Health Care Reform

Boehner warns against “spiking the football” on ObamaCare

Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) warned opponents of ObamaCare, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, not to be too giddy if the Supreme Court strikes down the law:

House Speaker John Boehner issued a warning Thursday to fellow House Republicans, firmly stating they should avoid celebrating if the Supreme Court overturns the controversial health care law passed by Democrats.

“No one knows what the Court will decide, and none of us would presume to know. But if the Court strikes down all or part of the president’s health care law, there will be no spiking of the ball,” Boehner said in a memo to GOP members of the chamber.
Even if the high court rules in favor of Republicans’ argument against the controversial law, Boehner on Thursday encouraged House members to stay focused on the economy–not claiming victory.

“We will not celebrate at a time when millions of our fellow Americans remain out of work, the national debt has exceeded the size of our nation’s economy, health costs continue to rise, and small businesses are struggling to hire,” Boehner stated.

Good luck with that. I get what Boehner is saying, but I doubt you’re going to find many that heed his advice. I’m not saying I disagree; the approach is certainly important. The economy is the biggest issue facing the country, so it is wise to stay on message.

The Constitution is being threatened here. If the Supreme Court does find an excuse to deem health care to be a “unique market” and somehow find the individual mandate as constitutionial, a new precedent will be set that will only be used to further government power each time there is some perceived crisis. This is very much a debate over a limited government versus one that is limitless.

Only a third of Americans back ObamaCare

With just days to go until the Supreme Court finally issues a decision on ObamaCare, perhaps the most important case to come before them in years, a new poll from the Associated Press shows that only a third of Americans back the health care law:

Just a third of Americans back President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul on which the Supreme Court is about to pass judgment, a new poll finds. But there is overwhelming support among both supporters and opponents for Congress and the president to begin work on a new bill if the high court strikes down the two-year-old law.

The overall level of support for the law is relatively unchanged in recent months, with 47 percent opposing it. But an Associated Press-GfK poll shows that only 21 percent of independents approve of the law, a new low in AP-GfK polling.
Large majorities of both opponents and backers of the law share the view that Congress and the president should start anew. The lowest level of support for new health care legislation comes from people who identify themselves as strong supporters of the tea party. Even in that group, though, nearly 60 percent favor work on a new bill.

Also, a separate poll shows that a majority of former Supreme Court law clerks believe that the individual mandate — the centerpiece of ObamaCare — will be struck down when the decision is finally issued.

ObamaCare will not contain health care costs

The Supreme Court will any day now issue their decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare. There is little doubt that, from a constitutional perspective, much is on the line. But from a fiscal perspective, there is just as much to be concerned about.

We’ve noted that ObamaCare will cost more than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally estimated. Recent studies, both from the CBO and Medicare trustee Charles Blahous underline the fiscal threat of the program to taxpayers. But the Heritage Foundation notes another recent study from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary (OACT) showing that ObamaCare will do nothing to lower health care costs:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary (OACT) just released its projections for national health spending through 2021. The picture isn’t pretty, as health spending will continue to increase at a much faster rate than the gross domestic product (GDP), consuming 19.6 percent (almost one-fifth) of the nation’s economy in 2021.

NY Times: Americans want all or part of ObamaCare overturned

As we get closer to a ruling from the Supreme Court over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare, a recent poll from The New York Times and CBS News shows that Americans want to see President Barack Obama’s signature domestic law dismantled:

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said the court should strike down the entire law, and another 27 percent said the justices should overturn only the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

These numbers have not changed much in recent months and appeared to be largely unaffected by the more than six hours of arguments in the Supreme Court in March.

There was greater Republican opposition to the law than Democratic support. About two-thirds of Republicans in the recent survey said the entire law should be overturned, while 43 percent of Democrats said all of the law should be upheld.

More than 70 percent of independent voters said they wanted to see some or all of the law struck down, with a majority saying they hoped to see the whole law overturned. Twenty-two percent of independents said they hoped the entire law would survive.

