Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ObamaCare Public option is alive and well and hidden. Updated

Update at bottom. Boss Pelosi told her Democrat pawns that Congress had to pass ObamaCare for them to find out what's in it. And - surprise - we keep finding more booby traps in it. She and Honorable Harry Reid put the Congressional Budget Office in a corner so it had to release a beneficial cost estimate which everyone knew was wrong; but they have to do the Chairman's bidding. Now we have learned, via the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that it will not reduce, but will increase, federal spending on health care by $311 billion over its first ten years. Also, Obama promised you would be able to keep your insurance if you like it. He didn't make it clear that you can keep it for about ten minutes, then ObamaCare would suck you in. The Demos made a big show of dropping the "public option" of government-run coverage. They even had a mock fight over it. Gone, right? Gotcha! Washington Examiner
... The truth is the public option is alive and well, residing in Section 1334, pages 97-100, of the new health care law. That section gives the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — which presently manages the federal civil service — new responsibilities: establishing and running two entirely new government health insurance programs to compete directly with private insurance companies in every state with coverage for people outside of government. Quoting the new law, former OPM director Donald Devine notes that it makes the OPM boss a health care czar, with power to set “‘profit margin premiums and other such terms and conditions of coverage as are in the interest of enrollees in such plans.’ That’s open-ended. You can do anything.” Dan Blair, another former OPM director, calls the new program “nothing but a placeholder for the public option.” Indeed, the OPM head is also given the authority to “appoint as many employees” as needed to run the program, and to spend “such sums as may be necessary” to establish and administer it.
And Boss Pelosi promised to be open and transparent....
As with so much else, Obama and the Democrats did this behind closed doors. They held no public hearings on it and invited no public testimony to estimate its costs or explain its effect on OPM in its traditional role of managing the civil service.
Update 5/21: A reader at Sound Politics provided the list of all the tax increases in ObamaCare passed in March (not sourced; unconfirmed):
A 40% tax on health insurance plans exceeding determined levels. Those levels are projected for 2013 to be $8,500 for self only and $23,000 for any other level. An increase from 10% to 20% on taxes of money in a health savings account not used for qualified medical expenses. For Archer medical savings accounts, an increase from 15% to 20%. A $50,000 tax on hospital organizations, which fail to meet described quality requirements. A fee based upon the sales of pharmaceutical companies in relation to the total sale of such pharmaceutical products to the public. Medical device manufacturers must pay a fee in relation to the sales of their product in the marketplace and the total sales of devices. A fee applied to all health insurance providers based upon net premiums and any third party fees associated with the administration of those programs. High income tax payers, making on a joint return over $250,000 and a standard return over $200,000, are required to pay an additional 0.5% of wages. This applies to both self-employed, and regularly employed individuals. A 1% tax increase for individuals making between $350,000 and $500,000. A 1.5% tax increase for individuals making between $500,000 and $1 million. A 5.4% increase for individuals making more than $1 million. A tax of 5% is levied upon the am mount paid for any cosmetic surgery. This does not include the need for such surgeries created by trauma or a disfiguring disease. If the tax is not collected by that professional completing the procedure, their business is still liable for the requirement.

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