Another Significant ObamaCare Court Case

Yesterday National Review Online posted an article about a current court case that represents a significant threat to ObamaCare. Halbig v. Sebelius (since renamed Halbig v. Burwell, for the current HHS secretary) was argued before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court in March. The case involves the government subsidies paid by the exchanges included in ObamaCare.

The article states:

If the Supreme Court ultimately finds that the Obama administration violated the law in doling out those subsidies, it could force a wholesale revision of Obamacare. In January, The Hill quoted a key Obamacare supporter as saying that Halbig was “probably the most significant existential threat to the Affordable Care Act.” Jonathan Turley, a noted liberal constitutional-law expert at George Washington Law School, recently agreed, writing in the Los Angeles Times that Halbig “could leave Obamacare on life support.”

…The Halbig plaintiffs — individuals and small businesses in six states that didn’t establish state exchanges — argue that the Obama administration is breaking the law by offering those tax subsidies in all 50 states. The plaintiffs argue that if the subsidies hadn’t been offered in their states, they would have been exempted from the individual-mandate penalties of Obamacare because they couldn’t have afforded to pay for health coverage.

I have no idea how this case will be decided. The writer of the article believes that if the case is decided against ObamaCare it will force Congress and the President to make positive changes in the law (particularly if a Republican Congress is elected).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected to rule on this case within the next week.


Around The Edges Of The Supreme Court Case Regarding The Contraception Mandate

Commentary Magazine posted an article today about the latest challenge to ObamaCare that is headed to the Supreme Court. The article examines the approach that the political left and those that support ObamaCare will probably take in arguing the case.

The article states:

Indeed, while liberal activists will repeatedly try to cast this in the mold of the fictional “war on women,” their own arguments reveal just how far-reaching a definitive ruling on this would be for American religious and political practice.

…So this is much more than a fight over birth control, or even health insurance. It’s about two fundamentally different views on American constitutional freedoms. Conservatives want those freedoms to be expansive and protected, as the Founders did. Liberals want those freedoms to be curtailed lest the citizenry get greedy or the democratic process imperil the state’s coercive powers.

The Founders saw religious freedom as elemental to personal liberty in America. But they were not alone in thinking that unimpeded religious worship was a guard against an overly ambitious or arrogant national government.

If we lose our spiritual foundation as a country, we will also be in danger of losing our freedom.

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The Tax Changes In Obamacare

On Friday the Weekly Standard posted an article about the impact of Obamacare on the Tax Code. The article quotes a Treasury Department that describes Obamacare as “represents the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years and affects millions of taxpayers.” The report further states that Obamacare’s “new taxes, fees, and penalties account for approximately $438 billion.” 

That is a conservative estimate.

The article reports:

…that $438 billion in new taxes, fees, and penalties on Americans and American businesses is just the tally through 2019 — at which point Obamacare would really have been in effect for only six years (2014-19), not the ten years that are the norm for government scoring.  On an annual basis, Obamacare’s taxes, fees, and penalties (according to that same official estimate) would increase from $48 billion in 2014 to $88 billion in 2019, rising between 9 and 26 percent per year (depending upon the year) — with no end in sight.

The article points out that the only job creation due to Obamacare is in the IRS.

I would like to remind everyone at this point that Obamacare was passed without one single Republican vote. The Republicans were given no input into the bill at all. Had the Obamacare bill included such things as tort reform and portability of insurance across state lines, we might not be anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on the current monstrosity.

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Accounting Tricks In Obamacare

Today’s Wall Street Journal (this is the link, but it is subscribers only) reported on an accounting trick used to disguise the actual cost of Obamacare. This is one of those articles I occasionally post that I do not fully understand. Be forewarned.

When the debt forecast was released Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) explained that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) subsidies are not indexed over the long term. This means that the numbers are not adjusted as the value of the dollar and the cost of living change. How does that impact the program? In one of two ways–the first is that Congress will intervene (as they do on the AMT to prevent it from impacting less wealthy voters) or that Americans will have to pay a larger part of their every increasing health insurance premiums. Under the first scenario the cost of the program to the government increases greatly, under the second scenario the cost of the program to every American increases greatly. Either way, it doesn’t sound like a good deal.

Unfortunately there has never historically been a government program that shrank instead of grew. Unless Obamacare is overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by the next Congress, it will be cost nightmare for all Americans.

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As We Await The Supreme Court’s Decision On Obamacare…

CNS News posted a story on Friday about the impact of Obamacare on the cost of health insurance.

Edward Fensholt, senior vice president of Lockton Companies, LLC, an insurance brokerage and consulting firm that provides employee-benefits expertise to 2,500 mostly middle-market employers, told the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions:

“These mandates have increased our clients’ health plan costs 2 to 3 percent on average to this point,” he said. And he said the costs will escalate further when new rules — such as reductions in waiting periods and the automatic enrollment requirement — take effect in 2014.

Note that the new rules take effect long after the coming election.

The article reports:

Bill Streitberger, vice president of human resources for the Red Robin restaurant chain, told the panel that when health care costs increase, his company has less money to invest in opening new restaurants.

For the last three years, he noted, Red Robin’s health care costs per employee have increased more than six percent every year — a much greater pace than the growth of Red Robin’s sales or net income, he said.

There are some basic changes needed in America’s health insurance system–portability, tax breaks for buying health insurance, tort reform, etc. Obamacare never addresses tort reform. Obamacare takes away the free market and places the entire healthcare system under government control. That is a really bad idea, and hopefully the Supreme Court will strike down the entire bill so that the current Congress can try again.


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A Preemptive Strike On The Supreme Court

The Hill is reporting today that the Obama Administration has diverted roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s healthcare law.

