-Yay to Robert Reich for this…
-Max Baucus’ long awaited plan from the Finance Committee is now out and Marcy Wheeler over at FireDogLake is crunching numbers.
Now, of course families would only have to pay that limit if they used enough services to reach that limit–though in Bad Max’s plan, health insurance companies are asked to cover far less of actual expenses, so in Bad Max’s plan, families are going to reach that limit relatively quickly.
If Bad Max asks families to pay 35% of their costs, then that represents just $34,000 in costs, or less.[Update] Bad Max says insurance companies have to provide 73% of costs if they want to be subsidized.
And the only way to keep those costs down under Bad Max’s bill is the co-op. So what’s to stop the hospitals for charging $10,000 for you to walk through the door? Or for Pfizer to charge you $5,000 a year for your required medicine? What’s to stop the insurance companies from charging everyone that 13% rate on premiums, as a matter of course? Under Bad Max’s plan, because it requires everyone to have insurance, corporations actually have more of a guarantee (and therefore an incentive) to charge such exorbitant fees.
So assume those two families pay the limit under Max’s plan–which they would do long before they got into catastrophic health issues.
That family of four making $67,000 would pay $20,610, or 31% of their income.
That family of four making $88,200 would pay $26,366, or 26% of their income.
Of course, both these families would be in the 25% federal tax bracket. Bad Max is asking middle class families to pay more for health care than they pay in federal taxes.
Translation: It would be cheaper in the long run to stock up on band-aids and leeches.
And as if to underscore the almost epic level of douchbaggery of this thing, it seems that Baucus gave the plan to K St. lobbyists before the White House!
The best thing would be for this thing would be for it to die a quick yet painful death in committee.
-As for Obama’s speech tonight, this can break two ways.
One: He makes a full throated defense of the public option with no triggers, complete with veto threat. The anger and rage that had been building towards Obama on the left is rechanneled towards the remaining members of Congress to support it. And we get a strong bill.
Or Two: Obama screws us, throws the public option under a bus and asks us to be good soldiers and accept a crippled bill that may do more harm than good.
And if that happens, then as the saying goes, the shit gets real!
I’ve said it before. If Obama screws us on this, he will lose his left flank! Within twenty four hours of the speech, Markos over at Daily Kos and Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake will be on a conference call with Howard Dean. And I can tell you what two words will come up first, “third party”.
Which is why I am seventy five percent sure that Obama will break towards Option One.
Not because I think Obama is a good and decent person, (Although I’m hoping that also factors into things.) but because he recognizes that a full thirty percent of the country hates his guts on general principle. (I.E. The “black” thing.) If he loses the left, he won’t have enough political capital to get an Arbor Day proclamation passed, let alone the important stuff that needs to still be done.
So I’m counting on him to do the right thing. Not because he’s a good guy but because it’s the only way he can continue to be effective.
And let’s get something straight, people. Effectiveness is the life blood of any political career. During a campaign, a politician lays out what he or she wants to do. Then he or she serves his or hers term. If at the end of his or hers term, the voters look at that elected official and decide whether he or she deserve to get another term. (Well, that’s how it should work ideally but…well, that’s another blog post for another time.)
-So I’m going to watch tonight, hoping that Obama will do the right thing but prepared for the possibility that he doesn’t. If he does, great. If he doesn’t…well, then we need to brace ourselves for the long slog ahead. And remember, it ain’t over until Obama signs the bill. So we will do what needs to be done in the time in between. We will make phone calls. We will write letters. We will blog and we will tweet and we will push back against the stupid.
Because, that is the process.
And the process must be embraced.