Obama calls Wyden health plan radical

The Oregonian reported today that President Obama called Ron Wyden’s health care plan radical. Here is a highlight:

“Under Wyden’s plan, workers would be responsible for choosing their health insurance. In return, employers would give workers a raise equivalent to the cost of the health care that was previously offered. That pay would be taxable, but Wyden stresses that new federal tax deductions would shield all but the highest earners from additional taxes. Wyden argues that linking health care costs to individuals will promote competition and drive down costs. But Obama said that is too sharp a departure from what workers have known — and become comfortable with — for generations.That fundamental shift, along with the major changes in the tax code that Wyden proposes, are too “radical,” Obama said, when aligned with all the other changes that must take place to provide health insurance to 47 million Americans who don’t have it.The president said his discussions with Wyden are similar to those with people who advocate a single-payer system. In theory, those plans work, he said. “The problem is, we have evolved partly by accident into an employer-based system.” A “radical restructuring” would meet “significant political resistance,” Obama said, and “families who are currently relatively satisfied with their insurance but are worried about rising costs … would get real nervous about a wholesale change.”

Read further here. Comment below.

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Posted by at 05:50 | Posted in Measure 37 | 22 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • ANONYMOUS

    Remember Spy vs Spy? (Wyden’s plan is better!)

  • Send the rascals packing

    Both Chairman Maobama and comrade Ronald McDonald Wyden are ENTITLED to their says, but DEMit all, socialist fascist healthcare is NOT an ENTITLEMENT. its a con gambit that tain’t necessarily good for our Constitution.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Want to send a liberal into an endless loop mental tailspin that will make their head pop off? Try this:

    C – Oh good lord, you cant possibly think government can run health care, give me a break, so now going to the doctor is going to be like going to the DMV? Government run health care will never work.

    L – Gee, wel it sure seems to work in Europe. Don’t be stuupid, you know like Bush.

    C – Well, the schools also work a lot better in Europe.

    L – We are talking about health care, not schoole, are you beeng stupid, you know, like Bush?

    C- No, I’m just wondering – our health care system might not be perfect, but it certainly has some very good aspects. Our public education system is, like our health care, really expensive compared to other countries. It ranks below those who spend a fraction of what we do. So why is it you guys are all for any change in health care, but resist all change in public schools?

    L – Because that’s an entirely difrent subject.

    C – I don’t think it is, because the thing the two things seem to have in common is public employees. Change the school system, less government employees, change the health care system, more government employees. I think that’s what you really are after. I mean its the only reason I can think of why change is so necessary in one, but not in the other.

    L – Bush is stupid. You sound like Bush.

    C – Yes, and no one died when Clinton lied, we are all familiar with the bumper sticker mosaic on the back of your car.

    L – Freedm of speach man.

    C – I guess the lesson is don’t take health care advice from a guy who has more than six bumper stickers on his car?

    L – You just don’t know whaat your talking about.

    C – Awww, now you are being so mean. Look, if I just say “stimulus package” and start laughing, would you get mad?

    • Tim Lyman

      I’ve often felt that if we could figure out what mental defect causes people to plaster eighteen bumper stickers on the rear of their car we would have a very interesting insight into the liberal mind. Why is it you rarely see conservatives with bumper stickers and never with more than one? Probably because conservative thought requires a little more than three words. The one thing we do know, thanks to a recent study, is that people who plaster their cars with bumper stickers are more violence prone. The study didn’t mention bumper sticker ideology but, like I said, conservatives don’t seem to have the bumper sticker compulsion.

  • Voter

    The fact that none of Obama’s policies are successful lend creedance to Wyden’s plan. If Obama doesn’t like something, we should try it out. That guy has the reverse Midas touch!

  • Joanne Rigutto

    Things I don’t like about this –

    1 – It’s going to make health care more expensive than it already is for the employer. Think on this. If I as an employer give medical insurance to my employee, it’s a 100% business deduction for me, and is not taxable. It’s just like giving that person the equivalent of that ammount’s wages, but it costs me less as it’s all deductible, and doesn’t bump the employee into a higher tax bracket.

    2 – If/when these benifits are made into taxable income, while the wage increase I have to pay the employee will still be deductible as a business expense, it will cost me more than buying the insurance for the employee in the first place. Don’t think so? Let’s take a look at what it costs to pay wages to an employee – State unemployment insurance, federal unemployement insurance, the employer’s share of SS payment, worker’s comp insurance rates are also based on the employee’s gross wages – you pay so much per hundred dollars of gross wages for each employee.

    So, if it costs $800/month for that medical insurance, giving the employee an $800/month raise will actually cost the employer closer to $1,200/month, and it’s going to increase the employee’s wages, bumping them up into a higher tax bracket, unless the thing is 100% deductible on the employee’s end.

    Also, if the employee is working for a very large company that is able to buy enough insurance that they get a price break, having the employee purchase their own policy will drive them out of that risk pool, and force them to pay more for the insurance than their employer would have paid.

    This plan does nothing to adress self employed individuals. We have to buy our own medical insurance, and only get to deduct half of the premiums as business expenses. I don’t see anyone changing that anytime soon.

    I see absolutely nothing positive about Wyden’s plan. Well, except that the government will get more in taxes…..

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Well, you know what the liberal response to the the increased business costs you mention would be?

      “Well, if it costs you more per employee, just simply look at it as “the cost of doing business”.”

      It’s kind of like in Seinfeld, when Kramer was doing something like fake insurance claims or shoplifting or something and he said that it was ok, it was just a “write off” for the company.

      It’s something I like to say to people who get all moany and whiney about health insurance:

      “Look, just come up with the money and pay for it, just write it off as “the cost of living”.”

  • eagle eye

    Good for Wyden! Leave it to a supposed liberal senator to come up with a plausible alternative to Obama’s very disturbing plans. Where are the Repbulicans? Brain dead, mostly.

    • JimRay

      Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Tom Coburn and others have offered a great plan. They are Republicans. If you haven’t heard of their plan blame the MSM.

      • eagle eye

        They may have a good plan, but if so it’s not just the mainstream media who are ignoring it. You won’t hear about it on talk radio, either. At least, I haven’t.

        Maybe these Republicans should team up with Wyden. I don’t think they have much chance on their own.

  • valley person

    Rupert writes: “Government run health care will never work.”

    Tell that to everyone over 65 on Medicare and to all the Veterans who use the VA system.

    “So why is it you guys are all for any change in health care, but resist all change in public schools?”

    We guys (liberals I guess) don’t resist all change in public schools. We resist defunding them and/or privetizing them and/or supporting religous schools with public money.

    “change the health care system, more government employees”

    What in Obama’s approach to health care would create more government employees? Or Wyden’s?

    Eagle writes: “Where are the Repbulicans?”

    Heads collectively deep into the sand. What health care problem? What climate problem? What energy problem? What breakdown of our financial system problem?

    Hell, we didn’t even have a deficit problem until the Republicans lost power and then they discovered it. Shocked….shocked to find a deficit here!

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >Tell that to everyone over 65 on Medicare and to all the Veterans who use the VA system.

      Ho hum – Are you bringing up this nonsense again? It always fails, but I guess I should look at it as another chance to rub your nose in it.

      Medicare, going broke, now faster than before. Are you proposing we have national health care on a model that is going broke? I’m beginning to think you either work for Barney Frank or Fmac/Fmae. Any idiot can run a health care system people like by running up unsustainable deficits.

      The VA – Well, next time I hear a vet raving about the great VA care Ill make sure to ask about the system.

      Tell you what, run it up the flagpole, national health care based on the VA. Wonder how people would react?

      >We guys (liberals I guess) don’t resist all change in public schools. We resist defunding them and/or privetizing them and/or supporting religous schools with public money.

      You are right, you do seem to support change in the form of giving raises, so that’s something.

      But, you oppose everything else, charter schools, on line schools, teacher accountability, merit pay rather than seniority pay.

      Liberals oppose any meaningful change in schools beyond pay raises for teachers, new buildings, or increased staff.

      Basically you said it yourself, you don’t want to spend less on schools. However with health care, this is one of the prime reasons you give for reform. “We spend too much on health care with lesser results than other industrialized countries”. Pointing out the contradiction in schools, you wont spend less on them, quickly points out the fact that you don’t really care about the health care dollars at all. It’s simply a liberal red herring. Liberals simply want national health care so they can have more control over peoples lives. If it was about saving money and getting better results they wouldn’t be so opposed to it in the schools.

      >What in Obama’s approach to health care would create more government employees? Or Wyden’s?

      I think we both would agree I am a little better at knowing Obama’s intentions than you. Remember, you were the one insisting he was not a liberal. God that seems like such a long time ago now. Definitely one of your more crazy moment, but funny to reflect on now.

      >Hell, we didn’t even have a deficit problem until the Republicans lost power and then they discovered it. Shocked….shocked to find a deficit here!

      You might want to try and watch something other than network news. Republican complaints about Bush running up the debt were loud and clear. They were all over this blog for starters.

      Sorry, if you are going to try and claim that Republicans ever defended the Bush debt run up you will accomplish little but showing you probably don’t get out much.

      • valley person

        “Are you proposing we have national health care on a model that is going broke?”

        I assume you have private health insurance Rupert. If so, what has your change in premiums been over the last 10 years? What do you expect the change to be over the next 10 years? (Mine doubled. The quality of my care did not double).

        If the Federal government raised the payroll tax to keep up with the same health care inflation the private sector insurance companies are adapting to by raising premiums, then Medicare would not “be going broke.” It would break us instead, just like our private insurers are doing.

        “The VA – Well, next time I hear a vet raving about the great VA care Ill make sure to ask about the system.”

        Catch up on your homework Rupert. Vets under VA care have the highest patient satisfaction rate of anyone in America. It is superior care for about 30% les than we pay. Look it up. The VA you are talking about is the one that was underfunded and screwed up prior to the Clinton presidency.

        “But, you oppose everything else, charter schools, on line schools, teacher accountability, merit pay rather than seniority pay….”

        I do? Funny, I did not know that. I thought I supported charter schools, teacher accountability, and merit pay. I will even support vouchers so long as they don’t pay for religous school education.

        “points out the fact that you don’t really care about the health care dollars at all.”

        Wrong again. I care about health care spending because it is bankrupting me, the state, and the nation. The thing is, we already have universal public education, yet we don’t have universal public (or otherwise) health insurance. So you are equating something that costs us a lot and we don’t have with something that costs a lot but we do have.

        “I think we both would agree I am a little better at knowing Obama’s intentions than you.”

        0 for 3 Rupert. We actually do not agree on that. You don’t seem to have the first clue as to Obama’s intentions. You inflate his intentions into your own dark fantasies. So far Obama is pretty much doing what he said he would do: eae us out of Iraq, change the strategy in Afganistan, end torture as a US policy, push cap & trade, push health care reform, and so forth. He is a moderate-liberal Democrat.

        “Republican complaints about Bush running up the debt were loud and clear. ”

        Yes, well then why didn’t the Republican majority Congress propose and pass responsible budgets? Citing a Republican here or there who complained about the deficit is easy enough to do, just like I can find at least 40 Democrats in the House who complain about current deficits, but Republicans actually governing have demonstrated they don’t give a fig about deficits. Wasn’t it Cheney himself who said “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”? Republicans did not just defend Bush’s deficits, they voted in all the spending and all the tax cuts that created the deficits. To believe otherwise is yet another denial of reality Rupert, which you are getting to be very good at. I’m growing increasingly worried about you.

        If the Republican party wants to reinvent itself as fiscally responsible, I’m all for it. But the place for them to prove it is going to be in whatever states they still manage to run. On the national level they have zero credibility with me and most of the voting public. Fool me once ecetera. They are still all about tax cuts, high defense spending, and avoiding entitlements so they can keep the geezer vote, leaving little budget left to cut. They whined about the stimulus spending even as they themselves proposed a huge payroll tax cut that would have created the same level of deficit. You believe in what they say they are. I look at what they actually do.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Yep, I didn’t think you would have much of a response to the Medicare going broke thing. Guess that’s the fly in the ointment, what we have tried of it here hasn’t worked too well.

          Yes, my premiums have gone up. I see them go up after every mandate passed. Who would have thunk it?

          >The VA you are talking about is the one that was underfunded and screwed up prior to the Clinton presidency.

          Ahh, I should have known. Clinton fixed everything!

          Um, except you guys were singing a different tune when Bush was president. Seems to me I remember a whole lot of ballyhoo about our vets not getting the care they needed at Walter Reed. Oh well, now that BO is in charge I am sure it’s all better.

          >I will even support vouchers so long as they don’t pay for religous school education.

          So you would support my voucher idea? Every kid that leave public school gets to take half the money with them in a voucher? The compromise I make is the child only takes half the money, the rest being graft to the OEA so they can’t whine about it taking away money on a per student basis. The compromise you make is it goes to any school the child’s parents decide they should attend.

