It’s NOT a Health Bill, NOT a Medicare Tax and It Can’t Possibly Cost Only $940 Billion

  • The “reconciliation bill” is not a “health bill” but an anti-health bill.  It relies heavily on price controls, taxes and fines to punish doctors, hospitals and formerly innovative companies the produce prescription drugs and medical devices.  If we treated farmers, food companies and grocery stores the way Congress threatens to treat the health industries would anybody expect food to become better or cheaper?
  • The 3.8% tax on both labor and investment income is not a “Medicare tax.”  It’s surtax on income that goes into the slush fund, not the Medicare trust.
  • The bill could not possibly cost “only” $940 billion unless it contained a sunset provision – repealing the law after 2019.  

In fact, new spending is negligible for four years.  At that point the government would start luring sixteen million more people into Medicaid’s leaky gravy train, and start handing out subsidies to families earning up to $88,000.  Spending then jumps from $54 billion in 2014 to $216 billion in 2019.   That’s just the beginning.

To be unduly optimistic (more so than the CBO), assume that the new entitlement schemes only increased by 7% a year.   At that rate spending would double every ten years – to $432 billion a year in 2029, $864 billion a year in 2039, and more than $1.72 trillion by 2049.  That $1.72 trillion is a conservative projection of extra spending in one year, not ten.  How could that possibly not add to future deficits?

Could anyone really imagine that the bill’s new taxes and fines could possibly grow by 7% a year?   On the contrary, most of the claimed revenues are either a timing fraud (such as treating $70 billion for long-term care premiums as newly found treasure) or self-defeating.

The hypothetical tax on Cadillac plans (suspiciously postponed until 2018), for example,  is designed to discourage such plans from being offered by employers or wanted by employees – that is, it’s designed to yield less and less over time.

Moreover, the accumulating penalties on reporting joint incomes above $250,000 – a 39.6% tax, a 3.8 % income surtax, a 0.9% Medicare surtax, rapid phasing-out of deductions and exemptions – would greatly discourage any activity that would push income above $250,000.   Most obviously, no sensible family whose income is normally below that pain threshold would be so foolish as to sell enough assets to let capital gains to push them over the line.

(If even half of the punitive tax plans are enacted, I plan to launch a “249 Club” whose members pledge to never again report more than $249,000).