Obamacare: How’s This for a Catch 22

As Ed Morrissey says – they had a year to work on this bill, and yet, they were so lazy that they did not read it. They still did not know what was in the bill.

Do you get that? They just passed a bill that affects every single American and they STILL have no idea what was in the bill.

Congress passed the bill without knowing what was in it. Barack Obama signed it without reading it.  Now it looks as though the Associated Press reported on ObamaCare without comprehending its content.   Readers will have to scroll far down to discover that the elimination of a key tax break that kept retirees on company prescription-medication plans will mean dumping millions of seniors onto Medicare — and that the AP ignored it until now:

Or did they? Maybe they wanted to kick retirees off their good, working, company plans and throw them into steadily- going-bankrupt Medicare:

Figuring out what it will mean for retirees will take longer, but analysts said as many as 2 million could lose the prescription drug coverage provided by their former employers, leaving them to enroll in Medicare’s program.

Over the past year, I’ve repeatedly warned about the dangers of static tax analysis.  That process considers changes in tax policy without considering its impact on behavior.  The closure of this “loophole,” as Robert Gibbs called it yesterday, is a perfect example of this stunted thinking.

The Democrats in Congress argued that they would gain $5.4 billion in revenue by eliminating the tax break enacted in the 2003 Medicare Part D program as an incentive for businesses to keep their retirees out of the Medicare system.  Instead, they have given businesses a reason to dump their retirees out of the private networks and into the Part D system now.  Not only will the expected tax revenues never appear, but now we will have to spend a lot more money covering those prescriptions out of public funds.  The seniors in these programs will suffer most of all, as the Part D coverage is vastly inferior to the private plans offered by businesses in the private sector.

Who could have foreseen this?  Well, businesses have been trying to get attention to this problem for months, as the AP somewhat belatedly reports:

Industry groups say they lobbied hard against the change in the tax rules before it was added to the health care law over the winter.

“It was in all of our letters and communications that went up to the Hill, and the companies were heavily involved in that,” said Dena Battle, a tax specialist with the National Association of Manufacturers.

Nationwide, companies would take a $14 billion hit on their financial statements if all of the roughly 3,500 companies receiving the subsidies continued to do so, according to a study by Towers Watson, a human resources consulting firm.

For months, businesses have warned about the problem, and for months, Democrats have claimed this clause as a $5.4 billion revenue source.  One might think that the media would be interested in puncturing some bad assumptions.  Apparently not.

Let’s see. The companies warned and warned that this would happen. Congress Ignored them.

And now, Congress is going to have Kangaroo-court hearings (see post below) because the companies have to do what the accounting rules tell them to do, or go to jail.

Do you get the idea that the Democrat are completely incompetent?


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