The Death of the Death of Obamacare

The PPACA – Obamacare – has survived. In the past, the attacks have been skirmishes, often fought in darkness, intent on inflicting wounds to cripple the program – filing lawsuits, withholding funds, promoting language, lying. Now this latest assault – this failed assault – this Trumpcare – a frontal attack by the combined forces of the anti-Obama legions and their very best strategists, commanders and troops.

Yet the PPACA remains standing, while the attack force skulks back to their bunkers, dazed, confused, and more than a little disheartened. Continue reading

TWOFER: Tax and Health Care Cuts

Trump has two top legislative priorities: “Tax Reform” and “Repeal the ACA”.
Today, they intersected: his “Tax Reform” plan cuts exactly one tax from the ACA – the 3.8% Medicare tax on Net Investment Income for high-income taxpayers.
It has long been a badly-kept secret that the driving force behind “repeal the ACA” has been the 3.8% Medicare tax on Net Investment Income for high-income taxpayers. After all:
  1. this is a tax on the top 4% of income earners, who make more than a quarter-million dollars annually on investment income. 96% of the population is never affected by this tax.
  2. this is a Medicare tax on investment income. Before the ACA, this income was not subject to Medicare tax – those who made all or most of their income from investments paid nothing or little into Medicare

Continue reading

Whispering Against the Shouters

[submitted as a comment in the NYTimes in response to other comments on Paul Krugman’s op-ed column “Imaginary Health Care Horrors“, March 30, 2015.]

In a comment in the New York Times, “Frank” wrote:

The trouble is that Democrats are not there defending [the Affordable Care Act]. They have bought into the myth that people don’t like it and so they are afraid to speak out.
And in so doing, they are perpetuating the false story. That’s how the Democrats lost seats in 2010. They allowed the shouters to go unchallenged and if they do it again, they will lose again.

It is not enough to challenge the shouters — the challenge must be brought with the same theatrical sense, the same bombast, the same excess as the shouters use. Otherwise, the challenge is just a whisper in a roomful of shouters. Continue reading