06 September 2015

A Very Good Point on Obamacare

The folks at Naked Capitalism have never been big fans of the PPACA, because they feel that it has far too many sops to the evildoers in the US healthcare system, in particular the insurance companies. (I agree)

Now Lambert Strether makes what is an obvious point, that the "Cadillac Tax" on high value healthcare plans are pretty clearly a tactic developed to union bust:

I haven’t written about much about ObamaCare’s “Cadillac Tax” mostly because it seemed (as we shall see) such an obvious union-busting measure that there wouldn’t be much of interest to say. However, a recent Kaiser briefing on how many employers will be affected by it has generated a lot of coverage, and, as it turns out, the Cadillac tax — not that anybody could have predicted this — turns out to be insanely complex, based on a crazypants neo-liberal economic assumption, and will screw over a lot more working people than originally thought. (There’s actually some pressure on the Hill for reform or repeal, and not just by the usual suspects, but I won’t cover the politics of it here).


And if the unions can’t deliver wages, and now they can’t deliver benefits — or prevent existing benefits from being taken away — what exactly do they deliver? So who is to determine what is “generous”? Workers, or pencil-necked< neo-liberal economists? Who never mention whether CEO health insurance -- or top 20% health insurance, for that matter -- is "too generous"? That said, let's turn to the crapification. From the Kaiser briefing:
The potential of facing an HCPT assessment as soon as 2018 is encouraging employers to assess their current health benefits and consider cost reductions to avoid triggering the tax. Some employers announced that they made changes in 2014 in anticipation of the HCPT, and more are likely to do so as the implementation date gets closer. By making modifications now, employers can phase-in changes to avoid a bigger disruption later on.

So, a race to the bottom that starts out affecting “overly generous” health insurance, and ends up affecting more and more of the rest of us. Typical. I doubt this can be fixed by Congress this year or next, since the Democrats will not be able to admit that Obama has ever made a mistake in any aspect of his sorry administration, and Republicans have no choice but to throw red meat to their base by trying to repeal it all together. Pass the popcorn.
This is not a bug.  It's a feature.

If you were come up with a way to get the truth for any people behind Obamacare, whether Obama, Gruber, or whoever, they all would say that they want to eliminate employer sponsored health insurance by making various claims about how having open insurance markets and "skin in the game" will make healthcare more efficient.  (All the available evidence shows otherwise)

Obama has been (at best) lukewarm on unions, with no effort to push card-check, his hiring of union-busting heiress Penny Pritzker, his aggressive support of union-busting mayor Rahm Emanuel, his tepid opposition to "Right to Work" legislation proposals put forward in many states, etc.

There are way too many people among Obama's "Chicago School" policy advisers who see an Ayn Rand inspired dystopia as a model for a good society.  (As an aside, it turned out that even Ayn Rand could not live in the world which she hoped to create.)

Our country is looking more and more like the USSR circa 1987.


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