Friday, June 29, 2012

Obamacare is NOT a tax

14 comments:

Unforgiven said...

Spot on as usual Mike!

But bro, gotta get the hair under control.

Keep 'em coming!

Andrew said...

I say it will take Americans about 30 years to realise private insurers, private hospitals and big pharma are actually stealing their wallets under the anesthetic. The healthcare system will get into such a piss poor corrupt state even the most jaded and duped of victims will demand change.

Unless democracy collapses completely beforehand.....US citizens will one by one shake off the anesthetics and demand a state funded universal healthcare system. Maybe only 100 years after the UK if they are lucky.

y said...

"The healthcare system will get into such a piss poor corrupt state most jaded and duped of victims will demand change."

Rightwingers will blame the government, blame government interventionin the market, as always. Many peopl will believe them.

I live in the UK where we have the state-funded national health service. It's pretty good but it does have problems.

Possibly a system more like Germany's would be better (where everyone gets healthcare but many services are provided by the private sector).

y said...

Is anyone posting trying to get these videos out across the social media web ? (facebook, etc)

Andrew said...

It's over 20 years since I lived in the UK. As I remember it, the NS did have problems but it delivered cost effective healthcare. I seriously doubt there are major problems within the system that couldn't be fixed with investment in resources, better governance and focus on management.

The repetitive attacks on the NS are from those wishing to profit from healthcare privatization. It's in their interests to see it underfunded and unsuccessful. Its not difficult to understand their greedy motives.

If there are any short term so called "efficiency" gains from privatisation (i.e. cutting labour costs and eroding work conditions). The cost savings would soon be lost as the insurance companies skim an ever bigger cut, corruption sets in and monopoly providers gain pricing power.

Don't be duped by the propaganda.

Tom Hickey said...

Andrew: "I live in the UK where we have the state-funded national health service. It's pretty good but it does have problems."

Every system has problems or develops problems due to changing conditions. The answer is to upgrade or update the system design.

The ultra-right lives in a black or while world. If it is not laisse-faire, there is an economic calculation issue that results in either system breakdown or totalitarian socialism.

That's totally absurd. If humans had followed that as an evolutionary strategy, we would still be swinging from trees.

Greater intelligence means being able to appreciate and utilize greater degrees of both universality and nuance by developing both synthetic and analytic cognitive ability commensurate with increased cognitive (brain) capacity.

Black or white is lizard brain thinking based on survival urge triggering the fight or flight response. It's primitive thinking that is useful to humans in some cases, but civilization was developed to minimize the need for it.

Tom Hickey said...

y said...Is anyone posting trying to get these videos out across the social media web ? (facebook, etc)


FB and Twitter buttons right under the video here and of course, sharing is also available at YT for vids too.

Unforgiven said...

It seems to have been very useful as propaganda, Tom. They can keep the masses running pillar to post while never having to worry about adhering to their own dogma. They couldn't toe that line even if they wanted to. Their dogma describes a world that cannot exist.

Dan Lynch said...

If I have to pay a $695 penalty because I cannot afford O-care, that is indeed a tax. It indeed takes money out of the economy.

Even taxes that are spent by the government are still taxes, in the common meaning of the word. I "get" that budget surpluses take money out of the economy, and that budget deficits pump money into the economy, but the bottom line is that when I pay taxes or when I am required to purchase something that I don't want to purchase, it takes money out of my pocket. Most people call that a tax. Don't try to reinvent the English language.

Obama claims that O-care will actually reduce the budget deficit. I don't believe that, but if we take the claim at face value, then O-care is not going to pump a trillion dollars into the economy as Mike suggests.

The redistribution effects of O-care are not necessarily positive. The premiums are partly regressive -- an individual making $33,000 will pay as much for health insurance as an individual making $33,000,000.

The net redistribution will be upward, to health care corporations, doctors, and other medical professionals.

Health insurance companies are rentiers because they add no value. We should be very concerned about the transfer of wealth to rentiers.

The proposed extended Medicaid program would be a huge benefit to the poor, but states may opt out and/or impose asset limitations for eligibility, which would leave some poor people without insurance and a $695 penalty.

Robert Oak at the Popular Economist blog discusses the projected out-of-pocket costs of O-care. Bear in mind that government programs usually end up costing more than originally projected.

http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/if-it-tax-how-much-it-gonna-cost-us

No discussion of health care is complete without mentioning Warren Mosler's excellent health care proposal. Unlike O-care, Mosler-care would pump money into the economy, would redistribute wealth in a favorable way, and does not reward rentiers.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/warren-mosler/a-progressive-health-care_b_521651.html

Tom Hickey said...

Unforgiven: "Their dogma describes a world that cannot exist."

Yes, that is what MMT and other PKE analytics show, as well as system analysis. The assumptions lead to either a fantasy world, logical contradictions, or a system that can't work because it doesn't observe stock-flow consistency, ignores necessary elements or sub-systems, or doesn't have adequate controls.

Tom Hickey said...

Obligations to the state such as taxes, fees, and fines withdraw NFA from non-government irrespective of what they are called. Fees and fines therefore function in the same way operationally as taxes. But they are not taxes.

The penalty is a fine, not a tax. Contributions for specific services constitute fees, not taxes, even though they are collected by the IRS. The Medicare deductible is a fee, for example. The SS contribution is also represented as a fee, even though FICA is called a "tax."

Unforgiven said...

@Dan Lynch -

"No discussion of health care is complete without mentioning Warren Mosler's excellent health care proposal. Unlike O-care, Mosler-care would pump money into the economy, would redistribute wealth in a favorable way, and does not reward rentiers.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/warren-mosler/a-progressive-health-care_b_521651.html"


Absolutely. Thanks for reminding us.

y said...

"The penalty is a fine, not a tax"

Wasn't that the point of the judgement - that it would be an unconstitutional fine and so must be described as a tax?

Tom Hickey said...

y: "Wasn't that the point of the judgement - that it would be an unconstitutional fine and so must be described as a tax?"

As I understand it (very superficially) Congress must act under some constitutional power. The govt's argument was that health care involves interstate commerce so the accd falls under the 'commerce clause." The court disagreed with that argument, but said that it was included in the taxing power.

All this is explained in some detail in recent posts at Balkinization, and JB's Slate post.

Interestingly, Grover Norquist argued for the taxing power, and there is speculation that this is where Roberts came up with the idea. This is at Balkinization, too.