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Subject: The Republicans Don't Have Any Ideas
CJH    9/4/2010 8:39:44 AM
Or so we are told a roadmap for america?s future Executive Summary A Roadmap for America?s Future 2.0 / THE CHALLENGE ? AND THE OPPORTUNITY / 111th Congress / 27 January 2010 "Major Plan Components. ▫ Health Care. The plan ensures universal access to affordable health insurance by restructuring the tax code, allowing all Americans to secure affordable health plans that best suits their needs, and shifting the ownership of health coverage away from the government and employers to individuals. - Provides a refundable tax credit ? $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families ? to purchase coverage in any State, and keep it with them if they move or change jobs. - Establishes transparency in health care price and quality data, so this critical information is readily available before an individual needs health services. - Modernizes Medicaid and strengthens the health care safety net by reforming high-risk pools, giving States maximum flexibility to tailor Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their populations. Allows Medicaid recipients to take part in the same variety of options by using the tax credit to purchase high-quality care. ▫ Medicare. The Roadmap secures Medicare for current beneficiaries, while making common-sense reforms to keep it solvent for the long term. - Preserves the existing Medicare program for those 55 or older. - For those currently under 55 ? as they become Medicare-eligible ? creates a Medicare payment averaging $11,000 per year when fully phased in. Adjusts the payment for inflation, and pegs it to income, with low-income individuals receiving greater support. Provides risk adjustment, so those with greater medical needs receive a higher payment. - In addition to the Medicare payment, establishes and fully funds Medical Savings Accounts [MSAs] for low-income beneficiaries (to cover out-of-pocket costs), while continuing to allow all beneficiaries, regardless of income, to set up tax-free MSAs. - Makes Medicare permanently solvent, based on Congressional Budget Office [CBO] estimates and consultation with the Office of the Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. ▫ Social Security. The proposal saves and strengthens this important retirement program and makes it sustainable for the long term. - Preserves the existing Social Security program for those 55 or older. - Offers workers under 55 the option of investing over one third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan available to Federal employees. Includes a property right so they can pass on these assets to their heirs, and a guarantee that individuals will not lose a dollar they contribute to their accounts, even after inflation. - Makes the program permanently solvent, according to the CBO, by combining a more realistic measure of growth in Social Security?s initial benefits, with a gradual, modest increase in the retirement age, consistent with Americans? improving lifespans. ▫ Tax Reform. This plan offers an alternative to today?s needlessly complex and inefficient tax code, providing the option of a simplified mechanism that better promotes and rewards work, saving, and investment. - Provides taxpayers a choice of how to pay their income taxes ? through existing law, or through a highly simplified code that fits on a postcard with just two rates and virtually no special tax deductions, credits, or exclusions (except the health care tax credit). - Simplifies tax rates to 10 percent on income up to $100,000 for joint filers, and $50,000 for single filers; and 25 percent on taxable income above these amounts. Also includes a generous standard deduction and personal exemption (totaling $39,000 for a family of four). - Eliminates the alternative minimum tax [AMT]. - Promotes saving by eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends; also eliminates the death tax. - Replaces the corporate income tax ? currently the second highest in the industrialized world ? with a border-adjustable business consumption tax of 8.5 percent. This new rate is roughly half that of the rest of the industrialized world. ▫ Job Training. The Roadmap helps the Nation?s workforce prepare for success in the global economy by transforming 49 job training programs, scattered across eight agencies, into a flexible, dynamic program focused on results, and accompanied by clear measures of transparency and accountability. The plan requires the development of performance measures, and gives each State the option to consolidate funding into one program, if such an approach can be shown improve outcomes and achieve job training goals. Why ?A Roadmap for America?s Future? is Different. As
 
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CJH       9/4/2010 8:52:49 AM
 
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CJH       9/4/2010 8:53:10 AM
"TITLE I: HEALTH CARE REFORM

&e643; Refundable Credit for Health Insurance Coverage. Provides a flat, refundable income tax credit for individual and family purchase of health insurance. The credit may not be used by those enrolled in Medicare or a military health coverage plan.

 - Credit Amount. The tax credit equals $2,300 for individual tax filers and $5,700 for joint filers and families.

 - Refundable and Advanceable. The credit is refundable, and therefore available to low-income persons with no tax liability. Credit also is ?advanceable,? enabling individuals to purchase coverage at the beginning of a year, rather than waiting for their tax returns.

 - Assignable. The credit would be forwarded directly to the insurer of the tax credit recipient?s choice, leaving the balance, if any, refunded or billed to the recipient.

 - Inflation Adjustable. The credit is adjusted for inflation: specifically, by an average of consumer price index and the percentage increase in the medical care component of the consumer price index.

&e643; Repeal of Employer Exclusion for Group Health Insurance. Repeals, for purposes of income taxes, the current-law exemption of employer-sponsored health coverage. Employers that continue to provide group health insurance to employees continue to claim contributions as a business expense deduction.

&e643; Other Tax Components. Retains current-law tax preferences for Health Savings Accounts. Retains the 7.5-percent itemized deduction for medical expenses, but provides that taxpayers who claim the new health care tax credit may not take into account premiums for such coverage for purposes of the tax deduction.

&e643; Portability. Allows individuals to carry personally owned insurance through changes of jobs or residences.

&e643; Interstate Purchasing. Allows individuals who reside in one State to buy a more affordable health insurance plan in another State. Likewise, health insurance plans would be able to sell their policies to individuals and families in every State, as other companies do in every other sector of the economy.

&e643; Small Business Relief. Allows small businesses to pool together nationally to offer coverage to their employees through association health plans [AHPs]. Plans are regulated at the Federal level and would have advantages similar to those of larger employer plans.
&e643; Health Information Technology. Establishes a market-driven National Health Information Network, providing for individual ownership of medical records, and transitioning the health care industry from paper-based medical records to electronic medical records.

&e643; Transparency. See details in the Medicare component of this legislation.

&e643; State-Based Health Exchanges. Requires States to contract with health insurance plans or third-party administrators to run exchanges. Encourages States to form inter-state compacts, increasing their negotiating abilities and enhances risk-pool sizes. Requires exchanges to offer insurance plans with the same standard health benefits available to Members of Congress. Requires all health plans on an exchange to provide annual open enrollment periods and enroll newly eligible individuals. Prohibits plans offers through an exchange from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions, and allows individuals to opt out of health care. Exchange requirements include:

 - Auto-Enrollment. Each State is to develop auto-enrollment health insurance procedures (similar to those for dual-eligibles under the Medicare Modernization Act) for previously eligible Medicaid recipients.

 - High Risk Pools. Funds are to be used to help low-income individuals and families (as defined by the State) and high-cost individuals and families (those for whom insurance is unavailable or highly expensive due to health status) purchase qualifying insurance. Eligible expenses shall include, but not be limited to, direct assistance with premiums and cost-sharing for low-income and/or high-cost families.

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Ashley-the-man       9/11/2010 10:47:22 PM
A republican president needs one item - a veto pen.  Veto any budget higher than 19% of GNP, and set taxes at 21% of GNP -
Second term, no budget higher than 18% and taxes at 20%.
Third term, budget no higher than 17%, and taxes at 19%
 
That's the kind of program I would support.
 
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CJH       9/11/2010 10:57:17 PM
Looks interesting. I like the idea of declinining tax rates.
 
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