Trumka: Excise Tax Pits Poor v. Middle Class, Let's Wealthy Off The Hook

Whatever the theoretical merits of the excise tax experiment as policy, it is a political disaster. Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, today at the National Press Club:

The bill rightly seeks to ensure that most Americans have health insurance. But instead of taxing the rich, the Senate bill taxes the middle class by taxing workers' health plans--not just union members' health care; most of the 31 million insured employees who would be hit by the excise tax are not union members.

The tax on benefits in the Senate bill pits working Americans who need health care for their families against working Americans struggling to keep health care for their families. This is a policy designed to benefit elites [. . .] at the expense of the broader public. It's the same tragic pattern that got us where we are today, and I can assure you the labor movement is fighting with everything we've got to win health care reform that is worthy of the support of working men and women.

(Emphasis supplied.) Imposing this experiment will exact a severe political cost on the Democratic Party. It is political malpractice.

Speaking for me only

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    Indeed (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by kmblue on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:28:38 PM EST
    And Paul Krugman is leading the charge in favor.
    I'm so disappointed in him.

    Krugman's Pulling Water (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by norris morris on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:50:01 PM EST
    Suddenly Krugman is pulling water. Why?

    His excuse is that this is better than nothing.

    But this IS NOTHING.

    Democrats will go down on this one.


    And fighting it will do no good (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Bornagaindem on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:30:37 PM EST
    The deal has already been made, the die is cast , labor is under the bus right there with women because Obama has endorsed the excise tax and HE NEEDS A BILL- no matter what, no matter how little it does. Even if the media has moved a little away from their constant Obama worship they have not given up their love quite yet. Say goodbye to the democratic party.  

    Yer messin with Union people now (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:39:10 PM EST
    That is just flat out stupid.  I can't say the Democratic party is finished, only that there are many shades of Democrat in the party and some are nice and some aren't nice at all when it's time to not be nice.

    Obama Sellout (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by norris morris on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:55:11 PM EST
    sells outs everyone except the well off and wealthy.

    It's insane rationalization to offer up this gruesome bill because you want to claim to be another FDR?

    Brother, you'll NEVER be like FDR and I lived through the FDR period.

    FDR knew how to fight and understood how to wield power, and how to accomplish the goals he promised and knew were right.

    American Idol is a creep.


    There is still hope! (none / 0) (#89)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:34:29 AM EST
    Maybe I am naive, but I think there is still a chance.  We must keep writing and calling our reps in the House and in the Senate.  We must tell them to STOP this insanity NOW.  The final bill has not been passed, there is at least some hope that we get them to throw out this bill and start over.  

    Does Obama really want his legacy to be the destruction of his once-great party?   Because if this bill is passed, that's exactly what he is going to get.  


    Absolutely unbelieveable (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:38:21 PM EST
    I don't know who is advising Obama. I realize there are those that feel the Democratic Party has outgrown the unions. I think they are seriously mistaken. If they think the primaries caused a rift, they haven't seen anything yet. This is going to damage the party more than anything the Republicans could have hoped for.

    I would think this also should be an issue for the blue dogs as well. I can't believe this is going to help Democratics in MI OH or PA among others.

    Yeh. There is NO bus big enough (5.00 / 6) (#16)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:40:26 PM EST
    to put all of the union members in this land under it -- plus others of us not allowed to join unions but still supportive of them.

    This is not like dumping on women, which is not a problem in this country but actually is applauded.

    I am attempting to imagine whom Obama and his Dems will tick off next.  But we apparently can count on it happening, as we are way beyond the unimaginable with these idjits who have taken over the party.


    Well, they've already (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:52:16 PM EST
    managed to tick off pro-choice women, the GLBT community, the civil libertarians, the anti-war and close-Guantanamo faction, and now the unions.  Who else is left on the progressive side?

    Not to worry (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by hookfan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:00:43 PM EST
    There's still the supporters of medicare and social security to go! But I suspect they may wait until there are more openly Republicans in office before fubaring those completely.
      As we get closer to election time and the rhetoric heats up about "Who are you going to vote for, Republicans?" My reply is going to be, "Since that's the only choice, and I won't vote for republicans, I'm going fishing. . ."

    All I have to say is (5.00 / 6) (#29)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:21:03 PM EST
    that it's getting really, really crowded under here- if he keeps throwing his supporters under this bus, who does he think is going to vote for him in 2012?  (And, frankly, I really don't think that he cares about the chances of the Democrats in Congress in this year's election.)  He will keep on getting plenty of campaign money from the corporations that he seems to care more about than the voters, but I wonder if that will be enough?  No, I won't vote for a Republican, but unless he drastically changes course, I won't vote for Obama again.  I'll go third party.  I know a bunch of people who have said the same thing- third party, or stay home.  

    I said on the phone the other night (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:54:18 PM EST
    to my spouse that maybe General Petraeus really does need to run for President because at least when people are ticked at him and attack he throws healthcare and better food and better shelter and better financial possibilities at them.  Of course to say such a thing on a monitored military phone line would be a sort of treason for him and he won't even entertain any kind of thought that would jack with his Posse Comitatus self perception, they can't control his wife though but boy howdy did I getting a hissing out for saying such things.  It was a sort of hiss fest for one completely disgruntled supporter of what was once the Democratic party and some army dude.

    Oh, you go, girl! (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:32:19 PM EST
    I know that my husband is not allowed to say things "publicly," but he can't shut me up (he works for the government, too, although not military, which has many more constraints).

    Of course. Let's lose the boomers! (5.00 / 9) (#26)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:11:32 PM EST
    How could I forget that the largest segment by age of the population of this country has not yet been fully made cognizant of its dissing by a prez who is a boomer but attempted to deny that, too?

    Toss in the elderly, too, where we are headed fast  and call out all of us on our silly "entitlement" -- what was called old-age insurance, so we all have been paying into it for most of our long lives.

