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SSC


Admin
Obama Leaves Door Open to New Tax on Health Benefits
President Obama met with governors and arranged a prime-time, town hall at the White House, the latest in a string of events designed to bend public opinion toward his top domestic initiative to reduce health care costs while making insurance available to the nearly 50 million Americans who lack it.

AP

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
President Obama left the door open to a new tax on health care benefits Wednesday, and officials said top lawmakers and the White House were seeking $150 billion in concessions from the nation's hospitals as they sought support for legislation struggling to emerge in Congress.

"I don't want to prejudge what they're doing," the president said, referring to proposals in the Senate to tax workers who get expensive insurance policies. Obama, who campaigned against the tax when he ran for president, drew a quick rebuff from one union president.

The chief executive also met with governors and arranged a prime-time, town hall at the White House, the latest in a string of events designed to bend public opinion toward his top domestic initiative to reduce health care costs while making insurance available to the nearly 50 million Americans who lack it.

The flurry of activity extended to the Capitol, where the administration and its allies hoped for a prominent display of progress in the Senate before Congress begins a weeklong vacation on Friday.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., labored in a daylong series of meetings to produce at least an outline of legislation that could command bipartisan support. Of the five House and Senate committees working on health care, Finance is the only one that appears to have a chance at such an agreement.

For their part, key Republicans pressed the White House for assurances that any concessions made now would not merely lead to additional demands at a later date. "We want to know the president is working in good faith along the way as we are," said Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, after meeting with Nancy-Ann DeParle, the top White House official on the issue.

Baucus appeared especially eager to show progress before the exodus from the Capitol began.

To that end, several officials said he was negotiating with representatives of the nation's hospitals, hoping to conclude an agreement that would build on an $80 billion weekend deal with the pharmaceutical industry.

Hospitals were being asked to accept a reduction of roughly $155 billion over the next decade in fees they are promised under government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, according to numerous officials.

Officials at the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals said they could not comment on any discussions.

Baucus is seeking similar concessions from nursing homes, insurance companies, medical device makers and possibly others, noting that any legislation would create a huge new pool of customers for industry providers.

At its heart, any legislation is expected to require insurance companies to offer coverage to any applicant, without exclusions or higher premiums for pre-existing medical conditions.

Overall, Baucus has said he hopes to hold the size of any legislation to $1 trillion or less, and in private negotiations, there were discussions about further scaling back eligibility for insurance subsidies from the government.

Additionally, Baucus was still searching for ways to cover the cost of his emerging legislation, and numerous officials said he appeared roughly $200 billion shy of achieving that goal. They added that a proposal to make it harder for taxpayers to itemize their medical expenses was drawing renewed interest among key senators as one way to raise revenue.

Current law allows those expenses to be itemized when they exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. The proposal under review would raise that to 10 percent, officials said.

At the White House, Obama sidestepped when asked if he was open to taxing health care benefits -- a proposal he opposed vigorously in the campaign for the White House.

"I have identified the ways that I think we should finance this. I think Congress should adopt them. I'm going to wait and see what ideas ultimately they come up with," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I don't want to prejudge what they're doing. We've put forward what we think is best."

Organized labor weighed in quickly.

Gerald W. McEntee, president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in an interview that union leaders believe Obama is "a person of his word." He was referring to Obama's opposition to taxing those benefits during last year's campaign.

"They're not going to take it," McEntee said of workers' views of that proposal. "They're not going to tolerate that."

It was the latest in a series of signs of presidential flexibility. On Tuesday, he left open the possibility that he could sign legislation that does not contain an option for a government-run insurance plan. And he has said recently he could accept a requirement for individuals to buy insurance, a position he opposed in the campaign.

Baucus and many Republicans support taxing health care benefits, and officials have said discussions center on imposing the tax in cases in which premium costs exceed $17,000 combined in payments by the employer and worker. Democrats want to exempt union members covered by contracts, but Republicans are resisting.

