Mitt Romney has been hitting his key opponent, Rick Perry, relentlessly for his decision to allow undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition in Texas. Romney even made the issue into a campaign ad:
The former Massachusetts governor has stated that the educational benefits offered by the state of Texas act as an incentive to draw more undocumented immigrants across the border:
“You put in place a magnet — you talk about magnets — you put in place a magnet to draw illegals into the state, which is giving $100,000 of tuition credit to illegals that come into this country. And then you have states, the big states of illegal immigrants are California and Florida. Over the last 10 years, they’ve had no increase in illegal immigration. Texas has had 60 percent increase in illegal immigrants.”
Now we learn, via the LA Times, that the healthcare reform that Governor Romney ushered in during his tenure in Massachusetts, colloquially referred to as RomneyCare, contained a provision that provided public aid to undocumented immigrants:
The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.
It’s a great day for liberty — the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta has ruled against the government in Florida v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
WASHINGTON - An appeals court ruled on Friday that President Barack Obama’s healthcare law requiring Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty was unconstitutional, a blow to the White House.
The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect.
The legality of the so-called individual mandate, a cornerstone of the healthcare law, is widely expected to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Obama administration has defended the provision as constitutional.
There are a couple of things of important note packed into this ruling:
I have long had a problem with Politifact.
There is just something wrong with not being able to come out and call a statement straight up true or false. I guess I’m a black and white kind of guy. For crying out loud, they have four different versions of a statement being deemed true. For me, it is either true, or it is false.
What has happened in the political arena as a result of painting with so many shades of gray, is that politicians can use Politifact anytime they want to demagogue just about any issue their opponents have made a statement about. They can point to a Politifact rating of Half-True (Insert sneering chortle here) and say their opponent is being dishonest with the voters.
And I guess what really irks me out of my pants-on-fire is that they are simply wrong so often. Case in point; they recently deemed the Lie of the Year to be the following statement; “A Government Takeover of Healthcare.”
Really? Why not pick something a little more easily provable, like I dunno, Christine O’Donnell’s claim that she, is in fact, you.
Billy Hallowell over at Mediate does a good job pointing out how much of the debate Poltifact had to ignore to reach their conclusion that “Government Takeover of Healthcare” is a lie.
Despite saying last year that the individual mandate is not a tax, the Obama Administration is arguing the opposite as it defends ObamaCare in federal court:
When Congress required most Americans to obtainor pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”
And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce.
Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.
Under the legislation signed byin March, most Americans will have to maintain “minimum essential coverage” starting in 2014. Many people will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay premiums.
In a brief defending the law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.
Here is what President Barack Obama said last year:
As you probably know, President Barack Obama released his health care proposal yesterday (you can read it here), outlining what he sees as “reform,” in attempt to bridge the divide between the House and Senate versions of the bill:
The White House today unveiled President Obama’s health care overhaul bill, which it says will expand health insurance to 31 million more Americans and reduce the federal budget deficit by $100 billion in the next 10 years.
The White House also released the changes Obama wants to see in the Senate Democratic health care bill. Even before its release, the White House’s plan had already met with fierce Republican resistance.
Administration officials call the health care bill a “starting point” point for Thursday’s televised, bipartisan discussions on health care overhaul.
“I think it’s a starting point in as much… as Republicans come to Thursday’s meeting with constructive proposals that they’re willing to discuss,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today.
Obama made sure to pander to his constituencies, such as labors unions, and while the Cornhusker Kickback is gone, other vote buying provisions, such as the Louisiana Purchase and the Medicaid provision for Florida, are still included in the proposal.
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.
A proposal passed this afternoon by the House of Representatives this week would save taxpayers $9 billion over the next decade, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
H.R. 4118 — Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals Fairness (SIMPLE Fairness) Act — would suspend the controversial individual mandate tax for one-year. The measure is House Republicans’ response to the Obama administration’s most recent delay of the employer mandate.
“CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 4118 would reduce federal deficits by roughly $10 billion over the 2014-2019 period and by roughly $9 billion over the 2014-2024 period,” the nonpartisan fiscal agency reported. “Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues.”
Those who fail to purchase health insurance by March 31, 2014 will face a tax of $95 or 1% of their gross taxable income, whichever is greater. The individual mandate tax will increase to $695 or 2.5% of gross income by 2016. The SIMPLE Fairness Act would set the tax for 2014 to $0.
The White House pledged to veto the SIMPLE Fairness Act in a statement of administration policy addressed to the House Rules Committee. The measure passed the House of Representatives in a 250 to 160 vote. Twenty-seven Democrats backed the legislation.
Today in Liberty: Snow shuts down federal government, intel committees faulted for lax NSA oversight
“Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.” — Plato
— Snow day in Washington: The federal government is closed today due to a winter storm that’s expected to bring up to 10” of snow to the Washington, D.C. area. We know. You’re heartbroken, and you’re wondering how you can survive the day without a functioning federal government.
— House pushes back votes targeting EPA regs, individual mandate delay: The snow day has caused the House of Representatives to delay votes on measures to block pending EPA regulations targeting coal plants and Obamacare’s individual mandate. The House will be back in session tomorrow and vote on these two measures on Wednesday.
— NSA blame turns to Congress: Politico notes that the lack of any real congressional oversight of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs has now become a topic of conversation in the ongoing controversy. Even Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) realizes that congressional intelligence committees have failed to do their jobs. “Clearly, they’ve been co-opted,” McCain told Politico. “There’s no doubt about that.” The chairs of the two congressional intel committees, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), have functioned as apologists for the NSA programs rather than providing attentive oversight or showing the least bit of concern for civil liberties.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is frustrated with the Obama administration because of its proclivity for delaying politically inconvenient parts of Obamacare, the latest of which is the delay of the employer mandate. He’s ready to delay the entire law until 2015, according to Betsy Woodruff of National Review:
As he was headed to the Democratic caucus lunch yesterday, Senator Joe Manchin had strong words about the president’s extension of the employer mandate deadline.
“You’re just picking and choosing,” the West Virginia Democrat said of the administration’s decision. “First it’s basically the large employers, then it’s medium groups, then it’s 50 to 100 — medium-sized. If there’s a problem, there’s a problem.”
He said there’s bipartisan support for legislation postponing the implementation of the entirety of the Affordable Care Act until 2015.
“We’re sure in a transition period and they keep changing the dates,” the senator said, frustrated. “So I wish everyone would come to grips.”
Manchin, a red state Democrat who frequently breaks with his party, had previously expressed support for a one-year delay of the individual mandate, on of Obamacare’s most unpopular provisions. The West Virginia Democrat, however, has voted against attempts to repeal or defund the law.
President Barack Obama defended his administration’s latest delay of the employer mandate, telling reporters yesterday at a joint press conference with French President François Hollande that the purpose of the law “is not to punish” businesses.
“What we did [on Monday] was simply to make an adjustment in terms of their compliance, because for many of these companies, just the process of complying…may take them some time even if they’re operating in good faith,” President Obama said.
“[W]e want to make sure that the purpose of the law is not to punish them,” he said. “It’s simply to make sure that they are either providing health insurance to their employees or that they’re helping to bear the costs of their employees getting health insurance.”