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The Union “Cadillac” Tax Sweetheart Deal

Just when you thought you couldn’t be more cynical about the health care bill.

As I have said before, there wasn’t a lot of hope the same administration that ignored the rule of law in granting unions priority over Chrysler bondholders was going to offend them on the “Cadillac” tax.

We’ve seen the “Louisiana purchase” giving Senator Landrieu hundreds of millions for her vote, only to be upstaged by Ben Nelson’s Medicaid deal for Nebraska. Then the Democratic leadership claimed the $250 billion Medicare physician fee problem didn’t have anything to do with health care reform. Add to that a “robust” Medicare commission that can’t touch doctor or hospital costs. Or, how about six years of benefits under the bill and ten years of taxes. Or, counting $70 billion from the new long-term care program as offsetting revenue to help pay for it.

Now, the unions and public employees are going to be exempt from the “Cadillac” excise tax on high cost plans until 2018.It will be interesting to see how proponents, or should I say apologists, for this health care effort spin the latest. I would just ask that you please, please, please, not call this mess health care reform.

There is an important election on Tuesday in the Bay State that looks to be
focused on the Democratic health care effort. This kind of stunt may just be enough to push it over the edge.

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ExhaustedMDStephen Motew, MD, FACSStephen J. Motew, MD, FACSWendell MurrayMD as HELL Recent comment authors
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MD as HELL
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MD as HELL

Margalit,
You obviously realize the Republicans were not invited to the negotiations at the White House. They would have blown the whistle on the illegal dealings.
I aim to be funny, with a message.

ExhaustedMD
Guest
ExhaustedMD

At the end of the day, the only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is the name of the party, otherwise, dealing with a jackass who just hee haws and refuses to budge, or a lumbering pachyderm who just plods over anything in its path. This deal making is sickening, and any moderate, open minded voting citizen has to be offended to just put the other party in control to neutralize the power mad behaviors of those in the majority in DC. Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like pendulums, as all they seem to do… Read more »

Wendell Murray
Guest

I agree again with Margalit regarding the attachment of healthcare benefits to employment among unionized auto workers. I am not adequately familiar with the dynamics of the auto industry to know which factors most contributed to the demise of GM and Chrysler at least. No question however that the extraordinarily high USA cost of medical services combined with a grossly inefficient private healthcare insurance industry contributes to a cost burden for any manufacturer with a predominantly USA-based workforce that puts that manufacturer at a material disadvantage to a competitor with a predominant workforce in another country where comparable medical service/funding… Read more »

Stephen Motew, MD, FACS
Guest

Margalit,
No of course I don’t think health care costs were a major cause for the auto industry failure, however irresponsible management of the associated costs for pensions and health care certainly did not help. I agree with decoupling, but please, lets make it an even playing field, tax all plans or none.

archon41
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archon41

“Hoi polloi”: typical elitist drivel. You didn’t sneer at “the people” so much when you thought they were with you. Now the tide has turned, and you are the “extremist.”

Margalit Gur-Arie
Guest
Margalit Gur-Arie

Dr. Motew, you don’t seriously think that health care costs are the major factor that caused the auto industry collapse, do you?
Anyway, all the more reason to decouple health care from employment…..
Let businesses do business and let the Secretary of Health and Human Services take care of human services, such as health.

Stephen J. Motew, MD, FACS
Guest

Let’s see how we can trace this one.
1. Union ‘Cadillac’ health plans and pensions.
2. Collapse of US automobile industry.
3. Bail out of US automobile industry.
4. Support for union ‘Cadillac’ health plans.
5. ?
Agreeing (only for the sake of argument) with the idea of GOP obstructionism …the best response the Dems have is to exploit our political system?
Some weird logic going on here.

Wendell Murray
Guest

Margalit’s comment is the most applicable in regard to Mr. Laszewski’s standard advocacy of supplier interests, any in fact that he presumably can attract as clients to his consulting work, as is represented by his current column. brimcmike’s commentary also accurate and praiseworthy. Republican Congress members could have played a positive role in healthcare reform legislation and easily prevented the kinds of deals that Mr. Laszewski cites which the Democrats in the Senate are forced to strike to make any progress on a bill. Surprising in my estimation that neither of the two remaining Republican moderates in the Senate from… Read more »

Margalit Gur-Arie
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Margalit Gur-Arie

MD as HELL, you are very funny! Actually more of a light brown, but almost blond. I guess I do deserve that question. Why on earth would I assume that it is possible for a Republican to consider the issue at hand for what it is and how it affects the people and vote accordingly? After all, it is standard procedure that when you are the minority party your only goal in Washington is to become the majority party as soon as possible and by all means necessary. My only defense here is that our President was also under the… Read more »

MD as HELL
Guest
MD as HELL

Margalit,
Are you blonde?

Peter
Guest
Peter

“Perhaps the American people have learned a lesson about giving total control to only one party.”
Yes, the Corporate Party.
Generally brimcmike hits the nail on the head but today not all unions (professional ones included) are run with benevolent intentions for either society or their dues payers. The early fight for social justice by unions is something in the far, far, past.
“Forty-eight years working for a company and my benefits are cut with the actions of one Congress…”
Forty-eight years of tax free benefits – entitlement mentality?

number2son
Guest
number2son

Good grief, Laswekski, you’re such a tool.

Richard Quinn
Guest

Right you are there is no reform in any of this, it is merely expanding coverage for the Democratic power base and additional costs for everyone else with those costs continuing to escalate far more than general inflation. My former employer has largely announced it intention to drop my prescription coverage if the new tax on the Part D rebate become law. I am only one of millions of people likely affected in the same way. My costs are going way up when this legislation passes. Forty-eight years working for a company and my benefits are cut with the actions… Read more »

archon41
Guest
archon41

Your adversary is the producing classes, and they aren’t going to embrace soviet-style “reform” now or ever.
Sometimes I almost wish the “progressives” had managed to pull off “public option,” with provider reimbursements tied to Medicare rates.

brimcmike
Guest
brimcmike

It’s only “class warfare” when the lower classes fight back. People wanting a self-interested cut of the action is fine as long as they’re not unionized working stiffs. My bias: I am a working class kid who did well in school, avoided jail and prison, was lucky enough to coat-tail on white male privilege, and who finally earned an M.D. My colleagues who, more times than not, originate through no fault or merit of their own from middle-class, professional-class and upper-class families, while often nice-enough, and sometimes not, operate from an all-too unquestioned point-of-view, value structure and moral sensibility that… Read more »