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I went to a big New Year’s Eve party at a good friend’s home in Kingwood, Texas. My wife took off early to help my friend setup. My daughter and I got there a couple of hours late as I finished up some end of year tax stuff.

When I got to the party a friend ran up to me and said, “You sure told them this time.” Kingwood Texas is a very Conservative part of Harris County (Houston). Fox News is the station of choice in every business unless one complains. We have a concerted effort in this area demanding that they change the channel and respect the fact that Progressives are a substantial part of this community.

My op-ed was to drop in last week’s Kingwood Observer to coincide with the December 23rd Obamacare deadline for those who wanted coverage on January 1st. Instead they printed Senator John Cornyn’s bucket of lies and deception.

The op-ed was a modification of this blog post I wrote a few weeks back. It was modified a small bit to speak to the sensibilities of those in this area.

This guest took exception to the Cadillac Tax.

One of the guests at the party took exception to the article. He was fuming about the Cadillac Tax. He decided to engage me. For those who follow my blog, you know that I love a healthy civil debate with the expectation of either changing someone’s mind or having my own mind changed. I do not believe in debating for the sake of debating to prove some prowess of debating skills or the language.

The guest was an AT&T executive with a Cadillac health insurance plan. Cadillac plans are very expensive health insurance plans that have all kinds of amenities generally (massages, spas, etc.) Companies pay these in lieu of salaries. It is nothing more than a “tax shelter” for executives and to some extent some union workers. What it does mean is there is an unfair advantage for corporations that can purchase these plans. Small businesses and the individual cannot afford themselves that tax break. That is part of the reason for the Cadillac Tax.

Republicans wanted a more punitive Cadillac Tax in the past.

Ironically, Republicans like George W Bush and John McCain championed the Cadillac Tax by another name. They wanted the tax break removed completely, providing every individual a fixed health insurance deduction. Like everything Obama, he took the middle ground. He kept the deduction at a higher level than what the Republicans wanted in the past and taxed the excess at 40%. In effect the tax levels the playing field somewhat. It is a fair tax increase for those who had an unfair advantage.

The guest had never viewed the Cadillac plan relative to what most other Americans received. While at the end of the debate he was still upset at his higher cost in 2018, he understood it. The discussion then progressed to real ideas for entitlement reforms that increased the safety net for most Americans. One of the ladies listening in on the debate smiled and said, “I just love listening to this debate. It is great listening to someone who has the facts down.”

No one left that debate feeling like they lost it. Everyone learned something. For those who are losing a benefit they believed they were inherently entitled to, they understood why. I was able to empathize with that person that would not be on the winning side of Obamacare in the flesh. We both know a change had to come. Ultimately the guest said, “I want everyone to have healthcare insurance. I need to be assured it is done in the best way possible.” We ended the debate agreeing that Obamacare isn’t the end. It needs a lot of modifications. It is best if we work together to make it right.

That was the best New Year’s Eve debate I ever had. I brought in the New Years with a new sense of hope.

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Comment Preferences

  •  lies, truth and celebration (14+ / 0-)

    If anyone recognizes the sig, you'll know our family is joyous because our pre-existing condition (paraplegic) son is now liberated from a 2 hour a day drive to just do a job with health insurance.

    But a greater point. The MSM is so subjugated to the right wing money boys that they ignore the millions who celebrated the new year!

    My son (paraplegic) will now spend an extra 2 hours a day in rehab, because we just wrote his resignation letter to the company to which he was driving 2 hours a day just to get health insurance. (He is well-able to earn the same amount as a contractor.)

    PLEASE find some right wing nut in your circle of friends, and person-to-person tell them that real people are very, very happy today.

    •  MSM is Structurally Rightwing. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, The Jester, suesue, beemerr

      They're corporations sponsored by corporations, and their press freedom is mainly a corporate not a human freedom.

      I can't fathom the ongoing surprise that corporations liberated from governance will serve the corporate interests.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 06:43:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  even the name "Cadillac tax" is loaded (0+ / 0-)

    Characterizing the tax as a way to soak fat cats in order to pay for the rest of us plays well politically, but it's disingenuous.

    Because the tax is not indexed to inflation, as medical costs rise it will eventually start to hit middle-class people who get insurance through their jobs and induce their employers to drop their coverage.

    The employer mandate which is supposed to prevent employers from dropping coverage has been delayed. It is not clear how or even if it will be implemented.

    Therefore, there is a good chance that the "Cadillac tax" will start forcing employers to dump their employees onto the exchanges, where they will have to negotiate with insurers as individuals rather than benefit from the bargaining power that their employers wielded by virtue of negotiating on behalf of a large group of people. So their insurance will probably get more expensive, and worse in quality.

    The fundamental problem with the ACA is that it is no more than a giant cost-shifting measure. If someone saves money from it, someone else has to be gouged a corresponding amount to make up the difference. Otherwise the insurers won't make money.

    You can't expect people who've lost money thanks to the law to support it. And characterizing them as a bunch of rich fat cats is fundamentally misleading.

    Single-payer would have gouged the real fat cats--the insurers (indeed, it would have eliminated them)--and given the savings to the rest of us, which is why the insurers fought it tooth and nail. They pocket such a large percentage of each dollar spent on health care that even the weakest, most watered-down public option would kicked their asses in anything resembling a free market--so they fought the PO tooth and nail too.

    What they got was a huge bailout--a law that created a captive market, forcing all Americans to buy their product under penalty of law; the very opposite of a free market. And all this in exchange for a few promises to be on their best behavior, which they're already breaking left and right.

    Since the law doesn't gouge the insurers, that means it has to gouge the rest of us. And that will become clearer and clearer as time goes by.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:03:01 PM PST

  •  Well played, sir . . . (7+ / 0-)

    . . . I recently had a similar "debate" (really stretching the meaning of the word here) with the Township Road Commissioner in my "vermilion red" rural area. I was in the lounge of one of the nicer restaurants in the area.

    He trotted out the usual RWTP's, which I was able to calmly counter with facts. But he was not going to be confused by any of those "pinko commie facts"! Lot's of "that's bullshit" and "you're makin' that up". Can you say Google? I thought you could. He couldn't.

    By the end of our "debate" he was so frustrated he slammed his drink down on the bar, threw some money at the bartender and stormed out yelling something over his shoulder about "You just wait, this whole thing's going to Hell in a hand basket" or something to that effect. Kind of embarrassing.

    I saw him a couple of weeks later at the same place. Not. A. Word. about our exchange. He was really pleasant. Must have been the good twin.

    You're opponent seemed able to hold two opposing views in his mind at the same time without his head exploding. Well done! And nice pic in the paper too!

    - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
    - Frank Zappa

    by rudyblues on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 07:06:02 PM PST

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