Friday, June 3, 2011

We Lose $14 Billion on Auto Industry Bailout; Acting Solictor General Suggests Making Less Money in Order to Avoid Obamacare Purchase; Arkansas School Shows Bias in Agenda; Teachers Union in New York Tries to Stop Shutdown of Failing Schools; Medicare Changes Have Price Tag

Yahoo News reports: The Obama administration said Wednesday that the government will lose about $14 billion in taxpayer funds from the bailout of the U.S. auto industry. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110601/ap_on_re_us/us_obama_autos_2
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The Washington Examiner reports: President Obama's solicitor general, defending the national health care law on Wednesday, told a federal appeals court that Americans who didn't like the individual mandate could always avoid it by choosing to earn less money.
Neal Kumar Katyal, the acting solicitor general, made the argument under questioning before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, which was considering an appeal by the Thomas More Law Center. (Listen to oral arguments here.)  The three-judge panel, which was comprised of two Republican-appointed judges and a Democratic-appointed judge, expressed more skepticism about the government's defense of the health care law than the Fourth Circuit panel that heard the Virginia-based Obamacare challenge last month in Richmond. The Fourth Circuit panel was made up entirely of Democrats, and two of the judges were appointed by Obama himself.
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[In a perfect illustration as to what our children are being taught in public schools about the greatness of America comes this from News Net 5]: A middle school yearbook in Arkansas has created controversy around the country after it named Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in a list of the "worst" people of all time.

The yearbook included a list titled the "Top 5 worst people of all time."  The list begins with Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Charles Manson, but then lists Bush and Cheney. http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/national/yearbook-causes-controversy-afer-it-names-george-w-bush-in-list-of-worst-people-of-all-time
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The Washington Post reports: IT’S CLEAR WHY the teachers union in New York has gone to court to stop the city’s planned shutdown of failing schools and to block charter schools from using the public space. Jobs are in play, and the main mission of the union is, after all, to protect its members. What’s not clear is why the NAACP would join an effort to keep open schools that have failed miserably. Considering that it is mostly minority students who are affected, the NAACP’s action is almost incomprehensible.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-naacps-mystifying-decision-to-side-with-a-union-over-students/2011/06/01/AGwcBZHH_story.html
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The Oxford Club advises, on Medicare: change doesn’t come without a price tag. And this is where things get prickly. Because no one likes to hear “tax increases” or “reduced tax benefits” to fund the tab.
But this is exactly what’s happening:
  Fewer people will be able to deduct medical expenses. Currently, you have to itemize expenses on Schedule A and can deduct only the amount of medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income. The threshold for medical expense deductions increases to 10% of adjusted gross income beginning in 2013. (Individuals age 65 and older do receive a break, however. The new threshold doesn’t apply to them for tax years 2013 through 2016.)
Tax-free contributions to FSAs for medical expenses will decline to $2,500 annually starting January 1, 2013. And these will increase annually by the cost of living.
•        Also going into effect in 2013: Individuals earning over $200,000 and couples earnings over $250,000 will have their Medicare tax rates on salaries and self-employment income increased from 1.45% to 2.35%.
•        And this group gets hit twice… They’ll also pay a 3.8% Medicare tax rate on unearned income (which is most investment income). This is the first time investment income has been subject to the Medicare tax.
In my view, the higher demand for medical services coupled with reimbursement cuts to doctors and hospitals will do the opposite of what was intended. It’ll actually reduce the quality of care and increase costs before things might improve. There are forecasts for doctor and medical professional shortages in years ahead. That’s why I recommend you establish a relationship with a doctor you like soon… especially before more practices close their doors to new patients.  In my view, says Oxford Club, the higher demand for medical services coupled with reimbursement cuts to doctors and hospitals will do the opposite of what was intended. It’ll actually reduce the quality of care and increase costs before things might improve. There are forecasts for doctor and medical professional shortages in years ahead. That’s why I recommend you establish a relationship with a doctor you like soon… especially before more practices close their doors to new patients.

1 comment:

  1. old grizzled veteranJune 3, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    In my experience, and opinion your analysis of the Oxford Club's comments are right on the mark...we are heading for much reduced access to medical care, and when we "get it" it isn't going to be what we have expected from care givers in the past when life & times were a little less hectic, and payment for services was better for the providers.

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