The officials who provided specifics on the negotiations in the Senate did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to disclose private talks.

Despite months of efforts, Obama said in the ABC interview, "I think that we're still early in the process. All these issues are getting worked through."

At the same time, some of the Democrats' initial deadlines have slipped under the weight of higher-than-expected cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, internal disagreements and other difficulties.

Many Democrats insist on having an option for government-run insurance in the legislation so consumers can have a choice other than a plan from private insurers. Republicans are vehemently opposed, and compromise efforts have centered on a proposal for a nonprofit co-operative that would be initially funded by the federal government.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday that the government-run option would "gut the private market."

ABC News was the lone network broadcasting Obama's town hall -- drawing criticism from Republicans who wanted equal time.

In defense, ABC News President David Westin said the show would "include a variety of perspectives coming from private individuals asking the president questions and taking issue with him, as they see fit."

Guest


Guest
A coupla notes. Basically, the "American Way" would have everyone responsible for their own health care. This has resulted in the best medical care in the world. Good health care services and equipment paid the doctors,pharmaceutical companies, and medical equipment people very well. The euros,being forever anguished about everything, conferred the "dignity" of everyone having an insurance card by adopting dreary socialized medicine. Nix the best medical care in the world, the welfare recipients, unemployed, aged,illegals, and just plain lazy must have a card too. As some of you know,I had polio at age one,and spent nearly my first 4 years after that in the damn hospital. They cut me up and put me back together. My mother,a single mom of two growing boys made little money as a secretary and saw huge and recurring medical bills. She never paid a dime. The March Of Dimes and the Elks Club paid for everything. EVERYTHING, and must not have been discriminatory,since most of the kids I saw in my years of subsequent clinics were black. We now have a very different system. Here is an inarguable set of facts: I worked,as you have,all my adult life,and paid into SSA. Medicare provides me with basic hospital coverage with a $1040.00 deductible. If I want part B coverage,that costs over a $100/month. I opted out. A 16 year old who has never worked at anything gets shot in the back during a drug deal gone bad and is paralyzed. He gets full medical care including what I would call part B coverage,prescriptions, and full rehab services absolutely FREE, including a monthly check. Both examples are,I submit,typical of many who needed health care and what they received. My mom,77, gets Medicare part A and B, and BlueCross-Blueshield. This costs her over $400.00/month and she still has co-pays. A 77 year old woman who has never paid into the SSA system gets Medicaid and an SSI check. She gets the same care my mom pays for ABSOLUTELY free. Not even co-pays. Do these examples,so familiar, lead one to think we have inadequate medical care in the USA? Do these examples prove fairness? Do they support the substitution of a forced government managed health care system? If a free Medicaid card gets you better services than the services I and you paid for and are paying for.......why? Is this medical care debate about actual services provided, or just government power? You may conclude the former,I suspect the latter. The March Of Dimes and Elks Clubs, and many other charitable institutions, have been a form of "Co-op" medical care. The many VOLUNTARILY helping the poor. The government,if it has any legitimate roll at all, should be to provide health care education and tax incentives to ALL medical care providers,imcluding charities, NOT putting the citizens in ques,waiting their turn to get a neck brace or hernia operation.You don't improve health care for the nation by simply lowering the standards of care for everyone to a common standard. OK, that part is opiniom,but I believe it based on actual experience.

runawayhorses


Owner
My biggest complaint with the Health care in this country is that so many people don't have it and they can't get it. They can't get coverage that is worth anything becuase its costs too much, sure you can get emergency Medicare if you need your appendix taken out, becuase that's considered an emergency situation, and emergency medicare will cover it, they for some reason think they must do something about that problem while ignoring other problems people have, letting them slide, they refuse to cover them, but what about the other serious problems people have, life-threatening ones? Not everything people get ill with is covered. If you don't have good coverage your fucked. I'm all for the government playing a roll in health care, it means EVERYONE will get some good health care, and no one is left out. Take a page out of Canada's Health Care plan, they have the best in the world, US has the worst in the industrialized world.

