To Hell in a Handbasket

Judging from the hysteria of my conservative friends, we are already there.  Only they noticed the gradual drop of the handbasket.  The rest of us were blissfully ignorant.

I am of course referring to the confirmation by the Supreme Court of the Allordable Health Care Act.  Of course, what is lost in the hysteria is what the Supreme Court actually ruled.  They didn’t say it was a good idea (although I think it is, in a flawed sort of way).  They said Congress had the power to pass the law under their powers of taxation.

Which is very, very interesting.  I always understood it to be a tax.  But I was surprised to learn that Congress went out of its way to avoid the word “tax”.  The Supreme Court said the govenment’s argument that Congress had the power to enact the law under the Commerce Act did not hold water.  I completely understand that.  The Commerce Act enables the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, not to force people to buy a product.

In what seems like a hair-splitting move, the Supreme Court said Congress can’t force you to buy a product, but they can tax you if you don’t.  What’s the difference?  Congress called this tax a penalty–but it’s paid to the IRS and is based on income.  Chief Justice John Roberts said, if it walks like a tax and quacks like a tax, it’s a tax.

What stuns me is the lack of understanding about what the law is supposed to do.  Perhaps particularly that those who need it and could benefit from it the most are the people who hate it most.  Immediately after the Supreme Court decision, one of my Facebook friends posted “Bend over America.”  One of my employees said, “They will just have to take me to jail, because I can’t afford insurance”.  You have to hand it to the Republicans.  They’ve done an excellent job of mixing up the ideas of personal freedom and patriotism with the idea of personal benefit.

Remember when it used to be a “government takeover of healthcare”? Last week on TV, John Boehner said it’s a “government takeover of the insurance industry”. (Like that would be a bad thing?)  Of course, he’s still wrong.  It’s regulation of the insurance industry.  It amazes me that Republicans have been able to convince people with no insurance to rally around the insurance industry, in the name of personal freedom and patriotism.  Neat trick.  Government and regulation are four-letter words.  First they will go after the insurance companies.  Next step:  they will be at your door trying to take away your guns.  Please.

It’s hard to even have a semi-logical conversation about this.  I didn’t even try until yesterday, and it fairly quickly devolved into “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” (From him to me.)

To some extent, both sides start with a philosophy.  His is: whatever you get takes away from what I get.  I talked myself blue in the face about how he is already paying for other people’s health care, and this is at least an attempt to even it out.

Back to the employee who said they would have to take her to jail. So, my take on that is that as far as she’s concerned, things are just fine the way they are.  She does get health care.  It’s just that I’m paying for it.

I’m not entirely a bleeding heart liberal on this.  Because it slays me that rather than pay a miniscule amount to contribute to her own health care, she is willing for me to keep paying for it.  How fair is that?

And I am rapidly approaching the inability to pay for both of us.

I don’t know if the AHCA is the answer.  But something has to change.

13 responses to “To Hell in a Handbasket

  1. Yes, it is a constant source of amazement, and disgust, to me that the majority of the people so rabidly protesting against the Affordable Care Act would actually benefit greatly from it, but the’ve been so completely blinded by all the right-wing propaganda into believing that it’s this horrendous infringement upon their liberty.

  2. “And I am rapidly approaching the inability to pay for both of us”

    So is Europe and so is the US. That is the part that gags me the most. As I said in my last blog we are already overtaxed.

    My emotional reaction .is being lied to over and over again by the President just like when Clinton faced the nation and said I did not have sex with that woman. It erodes trust. Obama campaigned for Obamacare with two major lies.
    1 It is not a tax,
    2 You can keep your healthcare plan. (change is inevitable)

    I wonder if those demonstrators outside the Supreme Court understand that Obama’s Administration has just rammed through the biggest tax increase in history.

    The real irony is that those that refuse to pay for themselves will still be a burden on the system’s ER’s because The IRS (now growing like a malignant cancer) has no legal power to do anything to them except levy a tax that they simply will never pay. There are no criminal enforcement provisions in this new law.

    Oh and btw, the biggest winners here are the insurance companies who have just received another government windfall.

  3. pt, I must admist that amuses me too. The pro-AHCA people demonstrating seem to have missed the part where they will be taxed more. As for them never paying, I don’t think it will be avoidable for them. I think it will be withheld, like income tax. Hard to say at this point how it will really work. I don’t expect to be taxed more, personally.
    Thanks for your comment, Ben! My thoughts exactly.

  4. “I think it will be withheld”

    Not if they are not working. Do you realize how many of the uninsured are actually not working?

  5. Actually, no, I don’t realize that. Maybe because I don’t know any of them. The people I know who can’t afford insurance are people who are working and still can’t afford it. I’m hoping the law will do these things: make it more affordable for them, and ease the burden on me. But I can’t be sure that is how if will work, and neither can anyone else.
    What I object to is the certainty that it won’t work, and that it’s doomed. I don’t like the beginning philosophy that poor people just want to steal what you have. The bunker mentality.
    As an aside, the Occupy movement occupied one of the properties I presumably manage, and at first I asked, How can they do this> The answer is that they were mostly students and are supported by someone else. Protest is fine, Protest on someone else’s money is not fine. I hated Occupy from the first minute.

  6. My understanding is that those who cannot afford health insurance will not be taxed; only those who can afford it. Not sure how that decision is made. Supposedly, the broadening of the pool will make insurance more affordable. We’ll see.

    The problem that doesn’t seem to be addressed is the free riders, who add to the health care costs of folks like me who have insurance. I agree with Scalia, who responded to the administration’s “free rider” argument to support their position that if Obamacare was looking to “solve” that problem, then perhaps a more focused approach should be considered: NO free health care to those without insurance and cannot demonstrate ability to pay.

