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Reality is for people who can’t afford health care

One of these things is not like the others

From McClatchy, via BDBlue at Corrente:

Two weeks after President Barack Obama signed the big health care overhaul into law, Americans are struggling to understand how — and when — the sweeping measure will affect them.


“They’re saying, ‘Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?’ ” said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com.


McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.

“We tell them it’s not free, that there are going to be things in place that help people who are low-income, but that ultimately most of that is not going to be taking place until 2014,” McLean said.

I had to laugh when I first read that, but it was one of those laugh-or-cry situations. But you can’t really blame people for misunderstanding all the facts about the new law when even members of Congress don’t have a clue:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.) is insisting that the new health care law she voted for last month does not mandate that individuals buy health insurance, despite language in the law that plainly says otherwise.

By the time people start learning the truth about ObamaCare it will be 2014, and no matter what happens in 2012 Obama will have already faced his last election campaign. Not only will the program require a (virtually impossible) supermajority to repeal, but the Democratic party will be the ones catching hell for enacting a Republican plan.

Those health insurance company execs and Wall Street bankers are getting one hell of a ROI on the millions of dollars they spent back in 2007 to jump-start Obama’s campaign.

100 Responses

  1. What a great caption to the cartoon, myiq! I saw that cartoon earlier and just got depressed at the disinformation, and then I saw it with your caption and LOLed.
    Your humor helps me a lot.

  2. Great Post-thanks. The congress woman may be right?

    Several days ago, I say Lawrence O’Donnell on the Morning Joe show and he was saying that there are no penalties for not having health insurance. He said that he read the entire bill and then referred to either page 31 or 32, I think and read it. Apparently it had been watered down so much that there were no penalties.

    • I saw that interview, kc. O’Donnell said it was clearly written on page 331—-no penalties for not having health insurance. IRS chairman has since come out and said they can clearly deduct the fine from any refund you get, but any other enforcement has been removed in the fine print.

      What it means, as O’Donnell suggested , and what Rep Delahunt shrugged and smiled, admitting…….. is that the fines in the bill were to help the CBO make it look like it’s not adding to the deficit (ie, breaks even, or even makes a profit, reducing deficit). But the fine print, making those fines practically unenforceable, knocks all the bragging rights out, and leaves the program clearly, hugely, increasing the national deficit.

      When confronted by O’Donnell and Scarborough re that accounting “trick”, Delahunt smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and said “I’m retired.”

      It was an accounting gimmick to make the bill look like it accomodated PayGo, to help it get passed.

      • Right. And isn’t the estimate at $10 billion for additional funds to the IRS to do that enforcement? An easy amt left out of the health insurance reform bill.

      • thanks for the clarification. Sounds like it is a gimmick now. This can’t possibly help keep premium costs down-as in, distributing risk since there is no mandate?

        • Of course it won’t keep the cost of of your premiums down. And there IS a mandate, but there is no enforcement procedure except for deduction from any return you get that year.

          What the 16,000 IRS agents will be for, is to check employers MONTHLY to see what big ole fines they can impose on them for not complying. That’s where the big money is.

          • Oh, and those “employers” to be checked, include those who give a “Cadillac” plan, paying a 40% fine to do so.

        • Ah…..here we go.

          Apparently, at the request of several prominent members of Congress, Doug Elmendorff, of CBO chairmanship fame, is studying the impact of passing a VALUE ADDED TAX to pay down our deficits.

          Well, well, well.

          • As long as they leave food and basic clothing alone, it’s better than a income tax that’s riddled with deductions. The trick is to make sure that necessities of life are exempt. If they tweak it to tax luxuries, they’d be able to get most of the yuppies and high income folks that get huge house loans to avoid paying income taxes.

          • A VAT taxes every level of production.

            That includes the trucks that deliver the food and clothing, and the gasoline they need to do that. It includes every stage of getting electricity to homes, products to stores, phone bills, water bills, automobiles to get to work.

            This will not be a “yuppie” tax on yachts or beach houses.

          • Depends on which steps they exempt. It may or may not include every step in production. That’s why it’s not a flat sales tax on the final price its a VAT. They can exempt various stages of production or goods. It’s a monster to administer. That should create a huge number of jobs.

          • Just more government jobs.

            And fewer in the private sector.

          • Just more government jobs.

            And fewer in the private sector.

            you are absolutely wrong.

            Just think about the number of private sector job created for example by SOX, Basel II, HIPAA just to name those 3. They didn’t just create tons of jobs in the private sector, they went on to swell and revolutionize whole IT sectors.

          • right mablue. they helped a lot to drive health care costs through the roof. somehow are we supposed to be proud of that little “accomplishment”?

          • Ralph,

            SOX and Basell II have nothing to do with HC.

          • Mary, there is nothing special about jobs in the private sector except that many of those folks don’t get the kinds of benefits and job security that folks in the public sector get. Chances are they are more likely to be union also. Private sector jobs do not make any special contribution to the economy at all.

          • Also, a VAT will create accounting jobs in the private sector also.

          • oh, and just to add some clarity, you pay for a worker’s MRP in the price of a product or by taxes for any job. So, it’s in one price or another. It’s just with a private sector job you get the mark up for the owners and the lenders.

          • I heard this afternoon that half of the supposed increase in jobs was from census jobs that are part-time with no benefits.

          • A VAT tax is designed to capture taxes from those who can least afford the extra lost income.

          • A tax on a company’s gross margin (VAT) will pressure more job cuts than a tax on a company’s profit (corporate income). VAT is regressive unless it applies just to high end discretionary goods. Also prices of goods go up in response to the tax and related higher marketing investments. Higher marginal income tax rates would be easier and more effective imho. In any case, why are they talking about VAT which is a consumption tax when people are still clamoring for another stimulus.

          • Tax receipts from public sector jobs pay for less than a quarter of the salaries of same public sector jobs, and that’s difficult to sustain long term.

          • what Three Wickets said … it’s regressive when applied to necessities can be progressive if applied only to luxuries. Do I trust the folks right now to make it progressive? Nope, sure don’t! Also, I expect certain labor unions or businesses to get their part of the process left out so that the worst of the tax will be applied to the places it’s most likely to hurt people with long income jobs to start out with … but, if you do it correctly, you can turn it in to a luxury tax.

          • oh, and you’re right about consumption taxes being really bad ideas during times we’re barely creeping out of a recession.

  3. Does it really need a supermajority? Couldn’t Congress just pass another Reconcilliation bill with a simple majority that takes all the fines and enforcement money out and makes the budgets for exchanges $0?

    What am I saying? That’s already in the bill.

    • Simple answer, yes. Don’t fund it and it’ll die. A simple majority is all that will be required, even in the Senate.

  4. Cheerleading a hypocrite with constant rationalizations and pretzel logic gets tiring! Seems Obots are losing interest.

    Internet Was Buzzing About Healthcare, but Obama Buzz Dropped

    Obamamania on the Internet is starting to fade. Once the most buzzed subject ever in political stories, his star has faded to a near all-time low, though his healthcare plan dominated the political traffic in March, according to Zeta Interactive, the digital marketing firm that logs political buzz searches.
    “As the March Zeta Interactive political buzz report illustrates, there has never been a more critical time for President Obama’s online reputation,” Al DiGuido, CEO of Zeta Interactive tells Whispers. “While his healthcare plan and trip to Afghanistan are capturing the most volume of online buzz, his tonal ranking continues to drop, and is hovering slightly above 50 percent positive. Heading into April, as the healthcare plan continues to be scrutinized and people will be watching the employment numbers more closely than ever, the president’s online reputation is at stake. It will be interesting to see if his online buzz can recover from the drop it has experienced in the past few months, or if it will continue to drop even further into the negative tonal zone.”


