Jonathan Gruber’s comments about ObamaCare, revealed last year thanks to the efforts of Rich Weinstein, were rare moments of honesty about the 2010 health insurance law. The White House and administration officials, of course, tried to distance themselves from the MIT economist. Yet, in June, it was revealed by the Wall Street Journal that Gruber “worked more closely than previously known with the White House and top federal officials to shape the law.”
By bragging about deceitful way ObamaCare was drafted and, on several occasions, commenting on the “stupidity” of American voters, Gruber showed the elitist attitude of central planners. During his prepared testimony in December before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Gruber said, “In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong.”
Gruber’s explanation is really disingenuous. He may not be a politician or “expert on politics,” but he knew exactly how to pitch certain aspects of health care policy for inclusion in ObamaCare by concealing the intentions behind them to the public. He got caught, though well after the fact. His public mea culpamatters very little. ObamaCare’s “Cadillac tax,” for example, is one particular provision of the law that was purposefully misrepresented to Americans to sell the law.
The Cadillac tax is a 40 percent excise tax on health plans that cost $10,200 or more, or $27,500 for family coverage. The tax is aimed at purportedly high-end health insurance plans, hitting around 26 percent of employers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, when it takes effect in January 2018 if flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are included. In July, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it is seeking public comment through the end of October on a proposed rule for the tax.
Because the tax is chained to the Consumer Price Index, more employers will be affected. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 42 percent of employers will have at least one plan meeting the Cadillac tax threshold by 2028, assuming premiums grow at a 5 percent annual rate. Professor Bradley Herring of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Lisa Korin Lentz estimate that the tax will affect 16 percent of health plans in 2018 and roughly 75 percent of plans by 2028.
To put these figures into context, approximately 157 million Americans, including dependents, are on employer-sponsored health plans. In short, this could be a huge political headache for the next administration or its predecessors. Though the Cadillac tax has escaped much of the criticism that other provisions of the law have received, that could soon change.
If the Cadillac tax is going to hit so many employers and health plans, why was it included in ObamaCare? Well, the tax is based in a belief that tax breaks for employer-sponsored health insurance coverage are bad public policy. Gruber clearly laid this out during a March 2011 lecture at the Pioneer Institute.
“No economist would ever set up a health system with a tax subsidy on employer-provided health insurance. It’s a terrible policy. It turns out politically it’s really hard to get rid of. And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people, and we all know it’s really a tax on people who hold those insurance plans,” Gruber told the audience. “And the second way was to start it late — start it in 2018. But, by starting it late, we were able to tie the cap for the Cadillac tax to the [Consumer Price Index], not medical inflation.”
“What that means is the tax, which starts by taxing only 8 percent of the insurance plans, essentially amounts over the next 20 years basically getting rid of the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance. This was the only political way we were ever going to take on what is one of the worst public policies in America,” he added. (Emphasis added.)
This is not news to anyone who works in the medical field. This is the big trojan horse for obamacare to set the state for the leftist control freak wetdream of national socialist control of healthcare.
Numerous physicians do not accept medicaid patients, because the reimbursements are too low to cover expenses and keep the doors open. Private insurers covering employees pay significantly more. So the big government solution is to force the private employment based insurers out of business via outrageous taxation, forcing the vast majority of Americans into the obamacare nightmare. The endgame being to leave physicians with too few people with private insurance and thus forced to accept the only game in town left, obamacare policy holders. Private practices will find themselved unable to stay financially viable and have to join ever larger hospital groups to stay afloat. Think wait times to see a doctor are long now? When government-style DMV appointment scheduling is the rule, with doctors on a set salary, there is no incentive to see more patients, so the wait will get longer.
Nothing obamacare proponents said about how healthcare would be improved or would cost less has happened. How many state exchanges have folded? How much higher are the rate increases under obamacare, despite the promise they would go down? How much has ER use gone up, again despite the false promises they would decrease with obamacare?
What possible justification is there for adding a 40% surtax on health insurance that covers the majority of Americans, when it is painfully obvious that it will result in a massive loss of insurance coverage for Americans, when the ostensible reason for obamacare was to provide “affordable” insurance for the minority of uninsured?
Yet again we see clearly that obamacare is nothing but another leftist power grab designed to take more control over citizens’ lives for the benefit of no one but the self-annointed leftist elite.
The answer is simple: they want to wipe out the Tax Exclusion of roughly $250B of lost revenue to DC every year. The couldn’t do it overtly because Obama killed McCain in 2008 over this very topic so they did it covertly by wiping out company plans instead.
This is the exactly the same technique as used when boiling a frog. Except we’re the frog.
People better wake up or before they know it, the company sponsored insurance market will be gone. Zeke Emanuel says it goes away by 2025.
The lie of the year- If you like your plan…- we haven’t even scratched the surface.
I have spoke of this many times.
30 years+ of contract negotiations between the CWA and AT & T guaranteed health insurance at no cost to employees or retirees. It was a benefit given in lieu of higher hourly wages. When Obamacare was being proposed, the CWA came out in force for it.
All that changed last year as employees were notified that their health insurance would now cost them. Retirees also saw a cost for their medical/Rxl/vision and dental insurance. This year, at age 65, AT & T retirees lost their company sponsored secondary health insurance altogether. The average cost to retirees now for supplemental health/Rx insurance is almost $300.00/month per individual.
Since the Cadillac tax applies to all insurance policies valued at more than $10,200.00 for individuals, and the estimated cost to AT & T per individual was $10,600.00, it fell under the Cadillac guidelines. Those with dependents, who also negotiated for company provided (and paid for) health insurance, are now subject to even more cost. All those years of wage concessions just went up in smoke.
The number of AT & T employees, and retirees, that this bad law has affected is in the tens of thousands. Perhaps that is why CWA membership is cratering in right-to-work states. Who wants to pay union dues to a union that shafted you?
Here is another salient point for consideration, given the manner in which the Kentucky clerk has been jailed for choosing her religious faith over following a government mandate, as well as the nuns who are being harassed by the Obama administration because of their religious beliefs on birth control. If government is able to take control of medical care nationwide, what happens to pro-life OB/GYNs and hospitals who refuse to perform abortions, given that abortion is legal in this country? How long before a pro-abortionist sues to have the Hyde Amendment declared unconstitutional for prohibiting spending tax dollars for abortion under a government controlled medical system? Judges in California and other states have already forced the expenditure of taxpayer dollars on the insanity of hormone therapy and surgical mutilation of prison inmates suffering the mental illness of gender identity disorder.
Under government control medicine absolutely will become overtly politicized, physicians will be demonized as greedy, and the left will have another bogus excuse for a never-ending series of tax increases on “the rich” given the inevitable budget shortfalls of socialist controlled medicine.
The inherent leftist hypocrisy in claiming to want to insure the uninsured, while setting up a system that any freshman economic student can see will result in the loss of medical insurance for tens of millions who currently have it, is glaringly obvious. Obamacare is nothing but an evil powergrab by the left.
The truth is that you would be hard pressed to find even one enacted Democrat policy that has not been harmful. Oh, yeah, they promise the moon. They are going to make our lives better, whether we want them to, or not. But in the end, every policy enacted by Democrats have turned into disasters of Biblical proportion.
Next up, a nuclear Iran.