“Every Republican officeholder and candidate in the country should have two words tattooed on their hands; growth and opportunity.”
Those are the reasons U.S. Senator Ted Cruz gave for introducing his ‘Restore Growth First – Defund Obamacare’ amendment to the continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. Cruz seeks to frame the conversation emphasizing that restoring economic growth from the current average of 0.8% to the historical average of 3.3% will go a long way toward solving our unemployment problem, balancing our budget and preserving our military strength. Cruz understands that Obamacare will accentuate our economic difficulties. Attendant issues are forcing employers to cancel coverage as a result of rising premiums and limit employee hours to escape coverage mandates. As such, Cruz proposes to postpone funding Obamacare at least until our economy begins to grow again.
Yet, Cruz is a realist understanding that when there are 55 Democrats in the U.S. Senate “emphatically in favor of Obamacare,” the likelihood of passing such legislation is slim. Nonetheless, Cruz is pressing on as part of a broader effort to turn the conversation to issues that benefit Republicans, and Americans! Cruz wants Obamacare to be part of a broader conversation about tax and regulatory reform and the burdens government is placing on small business. Cruz is offering his amendment in no small part so that an amended continuing resolution will return to the House of Representatives and force Republican leadership to revisit their decision to re-authorize the Obama-Pelosi-Reid budget of 2009 that the federal government is continuing to operate under. Cruz understands that visiting these issues at every availability will shift the topics of conversation from gun control and immigration to those of interest; not only by grassroots activists who have been leading the fight against Obamacare but also unaffiliated less partisan voters.
GOP House “Leadership” caused a stir over the weekend when they suggested they would continue passing legislation without the support of a majority of their caucus. Republicans across the country would do well to follow the advice of the Pied Piper. Republican politicians and political operatives might be pleasantly surprised to discover that when you distinguish yourself from your political opponents by word and by deed, people will follow.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) March 11, 2013
My favorite part of the Obamacare ruling is where Chief Justice Roberts ADMITS! that the Obamacare fine is not a direct tax but is not concerned because it does not cost that much.
(b) Such an analysis suggests that the shared responsibility payment may for constitutional purposes be considered a tax. The payment is not so high that there is really no choice but to buy health insurance; the payment is not limited to willful violations, as penal- ties for unlawful acts often are; and the payment is collected solely by the IRS through the normal means of taxation. Cf. Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co., 259 U. S. 20, 36–37. None of this is to say that pay- ment is not intended to induce the purchase of health insurance. But the mandate need not be read to declare that failing to do so is un- lawful. Neither the Affordable Care Act nor any other law attaches negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance, beyond requiring a payment to the IRS. And Congress’s choice of language— stating that individuals “shall” obtain insurance or pay a “penalty”— does not require reading §5000A as punishing unlawful conduct. It may also be read as imposing a tax on those who go without insur- ance. See New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, 169–174. Pp. 35–40.
(c) Even if the mandate may reasonably be characterized as a tax, it must still comply with the Direct Tax Clause, which provides: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.” Art. I, §9, cl. 4. A tax on going without health insurance is not like a capitation or other direct tax under this Court’s precedents. It there- fore need not be apportioned so that each State pays in proportion to its population. Pp. 40–41.
In 1996 Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act by huge bipartisan votes — 342 to 67 in the House and 85 to 14 in the Senate. President Bill Clinton signed the measure into law.
Now, the Obama administration says DOMA, which permits states to refuse to recognize gay marriages from other states and also creates a federal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, is unconstitutional. In Boston on Wednesday, Stuart Delery, an attorney for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, urged the First Circuit Court of Appeals to find DOMA violates the Constitution by discriminating against gays and lesbians.
At the time when President Obama signed Obamacare into law — two years ago today — the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that Obamacare would cost 3 million people their employer-sponsored health insurance by the end of this decade. Seemingly in commemoration of Obamacare’s anniversary, the CBO has now released a new report in which it has increased that tally by another 2 million. So now, 5 million people are projected to lose their employer-sponsored insurance, courtesy of Obamacare, by the end of 2019.
The Congressional Budget Office has extended its cost estimates for President Obama’s health care law out to 2022, taking in more years of full implementation, and showing that the bill is substantially more expensive — twice as much as the original $900 billion price tag.
In a largely overlooked segment of the CBO’s update to the budget outlook released Tuesday, the independent arm of Congress found that the bill will cost $1.76 trillion between now and 2022.
That only counts the cost of coverage, not implementation costs and other changes.
(CNSNews.com) – All student health care plans covering female college students in the United States must include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery, the Department of Health and Human Services announced late Friday afternoon.
Women of college age who do not attend school will also get free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, or some form of government-subsidized plan.
All student health plans, HHS said Friday as it finalized a new regulation under the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) must cover the full set of cost-free women’s “preventive services” that HHS ordered last month must be covered by all U.S. health care plans.
These free “preventive services” include surgical sterilization procedures and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber, who also devised former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s statewide health care reforms, is backtracking on an analysis he provided the White House in support of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, informing officials in three states that the price of insurance premiums will dramatically increase under the reforms.
“It is true that even after tax credits some individuals are ‘losers,’” Gruber conceded, “in that they pay more than before [Obama's] reform.”
Gruber, whom the Obama administration hired to provide an independent analysis of reforms, was widely criticized for failing to disclose the conflict of interest created by $392,600 in no-bid contracts the Department of Health and Human Services awarded him while he was advising the president’s policy advisers.
