Barack Obama

Obama could let you keep your plan, but he doesn’t want to

 If I like your plan, you can keep it

Last Thursday morning, President Obama issued his latest proclamation in an attempt to save face on his farcical promise.  Of course, the “relief” came far too late and with far too many restrictions to have any practical, real-world effect.

It’s become instinctive at this point to assume that every policy decision that comes from the Obama administration is a blatant violation of separation of powers.  After all, this is the administration that unilaterally delayed enforcement of Obamacare’s employer mandate in direct violation of the statutory requirements.  Many prominent commentators have immediately jumped back on this bandwagon again in this latest Obamacare edict.

But here’s the real legal low-down: President Obama and his executive agencies (HHS/DOL/IRS) have almost unlimited discretion in determining what is considered a “grandfathered health plan.”

Rand Paul talks insurance cancellations, freedom of choice

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) decided to use the story of a Kentucky family yesterday to illustrate how the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, has been hurting common Americans.

He took the story of the Mangiones to the floor of the Senate to explain why President Obama’s promise regarding people’s freedom of choice was misleading at best.

When the President announced that if you liked your insurance plan you would be able to keep it, he ensured the public that our freedom of maintaining a plan granting us the type of coverage we find fitting to our lifestyle would be respected. Now that a small number of Americans are buying insurance through the glitchy heath care exchange website, we are learning that the promise the President made hasn’t been kept.

Because individuals are required by law to purchase insurance plans that cover more than what they are willing to pay for, people’s plans are being canceled for not qualifying under the new health care laws. The same plans President Obama once said individuals could keep, if they liked it.

According to Sen. Paul, the Mangiones “had an individual policy they were happy with. They paid $300 a month.” Once they enrolled for ObamaCare, they learned that “they are now going to be asked to pay $900 a month for things they don’t want and they didn’t choose to have.”

Sen. Paul went on to explain how his own experience with signing up for Obamacare was a failure and how important it is for us to tackle ObamaCare’s freedom of choice problem by keeping the law from hurting more families.

Brutal new poll for Obama, especially on the details

Quinnipiac University has released its latest poll of President Obama’s approval rating and opinions on various political issues of the day, and the results aren’t pretty:

American voters disapprove 54 - 39 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing, his lowest approval rating in any Quinnipiac University national poll since he became president, as even women disapprove 51 - 40 percent, according to a national poll released today.

Perhaps even worse, for the first time in their polling, Quinnipiac finds a majority of voters (52%) think the President is not “honest and trustworthy”:

“Any Democrat with an 11-point approval deficit among women is in trouble. And any elected official with an 8-point trust deficit is in serious trouble.”

“President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to the level of former President George W. Bush at the same period of his Presidency,” Malloy said.

President Bush’s party lost control of both the House and the Senate a year later, and with less favorable electoral maps to the opposition party at the time than what we’re seeing for next year’s elections.

As bad as the overall ratings are, the specific issue approval ratings are even worse. Ironically, after Fort Hood, Boston, the drone war, and NSA leaks, the only issue where Obama has a positive approval rating is terrorism. On every other issue, he is at least 15 points underwater:

Q-issues

No, Republicans have not shifted on Obamacare

Over the weekend, Capitol Hill was aflutter with news that Republicans in the House and Senate were coming together to finally propose a “fix” to Obamacare. The “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” sponsored by Fred Upton in the House and Ron Johnson in the Senate, would essentially overrule the HHS grandfather rules for what insurance plans can continue to exist after certain dates so that people can keep their current plans no matter what, as the President promised. It would be a fix for the millions of Americans being cancelled by their insurers to comply with the new regulations.

Reporters and pundits saw this as a “shift” in strategy, to finally start working with Democrats to reform the calamitous reform rather than stonewall it. I used to think that helpful collaboration would be the better option, but had a change of heart after the implementation proved so disastrous. So I was horrified when I read the headline suggesting Republicans were coming around. As soon as I decide that stonewalling is the best strategy, the party reverses course. Typical! Then I read the story.

Obama’s half-hearted apology to Americans losing health plans

Barack Obama

Are you one of the millions of Americans losing your health plan, even if President Obama said you could keep it under his healthcare law? Well, he’s sorry that you believed him when he said it.

“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” President Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd during an interview on Thursday.

“We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them, and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this,” he added.

Jay Carney admits President Obama lied to Americans about Obamacare

During his daily briefing with reporters, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was pressed on President Barack Obama’s promise that Americans could keep their health insurance plan under Obamacare after an admission by former White House advisor David Axelrod that some will, indeed, lose their coverage.

Ed Henry, a correspondent from Fox News, pointedly asked Carney about Axelrod’s comments and challenged him to admit that what President Obama said wasn’t true.

