A Different Take On The Constitutionality Of ObamaCare

The Daily Caller posted an article today about changes made to ObamaCare by Congress. The article reminds us that in 2017, the Republican-majority Congress did not have the votes to repeal the ACA, but did set the individual mandate penalty at zero. They didn’t repeal it, but they took the teeth out of it.

The article then reminds of the Supreme Court’s decision on ObamaCare:

In 2012, the five conservative justices on the United States Supreme Court (including Chief justice John Roberts) held that key portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exceeded Congress’s constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause. But, Chief Justice Roberts then joined the four liberal justices on the Court in upholding the ACA as a tax under Congress’s taxing power because it generated revenue for the federal government.

The question then becomes, “If ObamaCare is no longer generating revenue, is it still a tax?’ If it is no longer a tax, does it still fall under the Commerce Clause?”

The article states:

A recent op-ed at The Federalist claims that striking down the ACA would be “judicial activism.” The article doesn’t defend the ACA as constitutional, but argues that conservatives shouldn’t ask “unelected judges to do what elected members of Congress took great pains to avoid.”

Such a broad view of “judicial activism” would render virtually any judicial review out of bounds. More importantly, it is contrary to the very system of checks and balances set up by the Founders in the Constitution. There is no Constitutional duty to persuade a majority of Congress to stop violating the Constitution—that’s what makes it a written constitution in the first place.

The article concludes:

And there is the rub. Judicial activism, rightly understood, is when a court tries to exercise the legislative function — i.e., when a court writes laws instead of saying what the law is. But asking courts to carve out the unconstitutional provisions from laws is exactly that. Advocating for severability asks the judicial branch to judge the law Congress should have written, not the one it did. A more restrained approach would be to strike down the whole law and let Congress decide whether it wants to pass the law again without the unconstitutional provisions included.

An old saying goes something like: “When you mix a cup of sewage in a barrel of wine, you end up with a barrel of sewage and have to throw the whole thing out.” To extend the metaphor, courts shouldn’t be in the business of sifting through a law to pick the sewage out of the wine, they should throw the whole thing out. Striking down unconstitutional laws is not judicial activism, and it is well within the role of the judiciary to strike the entire ACA as such.

It is definitely time to get rid of the barrel of sewage!

If You Don’t Like What Someone Is Saying, Change The Meaning Of The Words Used

One of the things I miss about New England is Howie Carr. He has always had an ability to hit the nail on the head when discussing politics. He posted an article in the Boston Herald today discussing how the political class and the media have changed the meaning of words to suit their needs. Evidently the English language is something of an ever-changing, growing thing (like the way Democrats see the U.S. Constitution).

Some examples from the article.

On Friday night, Obama referred to an airstrike as a “kinetic action” and his sock puppets in the media nodded. If George W. Bush had said the same thing, they would have described it as a “war crime.”

Bernie Sanders lashed out at Hillary Clinton, saying that she took money from “the fossil-fuel industry,” which was formerly known as “Big Oil.” But now the big tent of bad energy must be expanded to include coal.

…With these people, every day is 1984 and they’re the Ministry of Truth. Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act — and it’s unaffordable. And when your income-tax return is docked because you couldn’t afford affordable care, it’s not a fine, it’s a “shared responsibility tax.”

How about the word “settled”? Settled science is in fact religion, and any researcher who dares dissent from the various cults’ orthodoxies will lose his research grant and any chance for tenure, and eventually may even be prosecuted. (Ask Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.)

The article reminds us that settled law is anything the Democrats decide it is. The Second Amendment, which goes back to the origins of America, is not settled law, yet abortion is. Five minutes after the concept of marriage was redefined by our government, the new definition became settled law. Settled law is obviously in the eye of the beholder.

The article continues:

Higher taxes are an “investment in the future” — their future, not yours. A teachable moment — an opportunity to lecture you on your shortcomings. Dialogue — see teachable moment. Affirmative action — racial discrimination on behalf of Democrats.

Drunkards and drug addicts now have substance-abuse disorders. They are chemically dependent.

