delays

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 Welfare was reformed, not ended or repealed, in the 1990s.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?

Does the Administration Dream of ObamaCare Sheep?

Bladerunner

Keep dreaming, the flock is scattered.  We’re less than one month away now from the supposed grand opening of the ObamaCare exchanges, and yet 44% of Americans aren’t even sure whether ObamaCare is still a law.

Which begs the question: Is ObamaCare a law?

This 44% shocker from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s August Health Tracking Poll reveals America’s collective “wtf?” when it comes to ObamaCare’s legal status.  Some appear to think that the House’s two symbolic full repeal attempts were actually successful (wishful thinking), others believe it was overturned by Chief Justice John Roberts and company (perhaps they read the advance copies before he went the “tax” route?).  But most (31%) just can’t figure out what the heck is going on with this law.  Can you blame them?

- Is it a law when President Obama spends years telling you that his signature legislation will let you can keep your plan and your doctor if you like them, but you’re now facing the reality of potentially losing both come 2014?

Surprise! CBO isn’t able to determine the fiscal impact of Obamacare

When the White House and Democrats rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2010, they told Americans that the price tag for the law would be under $1 trillion in the first 10 years and it would reduce the deficit.

Those initial estimates have proven to be wishful thinking. The most recent update found that the net-cost of Obamacare will be nearly $1.5 trillion, as the more costly provisions of the law come into focus, and will contribute to budget deficits.

But it may actually be worse than that. Roll Call reports that the Congressional Budget Office is no longer able to determine Obamacare’s fiscal impact due to delays of key tax provisions:

Four years after enactment of what is widely viewed as President Barack Obama’s key legislative achievement, however, it’s unclear whether the health care law is still on track to reduce the deficit or whether it may actually end up adding to the federal debt. In fact, the answer to that question has become something of a mystery.

Robert Gibbs predicts demise of Obamacare’s employer mandate

Robert Gibbs

In a speech at an insurance industry event in Colorado, Robert Gibbs, a former White House official, predicted that the Obama administration will permanently nix Obamacare’s employer mandate, a destructive provision of the law that has been delayed twice already:

“I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect. It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go,” he said to a notably surprised audience.

The employer mandate has been delayed twice, he noted. The vast majority of employers with 100 or more employees offer health insurance, and there aren’t many employers who fall into the mandate window, he said.

Killing the employer mandate would be one way to improve the law — and there are a handful of other “common sense” improvements needed as well, he said.

The employer mandate is a provision of Obamacare that requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, defined as someone who works at least 30 hours a week, to offer health insurance benefits or face a punitive, $2,000 per worker tax.

Kathleen Sebelius may have lied about paid Obamacare enrollments

Not only is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius under fire for yet another Obamacare delay — this time an extension of the open enrollment period — when she said there wouldn’t be anymore delays, she may have lied about her department’s ability to shine light on paid enrollees.

When she appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee last week, Sebelius told members that the administration could not produce the number of paid Obamacare enrollees. But Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) believe that she may have not been telling the truth:

Administration officials have repeatedly said they’re not able to break down enrollees by who has made a payment because they only have access to information about those selecting plans on the HealthCare.gov website, as consumers are expected to pay the insurers directly after enrolling.

Sebelius reiterated that claim in her March 12 testimony to the House panel.

But Camp (R-Mich.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) say they have uncovered “new evidence” that “strongly suggests that the administration knows who has enrolled and paid their first month’s premium.”

Could the administration delay the individual mandate?

The Obama administration’s latest major changes to Obamacare have spurred talk of a delay to the individual mandate, which is, arguably, the most controversial, unpopular provision in the law as well as the most important. Chris Stirewalt raised the notion yesterday.

“As the President Obama’s health law delays pile up, the biggest potential rewrite of the troubled legislation is looming at the end of the month,” wrote Stirewalt at FoxNews.com. “Americans who do not voluntarily comply with the law and enroll by March 31 are supposed to be fined an amount equal to 1 percent of their income. Not cool.”