    So there you have it..I agree with Scalia!

  7. Now I know we’re going to hell in a handbasket–you agree with Scalia:) ActuallyI am not at all surprised. I don’t believe in denying health care to anyone, no matter what the reason. You would catch a whole lot of people with that wide gill net who do not deserve it.
    People who don’t make enough money to pay taxes will not be paying this tax either. You can’t get blood out of the proverbial turnip. What it will do is add thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people to the insurance rolls who presently don’t have it only because they choose not to. And yes, that somewhat burns me up too. I think insurance companies are the anti-Christ. That’s why the “single payer” solution (i.e., the government) would have been better. The government is at least non-profit.
    But the argument against that is that government is inefficient and ineffective and can never do as good a job as the private sector. Really? They seem to be doing a pretty good job of running Social Security, Medicare, and the military.
    As for your two big lies, pt, if the President said it’s not a tax, well, that just isn’t true, obviously. I think the Democrats were carefully avoiding the word “tax”, because they didn’t think they could ever sneak a tax past the Repurlicans. But frankly, I don’t recall hearing any Republican call this a tax either, but I’m sure there were some. But as far as I know, you can keep your health care plan, if you have one.
    Remember Nancy Pelosi’s infamous statement that we had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it? Well, perhaps she misspoke. I read an article this week in the New York Times which said the administration does not want to talk about it any more. They think it first has to take effect so that people can see and experience the benefits for themselves.
    I also heard a program on NPR last week, in which people were talking about insurance nightmares. Some years ago, one man;s wife had a stent inserted, and no insurance company will accept her. He could add her to his work policy, but he works for a small company (as do I), and his premiums are already high. Adding his wife would be $2.000 a month. So, while I think insurance companies no longer being able to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, or cancelling you if you get sick, is huge. But that still doesn’t mean you can afford it. As an insurance co. I can say, I’ll accept you because I have to, but it will be $2,000 or $5,000 a month–I don’t see that there are any limits to that. So there is kind of a fallacy there.
    Your best bet is to work, and to have a group policy, or be old enough to qualify for Medicare.

  8. “if the President said it’s not a tax, well, that just isn’t true, obviously.”

    IF??????????????? lol If you haven’t heard him say it dozens of times then it’s because you can accept lies from your president as just a way of doing business.

    “But as far as I know, you can keep your health care plan, if you have one.”

    The projections are that a substantial number of businesses will drop or vastly modify the plans they currently offer as it will be less costly to pay the tax penalty. Thus the employees can not keep what is no longer offered. They will be able to buy it but at premiums not yet determined. But it will not be the same Many premiums have already risen in the face of uncertainty. Mine for example..

    All lying and emotions aside here, the bottom line is that the government can not give people what they can not afford for themselves forever as they can only give what people have to pay taxes with. If they can’t pay for health insurance now they can’t pay taxes for it tomorrow. We are out of real money.

    As for doing a good job with social security, our government has spent trillions of dollars of SS taxes on non SS things and have left iou’s in its place. If you want to call that doing a good job well just go right ahead. If you think the country can afford another entitlement, nothing I can say will matter.

  9. I take offense to your saying that I will accept lies from the President. I don’t think he’s lying.
    You approach this from a doomsday perspective. You absolutely do not know how this will play out, but you expect the worst.

  10. No offense intended.
    He absolutely is lying and has been. He has done a triple axle on the tax he enacted.

    It is not doomsday there are some good components to Obamacare. Everyone is for portability, abolishing precondition restraints, and continued medicare/medicaid coverage. We just can not afford another tax to pay for it. If he had even tried to reduce government spending to other areas to pay for it, many of us would have supported the legislation.

    We simply have to stop having “humanitarian policy” that we don’t have the money to pay for.

  11. You don’t think he didn’t try? Republicans have blocked every attempt on his part to do something sensible, because they have become fixated on the idea of him failing.
    Bringing it down to the level of real people again, last Friday the same employee who said they would have to take her to jail said, upon seeing the security officer drive into the garage, “I wonder what today’s rant will be. Last week it was the health care law”. Now, this guy is an extremely odd duck, but we all love him dearly. In my observation, security companies are the closest thing to slave labor we have in this country. This guy has no benefits, none. No vacation, no sick time, no pension, and certainly no health insurance. So why is he opposed? It mystifies me.

  12. Republicans have blocked every attempt on his part to do something sensible, because they have become fixated on the idea of him failing.

    You left out it’s all Bush’s fault anyway.

  13. Ha. Well, as you know or should know, I am not a Bush-basher. I believe he is a good man who did the best he could with what he had to work with. No President has ever had to face what he had to face (9/11). His problem was Dick Cheney. Cheney did everything in his considerable power to keep President Bush from knowing what was really going on. Once President Bush DID know, he put a stop to the worst Cheney abuses.
    As I have said before, as a manager, I’ve been shocked by revelations about things that were taking place “right under my nose” so to speak. Except I didn’t know about them. You can say all you want that I “should” have known, but you can’t unless someone tells you, and nobody was telling me. You cannot respond to something you don’t know about.
    As a manager, you walk a fine line between trusting and supporting your people and being suspicious of them all, all the time. I long ago decided that I can’t live that way. How much worse must that be for the President?
    Here’s another shocker for you. I think Bush was a true Chistian. As far as I’m concerned, he tried to live up to true Christian values, which includes not imposing your beliefs on others. He tried to live and lead by example. Therefore, Cheney thought he was a wimp,and the rabid Christian and far right conservatives thought he was a traitor.

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