Friday, December 11, 2009

Rouse the Rabble

Keith Hennessey has yet another great analysis of the Senate health care bill. This time he relies on work done by Charles Grassley's staff, which projects that as many as 68 million people in the middle class will incur a net economic loss - mostly in the form of higher premiums and tax increases:

Here’s the quantitative summary for the Reid bill. All figures are for the year 2019, and in each case these are net results of premium changes, tax subsidies, and tax increases.

  • 17.8 million individuals, families, and single parents with incomes under $200K will be net financial winners (11% of all tax returns under $200K):
    • Of that 17.8 million total, 13.2 million of them will benefit from the government subsidy for health insurance, net of any premium increases.
    • The other 4.6 million of them will also benefit, netting out their premium reduction with the higher taxes they will pay. These people in general will not get a health insurance subsidy.
  • 68.4 million individuals, families, and single parents with incomes under $200K will be net financial losers (41% of all tax returns under $200K):
    • In general these people are not eligible for premium subsidies, so the effects of he Reid bill on them are direct premium effects and/or tax increases.
    • Within this group, here are some representative averages, taking into account premium changes, tax subsidies for premium purchase, and tax increases:
      • Within this population of 68.4 million net losers, an average individual working for a small business who gets health insurance through the small group market will be worse off, even if his income is below $10K per year
There's plenty more at the link, if you care. Hennessey is first rate, as usual, but ... at this point, I think the time is past when we should be obsessing over legislative analysis. People get that progressive health care reform, as currently envisioned, will involve tax increases and cuts in service. Yet the debate has been over side shows like abortion and wonky talk of "bending the cost curve." I have yet to see a Republican politician attack progressive health care reform with the same passion as the Tea Parties, the August Recess protesters, and Sarah Palin's Facebook page. Hennessey praises Senator Grassley's "great staff" and they certainly do bang-up legislative analysis, but that's not going to win hearts and minds.

We already know that progressive health care reform will be expensive and put most of us into a worse economic position than if we had done nothing. Don't start waving another set of charts. Start waving your hands and stomping your feet. When Democrats oppose a Republican initiative like, say, the Iraq War, they don't owlishly contemplate legislative analysis and pie charts. They start agitating. John Kerry starts pontificating. Barbara Boxer starts screeching. Harry Reid declares a surrender. Jay Rockefeller starts writing letters and putting them in his desk drawer. Ted Kennedy starts turning red-faced and bellows in the well of the Senate. Dick Durbin calls US troops "nazis." And so on. Stupid? Yeah. Treasonous? Probably. Effective? You bet.

I don't need the GOP to start acting like loons. But the sight of Senate Democrats reaching one deal after another without a ruckus from the other side leaves me ill at ease

No comments:

Post a Comment