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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 12:27 PM   #41
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
In the same poll, 62% of Americans were in favor of "universal healthcare", but those numbers dropped to 39% if the phrase "with waiting lists for non-emergency treatment" was added, and dropped to 35% if the phrase "with limited choice of doctors" was added.
But I wonder of those who were polled, what % were receiving subsidized health insurance through their employer? I suspect most are, so that they could afford to be more cavalier about their disatisfaction with waiting lists and limited doctor choices.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 12:34 PM   #42
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

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Originally Posted by donheff
I suspect if you were to carefully check, you would find that a disproportionate percentage of liberals are in the upper income ranges. We advocate changes that would COST US MORE through higher taxes. We don't need the changes to make it ourselves, we just want to leave a decent country to our kids. How is that an "I've got mine, now you're screwed mentality?"
It seems a more accurate wording would be: "We advocate changes that require the government to seize money from us and others and to redistribute it." Clearly, everyone is already free to give their own money to others/to charity, etc. One of the main differences between liberals and fiscal conservatives/libertarians is the degree to which they believe the government should be in the wealth redistribution business.

Ready for the next ad hominem attack. That's the first sign that an individual is out of ideas and reverting to what he read on a bumper sticker.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 12:35 PM   #43
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

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Originally Posted by vagabond
But I wonder of those who were polled, what % were receiving subsidized health insurance through their employer? I suspect most are, so that they could afford to be more cavalier about their disatisfaction with waiting lists and limited doctor choices.
I don't get it with everyone calling employer provided healthcare "subsidized". Every employer/MBA contract negotiation around here all of those so-called "subsidies" were just below "salaries" and all totalled up down at the bottom under "total cost". In our budget we had to include all of the fringe benefits, including healthcare, as labor costs. When we requested reimbursement from the fed for employees we assigned to work in their task forces, labor costs included healthcare.

I don't see any employer figuring up salaries and then saying "Oh, and here's the healthcare we provided for free in order to subsidize our employees. It takes away from the bottom line, but hey, we love these people!"

It's just part of the compensation package. Most of my compensation comes in the form of salary, some comes in employer matching pension contributions, some in the form of a car and gasoline and paid vacation days, and some in the form of group healthcare. I worked for every bit of that and none of it was given to me.

It's a fringe benefit - not a subsidy.

sub·si·dy Pronunciation (sbs-d)
n. pl. sub·si·dies
1. Monetary assistance granted by a government to a person or group in support of an enterprise regarded as being in the public interest.
2. Financial assistance given by one person or government to another.
3. Money formerly granted to the British Crown by Parliament.


fringe benefit

A payment to a worker in addition to salary or wages. It may take the form of cash, goods, or services, and may include such items as health insurance, pension plans, and paid vacations.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 01:03 PM   #44
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
I don't get it with everyone calling employer provided healthcare "subsidized". Every employer/MBA contract negotiation around here all of those so-called "subsidies" were just below "salaries" and all totalled up down at the bottom under "total cost". In our budget we had to include all of the fringe benefits, including healthcare, as labor costs. When we requested reimbursement from the fed for employees we assigned to work in their task forces, labor costs included healthcare.

I don't see any employer figuring up salaries and then saying "Oh, and here's the healthcare we provided for free in order to subsidize our employees. It takes away from the bottom line, but hey, we love these people!"

It's just part of the compensation package. Most of my compensation comes in the form of salary, some comes in employer matching pension contributions, some in the form of a car and gasoline and paid vacation days, and some in the form of group healthcare. I worked for every bit of that and none of it was given to me.

It's a fringe benefit - not a subsidy.

sub·si·dy Pronunciation (sbs-d)
n. pl. sub·si·dies
1. Monetary assistance granted by a government to a person or group in support of an enterprise regarded as being in the public interest.
2. Financial assistance given by one person or government to another.
3. Money formerly granted to the British Crown by Parliament.


fringe benefit

A payment to a worker in addition to salary or wages. It may take the form of cash, goods, or services, and may include such items as health insurance, pension plans, and paid vacations.
Perhaps subsidized was the wrong word as you are right that it is a benefit. I don't know if the average person making, let's say $50k with employer supplied insurance would calculate how much his/her insurance would cost them and add the pre-tax amount to their salary. Somehow I think most people would be more aware of the insurance cost if it was coming directly out of their pocket when making $63k where $13k pre-taxed would pay for their insurance. Perhaps they wouldn't mind waiting long or have a limited choice of doctors if the insurance only cost them $5k pre-tax.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 01:16 PM   #45
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

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Originally Posted by saluki9
That article was hilarious

Typical liberal thinking. Universal healthcare? Sure, why not it will take the burden off of business

Who does he think is going to pay for it? Or should we not worry because it's "free"
We're already paying for it and rather inefficiently at that.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 01:36 PM   #46
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Quote:
Originally Posted by vagabond
Perhaps subsidized was the wrong word as you are right that it is a benefit.
It's completely subsidized. It's government subsidized.