Check out this post I made awhile back addressing Health care, Its about middle ways down the page, 2 of them actually with similarities:

http://runawayhorses.alldiscussion.net/in-the-news-f5/abc-turns-programming-over-to-obama-news-to-be-anchored-from-inside-white-house-t3429.htm#16247



Last edited by runawayhorses on Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

gypsy


Moderator
According to a news pamphlet I get, we are ranked 37th in the quality of Health care in the world, just one notch above Slovenia

now is the time to get something done.
I am disappointed with the Democrats in congress, now is the time for them to shine.,and get something done our Health care needs revamped, no person should be without health care in America.

runawayhorses


Owner
Some people can't even get SS disability either becuase they don't "qualify", apparently they aren't considered sick enough, so consequently they don't get any health insurance as well.

The US health care system is a pile of garbage.

gypsy


Moderator
I agree Tyler.
I was just looking it up on Wikipedia. A good run down/description. from them .

SSC


Admin
If we come under a Gov. run system what is to guarantee it is not going to be a worst case scenario treated first as is the case in Canada. Most covered under SS with Medicare are getting at least prompt treatment, but something needs to be done with the issue of co-pay. Without a secondary insurance this becomes a financial burden.
More and more are turning to SSI as the coverage is nearly 100%, but I believe that program is a state run coverage.
What I see dragging down the system are illegals going to ER"s to get treatment then not being able to pay,they are using the mandatory coverage for all to be at least stabilized, all hospitals receiving federal funds must offer this. Then that cost is thrown back to the tax payers.

runawayhorses


Owner
Lets look at the way things are now. Many people can't get SS becuase a-holes in charge of accepting people actually "deny" them even thou they deserve it. Some dumb shit who just got the job accepting/denying people to get SS who before worked at McDonalds.. People die of illnesses becuase they can't get insured, becuase someone, for example (Joan from the Bronx) doesn't think they deserve it, pure bull shit. So becuase she doesn't think they deserve it that person (the sick person) is not allowed to get any medical help (or any other financial help) even thou they need it, deserve it, and worked there entire life paying SS out of their checks, Pure BS.

Actually, I should rephrase my statement about a "US Health Care Plan", that's silly becuase the US doesn't have a Health Care Plan, none. If you have the money to afford one you can have it, if you don't, you're fucked. Thats not a plan, that's money buying you services to live. If your rich that's just fine, if you're not, your history. Real nice.

What a wonderful and caring country this is..



Last edited by runawayhorses on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:19 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : typo)

rosco 357


Veteran
well i have said what ssc said , ppl without any insurance , the bill just gets passed on to the ppl in the hospitals that do have coverage, so my insurance i pay my part at work for is higher, but this is very complicated. i think i read and it maybe when i did mail on aol on the welcome screeen, that the best plan right now is in the finance committee, obama is open to ideas, but the bottom line is he wants a bill on his desk by autumn, and i think he hopes or wants it to be bipartisan, my mom as i have stated, had med, bills , bypass surgery, all paid for she had part b, i think is the voluntarty part of medicare on ssi, but i dont know now maybe someone does, when she was on she had to pay every drug store bill for prescriptions, which was about 400 bucks a month, for just drugs, on another note, if u have insurance, the insurance company does a deal and get discounts, on scripts and med bill, as i get an insurance explanation before i get a bill, it shows the discount the dr gives, to the insurance co. like especially the blood work the bill is huge, but after the discount they give blue cross, im amazed at the amount they lower the price too, i have no idea the discount a drug store give, because i just have co pay for my scripts, anyway, as always the devil is in the details so i look forward to reading them , but i do hope something gets done,like i said , when married i had no worry , always one of our insurance as back up, but now, if i get layed off, i have nothing, im not broke, what i have is for my retirement , but its just in cds, OH, as we all know, the insurance co sends me things to read, they want ppl to go get check ups so as to find problems and if possible get fixed before its so bad the medical bill is much higher.
but we shall see, and i dont have an answer, i would not mind some kinda gov, run back up for me, its going to get more confusing

