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Opinion

Opinion

A solution to the looming debt menace

May 10, 2011

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Here’s a safe prediction: The “bipartisan” group of congressmen led by Vice President Joe Biden will fail to solve the $14 trillion debt crisis.

Here’s another prediction: The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org/) has developed a formula, made possible by a grant from The Peterson Foundation (www.pgpf.org/), that could balance the budget in 10 years, reduce the debt to 30 percent of gross domestic product within 25 years, cut the size of the federal government in half by 2036, reform the tax code, restructure Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, while protecting the most vulnerable, and not increasing taxes if — and it is a very big if — politicians prefer the solution to continued bickering.

Social Security: The plan’s centerpiece foresees “a gradual transition over many years to a flat benefit system ($1,200 per month in 2010 dollars that would be indexed in future years) to protect seniors from the risk of living in poverty.” Higher income seniors would see gradual reductions in their benefits, based on their non-Social Security income. Benefits for single seniors earning $100,000 and couples earning $165,000 would be phased out.

The minimum retirement age would increase to 68, reflecting today’s longer life expectancy. “Those who work past their full retirement age would receive a special annual tax deduction of $10,000, regardless of income level.” The tax on retirement income would be eliminated.

The plan would make seniors less dependent on income from Social Security by offering them savings options. “A new savings plan would automatically place 6 percent of a worker’s income in a savings plan they own and control, unless they voluntarily opt out of enrollment. This money would not be double-taxed, unlike today’s Social Security payments and other savings options.”

Medicare: “Transformed from its current unsustainable and open-ended system into a defined contribution that helps those who need it most.” Medicare eligibility would be determined on non-Social Security income, with a similar means testing of allotments. It would be completely phased out “for seniors receiving $110,000 (single) and $165,000 (married).” The program would be put on a long-term budget.

All seniors would be allowed to choose from traditional Medicare fee-for-service coverage, as well as expanded options in private plans, ensuring competition and controlling costs.

Unlike the current program, the reform would offer catastrophic health coverage as a standard feature in both Medicare and private plans.

All of this is linked to full repeal of the euphemistically titled “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” which, says the Heritage proposal, “centralizes decision-making over health care services within the federal government, thereby limiting choice and options for affordable care.” The Heritage plan proposes to create a health care system driven by consumers, not managed by government.

Medicaid: Tailored to focus on the disabled and vulnerable elderly. “States would be given greater flexibility to experiment with health programs” and would “cap Medicaid spending at 2007 levels.”

Tax reform: A single, flat tax for individuals, lowered overall rates, elimination of taxes on gifts and transfers. All deductions would be eliminated, except for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and education.

Federal spending: Nondefense discretionary items would revert to 2008 levels. Federal spending has jumped 21 percent faster than inflation in just the last three years.

What’s the difference between the Heritage Foundation plan and the one proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan? Stuart Butler, who headed the team that drew up the Heritage proposal, tells me the Ryan plan “can’t balance the budget any time soon. Ours does.”

Heritage President Ed Feulner says, “We have come to a time of decision. For too long, Congress has been on an unsustainable binge of spending, taxing and borrowing. Our nation is going broke, and we are passing the costs of these misguided politics to our children and their children. America is on the verge of decline — economically stagnant and permanently debt-bound, heavily regulated and bureaucratic, less self-governing and less free.”

Knowing what must be done and not doing it is not just irresponsible, but deplorable.

The Heritage plan offers a way out if politicians put the welfare of their country ahead of their own.

Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services. His email address is tmseditors@tribune.com

Comments

cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

All observers acknowledge that in 2012 we will see the largest number of vulnerable Senate Democrat seats than at any time in recent memory. One ot two things must happen for an excellent plan like the Heritage Foundation's to be enacted: (1) Get rid of Obama in 2012 and elect a Republican congress with a minimum number of RINOs in their midst, or (2) elect a veto-proof, non-RINO Republican congress.

Short of that, tax-and-spend Democrats and RINOs will continue to drive our country down the path to financial ruin. We're in a crisis situation, and owe it to all future generations of Americans to get our fiscal house in order after decades of government waste and mismanagement emanating from our nation's capital.

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

What a load!

"Flat benefits" = vouchers. Guess who will make money on that deal? Hint: It ain't you.

Raise the eligibility age to 68. Most will be forced to work longer and receive less in benefits. Poor and middle class life expectancies have not risen at the same rate as the wealthy and idle rich. Guess who will make money on that deal? Hint: It ain't you.

Savings "options" = Wall Street firms taking a cut for offering you "management" services, i.e they will gamble with your money and charge you a fee for doing so. Guess who makes money in that deal? Hint: It ain't you.

Cap Medicaid spending at 2007 levels. Guess who loses here. Hint: It's you.

Cap federal spending, but not the military. Unless you are part of the war and empire machinery, or a military welfare recipient, guess what, you lose again.

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gudpoynt 3 years, 3 months ago

amen, and also,

flat tax (i assume he's talking about income tax?) is inherently regressive. Meaning it perpetuates and accelerates wealth disparity. Meaning the rich get richer. Meaning the poor get poorer. Meaning the middle class dwindles. Are you in the middle class? Which way do you think you will go? Up or down. Which is more fair to US citizens?

It boggles my mind to see half of America thinking companies like AIG and Merck have the common citizen's best interests in mind more than their own democratically elected government.

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Kontum1972 3 years, 3 months ago

hahaha...how many companys want a 68 year old employee?

Do they really think we are all going to make it past 2012..?

What if the spaceships come and start using their "Death Rays" on us...?

                                   Gork!............."Klaatu Verada Nickto"
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cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

Scott 3460, you're obviously too naive to know who really pays out the nose on this proposal. It's people like me, from whose earnings the government has been taking tons of money for many years under the guise of a government plan called "Social Security" (its worst facet being a "self employment tax" inflicted on far too many productive Americans whose efforts employ millions of people) that has always claimed that we would "get it back" when we retire. Under the Heritage Foundation proposal, those of us at certain income levels ultimately won't get any of it back at all - which some of us are reluctantly willing to do in order to attempt to stem the crisis caused by decades of profligate government spending by both political parties.

Scott 3460, are you a net tax payer or a net tax taker? Just curious.

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Kendall Simmons 3 years, 3 months ago

Considering that there is a fairly low cap on how much income is taxed...$106,800, on which there is currently a maximum of $4,485.60 that can be paid by any one employee into Social Security...I'm not sure why Cato is assuming that he's paying any more than Scott or me or anyone else posting here. Or why he would think $4,485.60 is "out the nose" or "tons" of money. (It's less than $375 a month on a gross of at least $8900 a month.)

And how about realizing that "productive Americans" are simply not restricted to those who make over $100,000 a year? Indeed, the millions upon millions of people working for far less than $100,000 a year are essential to business success in America.

(As an aside, I am tired of the argument that this plan or that will be "driven by consumers, not managed by government". That's just baloney. The truth is that it will be driven by for-profit enterprise, not by consumers. But consumers are gullible...conservative, liberal, who cares...gullible. They buy the jargon and don't understand the product.)

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

Yea, I've asked a few of the true believers which they think think the country could survive better-- the bottom 50% income earners going on strike for the next month, or the top 1%. They both take in about the same income, so by that measure, their productivity must be precisely the same, right?

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

Bozo, one person who is clearly not productive is you.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

And yet again, a true believer goes for the personal attack rather than addressing inconvenient realities.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

Bozo, what I said is probably the most inconvenient reality you know.

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

No, it's you who's got nothin.' That was my point. Why don't you get a job and get somethin'?

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cato_the_elder 3 years, 3 months ago

Acorn, I never said that "productive Americans" are limited to those making any amount of money. I stated that many of those Americans who have been forced to pay "self employment tax" for years are productive individuals who also employ millions of people, which is a fact.

The fact that you make no comment at all on the prospect that many Americans may reluctantly agree to give up completely all that they've previously "paid in," which is nothing more than punishment for financial success, demonstrates once more how little some people think about taking money from others through wealth redistribution.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

This proposal is a mixture of good and bad ideas.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 3 months ago

Here's a prediction. The Republican Party will use this "crisis" to push through still more tax cuts for their wealthy constituents.

It seems that no politician, regardless of party, will waste a good crisis.

You simply have to look at the history of the National Debt to realize that both parties have failed to implement the kind of changes that can bring it under control.

The current Republican rhetoric is more of the same. That is why the Ryan plan is pushing for tax cuts along with drastic cuts to social programs that Americans rely on to survive.

The Bush tax cuts were completely irresponsible as was the invasion of Iraq and the rhetoric about a "war on terrorism" was a plan to scare people into allowing the administration to do just about anything they wanted to do. At the very least it was a foolish plan implemented by very foolish men.

OBL was nothing more than a sadistic criminal and probably far less intelligent or capable than anyone imagined. Probably his greatest gift was the ability to lie and manipulate his naive followers.

His mystique as a kind of supernatural villain was a gift from the Bush administration.

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

"His mystique as a kind of supernatural villain was a gift from the Bush administration."

And peddled, unquestioned & ad naueseum by the so called "liberal" mainstream media.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

Yep, it's known as disaster capitalism, the brainchild of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

The neoconservative christian fundamentalist party will not allow any republicans in the republican party. That is why they ousted them with few exceptions.

Olympia Snowe is on the neoconservative christian fundamentalist party chopping block for voting what's best for the country. This behavior is not acceptable. The neoconservative christian fundamentalist party has found a neoconservative christian fundamentalist to replace her.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

You're obviously ignorant of the meaning of "neoliberal." Ironically, neoconservatives and neoliberals share most of the same ideals. (i.e., neocolonialism.)

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

I realize this was supposed to be a joke, but Gallup does not exclude specific political groups from their polls. They have strict policies in place to insure this. The only exclusions that occur are the ones of self-selection to participate in the poll, and that the sample group is controlled to assure a diverse demographic is represented (gender, age group, etc.).

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Was "neoconservative christian fundamentalist party" on today's page of the Cliched Phrases for Unpleasant People calendar?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

I got this in an email today.

"From a LTE in the Missoulian, one of the most succinct takedowns of why GOP budgeting is bad for America:

Their budget goes something like this: First, they'll need to borrow a trillion dollars from the Chinese (remember, we're broke). Second, they'll give millionaires and billionaires a trillion dollar tax cut (creates jobs!). To pay for it, Republicans gut Medicare and Medicaid of a trillion (they're pesky socialism programs, anyways). Elegantly simple. And downright dangerous. [...] Please, if you remember only one thing about the Republican budget and its priorities, it's this: It borrows a trillion from China. Gives the trillion to the ultra-rich. Ultimately, it is paid for on the backs of seniors, the disabled, and the poor. Sadly, these are Republican values. I get it. But I resolutely reject it. All Americans must reject it."

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

It's admittedly a very simplified version of "Republican values." But accurate as far as they go, nonetheless.

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Olympics 3 years, 3 months ago

Paul Krugman, on April 11th, comments on the Heritage Foundation.

“When the proposal was released, it was praised as a “wonk-approved” plan that had been run by the experts. But the “experts” in question, it turned out, were at the Heritage Foundation, and few people outside the hard right found their conclusions credible. In the words of the consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers — which makes its living telling businesses what they need to know, not telling politicians what they want to hear — the Heritage analysis was “both flawed and contrived.” Basically, Heritage went all in on the much-refuted claim that cutting taxes on the wealthy produces miraculous economic results, including a surge in revenue that actually reduces the deficit. “ Krugman further comments: “By the way, Heritage is always like this. Whenever there’s something the G.O.P. doesn’t like — say, environmental protection — Heritage can be counted on to produce a report, based on no economic model anyone else recognizes, claiming that this policy would cause huge job losses. Correspondingly, whenever there’s something Republicans want, like tax cuts for the wealthy or for corporations, Heritage can be counted on to claim that this policy would yield immense economic benefits. “

You should always remember:

  1. Don’t believe anything Heritage says.
  2. If you find what Heritage is saying plausible, remember rule 1.
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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

New user. Attacks Obama, Pelosi and Reid. No substance, just lame talking points. Is it just me, or is it smelling a little like Linwood in here?

