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Cronus Protagonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-30-12 12:35 PM
Original message
New taxes. Right before the general election too...
Edited on Sat Jun-30-12 12:39 PM by Cronus Protagonist
Since we're "taxing the poor to pay for healthcare", per the Supreme Court and Obama's counsel. I hope our side knows what they're doing. I see two problems with the mandate. Here, I'm talking only about the mandate, not the overall plan, which just might be the best the US can do in the current climate.

1/ The mandate is literally a tax on the poor, people who do not currently have health insurance because it is too expensive. I expect to get miniscule care for the $1200 cash I will be required to come up with. I stipulate that the alleged benefits may make it seem worth it, but I expect, and that's the key thing, I expect to get virtually nothing back. And I simply don't have that money with which to pay the mandated fees, so I'll get a penalty. Looks like I won't be able to file taxes then, because I simply cannot raise that kind of cash in this business climate. (I hope I can make enough extra money to pay for this, but so far, I certainly have not managed to ever save that amount)

And the SCOTUS decision, while allowing us the benefits of the plan, puts the act squarely in the TAX column, which will result in the Republicans whipping people up about this "egregious socialist tax on the people" and such like. That will be tough to chew in an election year when most of the benefits will not be felt by the people until 2014 - a lifetime in politics.

2/ The second problem is that it's not the government that is keeping the tax money, but it's the government forcing us to pay cash to corporations, particularly in the form of taxes. It's pure, unadulterated fascism; The control and manipulation of government powers by corporations.

I'm not as concerned about item 1, which could be ameliorated with tons of cash and a great media campaign, (it better be GREAT), but with item 2. The constitutionality of the mandate is not so important as the fact that it's a corporate raid not just on Treasury, but reaching right into the pockets of every working adult in this country. And some of that money will find its way back into the politicians pockets; you can count on it.

Anyway, this SCOTUS tax thing and the mandate itself are two powerful disincentives to vote Democratic. Do we have enough cash to surmount what we all know the GOP will say about these two points? I hope so, but I am familiar with the long history of the Democratics in charge managing to seize defeat from the jaws of victory and I fear for the country.

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dtexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-02-12 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. The ACA should have been done better.
But I have no sympathy for those "forced" to buy insurance -- in other words, to stop being free riders on the healthcare system the rest of us are paying for.

But, as I say, single-payer, or Medicare-for-all, would have made any mandate unneeded and irrelevant.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-04-12 02:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. I am surprised?
Edited on Wed Jul-04-12 02:40 AM by No Elephants
The ACA will cover only about 30 million additional Americans at taxpayer expense. Out of about 350 million Americans.

It's not nuttin', but paying for their emergency room visits has not bankrupted any American taxpayer, either. On the other hand, health care costs have bankrupted many a family, even those with Medicare AND a supplementary private policy.

Moreover, the vast majority of these uninsured are people whose mental and/or financial condition and joblessness has prevented them from buying insurance, or from keeping it current.

I've been a patient in an emergency room where the patient in the next bay could not even answer correctly the question "Do you know where you are?" And I observed that twice during the course of just one of my emergency room visits alone. And, it was not because the person was so stricken suddenly that faculties failed them. It was because they were people some might call cruelly "street crazies."

I am a lot happier to pay my share of their emergency room visits than I was to pay my share of the gouging hospital bills from Massachusetts General Hospital that Massachusetts taxpayers pay because my husband is a state employee and Massachusetts self insures (though I believe it pays a private company to administer the plan--probably the worst of all worlds as state employees are also employed to interface with the private company).

needless to say, I am also a lot happier to my share of their emergency room visits than i am to pay my share of the bank bailout or my share the rest of the exploitation of the people and resources of this nation by the 1%.

A member of my family has been struggling to keep his family of three insured--and he has--but he can't afford the cadillac policy, so his deductible alone is $5000 a year. That is exclusive of premiums, which are another $12000 a year and deductibles. That is a heck of a lot of after tax money.

Meanwhile, he had been out of work for almost a year a year ago, thanks to the economy. He has been struggling to keep his family both insured and under a roof. Thanks to the real estate bubble caused by Wall Street and the banksters and repeal of Glass Steagall, his home is way, way under water. So, he could not afford to sell it while he was unemployed. Still, he was late on his mortgage only once and he kept his family insured.

He has since put together two part time jobs as an "independent contractor," but he gets no benefits, not health insurance or even one sick day or vacation day. So, he is not financially able to take time off.

The same is true for his wife, whose English is imperfect and was able to get a job only in a laundromat. Her boss refused to give her proof of employment so they could refinance their mortgage, so we can be sure he is not paying into any unemployment or Social Security fund. Again, though, their alternative is losing their home AND having a huge deficit to pay off, plus taxes. (The alleged mortgage relief bill was useless to begin with and has expired anyway--and now the banks have amnesty to boot.)

He just had a 'mini stroke.' I guess that should not be surprising, given all the stress he has been under, with no relief. However, it was surprising because he is relatively young.

The family is chipping in to make his next mortgage payment, but that is not near what his deductible and follow up visits will total. Let alone, that he and his wife have avoided seeing a doctor because of the deductible and probably will continue so to do. (And to be totally candid, a certain insured family member with good health insurance fakes symptoms with her doctor in order to get prescriptions he needs to survive, but cannot afford because his expensive health insurance is lousy.)

If he is unable to keep up his health insurance premiums and has another stroke, I would never begrudge him my share of an emergency room visit, even if I did not know him.

Just because politicians characterize people like my relative and those I've encountered in emergency rooms as freeloaders so they can justify a "penalty" while claiming to be compassionate does not make it so.
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bookman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-02-12 11:54 PM
Response to Original message
2. Not really a tax

It is a penalty.

Ask ex-Gov. of Mass. Romney. :)

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-03-12 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. In Massachusetts, Mitt did call it a tax, IIRC.
Edited on Tue Jul-03-12 08:50 AM by No Elephants
Who cares what it is called? Shakespeare correctly told us a few centuries ago that a name does not change anything.

The mandate says a lot about us as a society.
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-03-12 08:10 PM
Response to Original message
4. It's terrible policy and Roberts ruling was a disaster.
Raising taxes on the middle class and working poor during and economic downturn is imbecilic. Pushing more money into the FIRE sector, which is already unsustainably bloated, is a plan only a neoliberal could love.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel since ACA is destined to fail, but who knows how long it will take to correct this mistake or if we will even be able to now that the looters who own our politicians get to stick their hands directly in our pockets.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-04-12 02:49 AM
Response to Reply #4
6.  We desperately need a solution to heath care costs,
which have risen at multiples of the rate of inflation.

Morally, we, as a nation, also need universal health care, at least basic health care. However, ACA, which provides neither, was a lousy bill.

And the SCOTUS ruling was horrible, horrible precedent, both for government infringement on individual rights as long as a "tax" is involved and for circumscribing federal ability to deal with national problems by circumscribing the commerce clause.

And Justices appointed by Democratic Presidents were in both parts of that horrific ruling.

I disagree that only neoliberals could love the bill and the decision, though. Conservatives, incuding health insurers, came up with the bill.
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