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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Health Care Reform and the Drip Factor

The drip factor in politics means that a steady stream of news begins to create a narrative. The best example of the drip factor was Iraq 2004-2006. Nearly everyday, a handful of American military died. With each death a narrative formed that we were stuck and our military was dying for a strategy that wasn't working.

Health care reform will largely be the same way. It won't be any one specific piece of news that will drive the story. Instead, it will be the cumulative effect. That's why this confrontation between Bill O'Reilly and Congressman Anthony Weiner is so important.

O'Reilly tried to make the point that the IRS would be the one to enforce the penalty if someone refused to get health insurance. Weiner refused to acknowledge this simple idea. Charles Krauthammer was on O'Reilly days later. He said it didn't take a shrink to figure out why. We all don't like the IRS and so we'd all dislike knowing that they are getting any more power. That's exactly what this bill will do. It's a drip.

The second drip is the stream of corporations that say that health care reform will cost them more.

Major business groups want a provision of healthcare-reform repealed because it could cost American corporations up to $14 billion at a time when people desperately need jobs.

James A. Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, warns the same tax-law change that led AT&T to take a $1 billion charge last week represents "a serious mistake that is having negative and unintended consequences."

On Wednesday, Boeing became the latest company to announce a write down of value due to health care reform, deducting $150 million from its first quarter earnings.

This is also being challenged vociferously by Democrats. That's because the stakes are huge. It's the collection of these stories that forms the narrative of the drip factor. So far, the only drips are negative. It's the drips that will define health care reform now that it's passed.


AG said...

Whatever happened to getting what you paid for?

Sure, eliminating the FFEL program in favor of the Direct Loan program *could* cost some private student loan industry jobs, but so what? Does that automatically change the reprehensible nature in which those jobs were funded?

Same with the health care industry. Medicare Part D provides subsidies for businesses to buy prescription drugs for their employees. It also does not treat those subsidies as taxable income. Yet on top of that they were able to deduct those subsidies from their income as if they were paying out of their own pocket. Its a sweetheart deal and the reform bill stopped it.

mike volpe said...

The lack of taxation for employer funded health insurance is its own sweet heart deal but that wasn't necessarily stopped.

So, the end of sweet heart deals is very random.

Anonymous said...

I listened to the program.I do not see any problem with IRS monitoring. From atax payer standpoint I do not see any difference between a a state or local govt vs feds. Why Mr Weiner could not say what Bill wants to hear is beyond me

mike volpe said...

you notwithstanding, most people don't like the IRS. They don't want it to get any more power. Obviously, this isn't much more but it's more.