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

And where is the substance in most of your posts? Mostly they're name-calling and such, like this one.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Read the People's Budget

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

Read The Technical Analysis and Working Paper

The CPC proposal: • Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021 • Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program • Protects the social safety net • Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq • Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)

What the proposal accomplishes: • Primary budget balance by 2014. • Budget surplus by 2021. • Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch. • Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline. • Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021.

Support for the People's Budget

Paul Krugman

Jeffrey Sachs

The Economist

The New Republic

The Washington Post

The Guardian

The Nation

Center for American Progress

Economic Policy Institute

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Congress is Way Out of Touch

National surveys consistently show that budget writers in Congress are ignoring the wishes of the American people on how to reduce deficits.

In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, 72 percent favor raising federal taxes for households earning $250,000 a year or more.

But not a single Republican in Congress and too few Democrats are prepared to ask the wealthiest people in the country to pay a little more to help bring down deficits.

Read more » http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=34fe9001-d1bc-4a2f-8314-f2ad62c40e26

See the poll results » http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/04/21/us/nat-poll.html?ref=us

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Top 5 Social Security Myths

Myth #1: Social Security is going broke. Reality: There is no Social Security crisis. By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T'). It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.1 After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits—and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers' retirement decades ago.2 Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth #2: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer. Reality: This is a red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than they did 70 years ago.3 What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly—since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.4 But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut.

Myth #3: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security. Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come.5 Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income.6 But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth #4: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.7 The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market—which would have been disastrous—but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth #5: Social Security adds to the deficit Reality: It's not just wrong—it's impossible! By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.8

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Sources: 1."To Deficit Hawks: We the People Know Best on Social Security," New Deal 2.0, June 14, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89703&id=22140-1285051-8ACVPdx&t=4

  1. "The Straight Facts on Social Security," Economic Opportunity Institute, September 2009 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89704&id=22140-1285051-8ACVPdx&t=5

  2. "Social Security and the Age of Retirement," Center for Economic and Policy Research, June 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89705&id=22140-1285051-8ACVPdx&t=6

  3. "More on raising the retirement age," Washington Post, July 8, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89706&id=22140-1285051-8ACVPdx&t=7

  4. "Social Security is sustainable," Economic and Policy Institute, May 27, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89707&id=22140-1285051-8ACVPdx&t=8

  5. "Maximum wage contribution and the amount for a credit in 2010," Social Security Administration, April 23, 2010 http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/240

  6. "Trust Fund FAQs," Social Security Administration, February 18, 2010 http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/fundFAQ.html

8."To Deficit Hawks: We the People Know Best on Social Security," New Deal 2.0, June 14, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89703&id=22140-1285051-8ACVPdx&t=9

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Republican Paul Ryan's plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the 2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly.

The Economist

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Corey Williams 3 years, 3 months ago

Don't your parents give you enough?

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notaubermime 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

I love the way that no one ever attempts to refute Merrill's posts, just insults him for making them.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

Capitalism is the worst form of economics man has ever devised, except for all the others.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

But many here think that it has no flaws, and merely needs to be allowed to run in all its bulldozer splendor, with no checks, and no balances.

Are you among them?

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

As my comment implies, capitalism has it's flaws. But fewer flaws than other economic systems.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Not sure I agree with that.

I suspect each system has a unique combination of positive and negative attributes.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

We've all seen merrill's posts so many times before that they've just faded into the background. Kinda like a squeaky wheel on a grocery store cart.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

The current economic difficulties have three major causes.

First was the Bush tax cuts (mostly to the wealthiest of the wealthy,) followed immediately by two wars (one of them already the longest in US history, the other close behind) paid for by borrowed money, and idiotic, unregulated investment scams that sucked wealth away from the middle and working class, and delivered it to the scammers.

But Republicans exist solely to service the rich, so we'll get nothing but more of the same from them. If they have their way, the economy will be even worse a year from now, and ten years from now, but the wealthy will be even wealthier, at the expense of everyone else.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

That's pretty much what bozo said - I don't know why you think it's a rebuttal.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Krugman's statement is virtually identical to Bozo's.

