Thursday, March 04, 2010

Proof That A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

Last night Rachel Maddow promised that we would get to see "the best graph ever." I didn't know what to expect, but I was still a little surprised when I saw how simple it looked....but understood what she meant. She later explained that after months of trying to explain how past tax cuts HURT our bottom line economy and this proposed one (health care reform) will HELP, it was a relief to see one graph that perfectly explained how.

And is the best graph ever (thank you to The Political Carnival for making it so easy to find):

PS - those numbers represent BILLIONS of dollars.

The first bar is the impact on the unified budget balance of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) of 2001. The second is the impact on the budget balance of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (JGTRRA) of 2003. The third bar is the CBO estimated impact on the deficit of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act proposed in the Senate on November 19, for 2010-2019.


George said...

Firstly, I just want to reiterate that I firmly believe all Americans should have access to quality health care.

Nevertheless, I also believe the chart is misleading. It's comparing historical data to estimates. The CBO's estimate is one of many that has been published, and they all vary widely in the perceived impact on the federal budget. In the end they will all be wrong.

Also the deal with the labor unions, which excludes the 45% tax placed on their "Cadillac" plans provided through their collective bargaining agreements, was not considered in the original CBO estimate that is referenced on the chart:

As the author states in the above article, the new version of the bill will probably try to make up the revenue shortfall in some other way, but it's not exactly known how (or if) it will be done.

Again, all of this is an unknown and has still as to work its way through Congress as the special interests try to make the deal sweeter for the narrow scope of Americans they represent.

Rachel is trying to sell people using very weak "evidence".

Furthermore, I also think Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a bad bill. It's a toxic mix of public money and private industry. it's a back door subsidy for the insurance companies and health care providers. The Massachusetts experiment, which is a similar model has not worked ( The rate of cost increase has risen each of the three years it's been in place. I agree with the author from the Boston Globe. Unless you're going to fundamentally change the way our healthcare system works (which is what i want!), a public option is required to lower costs. it's the only way to force private sector insurance to keeps their premiums in check (by sacrificing earnings). While there are good things in the PPACA, I'm afraid "affordable" healthcare is not one of them. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Take care!

Alannah said...

I appreciate your comment and you've obviously done much more research and thinking about this than I have.

I agree that the chart is dealing with past plans vs. an estimate on what this plan MIGHT do and yes, will most likely be wrong...but maybe not? Even if it causes another negative bar graph, can it possibly be worse than the Bush tax cuts?

I agree that the Cadillac tax needs to be analyzed much more. I'm wary of anything that is mostly beneficial to union members.

I wouldn't call the CBO estimate "weak evidence."

So what do we do? Do we sit around waiting for Congress to come up with a better plan (ha ha)?

I just canceled my employer-sponsored health insurance because I couldn't deal with the annual premium increases with no increase in coverage. In fact, I'm disgusted with how little is covered while also charging high co-pays. I'll just do my best to stay healthy and not be forced into paying into something I can't afford out of fear for what MIGHT happen.

George said...

Sorry. I wasn't saying the CBO estimate was weak. Give the recent deals between members of Congress and special interests, it's just no longer relevant.

I have no answer for what we do now, and I'm personally struggling to find it. On one hand, I can't imagine ignoring something that will protect people with preexisting conditions from being denied coverage. It's absolutely terrible that children with asthma are being denied the right to breathe comfortably. Children with autism or cancer...there are a growing number of kids who fall into the current uninsurable category.

On the other hand, I'm always skeptical of laws that mandate things that benefit private industry (everyone in America must buy what you're selling). Only time will tell if this bill will have its intended effect.

If it really came down to it, I could find some satisfaction that no one could be denied coverage under the current bill, and that's very important to me. I wouldn't
"hit the streets" and protest if it became law.

*side note*
I can empathize with your situation. Kelli and I have been relatively fortunate in that both of our employers provide decent and affordable group plans. Nevertheless, the fact that your insurance is tied to your employer is a huge problem with the current system. The Senate bill will allow you opt out of your employer provided (and negotiated) plans if you meet certain criteria. If you do, you'll enjoy the benefit of the individual and small group "exchanges" in which you should have more choice in providers, plans and ultimately price.

If you don't meet the criteria (they appear to be pretty generous to me), you'll be in the same boat you are now, only you'll be required by law to pay the premiums for the plan your employer has chosen for you.

I'm eager to discuss some of this stuff in person with you and Dave soon!