Health care thoughts. Paranoia strikes deep

From friends on Facebook


I am so disgusted. Some people opposed to the health bill are frothing at the mouth, making death threats and breaking windows. Many of those who support reform don’t yet realize they’ve been duped– and the raving nutcases only make them feel more victorious. Some liberal friends are talking about buying guns. What is happening to this country? Logic has deserted us! Are we on the brink of self-destruction?

“Singing songs and carrying signs. Mostly say, hooray for our side. It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound. Everybody look what’s going down ”


It’s a sad day when I find myself siding with Republicans: the government cannot force people to buy health insurance.

Especially when there are no caps on insurance premiums. Sure, insurance companies can no longer drop you or put a cap on their maximum payments, and that’s good. But there are no controls on how much they can raise rates and if you drop the insurance, the IRS comes after you.

Sinfest 3/24/10

  • woody

    Until you actually read the law, and realize that if the rates go higher than 8% of your income, then you’re not only not required to get insurance, but the penalty doesn’t apply. (Not to mention that none of this applies until 2014.) So no, there is a cap. FYI: Rate hikes will require a review by a government entity formed to review such things, just like most other utilities. And before you say “they’ll just rubber stamp rate increases”, take a look at what PSCs have been doing over the past few decades in your area. Our local PSC has blocked rate increases on gas and electric hikes 5 of the last 7 times (over the past decade).

    I’ve looked at the law, I don’t feel I’ve been “duped”. The raving nut cases throwing bricks through windows and making death threats against our local representative doesn’t make me feel “victorious”. It makes me frightened that the masses are being whipped up on a lot of lies and rhetoric by right-wing pundits to the point that they’re losing control. When you have Republican representatives screaming “You Lie” and “Baby Killer” on the house floor, is it any surprise the masses start spitting on congressmen, calling them N****r and F****t?

    A lot of this started back in the McCain/Palin campaign, where people were clearly yelling things like “lynch the n****r”, and McCain would pause a second, and go on as if nothing happened. The only time he addressed it was during his concession speech when he was interrupted by a loud epitaph, to which he said “no, settle down now”.

    Make no mistake, a lot of this health care debate isn’t about health care. It’s about extreme right-wing ideologues who believe their country is “becoming a non-Christian state”, when in reality it never was. And they, just like the jihadists they all feel should be tortured and nuked, are willing to do almost anything to frighten or force people to do things the way they want it done. What’s the difference between a right-wing Christian that wants to force everyone to follow Christian morality, and a right-wing Muslim that wants to force everyone to follow Muslim laws? The only difference is who they call a “prophet”. Otherwise, their thinking and methodologies are almost identical.

    Make no mistake. Today they’re throwing bricks and making threats. If this isn’t stopped soon, and these right-wing pundits keep whipping up the frenzy, bricks will turn to guns. People that are already calling our president a non-citizen and a n****r aren’t likely to think twice when they go to pull the trigger, so to speak.

    • DJ

      What section sets up the review board?

      • woody

        Section 104. It’s a review process, which based on the review panels recommendations could eliminate the insurers from the plan system, which means they would be kicked from the system and suffer fines and penalties as a result. So while it’s not quite the PSC-like thing the NYTimes article was comparing it to, but not too far off the mark either. After reading the section myself (what a mess that bill is btw), it’s more what I said here than the PSC-like thing the NY times was saying. But the net effect is, if they raise too much, or show a pattern of it, they’re removed from the system.

        Regardless, if you have no option that’s less than 8% of your AGI, you’re not required to have insurance, and won’t be fined. So if rates hike through the atmosphere, you won’t see a fine, since it will be far enough out of your reach to render you immune to the fine.

        • DJ

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but that section says that if an insurer institutes unreasonable increases (which are not defined), it can only be barred from participating in the state insurance exchanges– not from offering insurance to the public at large. The implications for the company would depend on how popular the insurance exchanges become.

          Here’s a lovely sample of the verbiage: “The process established under paragraph (1) shall require health insurance issuers to submit to the Secretary and the relevant State a justification for an unreasonable premium increase prior to the implementation of the increase.” Mr. Secretary, we’re about to institute an unreasonable increase, and here’s our justification for it!

        • DJ

          It’s also worth noting that a median income couple in Los Angeles, for example, would be hit pretty hard by the requirement to pay up to 8% of their income in premiums. If they earn the median income and pay the median rent, that amounts to up to 17% of their income spent on insurance after taxes and rent– and for a 30-ish couple, premiums would likely fall in that range. The calculation will appear on my blog tomorrow.

          For us in rural areas, where the median income is less than half as much and both taxes and rents are lower, it’s pretty much impossible to get insurance for less than 8% of income so we wouldn’t face a penalty.

      • woody

        Correction… that was a House bill’s section. The merged bill section is 2794. You can read the text directly here.

  • woody

    One other nice thing… The law also changes the insurance offered to all senators/representatives a set of plans from the exchanges once setup. 🙂 One could theoretically get the same insurance then as the senators when that happens.

    For DJ, that’s: SEC. 1312. (d)(3)(D)(i)

    • Until they vote themselves a better plan!

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