SSC


Admin
Tyler I agree totally with you, this health care reform is going to make a bigger shambles out of a cluster fuck we already have.
The only part of the whole thing I like is holding insurances companies down on rates and making it mandatory to cover pre-existing conditions without increased rates or conditions, but that will be a tough plan to get passed.

gypsy


Moderator
runawayhorses wrote:Lets look at the way things are now. Many people can't get SS becuase a-holes in charge of accepting people actually "deny" them even thou they deserve it. Some dumb shit who just got the job accepting/denying people to get SS who before worked at McDonalds.. People die of illnesses becuase they can't get insured, becuase someone, for example (Joan from the Bronx) doesn't think they deserve it, pure bull shit. So becuase she doesn't think they deserve it that person (the sick person) is not allowed to get any medical help (or any other financial help) even thou they need it, deserve it, and worked there entire life paying SS out of their checks, Pure BS.

Actually, I should rephrase my statement about a "US Health Care Plan", that's silly becuase the US doesn't have a Health Care Plan, none. If you have the money to afford one you can have it, if you don't, you're fucked. Thats not a plan, that's money buying you services to live. If your rich that's just fine, if you're not, your history. Real nice.

What a wonderful and caring country this is..


True there is no plan now, it is time for something..

gypsy


Moderator
SSC wrote:Tyler I agree totally with you, this health care reform is going to make a bigger shambles out of a cluster fuck we already have.
The only part of the whole thing I like is holding insurances companies down on rates and making it mandatory to cover pre-existing conditions without increased rates or conditions, but that will be a tough plan to get passed.
SSC did you mean Tyler/or Roscos post, just asking,your response was following Roscos?

Guest


Guest
"Take a page out of Canada's Health Care plan, they have the best in the world, US has the worst in the industrialized world" /// When I owned taxis,I came in contact with dozens of Canadians. NONE of them admired their healthcare system and most said they still went to private doctors. One couple was here to get some specialized treatment at MUSC that they were on a waiting list for a year long in Canada.Were they lying?


"Some people can't even get SS disability either becuase they don't "qualify", apparently they aren't considered sick enough, so consequently they don't get any health insurance as well. The US health care system is a pile of garbage." /// As someone who gets Medicare and SSA benefits, I am convinced that the opposite is true. There are way too many receiving benefits who do not deserve it. Especially SSI. We can never know the truth of it since their definition of a disability that is diagnosed to cause severe disability for over a year is the standard and I (we) aren't qualified to assess that. And you didn't address the question: Is it fair for people like me who paid SSA deductions throughout his life to receive LESS healthcare benefits than someone who has contributed nothing? I personally have no complaints,but we are talking about millions who do and they should be listened to.






"Lets look at the way things are now. Many people can't get SS becuase a-holes in charge of accepting people actually "deny" them even thou they deserve it. Some dumb shit who just got the job accepting/denying people to get SS who before worked at McDonalds.. People die of illnesses becuase they can't get insured, becuase someone, for example (Joan from the Bronx) doesn't think they deserve it, pure bull shit. So becuase she doesn't think they deserve it that person (the sick person) is not allowed to get any medical help (or any other financial help) even thou they need it, deserve it, and worked there entire life paying SS out of their checks, Pure BS." /// Wrong,wrong,wrong. I had to be examined by a doctor (NOT a government functionary) in order to "qualify". My benefit was determined by how much actual contribution ($$$) I had made into the system for the last 5 years of covered employment. Forgive me if my actual experience does NOT jibe with your opinion. I know you have had some experience with this,so you may have had a very different experience.


"What a wonderful and caring country this is.." /// Yes it is. They gave me $73,769.00 in retroactive benefits and I get a damn good check every month. Now,having said that, I recognoze that the American people want a "system" any system, that is fair,workable, and efficient. Before so enthusiastically supporting the Canadian example,you should read more of actual experiences and opinions expressed by the Canadians themselves and consider HOW MUCH it costs them. The system presently being considered will virtuall destroy private insurance. Only the very wealthy will be able to afford it and they rarely actually need it. The rest of us,the vast majority,will be on waiting lists for basic care. Ask the Canadians.

