(Jim Clark) – There’s something in the Obamacare bill for everyone to hate, particularly if you live or work in Nevada. As the 2700 page law is slowly getting dissected there’s more bad news with each turn of the page.
First of all the Democratic leadership gamed the system by imposing the new taxes in the bill immediately while not delivering any of the benefits until 2014, this so they could claim that the law would reduce the federal deficit over ten years. However now that people have actually been able to read the bill the cost estimate has been reestimated by the Washington Policy Center at $2.4 trillion over the first ten years.
Individuals earning more than $200,000 ($250,000 for couples) or more will now get to pay an additional 0.9% in Medicare taxes and those who have “sweetheart” health plans will be assessed a 40% surtax to the extent the annual premium for an individual plan exceeds $10,200 ($27,500 if the plan covers families).
Retirees with annual incomes of $200,000 ($250,000 for families) or more will get to pay a new 3.8% surtax on investment income. These threshold numbers are not indexed to inflation so as Obamanomics results in spiraling prices this will hurt more and more each passing year.
Business owners with more than 50 employees must provide government-approved health care or be fined $2,000 per employee. US citizens and legal aliens without government-approved health policies will pay a yearly penalty of $695 or up to 2.5% of taxable income. Families without government-approved health insurance will be penalized $347 per child up to a maximum of $2,250 per family.
The law also brings on the first national sales tax, a 2.3% bump on the sale of medical devices. Additionally the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries will be saddled with direct excise taxes (regardless of whether or not they are profitable) of $4.1 billion and $14.3 billion respectively. Do you think they will add that to their product prices? Finally indoor tanning salons will have a 10% tax imposed on their services. Tans attained at nude beaches will still be tax free.
The latest census figures show Nevada’s population at just over 2.5 million. Of that 1.5 million have employer furnished health insurance, just under 100,000 are individually insured, about 200,000 are on Medicaid, just under 300,000 on Medicare and 464,000 are uninsured. Census figures also show Nevada has about 200,000 illegal immigrants who are specifically excluded from coverage under the health care reform bill; so only 264,000 Nevadans may actually be covered while most of the 100,000 individually insured are currently covered under the Health Savings Account law which requires catastrophic health coverage which . . . you guessed it . . . will not qualify as government approved health insurance. The new law therefore affects only about 164,000 net beneficiaries, about 6% of Nevada’s population.
National figures are about the same so to cover an additional 6% of Americans we are spending ourselves into oblivion with borrowed money. This is like using a cannon to shoot a fly. The new law guts Medicare, reducing payments to physicians by 21%, and will double the Medicaid roles which in turn will devastate state budgets.
This thing is an ideological Armageddon. All we can do is vote for people who promise to repeal it and hope against hope that the 14 states challenging the Constitutionality of the law succeed.
(Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates, a vice chair of the Washoe County GOP and a member of the Nevada GOP Central Committee; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)