Illegal aliens are undocumented workers, even though most of them don’t work. They live in the shadows, except for when they’re going to the State House on weekdays during business hours to issue non-negotiable demands for more handouts.

An earned income tax credit is a welfare payment for someone who doesn’t pay taxes, and thus cannot receive a “credit.” A subsidy is likewise a handout if it goes to any industry that actually produces something, in which case it’s “crony capitalism.” But if the subsidy goes to Democratic bundlers running bust-out “green” energy companies that produce no energy — that’s a “smart” investment.

The article also points out the differences between the way things Democrats do and things Republicans do are reported. Republicans lie; Democrats misspeak. When a Republican changes his mind, he ‘flip-flops.’ When a Democrat changes his mind, he is ‘evolving.’

Please follow the link above to read the entire article–there are some amazing examples of misuse of the English language in it.

A Federal Appeals Court Rules On Subsidies

NBC News is reporting today that a Federal Appeals Court in Washington, D. C., has ruled that  that the Patient Protection and  Affordable Care Act, (ObamaCare), as written, only allows insurance subsidies in states that have set up their own exchanges. This ruling invalidated an Internal Revenue Service regulation that allowed subsidies in all 50 states. Thirty-six states did not set up the exchanges required by ObamaCare, so the federal government set up exchanges in those states. The court ruled that the federal government may not pay subsidies for insurance plans in those states.

The article reports:

Today’s decision reaffirms that the administration cannot rewrite the health law that was passed and it stops the Internal Revenue Service from doing the same,” said Andrew Kloster of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “The statute is clear in the Affordable Care Act that the subsidies are to be directed only to states that elected to set up insurance exchanges.”

This is actually the problem with the law–it has been rewritten as we go along. Mandates have been postponed, the stay-in-your-home provision for the elderly has been dropped altogether, and exemptions have been handed out left and right. It will be interesting to see if another Executive Order promptly makes its appearance.

One of the effects of ObamaCare (intended or otherwise) is the redistribution of wealth–it takes affordable healthcare away from those who already had insurance–some rates have gone up as much as $7,000 or $8,000 per year for people not eligible for subsidies, and provides subsidies for people with lower incomes (without demanding income verification). In one state, people whose incomes were well above the poverty level were eligible for subsidies, but one wonders if those subsidies will decrease after ObamaCare is fully operational.

It will be interesting to see if this decision stands–it will wind up in the Supreme Court.

 

A Press Conference To Remember

This is part of the transcript of today’s Presidential Press Conference posted at the Washington Post today:

With respect to health care, I didn’t simply choose to delay this on my own. This was in consultation with businesses all across the country, many of whom are supportive of the Affordable Care Act, but — and who — many of whom, by the way, are already providing health insurance to their employees but were concerned about the operational details of changing their HR operations if they’ve got a lot of employees, which could be costly for them, and them suggesting that there may be easier ways to do this.

Now what’s true, Ed, is that in a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what? This is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. It has to do with, for example, are we able to simplify the attestation of employers as to whether they’re already providing health insurance or not. It looks like there may be some better ways to do this. Let’s make a technical change of the law.

That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do, but we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to, quote- unquote, “Obamacare.”

We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so. But this doesn’t go to the core of implementation.

Let me tell you what is the core of implementation that’s already taken place. As we speak, right now, for the 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, they are benefiting from being able to keep their kid on their — on their plan if their kid is 26 or younger. That’s benefiting millions of young people around the country, which is why lack of insurance among young people has actually gone down. That’s in large part attributable to the steps that we’ve taken. You’ve got millions of people who’ve received rebates because part of the Affordable Care Act was to say that if an insurance company isn’t spending 80 percent of your premium on your health care, you get some money back. And lo and behold, people have been getting their money back. It means that folks who’ve been bumping up with lifetime limits on their insurance that leaves them vulnerable — that doesn’t exist. Seniors have been getting discounts on their prescription drugs. That’s happening right now. Free preventive care, mammograms, contraception — that’s happening right now.

I met a young man today on a bill signing I was doing with the student loan bill who came up to me and said, thank you — he was — he couldn’t have been more than 25, 26 years old — thank you; I have cancer; thanks to the Affordable Care Act, working with the California program, I was able to get health care, and I’m now in remission. And so right now people are already benefiting.

Now, what happens on October 1st, in 53 days, is for the remaining 15 percent of the population that doesn’t have health insurance, they’re going to be able to go on a website or call up a call center and sign up for affordable, quality health insurance at a significantly cheaper rate than what they can get right now on the individual market.

And if, even with lower premiums, they still can’t afford it, we’re going to be able to provide them with a tax credit to help them buy it. And between October 1st, end of March, there will be an open enrollment period in which millions of Americans for the first time are going to be able to get affordable health care.

Now, I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail. Their number-one priority. The one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care; and presumably, repealing all those benefits I just mentioned — kids staying on their parents’ plan, seniors getting discounts on their prescription drugs, I guess a return to lifetime limits on insurance, people with pre-existing conditions continuing to be blocked from being able to get health insurance.

That’s hard to understand as a — an agenda that is going to strengthen our middle class. At least they used to say, well, we’re going to replace it with something better. There’s not even a pretense now that they’re going to replace it with something better.

This is such total garbage I don’t know where to start. ObamaCare is not going to strengthen the Middle Class in America. It may well destroy it. Employers are increasing the number of part-time employees in order to avoid the mandate that says they must provide insurance for full-time employees.

On July 1, Forbes Magazine reported:

Three months from today—October 1, 2013—is X-Day, the day that Obamacare’s subsidized health insurance exchanges are supposed to become fully operational. And today brings more news of “rate shock,” the phemonenon by which Obamacare dramatically increases the underlying cost of health insurance for people who buy it on their own. Louise Radnofsky of the Wall Street Journal looked at insurance rates in eight states, and found that while some sicker people will get a better deal, “healthy consumers could see insurance rates double or even triple when they look for individual coverage.”

The President neglected to mention that one way that the government is attempting to save money on healthcare is to decrease the amount of money it pays to hospitals and doctors for providing care. The result of that is that some doctors and hospitals will stop taking Medicare patients and other patients covered by government health care. Every American may have a card saying that they have health insurance, but they will have a hard time finding a medical facility that will accept that card.

The President is lying to us. ObamaCare is a bad deal for all Americans. As all of us begin the experience its ‘benefits,’ I hope we will remember to vote out every member of Congress who voted for it. We also need to remember that, thanks to the President, Congress is exempt from ObamaCare. That should tell us all we need to know.

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It Costs What ???!!!

CBN News reported today that a Senate Budget Committee study says that Obamacare will cost $2.6 trillion in the first full decade of the new law. President Obama said it would cost around $900 billion. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 244-185 to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Five Democrats voted with the Republicans for repeal. President Obama has stated that he will veto any attempt to repeal the bill.

Has there ever been a government program that did not end of costing more than it was predicted to cost?

 

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Smoke And Mirrors In ObamaCare

The Daily Caller is reporting today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finalized its policies governing state health care exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Included in these policies are the laws governing abortion coverage.

Section 1303 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires enrollees in the health care exchanges to pay a separate monthly surcharge for abortion coverage. Well, HHS has set those guidelines–the surcharge will be one dollar.

The article reports:

“Obamacare nearly collapsed under the allegations that the law would use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. Because of a useless executive order, which was supposed to forbid tax dollars from paying for abortions, that swayed self-professed pro-life Members of Congress to vote for the monstrosity, the bill passed,” Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, told TheDC.

“Now final rules from HHS could not be clearer: taxpayers, whether they are pro-life or pro-choice, will certainly be paying for abortions,” said Hawkins.

If you value the lives of the elderly, the terminally ill, or the unborn, you need to vote Republican in November so that ObamaCare will be repealed and the lives of the people you love will be protected.

 

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Hard Questions And Weasel Words

I apologize for the length of this post, but I think the information here is important.

I watched Chris Wallace interview Jack Lew this morning on Fox News Sunday. I am posting a few quotes from the transcript. Questions were never answered directly, there was nothing but talking points, but please note where Mr. Lew says the government gets the authority to tell a company what they must sell and a consumer what he must buy. There is no way that can be constitutional. Here are some quotes:

WALLACE: Before we get to the president’s new budget and I promise we will, I want to clear up some lingering question about the president’s revised policy about providing health insurance coverage for birth control to the employees of religious institutions. The president now says that Catholic institutions don’t have to provide the coverage but the insurance companies do.

The question — where does the president get the power to tell a private company they have to offer a product and offer it for free?

LEW: Well, Chris, just to be clear — the president has the authority under the Affordable Care Act to have these kinds of rules take affect. And the issue with this being for free is quite an interesting one. If you look at the cost of providing health insurance, it actually doesn’t cost more to provide a plan with contraceptive coverage than it does without.

The discussion then continued as Mr. Wallace asked how the insurance companies could offer the coverage for free. What is not said directly is that it is cheaper to prevent a child from being born than to provide healthcare for that child. Have we reached the point as a society where that is a consideration?

The discussion continued:

WALLACE: But here’s my point and here’s the concern that some religious institutions have. The reason that you’re going to get these, quote, “savings” is because of avoided pregnancies from artificial birth control, which is the practice that these religious institutions find objectionable and, in fact, sinful in the first place.

LEW: But let’s just be clear: every woman has a right to access all forms of preventive health, including contraception. Religious institutions, churches, are not covered by this. So, they don’t have to provide.

Note that he is saying that every woman has a right to contraception. He is requiring church charities to allow their employees to take part in something that is against their doctrine and saying it is okay since they are not paying for it.

The discussion continued:

WALLACE: You say it’s consistent. The Catholic bishops are clearly not satisfied with it — if I may, sir. They have issued a statement that says that they view the decision by the president, the revision, with grave moral concern.

Let’s put up their statement on the screen.

“Today’s proposal involves needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion — government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.”

And, sir, they call on Congress to block the president’s policy.

LEW: No, I think the president’s policy does not do that. It does not force an institution that has religious principle to offer or may for benefits they find objectionable. But it guarantees a woman’s right to access. We think that’s the right solution.

There are others who opposed women’s access to contraception. They have different views than we do. I’m not going to speak to the motives of any of the parties. But it’s quite significant that a range of Catholic organizations has embraced this.

We didn’t expect to get universal support of the bishops or all Catholics. I think that what we have here is a policy that reflects bringing together two very important principles in a way that’s true to the American tradition. And that’s what the president is trying to do.

There are others who want to have a clash over it. We want to bring these two principles together

He is admitting that the Obama Administration did not expect the Bishops to go along with the supposed compromise. The birth control controversy is a small taste of surprises to come from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Based on Mr. Lew’s statement, the act pretty much allows the government to do anything it wants to in regard to providing healthcare to Americans–whether it is constitutional or not!

 
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Has Washington Lost Its Mind ?

Kathleen Sebelius alternate HHS portrait

Image via Wikipedia

CNS News is reporting today that the Health and Human Services Department has announced that it plans to spend $700 million building, expanding, and improving community health centers across the U.S.

The funding will also expand the infrastructure for Obamacare.

The article reports:

“For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These funds will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country.”

Most of the taxpayer money — $600 million – will be spent on existing health centers for longer-term projects including facility expansion and hiring more employees to serve more patients. The remainder, around $100 million, will be spent on shorter-term projects addressing “immediate facility needs.”

What part of “we’re broke” do these people not understand?

The article further reports:

The $700 million announced on Friday is just the beginning: Over the next five years, the Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion in funding for the operation, expansion and construction of community health centers across the country. 

In 2010, community health centers employed more than 131,000 staff, including 9,600 physicians, 6,400 nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives, 11,400 nurses, 9,500 dental staff, 4,200 behavioral health staff, and more than 12,000 case managers and health education, outreach, and transportation staff.  The centers currently serve nearly 20 million patients regardless of their ability to pay.

It is a good thing to provide medical care to people who may not be able to afford it. I agree with the concept. I just wonder if there is not a much more economical way to do it. The $700 million announced today is truly spending we cannot currently afford. Let’s look at places we can cut in order to provide these services. I am sure we can find some.
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