Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who's Going To Pay?

The House passed the health care reform bill.
As groundbreaking as it seems, the bill’s passage was business as usual… passed at 10:49 on Sunday night, highly partisan, hugely unreadable (2,400 pages of legalese) and frighteningly expensive. At least there appear to be far fewer ridiculous pet projects and pork spending… no subsidies for toy wooden arrows this time.
Watch the news for 10 minutes today and you’ll get a lifetime’s worth of debating/shouting/bickering over the bill, so we’ll stick to our beat -- dollars and deficits. Two whole levels of bullets for this beast:
• The latest price tag is $940 billion -- about $70 billion more than the Senate version•

Congressional magicians say it will ultimately reduce the deficit by $138 billion. Double magic -- that’s actually a larger reduction than the cheaper Senate proposal. Spend more, save more… only in Washington.•

Who’s paying the tab?
~$132 billion in Medicare cuts
~40% tax on “high-cost employer-sponsored group health plans,” aqua the Cadillac health care coverage.
~Nearly double the tax rate on Medicare payroll, from 1.4% to 2.3%, for families making over $250,000 a year.
~Tens of billions in fees for Big Parma, medical device makers and -- of course -- insurance companies.
~New minimums on pretax health care spending accounts
~A “tanning tax” -- 10% levy on indoor tanning salons, aka New Jersey.

There’s that, and Congress expects to eke out another $500 billion in projected growth in the Medicare fund over the next 10 years. Easier said than done…

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