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  • Do Blue Dogs Want Lower Incomes, Fewer Jobs, and Bad Health Care?

    Political scientist Jacob Hacker claims in the Washington Post that the “Blue Dog” Democrats’ opposition to Obama’s “public plan” is not in the interests of their constituents – particularly farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and low- and middle-income workers, who would supposedly benefit from premium assistance and from the cost reductions he claims a Medicare-like public plan for the non-elderly would bring, as well as from the requirement that “all but the smallest of employers make a meaningful contribution to the cost of coverage.”

    On the contrary, it is precisely these provisions that would raise health care costs and harm the most economically vulnerable workers and entrepreneurs, while increasing health care costs for everyone. The requirement that “all but the smallest of employers make a meaningful contribution to the cost of coverage” is to be implemented by requiring employers who don’t provide health insurance to pay an 8 percent payroll tax – but the bill specifically states that this tax will NOT be credited toward worker’s premiums, even if they sign up for the public plan. So it won’t do workers any good in terms of providing them with health coverage – plus, as a tax on employment, it will force pay cuts and layoffs on those who can least afford them. It will kill the jobs of middle- and lower-income workers at a time when unemployment is already at historic highs, and do nothing to help those who retain their jobs to pay for health coverage.

    Furthermore, there is no evidence that a Medicare-like public plan for the non-elderly would bring about any cost reductions. Hacker has claimed in the past that Medicare has lower administrative costs and slower cost growth than public plans, but these claims do not stand up against the evidence – in fact, the opposite is true: Medicare has much higher per-beneficiary administrative costs, and creates the illusion of cost control only by pushing a higher share of its ever-increasing costs onto beneficiaries and other payers. Over 90% of the elderly find the need to acquire supplemental private insurance – or sign up for Medicaid – to pay Medicare’s soaring out-of-pocket costs. A Medicare-like public plan for the non-elderly, as proposed, would still leave lower- and middle-income workers with substantial medical bills, and many would find the public plan substantially less adequate than the insurance they have now.

    And as for premium assistance, most of the “farmers, ranchers and self-employed workers” that Hacker claims to care about would not qualify for premium assistance – but would “qualify” for the higher taxes imposed to pay for this health care nightmare. If they have employees, they’d be hit by the 8 percent payroll tax to make their “meaningful contribution,” and if their businesses are even slightly successful, they’d be hit by the “income surtax” that we are told will apply only to “the rich.”

    Perhaps instead of telling the Blue Dogs what’s best for their constituents, Hacker ought to take a look at the evidence and maybe even talk to some of those constitutents to see whether they want lower incomes, fewer jobs, and higher taxes to pay for high-cost, low-value health “coverage.”

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Do Blue Dogs Want Lower Incomes, Fewer Jobs, and Bad Health Care?

    1. Spiritof76 says:

      The short answer to your headline question is, yes. The Democratic Party in general(already left)and the leftist leadership factions within it want more destitute people that have to depend on government. That is their voting block that would keep them in power. The Party strategy since it was subsumed by the communists, socialists and progressives (home grown socialists)in 1900s has always been that the government is the one to provide housing, education, health care and every other social goodies. They exchange it for votes by taxing and tormenting the private enterprises and productive individuals.

    2. Gary, Norfolk, VA says:

      I recently contacted my Senators (Webb and Warner) to voice my opposition to ANY Health Care Reform at this time, particularly Health Care Reform being proposed by the House. Below is part of Senator Webb's response where he states that "47 million Americans {are} without Health Insurance." Armed with facts from the Heritage Foundation and other sources I followed up with my 'Representative' and called him on the "47 million" figure that is being floated out there in the media. My follow up e-mail is posted below Senator Webb's response to my original e-mail.



      Dear Gary:

      Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform. I appreciate your taking the time to share your views.

      As you know, addressing the health care crisis in our country is a top priority for me and my colleagues in Congress. There are 47 million Americans without health insurance and millions more who are underinsured. Health care costs currently consume more than $2 trillion per year and are estimated to reach over $4 trillion by 2017, jeopardizing family budgets and the long term financial stability of our system. Despite these huge expenditures, the United States ranks 42nd in the world in life expectancy, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and our health care system ranks lower than many countries on quality, access, efficiency, equity, and preventative care. We must improve the value and availability of care while addressing the increasing burden health care costs are placing on American families….


      Jim Webb

      United States Senator


      No Senator, there are not 47 million Americans without Health Insurance! At least 10 million of the 47 million you wrongly cite below are illegals! The number is TRULY closer to 8 – 10 million (the Census numbers count people who don't want Health Insurance and those between jobs), which begs the question, "why are you supporting Health Care Reform that will affect ALL AMERICANS when only 8-10 million are without Health Insurance?" If you want to help fix this small percentage of Americans without Health Insurance, then help them…this Virginian is just fine without your help, thank you!


      P. S. Are YOU and YOUR FAMILY willing to live with a Government-run Health Care System that you force on the rest of us? Stay out of my life please!

    3. Al, Aurora, IL says:

      Well said. Every poll I've seen explicitly shows that the vast majority of Americans do NOT want the government further interferring with our health care. Listen to your constituents! Stay out of our private lives! We vote and you are supposed to work for US!

    4. Cara says:

      Which polls are you looking at?

      In the minority according to a recent NYT poll:

      To summarize:

      1. Americans trust Obama over congressional GOPers on health care by a 55%-26% margin.

      … Read More

      2. 72% think Congress is moving either too slowly or at the right pace.

      3. 59% think Obama is moving either too slowly or at the right pace.

      4. 76% think health care costs pose a serious threat to the nation's economy.

      5. 66% support a Medicare-style public option for all Americans.

      I suppose you are planning to give up Medicare and Social Security?

      "We vote and you are supposed to work for US!"

      Yes, we do vote and there was an election last November. Some guy won (rather handily I might add) that ran on a campaign of reforming health care along the lines of at the least a public option.

      What world are you living in that you didn't know this?

    5. Cara says:


      The large majority of the uninsured (80 percent) are native or naturalized citizens.2

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