Sunday, December 10, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Job Killer: Obama’s new Health Care Tax
By Heritage Foundation @ 12:15 PM :: 5878 Views :: National News, Ethics

On June 15th, the Congressional Budget Office issued a crushing blow to President Barack Obama’s health care plan, placing a $1 trillion price tag on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee’s draft legislation. And what did Americans get for their $1 trillion in new debt? A measly 16 million net decrease in the number of people uninsured. Liberals in Washington decried the CBO’s findings, complaining that they had scored an incomplete version of the bill.

So this past Friday the CBO released a fuller scoring of HELP’s legislation, and indeed, the overall impact on our nation’s debt is lower: a mere $597 billion would be added to federal budget deficits over the 2010-2019 period.

How did HELP lower the bill’s budget busting total? Did they “bend the curve” on health care costs? Did they weed out administrative costs? Eliminate waste? Nope. The Washington Post reports:

Committee staffers reworked the bill — and added a new provision requiring most employers to contribute to the cost of health insurance — to arrive at the lower estimate. Under the new proposal, any business with more than 25 workers would be required to offer coverage or pay a $750 penalty per employee.

In other words, the HELP committee wants to pay for their health care plan in classic “tax-and-spend” liberal fashion: by instituting a crippling new tax on our nation’s businesses. And not just any new tax. A tax directed like a heat seeking missile at job creation: an employer mandate. But don’t take our word for it. President Obama’s White House National Economic Council Director Larry Summers wrote in 1989:

Mandated benefits are like public programs financed by benefit taxes… There is no sense in which benefits become ‘free’ just because the government mandates that employers offer them to workers. … [Minimum] wages cannot fall to offset employers’ cost of providing a mandated benefit, so it is likely to create unemployment.

And the HELP committee bill is still incomplete. Even its most current incarnation still would cover just 39% of uninsured Americans. So the Obama administration is also pushing for a further expansion of Medicaid. Add those costs into the mix and the final price tag shoots back up to $1.3 trillion. Wonder who the administration plans to tax to make up for that final trillion?

Defending his administration’s economic performance on ABC’s This Week, Vice President Joe Biden told George Stephanopolos: “There was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited.” The Obama administration can not blame President Bush forever. They can’t run around threatening to enact a $400 billion tax on employment and then blame others for double-digit unemployment rates. There is an alternative to government run budget busting health care. Some of which the Obama Administration even supports like removing the tax benefit of employer-sponsored health care coverage which will untie Americans health care coverage from their employers and help move the country towards a truly market based consumer driven health care model. Health care coverage can be expanded in a cost-efficient manner, but only by empowering Americans to make health care decisions with their doctors.

The Truth About Medicare’s Administrative Costs
Now that Al Franken has been seated in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is now telling reporters he sees no need for the left to compromise on their demands for a government run “public option” health care plan. Proponents of the public plan, like Schumer, believe government run health care is needed “to keep the insurance companies honest” because they believe private insurance companies have higher administrative costs than a government run health care would. The explanations for why liberals believe this are as numerous as they are erroneous: government is more efficient than the private sector; private insurance companies spend too much on marketing; executive compensation is too high, private firms fight too many claims, and, of course, private health care seeks too much profit.

But like many core beliefs of the left, the claim that government run health care has lower administrative costs than private care is just plain false. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, for example, likes to cite data showing that Medicare only spends 3% of its total outlays on administrative costs compared to 14-22% for private care. The numbers themselves are correct, but measuring administrative efficiency by a percentage of total costs is completely useless. Heritage fellow Robert Book explains:

Imagine, for a moment, that Fred and Jane each have a credit card from a different bank. Fred charges $5,000 a month, and Jane charges $1,000 a month. Suppose it costs each bank $5 to produce and send a plastic credit card when the account is opened. That $5 “administrative cost” is a much lower percentage of Fred’s monthly charges than it is of Jane’s, but that does not mean Fred’s bank is more efficient. It is purely a mathematical artifact of Fred’s charging pattern, and it would be silly to compare the efficiency of bank operations on that basis. Yet that is how many analysts compare Medicare with private insurance.

A much more accurate way of capturing each system’s true administrative costs is by a per patient basis. When this is done, government run health care’s administrative costs are routinely higher than private care. In the years from 2000 to 2005, Medicare’s administrative costs per beneficiary were consistently higher than that for private insurance, ranging from 5 to 48 percent higher, depending on the year. This is despite the fact that private-sector “administrative” costs include state health insurance premium taxes of up to 4 percent (averaging around 2 percent, depending on the state)–an expense from which Medicare is exempt–as well as the cost of non-claim health care expenses, such as disease management and on-call nurse consultation services.

Without their lower administrative cost talking point, the left knows their justification for government run health care in a time of dangerously high deficits evaporates. That is why Paul Krugman has now attacked Book’s findings twice on his personal blog. In neither effort does Krugman ever refute that per patient is the better metric nor does he cite any data to refute Book’s per patient conclusions. Read both posts. And read Book’s responses. This is one liberal myth we can put to bed.



Health care overhaul legislation from President Barack Obama’s congressional allies would create a federal insurance czar with sweeping new powers to oversee medical plans nationwide.

Bank bailouts and recession-fighting measures is exploding the debt of the world’s most affluent nations sending debt levels to at least 114 percent of gross domestic product in 2014, more than triple the 35 percent of the main emerging economies including China, the International Monetary Fund forecasts.

Fitch Ratings downgraded California’s bond rating to BBB, just above junk status.

Democrats admit that their cap and trade bill is a job killer.

According to Gallup, Americans, by a 2-to-1 margin, say their political views in recent years have become more conservative rather than more liberal, 39% to 18%, with 42% saying they have not changed.

Heading into this week’s nuclear-arms-control treaty talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, President Barack Obama will bring his vision for “a nuclear free world” that he first formed as a student at Columbia University at the height of the 1980s nuclear freeze movement.

Standing at $11.4 trillion and expanding by over $1 trillion a year, the national debt “could become the next full-fledged economic crisis without firm action from Washington.”

Preparing for the Group of Eight, Russia and India said the world economy is too reliant on the U.S. dollar.

Despite $1.4 billion stimulus dollars poured into job retraining programs, there is little evidence they actually work.

California’s state auditor warned last week that the state’s renewable energy mandates, which are like the ones in the Waxman-Markey energy tax bill, pose a “high risk” to California’s economy, costing consumers at least $114 billion.


Recent Entries

Consumers to Pay More for Saving Energy

Video: Obama’s Health Care Reform in Costs and Wait Time

Did Biden “Misread” Those 150,000 Jobs Created Too?

Will Obama Fight for Free Trade?

Guest Blogger: Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) on the Tenuous Future of Gitmo

The Foundry is Now Available on Amazon’s Kindle

Happy in the Confirmation of Our Independence and Sovereignty

California: The National Petri Dish What a WASTE

Ring Those Bells, America


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii