Friday, April 26, 2013

What Democratic Senators are Saying About ObamaCare

  • Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire: “We are hearing from a lot of small businesses in New Hampshire that do not know how to comply with the law.” ...“[R]estaurants that employ people for about 30 hours a week are trying to figure out whether it would be in their interest to reduce the hours” of those workers, so the restaurants could avoid the law’s requirement to offer health coverage to full-time employees.
  • Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on health care, said he was extremely upset with Mr. Obama’s decision to take money from public health prevention programs and use it to publicize the new law, which creates insurance marketplaces in every state.  “I am greatly disappointed — beyond upset — that the administration chose to help pay for the Affordable Care Act in fiscal year 2013 by raiding the Public Health and Prevention Fund,” Mr. Harkin said.
  • Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Finance Committee [and a primary author of ObamaCare], said last week that the administration deserved “a failing grade” for its efforts to explain the law to the public.  “I just see a huge train wreck coming down."  
  • Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, said he told White House officials on Thursday that he was concerned about big rate increases being sought by the largest health insurer in his state. The company, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, has sought increases averaging 25 percent for individual insurance policies that will be sold in the state insurance exchange.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

46.7% of Americans Paid No Income Tax in 2011

According to the Tax Policy Institute 46.4% paid no income tax in 2011.

The Gallup question specifically stated "Do you regard the income tax you will have to pay this year is fair?" It did not ask if the system was fair.

If those who pay no income tax think their zero share is fair (and logically they should), then a mere 16% of those who do pay taxes think their share is fair.

Here is my math: 55% think their share is fair. Subtract the 46.4% who pay nothing (and logically should be happy about that),  the net is 8.6 percentage points. (8.6 / 53.6) * 100 = 16%. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

President Obama's 2014 Budget Proposal Would Begin Taxing Your Retirement Accounts

President Obama's proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2014, released in April, would cap tax-advantaged retirement savings for individuals at just over $3 million next year. The asministration estimates that the limit on tax-preferred accounts would confiscate an additional $9 billion of workers earnings over 10 years.

President Obama seeks to limit the deduction for contributions to 401(k) and 403(b)-type defined contribution plans, defined benefit pension plans, and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) for an individual who has total balances or accrued benefits under those plans that are sufficient to provide an annual income of approximately $200,000 commencing at age 62. The proposal would be effective for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2013. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Walking can lower risk of heart-related conditions as much as running

Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running can, according to surprising findings reported in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Researchers analyzed 33,060 runners in the National Runners’ Health Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers’ Health Study. They found that the same energy used for moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the study’s six years.

“Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits of moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities,” said Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., the study’s principal author and staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkeley, Calif.

Unlike previous studies, the researchers assessed walking and running expenditure by distance, not by time. Participants provided activity data by responding to questionnaires.

“The more the runners ran and the walkers walked, the better off they were in health benefits. If the amount of energy expended was the same between the two groups, then the health benefits were comparable,” Williams said.

Comparing energy expenditure to self-reported, physician-diagnosed incident hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and coronary heart disease, researchers found:

  • Running significantly reduced risk for first-time hypertension 4.2 percent and walking reduced risk 7.2 percent.
  • Running reduced first-time high cholesterol 4.3 percent and walking 7 percent.
  • Running reduced first-time diabetes 12.1 percent compared to 12.3 percent for walking.
  • Running reduced coronary heart disease 4.5 percent compared to 9.3 percent for walking.

“Walking may be a more sustainable activity for some people when compared to running, however, those who choose running end up exercising twice as much as those that choose walking. This is probably because they can do twice as much in an hour,” Williams said. ...

Link to full text

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Buyer Beware: New Health Ins. Subsidies Could Result in Surprise Federal Tax Bills Later

Reported in the Associated Press:

Millions of people who take advantage of government subsidies to help buy health insurance next year could get stung by surprise tax bills if they don't accurately project their income. … The subsidies are based on income. The lower your income, the bigger the subsidy. ...

What happens if you or your spouse gets a raise and your family income goes up in 2014? You could end up with a bigger subsidy than you are entitled to. If that happens, the law says you have to pay back at least part of the money when you file your tax return in the spring of 2015. ...

There are also special rules that protect people who marry or divorce from being required to pay back subsidies just because their marital status changes.

There are four thresholds for repaying the subsidies:

    • A family of four making less than $47,000 would have to repay a maximum of $600.
    • If the same family makes between $47,000 and $70,000, the amount they have to repay is capped at $1,500.
    • If the same family makes between $70,000 and $94,200, the amount is capped at $2,500.
    • Families making more than four times the poverty level have to repay the entire subsidy.... 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Is Atlas Shrugging? Docs look to retire in face of ObamaCare

Most physicians have a pessimistic outlook on the future of medicine, citing eroding autonomy and falling income, a survey of more than 600 doctors from Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found.  

  • Six in 10 physicians (62%) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next 1 to 3 years.
  • Four in 10 doctors reported their take-home pay decreased from 2011 to 2012, and more than half said the pay cut was 10% or less.
  • Among physicians reporting a pay cut, four in 10 blame the [ACA], and 48% of all doctors believed their income would drop again in 2012 as a result of the health reform law."