Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 09:33

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for April 5th from 09:33 to 11:59:

  • ObamaCare: Senate Nixes 1099 Requirement, Obama’s Signature Is Next – Following the lead of the House, the Senate today voted 87 to 12 to eliminate an onerous tax-reporting duty in the new healthcare reform law.

    The repeal measure now goes to President Barack Obama, who has signaled that he will sign it.

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all businesses, beginning in 2012, to file federal tax form 1099 if they buy $600 or more worth of goods or services in a given year from any vendor. Similar to Congress, Obama has decried the paperwork requirement as too burdensome. In the past, however, the president and Congress have wrangled about how to make up the roughly $20 billion in revenue that the government will lose if the 1099 provision is repealed.

    Before passage of the ACA in early 2010, businesses needed to file a 1099 with the Internal Revenue Service only for services provided by unincorporated vendors, such as sole proprietors. The ACA expands that reporting duty to include goods as well as services, and all vendors, including incorporated ones. Congressional Democrats added this provision to the ACA to help pay for healthcare reform, thinking that it would identify previously unreported and untaxed vendor revenue.

    The business community, as well as organized medicine, has vehemently objected to the new requirement, saying it will it cost them too much in time and money. A medical practice, for example, would need to file a 1099 for a $600 printer that it bought from Office Depot.

  • Proposed GOP 2012 Budget Turns Medicare Into Subsidy Program – House Republicans today unveiled an ambitiously frugal budget for fiscal 2012 that they say will save the Medicare program in part by eventually giving beneficiaries subsidies to purchase private health plans.

    The GOP budget, released by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chair of the House Budget Committee, would attempt to save Medicaid as well by turning it into a simple block-grant program. More Medicaid and Medicare savings would be achieved by capping noneconomic (pain and suffering) damages in medical malpractice cases — a tort reform designed to reduce the number frivolous lawsuits and jackpot jury awards.

    The proposal also addresses the 29.5% cut in Medicare reimbursement for physicians next year by instituting an unspecified 10-year "fix" of the payment formula. The cost of that fix must not add to the federal deficit, however.

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    Read it all

  • Untitled (http://twitter.com/flap) – @Steph4Gngrch12 Not my name or my city. Check my twitter profile.
  • President 2012 Video: GOP Uses Social Media to Respond to Obama Campaign Launch | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Video: GOP Uses Social Media to Respond to Obama Campaign Launch #tcot #catcot
  • Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 08:04 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 08:04 #tcot #catcot
  • Paul Ryan: The GOP Path to Prosperity – WSJ.com – Paul Ryan: The GOP Path to Prosperity
  • The Ryan Plan Doesn’t Privatize Medicare – By Veronique de Rugy – The Corner – National Review Online – The Ryan Plan Doesn’t Privatize Medicare

Flap’s Links and Comments for April 5th on 08:04

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for April 5th from 08:04 to 09:24:

  • Paul Ryan: The GOP Path to Prosperity – Congress is currently embroiled in a funding fight over how much to spend on less than one-fifth of the federal budget for the next six months. Whether we cut $33 billion or $61 billion—that is, whether we shave 2% or 4% off of this year's deficit—is important. It's a sign that the election did in fact change the debate in Washington from how much we should spend to how much spending we should cut.

    But this morning the new House Republican majority will introduce a budget that moves the debate from billions in spending cuts to trillions. America is facing a defining moment. The threat posed by our monumental debt will damage our country in profound ways, unless we act.

    No one person or party is responsible for the looming crisis. Yet the facts are clear: Since President Obama took office, our problems have gotten worse. Major spending increases have failed to deliver promised jobs. The safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams. Government health and retirement programs are growing at unsustainable rates. The new health-care law is a fiscal train wreck. And a complex, inefficient tax code is holding back American families and businesses.

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    Read it all

  • The Ryan Plan Doesn’t Privatize Medicare – This morning at 6:15 a.m., I was driving to Union Station to catch a train to New York when I heard an NPR analyst describe Chairman Ryan’s budget plan as effectively a reform to privatize Medicare. It’s not. Privatization of Medicare would mean government getting out of the business of providing health care. In this case, Medicare is saved and the government continues to contribute large amounts of money towards seniors’ health-care premiums by paying a fixed amount of money to the insurance provider. Everyone above 65 will benefit from this premium support.