    Now, as a pro-union woman, and nearing retirement age -- but not retirement, thanks to this Nu Dem economy -- just why am I supposed to support them?

    No way.  And don't tell me there's nowhere to go.  There will be.


    I do wonder, (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:39:08 PM EST
    Cream City, how the elderly feel about the proposed cuts to Medicare (those of my friends who are on Medicare are not happy, I can say that)?  And what will happen when he calls for cuts to Social Security, as well?  My husband and I are very close to Medicare/S.S. age and, given all the money we've paid into the system over the years, we're certainly not happy about the prospects of cuts.  Obama and the Dems need to stop considering this, and the "excise tax" on the so-called "Cadillac plans" as well, and start talking about taxing the wealthy and taking the cap off of Social Security deductions.  But that's just my opinion.  ;-)

    Oh, I am there already (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:23:15 PM EST
    and when (I don't even give it an if) Obama goes after Social Security -- with a bill, not just the way he has been going after it for a long time in his speeches -- he will lose my spouse.  The poor guy has been hanging in there through sign after sign that he was taken in, but he's near the edge.  Now that he is well past retirement age but lost so much in this economy that he never will get to retire, now that his kids are laid off and not just mine . . . well, he hung in there even for the health care bill.  But for two days now, the spouse has been going ballistic (for him:-) about bank executives' bonuses again.  

    Go after Social Security just when he is about to finally get it, and only because we need every bit of that money back invested for all these years to now carry all of our kids -- well, when that happens, spouse will be ready to vote for anyone else in 2012, believe me.


    obRahma's leading the locusts from silo to silo (none / 0) (#78)
    by Ellie on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:44:41 PM EST
    ... where the stockpiles of grain is stored, and for no apparent reward but Obama's (and his kingmakers') in 2012.

    This is even worse than Bush era frat-boy spending on a credit card in that the stores being sapped now are to prevent hardship in the future.

    I don't see any payoff for Dems running in 2010; they'll be in the position of having to defend this cr@p to their constituents.


    Boomers KNOW (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:41:33 AM EST
    What is happening because many of them know that they will be getting medicare soon.  They're scared to death what will be there for them.  They know about the cuts to medicare.  In the meantime, they know that their insurance premiums are going to rise.  They're not happy about that either.  Honestly, I don't know anyone who isn't pissed about this awful bill.  

    Functional dope fiends? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:57:41 PM EST
    Or are we included under the civil libertarian umbrella? :)

    Not that I'd call myself progressive or anything, I've heard some of what passes for progress...more like freedom regress.  


    Inside the bus... (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:01:36 PM EST
    must look like one of those luxury suites at the football game, under the bus looks like the stands.

    Starry-eyed college kids? (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:08:38 PM EST
    Callous free (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:27:09 PM EST
    Has now proven itself not of a matured intellect.

    Whole Foods Nation (none / 0) (#57)
    by lambert on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:56:53 PM EST
    It's a big dumper. (none / 0) (#58)
    by norris morris on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:57:33 PM EST
    Talking about dumping.

    We've all going to get dumped including the Deocratic Party.


    I dunno (5.00 / 11) (#7)
    by BDB on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:42:10 PM EST
    I'm beginning to think this fight is inevitable.  The Democratic Party's leadership has repeatedly sided with the rich over the rest of us.  It's about time the party's base supporters start to do more than shut up and fall in line.  Given Obama's complete cave on card check, his weak stimulus, and his bank bailouts, it's way past time, IMO, for the unions and others to step up their objections.  If this horrible healthcare "reform" is what it takes to get some pushback, then I'm happy to see it.  Because until the Democratic base is willing to fight for the party, the party will continued to sell itself to the highest bidder.

    This is going to be hell though! (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:46:29 PM EST
    All because half of us joined a cult!

    Kill the bill (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by lambert on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:57:47 PM EST
    Since Obama's desperate for some bill, any bill, by the SOTU, the only way to get his attention is to deny him what he wants. Period.

    Well (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:51:03 PM EST
    this is what you get when you have an inexperienced naif at the helm who doesnt have a clue as how to govern. Yes, it's politcal malpractice and Obama is probably handling over the entire government to GOP control by 2012. If you are interested in saving the party then you might want to start thinking about getting rid of Obama as the head of it. He's obviously either sactimonious enough to believe that there's no where to go or he's so utterly and completely cluesless that he thinks something like this will actually fly.

    Wouldn't you think Rahm floating a (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:13:16 PM EST
    trial balloon he may run for Mayor of Chicago would be a strong clue.  Rats deserting and all.

    I don't know (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:49:45 PM EST
    it might end up working out for Obama if the economy turns around after all Clinton hosed the poor and slapped the GLBT community in the face and it was still all good for him.

    Right on cue (5.00 / 5) (#75)
    by Spamlet on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:31:47 PM EST
    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:47:32 PM EST
    The apologists are so transparent aren't they? Rewrite history and it makes everything okay for Obama. LOL.

    Another stupid comment (none / 0) (#109)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 06:06:15 PM EST
    how does not embellishing the Clinton legend "get Obama off the hook"?

    A sellout is a sell-out, whether it's one or two.


    Stupid comment (none / 0) (#83)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 08:35:21 PM EST
    I assume you are snarking?

    Don't think so .... (none / 0) (#111)
    by Yman on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:06:00 PM EST
    I think you're assuming too much ...

    Obama's governing just fine (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by lambert on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:59:10 PM EST
    It's just a question of in whose interest. He got the banksters $22 trillion, right? And no mortgage cramdown, right? And no telco prosecutions under FISA, right? And no rollback of executive powers or torture, right?

    I'd say he's "governing" just fine.


    Obama is a loser (1.00 / 1) (#64)
    by norris morris on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:05:20 PM EST
    I am listening to an Obama shill on MSNBC calling Bill Clinton a racist. This is a shrill African American gal who trolls for NoDrama regularly trying to make whites guilty enough to stop criticising The One.

