Hannity and Cruz Flat Out Lie About Obamacare Costs

I thought Forbes was a serious publication, but apparently not.  Check out Chris Conover’s “Obamacare Will Increase Health Spending by $7450 for a Typical Family of Four.”

Here’s a news flash for you — if you provide health insurance to 30 million more people, health care spending will go up!  Conover takes the Medicare actuary’s prediction that health care spending will go up $621 billion over the next ten years, and works that out to $7,450 for a “typical” family of four.

Conover contrasts this increase in spending with Obama’s promise that premiums would go down $2,500 a year for a family of four.  Now, if you read the article carefully, it’s clear that he’s comparing the apples of $7,450 over ten years with the oranges of $2,500 per year.

Guess who either didn’t really the article carefully or who doesn’t give a damn about the truth (and I suspect it’s the latter)?  Sean Hannity and Ted Cruz.  On his show tonight, Sean explicitly said that it would be an increase of $7,450 per year for a family of four.  Ted Cruz chimed in that it was a $10,000 swing compared to Obama’s promise.  Um, only if you purposely confuse a single year with a decade because you’re trying to scare the hell out of people.  I’m guessing that many more people watch Sean than will read the Forbes article, let alone read it carefully.

The other problem with Conover’s article is that he talks about an increase in health care spending as if he were talking about a family’s outofpocket costs.  He makes no attempt to distinguish how much will be paid by the government (expanded Medicaid, health insurance subsidies, etc.), how much will be paid by insurance, and how much will actually paid by that “typical” insured family of four.

Because if he did that, if he were honest, it wouldn’t be anywhere near $7,450, and it wouldn’t be so impressively scary.

 

The GOP’s Phony Outrage on Subsidies

If Obamacare were going to be as apocalyptic as the GOP claims (The whole country will be working part-time!), they’d just sit back and wait for that disaster and savor their sweep of both Houses of Congress in 2014 and the White House in 2016.

But, really, they are afraid that people are going to like Obamacare, especially with the subsidies for lower and middle-income families.  They are outraged about these “government subsidies.”

But what do they think the government is already doing with health care?  Health care subsidies are the biggest tax expenditure in the tax code, costing the government hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

If you get health insurance from your employer, you don’t pay taxes on the value of that benefit, it’s not counted as part of your income.  Your employer, in turn, gets to deduct all those health insurance premiums as a business expense.

So our current employer-based health system is already heavily subsidized by the federal government.  And by the way, one of the reasons wages have stagnated is the growing cost of health insurance.  Your employer is paying you more, he’s just doing it by paying those increased premiums for you.

So for the GOP to decry that the government is suddenly subsidizing health insurance is specious.  It’s been going on for decades. Big time.

The GOP claims they want consumer-based health care.  Well, this is it.  Every time someone buys insurance on the new exchanges from a private insurance company, that’s consumer-based health care.

 

A Sane Republican

If you’ve been wandering around with a lantern searching for a sane Republican, former NH Sen. Judd Gregg has an op-ed giving his party hell over at The Hill:

“Most Americans these days are simply ignoring Republicans. And they should.

“The self-promotional babble of a few has become the mainstream of Republican political thought. It has marginalized the influence of the party to an appalling degree.

“An approach to the debt ceiling that says one will not vote for its extension unless ObamaCare is defunded is the political equivalent of playing Russian roulette with all the chambers of the gun loaded. It is the ultimate no-win strategy.

“You cannot in politics take a hostage you cannot shoot. That is what the debt ceiling is. At some point, the debt ceiling will have to be increased not because it is a good idea but because it is the only idea.

“Defaulting on the nation’s obligations, which is the alternative to not increasing the debt ceiling, is not an option either substantively or politically.

“A default would lead to some level of chaos in the debt markets, which would lead to a significant contraction in economic activity, which would lead to job losses, which would lead to higher spending by the federal government and lower tax revenues, which would lead to more debt.”

In other words, Ted Cruz is a flaming asshole.

And So It Begins…

In his interview with Fox News, Syria’s President Assad said it was “no problem, we can do it tomorrow” to provide the inventory of his chemical weapons due this Saturday.

But now Syria admits it won’t make that seven-day deadline, and our State Department is saying “Oh, okay, whenever, Dude.”  They now claim “We’ve never said it was a hard and fast deadline,” but that’s how the agreement was presented to the world, as a date certain, not some loosey-goosey goal, if the Syrians were up for it.  And it’s tough to do a weapons inventory when you’re still busy laughing your asses off and high-fiving each other.

And of course there are now problems at the UN due to Russian intransigence with the resolution that must be passed before work can begin on securing those weapons.

This BS agreement is never going to become reality.  We’ll just move on to other issues and crises and eventually fuhgeddaboudit.

 

Chemical Weapons Experts Not Optimistic on Syria

From “How Assad Could Twist a Chemical Weapons Treaty to Keep His Poison Gas,” Yochi Dreazen, “The Cable,” Foreign Policy:

“‘The Chemical Weapons Convention was created to deal with a very different type of set of circumstances,’ said Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association.  ‘It was designed to deal with a country that was willing to renounce its chemical weapons voluntarily and not under coercion, a country where there was no real chance of them being used again, and a country that was stable enough that they could be destroyed safely.  None of those conditions exist in Syria.

“‘It’s not inconceivable that he adopts the Saddam Hussein playbook from the 1990s — refusing access to facilities, having the inspectors run around the country chasing their own tails — as a way of playing out the clock,’ said Brian Finlay of the Stimson Center.  ‘The more time that passes, the more the shock of the chemical weapons attack will fade away and the more the momentum for a strike will begin to disappear.  It’s clearly in his favor for this [to] stretch out as long as possible.'”

We’ve got nothing, people.