          >So you are equating something that costs us a lot and we don’t have with something that costs a lot but we do have.

          No, I’m equating the sudden fascination for finding cost effectiveness in health care based upon Euro comparisons and wondering about the strange need to change the subject when spending on schools here vs. Europe. You don’t want to address that. No surprise there.

          > We actually do not agree on that. You don’t seem to have the first clue as to Obama’s intentions.

          I said he was a tax and spend liberal.

          Well, everyone under $250 k is sure waiting on the tax cut, it never came.

          The spending, well, not much to say on that, the guy’s a drunken liberal sailor.

          Oh well, If there is one thing I am 100% right on is your inability to admit you were wrong.

          >Citing a Republican here or there who complained about the deficit is easy en

          Well, arguing with you about reality is a little pointless. The fact is there were, are, and forever shall be no shortage of Republicans, me among them, who were furious with Bush about the deficits and said so at the time. Yep, Democrats also complained about the deficits then too.

          The difference is, Republicans actually cared about the issue, Democrats really don’t. When Bush was in charge, deficits were a big deal. Now that its your guy and trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, you don’t give a rip.

          Oh well, so much for that.

          • valley person

            “Um, except you guys were singing a different tune when Bush was president. Seems to me I remember a whole lot of ballyhoo about our vets not getting the care they needed at Walter Reed.”

            Far be it from me to keep correcting you Rupert. Its like a full time job of late. Walter Reed is not a VA facility, and the soldiers being poorly treated there were on active duty. The VA medical system is for discharged vets, not active duty.

            “So you would support my voucher idea?”

            Possibly, if it does not include public funds for religious schools. But as I recall you keep promoting Catholic schools. Which is it?

            “Well, everyone under $250K is sure waiting on the tax cut, it never came.”

            Actually, we did get a tax cut Rupert. It was part of the stimulus package you complained about. My personal cut looks to be about $1000 over the year, and I do make less than $250K.

            “Oh well, If there is one thing I am 100% right on is your inability to admit you were wrong.”

            Wrong about what? All I do is correct you on facts and you call me wrong? I can’t be wrong about your opinions. I can be wrong on facts, but you don’t have much use for them.

            “Well, arguing with you about reality is a little pointless.”

            That is what I have been trying to tell you Rupert. Facts are facts and reality is objective. Its your experience of reality that confuses you.

            “Now that its your guy and trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, you don’t give a rip.”

            The problem is that when it comes to projecting deficits the eye can’t see very far. Right now and for the next year or 2 it makes sense to run as big of deficits as we need to in order to prevent the economy from sinking further. Econ 101. After that, it will make sense to bring the budget back towards a balance. Time will tell whether Obama and a Democratic Congress are willing and able to do that. If they pass a health care bill with a public option, that in itself will go a long way to reducing long term deficits.

            Balancing a budget is pretty simple. You set the tax rate and the spending rate at about the same amount. The problem lies in not wanting to cut spending or raise taxes. Both parties suffer from one or the other of these problems.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            > and I do make less than $250K.

            Huh, interesting, because about eight months ago you claimed you were one of those who were going to be hit by the Obama tax increase, which in the political rhetoric was set at $250K.

            You were all on about how you felt it was the responsibility of higher income people to pay more, and as testament to the validity of your belief, you said you would be hit with the tax increase.

            So prior to the election you wanted to make a point about tax increases so you claimed you would be one of those higher income people whose taxes would go up under Obama.

            Now, when the point is about tax cuts, you are one of those whose income is under $250k.

            Interesting.

            I’m not sure you have established much of anything with all this.

            Other than you are a liar when it comes to your income level, we already knew you can never admit when you are wrong.

  • Fred Thompson

    Congress will probably give us some kind health care bill this session. The Healthy Americans Act, sponsored by Senators Wyden and Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), is easily the most sensible proposal on offer. This is one of those situations where one looks for the least worst alternative. This measure is an clear improvement on the status quo and, unlike other proposals, is fiscally sound.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >Balancing a budget is pretty simple. You set the tax rate and the spending rate at about the same amount.

    I am so glad someone who confuses tax rate with tax revenue is not in charge of the budget.

    How you continually make the same error over and over and presume to inform anyone about economic matters is beyond me.

