July 20, 2009

(h/t Heather)

Head. Slams. Against. Keyboard.

What world do Republicans live in? Apparently one in which Welfare Queens drive Cadillacs and Latinos and illegal immigrants routinely ace God-fearing white Americans out of their rightful jobs. Where uppity women don't realize their place is supporting the men in their lives and flounce about, getting abortions willy-nilly? Where laws are really only intended for the unwashed masses and the oligarchy they reinforce are above such mundane concerns.

Indeed, if you listen to Sen. Judd Gregg, it is also a world where 20 million young people make over $75,000 a year and choose not to get health insurance, frittering it all away with their fancy cars and electronic cell phone/camera/potato peelers, I'm sure.

WALLACE: Well, you say that you would like to see the 40-plus million -- there are arguments about specifically how many there are, but the 40-plus million uninsured get coverage. Under your idea, how would they get it? How would the government help them get it? And how would you pay for it?

GREGG: Well, first, it’s not a monolithic group. About 20 million of those folks earn more than $75,000. They’re basically young people who opt to spend their money on something other than health care insurance.

The way we would cover those folks is we would require them to buy health care policies for catastrophic events. They would have to self-insure under that.

Say it with me now: WTF???? Good to know that this is the man Obama wanted to head the Commerce Department, isn't it?

Since he's used these numbers (or a variation of them) before, for a split second, I thought about searching for where Gregg got his "facts", but honestly, I just don't want to be that close to Gregg's nether regions, because that's the only place such a ludicrous claim could come from.

Here are some real facts that Gregg might want to chew on:

CDC: Percentage of Americans With Private Health Insurance Hits 50-Year Low

Some experts blamed the faltering economy and corporate decisions to raise health insurance premiums — or do away with employee coverage — as the main drivers of the recent data. They say coverage statistics for 2009 may look even worse.

However, public coverage of adults is rising in some states, due to programs like Medicaid expanding eligibility. So not all the adults without private coverage are uninsured, Thorpe said


Income Gaps Hit Record Levels In 2006, New Data Show

Rich-Poor Gap Tripled Between 1979 and 2006

The data reveal starkly uneven income growth over recent decades. Between 1979 and 2006, real after-tax incomes rose by 256 percent — or $863,000 — for the top 1 percent of households, compared to 21 percent — or $9,200 — for households in the middle fifth of households and 11 percent — or $1,600 — for households in the bottom fifth. [..] In 2006, the average household in the top 1 percent had an income of $1.2 million, up $63,000 just from the prior year; this $63,000 gain is nearly two times the total income of the average middle-income household. [1]

In addition, the share of national after-tax income going to the top 1 percent of households more than doubled between 1979 and 2006, rising from 7.5 percent to 16.3 percent. Taken together with prior research, the new data suggest greater income concentration at the top than at any time since 1929. [2]

But Gregg thinks the answer is to mandate insurance and tax benefits:

GREGG: Well, that’s going to cost money. That’s going to cost money, and the way we pay for it is by limiting the deductibility of high-end health insurance premium plans.

So we do pay for it, and we do cover everyone, and we put in place a replacement of the reimbursement system so we reimburse doctors on the basis of quality and outcomes rather than on the basis of the number of procedures.

Uh huh. That'll work. Hey Judd, how 'bout you do some reading:

The Economist: The REAL cost of American health care

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