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Donald Johnson
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Donald E. L. Johnson began his financial writing career as a commodities reporter on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade for The Wall Street Journal. He has reported for the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Journal of Commerce, American Metal Market-Metalworking News and Modern Healthcare, where... More
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  • Baucus Health Insurance Proposal Will Cost Small Employers Millions
    The much celebrated and deplored health insurance reform and health spending bill proposed by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) would impose tremendous administrative burdens on small employers.

    They would have to hire tax experts and accounting firms to help them prepare applications for tax credits and subsidies that Baucus proposes to give to them.

    And, of course, the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services would have to examine their tax returns and books to make sure that they weren’t cheating. This is because the subsidies and tax credits envisioned by Baucus invite fraud and abuse, and the government would have to try to minimize that. The problem is that the Medicare and Medicaid programs have shown that the Feds aren’t very good at minimizing fraud and abuse, which amounts to some $65 billion a year in the Medicare program.

    Tax preparation services cost as much as the IRS collects in income taxes. It appears that the Baucus plan would cost small employers more in administrative expenses than they would collect in tax credits and health insurance subsidies.

    Wonder whether the Congressional Budget Office has an opinion on this?

    It would be much better to take small employers out of the health insurance business and let their employees buy health insurance in a reformed individual health insurance market.

    Bottom line: Millions of small employers would give up because they couldn’t deal with the health regulations and the costs the Democrats’ health insurance reforms would impose on them. Millions of jobs would be lost, and the government’s income tax revenues from small employers would shrink.

    Sen. Baucus’ Finance Committee will begin debating and marking up a bill next week.


    America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009: The Baucus proposal, pp.22-24.

    Sep 17 10:44 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Questions That May Stop or Change ObamaCare
    Many speculators are very worried about ObamaCare and its potential to slow the economy and hurt companies in the health sector.

    For those who are joining the fight against ObamaCare or trying to water it down, I have some suggestions about how to go about it.

    Opponents of Obama’s single-payer scheme, government-funded abortion, Medicare rationing by age, increased government spending on government health programs that give free health care to illegal immigrants, 60% marginal income tax rates and giving politicians the power to reward their health care friends and punish their enemies should continue to use fear to fight the fear strategy that Obama has been using with such futility. 

    Ask some of these simple questions:

    1. Do you think one person or one company can manage 20% of the American economy fairly and honestly?

    2. When you get a big NO, ask, do you trust any politician or the 535 members of Congress to skillfully, honestly and fairly to run health care in a way that is good for anybody but their campaign contributors and favorite lobbyists?

    3. Then ask, do you think Congress and the President could radically change 20% of the economy, the health care markets, and get it right? Ever?

    4. Are you prepared to see Washington’s careerist politicians turn your health insurance and health care into another mismanaged, corrupt Katrina, California, New York , Illinois or New Jersey?

    5. Do you realize that on a per person basis, Medicare is more expensive to administer than private health insurance and that nothing Washington will do will cut administrative costs?

    6.Do you want government-run health care that favors the rich and powerful as well as the political class who will take care of their friends and themselves regardless of how it hurts you?

    7. Will you support changes in health care insurance laws and regulations that won’t put the employes of large and small businesses out of work? 

    8. And, finally, are you ready for some minor changes in state and federal insurance laws that will let private health insurers sell and administer policies that don’t discriminate based on your medical history, can’t be cancelled when you get sick, can’t be made more expensive after you submit major claims and make it possible to take your insurance with you when you change jobs?

    These questions should be asked in townhall meetings, letters to members of Congress, speeches, TV appearances and in conversations with your friends and acquaintances.

    Don’t defend insurers as Jim DeMint and most Republicans do.

    Don’t let Democrats push a bill that favors their friends in the pharmaceutical industry, the American Hospital Assn. and the unrepresentative American Medical Assn.

    When people bring up AARP’s strong support for ObamaCare, point out that AARP makes money selling supplemental Medicare insurance and Medicare Part D drug coverage. It is dependent on the president and Democrats, because they make it possible for AARP and its executives to make big money. Yes, AARP is tax-exempt, but it is in business to make its executives rich and its board members powerful.

    Not everyone will agree with your questions or answers, but that’s okay, because you’ll continue to expose the unworkability and corruptibility of ObamaCare.

    Aug 07 12:37 PM | Link | Comment!
  • ObamaCare's Not Dead; Kennedy & Waxman Bills Are
     Pundits are celebrating and mourning the death of ObamaCare, but what ever it turns out to be in the next two to three years, it’s not dead.

    However, Ted Kennedy’s and Henry Waxman’s bills that would Canadianize American health markets look (note the hedge) dead on arrival.

    Three polls by RasmussenGallup and NBC/WSJ all show President Obama’s personal approval ratings are down and that Americans aren’t ready to Canadianize health care. Weak poll numbers for Obama and for health deform (sic) undermine ObamaCare’s chances.

    The futures traders at who are playing the health care reform market, are giving ObamaCare a 35% chance of passing by Jan. 1., down from 46% last week. The adults are taking over from the gullibles.

    Karl Rove nails it in today’s WSJ: You can’t reduce access to care and the quality of care for more than 280 million Americans who have some kind of insurance to help the 2%, or 6 to 8 million CITZENS and legal residents who never can afford to buy catastrophic coverage and aren’t eligible for existing programs. I’ve been saying this for months. Be sure to read the comments that follow Rove’s column. Folks are starting to understand what ObamaCare would do to them.

    Health stocks have been rallying for several days anticipating a watered down health deform bill.

    Why is ObamaCare in trouble now?

    You can’t sell garbage with a lousy pitchman like Obama. He has no credibility on economics, energy, global warming or health because he’s Clintonized his speeches to the point where everyone sees the clever parsing coming before his teleprompter does.

    Bob Dole didn’t sell Viagra. Viagra sold itself despite Dole. Obama’s no Michael Jordan, and ObamaCare’s no Viagra.

    Americans know that when one political party gains to much power, power corrupts. They’ve seen it in their state legislatures and major cities all their lives, and they saw it when Bush and the GOP controlled Congress. Now they see the Dems gleefully creating false crises and trying to exploit them at the expense of the privately insured and Medicare beneficiaries.

    Obama got his hard left Barney Franks and Teddy Kennedys convinced he could Rahm their near single-payer plan through Congress. Now they see the Blue Dogs standing in their way, and they’re saying the 80-member Congressional Progresssive Caucus will block anything the Blue Dogs will support. And the Blue Dogs are split, too.

    Kennedy and Waxman have spent the last 35 to 45 years blocking real reform, waiting for the day when an Obama would come along and Canadianize health care. And they’re willing to block real reform if they can’t get their perfect plan through now.

    White House, you’ve got a problem.

    Jul 30 1:45 PM | Link | Comment!
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