In other words, not only does the employer pay part or all of health care premiums (especially for dependents) but anything they do pay is deductible. This is why the Economist claimed that the US in fact pays MORE for health care than many "socialist" systems.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 01:57 PM   #47
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Quote:
Originally Posted by vagabond
Perhaps subsidized was the wrong word as you are right that it is a benefit. I don't know if the average person making, let's say $50k with employer supplied insurance would calculate how much his/her insurance would cost them and add the pre-tax amount to their salary. Somehow I think most people would be more aware of the insurance cost if it was coming directly out of their pocket when making $63k where $13k pre-taxed would pay for their insurance. Perhaps they wouldn't mind waiting long or have a limited choice of doctors if the insurance only cost them $5k pre-tax.
Most of us are, or have been, guilty of this kind of ignorance. I'm not sure if it's a case of "out of sight - out of mind", or simply that we just want to think it's a freebie and an entitlement. But ignorance is dangerous and we all need to know where the money from all the "hidden costs" in our lives goes. Being ignorant of how all that money leaks out of our pockets and where it goes is like giving someone drafting rights on your checking account. They take a few pennies here and a few there and we don't really notice, but it adds up to a lot of money. Ignorance of the true cost of something like medical care makes for screwed up elasticity in the market - we make buying decisions based on one set of numbers, not realizing the true cost is actually different.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 02:14 PM   #48
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Will it create a -(5-7)% dip in GDP?
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 02:29 PM   #49
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

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Originally Posted by eridanus
It's completely subsidized. It's government subsidized.

In other words, not only does the employer pay part or all of health care premiums (especially for dependents) but anything they do pay is deductible. This is why the Economist claimed that the US in fact pays MORE for health care than many "socialist" systems.
I think I understand your point, but I’m not really sure. Is this the article you were speaking about?

http://www.economist.com/world/displ...ory_id=5436968
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 02:45 PM   #50
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
I think I understand your point, but I’m not really sure. Is this the article you were speaking about?

http://www.economist.com/world/displ...ory_id=5436968
That's the lead article, yes.

"America's health system is a monster. It is by far the world's most expensive: the United States spent $1.9 trillion on health in 2004, or 16% of GDP, almost twice as much as the OECD average (see charts 1 and 2). Health care in America is not nearly as rooted in the private sector as people assume (one way or another, more than half the bill ends up being paid by the state)."

(In the next paragraph, it explains how this came about - government regulation of wage controls forced employers to use health care as an incentive. This was explained by someone else on this board.)

Of course, America does seem to be supporting the world's R&D.

"Set alongside other rich countries, which typically offer all their citizens free (or very cheap) health care financed through taxes, America's system has some clear strengths. Consumers get plenty of choice, and innovation is impressive."

Perhaps one reason our health care is so expensive is because the US, through R&D, is supporting the world with new drugs and treatments? Well, that and insurance companies taking a huge slice.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 03:12 PM   #51
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

If we view tax deductability as a government subsidy, then we should properly classify a lot of other things as government subsidized (home ownership, charitable giving, organized religion, etc).

One attractive aspect of a national retail sales tax (NRST, aka the "Fair Tax") is that it reduces government's role in encouraging/discouraging various behaviors.


How about this: We have a NRST just like proposed in the present legislation:
- Abolish the income tax and the SS tax (the most regressive tax of all)
- Tax all purchases of services and new products at 23%. No exemptions/exceptions.
- A prebate to all families equal to the 23% of the poverty level income for that family size (e.g The HHS poverty level for a family of four is $20,000 per year. Every family of four gets a prebate of 6072 per year ($506 per month)) without need to file a return, etc.

- Now, the health care portion:
-- Health care services and health insurance, whether purchased by the employer or the employee, would be subject to the same 23% tax. Employers would get no deduction, so there's no advantage to providing health care through employers (anticipated effect: Employees receive a boost in salaries equal to the employer's previous cost of providing this coverage.

-- With employer sponsored health care out of the mix and everyone conscious of the actual cost of the stuff, it would open the way for more efficient means of providing coverage.

e.g. 1) Private individual purchase of insurance, with government susidized care of the indigent: Government could help insure an efficient market by mandating standardized plans (say 5-10 standard packages) and allowing consumers to compare prices and buy what they want. Care of the indigent is as it is today, or perhaps they are assigned to "Package 3"coverage, with premiums paid by the taxpayer. This achieves universal care, keeps freedom of choice for those who can afford it. Cons: Paperwork and inefficiencies caused by private insurance layer.

or

2) A universal taxpayer-funded universal "baseline" with purchased add-on coverage. The baseline coverage might be paid from a reduction in the prebate (appropriate, since rich or poor get the same baseline coverage) or an increase in the sales tax rate above 23%. It would be best to make the cost of this coverage explicit, so everyone realizes it isn't "free."

Results:
- Universal care (of at least baseline coverage)
- Health care costs taken off employers, making them more competitive in the global economy
- NRST encourages savings, discourages consumption
- Costs for medical care made more explicit
- Removes embedded taxation costs from the cost of producing US goods. Another boost for US competitveness in the world economy.