Cato: States Should Flatly Reject ObamaCare Exchanges

See Video

Maine deregulates health insurance market, premiums fall

During the debate over health care reform, President Barack Obama said that they only way to lower health insurance premiums and costs was to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which would bring more regulation and intervention in markets. We know the experiment in Massachusetts, which provided the blueprint for ObamaCare, has had the opposite effect as health insurance premiums continue to rise. And unsurprisingly, we’re seeing the same thing with ObamaCare.

With the Supreme Court’s decision looming in the legal challenge against the law (it’s expected later this month), Republicans are scrambling to find a way to deal with the health care issue as it may play a prominent role in the fall, perhaps they need only look to the recent reforms in Maine, where deregulation of the market has caused health insurance premiums to fall:

In 1993, Augusta passed coverage laws that resemble those that ObamaCare is about to impose nationwide: Insurers could only vary premiums within narrow bands regardless of age or health status, a regulation known as community rating. Four of Maine’s five insurers in the individual market stopped offering coverage and fled, and the state entered an insurance “death spiral” in which premiums don’t cover underlying medical costs. That leads to higher premiums, consumers dropping coverage as a result, and still higher premiums in turn.

Republicans to preserve government involvement in health care

Reiterating their support for full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act, key Republicans are now campaigning on promises that their version of health care reform will implement some of the same provisions as the one they have spent years campaigning against:

Speaking to more than 100 students at American University, Cantor said, “What you will see us do is to push for repeal of the healthcare bill, and at the same time, contemporaneously, submit our replacement bill, that has in it the provisions [barring discrimination due to pre-existing conditions and offering young people affordable care options].”

Cantor stressed that while he supports full repeal of the current law, Republicans share some of the same goals as Democrats, although they propose different ways of achieving them.

“We too don’t want to accept any insurance company’s denial of someone and coverage for that person because he or she may have pre-existing condition,” Cantor said, addressing a young woman in the audience who noted that she had a pre-existing health condition.

“And likewise we want to make sure that someone of your age has the ability to access affordable care, whether it’s under your parents plan or elsewhere,” Cantor added.

Bringing the free market back to health care

Whether or not the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare this summer, health care will no doubt be an issue in the general election this fall. And as I’ve noted before, Republicans have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the issue. But will they push a watered down version of ObamaCare or consumer-friendly health care?

In a new video from Economic Freedom, Professor Steve Gohmann explains that health care is so expensive because of government intervention and how free market reforms can make it more affordable for Americans:

Independents want SCOTUS to strike down ObamaCare

When you look at polls, it’s not a surprise to see that ObamaCare is still unpopular with Ameicans. In fact, it’s so unpopular that Democrats admit that it’s a political liability, though one that may be off-the-table in the fall campaign thanks to the Supreme Court (though healthcare will still be around as a broader issue).

But perhaps the most important group on the issue is independent voters, who, according to a Kaiser Family poll, want ObamaCare overturned by the Supreme Court:

A growing number of Americans, 59 percent, believe the Supreme Court will find President Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment unconstitutional, and a majority of independents, 52 percent, would be happy if that happened.

The Kaiser Family Foundation released their monthly Health Tracking Poll yesterday, finding that 51 percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court should rule that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. Only 30 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Obama’s individual mandate.

As Ron noted on Monday, independent voters are a crucial part of the vote. And while they may agree that ObamaCare is a bad deal for them, Republicans need to put forward a workable plan to deal with the issue to show that they are committed to tackling it head-on.

Happy birthday, RomneyCare

While we’ve been focusing a lot lately on ObamaCare thanks to the recent Supreme Court hearing and new studies from the Congressional Budget Office and Charles Blahous, April is the sixth anniversary of the passage of RomneyCare — the plan pushed by then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, which later became the blueprint for ObamaCare.

Over at Reason on Friday, Peter Suderman marked RomneyCare’s birthday by explaining how the law has been a fiscal nightmare for the Bay State:

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