President Obama finally got around to admitting that ObamaCare involves tax increases during an appearance at the Clinton Global Initiative today. “It’s paid for by a combination of things,” Obama admitted.
One of those things is the endless stream of Skittles dumped by the deficit unicorns chained up in the basement of the Treasury, but the President didn’t mention those today. “We did raise taxes on some things,” he allowed.
It’s always a bad sign when a politician over-uses stretchable, fungible words like “things.” Americans for Tax Reform promptly stepped in to provide a list of the “things” ObamaCare raised taxes on. While conceding that the list is not comprehensive, they worked in the ObamaCare medical device tax, high medical bills tax, flexible spending account tax, Super Saver surtax, Medicare payroll tax hike…
… And, coming soon, the individual mandate non-compliance tax (which sometimes magically changes into a penalty, depending on whether or not Supreme Court justices are looking) , employer mandate tax (which should be nice and ripe by 2015!), tax on health insurers, and the “Cadillac tax” on high-value health insurance plans, which in all fairness will probably be waived for Obama’s well-connected, deep-pocketed union buddies, so it’s hard to compute what its effective burden on the American people will be.
Rest assured, you’ll be paying all those taxes. Some of them are hidden, but every taxation bank shot ends up hitting your wallet sooner or later. In the new Land of the Much Less Free, you’ll be paying a stiff fee to the federal government for the privilege of not buying a health care plan you don’t want… and the dollars taxed away by the individual mandate tax/penalty will be dollars insurance companies aren’t getting. How do you suppose they’ll go about making up that lost revenue? And if they don’t, what do you suppose awaits us on the far side of an insurance company bankruptcy tidal wave?
ObamaCare is the latest iteration of the Left’s long-running redistribution scam, in which taxes are hidden – or deferred, which is what large-scale deficit spending ultimately amounts to – and benefits are hyped beyond reason. If the pain of the taxes is diffuse enough, and the joy of the benefits is concentrated enough, the socialist considers it a successful program, no matter what happens to the social “problem” under discussion.
For another example, consider all of the happy talk about insurance premiums, which President Obama asserted were actually falling faster than anyone could have expected. Whether you want to chalk this up to disconnect, delusion, or cynical lying, it’s not broadly true. There are some specific areas and demographics that could see some premium reduction, but the bulk of the country will pay more – in some cases, a lot more. This is partly due to the mandated benefits packed into ObamaCare insurance plans, which force consumers to pay for benefits they don’t want, or may even be biologically incapable of using.
For some regions and groups – particularly young people – ObamaCare is a very, very bad deal. Avik Roy writes for Forbes that, despite the cloud of smiley-face gas pumped out in the cover pages of the latest Health and Human Services report on premiums, the actual numbers in their report tell an alarming story:
Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men.
That’s the difference between “insurance” and the dreary socialist redistribution schemes ObamaCare exemplifies. Insurance charges lower rates to people who are less likely to make claims. Socialism sucks blood from the people who don’t use benefits, so it can lavish vote-buying favor upon those who do. ObamaCare is all about reducing costs for a few while making things tougher on the rest of us. The few will be expected to show their political gratitude, while the suckers who pay the bills are expected to shut their pie-holes and pony up. If you have a problem with that arrangement, you’re unpatriotic, and possibly the Devil.
Early calculations showed a mere 24 percent average increase in premiums – which is still a far cry from President Obama’s false claims of reduced expenses – but those figures were based on data from the few, and generally blue, states that chose to set up their own insurance exchanges. Then HHS whipped some numbers out of thin air and cheerfully declared they’re not as bad as we thought they would be. The inflated post-ObamaCare premiums of 2016 will be 16 percent lower than the Congressional Budget Office projected last year! Yippee! But what do they look like compared to today’s insurance premiums? Don’t ask.
Roy’s analysis looks at the hard data available for this year and next. With the exception of a few unusual state markets, the results aren’t pretty. And while ObamaCare apologists are always talking about how the newly welfare-addicted middle class will get subsidies to ease the pain of buying overpriced health insurance – not exactly a winning argument for those worried about the nation’s fiscal health – Roy disputes the notion that these subsidies will be enough to offset the elevated costs, especially for the unlucky tax serves in the middle and upper echelons of the Sainted Middle Class. You’ll become a hapless dependent of the State, and your net cost for insurance will go up. What a deal!
Redistribution schemes always have some happy beneficiaries, who can be harvested for reliable votes. If the people who pay the bills can be intimidated into silence, well, who cares how much their taxes went up? Especially since the tax increases were kept quiet until after the election we were retroactively informed was the American citizen’s last chance to do something about ObamaCare.