Daily Dose Archive
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On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath reviews the third day of ObamaCare Supreme Court arguments. "One theme in today’s arguments was this: How should the Court decide what is severable and what is not? Should the Court try to understand the 'parliamentary shenanigans' that went on in Congress in order to secure votes for the law? Or should the Court go through all 3,000 pages of the law, piece by piece, and weigh whether each provision relies on the individual mandate to function properly as law?"
In commentary on Roll Call, Hadley Heath underscores what's at stake with the ObamaCare Supreme Court case. "It could mean everything. Let’s assume the mandate is upheld. Young people will feel an immediate effect because they are the primary target of the law’s linchpin mandate. According to the Census Bureau, young adults (ages 19 to 29) are more likely to be uninsured than other age groups and to report being in good health. Beginning in 2014, this group will be required to buy government-approved insurance. That means they’ll face a monthly bill for something they do not want, covering services they probably won’t use. The cost will be higher than it would be absent the law because the measure limits insurers’ ability to offer different prices based on factors such as health and age. Effectively, millennials will pay to support other, older people’s health care needs."
On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath reviews the first day of Supreme Court arguments concerning the Anti-Injunction Act. "The task before Justices today was not simply to determine whether or not the fine (to be paid by those who fail to obtain insurance after 2014) is a tax or penalty. The Tax Anti-Injunction Act applies not only to 'taxes,' but also to other payments that are collected in the same manner as a tax, so the analysis is about more than the definition of the word 'tax.' And even if a penalty is assessed or collected in the same manner as a tax, that doesn't mean the AIA applies. As Justice Breyer pointed out today, 'It says 'in the same manner as.' It is then attached to chapter 68, when that -- it that references that as 'being the manner of.' Well, that it's being applied -- or if it's being collected in the same manner as a tax doesn't automatically make it a tax, particularly since the reasons for the AIA are to prevent interference with revenue sources.'"
On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath reviews the oral arguments that the Supreme Court will hear today. "While both the federal government and the law's challengers agree that the Tax Anti-Injunction Act shouldn't apply here, Justices must still have the final say. The Court appointed an amicus lawyer (Bob Long) to argue that the statue does apply. At IWF, my colleague Anna Rittgers has already previewed today's arguments. Here's a breakdown of how the 90 total minutes of arguments will go today."
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum underscores the importance of the oral arguments that the Supreme Court will hear about ObamaCare starting next week. "Here is another succinct characterization of what is at stake from the Wall Street Journal: 'The powers that the Obama Administration is claiming [in the Affordable Care Act] change the structure of the American government as it has existed for 225 years. Thus has the health-care law provoked an unprecedented and unnecessary constitutional showdown that endangers individual liberty.'"
On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath offers a preview of what to expect when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on ObamaCare later this month. "But the battle inside the courtroom matters much more. The nine Justices will decide the fate of the law; a handful of lawyers will argue the issues. For months, these lawyers have been carefully crafting arguments that will appeal to each of the nine Justices, their tendancies, and opinions they have authored. The task before these lawyers is like dancing with nine different partners, all to one song. The steps may vary, and some of the partners will follow more willingly than others, but the lawyers must keep the beat if they want to make a compelling case."
At SavingOurHealthCare.org, each day this week a new article details the consequences of ObamaCare for different groups. Despite how the Left has targeted these groups, seniors, women, and young adults will all suffer because of this law.
In the Wall Street Journal, Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Vernon L. Smith discuss the inherent flaws with the economics of ObamaCare. "In reality, the mandate has almost nothing to do with cost-shifting. The targeted population—the young, healthy and not poor who choose to forgo coverage—has a minimal role in the $43 billion of uncompensated health-care costs. In 2008, for example (the latest figures available), the Department of Health and Human Service's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey showed that the uncompensated care of the mandate's targeted population was no more than $12.8 billion—a tiny one-half of 1% of the nation's $2.4 trillion in overall health-care costs. The insurance mandate cannot reasonably be justified on the ground that it remedies costs imposed on the system by the voluntarily uninsured."
The majority of voters continues to support repealing the health care overhaul. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 56 percent of respondents favor repealing ObamaCare.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), as many as 20 million Americans could lose their health insurance that they have through their employers. "'President Obama's string of empty promises is quickly becoming a disappointing trail of broken promises,' House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. 'He promised Americans that his overhaul of the health care sector would not jeopardize the health coverage of those who liked what they had. As nonpartisan analysts made clear today, millions of Americans will soon learn the hard way that Washington's overreach into their health care decisions will result in sharp disruptions to their coverage and their care.'"
The Heritage Foundation underscores a new survey from the Doctors Company showing that physicians are concerned about ObamaCare. "Not only do doctors believe that ObamaCare will not improve the health care system, they also anticipate that it will worsen the current condition. According to the survey, nine out of 10 physicians are unwilling to recommend health care as a profession to a family member, and one primary care physician even commented, 'I would not recommend becoming an M.D. to anyone.'"
In commentary in the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Kessler outlines how ObamaCare will not increase affordability or efficiency of health care. "First, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was supposed to improve efficiency through the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and better supply-side incentives through the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). These would be a 'major game-changer,' according to Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund. The theory is that getting doctors and hospitals to operate under a single umbrella (the Accountable Care Organization) and share in the cost savings they achieve (the Medicare Shared Savings Program) would reduce their incentives to supply treatments that did not give good value."
Independent Women's Voice has launched The Real March Madness competition, asking readers to help determine the worst part of ObamaCare. "Last March we introduced a new bracket game to complement the traditional NCAA office-pool competition — The Real March Madness. We selected 64 of the worst, most odious elements of ObamaCare, and then we ranked them, pitting them against each other in an elimination tournament. Last year, the individual mandate emerged 'victorious' as the worst element of ObamaCare as determined by you. Now, the Real March Madness is back. And we want you to help determine what’s the worst part about ObamaCare as it hits year 2."
Avik Roy highlights a new study published in the journal Health Services Researchsuggesting that the expansion of Medicaid in ObamaCare will actually reduce patients' access to health care. "Why does this occur? The main reason is that Medicaid underpays doctors and hospitals to care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Medicaid’s reimbursement rates are around half of those paid by private insurers. In many cases, Medicaid pays doctors less than it costs to care for Medicaid patients, meaning that doctors face the choice of caring for the poor, and going broke, or shutting their doors to Medicaid patients. One survey found that internists were 8.5 times as likely to accept no Medicaid patients at all, relative to those with private insurance. Another found that two-thirds of kids on Medicaid were denied a doctor’s appointment for a serious condition, relatively to only 11 percent for the privately-insured."
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted during a health care hearing that she does not actually know if ObamaCare increases the deficit. "On several occasions, Sebelius professed to have 'no idea' what [Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)] was talking about. Johnson cited a McKinsey Group study that estimated 30 to 50 percent of employers would drop their employee coverage once the new law is fully implement, the effect of which could be hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions, added to the federal deficit. President Obama has repeatedly claimed that, under the new law, individuals who are satisfied with their current health insurance plans will be able to keep them."
The Heritage Foundation highlights 10 awful provisions in ObamaCare that are not often discussed. "It puts new limitations on those with HSAs and FSAs. Starting in 2012, ObamaCare restricts the products that consumers may purchase with a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Savings Account (FSA)—such as over-the-counter medications—and increases the penalty for such non-qualified uses of HSAs. It also limits the amount taxpayers may deposit into an FSA to $2,500 a year in 2013."
On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath reviews the growing list of lawsuits filed challenging various provisions in ObamaCare. "At least five universities, one TV network, and seven states have filed lawsuits over this mandate, claiming that the religious freedoms of employers are violated when they are forced to provide contraception coverage (including coverage for sterilization and the morning-after and week-after pill) that conflicts with their moral conscience."
In commentary on Town Hall, Charlotte Hays outlines how Democrats are trying to avoid discussing the unconstitutionality of the contraception mandate. "The determination of House Democrats to have Ms. Fluke on the religious freedom panel speaks volumes—they know they must keep the focus on contraception and not allow the discussion to return to the real issue: religious freedom. That said, not allowing Ms. Fluke to testify, however appropriate it was to do so, backfired, becoming the first fluke in a fluke-filled process, allowing Democrats an opportunity to raise the profile of the contraception issue."
The majority of voters continues to support repealing the health care overhaul. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 53 percent of respondents favor repealing ObamaCare.
By only a three vote margin, largely on party lines, the Blunt amendment was defeated in the Senate yesterday. The Wall Street Journal editorializes: "The amendment had nothing to do with a 'ban' on contraception, or any of the other delusions and distortions of the left. The real issue is that the ObamaCare mandate requires employers, including religious schools and hospitals, to buy coverage that may violate their moral beliefs. The Blunt amendment would merely have let those religious-affiliated institutions provide coverage without paying for care that violates their religious conscience. The real offense against freedom and women is the mandate."
The Heritage Foundation has released a series of videos detailing the impacts of ObamaCare. "ObamaCare’s new taxes and mandates on business are a hindrance to economic growth and job creation. The law requires that employers provide health insurance to their employees or face a fine. As the cost of health insurance continues to increase under ObamaCare, employers will face increasingly steep costs to keep employees insured and avoid the penalties."
Forbes reports that the administration has increased the budget for exchange subsidies in ObamaCare by $111 billion. "For the years in which the two exchange budgets overlap—2014 through 2021—the White House states that it expects to spend $111 billion more in its new budget than it said a year ago. In 2021 alone, the difference between the two budgets is almost $20 billion, implying that exchange spending will be up by over $200 billion in the decade following 2021."
A new Rasmussen Reports survey shows that 51 percent of respondents are against free universal health care and 63 percent are opposed if it would force them to change their current coverage. The poll "found that only 39 percent favor free health care for all Americans, with 51 percent opposed to universal free health care. And when asked if providing free health care meant everybody would have to switch their existing private health coverage to one administered by the government, just 23 percent want it with 63 percent opposed. Some 13 percent said they weren't sure which to pick."
A new USA Today/ Gallup Poll shows that the majority of voters in swing states do not support ObamaCare. "On the issue of whether ObamaCare is constitutional, a matter that the Supreme Court takes up March 26,when oral arguments on the matter begin, voters in swing states 'stand overwhelmingly' with those who say the law is unconstitutional. Three of four voters (including the majority of Democrats) told pollsters that they believe the law to be unconstitutional. This indicates that, if the Court overturns the legislation, the public will in all likelihood be quite accepting of the ruling."
In commentary on the Washington Times, Deroy Murdock outlines how more and more Democrats are turning against ObamaCare. "Massachusetts’ Democratic Rep. Barney Frank recently co-sponsored H.R. 452, joining Rep. Joe Baca and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, both of California, New York Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah and 10 other Democrats. This measure, introduced by Rep. David P. Roe, Tennessee Republican, would terminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Dubbed 'the real death panel' by its critics, IPAB would commence in 2014. Its 15 appointed members would control Medicare costs, essentially by rationing care. Its recommendations would become federal law unless Congress adopted other means to match or exceed its spending cuts. Alternatively, 60 senators could refuse IPAB’s advice - no small task."
Joseph Rago of the Wall Street Journal outlines how ObamaCare will impede patients from seeking alternative treatment options. "The impulse here is to restore the price signals that will drive U.S. health care to deliver care that is worth the money. But these gains—in transparency and efficient pricing, for instance—will need to be consolidated and expanded to constitute a true revolution. The Affordable Care Act stands in the way. ObamaCare's core philosophies are standardization and centralization, which in practice will mean higher costs for everyone caused by suffocating price competition. The share of insurance industry revenue that comes from government now stands at 42%, up from 36% just three years ago, and that's before the new entitlement kicks in."
The Supreme Court has added 30 additional minutes for oral arguments on the Anti-Injunction Act, extending total time for arguments to six hours. "Here's the latest breakdown: • Anti-Injunction Act: 90 minutes • Individual mandate: 120 minutes • Severability: 90 minutes • Medicaid: 60 minutes The Anti-Injunction Act issue is under consideration because of a ruling in Liberty v. Geithner that essentially deemed the individual mandate a Constitutional exercise of Congress's taxing power."
The Heritage Foundation highlights a recent panel discussion titled, "Beyond the Individual Mandate: Why ObamaCare Must Be Repealed” that featured Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute. "At the panel, Turner highlighted a number of the law’s problems, including its constitutionality. Never before has the federal government required individuals to purchase a product, which as she says in her book, 'makes one wonder what else Congress can make Americans do if it makes us buy health insurance.' The law’s mandate, she believes, also presents an economic problem. The legislation requires employers to provide insurance for employees or pay a penalty, forcing businesses to hire fewer employers, keep wages down, and reduce investments. As a result, business will suffer, which could translate into higher prices for consumers."
The majority of voters continues to support repealing the health care overhaul. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 53 percent of respondents favor repealing ObamaCare, with 50 percent believing it is likely.
Charles Krauthammer outlines the "constitutional wreckage" caused by ObamaCare. "First, its assault on the free exercise of religion. Only churches themselves are left alone. Beyond the churchyard gate, religious autonomy disappears. Every other religious institution must bow to the state because, by this administration's regulatory definition, church schools, hospitals and charities are not 'religious,' and thus have no right to the free exercise of religion -- no protection from being forced into doctrinal violations commanded by the state."
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients contradicted one of the administration's defenses of the individual health insurance mandate during a House budget hearing yesterday by acknowledging that the mandate is not a tax. "Game, set, match. Mr. Garrett is better informed about the Obama legal team's arguments before the High Court, which call the penalty a tax to try to better defend its constitutionality. What Mr. Zients's confusion really shows is that what the President also once tried to define as a non-tax tax is indefensible."
Alyene Senger of The Heritage Foundation outlines the top three increases in government spending under ObamaCare. "As Heritage analysts point out, the expansion will significantly impact both state and federal budgets. Heritage estimates the expansion will 'increase state tax obligations by just under $33.5 billion for federal fiscal years (FY) 2014 through 2020. Of that amount, $21.5 billion will be the states’ share of the benefit costs, and just under $12 billion will be the states’ share of the added administrative costs.'"
In commentary on the National Review Online, Mona Charen explains how the contraceptive mandate in ObamaCare is not economically viable. "As for those women who don’t now use birth control but will if contraceptives are provided for free, we can guess that the potential 'savings' in the form of avoided pregnancies will be very small. Some percentage of these women will have unintended pregnancies anyway, because the reason they didn’t use contraceptives was not that they couldn’t afford them, but that they were irresponsible. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, only 12 percent of women cited cost or availability as the reason for not using contraception. And even that figure is suspect. Considering 1) the price of condoms; 2) that Americans spend $110 billion on fast food every year; and 3) that no one who winds up unintentionally pregnant wants to admit that she was careless or stupid, the 12 percent figure deserves skepticism."
The compromise reached on the contraception mandate is discussed on a wide range of media outlets, with many noting the dissatisfaction of Catholic Bishops and many Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Michelle Malkin calls the compromise "fraudulent" and states "It’s not a retreat. It’s a re-trick. It’s not an accommodation. It’s an abomination."Investors Business Daily, in an unsigned editorial, discusses the trampling of rights and states "Then of course, there's the ultimate rights violation at the center of ObamaCare — the requirement that every adult American with a pulse buy government-approved insurance or face a stiff penalty."
Contraceptive coverage mandated by ObamaCare again leads the topic discussion. The Daily Caller reports that some Democrats are upset over the mandate, and Fox News also notes that Democrats are "breaking" from the President on this issue. Representative Bart Stupak "made clear he opposes the Obama administration’s insistence that religious-affiliated organizations are not exempted from the law’s requirement that health insurance plans cover contraceptives."
Furor over the birth control mandate continues to dominate ObamaCare discussions. The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled "ObamaCare's Great Awakening" that states: "The entire thrust of ObamaCare is to standardize benefits and how they must be paid for and provided, regardless of individual choices or ethical convictions." In an opinion piece on Politico, David Addington writes "A Catholic institution cannot comply with this contraception mandate without violating the tenets of its faith. So the “ObamaCare” statute leaves many religious institutions, which must follow the tenets of their faiths, with no alternative but to stop making group health insurance available to their employees — and pay any fines for failure to do so."
The Supreme Court is being flooded by "friend of the court" briefs that criticize the mandates included in ObamaCare. Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute writes in Forbes : "ObamaCare makes the financial burden of Medicaid on states even heavier. By adding at least 18 million people to the program, the law will more than double total federal and state spending on Medicaid. In 2010, such spending totaled $401.4 billion, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that costs will soar to about $800 billion by 2022, thanks to ObamaCare." The Hill's Healthwatch notes that the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) was among those filing briefs.
Portions of ObamaCare that require Catholic employers to provide coverage for birth control are covered on several sites. Liberal pundit Mark Shields is critical of the move, and NewsBusters excerpts a quote of his saying "this is a dissing, in common parlance, of Catholics." The American Spectator also notes the controversy, pointing out "In columns and television appearances, Dionne and Shields joined a rising chorus of those left-of-center Catholics who feel betrayed given their steadfast support of ObamaCare in the face of so many attacks from more conservative Catholics who argued that it funded abortion and abortifacients."
In commentary on The Daily Caller, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) praises the U.S. House for repealing the CLASS Act earlier in the week. "It turns out that CLASS was so badly designed that the individuals most likely to need long-term care would disproportionately sign up. Since the law also limited premiums, actuarial experts concluded CLASS was unsustainable and would lead to a massive taxpayer bailout. While the administration publicly lauded the CLASS Program, the entities responsible for its implementation were bracing for what they already knew was a bureaucratic disaster waiting to happen."
The Associated Press reports that the U.S. House voted to repeal the controversial CLASS Act. "Experts have concluded, said Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., that 'the CLASS program can’t be operated without mandatory participation so as to ensure its solvency.' Unless it is terminated, he said, 'it poses a clear danger to the fiscal health of our budget and to the American taxpayer.' The administration finally has come to the conclusion 'that we knew even before the bill passed, that this was unsustainable, it was unworkable, it was fatally flawed,' said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La."
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum discusses the likely repeal of the CLASS Act that the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on today. "If you want an example of the kind of ill-thought out legislation that results from ramming 2,000-plus pages of unread legalese through Congress, you could do no better than to study the CLASS Act. Envisioned as an insurance program for long-term care, it was to be funded by a voluntary payroll tax. So the taxpayer is off the hook, right? Since, however, only the sickest were likely to participate in the program, it would either collapse of its own weight or—surprise! Surprise!—require a bailout by taxpayers."
In commentary on Newsmax, Betsy McCaughey outlines the similarities between ObamaCare and RomneyCare. "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 commentary on the Wall Street Journal, Grace-Marie Turner compares the fundamental problems with ObamaCare and RomneyCare. "Mr. Romney's attempt to contrast his plan with ObamaCare wasn't convincing. 'I don't like the Obama plan,' he said in Thursday's debate. 'His plan cuts Medicare by $500 billion. We didn't, of course, touch anything like that. He raises taxes by $500 billion. We didn't do that.' These are bogus boasts: States have no authority over cuts in the federal Medicare program, so cutting Medicare never was an option with RomneyCare. Massachusetts didn't raise taxes to finance its plan because it relied on previously enacted health-insurance taxes and an infusion of federal Medicaid money to finance its coverage expansion. The state simply passed a big share of its costs to federal taxpayers."
The Heritage Foundation highlights a recent interview that Jon Stewart had with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Stewart then posed this question: Do you think ultimately this is, a bunch of people dump to the exchange, and it becomes sort of a back door, of government, not a takeover necessarily, but of a government responsibility for the health care, employees, and it decouples it—I’m not saying that’s a bad thing—but decouples it from employment, and people will get it through the government—through tax credits, rather than through their employers—and then suddenly, obviously then, we’re Sweden. Do you think that’s the case?"
The Independent Women's Voice is encouraging readers to sign a petition urging Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself from the ObamaCare case. "We have created a petition calling on Justice Kagan to recuse herself from the ObamaCare case. Preservation of the very integrity of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance. You can find the petition online at www.TellKagan.com. [...]To say that Justice Kagan's impartiality might be questioned is a gross understatement. Because of her role as Solicitor General, Justice Kagan recused herself from 29 of 82 cases the Court heard in her first term. Already she's recused herself from 69 of the cases the court is hearing in this current term, including the high-profile Arizona immigration law case."
President Obama barely mentioned the health care overhaul in his State of the Union address last night. Independent Women's Voice President & CEO Heather R. Higgins offers her reaction to the speech: "You might have noticed one major 'accomplishment' that the President chose not to highlight and, in fact, barely mentioned at all: ObamaCare. As he heads into a reelection campaign, it is not surprising why the President chose to omit almost entirely the major, signature legislative travesty of his Presidency. According to the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll, 54% of the American people oppose ObamaCare. ObamaCare was unwanted before it was passed, it was unwanted at the time of its passage, and it remains deeply unpopular with and unwanted by the American people today."
On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath highlights the Arizona District Court case Coons v. Geithner. "The outcome at the Supreme Court in the Florida case is of vital importance to Coons v. Geithner. While SCOTUS is not currently considering the Constitutionality of the IPAB, the severability issue could result in a gutting or complete end of the ObamaCare law in its entirety. There is another scenario, however, where the Supreme Court allows parts or all of the law to stand. If the IPAB is among the provisions that survive, the Goldwater Institute should continue fighting against it in court."
Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum points out the true costs of "free" birth control. "This kind of cost-shifting happens all the time in health insurance. When regulations limit insurance companies' ability to charge different groups different premiums that shifts costs from one group to the other – from the unhealthy to the health, from men to women, from smokers to non-smokers, from the young to the old, and so on. That's not what's particularly outrageous about this case. In this case, the real price Americans pay for 'free birth control for all!' is in the damage done to the concept of religious liberty and the freedom of association."
The Independent Women's Voice encourages supporters to contact their U.S. Representatives to repeal the CLASS Act. "We know CLASS is unaffordable and completely unworkable. Even the Department of Health and Human Services has been forced to admit as much. And the only way to make sure that CLASS doesn't rise like a phoenix from its ashes is to get rid of it entirely. Our project to advance the cause of repealing ObamaCare — The Repeal Pledge — promotes full repeal of the entire bill. But the elected officials that have signed it have also taken a pledge to vote for measures that seek to repeal the bill in whole or in part."
In commentary on USA Today, Dr. Marc Siegel discusses why more and more doctors do not support ObamaCare. "Doctors are catching on fast to the essential deficiencies of ObamaCare, but so are America's patients. The concern of doctors is reflected among the American people: Support for the law has sunk to 29% in the latest Associated Press poll. Think of ObamaCare as a heavy horse-drawn cart loaded with all of America's patients and best technologies. As the cart gets heavier and heavier, does it make sense that we don't add more horses but instead feed the ones we have less and less while expecting them to pull the additional weight? I think more and more doctors are going to pull up lame if the law's many shortfalls aren't addressed — and stat."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum highlights a new study from the Mercatus Center that underscores the fundamental problems with ObamaCare's regulations. "In the study, Mercatus experts Jerry Ellig and Chris Conover reach some pretty disheartening findings. Not surprisingly, federal bureaucrats overestimated the benefits and underestimated the costs of the implementation of these new rules. They didn’t consider the common cost-benefit measures that health economists typically use, but instead omitted important information."
The Washington Examiner highlights an excerpt from a new book by Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute that outlines a strategy for repealing ObamaCare. "Consequently, there is still time to reverse course. Our congressional leaders can repeal ObamaCare and replace it with market-based reforms that actually expand access to coverage, provide quality care, and reduce the cost of health care. This book provides a blueprint and a road map for accomplishing that mission. It examines 10 key components of ObamaCare and shows why each one doesn't work, how to eliminate it, and what reform to put in its place."
Republican lawmakers are concerned that the Obama administration is trying to hide the true costs of ObamaCare by not clearly explaining what the requirements are for health plans. "House and Senate Republicans assailed that approach in identical letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius sent Friday. 'By issuing a 'bulletin' rather than a proposed rule,' the letter says, "the Administration has sidestepped the requirement to publish a cost benefit analysis estimating the impact these mandates will have on health insurance premiums and the increased costs to the federal government."
Politico Pulse reports that today is the first deadline for amicus briefs to be filed with the Supreme Court on ObamaCare. "Groups that agree with the federal government on the mandate, or agree with the states and NFIB on severability have until today to file their amicus briefs. There will be other deadlines for groups to take other positions (so don't worry, these filing deadlines aren't going anywhere). One of our first 'amici' alerts came from attorneys general from pro-reform states, who say they plan to file this afternoon."
Alyene Senger of The Heritage Foundation responds to the latest numbers from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showing that health care spending is down. Senger points out that lower spending is due to patients avoiding care, not the recession. "Despite CMS’s and other health economists’ conclusion that the recession led to slow health spending growth, the Obama Administration published a blog stating that ObamaCare is responsible, with no mention of the recession. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff, wrote that '(These numbers) do show why the Affordable Care Act is so important. And we’re confident the law will continue to help hold down cost growth in the years ahead.'"
On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath explains how the briefs filed to the Supreme Court on severability show how the federal mandate is the main part of ObamaCare. "Carrie Severino, who coauthored this last amicus brief from Senators, summed up the basic argument of the petitioners in a post on NRO's Bench Memos: [...]But in this case Congress actually removed a severability clause that was in the original Senate bill before the final law was passed. Add that to the repeated statements by the law’s proponents that the individual mandate was the 'heart' of the law and that its removal would 'mortally wound' or even 'kill' health-care reform, and it’s clear that Congress thought the survival of the whole law turned on the individual mandate."
In commentary on the Independent Women's Forum, Hadley Heath outlines how ObamaCare contributes to doctor shortages. "In the case of health care, the shortage of doctors is not resulting in higher pay for doctors. Why? Are insurers scamming us and taking all of our money? The story is much more complex than that. Many of the doctors mentioned in the CNN article cited lower reimbursements from government insurance programs (Medicare and Medicaid) as the main problem. That's what's so puzzling to me about the misnamed Affordable Care Act. Instead of reforming Medicare and Medicaid to be more efficient and better serve beneficiaries, the Act rips $500 billion out of Medicare and meanwhile expands Medicaid to include millions of new people."
On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath discusses the first ObamaCare briefs that were due to the Supreme Court this past Friday. "Not only does our government have a limited scope (it is not meant to tackle every problem that arises in the U.S.), but it has limited powers (it cannot achieve its constitutionally authorized ends by any means). Otherwise the government could do a number of things that sound crazy, citing the many ends that today our government seeks to achieve. Some examples? It could limit the number of children poor people have (general welfare, anti-poverty), limit the caloric intake of fat people (for public health reasons), tell people what to buy (interstate commerce, people!) or even indefinitely detain American citizens (for public safety and national defense)!!"
Sam Baker of The Hill's Healthwatch outlines the weaknesses in the legal defense of ObamaCare. "But even in the cases it has won, the administration has failed to answer a key question: If Congress has the power to enforce the insurance mandate, where does that power stop? It’s known in legal jargon as a 'limiting principle.' When courts evaluate a new application of Congress’s constitutional authority, they have historically wanted to see clear limits to those powers."
The Wall Street Journal reports that two additional plaintiffs have tried to join the lawsuit against ObamaCare. "Two other plaintiffs also were listed: a retired investment banker in Washington state and the National Federation of Independent Business itself, the small-business lobbying group in Washington, D.C., that is fighting the law. But Ms. Brown was the only plaintiff the Justice Department agreed had legal standing to pursue the case. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Ms. Brown closed her shop in August and filed for personal bankruptcy the following month. Without owning a business, it could be harder for her to argue that the law harms her, and her financial woes suggest she could be exempt from penalties for not having health insurance."
On Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum reacts to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion on the recusal process. "Indeed, recusal is a serious matter. And after reading these lines from Roberts, you might think it is something awful and rare. But it's really not rare, especially in cases where a former government lawyer - like, for example a former Solicitor General - will recuse from a large portion of the cases in her first few terms precisely because of her involvement in crafting the laws in question. (Elena Kagan recused herself from 29 of the 82 cases the Court heard in her first term!)"
