It seems as if the Obama administration is willing to do just about anything to get their health reform bill through Congress. The entire legislative process seems to be quickly degrading into a startling number of out-of-control bribes and closed-door negotiations.
Most notably in the last few weeks: the “Louisiana Purchase” to win the support of Sen Landrieu, the “Cornhusker Kickback” to secure Sen. Nelson’s vote, and now the sweetheart deal with big labor, to reel in the union vote.
The deal will exempt union employees from paying a Cadillac tax (a 40% excise tax, applying to plans valued at $8,900 for individuals/ $24,000 for families) on their health insurance plans until 2018. And in yet another concession, vision and dental plans for union employees would be exempt even after 2018.
The Cadillac tax, as written in the Senate bill, was estimated to raise $149 billion by 2019, thereby containing the continually rising costs associated with reform legislation and forcing those with higher-cost plans to bear a greater share of the financial burden. The union deal is expected to reduce that number by $60 billion, resulting in a substantial deficit – inevitably to be filled with higher taxes for all (or those unlucky enough to have missed out on their piece of the pie).
What a surprise… The long awaited and visionary government health reform is turning out to be a lot of special interest pandering – lowering costs for those who need it the least, and raising costs for everyone else.