Since tomorrow is the big “virtual march” on Washington, when the so- called Democratic activists (yeah, I mean you, OFA) and interested others are supposed to flood the Congressional switchboards, faxes, and email to their Senators on the Eve of Destruction, er, the Thursday televised “Bipartisan” Health Care Summit Kabuki Theatre, to expedite the passing of the gallstone, er, The Health Insurance Bill, the Speaker of the House clarified the status of the President’s bill tweak tonight. The bill tweak was posted online yesterday.
This was posted late in The Hill this evening:
Pelosi: House Dems can support Obama healthcare proposal
“We’re very pleased with what the president put up on the Internet,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday at a news conference.
Pelosi did not object to the absence of a Public Option in President Obama’s version of the bill, altho she said it would be the preferred method, nor to putting an excise tax on on “high cost health care” plans to pay for it. (oh, nice message control there by the writer for not using the Reaganite “Cadillac Plans.”)
The White House bill includes a modified version of the tax that seeks to protect middle-class union members from paying it.
Pelosi endorsed that proposal, stating that “the pay-for in it is something that Democrats in the House can support.”
( If I had to make an educated guess, the unions that they have in mind here are the ones that work on government military contracts and projects such as the electrical, metal sheetworker, aerospace industry, shipbuilding, etc, and in turn donate to Democratic candidates. )
According to the wonk room think progress, with President Obama’s tweak of the Senate bill, there is a delay in starting the excise tax. This is a combination of kick the can down the road to 8 years in the future, and upping the amount of exemption for each policy before the 40% excise tax on policies worth over a certain amount kicks in. A double barreled kick, as it were. Because it’s very likely that policies are going to cost lots more in the near future, after we saw Wellpoint’s 39% proposed rate hikes this month. http://www.marketwatch.com/sto…
Obama’s Version- Excise tax – ‘Labor agreement’ for everyone. Changes effective date of the Senate policy from 2013 to 2018. Raises the amount of premiums that are exempt from the assessment from $8,500 for singles to $10,200 and from $23,000 for families to $27,500 and indexes these amounts for subsequent years at general inflation plus 1 percent.
There is also a payroll tax increase of zero point nine 0.9% percent on wages or salaries above a certain income, and a two point nine percent 2.9% assessment on unearned income. (“unearned” income is that which does not come from actual work performed for wages, but is from interest, dividends, investment gains, or things like rent).
According to The Hill story, the House will be voting on Wednesday on a repeal of the health insurance industry’s Anti Trust exemption, which would allow the Federal Trade Commission and Dept of Justice to combat collusion (aka evil cooperation to fix prices) between health insurance companies. They’ve had the exemption since 1945.