The only thing that will enable US workers to keep/improve their standard of living in a globally competitive economy is to continually increase productivity. Yes, this also helps businesses (and those who own stock).
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 03:22 PM   #52
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

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Originally Posted by eridanus
That's the lead article, yes.

"America's health system is a monster. It is by far the world's most expensive: the United States spent $1.9 trillion on health in 2004, or 16% of GDP, almost twice as much as the OECD average (see charts 1 and 2). Health care in America is not nearly as rooted in the private sector as people assume (one way or another, more than half the bill ends up being paid by the state)."

(In the next paragraph, it explains how this came about - government regulation of wage controls forced employers to use health care as an incentive. This was explained by someone else on this board.)

Of course, America does seem to be supporting the world's R&D.

"Set alongside other rich countries, which typically offer all their citizens free (or very cheap) health care financed through taxes, America's system has some clear strengths. Consumers get plenty of choice, and innovation is impressive."

Perhaps one reason our health care is so expensive is because the US, through R&D, is supporting the world with new drugs and treatments? Well, that and insurance companies taking a huge slice.
Okay – we’ve reached the frontier of the end of my meager supply of at-hand economics knowledge. Which means I have to study a bit before I can answer. But, that is an interesting article and I found some similar ones that I’ve printed out and am going to take with me to read. I’ll comment later.

My post and original point were directed toward the OP’s use of the phrase “employer subsidized” healthcare. And, in spite of what I’m seeing in the Economist article, I think that my argument that it is not “employer” subsidized still stands. We weren’t discussing the bigger picture that stood outside of the employer-employee relationship and what the employee’s perceived satisfaction with insurance and healthcare was. Even if the employer is getting at tax break, the costs paid for insurance comes out of the bottom line and is subtotaled under “labor cost – fringe benefits”.

Of course, working for a municipal government I don’t think my employer is claiming any deductions because they’re not paying taxes in the first place.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 03:31 PM   #53
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Leonidas, at my workplace not all employees take the health insurance benefit. This is usually because the employee is covered by a spouse's plan. We don't pay that employee more because they don't take health insurance. (In fact, because we are a relatively small group I never liked it when someone would opt out of our plan, I wanted enough people in our plan to make us worth bidding on by the insurance companies). We also provide memberships to the YMCA. Not everyone cares and not everyone takes the membership. No one gets money in lieu of the membership.

FWIIW.

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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 03:36 PM   #54
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

And i'll bet everyone thinks thats fair.

If I was an employee, and my employer stopped my health benefits, you'd best believe I'd expect that they take the money that they had been paying towards it and add that to my paycheck. Or I'd find another employer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
it reduces government's role in encouraging/discouraging various behaviors.
Except for buying a lot of stuff...
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 03:36 PM   #55
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

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Originally Posted by samclem

One attractive aspect of a national retail sales tax (NRST, aka the "Fair Tax") is that it reduces government's role in encouraging/discouraging various behaviors.*

*

Noooo! Not the fair tax! *I can't bear another tax debate. *Arrgh! *Eiu! *Ick! *Phooey!

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=3774.0



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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 03:38 PM   #56
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Its a foregone conclusion that the govt will implement a national sales tax the day before I start withdrawing from my Roth...
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 03:56 PM   #57
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

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Originally Posted by Martha
Leonidas,* at my workplace not all employees take the health insurance benefit.* This is usually because the employee is covered by a spouse's plan.* We don't pay that employee more because they don't take health insurance.* (In fact, because we are a relatively small group I never liked it when someone would opt out of our plan, I wanted enough people in our plan to make us worth bidding on by the insurance companies). We also provide memberships to the YMCA.* Not everyone cares and not everyone takes the membership.* No one gets money in lieu of the membership.

FWIIW.
I'm in a similar situation. Neither my wife's company nor my city will increase either of our pays to even partially compensate us for not taking the insurance. So I have two policies covering me and the wife and my kid have hers covering them. That is a pain remembering the co-pays for each policy for what items.

samclem--Tht wold also put pay in the subsidy classifaction. WOO-HOO the wife is still a gov't employee.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 05:24 PM   #58
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpp
Oh for crying out loud, some countries have national healthcare that works just fine.
Name them.
Japan is one. Not perfect of course, but given that the country has the highest life expectancy on the planet, the medical system is apparently not doing too much damage.

The point is that one doesn't have to merely imagine what it would be like,with all sorts of extreme suppositions; one could actually look around at some other developed countries and see what they have. I only ever hear about Canada and the UK in these discussions. Both fine countries of which I have happy memories, but there are other countries out there as well. Maybe ladelfina can tell us what Italy is like, for example? Maybe reb can say something about Germany? Somebody (KenM?) know about Singapore? Etc.
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 05:59 PM   #59
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha

Noooo! Not the fair tax! I can't bear another tax debate. Arrgh! Eiu! Ick! Phooey!

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=3774.0
Hey, we've got health care and tax policy in one thread, just add a discussion of SFW and we've got the makings of a blockbuster!
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"
Old 06-20-2006, 08:08 PM   #60
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Re: An OLd Liberal " Gets It"

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Originally Posted by samclem
add a discussion of SFW and we've got the makings of a blockbuster!
Single White Female?
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