Yours make no sense.

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somedude20 3 years, 3 months ago

"cut the size of the federal government in half by 2036," Ah pee on it! Why worry about the economy when we are killing the earth and if the earth does keep us as tenants, the meteor in 2036 will kill us http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99942_Ap...

Now I am at Whit's end!

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somedude20 3 years, 3 months ago

No KU for me but thanks for the dusting of troll dust. Boy I loved fighting for jagaloons like you while I served in the military.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

The feds whizzing away a few billion to help Reid keep his Senate seat is just digging the debt hole deeper.

"The Obama administration's rushed efforts to shut down Yucca Mountain were strictly political and could set back the opening of a nuclear waste repository by more than 20 years, according to a new report by a federal watchdog. The administration killed the repository program last year without citing technical or safety issues, and restarting the costly and time-consuming process of finding a permanent repository or an alternative solution could take decades and cost billions of additional dollars, the Government Accountability Office reported yesterday. .."

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/10/10greenwire-gao-death-of-yucca-mountain-caused-by-politica-36298.html?pagewanted=all

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

How to reduce the cost of the federal government in a large way?

Let's reduce health care costs by allowing all Americans the choice of low cost great coverage IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All.

Mandate that all federal government employees including all elected officials use IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All. Instead of using the most expensive medical insurance industry in the world. YES!

This would be having our government insure itself as many corporations and wealthy individuals do. This would be a frugal step in the right direction.

Let's encourage the President and Congress to get on with this cost cutting program.

Again let's reduce health care costs by allowing all Americans the choice of low cost great coverage IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All.

Why? Because the medical insurance industry does not provide health care. But they are a whopping expense. And most consumers do not spend what is paid out annually per policy.

Improved Medicare Insurance for All would provide real medical insurance reform!

The United States spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care – $8160 per capita – yet performs poorly in comparison and leaves over 46 million people without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

Let’s direct OUR tax dollars to fund OUR medical insurance by our own choice. What’s good for elected officials is good for WE taxpayers!

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Expanded and Improved Medicare Insurance for All is one of the solutions.

  • Easy to Implement: Medicare has been in existence since 1966, it provides healthcare to those 65 and older, and satisfaction levels are high. The structure is already in place and can be easily expanded to cover everyone.

  • Simple: One entity – established by the government – would handle billing and payment at a cost significantly lower than private insurance companies. Private insurance companies spend about 31% of every healthcare dollar on administration. Medicare now spends about 3%.

  • Real Choice: An expanded and improved Medicare for All would provide personal choice of doctors and other healthcare providers. While financing would be public, providers would remain private. As with Medicare, you choose your doctor, your hospital, and other healthcare providers.

  • State and Local Tax Relief: Medicare for All would assume the costs of healthcare delivery, thus relieving the states and local governments of the cost of healthcare, including Medicaid, and as a result reduce State and local tax burdens.

  • Expanded coverage: Would cover all medically necessary healthcare services – no more rationing by private insurance companies. There would be no limits on coverage, no co-pays or deductibles, and services would include not only primary and specialized care but also prescription drugs, dental, vision, mental health services, and long-term care.

  • Everyone In, Nobody Out: Everyone would be eligible and covered. No longer would doctors ask what insurance you have before they treat you.

  • No More Overpriced Private Health Insurance: Medicare for All would eliminate the need for private health insurance companies who put profit before healthcare, unfairly limit choice, restrict who gets coverage, and force people into bankruptcy.

  • Lower Costs: Most people will pay significantly less for health care. Savings will be achieved in reduced administrative costs and in negotiated prices for prescription drugs.

http://www.healthcare-now.org/

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

  1. The U.S. health insurance system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.

  2. Thursday, June 25, 2009 Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

"The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable -- publicly accountable -- health-care option," said Wendell Potter, who until early last year was vice president for corporate communications at the big insurer Cigna.

Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

More on this story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh, golly, merrill's started recycling the medicare for all posts that have already appeared on this award-winning website hundreds and hundreds of times.

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