    The tax rate and the spending rate have zero to do with balancing a budget.

    An unbalanced budget results from only one thing, spending exceeding revenue. You can have your tax rate whatever you want, if you spend more than the revenue it generates you will have an unbalanced budget.

    • valley person

      “Huh, interesting, because about eight months ago you claimed you were one of those who were going to be hit by the Obama tax increase, which in the political rhetoric was set at $250K.”

      Did I? Did you keep a record of that claim Rupert? I think my claim was and is that our household income is in the upper 1st quintile. To make over $250K a year we would have to be in the upper 1.5%. That we are not unfortunately. If we were I would gladly pay the paltry tax increase.

      “You were all on about how you felt it was the responsibility of higher income people to pay more, and as testament to the validity of your belief, you said you would be hit with the tax increase.”

      I agree with part 1, but as for the Obama tax proposal, nope, I would not be hit by it and have never thought so. I might have said I am willing to pay more if he decides to go farther down the income ladder, which I was and still am.

      “I’m not sure you have established much of anything with all this.”

      Well since your assumptions are all wrong I agree you have established nothing.

      “I am so glad someone who confuses tax rate with tax revenue is not in charge of the budget.”

      OK. I’ll grant you that catch, and even agree that I should not be in charge of the US budget. I was short-handing. To balance the budget, the tax rate should be set at a level that brings in the amount of revenue necesary to match expenditures. Better now?

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Did I? Did you keep a record of that claim Rupert?

        You’re a liar Dean, and I just caught you red handed.

        >OK. I’ll grant you that catch,

        There is nothing to grant. You were simply wrong and glaringly so.

        You made the mistake on two separate blog posts, it was hardly a slip up. Therefore its not a “catch”. You just didn’t understand the difference and yet still felt qualified to advise on what you termed econ 101.

        > I was short-handing.

        No you weren’t. Tax Rate as opposed to Tax Revenue is hardly a case of “short handing”. You need to save four letters on two posts and change the word from Revenue to Rate and try and call it short handing?

        That’s a lie.

        You didn’t know the difference, you weren’t simply trying to save four letters. You just didn’t know.

        So, now you are lying again.

        • valley person

          Rupert, how did you catch me red handed? What you seem to have caught is your own faulty memory of something someone named dean posted some months ago. Maybe there was someone of that name who said they made $250K per year. But it was not me. If you can’t prove it then chill out. You got bupkis.

          “You made the mistake on two separate blog posts, it was hardly a slip up.”

          Why is that? I can’t slip up by saying the same thing twice? Do you accept my clarification or do you prefer to play gotcha games?

          It does not pass without notice Rupert, that every time you are losing a factual argument you either run away and hide or switch to personal attacks and name calling. Its a well established pattern. Its getting a bit pathetic. Try countering facts with facts instead of assertions for a change.

  • John in Oregon

    Over the years I don’t suppose Senator Wyden’s policy views and mine have coincided all that often. Just the same I have always and will continue to insist that debate be based on policy.

    Digging through the Oregonian article uncovers a disturbing aspect of legacy media coverage which I will address later. Digging through the article to learn about Senator Wyden’s proposal was much like mucking out a barn stall. Lots of crap and very little of value.

    At the core of Wyden’s idea is moving the health care pretax treatment from the work place to the individual taxpayer. Self employed individuals would finally get equal health treatment with employees of Ford or Wall Mart. The Senators idea would put people in charge and encourage competition for the health care coverage dollar.

    As with most situations, devils often hide in details. In this case not the least of which is that Senator Kennedy has spent the last 40 years in an effort to destroy single client and small group health care.

    Here Senator Wyden has advanced a proposal which moves health care decisions closer to the patient and doctor. It supports HMOs and Health Savings Accounts and could encourage innovative free market health care. I would wholeheartedly support an open discussion with Senator Wyden. I’m not sure its all the right answer but it is a start.

    The Oregonian piece clearly had the goal of labeling Wyden a radical, using the word repeatedly. For Senator Kennedy and President Obama of course the idea of people making their own decisions is radical. They honestly believe that only Government can make health treatment decisions properly. Usually with the answer NO.

    For those that may not recall Wyden came to politics via an advocacy role for the elderly. In this I think his dedication to the elderly has allowed him to avoid the typical progressive pressure to trust government meddling.

    Hopefully Republicans and Conservatives can see the potential of Wyden’s thoughts.

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