Guest


Guest
There is a world of difference between SSA and SSI. SSA is paid for and operates pretty much like any insurance coverage, but.....Wiki: "Supplemental Security Income (or SSI) is a monthly stipend provided to aged (legally deemed to be 65 or older), blind, or disabled persons based on need, paid by the United States Government. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration. Payments are made from the US Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust funds. The payments are generally paid on the 1st of the month, for the current month (as opposed to social security benefits which are paid for the prior month). The program was created in 1974 to replace various state-administered programs which served the same purpose, as a way to standardize in the level of benefits through the addition of Title XVI (Title 16) of the Social Security Act. (These benefits also qualify all recipients for Medicaid. A totally free healthcare system that requires NO deductibles or co-pays and includes all prescription costs. I have no real objection to this plan but don't understand why I am required to pay over a hundred dollars a month for part "B" coverage (emergency room,outpatient,doctor visits,etc.), a $100.00 deductible for a doctor visit,applied once per year, and a $1040.00 deductible for a hospital stay. If the system is to be free,why am I being penalized for having paid into the SS system? Whatever you may think of SSI,it is welfare. Parents of children with certain learning disabilities get a check for that child and any others they may have.)

runawayhorses


Owner
Well, no disrespect intended to anyone, but I'm going to bow out of this discussion, its too touchy a subject to me for me to continue.

You all carry on, I'll go post a video or something...

Guest


Guest
runawayhorses wrote:Well, no disrespect intended to anyone, but I'm going to bow out of this discussion, its too touchy a subject to me for me to continue.

You all carry on, I'll go post a video or something...
Good advice I can accept and follow. I wanna wait and see what is boiled down anyway.

gypsy


Moderator
meemoon wrote:
runawayhorses wrote:Well, no disrespect intended to anyone, but I'm going to bow out of this discussion, its too touchy a subject to me for me to continue.

You all carry on, I'll go post a video or something...
Good advice I can accept and follow. I wanna wait and see what is boiled down anyway.
I agree Tyler, it is a touchy for me also..I will wait and see what the new policy will be hope it is good and benefits the people who really need insurance.
Thank God I had good insurance/ with my two years of health problems/Heart .
we pay 400 a month for humana /but my medicare paid for almost all of it, then humana picked up the rest.
I can remember when we didn't have coverage on our youngest son what a hardship it was,it is awful to know that some people can't get attention for a condition because they can't afford it and can't afford health insurance, but i will also bow out ,because i am not knowledgeable on the subject enough.. in this day and in America/all people should have some type of insurance .

SSC


Admin
gypsy wrote:
SSC wrote:Tyler I agree totally with you, this health care reform is going to make a bigger shambles out of a cluster fuck we already have.
The only part of the whole thing I like is holding insurances companies down on rates and making it mandatory to cover pre-existing conditions without increased rates or conditions, but that will be a tough plan to get passed.
SSC did you mean Tyler/or Roscos post, just asking,your response was following Roscos?

Gypsy I was replying to Tyler, that was why I put his name at the beginning of the post.

gypsy


Moderator
yes,I saw it now. i copied pasted still didn't see Tyler ..sorry bout that..

rosco 357


Veteran
yes i will wait if anything makes it to the presidents desk in a few month , read the devil in the details, which is always the case,take care.. i will say my mom was on social security and had part b cut out of it, and she had excellent health care, the doctors visits were actually free as he waved the 10 buck co pay, the only thing is and i have said was her 400 buck drug bill a month, as she was on many bp and cholestral and pain meds as she had arthritis of the spine, im not sure but i think they did something to help on drugs not in what would have been my moms case, but not sure, but again i now will wait and see, what he final details are.

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