Health Care Reform Facts and Flaws

April 23, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

The reason this topic cannot be swept under the rug, is the confirmed negative factors directly affecting the national deficit, the Senior citizens and the ‘average American’ families for whom the reform should be immediately favorable and not otherwise.

Following the blogpost titled “Health Care Legislation Amendment” April 22, 2010 supplemented with New York Times article reporting the ‘Senators fear Insurance Premium hikes’ prompting them to pass federal regulation on health rates,

There is yet another report with more alarming details.

According to Associated Press – April 23, 2010

Report: Health care costs set to climb –

President’s effort to control spending falls short, review finds

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar – Thank you.

Washington – President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law will increase the nation’s health care tab instead of bringing costs down, government economic forecasters concluded Thursday in a sobering assessment of the sweeping legislation.

A report by economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department said the health care remake will achieve Obama’s aim of expanding health insurance – adding 34 million Americans to the coverage rolls.

However, the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs.

It also warned that Medicare cuts may be unrealistic and unsustainable, driving about 15 percent of hospitals into the red and “possibly jeopardizing access” to care for seniors.

The mixed verdict for Obama’s signature issue is the first comprehensive look by neutral experts.

In particular, the warnings about Medicare could become a major political liability for Democratic lawmakers in the midterm elections.

Seniors are more likely to vote than younger people and polls show they are already skeptical of the law.

The report from Medicare’s Office of the Actuary carried a disclaimer saying it does not represent the official position of the Obama administration.

White House officials have repeatedly complained that such analyses have been too pessimistic and lowball the law’s potential to achieve savings.

The report acknowledged that some of the cost-control measures in the bill – Medicare cuts, a tax on high-cost insurance and a commission to seek ongoing Medicare savings – could help reduce the rate of cost increases beyond 2020.

But it held out little hope for progress in the first decade.

“During 2010-2019, however, these effects would be outweighed by the increased costs associated with the expansion of health insurance coverage,” wrote Richard Foster, Medicare’s chief actuary.

“Also, the longer-term viability of the Medicare … reductions is doubtful.”

Foster’s office is responsible for long-range costs estimates.

Republicans said the findings validate their concerns about Obama’s 10-year, nearly $1 trillion plan to remake the nation’s health care system.

“A trillion dollars gets spent, and it’s no surprise – health care costs are going to go up,” said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., a leading Republican on health care issues.

Camp added that he’s concerned the Medicare cuts will undermine coverage for seniors.

The health care law, passed by a divided Congress after a year of bitter partisan debate, would create new health insurance markets for individuals and small businesses.

Starting in 2014, most Americans would be required to carry health insurance except in cases of financial hardship.

Tax credits would help many middle-class households pay their premiums, and Medicaid would pick up more low-income people.

Insurers would be required to accept all applicants, regardless of their health.

A separate Congressional Budget Office analysis, also released Thursday, estimated that 4 million households would be hit with tax penalties under the law for failing to get insurance.

The U.S. spends $2.5 trillion a year on health care, far more per person than any other developed nation, and for results that aren’t clearly better when compared to more frugal countries.

At the outset of the health care debate last year, Obama held out the hope that by bending the cost curve down, the U.S. could cover all its citizens for about what the nation would spend absent any reforms.

The report found that the president’s law missed the mark, although not by much.

The overhaul will increase national health care spending by $311 billion from 2010-2019, or nine-tenths of 1 percent.

To put that in perspective, total health care spending during the decade is estimated to surpass $35 trillion.

Administration officials argue the increase is a bargain price for guaranteeing coverage to 95 percent of Americans.

The report’s most sober assessments concerned Medicare.

In addition to flagging the cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and other providers as potentially unsustainable, it projected that reductions in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans would trigger an exodus from the popular program.

Enrollment would plummet by about 50 percent, as the plans reduce extra benefits that they currently offer.”

Cost/Benefit Determination – By Padmini Arhant

As stated earlier in the ‘National Health Care Legislation’ analysis and subsequent articles related to the health care reform on this website,

The contentious factors in the health care bill are:

The effects of law set in 2014 and 2019 for the 34 million Americans to obtain coverage and,

The exclusive “private for profit” health care service in the absence of a formidable challenger such as the ‘Universal Medicare’ program to provide real protection to the victims in the health care crisis,

Federal aid to middle-class and lower income families is an appropriate measure.

Again, this would not happen until 2014.

However, if it’s meant to facilitate the means for the mandatory insurance purchase from a private industry with enormous flexibility in price adjustments reinforced by the penalties against the struggling households and corporations will be a bonanza for the insurance industry.

Per the AP article, the CBO analysis estimated “4 million households would be hit with tax penalties under the law for failing to get insurance.”

The report found that “the overhaul will increase national health care spending by $311 billion from 2010 – 2019, or nine-tenths of 1 percent.

To put that in perspective, total health care spending during the decade is estimated to surpass $35 trillion.”

Most poignantly, the costs and benefits during 2010 -2019 and beyond are entirely at the private insurance and health care industry discretion with the federal funding for the coverage to the unaffordable and uninsured segments.

Insurers would be required to accept all applicants, regardless of their health.