The article reports:

The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate.

It is very interesting to me that the money is being provided ‘outside the normal appropriations process.’

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Obamacare is under discussion at the Supreme Court. It is interesting to me that this donation to the IRS could not wait under the Supreme Court handed down its decision. Maybe I am becoming overly cynical in my old age, but I have the feeling that Obamacare is going to be implemented regardless of how the Supreme Court rules.

The article further reports:

The law contains dozens of targeted appropriations to implement specific provisions. It also gave the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a $1 billion implementation fund, to use as it sees fit. Republicans have called it a “slush fund.”

HHS plans to drain the entire fund by September — before the presidential election, and more than a year before most of the healthcare law takes effect. Roughly half of that money will ultimately go to the IRS.

HHS has transferred almost $200 million to the IRS over the past two years and plans to transfer more than $300 million this year, according to figures provided by a congressional aide.

We are in serious danger of having our Constitution become a worthless piece of paper.

Meanwhile, this is a YouTube audio I have added for your consideration. It is a portion of the Michael Savage radio program. I would like to dismiss it as over the top, but there is enough plausible information in it to prevent me from doing that. Please listen and draw your own conclusions.


I am sincerely worried about the future of America.

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Why The Senate Is Not Planning To Pass A Budget

Going on the record in an election year is not always a fun process. An article in today’s Washington Free Beacon points out some of the hazards to the Democrats that bringing a budget to the floor of the Senate would bring.

The article points out:

Pursuing a budget resolution would trigger an open amendment process—often called a “vote-a-rama”—comprising 50 hours of debate and dozens of votes on individual amendments offered by Senators.

That would allow Republicans to force simple majority votes, not subject to the standard 60-vote requirement, on individual aspects of the health care law as well as a measure to partially defund the new federal apparatus it created.

That would put Obamacare in serious jeopardy. The House of Representatives has already repealed the unpopular bill, and the Supreme Court may do the same to Obamacare’s key components.

“With the Supreme Court decision at hand, Obamacare is back in the news again, and it’s still unpopular,” one GOP Senate aide told the Free Beacon. “How many Democrats in swing states want to run, essentially, on voting multiple times to support it?”

If the current members of the Senate (in either party) do not have the courage of their convictions, it is time to elect members of the Senate who do. This is ridiculous.

There have already been provisions of Obamacare that Congress has repealed–the House has already repealed the entire bill, but the Senate has not. One of the tax provisions in Obamacare has been repealed by both Houses of Congress, Community Living Assistance Services and Support Program (CLASS Act) has been repealed by the House, and the repeal of IPAB (appointed death panels) has also won support in both parties.

Legally, the Senate is required to pass a budget, but I’m not holding my breath.


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Obamacare Is Already Costing Americans A Lot Of Money

This is a chart from the Washington Free Beacon showing the financial impact of Obamacare even before it is completely put into effect:

Obamacare's $17 trillion surprise

The article reports:

Staff at the Senate Budget Committee, which calculated the figure using methods based on those used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), found that total unfunded obligations for federal health care programs have jumped from $65 trillion in 2009 to $82 trillion in 2011.

Added to the government’s existing obligation for entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the total now comes to almost $100 trillion.

That is almost seven times the United States’ annual gross domestic product (GDP).

It seems to me that it is becoming very obvious that Obamacare will not save Americans any money. There are much better ways to do healthcare reform–tort reform, portability, risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions. All of these can be done without federal control. It’s time to remind the government that they govern at the consent of the governed–we are citizens–not subjects.

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Some Things To Consider In The Budget Debate And The Obamacare Debate

This video at YouTube shows exactly what Obamacare will do to Senior Citizens:


Remember, Obamacare will take $500 billion out of Medicare over the next ten years and put it in Medicaid. That is being done as the baby boomers reach the age where they will join Medicare. Medicare as it is will not exist in five years–it is going bankrupt. Don’t fall for the scare tactics being used against Republican budget plans that they will kill Medicare–they are not the ones who already took $500 billion away from it!

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Some Thoughts On The Supreme Court Debate On The Affordable Care Act This Week

Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post posted an article yesterday summing up her feelings about the Supreme Court debate this week.

Ms. Rubin wrote that Obamcare suffered a severability trainwreck at the Supreme Court. The argument for striking down the entire law if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional is that without the individual mandate to herd customers to insurance companies and provide financial support for the other provisions of the law, the goal of universal access would be thwarted. The individual mandate is the only way that Obamacare can provide insurance coverage for everyone. Because Obamacare goes against basic business principles (as well as the U. S. Constitution), it will not work.

The article reports:

It was that kind of day for the government. The argument today was another instance in which the challengers rolled up their sleeves, got into the text of the statute and made a convincing case. The government never sufficiently spelled out how the mandate could be severed from the rest of the bill without upsetting the intricate system of subsidies and the goal of expanded access. In hiding the ball from the public by virtue of an overly intricate fog of misdirection, and in disguising the essence of the scheme — healthy, young people who might not otherwise want insurance are compelled to buy it to ameliorate the costs of others — Congress sent the Supreme Court a legal knot that will be hard to undo.

Part of the arguments for Obamacare come from people who do not understand how insurance works. There does need to be some protection for people who develop serious medical problems so that their insurance companies cannot abandon them–however, we can use a fly swatter instead of a nuclear weapon to deal with this issue and still get the job done.

If the free market were allowed to operate in health insurance, we would be able to find our way out of any current insurance problems without doing things that will not work and are unconstitutional. A few basic suggestions–tort reform, portability of health insurance from one job to another, tax breaks to help people afford health insurance, selling health insurance across state lines. These ideas are all constitutional and might actually help solve the problem of the high cost of health insurance.

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