Obama's reform plan passes the buck to the next president

A surprising source - the Washington Post editorial board - slaps the president down not only for many provisions in his revised health care reform plan, but also for his tactic of dumping unpopular decisions into the lap of his successor:

Mr. Obama, following the advice of nearly every economist who has examined the issue, identified a tax on high-cost insurance plans as a key mechanism for curbing the growth of health-care costs. He was right. Unfortunately, in the legislative process the tax already was whittled down several times. Now the president proposes delaying it until 2018 -- long after he leaves office -- and raising the threshold at which it applies. Meanwhile, to recoup the $120 billion lost by the delay, Mr. Obama would apply the Medicare payroll tax to unearned income for the wealthiest taxpayers -- money that should be used to shore up Medicare's shaky finances rather than subsidizing cushy insurance.The president also would give the government power to block increases in health-care premiums. Given public concerns about a federal takeover of the health-care system, letting the government essentially dictate premiums hardly seems like a step in the right direction. More than half the states already require their insurance commissioners to approve rate increases in the individual or small-group markets; the House- and Senate-passed bills provide authority to review increases for insurers participating in the newly created exchanges. The White House argues that this power will help shield consumers in the four years before the exchanges are up and running, but its recent use of the insurance industry as a political scapegoat does not bode well for its responsible use of such authority.

The key is the tax on gold standard insurance policies - mostly found in labor union contracts - and why delaying the collection of that tax is political cowardice:

Now it postpones the key savings mechanism. Administration officials argue that Mr. Obama deserves credit for not dropping the tax altogether. But when did he stand up and fight for the better approach? And what credit or credibility is due a president who endorses a tax but leaves to his successor the unpleasant task of collecting it? 

Barack Obama is no Harry Truman.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky




A surprising source - the Washington Post editorial board - slaps the president down not only for many provisions in his revised health care reform plan, but also for his tactic of dumping unpopular decisions into the lap of his successor:

Mr. Obama, following the advice of nearly every economist who has examined the issue, identified a tax on high-cost insurance plans as a key mechanism for curbing the growth of health-care costs. He was right. Unfortunately, in the legislative process the tax already was whittled down several times. Now the president proposes delaying it until 2018 -- long after he leaves office -- and raising the threshold at which it applies. Meanwhile, to recoup the $120 billion lost by the delay, Mr. Obama would apply the Medicare payroll tax to unearned income for the wealthiest taxpayers -- money that should be used to shore up Medicare's shaky finances rather than subsidizing cushy insurance.

The president also would give the government power to block increases in health-care premiums. Given public concerns about a federal takeover of the health-care system, letting the government essentially dictate premiums hardly seems like a step in the right direction. More than half the states already require their insurance commissioners to approve rate increases in the individual or small-group markets; the House- and Senate-passed bills provide authority to review increases for insurers participating in the newly created exchanges. The White House argues that this power will help shield consumers in the four years before the exchanges are up and running, but its recent use of the insurance industry as a political scapegoat does not bode well for its responsible use of such authority.

The key is the tax on gold standard insurance policies - mostly found in labor union contracts - and why delaying the collection of that tax is political cowardice:

Now it postpones the key savings mechanism. Administration officials argue that Mr. Obama deserves credit for not dropping the tax altogether. But when did he stand up and fight for the better approach? And what credit or credibility is due a president who endorses a tax but leaves to his successor the unpleasant task of collecting it? 

Barack Obama is no Harry Truman.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky