Health Care Reform
Yesterday, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) stopped by during a trip to a campaign event in McDonough, Georgia to give us an update on some of the things going on in Washington; including President Obama’s tax proposal, the push to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Fast and Furious. We also briefly discussed his campaign for re-election.
Rep. Broun, who was first elected in 2007, represents Georgia’s Tenth Congressional District. You can follow him on Twitter (@RepPaulBrounMD) and Facebook. Also, make sure you stop by Rep. Broun’s campaign website to learn more about him and his campaign.
Among the biggest lies told by President Obama as he was ramming his health care bill through Congress was that if Americans liked their current health insurance coverage, they would be able to keep it. We’ve previously showed that some Americans have already seen their plans change or they’ve lost coverage thanks to ObamaCare. But a new study gives us at least some idea of the initial impact of the law, showing that one out of every 10 employers will drop health insurance coverage:
Around one in 10 employers in the U.S. plans to drop health coverage for workers in the next few years as the bulk of the federal health-care law begins, and more indicated they may do so over time, according to a study to be released Tuesday by consulting company Deloitte.
The majority of Americans under age 65 who have health insurance get it through an employer. A big question about the law is whether companies will continue to offer coverage after a slate of changes starting in 2014 will give Americans more options for buying coverage without the help of an employer.
The White House has insisted that the individual mandate, the requirement on all Americans to purchase health insurance, is not a tax; even after the Supreme Court decision. President Barack Obama insisted on this point in a 2009 interview with George Stephanopoulos during the debate over the law. But within months after passage, the administration began arguing that the mandate was valid, not only through the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses, but also through the Taxing Power of Congress.
While the furor over the Supreme Court’s decision in the ObamaCare case has somewhat died down over the last week — though there is little doubt that it’s still there, a new poll from Quinnipiac shows that Americans disagree with the White House over whether or not the individual mandate is a tax:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a tax hike, American voters say 55 - 36 percent, but in a mixed message, voters agree 48 - 45 percent with the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the law, while they say 49 - 43 percent that the U.S. Congress should repeal it, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released [Thursday].
The reason the Obama and company doesn’t want own up the tax angle is because this is a tax hike that would hit lower and middle class Americans the hardest. Raising taxes on the evil and hated rich is, apparently, one thing. But a politician admitting that he’s supported a tax hike on the middle class is unpopular.
Later today, the House of Representatives will again move a measure forward to repeal ObamaCare, the health insurance reform law that was largely upheld by the Supreme Court at the end of June:
With just 15 days left to legislate before the August recess, House leadership isn’t scurrying to pass job creation legislation or curb the looming “fiscal cliff,” Instead, lawmakers are devoting their time to largely symbolic votes like repealing the Affordable Care Act, the 31st time such a vote has taken place.
“There are demonstration projections and there are also demonstration votes,” says Larry Sabato, Director for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “It is to let your party base know you are with them and to force your opponents to vote the other way.”
While the “Repeal Obamacare Act” is expected to pass in the House with a sweeping majority, Senate leadership is unlikely to ever bring it to the floor, nor would it ever pass under the Democratic majority.
Yesterday, only four House Democrats joined House Republicans in voting for the rules on the debate. Only a few other Democrats could vote for repeal today, though they will most likely vulnerable members.
As noted above, this is the 31st time House Republicans have brought forward a vote on repeal. That’s not something that has been lost in the discussion on the topic. This looming vote is being dismissed as a waste of time. But if we take a quick glance at polling, Americans still favor repeal despite the recent Supreme Court decision.
After the Supreme Court’s disappointing ObamaCare decision, many of us are wondering what political ramifications will follow. Just days of the the High Court handed down the decision, polls don’t show much of a bump for President Barack Obama and voters still favor repeal of the law.
And that’s exactly what Republicans say they plan to do if they manage to take control of Congress and take back the White House this fall. But over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza asks if the push for repeal is a good political move:
There is some initial data to back up that sentiment. In a USA Today/Gallup poll, a majority favored either total repeal of the law by Congress (31 percent) or repeal of some portions of the law (21 percent). Just 38 percent wanted to see Congress expand the law or leave it as is.
Despite that poll, Democrats insist there is ample evidence that suggests that voters, whether or not they like the health care law, do not want to re-litigate the political fight that led to its passage. That’s why virtually every Democrat in a swing or Republican leaning state — Bob Kerrey in Nebraska, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota — put out a statement after the ruling that condemned the partisan fight that has come to define the law, rather than getting into any specifics of the law itself.
Following the three days of oral arguments over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I made some predictions on how the Supreme Court would rule on each of the four questions they would consider. But after spending some time reading the vast commentary on the case, I wanted to take another look at the two most pressing questions.
First, my predictions on the specific arguments dealing with the Anti-Injuction Act and Medicaid expansion statues in the law are unchanged. The Supreme Court will almost certainly reject the argument, either unanimously or in an 8 to 1 decision, that the Anti-Injuction Act prevents a challenge until tax provisions in the law kick in.
On the Medicaid statues, I still believe a six-vote majority will reject the challenge brought forward by 26 states that expansion of the government-funded program impedes on their sovereignty. The only way that states will “win” that argument is if the High Court strikes down the law in its entirety.
On the Individual Mandate: I had previously written that the Supreme Court would, in a 5-4 decision, strike down the individual mandate. While I still think that’s the case, I’m much less confident that Justice Anthony Kennedy wasn’t able to create some sort of “limiting principle” on the Commerce Clause. If Kennedy does plan to vote in favor of the mandate, Roberts, who is expected to write the opinion, may indeed join him.
With that said Roberts’ may actually be more of a tip of the cards here since he expressed a lot of doubt about the individual mandate during oral arguments.
Over at BuzzFeed, Andrew Kaczynski has unearthed video of a 2008 health care forum where then-presidential candidate Joe Biden came out against the idea of an individual mandate. His opposition, however, was pragmatic, rather than principle. Here’s what Biden said:
One word Americans don’t like — ‘mandate.’ They don’t like the word ‘mandate.’ I dont’ want to make this hard. I want to make this simple, and not susceptible to what some of the insurance companies and the right-wing will argue this is; a mandated socialistic system. I don’t want Harry and Louise eating me alive.
Here’s the video:
The reference to “Harry and Louise” points to the ad ran in 1994 that opposed the health care plan being pieced together by the Clinton Administration. The ad helped solidify opposition to the plan and eventually led to its demise.
The SCOTUS is set to rule this week on Obamacare, and that ruling will likely hinge on the individual mandate.
Conservatives, libertarians, constitutionalists, and just about everyone anywhere close to the right wing, oppose the individual mandate. Their criticisms center on this belief: government should not be able to force anyone to purchase a good or service. Fair enough.
Accepting that belief, however, raises some questions for an honest intellect. What about Social Security?
Social Security, created by Congress in 1935, is essentially a compulsory retirement program. The money is automatically withdrawn from your paycheck. There isn’t an opt-in, and there isn’t an opt-out. There is no choice—it’s a mandate.
There are, however, a couple of differences between the ObamaCare mandate and that found in the Social Security program.
First, the government taxes people to pay for the program rather than mandating it and allowing them to shop around in the market place. Apart from the distortion of forcing people into the marketplace, Obamacare allows people to use the market to choose their insurance. You can choose plans that better fit your needs. Social Security doesn’t allow that luxury.
Second, Obamacare’s mandate doesn’t proscribe a specific amount that consumers must spend. Social Security isn’t so lax. It requires 4.2% of employees’ income, a matching 6.2% from employers, and, from the self-employed, 10.4%. You can’t compare rates between firms, and you can’t shop for a better price.
In other words, Social Security not only mandates that you buy a product—retirement savings—but it also mandates from whom and for how much you have to purchase the service.
Can any intelligent and consistent person oppose Obamacare’s individual mandate and simultaneously support compulsory participation in Social Security? It’s a hypocritical attitude, and it should be abandoned.
We’re not sure if Marco Rubio is being considered or not for vice president, but Robert Costa reported at National Review on Friday that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is being vetted to serve at Mitt Romney’s running mate:
I’m reliably informed that Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Budget Committee chairman, has submitted paperwork to the Romney campaign. Sources confirm that he is being vetted for the vice-presidential nomination.
Ryan, one of the GOP’s brightest young stars, is clearly a favorite of Romney allies. But some top Republican officials are wary of plucking him from the House, where he is the party’s most influential voice on fiscal issues.
Earlier this week, Romney campaigned with Ryan in Janesville, Wis., Ryan’s hometown. Ryan previously stumped for Romney in late March and early April, ahead of Wisconsin’s Republican presidential primary.
This would be an interesting pick, but one that will likely help Romney excite conservatives. Ryan has been the intellectual force behind Republican budget proposals. He took on many of President Barack Obama’s apologists on the health care issue. During the so-called “health care summit” in 2010, Ryan went directly at President Obama, explaining the true cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.