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August 06, 2009

Quinnipiac: Obama at 50%

Obama is perceived as the "urban" Heath Ledger style Joker by 42% of the public, while 50% see him as the good, benevolent, "urbane" Jack Nicholson style Joker (you know, the one who urbanely attempted to murder tens of thousands of people in a WMD gas attack).

8% responded either "no opinion" or "Caesar Romero," the not-fully-urban-but-still-suspiciously-Hispanic-Joker.

(See Gabe's post if you don't get what I'm referencing.)

No word yet on how many people view him on foreign policy as the good, benevolent "urbane" Frank Gorshin style Riddler as opposed to the viral, apparently-black "urban" Jim Carrey style Riddler.

Exactly half of the registered voters surveyed from July 27 to Aug. 3 by Quinnipiac said they approve of the job Obama is doing, compared with 42 percent who disapprove. That’s down from 57 percent approval and 33 percent disapproval in a poll taken in late June, according to results released today.

Americans are upset about rising unemployment and worried that health-care plans making their way through Congress will add to the U.S. budget deficit, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based polling institute. The combination has helped drive down the president’s ratings.

A “willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt is, among some voters, evaporating,” Brown told reporters in Washington yesterday.

The poll found that voters disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy by 49 percent to 45 percent. On his effort to overhaul of the health-care system, 52 percent disapprove of his handling of the issue while 39 percent approve.

That doesn't mean this Joker -- whether "urban" or "urbane" or Casear Romero -- is done yet. A key Senate committee continues to make bipartisan progress on this disaster (whether urban or urbane is unspecified).

Senate negotiators are inching toward bipartisan agreement on a health-care plan that seeks middle ground on some of the thorniest issues facing Congress, offering the fragile outlines of a legislative consensus even as the political battle over reform intensifies outside Washington.

Fragile outlines? Seems not exactly a done deal.

The emerging Finance Committee bill would shave about $100 billion off the projected trillion-dollar cost of the legislation over the next decade...

$100 billion in urbane cuts in a trillion-dollar urban package? That's not much progress at all.

... and eventually provide coverage to 94 percent of Americans, according to participants in the talks. It would expand Medicaid, crack down on insurers, abandon the government insurance option that President Obama is seeking and, for the first time, tax health-care benefits under the most generous plans. Backers say the bill would also offer the only concrete plan before Congress for reining in the skyrocketing cost of federal health programs over the long term.

50% chance of an urbane outcome, 50% chance of an urban one:

"Call me an optimist in spite of all the evidence, but I think the chances are, you know, better than 50-50 that we'll get this done," Bayh told reporters after the session. "But it's tough, it's complex. It's taken a little time, which is not surprising."

Well, how about those "cuts"? Well, they're not cuts. They've agreed to (wait for it) higher taxes.

The group is closer to resolving other major questions and has already agreed to about $500 billion in changes to existing federal health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. For example, negotiators would require wealthier seniors to pay more for prescription drug coverage under Medicare, and they would charge co-payments for clinical lab procedures. The lab co-pays are potentially lucrative, raising about $20 billion over 10 years.

Other new sources of revenue include penalties on individuals who do not obtain health insurance, and a "free-rider" provision that would require employers that currently offer health insurance to continue to do so, or to reimburse the federal government for workers who switch to subsidized coverage through an insurance exchange. Both provisions could yield about $43 billion over 10 years.

The rest of the additional revenue -- about $250 billion -- would come from new taxes, primarily from an excise tax of up to 35 percent on insurance companies that sell extremely generous policies worth at least $21,000 a year for family coverage or $8,000 a year for individuals, according to aides involved in the discussions. About 7 percent of taxpayers hold such policies.

Lawmakers said insurance companies are likely to pass the cost of such a tax to policyholders, raising the price of those plans. That would create a strong incentive for employers to stop offering them, thus driving down overall health-care costs. With employers paying less for insurance, tax analysts predict, they would pay workers more in wages, increasing income tax collections by as much as $180 billion over the next decade.

Another disguised tax. How Heath Ledger of them.


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posted by Ace at 10:00 AM

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