Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tax,Penalty,Fee or who Cares?

penalties cartoons, penalties cartoon, penalties picture, penalties pictures, penalties image, penalties images, penalties illustration, penalties illustrations

It shouldn't surprise anyone that we're constantly engaging in the war of semantics, instead of rolling up our sleeves to fix the problems that are keeping us in this rut. The latest battle is finding the proper word to use to describe the Affordable Health Care Act. Is it a tax, penalty, or fee? I'll dwell more into that later, but if my insurance premiums rise, it will be an increase in expenses for my household budget. It could just be that my old company decided to pay a lesser portion, my insurance company decided to raise their premiums for unknown reasons, or perhaps it was part of a fee but I am not one of those who will receive a tax or penalty for not purchasing health care. I am not one of those approximately 4 million folks ,who will decide that just don’t want to buy health insurance.

It's funny how both presidential candidates insist that health care law is a penalty and not a tax for obvious reasons. I tend to go along with their reasoning because, if, in fact, we are using the Internal Revenue for a reference, then the Internal Revenue Service is authorized to assess penalties for various tax violations and deciding to opt out of health insurance(free rider) would fit nicely in the code. For example, if you decide to withdraw from a deferred compensation plan, that taxable portion of that withdrawal would be taxed at ordinary income rates, but you would be assessed a 10% percent penalty if you were not 59 1/2 years old at the time of withdrawal.

I understand why Republicans want to call it a tax; it's in their DNA. They do have a problem because their nominee for president is calling the Act a penalty because, if it's called a tax, the Democrats would say that he raised taxes in Massachusetts; something that Mitt Romney adamantly denies. The Republicans go on and say that it's the largest tax increase in history, but  that talking point draws four Pinocchio's from the Washington Post's fact checking site, Politifact. Mitt Romney does admit that he raised user fees but he is one of those Republicans, who doesn't think a fee is a tax. I remember telling my conservative friends at work that the only difference between parties is how they raise revenue. Back in the day when we used to have democratic governors in Texas; I would say, yes your Republican governor cut property taxes but  he raised fees to pay for them. The democratic governor had to come and raise taxes to repair the neglected infrastructure. Democrats cannot erase that “tax and spend “depiction but my party didn't put in enough effort in tying the label “borrow and spend" Republicans around their neck. Republicans slipped out of that noose because they convinced their constituents that they are the party of fiscal responsibility. I've always said that Republicans are great campaigners, but they can't govern.

The conservatives are still angry at Justice Roberts, but they're saying that he called the whole Affordable Health Care Act a tax. No, he's specifically said that the Act is not constitutional under the commerce clause, but it could fit in the taxing powers of Congress. The first time that Justice Roberts has ever sided with the more liberal side of the court caused a political firestorm of conspiracies. The liberals are cautioning their side to remember how Justice Roberts has voted in the past and how he would likely rule in upcoming and cases such as: affirmative action, voter rights, and DOMA. I can't believe how Republicans overlooked the fact that Roberts made it extremely difficult for future legislation to be included in the commerce clause. He also made it possible for Republicans to gin up their base to get the numbers; they need to repeal the whole Affordable Health Care Act. The court by a 7-2 margin voted against the Federal government mandating the extension of Medicaid. That was huge, because, if the red states opt out, it will mean that 6.2 million people will not be injured. that’s nearly half of those eligible. It's funny how the conservative states that want to opt out for political reasons have the most uninsured people and would be benefited more or as Howard Dean called it “Intellectual Malpractice."


Meanwhile, the Affordable Health Care Act will be used by the populace as a dumping ground for their complaints; a lot of them will automatically blame their premium increase on the law, allowing the health insurance companies to scathe free.

Irony or hypocrisy?" According to an analysis by The Huffington Post, dozens of Republicans who want to repeal Obamacare have adult children who are allowed to stay on their parents' health plans thanks to the law, which extended this benefit nationwide. Many of the lawmakers' children are employed and on their own health care plans, but others continue to take advantage of their parents' coverage."


Mike said...

RIP..Andy Griffith,Mayberry R.F.D gave me and my family a lot of hours of family entertainment...I still watch every now and then...he was 86 years old.

Edith Ann said...

This is particularly touching, and even before today, I cry everytime I hear the song.

Mike said...

Thanks EA,a great tribute.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edith Ann said...

Okay, whatever!

I had the pleasure recently of listening to a republican K-I-A who declared that her insurance has already gone up because of the AHA. Not wanting to argue with her in front of others (I was certainly outnumbered and I am not completely stupid...) I kept my mouth shut. But I can tell you my insurance rates have gone up and down everyyear since dirt. My employer is always trying to find us a beter value for our premiums. I know my company is not the only one who reviews coverage and shops around. Do they think this is unique to our current situation?

Mike said...

I'm not surprised at all,EA, last night I heard that only 41% of those surveyed knew that the AHA was ruled constitutional last Thursday. Recent polls show that by a margin of 50-49, people were in favor of the ruling last Thursday. So what's going on?

My insurance rates took that same yo-yo trip yours did.

I can't believe some governors will not take part in the exchanges. I'm sure that they have people that have read the 2,700 page document; especially the part that states if they don't,the fed will because it's part of the law. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal sounded like a machine gun on steroids, as he was going through the GOP talking points explaining why his state would not abide by the law.

This what Erza Klein said last night about the extended Medicaid" Medicaid is jointly administered between states and the federal government, and the states are given considerable leeway to set eligibility rules. Texas covers only working adults up to 26 percent of the poverty line. The poverty line for an individual is $11,170. So, you could be a single person making $3,000 a year and you’re still not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid in Texas. That’s part of the reason Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation.
Massachusetts, by contrast, covers working adults up to 133 percent of the poverty line — partly due to a former governor whose name rhymes with Schmitt Schmomney. It’s a big reason it has the lowest uninsured rate in the nation.
The Affordable Care Act wants to make the whole country like Schmitt Schmomney’s Massachusetts. Everyone earning up to 133 percent of the poverty line, which is less than $15,000 for an individual, gets Medicaid. And the way it does that is by telling states the feds will cover 100 percent of the difference between wherever the state is now and where the law wants them to go for the first three years, and 90 percent after 2020.

To get a sense of what an incredibly, astonishingly, unbelievably good deal that is, consider this: The federal government currently pays 57 percent of Medicaid’s costs. States pay the rest. And every state thinks that a sufficiently good deal to participate.

Here's more:

But, somewhat perversely, the states that get the best deal under the law are states like Texas, which have stingy Medicaid programs right now, and where the federal government is thus going to pick up the bill for insuring millions and millions of people. In states like Massachusetts, where the Medicaid program is already generous and the state is shouldering much of the cost, there’s no difference for the federal government to pay.

Does the Republican party have a better plan? I sure would like to see it.

As many pundits have said it doesn't matter who the governor of Texas is,they will get pressure from the Houston Medical complex which is considered one of the finest in the world because they want to get paid for their innovation,expertise, new technology,etc..they put into that great city..Health economist say the Medicaid extension would add 2% growth to Houston's GDP.

dale said...

OK, I will not fight the wisdom of health insurance for all, even those with bigger tvs than yours truly.

Semantic wise.

- A tax is a tax. (pproperty/income)
- A user fee is a tax government charges when they do not want to compete with the private sector, when they provide a "service". Garbage fee, park fee, toll fee.
- Premium, the fee an insurance company which competes with other private sector companies charge. The unaffordable healthcare act will be a user fee, which does away with private sector services...which does pay taxes.

Mike said...


Let's stick with generally accepted definitions..:-)

A tax is a charge against a citizen's person, property or activity for the support of government.

A fee is a charge for a privilege or for professional services

A penalty is payment required for not fulfilling a contract.

A premium is a payment for insurance.

I looked those up and that is more in line with what is generally accepted.

If the insurance companies go belly -up it will be their own fault because they are basically paper shufflers who are doing pretty well right now but they are in a market that is not suited for a profit making industry. ....Unless we set up more preventative care, reduce our waste, fraud, and duplication; they will price themselves out of the market because they will have to continue raising prices in order to make a profit.

born2Bme said...

Once the insurance companies started playing God with people's lives, they pretty much screwed themselves. They are, afterall, in the business of covering people when they get sick, not just taking money from well people. Whatever happens to them, it is their own fault.

Mike said...


AHA is indeed a "job-killing" law because the insurance companies will no longer need that person whose job it was to find a reason to drop their sickest customers. That position will no longer be needed.

Mike said...

Happy birthday to the United States of America.

I know I won't break a long family tradition of firing up the old pit on July 4th but my wife hasn't decided just what it will be. It's past brisket and spare ribs because of the time limits and that is just too much for the both of us.

We'll reminisce about the times we watched the Community Center fireworks display with the grandchildren from our front lawn. We might even think that we hear the oohs and ahhs coming from their little voices when they saw the huge display that lit up the sky...We prepared them because we knew that the event always saved the best fireworks for last.

I overheard a cashier tell a customer of the inconvenience of the holiday falling on a Wednesday and I just smiled because it doesn't really matter to me because everyday seems like a Wednesday..:-)

Happy July 4th to everyone and their families

Mike said...

If you think about it will you do me a favor? Would you let me know if the Victoria Advocate online forum goes back to it's original format? You see, I've been used to commenting and blogging and being an active participant; now I've been downgraded to just reading comments from people I don't know.... I've deleted my Advocate bookmark, lost interest, and that will not be part of my daily routine anymore... I have now accepted that it's the future of the social media but it's just not me.... It's a waste of my time to log in just to read a lot of " I agree with that" comments.... I never say never but I know what I'm not interested in....."Stick a Fork in Me…I’m Done"

born2Bme said...

I know the feeling, Mike. I'm thinking about just clicking on that site twice per day. One for local news and one for Obits.
It gives me high blood pressure to read some of those asinine comments and not be able to respond or clear some things up.
I responded once with my FB account just to see what happened, but just not comfortable with that.
LOL I actually had to go lock down my FB account totally after that because I'm not sure what other people can get to when they click on my name.
VA benefits with every click, so why help them out?

Tophat said...

Actually, I was cleaning up my favorites a few days ago - I had done the same. I just don't have a reason to visit it- not so much because I can't comment as it is weeding thru the trash comments and/or staff comments- only to realize that no one that I enjoyed/learned from doesn't post.
I had subscripted to the on-line version of paper, but I let that go.

I have not followed anything about the AHA I am embarrassed to say. I just always thought the whole thing would get overturned.
I guess I was one of those from the survey that knows nothing.

Mike said...


It's just my opinion but I think they could have received more hits, retaining those who kept coming back to comment.

I imagine I would have been scared also..:-0


Those favorites do get cluttered...
The blood pressure of those in the 41% are a lot lower.. :-)

born2Bme said...

I know one thing for sure, once the election starts getting closer and they don't have your fair and balanced blogs to start off a good conversation, all they are going to get it trash.
The few political comments that happened were off of your blog.

I think I might send a message to Jessica and see what kind of answer I get....maybe!

Mike said...

I said the same thing;this election year the anti-Obama's will have a free rein @ ViCad...They won't be challenged.

A couple of days ago I saw some comments made by posters without using their real names(way over board) but they had FB accounts...The VA has my pertinent info but since I don't have a FB account I can't make any comments...I dang sure am not going to write a blog if I can't defend my statements.

Edith Ann said...

When you do go look, note the 'top commentor' designation by some the VA staff's names, particularly Cobler's. Wonder what it takes to be a 'top commentor'?

Easier than ever to skip checking the Advocate.

Sugar Magnolia said...

Mike, if you want to know when and if the VicAd goes back to their original format, you won't be hearing it from me. As of today, I declare MY independence and will no longer be going to the VicAd site. I do not want them, nor do I need them, in my life any longer. The Crapocate has been deleted from my favorites, as well. I AM FREE! AND LET FREEDOM RING! Besides, of course Peaches will never go back to the old forum, maybe until the inevitablity of the collapse of the fad that is Farcebook, because he will never admit a mistake has been made.

Good luck with the grilling thing for the holiday, I think maybe tomorrow we will be making our 4th dinner, nothing fancy, just hot dogs, hamburgers, potatoes, beans, etc. No fireworks for us this year.

Just wanted to tell you, nice post as well. I'm not going to get into the politics of it all, but really, the addition of graphics was a nice touch, and you always include a good amount of information in your blogs. It's stuff like this that kept the VicAd from turning into a total National Enquirer, and it will be their loss. Seriously. So you think you're liberal? I also follow the "Cucumber King" blog. He is based in NYC and sort of puts you to shame, liberal-wise! :D
But, take a look at the link to his blog from my blog, if you so desire, and I think you will find his writing very interesting. I do enjoy him. See, to me, interesting, quality writing is more important than partisan politics, which is why I still follow you, Edith Ann, and the "King". Politics be damned, on all days, especially today, we are ALL AMERICANS!!!! Happy Independence Day, Mike!

Mike said...

Thank you very much and yes we will always be Americans first and all the rest is secondary...A Happy Independence Day to you.

I read your blog today and it made me realize that ViCad was just a meeting place and nothing more,they didn't care about us staying because others were going to replace us.
It was always about numbers not quality.

Thanks for the link ...I'll check it out....I will always appreciate you reading my blog.

Mike said...

Top commentors? Subjective or rigged?

Edith Ann said...

Probably rigged. I've never seen that notation before, and I have been on Facebook for a long time. And I've only seen it appear on Cober's and maybe a few other VA employees' comments. So, I'm guessing Top Commenter on the VA. (That would describe a lot of us!)

Edith Ann said...


Mike said...

We were both wrong...:-)

We know that Romneycare and Obamacare are identical twins but Mitt Romney is telling us that his health care law was a penalty at the state level but Obamacare is a tax at the federal because SCOTUS said so.....Huh?

dale said...

RCare and OCare, brothers from other mudders. The only difference for you and I is that an "r" dremt his. The "r" supposedly meant his plan was ok. "Right?" Nah, both still wrong. I do like that SCOTUS makes it alright.

Do you thinkg Robert's vote has reduced his being invited to the National Republican Convention as an honored guest?

Mike said...

Darn Roberts,it made Mitt Romney change his mind again because he is no longer his model of Supreme Court Justices...

Let's see, if Roberts votes against Affirmative Action,Gay Marriage and Voting Rights;he'll get back in good standing but all three won't come up before the convention...:-)