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November 30, 2009

CBO: Insurance Premiums Will Increase by 10% Under ObamaCare
Gallup: Near-Majority Opposes ObamaCare

Above-the-Post Update: The CBO says the the curve will in fact be bent -- upwards.

Individual insurance premiums would increase by an average of 10 percent or more, according to an analysis of the Senate healthcare bill.

The long-awaited report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) also concluded that subsidies provided by the legislation would make coverage cheaper for those who qualify.

Though Republicans will seize on the projections that insurance premiums for individuals would increase, Democrats will highlight the conclusion that the legislation would lower premiums by 56 to 59 percent for those individuals who would receive subsidies to buy insurance on the exchange created by the legislation. Of those who participate in the exchange, 57 percent would be eligible for subsidies. The subsidy would cover about two-thirds of their premiums, the report says.

This is played as if the higher premiums are offset by subsidies. Which is absurd. There is no offsetting here. Those with insurance will pay more for it. Those without insurance will get subsidies from those who have it. There is no "offsetting;" the people paying the bills don't get the subsidies.

There are winners and losers here. If you've got insurance, you're a loser: Congratulations, you will now basically have a complete stranger's health care added to your premiums as if he's a member of your family, because you can afford it.

If you don't have insurance, you may be a winner... sort of. As regards primary effects you come out ahead -- free money! -- but there will be secondary effects, too, as all health care overall is driven to a lower quality.

Broken record time: This is and always was about only one thing. A fairly direct transfer of wealth, and the services that wealth buys, from the middle class to the lower class. There is plenty of reason for the uninsured and poor to support this plan; there is no reason for anyone middle-class and insured to support it. For the latter, there are no benefits whatsoever, and only costs -- except for the benefit of knowing you have basically added a stranger as a family member to your plan, and you can now enjoy the satisfaction of knowing all the extra money you're paying, and all the treatments you're personally be denied, are going to help someone else. Maybe.

Ed goes on to note that even this analysis is broken, because the plan counts on reaping a lot of tax money from "gold-plated" insurance plans. No. The tax will kill gold-plated insurance plans, and thus that windfall will never accrue.

I should note that Obama and the liberals pushing this on us make two or three contradictory claims about what that "gold-plated" tax will do.

First they tell us that that tax will drive people away from such plans, thus supposedly reducing the overutilization of health care resources, which will then "bend the curve" of costs down by reducing demand.

Then they tell us that the additional resources will be freed up to be used for other people.

And then they tell us that this plan will be funded in part from the extra taxes on such premium plans.

Note that all three assertions are mutually contradictory. If the uninsured and poor now use the supposedly "overutilized" resources that the premium insureds now use, then there can be no "bending the curve," as demand is unchanged -- the demand has simply been shifted from one group of users to another.

Further, you obviously cannot talk up how your tax will discourage buying such premium plans and then start counting all the money that will be rolling in when people continue buying these plans and pay the tax on them.

One or the other, guys. One or the other. I remember taking the LSATs. Or the GMATs. There was a section about logical flaws. One of the questions -- designed to be a gimme, an early, easy question -- offered the hypothetical of environmentalists imposing a hefty tax on roads that ran through forests, in order to cut down on traffic running through them, and also proposed that at current rates of highway usage, they'd get x dollars in new revenues, which could then be used to make additional improvements to the environment.

What's the flaw?, the question asked. Well, duh: You can't both claim you're going to reduce something from current levels and then calculate the taxes that will flow in based on current levels.

Again: This was a gimme. One of the first five questions (questions are arranged in order of increasing difficulty), offered, basically, to distinguish the merely dim from the truly stupid.

And now your President and your Congress offers it to you.

Which tells you they consider you truly stupid.

...

49% oppose, 44% support, with leaners. As Captain Ed always emphasizes, these are adults, not even registered voters. The friendliest possible sample for Obama.

I can only restate my belief that to actually kill the monster we need 60% opposition (with likely voters, I guess), or thereabouts. Anything less and there is a high risk of Democrats falling on their swords and passing it despite public opposition. Well, if you define "falling on their swords" as taking a high-paying job as a senior bureaucrat or million-a-year lobbyist/fixer.

Independents oppose passage of a bill by 53% to 37%.

Good but still not a guarantee.

Some pundit or analyst -- and I believe he was a Democrat -- speculated that the Democrats' preferred resolution to this is to almost pass the bill, falling short by one or two votes in the Senate and a handful in the House.

So that the bulk of the Democrats can appease their base and get them riled up and energetic -- blame the Republicans! -- and also that independents will be reassured and comforted that the bill actually didn't pass.

I'm not sure if they're actually thinking that way, though. Some, certainly. But enough of them may be getting that robocall from history that Olympia Snowe received a few weeks back.






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