  5. Yesterday I had a hair appointment. I have been going to her for a couple fo decades. Her first comment – Thank God you have an appointment today – I need for you to explain the health care bill.

    So I began to hit the high points – she stopped me and called the three other operators, their clients and the receptionist into the room. I answered questions for about 30 minutes. They are mostly righties and thought this was a “socialist” bill and they seemed angry. I began with the comment that I am a socialist and I hate the “increased profits for insurance companies” bill.

    We discussed medicare, medicaid, SS, higher insurance rates for women and the ERA, medicare for all, increasing homelessness and unemployement of older women, etc.

    I was asked repeatedly where they could go to get good information. I did not, of course, have a good answer.

    I finished by saying that the middle class is still fucked – and in particular the women.

    The result – a lot of female bonding in that moment but nothing that can be sustained because they are all too busy raising families and working.

    • It’s just a good thing that you got the info out there! That’s what I’m focused on countering the discrepancies people notice. LIke why is it taking additional bills to get kids passed right away? Duh, cause it wasn’t written in the bill in the first place. Talking about the surge in phone calls to docs and insurance cos of people demanding their free health care sure has been a good jump off point for me these past 2 days. It’s amazing how many “smart” people believe that the benefits will start in a years time because that’s the amount of time it usually takes to implement a bill. They are completely lost on the 2014 deadline!!!!

      So who is to blame for that misinformation? Any takers?

      • McClatchy in that article was blaming the opposition and their use of “socialist”.
        Of course the bloviating Obama &co didn’t deceive the public at all…

    • Very interesting! Nice job, Dee.

      • I forgot this part. After everyone else left the room me and my hair dresser continued to discuss the increasing number of homeless/jobless/older women. She asked me if I knew how she could contact them because she would be willing to provide several free shampoos and cuts each week. She also said that she could get a bunch of her friends to do the same. I have not yet found the right contact.

        Anyway, I was touched because she is a single mother with two daughters ages 7 and 12 and is right leaning but mostly uninformed.

  6. Welcome back, Myiq. Missed ya.

    What Wasserman-Schultz is trying to pull, is the claim that you don’t have to buy insurance. You have CHOICE: don’t buy, pay the fine instead.

    Her audience didn’t buy it. Smart audience.

    • She’s not trying to pull anything. Watch her….she only listens to one or two words at a time and then starts talking over the people who are attempting to tell what is in that bill. She hasn’t a clue what she’s doing.

      • LOL….you may be right. She’s into the koolaid.

        • Wasserman-Sculz is my Rep., you are right, she only sticks to The official Talking Points and uses them over and over no matter the question. I sure wish we could get a good challenger to her.
          This year may be a little different. Her natural constituency is an elderly group of folks just because of our geographic area. The Medicare cuts are really concerning and she has a pat answer, “all the cuts are administrative”. The people still want better answers.
          Its sad though, she could be better but has drowned in the Koolaid.

  7. Medicare – lots of people think it’s free….but let me tell you!

    My husband retired last week. We took a supplemental policy out for him from AARP ($129/month) and then got his Medicare bill of $179/month….that’s right! $300 for him a month for health care – MORE than we paid while he was employed and had a “Cadillac” plan.

    Next year our monthly health care nut will be $600 when I join the ranks of the “freebies”.

    • That’s scary. My dad is keeping working even though he is 63 and is a long distance truck driver. He just doesn’t want to lose the bennies yet from his cadillac plan.

      Every time I heard the word “cadillac plan” from the Dems, I just want to cram the words back into their mouths! Anyone with good insurance and represented by a union has such a plan.

      Now the stupid Republicans are running with Dems are anti-union. Urrgh

      • The upside is that we have until 2018 until it takes affect. That should hopefully provide the unions enough time to negotiate better pay in place of some of the bennies we’ve been receiving and then hopefully we can get enough numbers and information out there to make a push towards some of those “other steps”we heard so much about.