Nevertheless, the requirement for the insurance industry has no consequences.

Unlike the 4 million households and the corporations facing penalties upon the insurance purchase default.

Then the effects on Medicare elaborated in the reports from the Medicare Office of the Actuary and the neutral economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department deserve attention.

‘It warned that the unrealistic and unsustainable Medicare cuts would drive out 15 percent of hospitals into the red and “possibly jeopardizing access” to care for seniors.

During the 2010 – 2019, the increased costs associated with the expansions of health insurance coverage are expected to outweigh the cost-control strategies in the bill – Medicare cuts …

Also, the longer-term viability of the Medicare reductions is doubtful.

Assessment flagged the Medicare cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and other providers as potentially unsustainable.

Further, it projected that reductions in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans would trigger an exodus from the popular program.

Enrollment would plummet by about 50 percent, as the plans reduce extra benefits that they currently offer.”

Clearly these drastic steps against Medicare is designed to serve the private industry forcing subscribers to choose the private plan due to the extreme reduction in benefits and care, which is adequately prevalent in the current system.

Indeed, the devil is in the details.

Despite the overwhelming health care spending for the decade 2010 -2019, estimated to surpass $35 trillion, the private industry reap the extraordinary benefits with the mandatory insurance law including the penalties against the uninsured.

In addition, the average citizens as consumers and taxpayers would be deprived of the desirable health care with the Medicare cuts to the private sector’s advantage.

Health care is a matter of life and death.

Since, the 34 million Americans will be covered in 2020 and not in 2010, the argument that,

‘The deal is a bargain for guaranteeing coverage to 95 percent Americans’ does not bode well,
especially with the population needing urgent medical treatment now and the astronomical national health care costs evaluated to surpass $35 trillion for the decade 2010 – 2019.

Predominantly due to the status quo extension with the private health care management.

There is no doubt that the health care bill on Medicare and the culminating factors are going to be a major political liability in the midterm elections.

The Republican members cannot possibly derive any credit from their abstinence in the health care legislation.

It’s a win-win situation for the industry with,

The Republican members declining support to the “Universal Medicare.”

Thus, becoming the proxy for the private sector.

Case in point – Filibuster threat against the Independent Senator from Vermont – Bernie Sanders’ courageous call for “single payer” system thwarted with undemocratic opposition.

Expressing concern over the Medicare cuts for seniors and at the same time refusing to vote for the Universal Medicare for all citizens by the Republican members confirms political expediency.

The democrats on their part anyhow ended up with the legislation delivering victory to the special interests.

With the political system controlled by the lobbyists, the citizens only hope is to take democratic action by demanding that the health care legislation be amended in people’s favor.

“Universal Medicare” is easily affordable at $35 trillion and Single Payer system efficiently addresses the health care crisis and the rising national deficit.

Any reluctance from the lawmakers to amend the bill to ‘Universal Medicare’ would reflect their priorities.

Now is the time for citizen action to save lives and democracy.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Health Care Legislation Amendment

April 22, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

As stated earlier in the blogposts – National Health Care legislation – March 29, 2010, Universal Health Care – Single Payer System under ‘Health’ category on April 8, 2010, the certainty regarding premium hikes by the Health insurance industry has prompted the legislators to introduce a bill seeking federal regulation on health rates.

According to “The New York Times”, report dated April 21, 2010

By Robert Pear – Thank you.

Democrats seek federal regulation of health rates

“Senators say they fear insurers will raise premiums.”

Washington – Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years,

Senate Democrats laid a foundation Tuesday for federal regulation of rates, four weeks after President Barack Obama signed a law intended to rein in soaring health costs.

After a hearing on the issue, the chairman of the Senate health committee, Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he intended to move this year on legislation that would “provide an important check on unjustified premiums.”

Harkin praised a bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, that would give the secretary of health and human services power to review premiums and block “any rate increase found to be unreasonable.”

Under the bill, the federal government could regulate rates in states where state officials did not have “sufficient authority and capability” to do so.

The White House offered a similar proposal in the weeks leading up to approval of the health care legislation last month.

But it was omitted from the final measure, in part for procedural reasons.

Reviving the proposal Tuesday, Harkin said:

“Rate review authority is needed to protect consumers from insurance companies’ jacking up premium simply because they can.”

Under the new health care law, starting in 2014, most Americans will be required to have insurance.

Insurers will have to offer coverage to all applicants and cannot charge higher premiums because of a person’s medical condition or history.

Michael McRaith, director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, told Congress on Tuesday,

“There is a distinct possibility that less responsible companies will raise rates to price out people who are sick or might become sick between now and 2014.”

McRaith said he and the governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, a Democrat, “unequivocally support state based insurance regulation” because local officials understand local markets.

He endorsed Feinstein’s bill, saying it would “provide an impetus” for states to regulate premiums if they did not already do so.

Karen Ignani, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group for insurers, said Congress should let the new law work before piling on additional requirements.

Ignagni said the law imposed new requirements, taxes and fees on health plans, which could further drive up costs.”

Amendment Requirements – By Padmini Arhant

It’s obvious from the news article and the cited blogposts that forewarned the inevitable health insurance premium hikes, especially with the mandatory insurance scheduled to commence in 2014.

Again, as indicated in the blogposts titled – ‘National Health Care legislation,’ “Universal Health Care – Single Payer System,” and per NYT article, the health care amendments are related to the most vulnerable patients subject to higher premiums between now and 2014.

The healthy subscribers may not be affected right now.

However, in the absence of foolproof system for the insurance industry to circumvent the health care laws, the majority will be forced to deal with the prolonged status quo, even after 2014.

Private sectors use the ‘unknown’ market rates for it is determined by demand and supply, to evade compliance on ‘reasonable’ price.

With the mandatory insurance purchase in 2014, the demand will exceed supply providing the insurers a huge opportunity in price management.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill is to address that aspect of the problem.

If the bill is aimed at premium caps augmented with the health and human services discretionary power to block the ‘unreasonable’ rates – it is thoughtful but not guaranteed to be obliged by the Health Insurance industry.

Further, any federal assurance to regulate rates upon the states’ failure or inability to do so, is also a welcome change.

Nevertheless, the resistance from the President of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Karen Ignani, representing a trade group of insurers to any new requirements is conspicuous.

Notwithstanding, the assertion to transfer the costs burden to the consumer, the ultimate payee in the retail business.

It’s always possible to modify and manage products and services under self-control, but it’s much harder when it’s designed and delivered by others.

Regardless of the requirements and legislations, the industry that is a dominant force in the health care service would not easily compromise on the disproportionate profit margins attained thus far.

That’s why, the solid protection for the ‘unaffordable’ customers and those in need of ‘urgent’ care, the existing Medicare expansion is recommended.

As such, the patients under these categories are being assisted with the federal funding to enable access to the ‘private for profit’ health care.

Therefore, it eliminates the opposition to the ‘Universal Health Care’ funding.

In fact, when the cost/benefit ratio is evaluated, the Single Payer system is approved by the economists, Congressional Budget Office and the non-partisan groups concerned about the consumer rights and the rising national deficit.

The purpose behind the health care legislation was to rein in costs to the ‘average’ American families struggling to cope with the private industry’s vertical premiums that will persist despite the regulations as confirmed by the President of the America’s Health Insurance Plans, Karen Ignani.

Although, the coverage denial on pre-existing conditions exacerbated with the higher premiums is prohibited, the present and the future subscribers i.e. in 2014, have not been informed with the relevant details, particularly on the quality and the maximum medical expenses for their individual health condition.

There is lot of ambivalence that requires clarification.

The information on the health care law made available to the public with Q&A interface is necessary to dispel the myths around the insurance plans and the unmitigated health care expenses.

Public awareness and complete knowledge of the health care law is essential to prepare the customers financially in the exclusive private health care service.

In addition, per the insurance industry stance against the health care law and any requirements, the consumers are challenged with the uphill battle in terms of unlimited health care access and affordable costs.

Unless the ‘Universal Medicare’ is extended to the vast uninsured, the health insurance and the health care industry would continue to maneuver around the health care legislation.

The health care legislation is a preliminary step towards the specific issues like pre-existing conditions.

Since, the actual benefits to the currently insured and uninsured are still dependent upon the ‘private for profit’ health care policy,

Unequivocally, the Universal Medicare for all with 24/7 access, especially to the ‘federal aid’ recipients is the immediate and permanent solution to the emerging and the long-term health care crisis.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Mortgage Refinance and Foreclosures

March 31, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

In the current economy, two major issues deserve urgent attention.

They are – unemployment and home ownership.

This topic will focus on the homeowners and the federal program under consideration to address the foreclosures arising from high mortgages.

Meanwhile, the following news report and editorial from other news organizations are presented for reference.

According to the –

1. New York Times report By David Streitfeld – Friday, March 26, 2010 – Thank you.

New help for homeowners – Revising Loan Modification

The Obama administration will announce today a broad new initiative to help troubled homeowners, potentially refinancing several million of them into fresh government-backed mortgages with lower payments.

The escalation in aid comes as the administration is under rising pressure from Congress to resolve the foreclosure crisis, which has put millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes.

A major element of the new program, according to several sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, will be to encourage lenders to write down the value of loans for borrowers in modification programs. Until now, modification programs have focused on lowering interest rates.

Another major element will involve the government, through the Federal Housing Administration, refinancing loans from borrowers whose home value has sunk below what they owe on it.

More than 11 million homeowners are in this position, known as being underwater.

That aspect of the plan would apply even to borrowers who have not fallen behind in their mortgage payments.

Investors who own the loans would have to swallow losses but would probably be assured of getting more in the long run than if the borrowers went into foreclosure.

The FHA would insure the new loans against the risk of default.

Many details of the administration’s plan remained unclear Thursday night, including the precise scope of the new programs and the number of homeowners likely to qualify.

This much was clear, however:

The plan could put taxpayers at increased risk.

If many additional borrowers move into FHA loans, a new downturn in the housing market could send that government agency into the red.

The FHA has already expanded its mortgage-guarantee program substantially in the last three years as the housing crisis deepened, insuring more than 6 million borrowers.

