The Republican Swindle About ‘Obamacare and Stimulus’

by Ben Hoffman

The Republicans are trying to tell us that the health-care-reform bill is a hugely expensive trespass against freedom and liberty. This obviously refers to the price tag and the individual mandate. What they don’t mention is that “Obamacare” will actually achieve several very significant goals.

1) The health-care-reform bill will help working and middle class Americans to afford quality health insurance via hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies. For example, families of four earning $54,000 will see their insurance premiums reduced by around $10,000 per year. That’s a lot. Who in their right mind would turn down a government check for $10,000? Every year. That’s a full semester of state university tuition, among other things.

2) Contrary to the “Obama-is-spending-too-much” meme, the bill does not increase the deficit. According to the nonpartisan CBO, the bill cuts the deficit by $130 billion over ten years. Put another way, all that scaremongering about the cost of the bill is just that: scaremongering. The bill pays for itself and then some.

3) There are no enforcement mechanisms for the super-duper terrifying individual mandate. If you choose not to buy insurance when the mandate takes effect in 2014, and are consequently fined $695, there is no means of actually enforcing the payment of that penalty. No liens, levies, no jail, no Obamacare Goons swooping into your house like America-hating Kenyan ninjas. Nothing will happen to you. Nothing. So, you know, chill out about the mandate.

Why are Republicans against the stimulus? They really won’t say other than to screech about how expensive it was. But, before we go further, read the paragraph about the deficit again. The Democrats cut the deficit. And then factor into the mix that $288 billion out of the $800 billion cost of the recovery act was composed entirely of tax cuts. Tax cuts! As a matter of history and taken as a lump sum, this was the largest American middle class tax cut ever. So it’s not a stretch to suggest that the Republicans are suddenly against the largest middle-class tax cut in American history.

Despite the attempt to turn a derivation of the positive word “stimulate” into a negative, there’s very little about the stimulus that actually sucked, other than the fact that it wasn’t big enough. Beyond that, Republican voters need to ask themselves if the tax cuts were bad — or maybe was it the new roads and infrastructure that helped to create jobs, or was it the money that was spent to keep the states out of bankruptcy and police, teachers and firemen from losing their jobs? What’s awful about any of that?

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What’s awful about any of that? Nothing. Right-wingers are told to be against it so they’re against it. They’d be against popcorn if those were their marching orders.

9 Comments to “The Republican Swindle About ‘Obamacare and Stimulus’”

  1. I’ll pick on one of your points…[Contrary to the “Obama-is-spending-too-much” meme, the bill does not increase the deficit. According to the nonpartisan CBO, the bill cuts the deficit by $130 billion over ten years.]

    Families USA is an OCare supporter. Their study concludes,

    “Families USA commissioned The Lewin Group to use its economic models to estimate how many individuals would benefit from the new premium tax credits in 2014 and the value of the dollars going to help pay for insurance (see the Methodology on page 12 for more details). We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion.”

    But the CBO estimated only $20 billion on health-exchange subsidies and associated costs.

    Hmmmm. That’s a big discrepancy. Looks like to me that OCare would start causing deficits in year 2. I doubt if HuffPo mentioned this. Or did they?

  2. Talking points. Cbo missed over 99 billion.

  3. Your response? Figures. Ignore the truth in favor of your HUFFY talking points.

    • Here you go, sheep.

      The political battle over health-care reform is waged largely with numbers, and few number-crunchers have shaped the debate as much as the Lewin Group, a consulting firm whose research has been widely cited by opponents of a public insurance option.

      To Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, it is “the nonpartisan Lewin Group.” To Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, it is an “independent research firm.” To Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the second-ranking Republican on the pivotal Finance Committee, it is “well known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country.”

      Generally left unsaid amid all the citations is that the Lewin Group is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

      More specifically, the Lewin Group is part of Ingenix, a UnitedHealth subsidiary that was accused by the New York attorney general and the American Medical Association, a physician’s group, of helping insurers shift medical expenses to consumers by distributing skewed data. Ingenix supplied its parent company and other insurers with data that allegedly understated the “usual and customary” doctor fees that insurers use to determine how much they will reimburse consumers for out-of-network care.

      In January, UnitedHealth agreed to a $50 million settlement with the New York attorney general and a $350 million settlement with the AMA, covering conduct going back as far as 1994.


  4. Uh, memo to Ben H. Families USA is an Obamacare supporter. They are the ones that hired the supposed biased Lewin Group. Fail.

  5. About facts? Not you apparently. But what’s new?

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