Tuesday, October 13, 2009
A top lobbyist says 30 of his clients are going to run full-page ads in the Washington Post, USA Today and other papers tomorrow announcing their opposition to the Baucus plan. Insurance lobbyist, right?
Nope, the clients are 30 of the largest most important unions in America. They oppose the Baucus plan because of the tax on so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans, which the proposal describes as plans worth more than $8,000 for an individual. You might think that the people enjoying these Cadillac plans are corporate fat cats, but you would be wrong. It turns out that a large number of them are working men and women whose labor organizations have negotiated these kinds of benefits on their behalf. The Baucus plan seems to target those kinds of plans for extinction, and the unions aren’t going to stand by and let that happen.
As for the health insurance industry, the implicit deal was always, make it mandatory to buy a policy and we’ll agree to take all comers. Force young, healthy people into the risk pool so we can use their premiums to offset the cost of the older, sicker people we’re now going to be required to cover. Once it became clear that the deal was going to be no, take all comers, and then we’ll work on getting some kind of a mandate for young, healthy people, the insurers had no choice but to try to stop it.
Insurers were on board when they thought reform expanded their market and potential premium flow.
What could reform proponents do to put it to all these special interests? Regroup around a public catastrophic plan. Suck it up and admit that the CEO of Whole Foods was on to something. Watch and laugh as the insurance industry descends into vicious competition over a much more predictable product and a smaller premium flow. Don't all the anti-corporatists realize how scared the vested interests are of real market competition?
California could fire every state employee right now and not balance it's budget. The Federal government could confinscate 100% of Exxon's profits and that money would run the country for a weekend.
These are the people who will not allow us to read the bill before they force it down our thoats, and they won't take on the Tort Lawyers because it so gosh darn hard to do.
The President of Whole Foods "spoke the truth to power", so the left boycotted his stores.
Even the CBO score that Baucus loves to talk about shows the "cost" of his bill tripleing in it's second decade. Since taxes are at an all-time high, unsustainable in a global economy, and foreigners won't buy our debt anymore, this whole exercise is a total pipe-dream. Politics aside, it's insane to even be thinking about spending this kind of money.
Here's the source on the tripling claim.