Sources said the agency would receive $14 billion in funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, cash it could dangle in front of financial institutions as incentives to participate in the new program.

A third element of the White House’s housing program will require lenders to offer unemployed borrowers a reduction in their payments for a minimum of three months.

An administration official declined to speak on the record about the new programs but said they would “better assist responsible homeowners who have been affected by the economic crisis through no fault of their own.”

The plan would essentially supplant the government’s earlier mortgage modification plan, announced a year ago with great fanfare.

It has resulted in fewer than 200,000 people getting permanent new loans.

As many as 7 million borrowers are seriously delinquent on their loans and at risk of foreclosure.

The news was greeted with cautious enthusiasm by groups that have tracked the foreclosure crisis and tried to assist communities and underwater homebuyers.

“It sounds really good, and I’m not used to saying that,” said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition in San Francisco.

He said “the two main weaknesses” of the existing federal Home Affordable Modification Program were that,

It didn’t reduce the mortgages of underwater homeowners,

And, didn’t help borrowers who were underemployed or unemployed and would have difficulty qualifying for a loan modification.

“It seems they have taken these issues to heart,” Stein said.

“It’s unclear how many people will qualify – that’s the one hesitation. We’re not sure how broadly these initiatives will reach.”

Martin Eichner, with Project Sentinel in Sunnyvale, said the proposals sound good but he would like to see the details.

“It has to help significant numbers of people and there has to be enforcement,” Eichner said.

“These plans always look great in the first news release, but we’ve often been disappointed in the performance. To the extent that lenders write down principal balances, that would be a significant improvement,” he said.

Eichner said the home affordable effort also needs an enforcement mechanism.

“Without any real consequences, day to day we see lenders ignoring what we think are pretty clear rules under the current making home affordable program,”

While the number of foreclosure-related filings is beginning to flatten or decline, the number of borrowers who are seriously distressed is rising.

In the fourth quarter, the number of households at least 90 days past due on their mortgages swelled by 270,000, according to a report issued Thursday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

“The government is seeking to persuade people to stay in their homes by aligning the mortgage debt with the asset value, which is the only viable path to real housing stability,” said one person who was briefed on the government’s plans.

Several people who described the plans would speak only on condition of anonymity, since they had not been authorized to disclose details ahead of a White House briefing scheduled for this morning.”


2. Editorial in the Bay Area News Group – March 29, 2010 – Thank you.

Titled – Foreclosure plan has carrots but needs sticks –

“Eight million households are behind in their payments or in foreclosure. But the Making Home Affordable programs has modified just 200,000 loans.

Forgive us for not jumping up and down with delight over the Obama administration’s latest plan, announced Friday, to help stem the tide of foreclosures.

The changes will help those who are unemployed, underwater or both.

But they have come so late that it’s difficult to muster much enthusiasm.

Banks participation in solving this problem has been optional for too long.

The government must require those who caused this debacle to do more to end it.

Since the foreclosure crisis began three years ago, 6.6 million families have lost their homes, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.

The problem is not getting better.

Eight million households are behind in their payments or foreclosure, and

One in five are underwater – they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

The administration’s primary tool against foreclosures, the year-old Making Home Affordable partnership with lenders, has so far modified the terms of just 200,000 loans. It is not up to this enormous task.

But the changes announced Friday have the potential to improve that record.

The program will now be open to the unemployed, who previously couldn’t qualify but are a primary victim of foreclosures.

They’ll be eligible to get up to six months’ forbearance and to have their payments lowered to reflect their reduced income, at least for a short time.

Those who owe more than their homes are worth – in California, that’s more than a third of borrowers – may finally be able to get their loan principals reduced.

This much-needed shift in approach addresses another key driver of foreclosure.

Lenders will get incentives to reduce the amount owed.

Borrowers who are current on their payments but underwater – prime candidates to walk away from their mortgages and further weaken the housing market – could refinance into a cheaper government loan.

All of this will help. But the main problem with the government effort remains:

It’s all carrots, no sticks.

Consumer advocates have been pushing Congress for years to allow bankruptcy judges to modify loan terms for primary residences, which could reduce foreclosures up to 20 percent.

The financial industry’s army of lobbyists has managed to beat back that idea, known as “cramdown,” saying it can deal with the problem on its own and through Making Home Affordable.

That’s clearly not the case, because of malice or incompetence.

It would be wonderful if politicians gave the same consideration to desperate homeowners that they do to banks.

Most everyone facing foreclosure nowadays did nothing wrong – they’re simply caught in the cascading wave that began with the subprime mortgage crisis.

The same can’t be said of the banks that got us into this mess and then took billions of taxpayer bailouts.

Allowing judges to modify loans in bankruptcy would add structure to an overwhelmed system.

Reasonable compromises worked out in court would set precedents for lenders to follow.

If they didn’t, they could be forced to by a judge.

Judges have this power for second homes.

There’s no good reason they shouldn’t have it for every home.”
Comment – Review and Analysis is in progress and will be presented shortly.

Thank you for your patience.

Padmini Arhant

National Health Care Legislation

March 29, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Last week, President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress achieved a historic victory in passing the health care legislation.

The legislative components and the effective period are presented below:

According to the New York Times report March 22, 2010

By Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn – Thank you.

Source: Speaker of the House, Congressional Budget Office, Kaiser Family Foundation, MCCLATCHY – TRIBUNE


1. 90 days after enactment: Provide immediate access to high-risk pools for people with no insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

2. 6 months after enactment:

Bar insurers from:

Denying people coverage when they get sick

Denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions

Imposing lifetime caps on coverage

Require insurers to:

Allow young people to stay on their parents’ policies until they turn 26

3. Within a year: Provide a $250 rebate to Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries who reach the coverage gap called the “doughnut hole”

4. Jan 1, 2011: Require individual and small group market plans to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on medical services; large group plans would have to spend at least 85 percent

5. 2013: Increase the Medicare payroll tax on dividend, interest and other unearned income for singles earning more than $200,000 and joint filers making more than $250,000

6. 2014: Provide subsidies for families earning up to 400 percent of poverty level ($88,200 a year for a family of four)

Require most employers to provide coverage or face penalties

Require most people to obtain coverage or face penalties

7. 2018: Impose 40 percent excise tax on high-end insurance policies

8. 2019: Expand health insurance coverage to 32 million people

Late deals added to bill’s revisions – By Alan Fram Associated Press – March 22, 2010 – Thank you.

The latest changes to the bill include:

Tax-exempt insurers would have to pay a new fee levied on insurers on only half their premiums.

An Aug.1, 2010, deadline on new doctor-owned hospitals to apply to the government for eligibility to serve – and get paid for Medicare patients would be extended to Dec. 31.

A new 2.9 percent excise tax on medical devices would be lowered to 2.3 percent.

But it will be broadened to apply to some lower-cost devices it hadn’t initially covered, though hearing aids, contact lenses and other items would be excluded.
Review and Analysis – By Padmini Arhant

There have been numerous questions by the anxious uninsured and they are being presented in this analysis.

Congressional Report dissection:

Clarification from the legislators would be helpful in understanding the criteria in the following categories:

1. 90 days after enactment: Provide immediate access to high-risk pools for people with no insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

From the concerned individuals – the uninsured with pre-existing conditions but are unsure of their acceptance in the high-risk pool due to variations in the health issue.

A. Who are the qualifiers under the ‘high-risk’ pool in the ‘insurers’ language?

B. Should the insured expect escalation in premium costs due to their ‘pre-existing’ diagnosis as compared to the healthy individuals?

C. If there is a difference in coverage costs; by what percentage will it affect them?

As per the Associated Press report, March 24, 2010 –

D. “But a provision to protect children in poor health has a gap. Insurers would still be able to deny new coverage to kids with health problems until 2014.”

Is it possible for these kids to access care under ‘high-risk’ pool, which is expected to be effective in three months from now, i.e. June 2010?

Therefore, specifics are required in this respect.

2. 6 months after enactment – October 2010,

The legislative component reverses the status quo for those who are currently insured and,

A. Have difficulties on coverage during their illness including children with pre-existing conditions.

B. Parents are permitted to keep their adult offspring until age 26, on their policy.

C. It prohibits the insurers from limiting coverage and policy cancellation when the patients require treatment.

Unequivocally, it’s a crucial piece of legislation.

However, it could have been made effective immediately rather than a six months delay, due to the nature of the problem.

As it’s well known that in health situations, the cost and cure factor is dependent upon early intervention.

3. Within a year i.e. in 2010 the legislation involves $250 rebate to Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries upon them reaching the ‘doughnut hole’ or the coverage gap –

Any financial relief to senior citizens and others dealing with enormous health care costs is a welcome change.


4. Jan 1, 2011 – Enactment calls for ‘marketplace’ insurers to invest premium dollars on medical services by 80 percent for individuals and small plans, whereas the large groups by 85 percent respectively.

Monitoring is essential to ensure such practice among the insurers.

In the absence of oversight, the law would be redundant.

That’s why the independent and non-profit ‘National Consumer Health Rights Agency,’ would be ideal to deliver the service.


5. 2013: Increase the Medicare payroll tax on dividend, interest and other unearned income for singles earning more than $200,000 and joint filers making more than $250,000

This was the proposal from the House of Representatives to generate revenue for the health care overhaul.

It appears to be preset to meet with the ‘PAYGO’ budgetary requirement to pay for expenditures with funds for the program in progress.

A prudent fiscal policy that is necessary to address the national deficit and approved by the Congressional Budget Office. It’s an important feature of this legislation.

The Republican opposition projected the negative implication of this particular rule on Medicare recipients quoting that ‘the Medicare quality would be affected.’ They need to explain their position.


6. 2014: Provide subsidies for families earning up to 400 percent of poverty level ($88,200 a year for a family of four)

Require most employers to provide coverage or face penalties

Require most people to obtain coverage or face penalties

7. 2018: Impose 40 percent excise tax on high-end insurance policies

8. 2019: Expand health insurance coverage to 32 million people

In reference to Points 6, 7 and 8:

Perhaps, the funds from the Medicare payroll tax mentioned above are allocated for the subsidies and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Similarly, the 40 percent excise taxes on high-end insurance policies set up to eventually expand health insurance coverage to the targeted 32 million uninsured in 2019.

Again, the same reason stated under 2 C of the analysis, applies to these rules of law.

The people who can’t afford health insurance are most vulnerable to health problems that ultimately become the tax payer responsibility as experienced up until now.

Hence, the law being effective in 2014, four years away from the signed legislation and the reality of the 32 million people being covered in 2019 is a legitimate cause for disappointment among the uninsured.

The authorities owe a plausible explanation to the suffering population regarding the distant period setting for the effectiveness of the law, especially 2014 and 2019.

What is happening to this segment between now and then?

Are there provisions for tax credits to the middle class families and Medicaid expansion to cover the interim premium costs by the uninsured and the unaffordable groups in the society?

If so, how is it being paid for?

Since the revenue from Medicare payroll tax and the excise tax are scheduled in 2013 and 2018, to fund the federal subsidies to lower income families in 2014 and the 32 million uninsured in 2019 respectively,

The health insurance reform cannot be truly evaluated until after 2014.

Besides, the health insurance legislation based on ‘private for profit’ strategy is subject to market rates in 2014 and beyond.

Meanwhile, the legislation tackles the problems faced by the “insured” groups in the society that are significant and guaranteed to save lives.

According to the media reports, the House and the Senate leaders confirmed the available votes to implement a ‘Public Option’ in the health care legislation through reconciliation process within the year.

Indicating that – “We have the votes and we need the will to move forward.”

It’s the best hope for the average citizen in the health insurance reform, considering the anticipated changes becoming law not until 2014 and 2019.

Having passed the legislation, the lawmakers can amend the bill to accommodate the genuine requests from the average citizens for whom the reform was initiated.

It’s a matter of honoring the people’s will in a democracy.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

The Oscillating Pendulum

November 16, 2008

The historic election is over and the new administration is in the process of recruiting members for key positions.

It is still important to reflect on the role of media and news organization in this electoral process.

Extreme media bias towards one candidate and overwhelmingly condescending against another caused a great deal of frustration, anger and disappointment among the electorate.

The anti-media sentiments reverberated all over the cyberspace.

Media hype was intense during the Democratic Primary election.

Since I was vigorously involved during that time, I have great memories that will remain part of me for a long time.

There were several incidents but some of them have a greater impact on individuals, more severely than others do.

Mainly due to the smear tactics and negative attacks hurled on people like me entering the political campaign for the first time as surrogates, representatives or grass root supporters.

One particular incident is worth the spotlight because it is about the media personalities conducting themselves as the world authority in all matter especially the political race such as the Presidential election.

Ironically, in this Presidential election they were repeatedly wrong with both Democratic and Republican nominees.


They followed the conventional wisdom and failed to see or accept new possibilities and developments.

Only to steer course once the tide turned in a different direction sweeping anything and everything on the way.

The spotlight is precisely on MSNBC.

The network that took lot of heat from the public and rightfully so, for being excessively in favor of Obama Campaign in an unprecedented appeasement of the candidate then, Senator Barack Obama.

It is noteworthy that MSNBC initially rejected the candidate Senator Barack Obama against their preferred candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton.

Likewise, the venerable New York Times endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton way back on January 25, 2008 as the “IDEAL COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.” and

Emphasizing that President-elect Barack Obama was not qualified in that respect,

Quoted by the recent Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman through national and international telecast on CNN.

I was devastated to note the hasty decision by a leading and the most respectable news organization such as New York Times.

Immediately, I made my first and only contact with the cable media outlet, Free Speech and World Link Television expressing my emotion on the endorsement.

Here is extract of the email titled The Moment of Truth sent to Amy Goodman of Free Speech Television on January 25, 2008, 12.22P.M PST , in that context:

“This morning the endorsement by New York Times is another way of indicating that Senator Clinton will be the future President of the United States.

Senator Clinton made many overtures in her recent T.V talk show appearances that I should go away and abandon the Obama campaign to suppress the Iraq war issue finally.

The impression I have is,

If Senator Obama becomes the nominee, there is absolutely no turning back for him as he would win the general election.”


In reality, what exactly happened prior to our President-elect Barack Obama establishing himself as a formidable candidate in the election is attention worthy.

First, my personal experience with MSNBC goes back to the days when the incumbent administration laid out the strategy to sell the unpopular Iraq war to the public and the United Nations.

I happened to be one of the unfortunate victims of mandatory public opinion survey superficially conducted by the administration to gain public support for the illegal invasion of Iraq.

This matter verified and confirmed truthful by the Institute for Public Policy, a non-profit organization, following the claim in my blog post during the Democratic Primary election.

With the relentless pro-Iraq war rally from networks such as MSNBC and FOX, the administration successfully launched their mission.

Although, there were other major networks equally involved in drumming their support for the Iraq war…

MSNBC displayed no qualms in abruptly eliminating dissent like the popular and visibly democratic, none other than their own talk show host, Mr. Phil Donahue.