    • I assume you are aware that the base fee for Part B will be higher when you enroll next year. I enrolled in Nov. of 2009 and paid 96.40 and then it went up to 110.00 starting in January of 2010. If I had already been receiving SS benefits I would have been locked at 96.40 because if there is no SS cost of living increase they can not increase medicare base. So, they can only increase on new enrollees.

      I would assume that in 2011 the Part B base will be at least 130.00 amonth. These figures are only for those making less than $85,000 two years prior. If you made more it costs more. Because it has already been announced that SS will probably not see an increase before 2014 (if then) they will be sticking it to the new enrollees because they can not go after current medicare members like they have done in the past.

      Also, the medicare deductibles have gone up, and will keep going up, forcing more and more seniors to buy private medical supplemental plans. And, the cost of those supplementals will keep going up (likely sky rocket) as they have to cover more and more. Also, the cost of Part D will keep going up right along with it. I figure by time I am 70 my monthly fixed cost will be at least $450.

      And you are right – most people think medicare is free, including a lot of people in their early 60s. They have no idea what is waiting for them as they begin to think about retiring. A lot of those plans will be put on hold.

      • I’m with you. I got Medicare last November along with a supplemental plan. Both costs raised immediately, one from $96 to $110, the other from $95 to $105. I didn’t get Part D. Then there is a $155 deductible.

        Short story, I went without health insurance for 25 years. I can’t stand this nonsense. I paid, when you count these premiums, $1200 for one doctor visit. I was paying $100 out of my own pocket.

        I’m done. I dropped both Medicare Part B and the supplemental. I’ll do what I always do. Try to stay healthy. And, when the worst comes, I’ll be my own death panel. Not one penny out of my pocket for insurance.

        I’m waiting til November this year to collect my full SS benefits. Meanwhile I will never stop working.

        • Wow – that was a big decision to stop Part B. Will you enroll again next November?

          • Nope. I’m done with it all. I use alternative medicine. No more fighting with insurance creeps.

        • Will you have to pay a penalty for not having Part A, B ? Its been a while but I thought there was a penalty for not having some type of coverage. I may be wrong, but I remember talking about it with the lady when she asked me about my medicare. I know that when I canceled part D, I had to send Medicare proof of Insurance. I was also told that if I wanted to start part D again, I would have to have proof of Insurance sent to them again.

          • I kept Part A because it’s free. If I want Part B again, I can only sign up between Jan and Mar 2011 and coverage doesn’t start again until July 2011.

            I never had Part D. Not required. Nor is Part B.

            I never had insurance, so when I canceled I didn’t have other coverage. No problem. It wasn’t required. And, if it were, they’d have to haul me off to debtors’ prison because I’m not buying insurance. All insurance does is add to my high BP.

    • Not sure who has ever said Medicare was free, but my dad only pays $96 a month for his, and $200 a month for his supplemental. He has never taken a dime out of pocket for medical care. My mother was paying the same. Two each 12 day hospital stays in less than a year with more tests and doctor appts than anyone would want to imagine and the only thing that wasn’t covered cost $35. They’ve got no co-pays, they pay nothing in deductibles. I think they get exceptional coverage for the $300 a month.

    • I am on medicare, I am disabled, I pay around $96 a month which is taken out of my check. I am no longer paying Part D because my husbands prescription plan is cheaper and is included in his family plan. I never paid $300 a month, but it may be due to your income, they started doing that a few years ago.

      Part D can be pretty expensive, you really have to know your drugs and such. Lots of research and hope that something else doesn’t happen and you have to get another medicine and it is covered. When I had Part D, it was $72 a month, but it paid for all generics with no doughnut hole.

      You also did not say if you are going with a Medicare Advantage, they are very expensive. I could not pay the rates that were quoted. You and your husband are lucky, as a disable person I do not qualify for any supplemental policy. My husband lost his job and lost his insurance, I was lucky enough it happened just after Part D was passed.

      Medicare was never proposed as a freebie, it was a way to cover seniors and people with disabilities so that they were not thrown into poverty. Since your husband is retired have you checked the rates in a private insurance companies, I did so when my husband lost his job. We are talking over $1600 a month, he is in his 30’s with high blood pressure.

