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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, September 10, 2010

Remember Callahan's Courageous Health Care Stand, a Day Late and a Dollar Short?

Back in June, I told you that the federal health care overhaul, which congressional candidate John Callahan endorsed a day after it passed, is going to put County finances in intensive care. You see, Northampton County is self-insured. Its medical plan is administered by Capital Blue Cross, but all employee claims are paid from the County till. That means your tax dollars pay the bills, and those bills are going up for two reasons.

First, thanks to the overhaul, the County must now pay the medical, dental and even some eyecare claims of all family members under age 26. There is no requirement that they continue to live with their parents or even be dependents. They can even be married and raising families of their own. The County must still pay all of these expenses at no additional cost to County workers.

Second, there currently is a $12,500 annual limit on what the County will pay for retirees before insisting on other types of insurance. Thanks to the plan blessed by Callahan, that cap has now been lifted and the County must pay it all.

"Washington isn't sending us any money to pay the bills. They're just playing Santa Claus," remarked one County official.

In addition to the indirect costs that will be passed on to you by County governments, it will also hit American families and small businesses directly, with an increase in premiums. The Wall Street Journal reports this week that consumers and businesses in some states might face rate hikes up to 20 percent, largely due to mandates in the health care law. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary released a new analysis that shows national health expenditures will increase more rapidly over the next decade as a result of the new health care law.

In addition to the direct and indirect costs, there will be more paperwork and taxes for small businesses and individuals, and more job losses. The law contains more than $500 billion in tax increases, including a tax on medical devices that will raise costs and kill jobs here in Pennsylvania. Among its mandates is the “1099 provision,” which will greatly increase the amount of IRS paperwork for small businesses, costing time, money and jobs when small businesses and working families can least afford it.

Congressman Dent opposed the law and expressed concern that the new law would not reduce health care costs. He offered constructive amendments that would have enacted medical liability reforms to reduce the costly practice of defensive medicine, and remove the medical device tax. Of course, those amendments were ignored. Since the legislation was signed into law, Dent has co-sponsored legislation to repeal the detrimental “1099 provision.”

John Callahan was willing to join Moveon and scream "Health Reform Now" outside of Congressman Dent's Bethlehem office. But he refused to say exactly what he meant. He dodged the most critical issue of this generation, knowing that taking a position would cost him votes.

He did finally decide to support the health care reform bill, a day after it had passed. He led from the rear, not the most admirable quality in a leader. And the position he finally took was the one demanded by party bosses and the Washington establishment.

“John Callahan waited until the 13th hour to state his support for the health care law, but he still owes an explanation of how he thinks it’s going to save American families and small businesses money,” said Congressman Dent in a news release. “John Callahan is among the last people in America who think the government health care plan is going to help more people than it will hurt. Going forward, we must replace misguided policies of the current law with reforms that will address the rising health care costs that impact families, small businesses and our economy. John Callahan stands with the very policies that are raising health-care costs and killing jobs.”


Anonymous said...

Well.... that's what happens when liberal Democrats rule the roost!! I predict our county, school and muni taxes will triple within the next five years to pay for Obamacare. Or, we will simply see a collapse in service from our local governments because it will be too costly to provide. Then, you will see people running for government office to bring back the very services that were left to wither because people will want them. It is funny what liberals deem as progress.

Jon Geeting said...

1) Not true that people under 26 don't have to be dependents. My girlfriend doesn't have insurance and can't get back on her parents' plan because she's not a dependent. Typically sloppy, and makes you wonder what else in here is straight up incorrect.

2) What the Medicare trustees report actually says is that costs are going up at a much slower rate than they would have had we not passed the Affordable Care Act. Insurance companies are blaming their premium increases on the ACA, but they are lying.

3) Both parties agree the 1099 provision needs to be changed, but Republicans' amendment pays for it by stripping all funding for preventive care.Preventive care keeps costs down, so this change makes the bill much more expensive.

4) Bottom line is, this bill reduces the deficit. Repealing it adds $455 billion dollars to the deficit. Charlie Dent, after months of nibbling around the edges, signed on for full-fledged repeal with the most wingnut members of Congress. Dent is a deficit fraud and has zero credibility on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Perfect example of why we need universal healthcare. Ridiculous.

Jon Geeting said...

Why Bernie's claim about insurers raising rates because of the ACA, which hasn't even gone into effect yet, is pure crap.

Also, if you want to argue in favor of the virtues of annual and lifetime caps on coverage, that's your problem. Insurance should cover you when you get sick. Period. That's why people pay for insurance. They expect it to be there when they need it. If the County has a bad insurance plan, they should get a different one.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Not true that people under 26 don't have to be dependents"

Jonathan, it is true. I spoke to the County. The child of an employee must be covered to age 26. That child could be living somewherere else and raising a family of his own and the County has to pay under the law you promoted.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Both parties agree the 1099 provision needs to be changed,"

Then why was it there in the first place? A bad bill became a bad law and now you talk about change. This is not the CHANGE I had in mind when I voted for Obama.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Bottom line is, this bill reduces the deficit."

Complete horseshit, Jonathan. This Bill will increase the deficit. The savings in Medicaire are mythical. Congress has been trying and failing to reduce fraud nd waste there for decades. It ain't gonna' happen for decades.

Anonymous said...

@ Geeting 7:56 am,
Your true ignorance is apparently shinning through. Your claim in #1 is completely false. Do 10 seconds of research before posting next time. 'Dependent' children under PPACA was basically redefined to include pretty much everyone. In fact, assuming this 'girlfriend' of yours actually exists, she could receive adult dependent coverage, even if you two were married!

While you question Dent's credibility on the issue, you give everyone clear evidence of your own lack of credibility and integrity.