My first unpleasant experience with MSNBC is regarding the anti-Iraq war message conveyed to the administration in response to the mandatory survey.

In my statement, I clearly emphasized the blunder by the administration on their commitment to wage war against Iraq and,

The consequences ensuing in terms of loss of lives, economic costs, national reputation and everything else that followed the disastrous war.

The born again liberal MSNBC demonized and targeted me as anti-patriotic with spam mail flooding my Inbox.

Further, the obscene materials via virus corrupted my database, forcing me to abandon the hard disk for a new one.

It was nothing short of homegrown terrorism for my anti-war position.

It is important to cite the article by Victor Davis Hanson, A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution,

Ref. San Jose Mercury News, November 13, 2008.

The article quotes “Most polls reveal that American voters believed that their media was biased in favor of Obama.

The popular journalist Chris Matthews even bragged that it was his job responsibility to see that Obama succeeds.”

Chris Matthews brags about his support to Obama during the election.

It might be the case but the evidence is against such claim.

Chris Matthews threw his weight not until the candidate Barack Obama proven the Democratic nominee against all odds.

Mr. Chris Matthews clearly knows about what this is.

During the fiercely battled Democratic Primary election, Nevada Primary & Caucus held on Saturday, January 19, 2008.

I published the following blog post that morning 4.19 am EST, my time 1.19am PST causing fury and anger among the Clinton campaign and their surrogates in the media, especially Chris Matthews of MSNBC.

Post from Padmini Arhant’s Blog: –

Electability Factor
By "Voice behind the movement" – Jan 19th, 2008 at 4:19 am EST

Comments |  Mail to a Friend  |  Report Objectionable Content
Electability Factor:

The voters should focus on the electability factor when casting the vote in the primaries for their respective candidates.

The candidate, who can eventually lead the Democratic Party to victory in the general election in November 2008, will be the ideal nominee.

There will be various issues discussed and debated between the two parties during the general election.

Given the track record of the Republican Party in the general election, the Democratic Party would be well positioned with a candidate voting against the Iraq war.

Senator Barack Obama had consistently opposed the Iraq war.

He voted for the funding of the Iraq war to protect the interest and security of our brave young men and women in harm’s way and enable Iraq stabilize as a sovereign nation ultimately leading to the withdrawal of our troops.

The illegitimate Iraq war has been a major catastrophe for our national economy, security, credibility to deal with International crisis, and our image as the leader of the new world.

The Republican Party nominee voting for the Iraq war could be challenged and held accountable by the Democratic Party nominee voting against the war.

The victory strategy for the Democratic Party in the general election should be on the premise of Iraq war to honor the sacrifice by brave young men and women who lost their lives and all those currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The victory for Democratic Party would then truly represent the ‘real change’ against the ‘status quo’ or the establishment.

Padmini Arhant – Copyrights reserved



To emphasize again, the blog post created enormous outrage with the Clinton campaign bitterly complaining about my attempt to influence the election negatively on that date.

As usual, mainstream media lend support to the power and establishment expresses their reaction in a manner to warn a private citizen like myself to stay off the campaign trail.

Like the BET CEO, Mr. Robert Thompson a close Clinton surrogate, with his exclusive appearance on–

The Situation Room, hosted by Mr. Wolf Blitzer, on CNN specifically advised me by referring to me as,

The “woman of color” to cease my campaigning for the candidate then, Senator Barack Obama.

The Nevada Primary was won by Senator Hillary Clinton.

President-elect Barack Obama had the caucus victory.

The MSNBC coverage on Saturday, January 19, 2008, the day Nevada results was declared, is evidence to the outburst of a media commentator against a private citizen.

Chris Matthews, in particular admonished me directly by wagging his finger and in uttermost condemnation of my interference in the Presidential election.

He said, “This is not a horse race for betting. It is a serious Presidential race.

Individuals with no knowledge or experience should stay out of political campaigns.”

It was a clear indication that individuals like me have no place in politics or public forum.

The sentiment was shared by another MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell who initially tried to remain objective during the discussion with Clinton aid about that particular blog post that morning.

However, she later on made a bizarre remark about a possible substance abuse by me because of my daring attempts to envision a future with an African American Presidency.

Only, if Andrea Mitchell would have played a similar role in critiquing her spouse and the ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan,

Equally responsible for neglecting the warnings of the economic turmoil that nearly brought the domestic and international financial markets on the brink of collapse,

The recent bailouts may not have been necessary.

Thankfully, we are living in a technology driven age, where such incidents cannot possibly be buried in a time capsule with a hope of never being found until it becomes irrelevant.

All these blatant attacks and innuendoes were to demoralize me and debilitate my effort in spreading the message of our movement.

I owe my passion, commitment and drive to get further involved in the campaign to my children especially my eleven-year-old child.

He encouraged me to stand up to partisan politics and send a strong message to commentators like Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell and the likes,

That, ordinary people can do extraordinary things in life.

In fact, he was targeted as well with a nickname sidekick by the President-elect Barack Obama’s opponents for his exceptional role in exploiting the web technology with the publication of my blog posts.

My son’s advice to me was, not to rest until Senator Barack Obama is elected "The President" Barack Obama.