“The President, when he was trying to get the law passed, repeatedly said, if you currently have health insurance you will be able to keep your plan,” noted Henry. “This morning David Axelrod was pressed on that point and said, the majority — the vast majority — will be able to keep their plans. He no longer works at the White House.”

“From the podium, will you admit that when president said, if you have a plan, you’ll get to keep it, that that was not true?” asked Henry.

“Well, let’s just be clear, what the President said and what everybody said all along was that there were going to be changes under brought about by the Affordable Care Act that create minimum standards of coverage — minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide,” said Carney.

One-Year Individual Mandate Delay Wouldn’t Cripple ObamaCare

individual mandate

There’s no question that the individual mandate is the center of the ObamaCare universe.  Many other provisions are crucial to the law, but none to the extent of the individual mandate.  This is what made John Roberts’ decision last June to abandon originalism by constitutionally validating the individual mandate tax-penalty so painful.  Regardless of where the court came down on severability, the law could not have effectively functioned without the mandate intact.

Which brings us to the most recent episode of the ObamaCare delay game, this time focused on a one-year individual mandate delay.  At the height of the CR/debt-ceiling showdown, I wrote a post titled “Don’t Settle for One-Year Individual Mandate Delay,” arguing that any acceptable compromise would need to at least delay the exchange subsidies to be an effective barrier toward full implementation.

Those were the good ol’ days where there was hope that the Republicans would stand together and fight for real ObamaCare concessions.  Like defunding it or a one-year delay of the entire law.  In retrospect, I suppose I should have written a post titled “Don’t Settle for…Nothing.”

So here’s my point again: The first year of the individual mandate isn’t that big of a deal.  It’s an existential issue as a matter of constitutional law and individual liberty generally, but don’t believe the hype that the individual mandate is absolutely essential to ObamaCare in the first year.

There are two major reasons why:

Wisconsin Republican proposes “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act”

Ron Johnson

Back in 2009, as he was beginning the push for his so-called “healthcare reform” law, President Barack Obama promised Americans that they would be able to keep health insurance plan. “No one will take it away,” he said. “No matter what.”

That promise has turned out has turned out to be a lie, as hundreds of thousands of people have lost their health insurance because their plans weren’t compatible with the mandates implemented under Obamacare. Many will now be left to find more costly plans with benefits that they may not want or need.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is hoping to fix this very real and serious problem. He’s proposed the “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act,” which will give Americans the opportunity to retain the health insurance plan they had before Obamacare took it away from them.

“One of the most important promises made by President Obama and Democrat congressional leadership to promote the Affordable Care Act was that Americans who were satisfied with their health plans could keep them,” said Johnson in a statement from his office. “That promise has been broken. More than a million Americans have been notified that the plans they like with the coverage they have chosen have been canceled. Millions more Americans will have the plans of their choice canceled in months to come.”

Rand Paul proposes constitutional amendment to make laws applicable to Congress

If laws do not apply equally to Americans and members of the U.S. Congress, they shouldn’t be put on the books in the first place.

While this thought may seem commonsensical enough, it does not seem good enough for folks in Washington. The Affordable Care Act, for an instance, ensures that lawmakers continue to obtain federal employer contributions, which are destined to help them with their health insurance. The financial assistance that lawmakers and some Capitol Hill aides will continue to receive what amounts to an exemption from ObamaCare, which prompted Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to act and ensure the legislative language is modified so that lawmakers are not exempt from the law.

To prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) drafted a constitutional amendment that would assure Congress “shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.”

According to The Daily Caller, Senator Paul explained earlier in September that the amendment he was then working on was directed to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts: “If he likes Obamacare so much, I’m going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts.”

No, Obamacare will not “fail” if we just get out of the way

Now that the anti-Obamacare defund “strategy” (such as it was) has been tried and failed, many on the right are suggesting we get out of the way and let it be implemented in full, on time, as written, so that it can be allowed to fail on its own. The theory is that when it doesn’t work, runs out of money, and breaks the insurance system, the public will demand its repeal just in time for a Republican president to be elected in 2016 and do just that. This, like “repeal and replace” and defund before it, is an unwise and short-sighted strategy.

What precedent is there for a government program, especially an entitlement, failing and just ending? Social Security is out of money, but no one will touch it. Medicare is out of money, Obamacare cut doctor payments rates under it, but no one will dare to truly reform it. Welfare was reformed, not ended or repealed, in the 1990s. Food stamps have exploded. Medicaid doesn’t work either, but was expanded under Obamacare. But we somehow think that if Obamacare runs out of money or doesn’t work as well as it was intended, it will just go away, unlike every other program ever?


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