    Clinton will go down as having achieved more for African Americans than anyone to date and I imagine more than Obama can or will do.

    American Idol plays to Wall St and Corporate America.

    This is another dump on Clinton who created 23 million jobs and did more for blacks and  as Governor of Ark. had a history as anti racist.

    Obama is the result of cultism and naivete.


    Clinton "achieved more for AAs.." (none / 0) (#108)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 05:47:52 PM EST
    How exactly? And please be specific.

    The highly warranted critiques of what Obama is doing are one thing, but these ongoing highly imaginative revisions of what Clinton supposedly did for the poor and working class, are beyond-laughable.


    Who's laughing? (none / 0) (#112)
    by Yman on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 04:26:26 PM EST
    Fastest and Longest Real Wage Growth in Over Three Decades - Five consecutive years of real wage growth -- the longest consecutive increase since the 1960s. Since 1993, real wages are up 6.5 percent, after declining 4.3 percent during the Reagan and Bush years. [National Economic Council, 6/00]

    Household Income Breaks $40,000 for First Time in History. Income for median households rose $1,072, or 2.7 percent, from $39,744 in 1998 to $40,816, marking an unprecedented fifth year of significant growth in income. In 1999, the median income of African American households increased from $25,911 in 1998 to $27,910 -- an increase of $1,999, or 7.7 percent, which is the largest one-year increase ever recorded. [Census Bureau, Money Income in the United States: 1999, 9/26/00]

    Unemployment is the Lowest in Over Three Decades. Unemployment is down from 7.5 percent in 1992 to 3.9 percent in September, the lowest in more than three decades. The unemployment rate has fallen for seven years in a row, and has remained below 5 percent for 37 months in a row -- over three full years. Unemployment for African-Americans fell to the lowest level ever recorded, and for Hispanics it remains at historic lows. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

    Highest Homeownership Rate in History. The homeownership rate reached 67.2 percent in the second quarter of 2000 -- the highest ever recorded. Minority homeownership rates were also the highest ever recorded. In contrast, the homeownership rate fell from 65.6 percent in the first quarter of 1981 to 63.7 percent in the first quarter of 1993. There are almost 9 million more homeowners than in 1993. [Bureau of the Census, 7/26/00]

    Lowest Poverty Rate Since 1979. In 1999, the poverty rate dropped from 12.7 percent to 11.8 percent, the lowest rate in two decades. Since President Clinton and Vice President Gore passed their Economic Plan in 1993, the poverty rate has declined from 15.1 percent in 1993 to 11.8 percent in 1999 - the largest six-year drop in poverty in nearly 30 years (1964-1970). There are now 7 million fewer people in poverty than in 1993, and over 2.2 million, or over 30 percent, of this decline occurred during the past year. [Census Bureau, Poverty in the United States: 1999, 9/26/00]

    Largest One-Year Drop in Child Poverty in More than Three Decades. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore child poverty has dropped by 25.6 percent -- from 22.7 percent in 1993 to 16.9 percent in 1999. While this is still too high, it is the lowest child poverty rate since 1979 and includes the largest one-year decline since 1966, which occurred from 1998 to 1999. The African American child poverty rate has fallen 28.2 percent since 1993, and dropped from 36.7 percent in 1998 to 33.1 percent in 1999 -- the largest one-year drop in history and the lowest level on record (data collected since 1959). [Census Bureau, Poverty in the United States: 1999, 9/26/00]

    Then there's his support for affirmative action at a time when it was politically unpopular, his work to end racial profiling, and the fact that he left office with 90%+ popularity among AAs.

    Strange, considering that these are only "highly imaginative revisions" that are "beyond laughable".


    Thanks for posting this, BTD (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by esmense on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:28:26 PM EST
    I thought Trumka stated the situation plainly and correctly.

    Why are the Dems so willing to alienate Labor? Because they believe that Labor's support is an obstacle to raising money from Wall Street and other big money interests, and because they believe that Obama's win -- based in a new coalition made up of traditionally Democratic minority voters and social liberals, plus affluent moderate Republicans and Independents, demonstrates that Labor's grassroots support is less important than in the past.

    One flaw in this reasoning, it seems to me, is the fact that middle class and working class minorities are MORE likely to belong to unions than their white counterparts. I don't mean to suggest that minorities may start voting Republican -- but how reasonable is it to expect any group to maintain great enthusiasm for a political party that dismisses its genuine economic interests?

    They've alienated the white working class (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by hookfan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:48:20 PM EST
    so now their working on the minority working class? Brilliant, eh Watson? Consider they will alienate a sizable chunk of women with Stupak, and a sizeable chunk of the gay voters, and the leftist civil libertarians with their enhanced WOT, and young workers who can't find a job, and home owners who can't stop foreclosure, and the poor who will be forced to pay a penalty tax, and . . . yeah I can see a definite turnout problem this November.

    I'm A Woman Democrat (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by norris morris on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:10:54 PM EST
    Who will not vote against my interests.

    This means that the creators of Stupak and Nelson amendments can go to hell.

    My vote will not be for any Democrat in 2010.

    After that?  Probably not unless I see 180 degree course correction which I seriously doubt.

     This is suicide by sellout.


    What's overlooked (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:55:50 PM EST
    IMO, is that all the college kids who were sure Obama was the "one" will not show up to vote next time.

    There are two ways of looking at (5.00 / 10) (#18)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:47:14 PM EST
    this situation:

    1. The architects of this assault on the middle, working and labor classes will ask where are we going to go - they will assume we have no other choice but to continue to support their version of the Democratic Party.


    2. We could be asking them, where they are going to go when we leave them powerless as a result of these offenses against the traditional Democratic Party constituents.

    I would like to be asking these "new" Democrats the second question.  How we get there, I am not exactly sure, but I think it is time to show these people the door.  They've been playing fast and loose with this party and its political fate for two decades now.  Whenever they gain complete power, they not only fail to deliver anything particularly inspired, but they also alienate Democrats.  It is beyond political malpractice.  I think it is pretty anti-democratic in the little "d" sense.