I am glad and proud of my son’s advice to fight against the odds given the extreme stressful situation at that time.

Surely, children have a better sense of rationality enabling them to behold a different vision for the world.

They realize the burden on them with respect to the national debt, credibility and financial security as future taxpayers of the economy.

Prior to the election coverage, MSNBC’s show —

The Countdown by Keith Olbermann targeted the American idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar and

Sadistically mocked him almost on a daily basis to survive competition with condescending remarks through critic like Maria Melito.

Maria Melito in her brutal attack against Sanjaya Malakar claimed that the reason for Sanjaya to gain unprecedented votes was because…

“The people of his ethnicity i.e. India, voting for him never had anyone rise to the hall of fame in history.”

Sadly, such comment reflected ignorance as anyone born on Planet Earth, should know the ancient Indus valley civilization which is India is not new to fame and wisdom.

The land in South East Asia is the origin and birth place of celestial beings like the Holy Lord Krishna, Holy and Graceful Gautama Buddha and sentient beings of the twentieth century such as Mahatma Gandhi —

The noble soul, the light of the world, the mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Nelson Mandela, preached and practiced non-violence, peace and unity that are oxy-moron in the contemporary world.

Not excluding other notable scholars like Nobel laureates…

The Poet Rabindra Nath Tagore for literature in 1913 and DR. Har Gobind Khorana for Physiology or Medicine in 1968 to name a few.

Besides, Sanjaya Malakar fan base sprawled across the social spectrum as demonstrated by his young admirer, Ashley Ferl awestruck during his performance.

Young Ashley Ferl, was in return summoned to the Senate for rigorous interrogation by the elected officials…

Prioritizing investigation of genuine admiration for a young performer on the national stage over serious issues like Abu Ghraib, Katrina and deliberate exposure of CIA overt operative Mrs. Valerie Plaim.

To revert to the article by Victor Davis Hanson, ref. San Jose Mercury News, Nov 13, 2008, titled — “The kind of real ‘hope and change’ we can believe in for next year”

“The media, meanwhile should be careful not to abandon fairness and discretion for short-term political advantage.

When the wheel turns – and it too, always does – what you did or said will come back to haunt you.”

I could not agree more with the affirmation.

I hope Chris Matthews and others learned a lesson or two from this historic political event.

When Change occurs, it happens all around much to the dismay of those consumed with fallacy and egocentrism regardless of the empire they reign.

The mainstream, far left and right media as well as some news organization with an exception of cable network like —

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”, “The Colbert Report” and “The Late Night Shows”,

Failed to meet the journalistic standards of objectivity and professionalism required in the presentation of views and analysis of any events particularly a Presidential election or for that matter, serious missions like the war.

The role of MSNBC and FOX in their relentless bashing of the candidates from both political aisles successfully drove the viewers to the cyberspace in search of

Truth and Transparency desperately sought by people of the human race.

Whether it is young Sanjaya Malakar reaching for the stars or young Senator from the State of Illinois, President-elect Barack Obama successfully taking a shot at the highest office on land,

Their audacity of hope was challenged with rhetoric filled with racial slur, negative attacks and divisive politics to deny them the spotlight.

It is admirable that both individuals displayed a decorum signifying unity and poise seen unlike before in dealing with excessive criticism from the entities exhibiting power in the corporate media and Public office.

United States is a nation of immigrants from all over the world.

Any social progress to the satisfaction of all those feeling disfranchised is attainable only if the media and the elected officials recognize their share of responsibility in the service to democracy.

Further, the author of the cited article, Mr. Victor Davis Hanson, concluded with the following passage:

“Obama and his giddy Democratic majority sound like they think they will now be novel exceptions to these iron laws of politics, as if they really believe their hype that they are the “change” we have been waiting for, with cosmic power to stop the planet from heating and the seas from rising.

But the only real difference from the past old politics is that the present avatars of “hope and change” apparently don’t believe that the age-old adage – “The more things change, the more they remain the same” – will really apply to them as well.”


It does not require the cosmic power to stop the planet form heating and the seas from rising.

It is doable by the ordinary human power to respect life in general and act responsibly for their survival now and in the future.

Failing that,

Perhaps the cosmic power could influence the resisting human nature to preserve and protect the ecological balance necessary for the sustenance of the planet.

As for the age-old adage referenced above applying to the present avatars of ‘Hope and Change”,

It entirely depends on the agents of change and their target.

The age-old adage applies to those involved in cosmetic change rather than fundamental change, the ultimate goal and mission of the present avatars of “Hope and Change.”

Cosmetic change is delusional and beneficial for short-term gains affecting a selective few, hence it yields “more of the same” result.

Whereas, fundamental change target the philosophy of the institution as the sovereign power and,

Therefore, it is real, long lasting and universal.

As per the Hindu mythology, Almighty God Shiva is depicted the

“Lord of Destruction.”

Destruction is Deliverance for a New beginning with a divine commitment to depart from the age-old adage towards new-era prophecy, a divergence from

“The Oscillating Pendulum.” —

The significance and the sole purpose of the avatars of “Hope and Change.”

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant