurance if they don’t have an employer that provides it. The structure is complicated, but these exchanges would basically be run by each state in conjunction with the federal government, and states would be allowed to create additional mechanisms for offering insurance to their residents. Traditional insurance companies would be allowed to compete for customers through the exchanges, provided they met a set of requirements set by the federal government. The least expensive plans would offer catastrophic coverage only, and not be available to everyone. There would be several other levels of coverage, priced more for each bump-up in benefits. The exchanges would go into effect in 2014. The House bill includes similar reforms, although there would be an additional health-insurance exchange at the national level. And the public health-insurance plan (not included in the Senate bill) would compete with private plans on each of the exchanges.The Senate bill proposes to create state-based exchanges, while the House bill would create one national exchange. Consumers who don’t get health insurance through their employer or a government insurance program would be eligible to shop on the exchange for plans. Low- and middle-income people who shop on the exchange would be eligible for government subsidies to help them buy their insurance plan.

Both the House and Senate bills would provide $5 billion to create a temporary insurance pool until an insurance exchange is up and running. Under the House bill, this program would be available to people who have a preexisting condition or have been uninsured for at least six months. Under the Senate bill, individuals would have to meet both requirements to be eligible. The House pool would open immediately and the Senate pool would open within 90 days of the bill’s enactment. Both pools would set limits on the premiums and cost-sharing that individuals would have to pay.

And there you have the newest piece of…………sorry had to find a word that would offend others…….work from the people who brought you the Patriot Act. About the only people that will benefit largely from this piece of….work….is the insurance industry…they will have mandated 30 million  new customers that they can screw over endlessly….sorry people but with this you will get the best health care that the industry wants to give….not what you need….are you proud of this yet?

It Is All So Much BS!

You know when you step in a pile of manure you just have to call it what it is…….

From the AP wire:

President Barack Obama is hailing a Senate vote to propel health care legislation toward final passage, calling it a “big victory for the American people.”By the thinnest possible margin, all 58 Democrats and the Senate’s two independents held together early Monday in a crucial test vote against unanimous Republican opposition. The move overcame a procedural effort that could have scuttled a final vote on the massive bill.

Obama said the Senate showed it could stand up to special interests and move the nation closer to a health insurance overhaul for families.

Please read it again……and think about what you have just read……(pause for reflection)…….

Do you recall the days after he won the election?  It was all abvout how the American people voted for change and how the American people voted for a new way of doing things in Washington….Remember?……

Partisanship is more entrenched than it ever was……..and look at the vote on health care….NOT ONE Repub voted for the Senate health reform bill….even though when read reads like a page out of a GOP playbook……and then Obama calls it a BIG win for the American people……where?…..yes 30 million more will have coverage….the problem is it is a forced coverage with a fine if it is not bought…the insurance companies got 30 million new customers without having to do anything but promise to eliminate the existing condition thing….which means that if you have an existing condition you will be able to buy insurance but it will cost several times more….

And then he goes on to say that it shows that we can stand up to special interests and win…really…if that is so damn true why did insurance stocks hit a 52 week high on the news of the vote?  Answer that one……

This is NOT a final bill but it is pretty much what the final version will look like….I would bet……

The Cost Of Health Care

I would like to say before I start that the AP is a genius….I am gonna post their entire article….why?….most people do not want to click as often as you would think….I would like to thank them for their expert analysis…..

THE ISSUE: How much do Americans who have employer-sponsored health insurance pay in premiums? What do their employers pay? Would that change if the system is overhauled?

THE POLITICS: Health care costs have been increasing. For Americans and the businesses that insure most of them, that translates into higher insurance premiums. The average premium cost for employer-provided insurance has doubled since 2000. These days, coverage for an individual with employer-provided insurance costs on average $4,824 a year, with the employee paying $779 of that amount, according to a 2009 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust. For a family plan, the premium is $13,375 with the employee paying $3,515. Under current law, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that in 2016 average premiums for employer-based insurance will rise to about $7,500 for a single policy and about $19,000 for a family policy.

WHAT IT MEANS: Numerous factors will affect the cost of insurance under proposed health care bills, making their impact hard to predict. But President Barack Obama has vowed to lower the cost of health care. The legislation would set up exchanges where companies would compete for customers. It also would provide subsidies for lower-income people.

There you have what the bill as proposed will cost you if it is not changed in the process….read it and weep…….Good plan and is a FAR cry from the stuff dreams were made of……Progressives lose again….now are you not glad you voted the way you did…..