    Neither legacy party deserves a vote (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by lambert on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:00:18 PM EST
    What I wish I had was a giant ballot box marked "No confidence." And I'd go drop my ballot there.

    Yeah, well you and I agree on the (none / 0) (#65)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:09:53 PM EST
    situation, but we don't agree on the ultimate solution.  You know what I think the real problem with modern America is?  I think it is that nobody in power has the courage of conviction to say what they want.  They are all conditioned to talk about what they don't want and how they are "forced" to do stuff that they don't think is all that great because if they don't do that then they would have to do what they don't want.  We have a country that plays defense rather than going on offense to score historic goals.  What we need, imo, are not votes of "no confidence" as much as we need courage to go after great things and people who demand greatness - rather than this lowest common denominator approach that results in C or D grade work - or even F work, imo.

    I think Obama is showing great (none / 0) (#74)
    by hookfan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:30:00 PM EST
    courage and going after exactly what he wants, and is very effective in getting it. It just is clearly not what we (the majority) want or need. All this "helplessness" schtick is theatre to take the heat off from the majorities anger at the fubar.

    Dems never got over the elevation of (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:04:04 PM EST
    Ronald Reagan to the pantheon by the righties and the media. The Dems started identifying with their tormentors and have been trying to out-Reagan Reagan for a long time. Shedding the unions is only the last step in a long metamorphoses.

    You will remember, (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:44:56 PM EST
    after all, that Obama lauded Reagan- we should have all been very, very cautious about him at that point.

    And some of us were (5.00 / 5) (#63)
    by lambert on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:01:03 PM EST
    And were smeared as racists and thrown out of the party.

    So there you are.


    You were not thrown out of the party. (none / 0) (#67)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:11:14 PM EST
    You chose to leave.  You can fight or leave.  Your choice.  I'd prefer that you fight.

    Maybe leaving is a way to fight (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by hookfan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:32:37 PM EST
     Often the only way to handle an addict is to cease support. . ., often the only way way to handle an abusive spouse is to leave. . .

    Yep (none / 0) (#110)
    by lambert on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:19:00 PM EST
    Sure, I de-registered myself -- I mean, who else would do that?

    However, the Obama campaign, and especially its online participants, did everything possible to make sure I understood that there was no place for me in the Democratic party.

    I mean, after all: I'm a racist, so why would they be comfortable working with me? Perfectly understandable, when you look at the matter in the right light.


    I Cringed (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by norris morris on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:17:39 PM EST
    and worried evey time I heard Obama laud Reagan.

    It was a message no one wanted to hear.

    Don't the fools who voted for Obama realize Reagan was a union buster, and always deregulating any laws he coud get his hands on. His deregulations are responsible for keeping the working class and much of the middle class from acquiring equity and power.

    Obama is doing the same.


    Cautious? Some of us ran screaming as fast and far (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 09:07:10 PM EST
    as we could.

    When people tell you who they are................ (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by BrassTacks on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:52:50 AM EST
    Believe them!  

    Not a good time to outsource Noblesse Oblige (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Ellie on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:21:24 PM EST
    ... on those who have been multiply burned by the weasels who made out like bandits through 2xBush, got REWARDED with additional bailout money from Obama, and will see even more perks with this latest toss of organized labor.

    Smacking unions during an election year is even dumber than renewing the predictable fearmongering of Dem women re losing reproductive rights while the sellout transaction is still in progress.

    I was a laborer paying well over 23,000 a year! (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by fly on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 07:54:20 AM EST
    I just wonder what world soem of these peoole are that question the fact that many of us are paying those fees. Either the people questioning are naive and new to politics or they are deliberately sent as flame bait.

    My husband and I were both in different Unions..both our policies were over the $23,000. threshold.
    My job was high risk and was mandatory that i carried my own with my employer. I could not say..well my husband has coverage..it ididn't matter, it was mandatory i took my companies policy.
    Since my husbands coverage was even better than mine we carried me under both so when i retired I had lower co-pays under his policy. We still maintain both policies , but now i am retieed my policy through my company is no longer mandatory, but i carry the minimum with mine until I get to 65 yrs old and qualify for medicare.
    My husbands policy through his union costs us over $2,200.00 per month For full coverage. My husband is retired through his former union and employer, and the employer pays 2/3rd of the premium.
    What world do people live in that thinks we got this for free also..we worked our whole lives, went on strike several times, and were locked out numerous times, we walked picket lines, and we sacrificed more times than i care to think..we lost a home in a strike, and darn near starved in one lock out. We took concession after concession and our major benefit  for a lifetime of work is our health care package. We still sacrifice and my husband works in retirement just to pay our part of our health insurance which is over $2,200.00 a month..
    We did not and do not get this health insurance for free! We also pay deductibles and co-pays, of which we never paid until the whole insurance monopoly got a gift under a republican president.

    All of a sudden we began getting letters saying the insurance would not cover stuff because of "resonable and customary " clause. We didn't know what that meant..so i began challenging it, and i have yet to get a legitimate answer to what "reasonable and customary" really means.

    I truely want to know who these people are saying..do you know a laboror who has over $23,000. threshold for insurance a year. Why yes..there were 24,000 people in my line of business that had the same coverage as me in my union, and my husbands union gets even more!
    And we do pay co-pays and deductibles.

    And when and if this bill goes through, this is one Union lady who will never vote for a dem again..will I vote for a repub..no..but i will sit home, I will not work my butt off as I have for 35 + years for the dem party, I will re-register as an independant, and never again will a dem have one minute of my time as a volunteer.
    I have been an elected dem in my state, I have worked extremely hard for the dem party for my entire life, and given huge blocks of money to the dem party. I have housed national dem field reps for elections, and i have helped run national campaign offices in my state. I have done public speaking for the dem party and traveled doing so for the party, and i have traveled and worked in many states for the dem party during election cycles..all on my own money, and time! I have also worked as a rapid responder for the national DNC.
    I have been a member for 20+ years of the DEC.

    If this is how the New Democratic party is going to operate..I am done! And I am serious! I will put my money and time into working to see each and every Dem who signs this bill lose their seat in congress and the senate. Again, I am 100% serious!

    Done with the Dems (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 08:28:35 AM EST
    I've been done with them since the RBC debacle, but my attitude was to wait and see what they and Obama threw at us. I was willing to give them a chance. They deserve no further chances.

    But here's the thing. Right before the GE, there were a lot of people expressing grave disappointment in Obama and the Dems in general. Lots of people saying they were fed up, this was it, they were over them. But the upshot of all this anger and disappointment? They voted for him anyway.

    Not only did they vote for him, they roundly castigated those of us who opted not to--to either sit it out (which I think is a mistake) or vote for someone else (which sends a much stronger message IMO). They screeched about McCain, they called us Republicans, they said we were selling out everything we believed in, just because we actually acted on the feelings and convictions they claimed to have! The pathetic "there was noone else to vote for" line won't fly, either, because there was.

    Even after the NAFTA fiasco, unions voted for Obama.As someone who would love to be in a union and fully supports them, this flabbergasted me!

    So my question is, what will happen now? Will all these angry, disappointed people use the only leverage they have--the ballot--to say "enough"? OR will they once again say "oh but there was nobody else to vote for."

    Until the day comes when there is (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:15:37 AM EST
    a choice on the ballot of "GOP Candidate X: protest vote only, not to be counted," the only message that is sent by voting for the other party is, "I want this person to have the job."

    My approach in the last presidential election was to not cast a vote for either McCain or Obama: my message was, "I don't want either one of you to have this job."  I know there is this perception that not voting for one is the equivalent of voting for the other, but I disagree.  Not voting is not voting.  

    I guess it's like those stupid commercials that keep trying to convince me that if I spend money, I can save money.  Or like Bank of America, which tries to lure me into banking with them by saying that when I spend money, they will automatically deposit the change - my change, from the purchase I just made - in my savings account.  Are they kidding?  I just spent $147.25 and I'm supposed to be happy that I now have $2.75 in my savings account - when my checking account is $147.25 lighter?  Really?

    Voting for the Republican you don't like, to protest the Democrat you don't like, is like telling yourself that you saved money by spending it.  

    I joked the other day that making the decision not to vote the top of the ticket in 2008 was like getting my virginity back after years of being a sort of electoral slut who would give it up for any (D) on the ballot; they don't respect me for the votes I've cast, and the only way I can respect myself is to have more integrity and higher standards than they do.

    People will stay home this time; I think the days of being guilted into casting votes for candidates who are not worthy are just about over.


    Unfortunately, Anne (none / 0) (#95)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:28:30 AM EST
    People will stay home this time; I think the days of being guilted into casting votes for candidates who are not worthy are just about over.

    I don't think so.  Voters seem to have short term memories, and many will be persuaded like sheep by "You can't vote for X because Y will happen."  Ask Planned Parenthood, the LGBT lobby, the unions, women, etc. how that worked out for them last time.


    Unfortunately True (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by hookfan on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:55:13 AM EST
    However, considering that Obama and co. now have an established record, rather than a blank slate which left some doubt, I believe there very well could be a "non voter rebellion" in the formerly known Democratic Party. The primary caveat to that is to see what Obama does or not do about serious and focused job creation this year. If he effectively creates well paying jobs (not just speechifies about it) and significantly reduces unemployment, and has real measurable effect on reducing the record foreclosures, they might just salvage something. Tall order, not much time, and they continue to dawdle. Naw, what am I smoking. . . can't be done now. And even if it could the people aren't in place to pull it off (Geithner, Summers, Rahm and co. would never allow it. It would require jettisoning their whole approach.) Sigh. . .

    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#98)
    by sleepingdogs on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:47:18 AM EST
    as Matt and Trey of South Park fame so poignantly suggest, we will almost always have to choose between a "giant douche" and a "turd sandwich."  Also, I believe the choices we have will always be relative.  In other words, the democrat is not always the better choice or lesser of the two evils.  Still I feel it is my civic duty to decide and to voice my decision by way of my vote.  Otherwise, by sitting out the election, I feel I have given up my right to participate. (However, seeing the votes of some cast aside in the last primary has changed my feelings about this somewhat.)  Of course, I understand that others here see staying home on election night or leaving a spot blank as a means of participation.  



    At least by sitting out (none / 0) (#100)
    by hookfan on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:09:35 AM EST
    you are EFFECTIVELY not supporting the continuous slide down the rabbit hole. Voting continuously the lesser of two evils has gotten us here. It's an unpleasant place, not viable for the overwhelming majority, and contains open and palpable disrespect for the majority wishes.
       In many abusive situations (and both parties have openly and wantonly abused their trust), especially love triangles (like in politics today), one must leave both the abusive spouse, and the abusive lover to effect any change that betters oneself. It's not okay to stay with the lover who beats you only half as much as the spouse. . .

    I can't say that (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by sleepingdogs on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:44:43 AM EST
    I disagree with anything you are saying, hookfan.  Still, in the case of lover v. spouse, neither is necessary.  In the case of government, there is no choice but to have a government.  I suppose you could leave the country for a government of your choosing, but what do you propose otherwise?  In my humble opinion, sitting things out until such time as there are better candidates to choose between could make things a whole heck of a lot worse than they are right now.  What exactly do you propose?  I'm not being argumentative.  I genuinely want to hear others' ideas.

    Government is necessary (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by hookfan on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:49:33 PM EST
    But not any particular party or party member is necessary. And government is only as good for the populace as its policies and actual practices. Right now, withdrawal of support for those organizations and persons who have demonstrated their betrayal, and abusive policies and practice is, imo, one of the few effective means left. Heck, they'll have plenty of money. The major thing left is our vote. Refusing to vote is an effective means toward no longer being taken for granted.

    And there is no time like the present (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by hookfan on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:10:39 PM EST
    to begin organizing a solidly committed voter bloc to support financially those organizations, or establish those organizations that support our issues. Working on a clearly committed voter bloc is more realistic than trying to establish a third party at the outset. What is needed is clarity on issues to be supported, and commitment to uncompromising solidarity. Focusing exclusively on voting would make it more focused than what unions face, and make it much less expensive . If politicians or parties don't act on what is previously defined by the voters as acceptable, you don't vote for them is a good starting place,imo. And one can take it a step further by voting against them in Primaries. Although I won't support the Dem party, I'm toying with the idea of staying nominally Democrat to vote in Primaries, and then withdrawing and becoming independant biannually.

    Lets, not let's (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Gisleson on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:41:45 PM EST
    Sorry, but after four decades of whiny rightwing carping about insignificant details, I'm turning into a prescriptive grammarian.

    Choices (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:58:03 PM EST
    the only message that is sent by voting for the other party is, "I want this person to have the job."

    Ahhh. but who said you had to vote for the other party? There are plenty of other choices.

    Voting continuously the lesser of two evils has gotten us here.

    Again. There are actually candidates you could hit the ballot for affirmatively, not as a "lesser of two evils."

    People wonder why third parties have such a hard time in the U.S. Well, this is why. Why is nobody talking about voting, say, Nader or Libertarian or Ron Paul or Working Families or Green. Speaking of the latter, every single part of their platform echoes the "traditional Democratic Party" values we hold dear, only with less war! And their ticket last election was two women, one black and one Hispanic. (Oh yeah, I know but Cynthia McKinney is SO CRAZY. Uh-huh.)

    I want the Democratic party to wake up, (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 03:25:17 PM EST
    and they're not going to do that if people keep voting for them regardless of how poorly they represent their constituents - why should they?  And I am no longer convinced that the party can be changed from the inside, or that it is willing to listen to the voters.  

    And regardless of whether there are two parties represented on the ballot or ten, I still have to believe that a candidate is right for the job before I'm going to touch the screen for him or her.

    As for write-ins, in Maryland we vote on electronic machines; if the candidate you want to vote for is not on the ballot and you want to write in someone, you have to vote on a provisional ballot.  That gives you the satisfaction of "voting," but the truth is that if the candidate is not on the official ballot, your provisional ballot is going in the trash.

    The thing about one's vote is that it is personal; those who take the time and trouble to register to vote should wield that vote in whatever way works for them - and that includes reserving it until there is a candidate deemed qualified and worthy.  I thought Obama's "Democrat for a Day" campaign was awful, because it cheapened the vote - but then, these were the same people who had no qualms about taking votes and delegates away from other candidates, no trouble getting the DNC to help game the outcome, so it should have been clear to everyone that Obama had no respect for the voters, and neither did the DNC.  Why would I want to continue to vote for that mindset?

    I don't have the answers for anyone but me - and it's entirely possible I will vote for a third party candidate at some point; for the time being, though, I am done voting for Democrats who don't respect my vote.  


    Exactly. I did a write-in (none / 0) (#106)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 02:59:01 PM EST
    and it was of another Dem.  That tells the party that I am for its principles -- if it will provide me with a nominee who does so, too.

    Who is made happier by this? (none / 0) (#2)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:29:47 PM EST
    Why is this last minute fight with labor so very important to have?

    Good question (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:35:58 PM EST
    Wish I knew.  Wish I even knew who thought it was a good idea or something you would want to win or lose at.  I do know this though, I am sick sick sick to death of the New Democrats.  They are idiots.

    Part of creating that "new" party (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by BDB on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:03:37 PM EST
    we heard so much about during the campaign.  They don't really want to be the party of labor anymore.  Sure, they want the votes and volunteers, but they don't want to have to DO anything for labor (just as they don't want to have to do anything for women or African Americans).  They're betting labor will support them no matter what because, whadday gonna do, vote Republican?

    Plus, they're counting on the swing money to pull them through (emphasis mine):

    The current Democratic bet is three fold.  The first is that there will be an internal Republican civil war that will cost the GOP numerous winning opportunities.  The prime example would be the NY-23 special election as the Teabagger+GOP vote was greater than the Democratic vote, but the Democrats won anyways.  The second is that the GOP is still fundamentally discredited and most swingable voters would be pinching their noses with three ton vises to vote for the GOP.

    Finally, the Democrats are making a bet that the bad policy that they are supporting is "good policy" for the swing money.  And they expect to see the swing money continue to back the Democrats which will be enough to either depress GOP turnout or get enough apathetic Democrats to turnout to hold a decent size majority next year.


    Who needs unions when you've got JP Morgan Chase?


    Gee, it's almost like (5.00 / 6) (#12)
    by hookfan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:13:24 PM EST
    they have the same values and perspectives as republicans. Who woulda thought. . .

    They are Republicans, by many measures (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:19:28 PM EST
    but Republicans aren't cool right now.  When they are, as they will be again because it's cyclical in politics, be ready for a mass desertion by Nu Dems to the next cool thing.

    Because the "creative class" (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:17:41 PM EST
    -- those Nu Dems -- don't dirty their hands with labor.  

    Ha.  If this economy that they gave us continues, a lot of them will have to learn about hard work the hard way.


    the last minute fight (none / 0) (#17)
    by christinep on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:46:10 PM EST
    In resolving any last minute fight, labor has to win something. A compromise here; a gain there. (Actually, tho, it isn't so last minute in that many of the party pros had been forecasting the real battle as being what it usually is, a battle over taxation and how to tax.) I'm just assuming that, whatever happens, a meld of excise/medicare structure tax has to occur if the SEIU is to remain within the ranks and if the AFL-CIO is to move back to the fold on the issue.

    Why labor? (none / 0) (#71)
    by norris morris on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:19:10 PM EST
    Obviously promises were made but they are not the broken promises made to us.

    Dumb question, but I have not seen (none / 0) (#22)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:02:47 PM EST
    the answer stated definitively anywhere, and it seems to get more confusing every day:

    Is the excise tax levied on the insurance company that charges too much, the employer who pays the cost of the plan for the employees, or the individual who receives the benefit of employer-paid coverage?

    I'm not usually so dense, but I think it would help to know, for sure, what it is this tax is all about.

    Officially the insurance company (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:21:02 PM EST
    which would then add a line item on its bill to the employer, like you see at the department store when you buy merchandise.

    Insurance policy - x
    Excise Tax       - 0.4x

    TOTAL - 1.4x


    Great question (none / 0) (#24)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:05:27 PM EST
    I am unclear on it too. But I am pretty darn sure it is not levied on the insurance company.

    Fornally, it is (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:22:04 PM EST
    Just like sales taxes are levied on department stores.

    Interesting...so then the employer (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 09:10:49 PM EST
    is the one that ends up paying it, as the official purchaser?

    In alot of the "Cadillac plans" (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by cawaltz on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:07:01 AM EST
    the employer is already footing a decent amount of money to provide the benefits to their employees. I can't imagine the "tax" doesn't get tacked on and passed onto the employer and/or employee(in the form of higher plan cost).

    It isn't like the insurance companies like Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield are going to eat it. They'll pass it on to the people they are providing a service for(in this case companies and their employees).

    It's like they want the people who get decent coverage through their employers to be stuck in the same boat as the people stuck paying bunches because they can't get affordable insurance through their employer. Wasn't the point of the exercise to have it the other way around? Weren't we supposed to be interested in getting better and more affordable care for the people who were having trouble getting insurance through their businesses because of small business being unable to afford the bottom line costs?

    While I understand the desire to uncouple business from health care costs throwing all of us in the same crappy situation that many are now in seems to be a pretty crummy idea for anyone except the insurance companies(who are going to ber guaranteed their money no matter what).


    Not true in most states (none / 0) (#35)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:48:54 PM EST
    For example, in New York the department store would be defined as a "person required to collect tax," and in fact the statute authorizes the taxing authority to collect the tax directly from consumers in situations where that would be appropriate.

    One reason the distinction is relevant is that if an insurance company chooses to pass on the cost of the excise tax to its customers, the amount of the tax becomes part of the cost of the insurance and thus becomes subject to an additional excise tax.


    So your argument is (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:09:22 PM EST
    this is worse than advertised?

    I assume not.


    There is a reason (none / 0) (#42)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:31:51 PM EST
    that all the calculations make the assumption that very little money will be collected from the excise tax itself.  The policy goal is to stop the proliferation of these policies by eliminating the tax break that makes them artificially cheap, not to make tons of revenue off their continued sale.

    Artificially cheap for whom? (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:00:30 PM EST
    If these were cheap policies they wouldn't be called "cadillac plans" to begin with. The policies being levied are worth upwards of $20,000 after all. I think the word you are searching for is "affordable" for the actual person consuming the health care. The intent seems to be to move people toward high deductible plans that would basically force people to pay for premiums that they can't or don't utilize because their deductible is cost prohibitive.

    As someone who will be in a household deemed cadillac in nature let me tell you how absolutely absurd all the arguments I hear about how this is going to magically control costs or how people who have co pays instead of high deductibles are running out to MDs to get seen for their jollies.


    Apparently, the idea behind (5.00 / 4) (#70)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:18:48 PM EST
    the "Cadillac" plan excise tax is to reduce or eliminate these policies and their 'rich benefits' so as to reduce health care costs purported to occur through frequent, if not frivolous, access to health care.  On the other hand, more desirable "Chevy" plans provide poor benefits, so self-access to health care will be reduced by the patients who will only seek heath care when they really need it.  Triage, diagnosis and discernment of seriousness is shifted to the insured, although a missed diagnosis by the medically untrained may increase costs, not to mention decrease health.  

    That can't be the plan because the tax (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:36:38 AM EST
    is based on premium cost, not benefits. And premium cost is affected by age, region of the country, and premium inflation. As I've said in other posts, my husband and I have a high deductible and co-pay plan that covers medical only (a PPO with no vision, no dental, no mental health coverage) that is in the "cadillac" range in terms of premium cost -- entirely as a result of inflation, our age and the region of the country we live in.

    Yes, (none / 0) (#97)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:02:42 AM EST
    but those facts are overlooked in favor of the cascading effect on reduced health care costs through this scheme.  To add to your observations, the "Cadillac" plans threshold levels (i.e. $8500 single, $23,000 family) are cumulative--health insurance, vision and dental, so it is not too hard to reach these levels in many cases.   Another factor is that the thresholds rise with inflation (CPI plus one percentage point), less than the anticipated rise in health spending and insurance premiums.

    Artificially cheap (none / 0) (#50)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:38:05 PM EST
    simply means that they are subsidized by the government in the form of a tax break, and thus cost less than they would if they were not subsidized.  "Affordable" is a non sequitur since these are, by definition, policies where the employer and not the employee pays the premium.

    Yeah (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:47:47 PM EST
    So what was the government going to be doing again to provide health care to people? Oh that's right. They were going to subsidize it.

    So let me get this straight the government has a problem with subsidizing decent health care for our family. No wait... that can't be right because with a $50,000 income he'll qualify for a subsidy.

    So really what this is about is penalizing the company for providing a quality policy.


    You're right (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:00:22 PM EST
    The goal is to penalize everyone with decent health care.  You figured it out.

    Actually that may be true (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by hookfan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:20:48 PM EST
    if one of the goals is to reduce "over utilization". Many of us have been paying more and more for less and less for years. Interesting though that our utilization is actually less than many other countries, and we still pay more. I think this situation (focusing on "over utilization") is what happens when there is a lack of concern for actual health care, and heightened concern for the insurance industries bottom line. It's increasingly clear what the Obama administrations priority is.

