Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

21 September 2009

Obama Called on Individual Mandate Tax

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had an interesting Review & Outlook article on Obama's interview with the usually very Democrat-friendly Democrat George Stephanopoulos during one of the five non-Fox Sunday news programs Obama was on. George Stephanopoulos asked about the individual mandate,
the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don't.... How is this not a tax?
Indeed, how is a penalty as high as $3,800 a year in the Senator Max Baucus plan not a tax? But, Obama responded with a song and dance that the average family is paying $900 a year on average for the emergency care of people who elect not to have health insurance. The WSJ notes that only 2.2% of national health spending today is due to uncompensated care. In 2007, the per capita cost of all spending on health care in the U.S. was about $7600. For a four person family, 2.2% of four times this amount is $669, not $900. Of course, most family households have fewer than four people in them, so this is as high a cost per family for uncompensated care as you can produce with any semblance of justification and even that creates a false impression of expense. After all, children are only dependents for those tax years prior to the one in which they become 18 for some tax purposes. In any case, they eventually move out, usually.

Stephanopoulos persisted,
That may be, but it's still a tax increase."
Obama responded,
No. That's not true, George. The -- for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase.
Stepanopoulos continued to persist, by offering the definition of tax from Merriam-Webster,
a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.
Obama, equally persistently, continued to reject the idea that the penalty paid to the government for not buying health insurance is a tax. Actually, it is and it clearly is a shattering of Obama's pledge not to increase taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year!

Furthermore, it is not a reimbursement of the cost to each of us for uncompensated care that we may in some sense pay for yearly. 2.2% of $7600 is $167.20, which is much less than the $3800 one will be taxed for not buying health insurance. Indeed, many of those this tax is to be levied on are the young and healthy, while much of the uncompensated costs are for illegal aliens and older people who lost their employer-provided insurance when they lost a job.
The way to address the loss of insurance due to losing jobs or changing employers or starting a small business is
  • to allow individuals the same tax deductions they get if employers provide insurance
  • to make insurance more affordable with health savings accounts coupled to high-deductible insurance plans
  • to pull down state barriers to interstate commerce in health insurance
  • to prevent outrageously high court awards for medical malpractice
Note that the Democrat/Obama plans do not want to address any of these real issues. Indeed, they want to outlaw high deductible plans and end health savings accounts. And, of course, they are so in bed with the trial lawyers, among their biggest campaign fund contributors, that they are resisting all tort reform.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office is expecting the individual mandate penalty tax to produce new revenues of $20 billion over 10 years because ObamaCare's new regulations will make health care insurance so expensive that many young people and some who cannot afford it will pay the penalty tax to avoid paying the higher cost of medical insurance.

I marvel at Obama's persistence in lying. He is a much more frequent and polished liar than Bill Clinton ever was. The further a politician is to the left, the more need he has to feel comfortable as a liar. He has to adopt so many foolish policies, while pretending they have a rational basis!

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