Shortly before ObamaCare faced its final legislative hurdles, Gregory Folley of Caterpillar, Inc. told House leadership that the mandates in the legislative package would cost the company $100 million in the first year alone, increasing insurance costs by 20%. This was an omen of what to expect with other businesses.
Democratic leaders didn’t listen and passed the bill.
Now other companies, such as AT&T, are beginning to make the financial cost of ObamaCare known:
AT&T Inc. will book $1 billion in first-quarter costs related to the health-care law signed this week by President Barack Obama, the most of any U.S. company so far.
There are several options for a company to meet these burdens. They can cut pay, benefits, layoff employees or some combination of those options.
How do Democrats react to this? They threaten the companies:
Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has summoned some of the nation’s top executives to Capitol Hill to defend their assessment that the new national health care reform law will cost their companies hundreds of millions of dollars in health insurance expenses. Waxman is also demanding that the executives give lawmakers internal company documents related to health care finances — a move one committee Republicans describes as “an attempt to intimidate and silence opponents of the Democrats’ flawed health care reform legislation.”
Podcast: Post-HCR Threats, “Control the People,” ObamaCare Impact, Nullification, Hank Skinner case, Guest: Jeff Scott
Shortly after the Congress went out of session for the Easter Break, President Obama named fifteen people to positions that had not made it through the confirmation process yet:
WASHINGTON — President Obama, making a muscular show of his executive authority just one day after Congress left for spring recess, said Saturday that he would bypass the Senate and install 15 appointees, including a union lawyer whose nomination to the National Labor Relations Board was blocked last month with the help of two Democrats.
Coming on the heels of Mr. Obama’s big victory on health care legislation, Saturday’s move suggests a newly emboldened president who is unafraid to provoke a confrontation with the minority party.
Just two days ago, all 41 Senate Republicans sent Mr. Obama a letter urging him not to appoint the union lawyer, Craig Becker, during the recess. Mr. Obama’s action, in defiance of the Republicans, was hailed by union leaders, but it also seemed certain to intensify the partisan rancor that has enveloped Washington.
“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disprove of my nominees,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis.”
President Obama is poised to take on a whole host of issues in the coming months, including reforming federal regulation of the financial sector, campaign-finance law and increasing federal involvement in education, Politico reports.
We’ll save policy analysis for another day. For now let’s focus on the way Politico reported the news.The story reads:
Obama now will push Congress to close campaign-finance loopholes opened by the Citizens United case, adopt his overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education bill, and perhaps even tackle a clean-energy bill.
Wait, what? “Loopholes”? Since when do we consider the First Amendment, you know, that “Congress shall make no law” stuff, a “loophole” that can (or should) be closed if it gets in the way of Congress?
That’s some loophole.
And in case anyone forgets what the Citizens United case was really about, here’s your primer:
Since Obamacare was passed, tensions in this country have been running high. Congressmen, especially those who voted for the bill, have been targeted with vandalism and death threats. In turn, many radicals on the left have threatened conservative personalities, issuing their own death threats to Republican congressmen, and used the opportunity to condemn all Obama opponents as racists and fascists among other things. Honestly, we in the opposition have not condemned this violence enough and instead we have sought to change the focus towards things said by the left. In addition, our continued tolerance of such lunatics like Birthers and 9/11 Truthers lends credience to the smears of the left.
For those of you out there who think this is the time for revolution, please consider the following:
1) All political and legal options have not been exhausted. There are Congressional elections in November 2010 and Presidential elections in November 2012. Use this anger and energy to donate money and support candidates who support liberty and who will fix/repeal Obamacare. In addition, many states have filed lawsuits challenging Obamacare and those lawsuits need time to work their way through the courts.
2) The right to free speech and to petition grievances is still in effect. Obamacare opponents can still express their opposition views to the public. Such views are common place on talk radio, the Internet, the newspapers, and as a matter all over the place. Obamacare opponents are not being thrown in jail or being silenced by the state.
3) Obama and the Democrats did win the past two elections and have a mandate. Obama’s election victory in 2008 and the Democratic control of Congress by definition gives them the mandate to pass whatever legislation they want, as long as it is upheld as legal. That mandate can only be revoked by their electoral defeat in 2010 and 2012.
Many states are in danger of significantly increased financial burdens thanks to the recently passed health care law:
Because of the new health care law, Arizona lawmakers must now find a way to maintain insurance coverage for 350,000 children and adults that they slashed just last week to help close a $2.6 billion budget deficit.
Louisiana officials say a reduction in federal money to hospitals that treat the uninsured under the bill could be a death knell for their state-run charity hospital system.
In California, policymakers estimate they will have to come up with an additional $500 million a year to make necessary increases in payments to Medicaid providers.
Across the country, state officials are wading through the minutiae of the health care overhaul to understand just how their governments will be affected. Even with much still to be digested, it is clear the law may be as much of a burden to some state budgets as it is a boon to uninsured consumers.
States with the largest uninsured populations, like Texas and California, might be considered by its backers the biggest winners to emerge from the law, because so many additional residents will have access to health insurance. But because those states are being required to significantly expand their Medicaid programs, they are precisely the ones that will face the biggest financial strains, in many cases magnified by existing budget shortfalls.
“The federal government has to account for states’ inability to sustain our current programs, much less expand,” said Kim Belshé, secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency.
It may have to, but it won’t.
The Heitage Foundation has put together a video that shows what ObamaCare, and all it’s taxes, mandates and regulations, means for you:
The New York Times’ long-time SCOTUS reporter Linda Greenhouse takes a look at how the current court might look at the challenges to the health care reform law:
The challengers invoke and seek to build upon the Rehnquist court’s “federalism revolution” that flowered briefly during the 1990’s. In a series of 5-to-4 rulings, the court took a view of Congressional authority that was narrower than at any time since the early New Deal. The court struck down a federal law that barred guns near schools, on the ground that possession of a gun near a school was not the type of activity that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause authorized Congress to regulate. It ruled that Congress could not require states to give their employees the protections of the federal laws against discrimination on the basis of age or disability. It ruled that the federal government couldn’t “commandeer” state officials to perform federal functions like federally mandated background checks of gun purchasers.
As Greenhouse points out, though, the Roberts Court is very, very different from the 1990s Rehnquist Court when it comes to issues regarding the power of the Federal Government:
Why are states suing the federal government? Many Attorneys General don’t believe that the individual mandate is constitutional, and the constitutionality of such an unprecendented action is very much in question. The arguments supporting the mandate are, as Jacob Sullum put it, crazy.
Another reason is the unfunded mandate being placed on states through the expansion of Medicaid. Looking at this chart from the Heritage Foundation, it’s not hard to understand why states are concerned, especially as many of them face serious budget issues.
Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Fox News yesterday to discuss the California referendum to legalize marijuana: