Obamacare Smoke and Mirrors: How You're Paying More
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) It seems incredible now that anyone really believed the healthcare Houdinis. The promises of implementing universal health insurance without increasing taxes, made by candidates during the 2008 presidential campaign, were pretty incredible even by the standards of political hyperbole.
But a willing media rarely challenged the validity of these claims. A large part of the electorate proved to be very gullible when they were promised that healthcare would be provided for all - without having Americans paying extra taxes or fees. It was a bait and switch campaign, an unethical business practice those very same candidates vociferously condemn. But it was used very effectively to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"There are eighteen total new taxes and penalties," said Curtis Dubay, a senior tax policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a Washington D.C. think tank. "Most are not income sensitive."
Just in case you may have forgotten, here are just some examples of how the candidates said they would pay for a universal health insurance - some, including President Barack Obama, emphasized no new taxes:
"I believe the way you do it is by having no new bureaucracies," said Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM). "I don't propose a new tax or any new bureaucracy."
"Well, first of all, I'm for a national health-care plan," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). "It would cost the same amount we're spending now, except that all the money goes into the system."
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) said, "Well, you pay for it by having everyone contribute based on their ability to pay."
Obama, for his part, said that he could increase benefits, expand coverage and reduce costs. Obama said during the Democratic Party candidates debate on September 13, 2007 that he would provide universal healthcare to everyone without exception by subsidizing those who cannot afford it.
Obama said he would pay "for those subsidies by imposing a set of cost-saving measures that will actually improve quality at the same time that they lower costs."
Obama and nearly every other proponent of universal health insurance never once mentioned that additional taxes or a tax increase would be necessary. There was no mention of penalties or fees needed to pay for subsidies of the uninsured.
As we already have learned, the money to pay for the health insurance subsidies for those who must purchase health insurance and who earn as much as 400% of poverty level will come from eighteen taxes.
Taxes of course, was what many of the opponents of universal health insurance said would happen from the beginning.
There is also the expense of determining who would be eligible for the subsidies was a cost never mentioned. But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects that "the cost to the Internal Revenue Service of implementing the eligibility determination, documentation, and verification processes for premium and cost sharing subsidies would probably be between $5 billion and $10 billion over ten years."