Give us health tax deductions

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) drafts the national health care plan that Congress should consider. Tax credits and deductions give consumers money to purchase medical coverage in the private sector, shopping across state lines. State high-risk pools would cover those with existing medical problems. One vital feature, missing from the Democrats’ plans, are provisions to curtail excessive medical malpractice awards. It is a national policy calamity that a more open and honest congressional debate didn’t occur.

Don’t know Glenn Thomas, a candidate for mayor of Atlanta, but he offers a profound insight into taxes collected by one government and handed over to another to spend, specifically Atlanta’s spending of federal largesse. Said Thomas: “It’s not that we don’t have the money. We don’t know how to spend it.” He was speaking of the wasted $100 million Empowerment Zone money that the Clinton administration shoveled to Atlanta.

Same topic, different point. The Empowerment, now called Renewal Community, has about $37 million remaining and may have to return about $30 million to the feds at year’s end if it’s not spent. “The goal of the [Renewal Community] board is not to send any money back,” said Peggy Harper, board chairman. “We’re going to look for the most expedient way to spend the money.” In two sentences, Harper has just explained the failure of 99 percent of federal social programs – and how people end up in jail, though far less often than they should if federal programs were properly monitored.

You be the judge: The honesty of John Thompson, a 29-year state employee is so startling – “I do nothing” – that a) Diogenes works for Georgia or b) he’s really angry with superiors and wants somebody fired. You gotta admit, though, that moving him to a “do-nothing” job from “chief of operations” and giving him a 22 percent pay increase is the way that large corporations and big governments with too much money deal with their personnel problems.

East Point officials appear to be doing a commendable job of managing the city out of its recurring financial troubles, prompting the question of why City Council would now invite future financial trouble by recognizing a union, East Point Professional Firefighters Local 4717, to represent its fire department.

Other than newspapers, the single company I’d like most to see succeed is Ford Motor Co., which just posted second-quarter profits of $2.3 million. Executives there took the risk to borrow $23.5 billion in 2006 and 2007, putting the entire corporation on the line, to prepare for the downturn. No government bailout. That kind of free-enterprise risk-taking should be rewarded in the marketplace.

Fulton County’s new elections chief, Barry Garner, makes an outlandish promise. “We are not going to be the laughingstock of the election community anymore” by always being the last to get ballots counted,” said the brash young newcomer. He’d just as soon promise to end traffic congestion.

Oh, car hijackee and Atlanta City Councilman Ceasar Mitchell, was not the victim of crime; he was the victim of perception of crime. According to the mayor, the city’s “safer now than it has been in decades.” But people like Mitchell and Council President Lisa Borders seem to be noticing crime more.

The whole world knew when the shakedown of Big Tobacco succeeded that they’d be coming for the soft-drink and snack-food industries at the earliest opportunity. Answer the door, Maggie. They’ve come. The liberals at the Urban Institute, allegedly alarmed by increases in obesity, think a 10 percent tax on “fattening food” would “reduce consumption while raising more than $500 billion over 10 years.”

285 comments Add your comment

Michael H. Smith

July 30th, 2009
7:46 pm

U.S. Rep. Tom Price draft is missing a few other items, namely the absence of the Private Public Co-Op healthcare option which companies or individuals could form, which is found in the GOP healthcare outline. A State high-risk pool is not enough.

clyde

July 30th, 2009
9:48 pm

Good evening Jim,
If the present mayor can’t spend the money,it must be unspendable.Send it to Ray Nagin.He’ll make it disappear along with e-mail.

By his own admission,John Thompson needs to be gone.

East Point can survive a union and prosper if everyone does things right.I’ve worked for and against unions and non-union companies all my life and unions are hardly the bugaboo that Jim likes to picture.The key is that both sides understand the rules and abides by them.When I say against,I mean I was in management.

I too want to see Ford succeed.They certainly deserve to,but the government and all it’s money and weight is pretty stiff competition.

I seriously doubt that Atlanta is safe.We won’t discuss degrees of safety.That would be like discussing how far along you are in a pregnancy.

As I’ve said on numerous occasions,The shakedown on Big Tobacco didn’t succeed.They’re still in the business of killing people.It needs to cease.

Most food is fattening when you over indulge.Cucumbers and watercress might be the exceptions.

GibbGA

July 30th, 2009
10:49 pm

While I rarely find myself in agreement with your positions, I almost always find your articles enlightening. For this one, let me say, “thank you” for the perception of crime jab. As we have all heard, perception is reality. In this case, it’s just real.

Reconcilliation is a Comin' Baby.

July 31st, 2009
1:07 am

No co-op has been licensed in this country.

Reconcilliation is a Comin' Baby.

July 31st, 2009
1:26 am

Price’s plan is totally stupid. It does nothing to stop recision which is to cut off palying insureds when they get sick. It does zero to cover everyone. It does zero to stop the bills a mastectomy patient incurs when she has surgery and chemo and her deductible turns out to be double what she was told in the fine print and her premiums triple.

Price’s plan does zero to reign in insurance companies destroying medical care or to control big pharma.

Price and Gingrey have been away from medicine a long time and it shows.

Reconcilliation is a Comin' Baby.

July 31st, 2009
1:31 am

The shoes are beginning to drop into place and once again Wooten’s pride cedomes before he gets squished just as he crowed that Dumb and Dumber were beating Obama in 9/08.

WASHINGTON — The House Energy and Commerce Committee resumed work Thursday on major health care legislation, voting to establish a government-run health insurance plan, as top Republicans stepped up their criticism of the ambitious legislation.

By a vote of 35 to 24, Democrats defeated a Republican effort to eliminate a section of the bill that would create the public health insurance option.

“Our constituents should have the choice of a public plan,” said Representative Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut. “There is nothing to be scared of here. No one will be forced into the public plan.”

President Obama supports a public plan, saying it would foster competition and keep private insurers honest.

Reconcilliation is a Comin' Baby.

July 31st, 2009
1:33 am

So much for the power of the Blue dog morons.

Gerald West

July 31st, 2009
6:41 am

Jim, your “health care” ideas are nonsense, just like the Republican politicians’. A large part of the American population are struggling financially just to get by. In case you haven’t heard, the standard of living of the working middle class has been declining for many years. Granting tax deductions and offering tax-deductible medical savings accounts are of no help for those who do not earn enough to pay high taxes or cannot afford to set aside money in a savings account. Nor does it reign in the cost of medical care for the government and individuals.

Everybody needs access to medical services, whether they are employed, unemployed, young, old, poor, or wealthy. A medical services plan that doesn’t provide that is worthless: just a ploy to continue the broken status quo.

Do you have any sense of social responsibility?

Road Scholar

July 31st, 2009
6:51 am

You shouldn’t criticize Barry Garner….yet. At least he has recognized a problem and has set a goal to correct it. That is a first step in cleaning up a mess. What has Gov Perdue done lately to be proactive with transportation, water, education…etc.?

Since you are such a problem solver, why don’t you get a job to correct other deficencies with government operations? Oh, yeah, I forgot that you are a commentater, who can only criticize…no responsibility!

Michael H. Smith

July 31st, 2009
7:34 am

A licensed Co Op in this country.

Founded in 1947, Group Health Cooperative is a consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system that coordinates care and coverage. Based in Seattle, Wash., Group Health and its subsidiary health carriers, Group Health Options, Inc. and KPS Health Plans, serve more than half a million residents of Washington state and Idaho.

http://www.ghc.org/about_gh/index.jhtml

eagle scout

July 31st, 2009
7:48 am

What we keep hearing from the republicans (and Tom Price) is the Lewin Group has done a study…
which backs his and the republicans nonsensical stance….When confronted with who is the Lewin group he stammers and stutters, and he can’t come clean that the Lewin Group is owned and operated by United Health INSURANCE.

They talk about how the bureaucrats will be in the middle of you and your doctor….I say BS!

If you are now on medicare which I am, NO bureaucrat has stepped in between me and my doctor! The program is seamless, efficient, and effective. I have found it to be much better, and less costly then the insurance I had when I worked for a fortune 100 company.

The right wing as usual tries to scare anyone now on Blue Cross/Blue Shield…Kaiser etal with there blathering about socialized medicine….They have only one goal and that is to make sure the Insurance companies won’t have to compete. In other words lower there prices!

Wooten next time you see Price….ask him if we would vote yea or nay for Medicare.

Will

July 31st, 2009
7:50 am

Did you forget to include the price tag for this bloated gift to the taxpayer? According to Representative Price, his plan will cost “around 800 billion”. Of course we don’t have to worry because he has assured us the savings will pay for the cost.

Hmmm……sounds pretty just like someone else’s promises to me.

clyde

July 31st, 2009
7:52 am

Then there’s Healthpartners,based in Minnesota,Which is larger than Group Health Cooperative.

bob

July 31st, 2009
7:56 am

why did reconcillitation shut up after 7:34 ?

Michael H. Smith

July 31st, 2009
8:03 am

It really doesn’t matter what the Democrats or Republicans want. It is what the citizens of this country want that should determine the outcome of healthcare reform.