    This is Ryan in the Wall Street Journal today:

    Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy. Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose a plan that works best for them from a list of guaranteed coverage options. This is not a voucher program but rather a premium-support model. A Medicare premium-support payment would be paid, by Medicare, to the plan chosen by the beneficiary, subsidizing its cost.

    In addition, Medicare will provide increased assistance for lower- income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks. Reform that empowers individuals—with more help for the poor and the sick—will guarantee that Medicare can fulfill the promise of health security for America’s seniors.

    That’s not privatization. In fact, while this reform is a great start, the plan continues the Washington tradition of extending open-ended promises on Medicare without paying for them (even though the cost is much lower). Also, this may be nitpicking on my part, but under this plan consumers will still be bound to a list of guaranteed coverage options chosen by the government.

  • California Governor’s Jerry Brown’s pension plan is nothing but fluff – The timing of Gov. Jerry Brown's "12-point pension reform plan" last week was no accident.

    The plan was released on Thursday, a couple of days after his negotiations with Republicans on a state budget deal collapsed. The latter contended that Brown had balked at their demands for public pension reforms because of opposition from unions that helped him win the governorship last year.

    Thus, the plan's release was aimed at giving Brown political cover, implicitly demonstrating that he's tough-minded on pensions and not beholden to the unions. But while a 12-point plan sounds impressive – especially coming from a politician who historically has sneered at multipoint policy plans – there's less there than meets the eye.

    The political debate over public pensions has been conducted on two levels, the largely superficial and the meaningful.

    The superficial aspects – anecdotal accounts of outrageous pension manipulation – have received the most media attention. Meanwhile, the more meaningful issue of whether taxpayers and employees face a ticking time bomb of unfunded liabilities is complex and unsexy, receiving relatively little attention.

    For the most part, Brown's plan deals with the former rather than the latter. It gives the illusion of being tough on pension issues without making truly tough choices.

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    You think?

    Political cover and that is all.

Flap’s Links and Comments for April 4th on 11:17

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for April 4th from 11:17 to 12:41:

  • Verizon: Full Steam Ahead on Net Neutrality Lawsuit – Will Re-File Lawsuit – It's full steam ahead for Verizon's judicial challenge to the FCC's controversial network neutrality rules – despite a procedural hiccup on Monday. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossed out the company's legal challenge because Verizon jumped the gun by submitting it too early.

    A Verizon spokesman blamed the dismissal on the FCC, which he said was unclear about when an appeal should be filed. He confirmed that the telecom giant plans to resubmit its suit, but this time it will wait until the commission publishes its new Internet rules in the federal register next month.

    In December, the agency's three Democrats adopted net neutrality safeguards designed to bar Internet providers from blocking or degrading online competitors. Proponents say the move was necessary to protect the Internet from being controlled by major corporations, while critics – including many Republicans – dismiss the action as unecessary government overreach.

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    As I said the first time.

  • Net neutrality rules spared — for now – Although a D.C. appeals court has just thrown out Verizon's lawsuit against the new net neutrality rules, it's worth noting that the suit has not been thrown out for any reason relating to the substance of the case.  National Journal reports:

    A D.C. court of appeals has thrown out Verizon’s challenge to recent net neutrality rules, saying the company filed the lawsuit prematurely.

    Verizon launched the legal challenge before the rules, which were enacted in December, were filed in the Federal Registry.

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    So, the litigation will be refiled undoubtedly.

  • Smearing Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plans – Liberals are already lining up to attack Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal, even though it won't be released until Tuesday.

    But before getting to that, it's worth clarifying a misunderstanding about what he's actually going to propose with regard to Medicare.

    Despite press accounts to the contrary, Ryan made clear on Fox News Sunday that his proposal would not include the idea of converting Medicare into a system in which beneficiaries would receive vouchers for the purchase of private insurance, which was included in his "Roadmap" plan. "That's not what we're proposing," Ryan said. "Our reforms are along the line of what I proposed with Alice Rivlin, the Democrat from the Clinton administration in the fiscal commission, which is a premium support system. That's very different from a voucher. Premium support is exactly the system I as a member of Congress and all federal employees have. It works like the Medicare prescription drug benefit, similar to Medicare Advantage today, which means Medicare puts a list of plans out there that compete against each other for your business, and seniors pick the plan of their choosing, and then Medicare subsidizes that plan. It doesn't go to the person, into the marketplace. It goes to the plan. More for the poor, more for people who get sick, and we don't give as much money to people who are wealthy."(…)

    It's also important to note that Medicare as we know it won't be around for future generations anyway, because it's financially unsustainable. So the real policy debate we need to having is whether we want to move in the liberal direction, which relies on higher taxes and more centrally-imposed cost controls, or a more free market approach in which taxes are kept low and health care costs are contained by creating a real consumer-driven market for health care. That debate is beyond the scope of this post, but the important point is that Medicare won't survive in its current form no matter what.

