Monday, May 5, 2008

What's Obama's Cost to Us Tax Payers?

Senator Barack Obama has a limited record on the National Level. But one thing is Clear, Senator Obama is the Most Liberal member of the Senate according to his voting record.

Senator Obama's comments are middle of the road, non-partisan, BUT his VOTES ARE further left and more partisan than Hillary, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Harry Reid and all other members of the Senate.[Source: "Obama: Most Liberal Senator In 2007" as published by the On-Line National Journal Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008]

As you know, it is the Left who believes in Bigger Government and more Government handouts. Senator Obama is the most Liberal of the Left in terms of his voting record. As you also know, both Hillary and Barack have promised to raise taxes which will cost us more.

In practical terms, Senator Obama talks about reaching across the aisle and compromise with Conservatives, but he votes along the Democrat's Party Line more than anyone else in the Senate. The Left, including Senator Obama, costs us in increased taxes, AND in increased costs. Senator Obam's Extreme Left or Liberal Standing yields increased costs for such things as Health Insurance.

The on-line edition of The Wall Street Journal, contains an article by SCOTT GOTTLIEB, which highlights Senator Obama's record of increasing cost of Health Insurance for the Tax Payer ("Obama's Health Care Record"). This is a double whammy. Health Insurance cost goes up, Taxes go Up to pay for those who can't pay and Senator Obama simultaneously talks about lowering the cost to the individual.
... during Mr. Obama's tenure in the state Senate, 18 different laws came up for a vote and passed that imposed new mandates on private health insurance. Mr. Obama voted for all of them.
Mandates on private Health Insurance drive the cost of Health Insurance Higher, because these Mandates require Insurance Companies to cover specific items.
A 2008 study by an insurance-industry supported research organization, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI), estimates that mandates increase the cost of basic health coverage by 20% to 50%, depending on the state. Average policies in high-mandate New Jersey cost about $4,000 according to a 2004 insurance survey, much more than the $1,200 charged in low-mandate Wyoming.
Not all mandates are bad, or that expensive, but some like the so called "Slacker Mandate" which extends coverage for unmarried dependents up to the age of 30 are popular in many states.

It seems to me that unless a dependent is handicapped and not capable of self-care by 18, they should not be covered by forced Mandates. Exceptions for full-time Students to age 24 is reasonable, but by requiring coverage to age 30 only drives the cost for those with Private Insurance Higher.
These increased costs aren't shared equally among all who have health insurance. People who are covered through self-insured employers (usually large corporations) are shielded from state mandates because of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which prevents states from enacting controls on plans that cross state lines.
Who pays for these Mandates then? The people who generally can least afford it. The payers are the ones who do not have an employer sponsored plan. They are the ones who pay for their own Health Insurance.
The burden of paying for state mandates is usually borne by individuals who buy their own insurance, small employers and others not covered by ERISA. In total, about half of the people who have insurance bear the brunt of the cost of state mandates. And, as it turns out, individuals who do not work for large corporations are much more likely to be uninsured. AHIP calculates that between 20%-25% of uninsured Americans can't afford coverage because of the increased cost of providing mandated care.
The ironic twist is it doesn't have to be so expensive it the law allowed Health Insurance Companies to offer Basic, Bare-Bones Plans. In other words why can't the Individual shop for the Health Insurance he wants, with the options he desires? We do it with most items we buy, why not Health Insurance?

The truth is that we should be able to shop for Health Insurance the same way we shop for a new car. We should be able to select the options and extras we want, not what the State Legislators, Like Barack Obama, say have to have. Why do we have Mandates?
For the simple reason that each mandate has a powerful constituency – be it chiropractors, dentists or other groups – who benefit when their services are included on the list of mandated care. These groups pressure lawmakers to expand the list of mandates and, over time, the list grows to be very long and expensive. Often the care that is being mandated is for minor medical problems because small, routine ailments are suffered by more people and therefore have broader political constituencies.
This is known as Political Pandering. On the one hand, the Political Campaign Contributions which enable a Politician to be re-elected come from special interest groups. The Tax Payer gets stuck with the bill, but hears the emotional empathy from the Politician. Political Pandering to both groups.

The article also offers a solution.
One way to make insurance more affordable is to extend the benefits of the ERISA exemption to people who buy insurance on their own, putting them on a level playing field with those who get coverage through large employers by freeing them from expensive state insurance laws.
Or this solution.
Better still, Congress could pass legislation that has long languished in the House allowing people to purchase health plans across state lines. People could choose which state regulations to buy into, creating a market for the insurance mandates. This would give states more incentives to fix local problems that have helped make health insurance expensive in the first place. It's a fair bet that there would be an exodus of policyholders from higher-cost, higher-mandate states like New Jersey and even Illinois (which has more expensive mandates than about half of the other states).
Why not do both? Here is a chance for Senator Obama to break free of the "say one thing, but vote another way" mold.
Mr. Obama says people need more options to purchase insurance outside the workplace. He also says he can draw on his experience as a state legislator to lead a reform of the kinds of special interests that pursue these mandated benefits. Right now Mr. Obama's health-care proposal, like Hillary Clinton's plan, does the opposite by adding federal regulations on top of state laws.
Up to now, Barack Obama has shown that he speaks and acts very differently. Senator Obama is quoted as saying the following:
"My plan emphasizes lowering costs," Mr. Obama says. If that is really what he wants to do, he can start by freeing consumers from forced subsidization of the pricey state mandates
.Time will tell if he really means what he says, but I'm not holding my breath, because his track record shows he will not vote the way he is quoted.

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