Michael H. Smith

July 31st, 2009
8:13 am

Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners (www.healthpartners.com) family of healthcare companies serves more than one million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. It is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation, providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community. For the fourth year in a row, HealthPartners is rated one of the best commercial health plans in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, NCQA’s “America’s Best Health Plans 2007” and is ranked “Highest in Member Satisfaction among Commercial Health Plans in the Minnesota-Wisconsin Region” by J.D. Power and Associates.

http://www.linkedin.com/companies/healthpartners

jconservative

July 31st, 2009
8:13 am

The national health care plan that Congress should consider first is some solution to the baby boomers hitting Medicare & Medicaid in the next 10 years. In the next 20 years that is going to cost taxpayers $28 trillion (per the CBO). Not one Republican or Democratic member of Congress has introduced a single sentence on dealing with this problem.

Sweep the dirt under the rug & no one can see it! Is everyone happy with the incumbents they have been returning to Congress? Answer: yes you are happy. Why are you happy? Because they have an “R” or a “D” after they name on the ballot. Nothing else matters.

Michael H. Smith

July 31st, 2009
8:32 am

There are solutions to the Medicare & Medicaid problem. One solutions is to move these patients into consumer ran Co-Op healthcare systems such as the two already mentioned and phase out these two government ran schemes. The problems now seen in Medicare & Medicaid should be clear evidence as to why this Public Option which really has no options, will result in the same fiscal disastrous outcome.

Same old, same old: Anytime we buy a claw hammer it cost $7 or less, when government buys that same $7 claw hammer for us, it will cost us $7,000 or more.

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
8:51 am

The Lord God Almighty has a controversy with the so-called educated integrationist Negroes and their minions. You know as well as I that there is no solution to criminality in Atlanta or other cities. If the Atlanta mayor puts an additional thousand police officers on the streets, it will prove to be futile. In order to reduce crime, there must be a bond of trust among the masses of people and their leadership. And God has to be on your side. Thanks to the so-called educated integrationist Negroes, neither exists. They were the casualties of involuntary integration.

Without question, young African Americans have no regard for the appointed so-called educated integrationist Negro leaders and their minions, and rightly so. After God Almighty had delivered the Negroes from the hands of their oppressors and placed them in the wilderness of separation, the so-called educated integrationist Negro leaders and their minions conspired against the masses. They delivered the masses of Negroes back into slavery via integration and called it freedom. And to further conceal these crimes from Negro children and their silly women, the centers of power in the United States award betrayers of common Negroes with money, plush jobs, status, awards, and Presidential Medals of so-called Freedom. But don’t despair. God is not mocked. Before all is said and done, the so-called educated integrationist Negroes and their minions will suffer the fate of Saddam Hussein.

The God of Israel has a controversy with the so-called educated integrationist Negroes and apostate Negro Christian leaders. God is using the language of crime and death in the cities to express his sore displeasure.

EVIL REPUBLICANS TIME IS UP

July 31st, 2009
9:03 am

DICK CHENEY SAID IN A SPEECH IN 2001 THAT IF YOU DONT MAKE 250,000 A YEAR YOU ARE NOT A REAL REPUBLICAN,SO POOR WHITE TRASH WHY ARE YOU A REPUBLICAN WHEN THE POOR WHITE TRASH ISNT GETTING ANY OF THE BENEFITS THAT THE RICH REPUBLICANS GET,ALSO ANYTIME REDNECKS LIKE JIMBO TOM PRICE AND PHIL GREEDY AGREE ON SOMETHING,IT MEANS THE GEORGIA TAX PAYER WILL BE SCREWED OVER!

EVIL REPUBLICANS TIME IS UP

July 31st, 2009
9:09 am

CHARLES YOU ARE RIGHT,MARTIN LUTHER KING TOLD ALL THOSE UNCLE TOMS LIKE JOE LOWERY JOHN LEWIS AND ANDY YOUNG NOT TO TAKE THE JOBS OR MONEY,BUT ONCE HE DIED ALL THOSE HOUSE NEGROES PLAYED STEP AND FETCHIT!JESSE JACKSON TO!

[...] what just showed up in Jim Wooten’s Thinking Right blog: Oh, car hijackee and Atlanta City Councilman Ceasar Mitchell, was not the victim of crime; he was [...]

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
9:11 am

Now I’m a servant of God. But if I were a young Negro, I would do crime too. Look, there are no black institutions available to feed, shelter, educate, employ, etc Negroes. When you find yourself in that position, you have three choices. You become an integrationist, do crime, or become a mongrel in order to survive.

Tray

July 31st, 2009
9:13 am

Hey Jim, and good morning all. How about 1 more topic?? The complete failure of the Cash for Clunkers program that was over in less than a week!!!

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
9:14 am

EVIL REPUBLICANS TIME IS UP, you are exactly right. It’s really a sad state of affairs.

Mid-South Philosopher

July 31st, 2009
9:15 am

Good morning, Jim,

Tax deductions for health care are a joke for middle and lower middle class (economically speaking) working people…especially when you consider the % level that must be met before the deductions kick in. Instead, I agree with the tax credit idea of anything over $1000 in medical expenses.

Think the Congress or the President will go along with that?….Sure, right after you and I are invited to the White House for a beer, Jim! LOLOL!

Michael H. Smith

July 31st, 2009
9:19 am

Yep, objective journalism at its’ finest. Never let it be said that at the AJC any slant exist, nah. :lol:

Wooten never told us his birthplace was coal country West Virginia were the term REDNECKS originated and was applied to unionizing coal miners. That would probably make Wooten a HILLBILLY as well, seeing as how HILLBILLY applies to anyone from the Appalachians, which could be anyone from southern New York state to northern Alabama.

Wooten, heaven forbid, are you a Yankee too?

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
9:21 am

And you know white people in the south cautioned the so-called educated integrationist Negroes time and time again about the perils of integration. Yes many of them were racist, but they understood that Negroes were about to make a fatal mistake.

Tray

July 31st, 2009
9:21 am

@EVIL REPUBLICANS…(blah blah blah)-Why would i vote republican? Well, i may be poor white trash, but unlike you, i have a plan and more determination than you can imagine, I’ll be that rich guy one day, because all you Democrats need someone to lurch money from!

Aquagirl

July 31st, 2009
9:22 am

Maybe there would have been a more honest, open debate on health care if Obama hadn’t been so busy with the financial collapse. Cleaning up Dubya’s droppings requires a mighty big shovel. Plus, there is no honest and open debate when Republicans are more concerned about a “Waterloo” for the president. Nice to see such naked honesty from Jim DeMint(ed), why pretend the subject is health care?

Side note: Charles = living proof health care reform MUST include a mental health benefit.

No Fat Chicks!

July 31st, 2009
9:25 am

If taxing fatties’ food will keep some of it out of their chubby Jimmy-Dean-sausage fingers, senators, pass that bill!

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
9:28 am

Today, the so-called educated integrationist Negroes are more evil than southerners were sixty years ago. I think it’s God’s doings. White southerners have taken on the Godly temperament of Negroes and Negroes have taken on the devilish temperament of white Southerners sixty years ago.

Brad Steel

July 31st, 2009
9:30 am

So Price’s contribution to health care reform is a pork pie for the insurance industry?

Well, at least its not the typical republican contribution of “no” or the other republican health care plan: Plan on Not Getting Sick.

clyde

July 31st, 2009
9:33 am

Notice the words”consumer governed” in the cooperative, not for profit health care mentioned by Mr.Smith and self?Not insurance governed nor government sponsored,but ‘CONSUMER GOVERNED”.

Jake

July 31st, 2009
9:33 am

jcon – It’s in there. They want to create a health commission headed by a health czar to curtail future Medicare increases. With 70 million baby boomers about to enter the Medicare system in a couple of years, how do you think the czar/comission will curtail Medicare costs?

Tray

July 31st, 2009
9:34 am

Let us list what the government RUNS SUCCESSFULLY:

Schools-Nope
Medicare/Medicaid-Nope
Social Security-NOPE
(recently)Cash for Clunkers-NOPE

…And you people really want them to take ove rand run our healthcare?? When i just demostrated above that they can’t run anything successfully!!

What’s worse is that we actually have people in government (like our pres!)who do not look over legal documents before signing them, 1000 pages or not-that’s ACTING STUPIDLY!

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
9:41 am

Aquagirl is just another silly woman.

Negroes just don’t get it. Professor Gates believes that he should be afforded the privileges of a white person. Yet white people have institutions capable of sustaining the lives of white people. Black people can’t sustain their lives without the assistance of white people. How can the two people expect the same privileges or equal protection and treatment under the law?

I appreciate white people for allowing me the opportunity to work for them until I was able to establish a business of my own. I wish other Negroes had that outlook and attitude.

Matilda

July 31st, 2009
9:43 am

U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) drafts the national health care plan that Congress should consider. Says you because he’s your buddy. Or so you think. He’s USING you, like he uses all the other local media hacks who think he’s their buddy. You don’t think he actually sees you as an EQUAL, do you? Haha! “Darnit Jim, I’M A DOCTOR!” Power & money care about power and money, and your fortune is a tiny dribble next to his overflowing bucket. “Thanks for the years of faithful support, sucker.”

Tax credits and deductions give consumers money to purchase medical coverage in the private sector, shopping across state lines. GREAT! Oh, well, except for all those people to whom the insurance companies REFUSE coverage. Flat out. (Been there myself.) Dr. Price’s prescription for THAT common malady? A vague, non-commital reference to something socialized. Nothing to see here, folks. Move right along.

One vital feature, missing from the Democrats’ plans, are provisions to curtail excessive medical malpractice awards. One feature never included in any Republican discussion is the collective raping of doctors by insurance companies who reap record profits by doing so. It’s not the occasional mutilated patient killing medical practices, it’s the insurance companies with whom Dr. Price frolicks between the sheets and in random hot tubs. (Oh yes, his secrets are not entirely secret….)

It is a national policy calamity that a more open and honest congressional debate didn’t occur. AGREED! That should have happened years ago. Why DID the Republicans shut down every attempt to have that debate? I smell a column idea, Mr. Wooten!

Jackie

July 31st, 2009
9:45 am

@Charles

If you were a servant of God, YOU would provide means and methods for those young Negroes that are causing ALL those social problems with the rape and pillage of society that you purport they perpetuate.

I wonder if those that you purport hurt society most have come close to the carnage the Bernard Madoffs of the world left us?

When do you step forward and help those poor souls with your godly benevolence and astute observational skills?

I contend that you are a fraud and have neither the inclination nor the ability to provide anything positive to anyone. Further you only provide flatulence to a social-economic problem.

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
9:46 am

White people were not born to meet the needs of Negroes via their institutions. The basic needs of Negroes should be met by the institutions of lazy minded so-called educated integrationist Negroes.

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
9:51 am

It appears that Jackie has an inclination to maintain control of her Negroes. And the idea of integration gives her the opportunity to do just that.

Jake

July 31st, 2009
9:51 am

Tray which part of “public option” don’t you understand? Theoretically, no one will be forced into government run health care, it will just exist as an option to privately run health care. If it isn’t cheaper or better run, don’t opt into it.

NOMAD

July 31st, 2009
10:00 am

Can someone explain to me why the Democrats in Congress are trying their best to ram a healthcare plan that, according to a recent WSJ/NBC poll, 47% of American’s think is a bad idea?

I thought that it was government for the people by the people. If the people think it is a bad idea, shouldn’t Congress listen to them and make needed changes?

NOMAD

George American

July 31st, 2009
10:01 am

“Charles” you might want to add that if an Africa-American cannot find work as a integrationist, criminal or a mongrel, they can apply democrat funded ward of the state programs so they can get free housing in government-owned apartments, free food with food stamps and free medical care with medicaid. There is lots of other free government stuff too.

No wonder none of them have a real job.

Diogenes

July 31st, 2009
10:06 am

Good morning, Jim,

First question: What do you mean by an “excessive malpractice award”? I haven’t seen one yet that I thought was excessive, and I’ve seen a lot that weren’t even close to compensatory.

Second question: Do you think a 10% tax on “fattening food” is enough? It seems to me that it needs to be 50% or more. Most of that money could be used to pay for health care. We might also curb the epidemic of obesity in the process.

Brad Steel

July 31st, 2009
10:07 am

NOMAD,
If polls and public opinion ran the government, we’d still have colored-only bathrooms in Georgia. Let me clue you in:

the electorate is dumber than congress.

Michael H. Smith

July 31st, 2009
10:13 am

For some reason I can’t respond to clyde. What gives AJC? More of that objective journalism at play?

What’s to fear, people choosing something you might oppose?

"Charles", The Original

July 31st, 2009
10:14 am

George American,

The so-called educated integrationist Negroes doesn’t want them to have real jobs. The so-called educated integrationist Negroes want to keep controversy going between white and black people while in the interim, a third entity steal power from white people.

The so-called educated integrationist Negroes doesn’t support the interest of the masses of Negroes. They support the interest of the third entity.

sharecropper

July 31st, 2009
10:17 am

I can’t believe Wooten actually wrote something I agree with, so I have to rethink my position. But being empowered to shop — honestly shop — for health insurance, vs. the current, for instance, RX plans, would be good. Either I must be wrong or Wooten is wrong.

Jake

July 31st, 2009
10:17 am

Diogenes – What’s almost always excssive is the 30-70% of the judgment that goes to the blood suckin ambulance chaser instead of the victim/victim’s family. Of course the Dems won’t touch that because the ambulance chasers are some of their biggest contributors.