American Elephants


Jonathan Gruber Returns With a Direct Tax on Body Weight by The Elephant's Child

JonathanGruberYou remember Jonathan Gruber PhD, MIT Economist, architect of ObamaCare, became famous for calling the American  people stupid, and for devising a health care plan that was designed to sweep everyone, over time, into an unworkable single-payer plan like Britain’s that is currently going broke. He has even admitted. sorta. kinda, that he knew all along that the cost of ObamaCare was not going to go down. Have to figure out some ways to save money. But he already did that — in a paper he delivered in 2010 to the National Institute for Health Care Management entitled “Taxing Sin to Modify Behavior and Raise Revenue.”He considered the case of cigarettes, alcohol, and obesity:

Ultimately, what may be needed to address the obesity problem are direct taxes on body weight. While it is hard to conceive of this approach being a common public policy tool in the near term, such taxation may be happening indirectly through health insurance surcharges.

It is important to remember that the  “Affordable Care Act” does not give you health care. It gives you a card that says you have government sponsored health insurance. It does not guarantee that you can find a doctor or a hospital that will accept your insurance.

They brag about all the formerly uninsured people they signed up for Medicaid, then to reduce the cost of all those  people, they cut way back on the amount with which they will reimburse doctors and other health care providers — which has meant that few doctors will accept Medicaid patients. Nice to have that card though.

In the case of Veterans insurance, Obama’s 2016 Budget Proposal, now that the VA scandal has kind of blown over, proposes rolling back the program that gives veterans the right to receive faster care outside of the scandalously long wait lists at the troubled Veterans Affairs medical system.

For Medicare, it’s the same deal. They added some extra gimmicks to make it sound like they were doing nice things for the old folks, then cut back on the payments to doctors and medical providers with the natural result that fewer doctors will see Medicare patients.

ADDENDUM: President Obama’s budget proposal is important only in the view it gives of his priorities. Congress will do the budget. Buried in the proposal is a $50 million cut to one of the U.S. longstanding vaccine programs for the under-insured and uninsured. This comes right at the time when we are in the middle of a severe measles outbreak, and the CDC is worried about how much it may spread. 102 cases so far, and both children and adults need to be vaccinated.

For the left, the important thing is that they have given the American people a health care plan. It makes them feel good about themselves. That the plan does not assure that you can see a doctor, or the specialist you need, or it doesn’t cover you when you are traveling, or costs more than you can afford — is not a big deal. They’ll fix that later. They really do think that way.


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