    Overutilization (5.00 / 4) (#80)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:47:51 PM EST
    How many people do you know who have jobs that want to take time off to spend it waiting around on a doctor or taking test after test for no reason whatsoever?

    I don't know a one.

    Heaven forbid though,that our plan not cost us a full days worth of labor on top of the full days worth of labor we pay for the plan to begin with. I might get all giddy and decide we all need to have CAT scans(and we all know those doctors order tests for no apparent reason either)as our family activity. The overutilization argument is the equivalent of the insurance companies sticking their tongue out at doctors and patients and basically saying you're too dumb to recognize when a test or a visit is needed.


    It doesn't take a genius (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:36:16 PM EST
    to figure out whether or not that is the intent that it is exactly what will be occuring.

    Insurance company, but they can pass it on (none / 0) (#27)
    by jfung79 on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:18:25 PM EST
    It is levied on the insurance company, but they can pass it on to employers, workers, and consumers in the form of higher premiums or by reducing the benefits.

    They would pass it on as a line item (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:21:19 PM EST
    And then, wouldn't that escalate it (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:50:16 PM EST
    the next year?  The line item adds to the cost of the plan, which cost then would mean even more tax the next year, and ad infinitum.

    Tell me it's not so -- that bad as it is, it's not that bad.


    Combine the excise tax with a major payroll tax (none / 0) (#34)
    by steviez314 on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:45:48 PM EST
    cut and some new, higher tax brackets, and you might have both a policy and politcal winner.

    Contrarian view (none / 0) (#37)
    by Manuel on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:52:37 PM EST
    Warning! Flame bait ahead (at least at this site).

    The employer insurance mandate should eventually disappear and the excise tax is a way to hasten that day.

    Yeah (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by cawaltz on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:12:52 AM EST
    eventually......like when we have affordable plans that compete with the private companies. Penalizing companies for providing good coverage and causing them to throw everyone into the same market as the poor people who are having trouble getting health care on an open market(because their smaller companies can't afford the prohibitive costs of insurance for them) seems like a pretty crummy plan for everyone except the health insurance companies.

    It would be smarter to create a plan that competes with the private companies and see who does a better job of providing affordable care starting with the people who do not have access to an affordable plan(Oh wait the insurance companies don't want that).


    Can someone point to a single "laborer" (none / 0) (#44)
    by alsace on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:54:46 PM EST
    who has a health plan with a $23,000 premium paid by an employer?  Until I see some specific examples, I will have a hard time generating any sympathy for these poor yet over-insured toilers.

    Norfolk Southern (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:08:07 PM EST
    My husband pays 10% of his health care cost. This year we will be paying $200. The company will be paying $1800 a month or 90% of the cost. $2000x 12= $24,000. He's a UTU member and a conductor making a little over $50,000 a year.

    He works with around roughly 100 folk in our region alone that will be in the same boat.


    Oh and just to clarify (none / 0) (#47)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:25:40 PM EST
    by conductor I mean the guy who ensures the safety of train and the individual who does all the switching and break tying on the train. It's quite labor intensive and as blue collar as you can get.

    Contractor here (5.00 / 4) (#86)
    by dissenter on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 09:45:24 PM EST
    That is what the US govt does to all of us risking our lives overseas now. Our insurance for our family is $16K a year and we pay all of it....and contrary to popular belief most of us are NOT getting rich in Iraq and Afghanistan. Plus we pay all our medicare and self employment taxes. We are organized as small business otherwise we would be paying over $20K because of age on the individual market. I am frankly shocked we haven't been canceled because of the countries we work in. One injury there however would end in immediate cancellation.

    We have an HMO. I have been to the doctor once this year and that is my cost. My husband goes to physical therapy for an ailing back but that is it. We have co-pays, etc like everyone else. We do not have Cadillac insurance and with medical inflation we would hit the ceiling probably before the damn health care bill goes into effect. This entire bill is total bullsh#t.

    The middle class isn't going to get a subsidy either and when you start adding up all the temps and contractors that companies are now employing to cut their costs, all of these individuals are going to get thrown into the individual market. if you are sick, plus 40 or take certain medications you are going to get creamed on insurance costs, plus a Cadillac tax. Watch bankruptcies increase through the roof.

    This government can't govern whether it be the president or the congress. They are totally clueless.


    Over insured? (5.00 / 6) (#49)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:32:40 PM EST
    Listen here the fact that my family didn't have to jump through 75 hoops to get a suspect mole removed on my daughters back or to get my son admitted when he needed an appendectomy does not make my family over insured. It isn't my fault that the bulk of the country is UNDER INSURED as evidenced by the fact that 75% of the 50% forced into bankruptcy for medical reasons had insurance. So spare me the how people thaqt have decent policies that allow us to get our loved ones seen without writing a days worth of pay out multiple times are so darn OVER INSURED.

    Sounds like you are (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by nycstray on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:53:45 PM EST
    "old fashioned" insured. I remember those days . . .

    We pay a co-pay (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 08:01:35 PM EST
    If my family needs a physician it costs us $20. If we use the ER it costs us $25. If we need a specialist it costs us $35. Any tests the physician deems necessary are fully covered.

    It still has a lifetime cap of a million dollars so it's not perfect but it's a decent plan and I'm grateful to the UTU and NS for providing it for us.

    I can't even begin to imagine trying to come up with some of the out of pocket costs or having the monthly cost that I have heard many people quote.


    Amazing, isn't it, that the kind of (5.00 / 7) (#68)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:14:49 PM EST
    insurance that used to mean we had peace of mind where our health care was concerned, is now considered "too much" insurance, and the perception now is that if we actually use the insurance you have, we are responsible for driving up the cost of care.

    I just love being the bad guy, don't you?  Sheesh.