Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Ugly Process and an Ugly Bill

Maybe the Krugman's are right and whatever ludicrous Obamacare bill finally gets passed will be refined and "improved" in the future. However, these short observations from EconomistMom go a long way for me to exposing what an ugly piece of work the Senate bill is, and how unlikely it is that it could ever be improved in the future except by more unworthy and sickening opt-outs to various lobbyists. Others of course may think otherwise, but they are not working very hard at convincing me. It is hard for me to see this bill as anything than another Demoncrat sell-out to large corporate interests (in this case the insurance industry, the medical establishment, the drug industry, and a variety of unions and assorted interest groups).
This Dow-Jones story by Martin Vaughan offers an “interesting” (ok, silly and ridiculous) justification for removing the cosmetic surgery tax and describes the “interesting” (ok, silly and ridiculous) new debate it’s spawned between the plastic surgery lobby and the indoor tanning lobby (emphasis added)
Go read the silliness on her post.
She cites a WSJ editorial as well on the subject of what wonders Harry Reid hath wrought.
Start with the special tax carve-outs included in the "manager's amendment" that Harry Reid dropped Saturday morning. White House budget director Peter Orszag has claimed that the bill's 40% excise tax on high-cost insurance plans is key to reducing health costs. Yet the Senate Majority Leader's new version specifically exempts "individuals whose primary work is longshore work." That would be the longshoremen's union, which has negotiated very costly insurance benefits. The well-connected dock workers join other union interests such as miners, electrical linemen, EMTs, construction workers, some farmers, fishermen, foresters, early retirees and others who are absolved from this tax.
In other words, controlling insurance costs is enormously important, unless your very costly insurance is provided by an important Democratic constituency.
All this is on top of much else, including the apparent pay-offs to Landrieu, Nelson, and apparently Dodd.
There's a lot more in both posts, but be careful if you have eaten recently.
On the likelihood of anything but growing expenses:

and in enriching the Al Gores of the world.
UPDATE: Megan McArdle does not love the process or the bill either.

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