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum points outthat even the liberal New Republic admits that the "health care mandate was a mistake." "The author of the piece is Paul Starr, a Princeton University sociology professor who has written on health care reform. Starr argues that in including the so-called individual mandate to buy health insurance in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) Congress miscalculated with regard to the courts, politics, and the policy." In a separate post on IWF, Hays outlines in further detail the problems with the individual mandate.
Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum explains how ObamaCare will stifle medical innovation. "It only makes sense that new government-imposed barriers to bringing medical technologies to market will discourage investment. [Benjamin] Zycher also hints at the possibility that many determinations made by these government bureaucrats won't be driven by science, but also interest group politics. Those on the Left have long demonized 'big Pharma' as an evil-corporate interest... but growing government's control of the health care market will only make sure that the process is even more corrupt and the process more rigged in favor of big, or at least politically well-connected, companies over small ones."
Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum highlights commentary from the Pacific Research Institute's Sally Pipes about the shortcomings of socialized medicine. "My friends' and families' experience in socialized health care systems can be boiled down to: socialized medicine is fabulous...unless you get really sick. Government-run medicine seems well-suited to deliver some basic services, but not to help those with serious medical problems. This is an important warning for Americans. Yes, our current health care system is imperfect and desperately needs reform to encourage greater efficiency and to control costs. Yet more government-control is the wrong direction to take. It will inevitably lead to lower quality care, a slowing down of medical innovation, and poor use of resources."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum outlines the problems with implementing state-level health insurance exchanges. "But now the federal government is faced with the task of setting up - potentially - 31 state-wide exchanges (or more), and monitoring in real time the income and insurance statuses of millions of people. Think they can do it? Even if they can, they shouldn't. The health 'exchange' debate has been raging for years, but state leaders, especially those in pro-ObamaCare states, should be reminded that government can't 'set up' or create a marketplace. By its very nature, the marketplace is something that happens organically. It can be regulated and restricted by government, but policymakers would do well to remember that any government involvement in the health care 'market' is just that: regulation and/or restriction."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum discusses the problems of the ObamaCare provision allowing adult children to stay on their parents' health care plans until the age of 26. "The regulations and requirements that ObamaCare put on the health insurance industry will destroy competition and leave consumers with fewer choices. Personally, I'm currently on a very cheap, high-deductible plan that I think young, healthy adults would find attractive, but I can't be certain that the government won't force me to buy a plan with a lower deductible (and therefore higher monthly premiums) in the near future. It's easy to see the economics of it: Young adults are needed to fund more robust, government-mandated coverage for people who are sick and expensive. It's a socialization of the costs. From a young adult's standpoint, it's obvious we are about to get ripped off."
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) have offered a bipartisan plan to overhaul Medicare. "By allowing private plans to compete directly with traditional Medicare, our plan would also spur a wave of innovation to lower health-care costs and provide higher-quality health care. The reason is simple: In order to offer better benefits and lower costs than traditional Medicare, private plans will have to develop better delivery models and design better ways to care for patients with chronic illnesses. Imagine health plans tailored to help patients manage diabetes, prevent heart disease, or combat high blood pressure."
Former Virginia Governor and Senator George Allen outlines how ObamaCare is impeding economic growth. "In my travels throughout Virginia, I have heard from so many people that ObamaCare is adversely affecting small-business owners forced to deal with the new mandates and regulations as many struggle to stay in business. Whether it’s small-business leaders at the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce meeting or restaurant owners in Prince William and Fairfax counties, they all say the uncertainty and costs associated with ObamaCare’s regulations and mandates are hampering or will impede their ability to hire and expand their businesses."
Forbes explains how ObamaCare is negatively impacting employment for insurance agents. "It all stems from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), known colloquially as ObamaCare. PPACA dictates that health insurers must spend at least $0.80 of every $1.00 in premiums collected on health care in the individual and small group markets, and $0.85 in the large group market. Insurance agents were recently able to get backing from National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to exclude their commissions from this medical loss ratio calculation (MLR), which refers to the percentage of premium dollars spent on medical claims. For example, if an insurance company received $100 in premiums and spent $80 on medical claims, its MLR would be 80%."
The majority of U.S. voters continues to favor repealing the health care overhaul. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 55 percent support repealing ObamaCare, with 42 percent strongly favoring repeal.
The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons has filed a motion to intervene in the ObamaCare Supreme Court case. "AAPS's request to intervene seeks to ensure that the last-minute ploy of recharacterizing the ObamaCare penalty for not buying health insurance as a tax does not prevail. When Democratic legislators railroaded ObamaCare through Congress in March 2010, they insisted that it did not impose a tax. Indeed, some of the ObamaCare supporters had promised the American people that they would not support a tax increase. Throughout the litigation, the Obama Administration has likewise been adamant that its law does not impose taxes. But at the 11th hour, a new argument has been raised asserting that the penalty in ObamaCare is somehow a tax, and that therefore the Court lacks the power to review it."
In commentary on Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath spotlights Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. and the resolution he introduced classifying ObamaCare as unconstitutional. "While I'm sure some Members of Congress (who also served in the 111th Congress) would point to their vote on the PPACA as evidence of their support or opposition to it, there's an important distinction to be made between a 'bad law' and an 'unconstitutional law.' The House already voted early this year to repeal the PPACA, so it's clear that a majority of today's Representatives think of ObamaCare as a 'bad law.' However, this resolution, should it pass, would express that a majority of currently serving Members in the House think of ObamaCare as an unconstitutional law."
Kathryn Nix and Bob Moffit of The Heritage Foundation explain why instead of increasing taxes on wealthier Americans, Congress should stop subsiding Medicare. "For wealthier Americans like [Warren] Buffett, the policy options are clear. The Obama Administration and its allies in Congress are obsessed with imposing higher taxes on them, regardless of the impact on investment in the economy and despite the fact that they already pay the bulk of federal income taxes. The intent behind this course of action is to maintain, largely unchanged, the existing federal entitlement regime. The alternative is to introduce reform that uses market forces to control costs, part of which would be to reduce or eliminate taxpayer subsidies for entitlement benefits for upper-income Americans while letting more Americans of all income classes keep more of their own money."
Julie Gunlock of the Independent Women's Forum outlines the negative impact that ObamaCare will have on employment in the restaurant industry. "The healthcare mandates coupled with the ever more onerous food regulations being pursued by governments at all levels will hurt these businesses. But, more importantly, these regulations will cost jobs—for the very people suffering with the highest unemployment rates, the young. While the Labor Department states that the unemployment rate has dipped to 8.6 percent this month, the youth unemployment rate remains at a jaw dropping 23 percent. That is the exact demographic that is employed by companies like CKE Restaurants."
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum reiterates the importance of Justice Elena Kagan disclosing her full role relating to ObamaCare. "Just as this ruling will have impact beyond the law in question, Kagan’s decision about whether to participate will have profound significance for the prestige of the court. She should make sure every shred of information that pertains to her work on the legislation is made known. Since we’re on the subject of the forthcoming Supreme Court deliberations, perhaps this is the moment for me to plug an excellent article by Thomas Miller of the American Enterprise Institute."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has accused the Internal Revenue Service of extending ObamaCare's insurance subsidies to those not supposed to receive them. "Hatch said Thursday that, under the text of the healthcare law, tax credits should only be available in state-run exchanges. But a recent IRS regulation would provide credits to anyone in either a state exchange or the federal fallback. Hatch said the IRS is going further than the statute allows and exercising power it doesn’t have."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum points out that ObamaCare actually provides incentives for employers to offer inferior health care to some employees. "Moreover, in companies with 51 or more workers, employers won't face any penalty if their workers voluntarily turn down their employer's coverage and opt for the statewide exchanges. Since the exchanges are subsidized with taxpayer money, it won't take long for both employer and employee to figure out that, for sick or high-risk workers, they are better off restructuring compensation away from health care benefits."
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum offers additional reactions to Donald Berwick leaving as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "Two pieces today suggest the same thing: that the administration is unwilling to permit a hearing because Berwick is on record with controversial positions that underlie ObamaCare but about which the administration prefers to be low key. The New York Times accused Republicans of 'caricaturing' Berwick’s positions in Wednesday’s piece announcing his imminent departure. To which Avik Roy, one of our favorite health care bloggers, replies: If Republicans were 'caricaturing' Berwick’s positions, as the New York Times alleged in a Wednesday news piece, why didn’t the president give Berwick an opportunity to express himself more fully? Indeed, Obama’s Senate end-around was clearly designed to prevent an honest debate about the centrally planned approach to health policy, and to spare vulnerable Democrats from having to publicly support Berwick’s philosophy."
In commentary on the National Review Online, Marc Siegel outlines the costly Medicaid burden that ObamaCare imposes on states. "In fact, some argue that the mandated Medicaid spending is unconstitutional: In the forthcoming Supreme Court case that is best known for addressing the individual mandate, 26 states are also protesting the law’s Medicaid expansion, arguing that it will coerce them into assuming unworkable financial burdens. Is it any wonder that states are already responding to ObamaCare’s 'maintenance of effort' clause and the anticipated 2014 expansion by cutting services? Of course, many of the cuts are unjust and bureaucratic and arbitrary."
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum reacts to news that Donald Berwick, the head of Medicare and Medicaid and health care rationing advocate, has resigned his position. "The Berwick announcement was made Wednesday, a day when most people were thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday, a sign that the White House wanted to bury the story. Alana Goodman calls Berwick's departure 'a major scalp for Republicans in the health care battle.' Of course, the question now is whether Marilyn Tavenner, CMS acting administrator, former nurse and hospital executive, who has been nominated as Berwick’s replacement, is going to be more acceptable."
USA Today reports on a new poll from Quinnipiac University suggesting that voters would like the Supreme Court to rule ObamaCare unconstitutional. "Voters say 48 - 40 percent that the U.S. Supreme Court should overturn Obama's new health care law. Democrats support the health care law 70 - 19 percent, while opposition is 86 - 8 percent among Republicans and 45 - 38 percent among independent voters."
Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum highlights why the government-entitlement health care model for children is a bad idea. "Government regulations and subsidies would also almost certainly end up disadvantaging smaller or alternative childcare providers (at-home care situations, care by relatives or friends, for example), which, as I write about in a chapter on daycare in my book, are parents' preferred alternative to parent-care. In other words, the quality of childcare used by many would likely go down, rather than up, if Rep. Pelosi had her way."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum outlines the negative consequences that ObamaCare has on small business owners. "First of all: time costs. Small employers simply don't have time to read over reports like this one to stay up-to-date with the Department of Health and Human Services' attempts to micromanage the health sector. Sadly, the biggest changes haven't even happened yet. In 2014, many employers will recognize that the introduction of Medicaid expansions, state-level health care exchanges, and minimum essential requirements will change the landscape of health insurance in the U.S. so drastically that they will be better off letting their employees fend for themselves."
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum highlights the arguments as to why Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself. "Whether she should recuse herself when the case comes before the Supreme Court is a hot topic. Ed Whelan, one of the most astute legal commentators in town, argues that she must do so. Whelan is replying to a piece by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick arguing that calls for Kagan’s recusal are 'ridiculous:' Lithwick first seems to imagine that it’s bizarre that anyone would think that Kagan would have to recuse herself because she 'called meetings and sent e-mails and did other stuff that was her job—all in anticipation of lawsuits over the law.'"
The Weekly Standard reports that the Obama administration's nominee to head the Social Security Board supports rationing health care. Nominee Henry J. Aaron "wrote a piece earlier this year called, 'The Independent Payment Advisory Board — Congress's 'Good Deed.'' The grisly IPAB, one of the most underreported of ObamaCare’s myriad of liberty-sapping features, would have the power to cut Medicare spending each year — if ObamaCare isn’t repealed first. The dictates of its 15 unelected members would effectively become law. In fact, Congress couldn’t even overturn the IPAB’s decrees with a majority vote in each house and the President’s signature."
Hadley Heath reports on Health Care Lawsuits that the Supreme Court will hear the challenges on the individual mandate and medicaid. "This translates to five and half hours of oral argument, divided as follows: * 2 hours - Whether the individual mandate is a Constitutional exercise of federal power * 1 hour - Whether challenges to the individual mandate are barred by the Anti-Injunction Act * 90 minutes - Whether the individual mandate is severable from other parts of the Act * 1 hour - Whether the Medicaid expansion is Constitutional."
Independent Women's Voice President & CEO Heather Higgins explains why ObamaCare should not be implemented until after the Supreme Court's ruling. "With Supreme Court review of ObamaCare now imminent, all implementation should be immediately suspended until the court has rendered their ruling. With the nation now nearly $15 trillion in debt, we simply cannot afford the cost of building the bureaucracy and implementing this government take-over of private health care decisions only to have it later overturned as unconstitutional. ObamaCare was never wanted by the American people, and it has been massively unpopular from the onset. Today, it is as unpopular as ever. Last week, in what will be the last expression of popular will before the Supreme Court hears arguments on ObamaCare, the people of Ohio voted overwhelmingly to affirm that no government should have the right to mandate that American citizens purchase a government-approved health insurance product."
John Merline outlines on Investor's Business Daily how ObamaCare impedes bipartisan tax reform. "Although its focus is on extending health coverage, many of the sweeping law's provisions — including insurance subsidies and penalties for not buying coverage — runs through the tax code. As a result, ObamaCare moves the code in the opposite direction of every tax reform proposal — adding new complexities, new targeted tax breaks, more unfairness, etc."
On the Independent Women's Forum and Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath discusses a new report from the Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino outlining why Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the ObamaCare case. "Severino examines the evidence that Kagan was directly involved in the defense of ObamaCare. The main points: * Kagan took early and aggressive action to involve her office in ObamaCare. * Kagan made key staffing decisions starting in January 2010. * Kagan was part of the deliberative process in the ObamaCare defense strategy."
Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum discusses Ohio voters' rejection of ObamaCare. "If the battle over unions can be properly understood as a case of concentrated interests (the unions) winning over diffuse interests (other Ohio citizens), Ohio's vote on Issue 3, the Health Care Freedom Amendment, sends a clear message that Ohio citizens don't want government controlling their health care decisions. Our sister organization, Independent Women's Voice, worked hard to help educate voters on this issue. The very fact that the union spent millions to turn out their supporters to vote on Issue 2, and that Issue 3 still came out as a loud repudiation of ObamaCare, shows just how profoundly the public rejects the concept of government-run health care."
In commentary on the Independent Women's Forum, Hadley Heath outlines her thoughts on entitlement reform. "The thing is, entitlement reform isn't about Grandma at all. It doesn't even really concern my parents, who are close enough to retirement age now, that in many proposals (like the Path to Prosperity) they'd be grandfathered out with the old system. Entitlement reform is about my generation (Millennials). We're new to the work force, but we've already 'invested' in Medicare and Social Security with each paycheck. It's not a ton of money, but it's money I'd like to see again, if possible."
The Hill's Healthwatch reports that the Supreme Court could decide this week what cases and arguments against ObamaCare will be heard. "Justices will take their first stab at those questions during a private session on Thursday, and could announce their decision that same day. They are widely expected to rule on the constitutionality of the law’s individual mandate to buy insurance, since both plaintiffs and the government want them to resolve the contradictory rulings of lower courts."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) reiterates the optimistic points made by Heritage Foundation panelist Todd Gaziano that the Supreme Court will likely rule ObamaCare unconstitutional. "At least five Justices take the original meaning of the Constitution seriously. The original text of the Commerce Clause is very limiting, and doesn’t include the 'substantial effects' doctrine used by other lower courts to excuse the individual mandate."
In commentary on the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, Michael F. Cannon discusses how ObamaCare will lead to 800,000 jobs being lost. "The CBO projects the law will eliminate an estimated 800,000 jobs. The fashionable retort is to note that this effect 'primarily comes from workers who choose not to work because they no longer have to work at jobs just for the health insurance.' That defense fails for two reasons. First, a 'job' is when Smith and Jones exchange labor for money. It doesn’t matter whether Jones withdraws the money or Smith withdraws the labor. Either act eliminates a job. Second, it’s an odd defense of a law to say it encourages people to consume without producing."
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum comments on a recent Lancet study suggesting that more than 30 percent of elderly patients in the U.S. had surgeries during the last year they lived. "Bad numbers can be fatal. You may recall, for example, that former OMB director Peter Orszag claimed that Medicare’s budget could be slashed by nearly a third without adverse effects. He cited a study that pulled the same stunt as the one in Lancet, examining only the records of patients who died, thereby guaranteeing that the medical treatments could be called useless. We need to save money on entitlements, and Medicare is one of the biggest offenders against national solvency. Still, wouldn’t it be better to consider Paul Ryan’s phased-in voucher plan instead of just killing Gramps?"
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum discusses the recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll finding an all-time low of support for ObamaCare. "I would add that a few key events from the last month that might be discouraging for the ObamaCare outlook: * The cancellation of the CLASS Act because of its unworkable funding structure * The filing of six cert petitions with the Supreme Court in cases related to ObamaCare * Rising public awareness of the law's firewall for middle class families * A new congressional report on the law's marriage penalty"
In commentary on Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath discusses the current cert petitions filed to the Supreme Court. "Lyle Dennison has helpful insight on the Court's predicted actions on SCOTUS blog. He also provides a brief, helpful analysis of the issues the Court is likely to consider. Here's an excerpt: Whichever petitions might be chosen for review, it now seems likely that the Court will agree to review these three constitutional questions: 1. Is the ACA’s requirement that virtually every adult American obtain health insurance by the year 2014 unconstitutional, as beyond Congress’s power, either under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause or its taxing power under the General Welfare Clause?"
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) discusses yesterday's subcommittee hearings in the Energy and Commerce Committee concerning the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. "But throughout the morning’s debate, there were a few valuable takeaways: Long term care is an expensive burden for many Americans and their families. Medicare provides coverage only for some short-term needs, and then after that, seniors are on their own. Very few people actually purchase private-market long term care insurance, meaning that when devastating bills do come, many more sick and elderly patients end up on Medicaid, which currently pays for about half of the long term care costs in our country."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a legal brief yesterday encouraging the Supreme Court to review ObamaCare. "The chamber said in a legal brief filed Tuesday that it takes no position on the constitutionality of the contested provision at the heart of the law, the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014. But the chamber said the court should not do what the federal appeals court in Atlanta did, which was to strike down that requirement and leave the rest of the law standing. The business group said health insurers and insurance buyers would face 'dire consequences' if the mandate is invalidated by itself."
In commentary on the Independent Women's Forum, Hadley Heath offers recommendations to the Super Committee concerning health care. "While repeal of the ACA (or 'ObamaCare') isn’t likely given the current political landscape in DC, there are other ways the Super Committee can improve health policy and reform the ponzi-scheme structure of Medicare and Medicaid's flawed funding scheme. Many Americans don’t understand that currently the Medicaid federal-state 'partnership' encourages states to spend more and more money because the federal government will match their spending on the program (at a rate that varies by state). Furthermore, the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA will take states in the wrong direction, meaning Medicaid will take an even bigger portion of their budget, and they will have even less control of the program. Medicaid should be block-granted to the states, to allow states to choose how to prioritize and limit their Medicaid spending without the perverse incentive of federal matching."
In commentary on Health Care Lawsuits and Independent Women's Forum, Hadley Heath highlights a post on The Hill about the Department of Justice suggesting that "'if the Supreme Court strikes down the healthcare law’s individual mandate, it also has to ax two popular provisions of the law.' [...]Unfortunately for ObamaCare supporters, it's not the purview of the Supreme Court to rule on what's popular or unpopular. They should be concerned with what's Constitutional or unconstitutional. And what's severable, or unseverable."
In commentary on Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath explains how the failure of the CLASS Act shows how ObamaCare relies on the federal mandate. "Without a mandate, ObamaCare's insurance regulations would work much like CLASS. Health insurance premiums would skyrocket because insurers would still be required to sell policies to everyone - regardless of health status - and the incentive for young, healthy people to go without insurance would become greater. Ultimately, insurers could not bear to continuously cover only the sickest customers, and they would be driven into bankruptcy. (CLASS did not drive the federal government into bankruptcy; it was already there, and CLASS was dismissed before it ever really began, but the point remains, it would have bankrupted itself.)"
Heather Higgins of Independent Women’s Voice and Dr. Eric Novack of the US Health Freedom Coalition discuss the ballot initiative in Ohio that "preserves the freedom of citizens to choose their health care and health insurance. It makes clear that no government has the right to force free people to buy a government-approved health-care package from a government-approved insurance company. In this, it’s following in the footsteps of efforts made in numerous other states, from Idaho to Missouri to Georgia, that have adopted measures to reject aspects of the new ObamaCare law and reclaim some basic freedoms for citizens from an overreaching federal government."
On the Independent Women's Forum, Libby Jacobson discusses the possible solutions to deal with drug shortages. "That said, implementing price controls (as well as price-growth caps) on drugs has led to outright rationing of cancer treatment. It’s clear that these controls (on generic drugs that any drug manufacturer could make) should be lifted immediately. The alternative is to try to inject more federal control into the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that manufacturers have the right incentives to keep making whatever the 'right' drugs are at the moment, but as Megan McArdle recently wrote, such an approach is rife with unintended consequences: This is why it is so unwise to simply assume that you can identify excess profits in the health care system, and wring out those profits with a well chosen set of rules."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum discusses the accounting tricks the administration used concerning the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act. "Now that it’s not being implemented, we have to ask, where is the administration planning on making up for those lost future savings? Technically, it's considered 'moot' money now, because CLASS's dismissal was an administrative action (which the CBO just considers as part of its baseline). So, that's $86 billion that's supposed to quietly disappear. ObamaCare should ultimately be repealed or struck down in its entirety, but if it isn’t, we can blame CLASS, along with other accounting gimmicks and broken promises, as the reasons why its costs will one day be much higher than projected."
Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum offers her reaction to the collapse of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program in ObamaCare. "Taxpayers should breath a sigh of relief that CLASS was extinguished before it ever got up and running. Ironically, however, the elimination of CLASS means that projections for ObamaCare's deficits—urr, make that deficit reduction—are worse as a result. That's because ObamaCare sponsors employed standard budgetary gimmicks through CLASS to force CBO to give the legislation a better 'score.' Premiums started before benefits kicked in, giving a short-term revenue boost, which made the numbers in CBO's budget window look better."
Diana Lopez of the Independent Women's Forum outlines why free market health care is far more effective than government-run health care. "Because free market health care doesn’t have limits as to how many people can receive care—there is no rationing. For breast cancer, 'less than 25 percent of U.S. women die from breast cancer. In Britain, it's 46 percent; France, 35 percent; Germany, 31 percent; Canada, 28 percent; Australia, 28 percent, and New Zealand, 46 percent.' These numbers are striking. Government mandated health care can actually decrease the availability of health care, as counterintuitive as that sounds. People under government provided health coverage are most likely to face: waiting lists, rationing, restrictions on physician choice, and other obstacles to care."
The Independent Women's Forum has released its October policy focus on health care. "Onerous health care regulations—many advanced in the name of protecting women—take our health care system in the wrong direction. They impose one-size-fits-all solutions, create barriers to some treatment regimes, and discourage research, development, and innovation. Unfortunately, government agencies have been working overtime to write hundreds of new rules that will govern health insurance and our health care system. Many of these new federal regulations are the result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as 'ObamaCare'), which became law in March 2010 and gave unprecedented regulatory power to government entities over health care."
Most voters strongly oppose the federal government mandating health insurance. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 70 percent of respondents support individual choice over government standards.
In commentary on Forbes, Sally Pipes explains why ObamaCare is responsible for higher health insurance premiums. "ObamaCare is to blame for much of these impending increases. Richard Foster, the Chief Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), reports that America will spend an additional $311 billion on health care in the next decade because of the law. CMS estimates the growth in health insurance costs will increase 10 extra percentage points in 2014 because of ObamaCare — a 14% increase, versus 3.5% without the law."
The Daily Caller reports that "[i]nsurance companies that don’t acquiesce to the president’s healthcare demands are soon in for a rude awakening: The Obama administration announced Friday that companies seeking to raise health premium rates by more than 10 percent will be exploited on a government website."
Business leaders in Oklahoma explain to lawmakers how ObamaCare's mandate will negatively impact employers. "Federal health-care mandates will be expensive and make the decisions of Oklahoma employers more difficult, business leaders told a state legislative panel Wednesday. 'It's been complex. It's been burdensome. It's been costly, for sure. It's been confusing,' said J. Michael Rogers, chairman of the health care committee of the state chamber of commerce."
An editorial in the Washington Examiner explains how the health care overhaul places patients' records in jeopardy. "HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claims the government must have the records in order to evaluate the performance of health insurers. Aside from the absurdity of having federal health bureaucrats judge the job performance of anybody else, the proposal raises a gigantic red flag: Federal and state governments have proven repeatedly in recent years that they are all but incapable of fully protecting sensitive records of individuals."
In commentaries on the Independent Women's Forum, Julie Gunlock and Sabrina Schaeffer remind readers of the devastating impacts ObamaCare could have on treatment for breast cancer patients. "But ObamaCare will not improve the lot of women, and it will not bring us any closer to stamping out breast cancer. That's because a successful health care system is one that allows for the greatest freedom of choice. Any system in which we provide a good or service for free for everyone cannot maintain the same standards. Ultimately, ObamaCare moves us in the direction of having fewer choices, worse care, and higher costs. Women instinctively understand this, which is why in the run-up to ObamaCare, the majority of women opposed a government-takeover of the health care industry. According to survey research commissioned by IWF, the majority of women claimed they would 'rather have private health insurance than a government-run health insurance plan."
The majority of voters continues to support repealing ObamaCare. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 51 percent of respondents favor repealing the measure, with 57 percent believing that the law will increase costs.
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum highlights a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing a 9 percent increase in insurance premiums under ObamaCare. "For many Americans, it's been a while since they've gotten a raise. What they may not see - if their employer sponsors their health insurance - is that the cost of that benefit has been rising steadily, and this year, shot up 9 percent according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. From the Kaiser news release: After several years of relatively modest premium increases, annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage increased to $15,073 this year, up 9 percent from last year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust 2011 Employer Health Benefits Survey released today. On average, workers pay $4,129 and employers pay $10,944 toward those annual premiums."
Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum warns of the possible consequences of electronic health records under ObamaCare. "The electronic health records craze may turn out to be yet another case of government overreach. Bureaucrats may have once again sold a clever plan that doesn't work in real conditions. It does sound good to many people, and doctors, left to their own devices, may one day come to adopt a version of the plan. But right now most of them don't like it. Even with the government's subsidy, most doctors are turned off because the technology necessary for EHRs slows productivity (it was supposed to do just the opposite), requires doctors to reorganize their practices, shows negative return on the investment, and distracts doctors from the actual patient."
Bloomberg reports that "President Barack Obama’s health care law got a mixed reception in its fourth review by a federal appeals court as three judges grappled with questions about the law’s constitutionality and their own authority to rule on it. In a two-hour argument yesterday in Washington, two judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said a ruling upholding the law, which requires that most Americans buy insurance or face a tax penalty, could leave the government with unprecedented power over its citizens. 'In 220 years there has been a whole lot of laws and a lot of crises, yet Congress has never once mandated a purchase,' said Judge Brett Kavanaugh, adding that the 'lurking next step' might be a law requiring investment in private retirement accounts."
ABC News reports that "[l]awyers for the Obama administration will once again head to court to defend the health care reform law, this time from challengers who argue it violates their religious freedom. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will be the 4th appellate court to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At issue is a key provision of the law, the individual mandate, that requires individuals to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty."
The Daily Mail highlights "a new study [showing] that 790,000 Ohioans will lose their private health insurance and premiums will rise 55%-85% when ObamaCare takes full effect in 2014. The Ohio Department of Insurance commissioned a study by Milliman Inc. of Seattle on what to expect from ObamaCare, National Underwriter reported. From National Underwriter: 'The number with some kind of individual commercial coverage could increase to 7.4%, or 735,000, from 350,000. The percentage with some kind of government coverage, or coverage provided by a private insurer but paid for in whole or in part by the government, could increase to 31%, from 20% in 2010. Although the percentage of residents with coverage could rise by about 7.9%, the price of individual health insurance coverage might rise about 55% to 85%, excluding the impact of medical inflation, the Milliman consultants predict.'"
In commentary on Forbes, Sally Pipes explains why repealing ObamaCare is vital for job growth. "In fact, the evidence suggests that ObamaCare has only made the American labor market worse. Since the law’s enactment, job growth has fallen to rates one-tenth of what it was beforehand. From January 2009, the lowest point of the recession, through April 2010, employment numbers were improving by an average of 67,600 new jobs per month. After April 2010 — mere weeks after President Obama signed his reform measure into law — job creation came to a screeching halt, tumbling to a rate of just 6,500 new jobs per month. That’s no coincidence. The law deters hiring by raising the costs of employment and by fomenting uncertainty for American businesses."
The majority of voters continues to support repealing the health care overhaul. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, 56 percent of respondents favor repealing ObamaCare, with 52 percent believing the law is bad for the country.
According to reports, ObamaCare proponents ignored potential problems with the Community Living Assistance Service and Supports (CLASS) Act. Reason notes that "[h]alf of ObamaCare's supposed deficit reduction comes from the Community Living Assistance Service and Supports (CLASS) Act, a long-term care benefit tacked onto the bill and scored as reducing the deficit by about $70 billion over the next decade. But that's only because the law's authors gamed the Congressional Budget Office's scoring rules. The score counted premiums collected this decade as reducing the deficit despite the fact that they'll be needed to pay out benefits later. Even worse, the premiums won't be enough to pay for all of the benefits: In the long-term, the program isn't self-sustaining, and will actually add to the federal deficit. The Obama administration now admits this: Earlier this year, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress that after ObamaCare's passage, 'we determined pretty quickly that [CLASS] would not meet the requirement that the act be self-sustaining and not rely on taxpayer assistance.' So it was all a big mistake, and ObamaCare's defenders just found out too late? Nope. They knew the program wasn't fiscally sound. And they lied about it."
The Washington Times reports that "[f]ewer people received insurance coverage through their employer in 2010 than in 2009, and the number of people covered through government insurance programs continued to rise, according to 2010 data reported Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. It's a trend that started a decade ago, as costs continue to rise and make it harder for employers to offer coverage to their workers. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that since 1999 family premiums for employer-sponsored health coverage have increased by 131 percent."
Charlotte Hays from the Independent Women's Forum points out that President Obama has been eerily silent on the health care overhaul. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't President Obama completely skip over any mention of his signature achievement-health care legislation-in last week's jobs speech? Okay, the subject was job creation, but ordinarily I'd have expected him to plug ObamaCare, perhaps even citing it as something that will create jobs (thought this is not the case). But he was mum. I hadn't noticed this omission until I read Grace-Marie Turner's piece just now. President Obama has gone silent on ObamaCare, according to Turner. Remember when he couldn't stop talking about it? Well, have you heard him say anything about it lately? Neither have I. I went back and read Thursday's speech."
The National Journal reports that "Americans don’t think health care reform is working, and they are especially dubious of government priorities, according to a survey released on Monday by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Respondents were split on the question being most debated in the courts – whether Americans should be required to have health insurance – and believed media reports of the issue are distorted and misleading. The survey of 4,000 adults, done in April, found that respondents agreed with the goals of Congress and the Obama administration – reducing costs, improving quality, and getting more people covered. Eighty-two percent said reducing costs was important, 77 percent said improving the quality of care was important, and 60 percent said increasing access to insurance was important. But few felt the law had met those goals."
On the Independent Women's Forum and Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath reacts to yesterday's Fourth Circuit ruling. "This comes as no surprise, but at least it's settled: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed both Virginia v. Sebelius and Liberty v. Geithner today, ruling that the challengers of ObamaCare did not have standing. After the panel requested supplemental briefs on the Anti-Injunction Act mid-summer, they raised suspicion that they would deem the individual mandate a tax. This is tricky of them, you see, as the Anti-Injunction Act does not allow plaintiffs to sue over unconstitutional taxes until the taxes are collected (and the penalty fines for the individual mandate will not be collected until 2014)."
The Heritage Foundation points to a new survey from Jackson and Coker that "affirms the growing gap between the AMA and the physicians it is intended to represent. The survey showed: 1. Only 11 percent of the physicians surveyed agreed that 'the AMA’s stance and actions represent my views.' Of those who are members of the AMA, only 40 percent agreed. 2. 13 percent of all physicians, and just 35 percent of AMA members, agreed with the AMA’s position on health reform; 70 percent disagreed. 3. Of those who had dropped their AMA membership, 47 percent said it was because of the AMA’s support for ObamaCare, and 43 percent who said AMA’s ideology was too far to the left. 4. Only 15 percent of physicians considered the AMA a successful advocate of physicians’ issues. 75 percent of physicians surveyed said that 'the AMA no long represents physicians; physicians need a more representative voice.'"
In commentary on Forbes, Sally Pipes explains why "universal coverage" through Medicare will not work. "Today, when the government extracts Medicare taxes from people’s paychecks, it’s forcing them to assent to this deal: Hand over a slice of your paycheck now, and get government-sponsored health insurance in old age. Of course, Americans are not allowed to opt out of that deal — just like they won’t be able to opt out of the individual mandate. But unlike the mandate, the taxes that finance Medicare are not in danger of being deemed unconstitutional. [Robert] Reich wants to increase Medicare payroll taxes and then steadily expand the program’s enrollment to the point that the vast majority of Americans, if not all of them, get their health coverage from the government. The end result would be a Canadian-style system where government is the only provider, and private insurance is outlawed."
The majority of voters continues to favor repealing the health care overhaul. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey 57 percent of respondents support repealing the measure, with 54 percent saying that repeal is likely to happen.
The Heritage Foundation highlights a recent report from Wisconsin discussing the impact ObamaCare will have on the state. "The study, which was conducted by Gorman Actuarial and MIT Economist Jonathan Gruber—an ObamaCare supporter—and commissioned by former Governor Jim Doyle (D), provides further proof that ObamaCare is on track to break the promises President Obama made to the American people regarding his plan for health care reform: 'It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance for those who don’t.' While there are expected gains in coverage, an estimated 23,000 become newly uninsured in Wisconsin alone under ObamaCare. Of those who gain coverage, 27 percent will be dependent on taxpayer-funded subsidies in the new exchanges, and 38 percent will receive public insurance (i.e., Medicaid). In other words, of the 340,000 people who will be newly covered as a result of ObamaCare, 65 percent will be dependent on the government for their health care."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum outlines the increasingly bad news for the health care overhaul. "ObamaCare will not be running for Homecoming Queen this fall. Although never popular, this law's polling numbers got even worse over the summer. According to Rasmussen Reports, the margin favoring repeal of the law reached 20 points this week. Jeffrey Anderson of the Weekly Standard blog explores the Rasmussen polling numbers even further: If this news weren't bad enough for the White House's current occupant, independent voters are even less fond of ObamaCare than voters as a whole. By a tally of 58 to 37 percent, independents support repeal. Among independents who feel 'strongly' (either way), 49 percent support repeal, while only 21 percent oppose it - nearly one-half to barely one-fifth."
The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance outlines the top 10 negative impacts that ObamaCare has on the economy. "1. $1.094 trillion in new taxes and penalties once ObamaCare is fully implemented for a full ten years beginning in 2014. (According to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee Republican Tax Staff derived from projections by the Senate Budget Committee Republican Staff (March 21, 2010) based on estimates by the Congressional Budget Office and The Joint Committee on Taxation). 2. $701 billion increase to the deficit in the first ten years of ObamaCare (Report by the House Budget Committee, 'The Budget Record of the 111th Congress: More Spending, Taxes, Deficits and Debt,' September 29, 2010). 3. $2,100 increase in premiums for families buying insurance on their own due to ObamaCare (Letter from the Congressional Budget Office to Senator Evan Bayh regarding health care premiums, November 30, 2009).
In the Washington Times, Paige Winnifield Cunningham points out that "[i]nsurers and patients are waiting to find out what types of medical services will be considered 'essential benefits' by the Obama [administration] and singled out for mandatory coverage. The Affordable Care Act specifies 10 areas of medical care in which insurers must provide coverage once all Americans are required to have health coverage in 2014. It includes areas already covered widely by insurers, like hospitalization and prescription drugs, and areas that aren't usually covered in typical plans, like habilitation services and dental care for children. It's up to the secretary of Health and Human Services to outline exactly what services within those categories are considered essential."
The latest polling on the health care overhaul shows that "[t]he number of voters who Strongly Favor repeal of the national health care law ties the highest level reached in several months, as most continue to believe the law will push up health care costs and the federal deficit. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that 57% at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law, including 46% who Strongly Favor repeal. Thirty-seven percent (37%) at least somewhat oppose repeal, with 25% who are Strongly Opposed."
In commentary on the Orange County Register, John R. Graham explains that "[t]he new health care law encourages state politicians to increase their interference with health insurance premiums, an underreported aspect of ObamaCare with consequences for patients and health plans alike. ObamaCare distributes federal grants that encourage states' insurance departments to increase their power to dictate insurance premiums. States are responding by considering new laws to increase those powers, but there is no evidence that such measures reduce the growth of premiums below those in states where insurance departments wield no such power. More seriously, the future wave of political interference threatens the solvency of health plans."
The Heritage Foundation reports that "[t]he White House on Tuesday announced 'final plans' to reduce 'unreasonable' regulations that hinder economic growth and job creation. That President Obama even acknowledges there are costly consequences to government dictates is progress of sorts, and any reduction in red tape is most welcome. But the anticipated savings from the proposed reforms are swamped by the torrent of new regulatory burdens unleashed by this Administration. Regulatory officials estimate that the proposed changes, if enacted, could save businesses more than $2 billion a year. Many involve streamlining reporting procedures, while others eliminate regulatory overlap or tweak compliance technicalities. Overall, however, the most economically onerous initiatives of this Administration—ObamaCare, Dodd–Frank, and the excesses of the Environmental Protection Agency—remain wholly unaffected and thus dwarf any cost savings from the regulatory review."
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum is interviewed by Michael Ostrolenk from the Medical Freedom Report "about the ObamaCare August Recess Guide, a series of five 1-page handouts that answer the following questions: 1. How will ObamaCare add to the national debt? 2. Does ObamaCare violate my Constitutional rights? 3. How will ObamaCare change my health care? 4. How will ObamaCare change my Medicare? 5. How can I help repeal ObamaCare?"
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum discusses the irony of the taxpayer-funded PR campaign to promote ObamaCare. "Some products are so bad that no amount of advertising can sell them. This also seems to be the case with ObamaCare. The government watchdog group Judicial Watch uncovered documents detailing a $200-million propaganda campaign - specifically targeting blacks, Hispanics, and women - meant to change minds about ObamaCare. It's no surprise that there are certain groups and PR experts who want to promote the President's signature policy achievement, and who could stand to gain from this campaign. I fully support the right of citizens and groups to express their opinions, and to present information in the light of their choosing. But here's the problem(s): According to the Judicial Watch press release this is a multimillion dollar, taxpayer-funded campaign. The White House spent over a million dollars on online advertisements alone. That's right, the White House is using my money to push a propaganda campaign that I don't support... and ironically, because I'm a woman, I'm in one of the target groups!"
In commentary on Politico, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Darrell Issa (R-CA) outlines how ObamaCare will further increase the deficit. "Health care spending will increase because of ObamaCare, according to a recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Premiums are set to increase for most Americans, and government actuaries now estimate the growth in the net cost of health insurance will increase by 14 percent — compared to 3.5 percent if ObamaCare never passed. Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that the health care program will deepen our future deficits. Yet ObamaCare purported to reduce future deficits because its tax increases and Medicare cuts would be large enough to exceed the cost of its health insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion. Of course, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi simultaneously warned against these pre-passage predictions, saying, 'We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.'"
Hadley Heath from the Independent Women's Forum offers her "Round III" analysis of the recent 11th Circuit Court ruling. "The federal government spends a lot of energy explaining that the individual mandate is a Constitutional, regulatory, economic mandate. But just in case that's wrong, the defendant also spends a lot of time explaining that the mandate also functions as a tax, so - gotcha! - it's Constitutional one way or another. The 11th Circuit had to consider this argument." Also, check out the "bonus round" at Health Care Lawsuits.
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum points out that even President Obama seems to regret ObamaCare. "It's blogworthy unto itself that MSNBC has pointed out that Obama made an error, but I'll stick to the main story at hand. According to their report, here are a few things Obama had to say about ObamaCare on a bus-tour stop in Cannon Falls, MN: "It should not be controversial, but it has become controversial." "You've got a governor who's running for president right now who instituted the exact same thing in Massachusetts. This used to be a Republican idea, by the way, this whole idea of the individual mandate, and suddenly, it's like they got amnesia." "It's like, 'Oh, this is terrible; this is going to take away freedom for Americans all over the world, all over the country. So that's a little puzzling." Shouldn't be controversial, eh? Same thing as a state government mandate, huh? A little puzzling?"
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum and Health Care Lawsuits deconstructs the individual mandate ruling from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. "In this post, I'll review part 4 of the ruling, the part that deals with Commerce Clause case law. In Round II in this short series, I'll move to part 5 of the 11CA decision that deals with the application of the Commerce Clause to the individual mandate. In Round III, I'll discuss why the individual mandate is not a tax, and whether or not it can or should be severed from the rest of ObamaCare. Several precedential decisions on the Commerce Clause repeatedly show up in the ObamaCare cases, complaint after complaint, decision after decision. This 11CA ruling is no different, as judges realize they must (and eventually the Supreme Court must) reconcile seemingly divergent decisions (and actually divergent doctrines) on this short but now complex clause in the Constitution."
In commentary on Forbes, Merrill Matthews questions if ObamaCare will last with an unconstitutional mandate. "Although as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama criticized the mandate; now the Obama Justice Department says the mandate is absolutely necessary to make the law work. It’s just one of many Obama flip-flops in his long and sordid drive to control virtually every part of the U.S. health care system. Another of the important flip-flops playing a role in the 11th Circuit’s decision is whether the mandate is a tax. In the fall of 2009, the president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in a televised interview that the mandate absolutely was not a tax. Now, of course, the Justice Department claims it absolutely is."
On Independent Women's Forum and Health Care Lawsuits, Hadley Heath reacts to the Eleventh Circuit of Appeals ruling that the federal health care mandate is unconstitutional. "Moreover, today's 11th circuit ruling marks the first time a Democrat-appointed judge has ruled against ObamaCare. In a 2-1 decision, Judges Frank Hull and Joel Dubina ruled against the mandate, and Judge Stanley Marcus dissented. Notably, the Court ruled that specifically the individual mandate provision is unconstitutional, but that the rest of the law can stand. I guess I should say the Court ruled that the rest of the law 'may' stand. I have reservations about whether or not the rest of the law 'can' stand without the individual mandate. This case was the most successful of any legal challenge to ObamaCare at the District Court level. Judge Roger Vinson ruled that because the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and it is unseverable from the rest of the law, the entire law was void. His decision about the Constitutionality of the mandate has been upheld today. "
Hadley Heath of the Independent Women's Forum reiterates the fact that ObamaCare was never deficit-neutral. "What huge mistake? It boils down to this: The CBO score of ObamaCare mistakenly measured one variable as a 'self-only' coverage provision when it came to costs. Meanwhile, proponents of the law boasted better access for these same people... and their families.
Forbes reports that "there’s a new study that suggests that employer dumping under ObamaCare could be significant, leading to an explosion of the law’s costs and thereby the federal debt. A working paper by economists Richard Burkhauser and Sean Lyons of Cornell and Kosali Simon of Indiana, published by the National Bureau for Economic Research, examined various reasonable assumptions regarding the behavior of employers under the law. Burkhauser and colleagues found that, in a worst-case scenario, the number of people covered by ObamaCare’s subsidized exchanges could be more than double the estimates of the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. 'In the most dynamic case (broad affordability and maximum change in premiums) … Exchange coverage increases from 10.23…to 22.89 percent' of the privately-insured workforce. This would lead to worst-case of $48 billion a year in additional federal spending, according to a version of the study published by the Employment Policies Institute."
The Independent Women's Voice just released an ObamaCare August Recess Guide. "The flyers focus on a range of topics from changes to health insurance, changes to Medicare, impact on the national debt, to Constitutional challenges, and how to join the movement for repeal. Our hope is that citizens will find the one-page handouts helpful as they continue the conversation about health reform with their lawmakers. Each flyer includes a suggested list of questions to ask Members of Congress – particularly useful during recess when Members will be at home, perhaps addressing the public or hosting town hall meetings."
Kathryn Nix of The Heritage Foundation explains how the health care overhaul will actually limit the access that children have to care. "Although this intent behind this policy is obviously to expand coverage, in reality it makes it financially unsustainable for insurers to continue offering child-only health insurance due to adverse selection. As the report explains: Requiring carriers to sell child-only plans to anyone at any time allows individuals to wait until a child is sick and then purchase coverage. This undermines one of the fundamental principles of insurance, which allows individuals to manage risk by pooling resources to help pay for future, unpredictable expenses. If an individual can avoid paying premiums until they know they will incur an expense, it is impossible for such a system of insurance to be financially sustainable."
Eric O'Keefe outlines on The Daily Caller the benefits of states entering into The Health Care Compact. "The Health Care Compact would empower states to create their own Medicare and Medicaid programs, free from the arbitrary decisions of unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., including those on the powerful IPAB commission. States participating in the Health Care Compact will be given the authority to design their own health care programs, but will continue to receive their portion of federal health care dollars. The Health Care Compact is already law in Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas, and has been introduced in state legislatures in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Colorado, South Carolina and Louisiana. Once Congress approves the compact, it will carry the full force of federal law and will trump the federal Health and Human Services regulations, as well as the recommendations of IPAB. States that choose to participate in the Health Care Compact will be given autonomy over health care policy."
The Hill's Healthwatch reports that "[t]wo powerful House chairmen from Michigan are backing the state's request for a temporary waiver from part of the healthcare reform law. Reps. Dave Camp and Fred Upton endorsed Michigan's request Thursday in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Michigan asked HHS last week to phase in new requirements that govern how insurers can spend their money. 'While approving Michigan's [application] will not solve the fundamental flaws in Democrats' health care law, on behalf of Michigan residents, we believe it is important to voice our strong support for steps that can limit the damage inflicted on consumers as a result of this misguided law,' Camp and Upton wrote."
The Associated Press reports that “Texas lawmakers voted Wednesday to allow the state to join a proposed interstate compact that would let members decide for themselves how to structure and disburse federal health care benefits within their states. The Texas House tentatively approved legislation in favor of a multistate agreement that, if it were approved by Congress, would give states power to adopt their own health care rules rather than federal regulations..."