  8. Great post MyIq.

    I’m entertained every time I hear some “talking pezhead” say in retort, “This health care plan is almost identical to Romney’s plan in Massachusetts.” If there was ever an indictment of failed leadership this is the case study — a Democratic president with 40-year historic majorities in both Houses of Congress who could only barely achieve, invoking reconciliation no less, what a Republican governor achieved facing gargantuan Democratic majorities in the MA legislature. Not exactly a candidate for a chapter in an updated “Profiles in Courage.”

    • Again, this is the money quote from last summer

      “The goal of the Obama White House is to come up with a health-care plan that can attract bipartisan support. The president has told visitors that he would rather have 70 votes in the Senate for a bill that gives him 85 percent of what he wants rather than a 100 percent satisfactory bill that passes 52 to 48.
      He ended up compromising with himself.(or rather appearing to do so)

    • Romney was forced into it anyway. And the program is a failure.

      • Look to Romney to run against President Obama, as Obama has basically passed Romney Care. Meanwhile people are getting those pesky letters already…NO ROOM AT THE INN!

        They funded a defunct program ‘Medicaid’ and left out the Public Option HR 676 which would have been way better. Now the very poor will have less care and no where to go except those ERs, that are over flowing.

  9. Well, what do we expect? THere were idots who thought that as soon as B0 was swqorn in they woudn’t have to pay taxes or mortgages or grocery bills any more…..

  10. I’m paying $242.00 for my Medicare Part B coverage, that’s a lot when you live on SSD. But I have a bigger fear of being dropped into a Medicaid program.

    As I understand it Medicaid reimbursement is even less than Medicare. I’m afraid I’ll never see another specialist in my life (if needed) if this happens.

    • Obviously, Medicare is different from state to state. Just for your Part B?

      My dad has Part A AND B together for $96 a month. WA State.

      • Medicare is not different from state to state.

        And seniors get Part A for free (if you disregard the payroll deductions for 45 years or more) if they have paid in for 10 years or more. It used to be 4 years. If they have not paid in for 40 quarters they have to pay for Part A enrollment. And new enrollees pay more than $96 a month. Your Dad will pay more the next time there is a SS cost of living increase – maybe in 2014.

      • Gweema: Late answer, I’m under the smoking penalty. Unsuccessful attempt to quit last fall. Even if I do quit, it will be 2 years before I qualify for the $120 plan. So, some of us are paying for our coverage for smoking.

        • What is this smoking penalty, I been on S.S.D, for 6 years and never heard of this? I had to quit had major hip surgery and dr told me it takes longer to heal. So I quit, no choice, it was pretty easy. When you can not roll over in bed, it kind of hard to sit up and have a smoke. It was really easy for me to quit, but I was pretty doped up for 10 weeks. I been trying to get the old man to quit, he tried the patches like I did, so I figure it was the pain and painkillers that made it easy.

          • cartencasey: The penalty is on my part B coverage, not that it would even begin to cover lung disease costs.

            About quitting, I am so hardcore with smokinig it’s beyond stupid. All I know is that the 1st cigarette I ever smoked lit up my brain like a Christmas tree. No other drug, legal or not has done what that did.

  11. Owen,

    I found the YouTube clip of the woman who thought Obama was going to buy gas for her and pay her mortgage.

    I wonder if she’s been foreclosed on yet.

    Carolyn Kay

  12. Not one incumbent on my ballot in November will be getting my vote.

    I really hated it when GWB got a second term, but the thought of this administration getting another 4 years to whack away at us is even more troubling.

  13. Guess whose house just got foreclosed on?


  14. that cartoon just pisses me off

  15. “Long-term trends show Democratic Party moving to the left”

    Do you think he knows he is dyslexic?

  16. Before Chris Bowers loses conscience in his orgasm, maybe he should take some time to read this:
    Power Struggle: Inside The Battle For The Soul Of The Democratic Party

    for all the real accomplishments, many liberals are celebrating less than they are commiserating about a lost opportunity, an opportunity for progressive change that pales in comparison to ’33 and ’34, ’64 and ’65, when Democratic majorities redirected the course of the nation. “It is only once in a generation that a people can be lifted above material things,” Woodrow Wilson said, perhaps optimistically. “That is why conservative government is in the saddle two-thirds of the time.” This generation reformed health care and built on that foundation, but the contemporary Democratic approach relies more on using government money to prop up private institutions, no matter how broken, instead of expanding the public sector. For instance, a public insurance plan — the “public option” — was part of the health reform discussion until it came threateningly close to becoming law, at which point it was discarded.

    I know there’s a lot of craziness going on in the GOP, but not all is good with the Dems.

    • Obama kept out the PUBLIC OPTION! It was never allowed in the discussions! Gee, talk about a lot of HOO WEE, trying to make it seem as thought they fought for it when they did NOT!

    • MaBlue — do these people even know what a “liberal” is?

    • Um…no kidding.

    • Woodrow Wilson is so right. This opportunity has been completely squandered. We’re right back on the merry-go-round to hell, everyone running screaming from horrible Repub to horrible Dem and back again, over and over, no end in sight.

      • I hate these people. I hate them, hate them, hate them. I just hope I live long enough to get on Medicare.

        • Me too. I just have a couple more years to go. I just hope I don’t get cancer or break a bone before then.

          • Take very good care of yourself. Once you get on Medicare, continue to do so. I have eight long years to go.

  17. myiqu2xu watched Sesame Street… 😯 How about that!

  18. The other day I was listening to Thom Hartman on the radio. He also said there is no “mandate”. He said there is a tax on everyone to cover the cost when uninsured people go to the ER. He went on to say if you have insurance, you will be tax exempted. According to Thom the wording means this. While it may be like a “mandate”, it does not mandate that you must have insurance. I don’t know if this is true. I just find it interesting that so many people have come up with different interpretations of the bill.

    • 2.5% of my income to cover when someone goes to the ER? What is Mr. Hartman smoking?

      • There was an article in the Globe the other day about how the cost of insurance in MA is skyrocketing, and by 2014 lots of cities and towns’ employee group plans will be subject to the “Cadillac” tax. Of course, the insurers will pass the cost of the tax on and taxpayers will end up paying it. So we’ll be getting zonked with a stupid, unnecessary tax which, ultimately, is intended to ensure that anyone with decent insurance will ultimately lose it. What a beautiful circle of progressivism.

      • Ultimately the long term plans for excise and other taxes could lay a path to Medicare for all, or not. One indication may be an uptick in layoffs at private insurers in MA and an expansion in Medicare buy-ins.

        • To be clear, this is what should be happening long term imo, not sure it will. MA will be a barometer.

    • It sounds like the people who can’t afford health care are going to be targeted now and treated like lepers and blamed for everyone else’s problems.

      • The problem is they, the Dems, keep telling us something is better than nothing. However, we haven’t quite figured out what the something is yet. I know there are some good things in the plan but there are many not so good as well. Insurance companies will have a lot of new customers so that job market will still be good!

  19. I don’t know who I hate worse the dems or the repubs. They are both horrible and have screwed up everything. Most of all I am sick of the Glenn Beck’s right now. I am sick of these folks getting people to believe in their b.s.

  20. OT. The editors at the Times have a good piece up today about the importance of online privacy. Very cool, but they cite Google as one of the advocates, which is like yeah right, maybe on another planet. Google’s money making machine is driven by non privacy. They collect and sell data about users to other companies, and they preach the gospel of open and free to make sure that lucrative well of personal data never runs out.

  21. @marcambinder: Rep. Bart Stupak plans to announce his retirement today, top Democrats briefed on his decision say.

    Oh sure, shovel dirt on women’s rights, then retire. What an absolute schmuck.

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