3/27/2010

Meanwhile Back in the Real World

In the fantasy world of Democratic controlled Washington, the health care "reform" bill they just passed is going to bring down costs and provide immediate benefits.

Yeah right.

Meanwhile back in the real world, the fine print is already taking away many of those so-called immediate benefits. You probably heard (if you could bring yourself to listen) that starting in six month, children cannot be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Nope. That's what they said out loud, but what the bill actually says is that those new rules start in 2014. Hope and change indeed.

Even worse are the costs. By closing what the Democrats called a loophole--actually the tax credits provided to companies that continued to provide insurance benefits for retirees (that provision was put in to keep people off Medicare...which is bleeding money like crazy)--they guaranteed an upheaval of massive proportions. Remember, this is not an accident, they did it deliberately over the objections of the business commumity. There are two problems with that. First, according to conservative estimates (not estimates by people who are conservative but etsimates that try to deal with reality instead of fantasy), this is going to dump at least two or three million people onto the states' (which is a nice way to pretend like it isn't costing anything by keeping it off the Federal books) Medicare programs that are already woefully underfunded. Second, it's going to cost businesses billions of dollars. Already since the bill was passed companies like AT&T, John Deere, Caterpillar, Valero, 3M and more have announced that they will be forced to take a charge against future earnings to account for the massive increases in costs that will be imposed by complying with the new provisions. Wonder how those businesses will fund this enormous increase?

Interestingly enough, companies are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to announce such changes...but Congress is furious. In fact the House of Reprehensibles is about to drag company execs in to chastise (and intimidate) them over pouring cold water on the victory parade. This bill is a disaster. And we still don't have a good handle on all the stuff snuck in to the more than 2,000 pages at the last minute under cover of darkness. (Yeah, that whole Obama promise to post bills online for five full days before he would sign them, not so much.)

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