Gruber also received $566,310 during 2008 and 2009 from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a study on the Medicare Part D plan.
In 2011, officials in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado ordered reports from Gruber which offer a drastically different portrait in 2012 from the one Obama painted just 17 months ago.
“As a consequence of the Affordable Care Act,” the president said in September 2010, ”premiums are going to be lower than they would be otherwise; health care costs overall are going to be lower than they would be otherwise.”
Gruber’s new reports are in direct contrast Obama’s words — and with claims Gruber himself made in 2009. Then, the economics professor said that based on figures provided by the independent Congressional Budget Office, “[health care] reform will significantly reduce, not increase, non-group premiums.”
During his presentation to Wisconsin officials in August 2011, Gruber revealed that while about 57 percent of those who get their insurance through the individual market will benefit in one way or another from the law’s subsides, an even larger majority of the individual market will end up paying drastically more overall.
“After the application of tax subsidies, 59 percent of the individual market will experience an average premium increase of 31 percent,” Gruber reported.
The reason for this is that an estimated 40 percent of Wisconsin residents who are covered by individual market insurance don’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverage requirements. Under the Affordable Care Act, they will be required to purchase more expensive plans.
Mitt Romney is vociferously attacking a provision in Obamacare requiring religious employers to cover birth control in employee health plans — but the healthcare bill he enacted as governor of Massachusetts also contained that requirement.
C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe that Romney’s criticism of President Obama is hypocritical because as governor he did not lift the state-level requirement of contraception coverage.
“The initial injury to Catholic religious freedom came not from the Obama administration, but from the Romney administration,” Doyle said.
“President Obama’s plan certainly constitutes an assault on the constitutional rights of Catholics, but I’m not sure Gov. Romney is in a position to assert that, given his own very mixed record on this.”
Presidential aspirant Mitt Romney may not have intended that the mandatory health insurance law he signed in 2006 would look like the Obama health law. But the Massachusetts law does a lot more than cover the uninsured (a worthy goal). The law broadens the powers of government to dictate treatment decisions and even interferes in where and how patients die. The result will be a breathtaking shift of decision-making from the doctor at bedside to the state.
The Massachusetts law has come under fire for soaring premiums, now the highest in the nation. A 2011 Beacon Hill Institute study concluded that 18,000 fewer people were employed in the state, because employers required to provide coverage left the state or stopped hiring to avoid the cost. But the cost cutting has begun, and the results are alarming.
Chapter 305 of the 2006 law created councils and regulatory bodies charged with cost-cutting, and after several years they have produced a plan. Here are key components:
Mandatory electronic medical records: All physicians must comply by January 2015 as a condition of keeping their medical license.
Comparative effectiveness: A state board — with unions, consumers, employers and other nonphysicians on it — will synthesize medical research into guidelines and ensure that all insurers and doctors follow them. These guidelines will lay out what care is “medically necessary” and include “how to address individual patient cases and circumstances.” Massachusetts says it and its bureaucrats can make better decisions than highly trained physicians at bedside. (Roadmap to Cost Containment pp. 10, 21,36)
Massachusetts’ End of Life Program: Sec. 41 of Chapter 305 of the Massachusetts law creates an expert panel to deal with how and where people die. The state will launch an aggressive public relations campaign to get hospitals and doctors to encourage palliative care, hospice care, and death at home. In Massachusetts, only 24 percent of people die at home. The state says that is too low. (Roadmap, pp.32,33, 41,90,)
Sometimes a patient doesn’t die at home because the doctor doesn’t foresee that death is imminent. A 2006 Emory University study found that doctors treat patients who are expected to die less intensively than patients who are expected to survive, but often doctors can’t predict who is near the end.
The benefits of hospice care are obvious. But physicians also worry that some patients will break down at the mention of hospice care and lose the will to fight their disease. Ultimately, the question is how involved should government be in how we die, especiall when the goal is to cut costs?.
Ending fee-for-service insurance options: Massachusetts will push patients into “medical homes,” to limit access to costly specialists and diagnostic tests, and substitute nurse practitioners and physicians assistants for doctors.
A 2008 Congressional Budget Office report noted that. if cost control is the priority, medical homes are likely to present the same problems as those HMOs of 20 years ago.
HMOs would withhold physicians’ fees until the end of the year and give it back only to the physicians who met targets for limiting referrals or diagnostic tests. Ultimately, what a doctor prescribed for a patient came out of the doctor’s own pocket at the end of the year, setting up a conflict between you and your doctor. (Roadmap, p. 14)
Perhaps Governor Romney didn’t read Section 305 of the health law he signed, or couldn’t anticipate how it would undermine the doctor-patient relationship.
The Massachusetts cost-cutters claim that care could be cut by 20 percent to 30 percent without doing harm. President Obama’s former budget director Peter Orszag made the same claim to defend deep cuts to Medicare funding.
Don’t believe it. Wherever these cost cutting strategies — the same ones that are in Romneycare and Obamacare — are used, the results are deadly. An important study in the Annals of Internal Medicine (February 2011) based on all hospitals in California shows that seniors treated in hospitals providing more intense care and spending more have a better chance to recover and resume their lives. In fact, 13,813 elderly patients with pneumonia, congestive heart failure, stroke and hip fractures who died at low spending hospitals would have survived and gone home had they received more care. That’s a lesson for Massachusetts and the nation.
Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “The Obama Health Law: What It Says and How to Overturn It.”