“The mandate was never popular with Democrats, and as the president claims the power to unilaterally change the legislation for the benefit of big business and the insurance industry, is he prepared to let ordinary folks pay the price?” he asked. “Given the crash landing of the program last fall, it seems particularly cruel to penalize people for not enrolling in a program that has been offline so often.”

Stirewalt pointed to a recent National Journal story which noted that a delay of the individual mandate would mean 1 million fewer insured Americans, a finding that is likely to give the administration pause. But electoral politics have motivated President Obama to change the law whenever it’s convenient.

Democratic Party consultant: “Dem Party is f****d” because of Obamacare

The panic inside the Democratic Party over Obamacare is really beginning to set in as the Obama Administration continues to deal with the fallout of an embarrassing rollout of the glitchy federal health insurance exchange website, Healthcare.gov, and seemingly endless reports of Americans losing their health insurance coverage or being hit with more expensive plans.

Ron Fournier of the National Journal relayed the concerns and indignation of one Democratic Party consultant who put it very simply — they are “f****d”:

Incoming from Democrats:

“Dem Party is F****d.” That was the subject line of an email sent to me Sunday by a senior Democratic consultant with strong ties to the White House and Capitol Hill. The body of the email contained a link to this Los Angeles Times story about Obamacare “sticker shock:”

“These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.”

“Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama’s signature legislation.”

White House knew of looming problems on ObamaCare exchange

ObamaCare Exchange

The embarrassing rollout of the federal ObamaCare exchange website was problem that some saw coming. But when warned by insurers of the glitches, the White House dismissed the concerns and continued to work toward the October 1 launch date without making improvements, according to the Washington Post:

Major insurers, state health-care officials and Democratic allies repeatedly warned the Obama administration in recent months that the new federal health-insurance exchange had significant problems, according to people familiar with the conversations. Despite those warnings and intense criticism from Republicans, the White House proceeded with an Oct. 1 launch.

A week after the federal Web site opened, technical problems continued to plague the system, and on Tuesday people were locked out until 10 a.m., although some applicants were able to sign up as the day went on. Officials said they were working 24 hours a day to improve the system and that they were confident it would soon be able to meet the demand. They added that there was ample time to correct the site to allow consumers to get insured by Jan. 1.
[…]
Two allies of the administration, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the controversy surrounding the rollout, said they approached White House officials this year to raise concerns that the federal exchange was not ready to launch. In both cases, Obama officials assured them there was no cause for alarm.

Club for Growth slams Mark Pryor for ObamaCare deal

 Extreme (Pryor)

A little more than a week after launching a new website tying Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AK) to President Barack Obama and his leftist agenda, the Club for Growth has unveiled a new ad slamming the Arkansas senator for voting against delaying the implementation of ObamaCare and backing a deal that would exempt Congress from the law.

“We know Mark Pryor supports ObamaCare. But lately he’s gotten even more extreme,” says the narrator. “Pryor voted against any delays in ObamaCare. He voted for taxes on pacemakers and ultrasound equipment to pay for ObamaCare,” a reference to the law’s medical device tax.

“But when we had the chance to stop the special deal for members of Congress, he voted no,” the narrator notes. “With Mark Pryor, it’s ObamaCare for everyone else, but not for him.”

House, Senate unable to agree on stop-gap spending measure, government shutdown begins

government shutdown

The federal government has shutdown for the first time in almost two decades as the House of Representatives and the Senate were unable to reach an agreement on a stop-gap spending measure to fund the government until mid-December.

It wasn’t for lack of trying. The Senate came into session around 2pm on Monday and rejected the Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by the House on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Senate Democrats opposed the measure because it would have delayed ObamaCare for a year.

Various Democratic senators explained from the floor that they had no intention of making changes to ObamaCare, insisting that their compromise was the spending levels by which the government would run. House Democrats said the same in their speeches in from the floor of the lower chamber.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) floated a one-week spending measure to give the chambers more time to workout their differences. But that idea was rejected by his counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).


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