Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Sweeping" Changes

The new health-care reform package will touch every one of us. Here is how they hope to pay for it...
  • A 0.5% income tax increase on persons making $200k to $350k
  • A 1% income tax increase on persons making $350k to $500k
  • A 1.5% income tax increase on persons making $500 to $1 million
  • A 5.4% income tax increase on persons making above $1 million
  • A 3.8% Medicare tax to capital gains and dividends on persons making more than $200,000
  • A 40% excise tax on high-value, employer-sponsored, health coverage
  • A 10% tax increase on those funds placed in a medical savings account but left unused for qualified medical expenses//Maximum contributions to MSA's have been reduced substantially, and the list of qualified expenditures has also been revised
  • A penalty on persons who lack health coverage, measured at 2.5% of income
  • A penalty on businesses who refuse to offer coverage, measured at 8% of total wages
  • A fee on self-insured plans for employer- and/or employee-organized plans, as well as an additional fee on each plan that is provided by the issuer
  • A 10% excise tax on tanning services
  • A 5% excise tax on cosmetic procedures
  • A sales fee on medical-device manufacturers, measured as a percentage of annual sales
  • A sales fee on pharmaceutical companies, measured as a percentage of annual sales
  • A sales fee on health insurance providers, measured as a percentage of annual sales
  • Oh...and a $50,000 per annum penalty on hospitals and medical facilities that do not meet DHHS quality requirements
Well, those are the facts. Now I guess we just have to get ready for the fleecing.



Health-Overhaul Foes Ready Court Challenges

Opponents of the health-care overhaul awaiting President Barack Obama's signature said Monday they would quickly file legal challenges, potentially giving the U.S. Supreme Court a fresh opportunity to reopen questions about the limits of federal power.

The focus of the legal attacks will be an argument that Congress has no right under the Constitution to mandate that individuals buy health insurance, or to require states to establish and oversee insurance exchanges through which individuals and businesses would buy health coverage, according to opponents of the measure.

"This bill fundamentally changes the constitutional architecture under which we've been operating," said David Rivkin, a Washington lawyer hired by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum to challenge the law. Mr. McCollum is a leader of a coalition of Republican attorneys general who have said they will sue to block provisions of the bill.

The challenges, if they reach the Supreme Court, could result in a new test of the meaning of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People."

The Supreme Court rejected 10th Amendment challenges to the Social Security Act in the 1930s. Jack Balkin, a Yale law professor, said the court would have to reconsider its New Deal precedents to strike down the health-care law.

The law would require states to adopt and enforce regulations related to health insurance, a realm traditionally handled by states without federal oversight.

Mr. McCollum's argument is expected to rely on a 1992 opinion by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, which struck down a federal plan to deal with radioactive waste by providing incentives to states to handle its disposal and imposing penalties.

Democratic officials didn't share the Republicans' fear that the health bill undercut their authority. "The legislation seems to give state regulators a healthy degree of autonomy," Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart said.

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