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    Exactly, correct.

    Reform now or a more disastrous result in the future.

  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Pros and Cons of Wisdom Teeth Extractions – The Pros and Cons of Wisdom Teeth Extractions
  • President 2012: George W. Bush announces running for fourth term – From CBS News:

    Attorney General Eric Holder today will announce that self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad will be tried in a military commission, CBS News has learned. A source says the commission will be held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    Trying Mohammed in a civilian court and closing the Guantanamo prison were once some of the Obama administration's top priorities, but political realities have hamstrung both goals.

    This coincides perfectly with Obama's re-election announcement.

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    Yeah, real change you can believe in —> to win the future.

  • Poll Watch: 31% Approve of Republicans, 32% Approve of Democrats in Congress | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Poll Watch: 31% Approve of Republicans, 32% Approve of Democrats in Congress #tcot #catcot
  • Mitt Romney’s ongoing health-care travail – Right Turn – The Washington Post – President 2012: Mitt Romney’s ongoing health-care travail
  • President 2012: Mitt Romney’s ongoing health-care travail – All-but-declared GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shot back at President Barack Obama [Saturday] for his increasingly frequent words of praise for the health-care reform law Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts.

    “He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration for his plan,” Romney said at a speech in Las Vegas. “If that’s the case, why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you ask what was wrong? Why didn’t you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn’t?”

    Actually, the president did one better. He consulted with the expert who designed Romney’s Massachusetts plan, MIT professor Jon Gruber.

    What is bizarre, however, is Romney’s reference to costs. His plan did nothing to contain costs, a goal that Gruber said was not part of the plan. So is Romney confessing that his own plan would “bankrupt” his state?

    I asked a Romney spokesperson:

    1. The president did consult with the chief adviser to then-Gov. Romney. What could Romney have told the president that Jon Gruber did not?

    2. What were the things that “didn’t work”? That “did work”?

    3. Which category is the individual mandate in?

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    Read it all and yes, Mitt Romney has a hard time defending RomneyCare against President Obama.

Poll Watch: Federal Budget-Cuts Dilemma – Don’t Touch Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security Say Americans

Posted Posted in Medicaid, Medicare, Polling, Social Security

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has some very stark findings for budget hawks who want to tackle America’s mounting deficit.

Less than a quarter of Americans support making significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare to tackle the country’s mounting deficit, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, illustrating the challenge facing lawmakers who want voter buy-in to alter entitlement programs.

In the poll, Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was “unacceptable” to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit. Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security “unacceptable.”

At the same time, a majority supported two specific measures that lawmakers might employ to shore up the shaky finances of the main entitlement programs.

More than 60% of poll respondents supported reducing Social Security and Medicare payments to wealthier Americans. And more than half favored bumping the retirement age to 69 by 2075. The age to receive full benefits is 66 now and is scheduled to rise to 67 in 2027.

Depending on how they are structured, those two changes could eliminate as much as 60% of Social Security’s underfunding, according to experts. Support for the two ideas in the poll is “impressive,” said Chuck Blahous, one of the program’s public trustees and a former Bush administration official. “I wonder if [public] receptivity is increasing.”
The poll comes as Republican lawmakers, many elected on promises to slash federal spending, have focused mostly so far on cuts to non-defense, discretionary programs. But many political leaders say meaningful deficit reduction cannot be accomplished without making changes to entitlement programs.

Here is a graphic representation of the poll:

Of course, Americans don’t want the bad news and they certainly don’t want to cut their own entitlements. But something will have to be done if we want to reduce the debt we have to foreign nations and to spur economic activity. A bankrupt nation beholden to foreign investors certainly will not pay out ANY benefits.

Means testing is fine and a modest increase in the retirement age is OK. This can be done relatively easily and should be done immediately. If this takes care of 60 per cent of the problem in future years, then the GOP controlled House can move on to other budget cutting issues. 60 per cent is a start – even 40 per cent is good.

Naturally, the Democrats will demonize the Republicans to senior citizens but modest changes now and quickly will force President Obama to act either in a fiscally responsible manner or not.

The entire poll is here.

Epiphany: President Obama Says America is Out of Money

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Barack Obama, economics, Medicare, Obamacare
Obama-out-of-money

Then, why Mr President have you pushed and signed into law massive government spending programs if America is out of money?

In a sobering holiday interview with C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: “We are out of money.”

C-SPAN host Steve Scully broke from a meek Washington press corps with probing questions for the new president.

SCULLY: You know the numbers, $1.7 trillion debt, a national deficit of $11 trillion. At what point do we run out of money?

OBAMA: Well, we are out of money now. We are operating in deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we’ve made on health care so far. This is a consequence of the crisis that we’ve seen and in fact our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades.

So we’ve got a short-term problem, which is we had to spend a lot of money to salvage our financial system, we had to deal with the auto companies, a huge recession which drains tax revenue at the same time it’s putting more pressure on governments to provide unemployment insurance or make sure that food stamps are available for people who have been laid off.

So we have a short-term problem and we also have a long-term problem. The short-term problem is dwarfed by the long-term problem. And the long-term problem is Medicaid and Medicare. If we don’t reduce long-term health care inflation substantially, we can’t get control of the deficit.

So, one option is just to do nothing. We say, well, it’s too expensive for us to make some short-term investments in health care. We can’t afford it. We’ve got this big deficit. Let’s just keep the health care system that we’ve got now.

Along that trajectory, we will see health care cost as an overall share of our federal spending grow and grow and grow and grow until essentially it consumes everything…

SCULLY: When you see GM though as “Government Motors,” you’re reaction?

OBAMA: Well, you know – look we are trying to help an auto industry that is going through a combination of bad decision making over many years and an unprecedented crisis or at least a crisis we haven’t seen since the 1930’s. And you know the economy is going to bounce back and we want to get out of the business of helping auto companies as quickly as we can. I have got more enough to do without that. In the same way that I want to get out of the business of helping banks, but we have to make some strategic decisions about strategic industries…

SCULLY: States like California in desperate financial situation, will you be forced to bail out the states?

OBAMA: No. I think that what you’re seeing in states is that anytime you got a severe recession like this, as I said before, their demands on services are higher. So, they are sending more money out. At the same time, they’re bringing less tax revenue in. And that’s a painful adjustment, what we’re going end up seeing is lot of states making very difficult choices there…

SCULLY: William Howard Taft served on the court after his presidency, would you have any interest in being on the Supreme Court?

OBAMA: You know, I am not sure that I could get through Senate confirmation…

Mr President, you have gone back to smoking crack if you think your health care reform program, Obamacare will ACTUALLY cost the taxpayers LESS than today. It will cost FAR MORE because universal care, unless you ration care and curb utilization, by any standards it will mean more Americans seeking care and more costly treatment. Ask the British and the Canadians about their systems.

Now, if you want to destroy the private medical delivery system in America and allow the Washington bureaucrats decide what care Americans can receive and what doctors patients can see, then you might be able to hold costs increases to a minimum but it will NOT lower the costs or solve the actuarial problems with the Medicare trust fund. But, then, again the quality of care will suffer and moe people will be waiting to see a doctor.

How about supporting some common sense health care reforms and getting REAL with the American public that they will have to pay more though their Medicare payroll taxes to support the current program. How about a little honesty.

And, how about ending your socialist, pie in the sky dream of uinversal health care for America and concentrate the government on helping American business to put people back to work. You know, stimulate business, more employment and hence more tax revenues.

Is this too simple for you?


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Social Security and Medicare Collapsing Under the Weight of Recession

Posted Posted in Medicare, Obamacare, Social Security
ramireztoon051509
Political Cartoon by Michael Ramirez

And, the Obama Administration is INCREASING spending while insolvency looms for social security and medicare?
Even as Congress hunted for ways to finance a major expansion of health insurance coverage, the Obama administration reported Tuesday that the financial condition of the two largest federal benefit programs, Medicare and Social Security, had deteriorated, in part because of the recession.

As a result, the administration said, the Medicare fund that pays hospital bills for older Americans is expected to run out of money in 2017, two years sooner than projected last year. The Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 2037, four years earlier than predicted, it said.

Spending on Social Security and Medicare totaled more than $1 trillion last year, accounting for more than one-third of the federal budget.

Does anyone REALLY think that the United States can afford universal health care coverage and Obamacare? Hell, America cannot afford the system we have now.


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