Michael Cannon

US enters age of Uber-Executive

Dave Newman (CC)

As arguments over the problems with ObamaCare are raging, there was another discussion occurring on the Hill in the Rayburn Office building. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to explore whether or not Barack Obama has been overstepping his limits during his tenure as president. Not surprisingly, two out of three Constitutional scholars were of the opinion that he certainly has, and not only with his various extensions, waivers, and fund shuffling over his landmark legislation.

Of course, the hearing was split, just as everything else has been - on party lines, with Democrats leaving the room for at least portions of the questioning. That was predictable, and while it could be slightly satisfying to point out the adolescent nature of that behavior, it’s far more important to point out some of the more interesting statements made by the scholars.

Mediaite latched onto the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon, and his contention that this reckless power grab could lead to another revolution. While that might be the extreme, the concept that people may stop paying attention to laws isn’t such a stretch. Lawlessness breeds lawlessness, and when the example is the man that is supposed to be upholding the laws of the land, it is a dangerous situation.

Partisanship Plays a Larger Role in Support for “ObamaCare” than Opposition to It

Written by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll provides a fascinating look into how factors other than the content of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act affect people’s views of that law.

Kaiser asked respondents their views of the PPACA, alternately describing it as “ObamaCare” and “the health reform law.” Here’s what happened:

  • Among Republicans, calling it “ObamaCare” caused the share reporting an unfavorable view to rise from 76 percent to 86 percent (+10 percentage points), with no discernible change in the share reporting a favorable view.
  • Among independents, calling it “ObamaCare” caused the share reporting an unfavorable view to rise from 43 percent to 52 percent (+9 percentage points), with no discernible change in the share reporting a favorable view.
  • Among Democrats, calling it “ObamaCare” produced no discernible change in the share reporting an unfavorable view, but caused the share reporting a favorable view to rise from 58 percent to 73 percent (+15 percentage points).

A few conclusions can be drawn.

LA Gov. Bobby Jindal: Get Government Out of Birth Control

//creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

In an excellent piece urging that oral contraception become available over the counter that ran in this morning’s print edition of the Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, whose résumé includes a litany of health policy wonkery, sounded the death knell of both big government’s dominion over one aspect of reproductive health, and the pharmaceutical industry’s influence over that policy. Further, Jindal’s position masterfully bridges the gap between social conservatives and libertarians, as it accounts for both market-based health care (vs. Obamacare) and the protection of religious liberty and conscience (also vs. Obamacare). Here’s an excerpt:

Feds May Not Have ObamaCare Operational on Time

Written by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

The Washington Post reports:

By the end of this week, states must decide whether they will build a health-insurance exchange or leave the task to the federal government. The question is, with as many as 17 states expected to leave it to the feds, can the Obama administration handle the workload.

“These are systems that typically take two or three years to build,” says Kevin Walsh, managing director of insurance exchange services at Xerox. “The last time I looked at the calendar, that’s not what we’re working with.”…

The Obama administration has known for awhile that there’s a decent chance it could end up doing a lot of this. Now though, they’re finding out how big their workload will actually become.

Betcha didn’t see that coming.

Part of the reason the workload is so heavy? “Buying health insurance is a lot more difficult than purchasing a plane ticket on Expedia.” You don’t say. But I thought that’s why we needed government to do it.

Morning After: More SCOTUS Reflections from a Non-Lawyer

In reaction to my post yesterday, and lots of other punditry around the web, my friend Rusty Weiss of Mental Recession fame (he recently celebrated six months of blogging!) emailed me to say he’s tired of having to settle for silver linings — that he want points on the board.

A lot of us — political activists, policy geeks, and court watchers alike — were disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s ruling. We wanted a full takedown of Obamacare, for both substantive and political reasons. Instead, we got a ruling that the president’s signature legislative achievement passes constitutional muster, even if it was most peculiarly reasoned.

Podcast: Talking Healthcare With The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon

In a special podcast, Jason discusses the latest details of healthcare reform with Michael Cannon, the director of health policy studies at The Cato Institute and the co-author of Healthy Competition:  What’s Holding Back Health Care and How To Free It.

Their discussion includes the use of reconciliation to pass the latest healthcare reform bill amd the hurdles that procedure faces, the bill’s cost and new taxes, and health savings accounts (HSAs).

You can download the podcast here. The always lovely Aimee Allen graces us with “Silence is Violence” in the music that opens the interview.

You can subscribe to the RSS of JUST our podcasts here, or you can find our podcasts on iTunes here.

The Obama White House’s whining doesn’t change the fact that the IRS illegally tried to rewrite Obamacare

The White House may not like the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ panel decision in Halbig v. Burwell, but President Barack Obama need only look to his own administration for what is yet another smackdown by the judicial branch.

Judge Thomas B. Griffith realized the impact the decision could have on the availability of Obamacare subsidies for consumers who purchased plans on the federal Exchange. He was mindful, however, of the role the judicial branch plays in interpreting statues. And, in this instance, the Internal Revenue Service acted without authority by authorizing subsidies to consumers in states that refused to participate in Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act, in §1311, makes it very clear that subsidies were limited to states with established Exchanges. Claims that Congress intended to apply the subsidies broadly, including to the federal Exchange, rang hollow. “The fact is that the legislative record provides little indication one way or the other of congressional intent,” Griffith wrote, “but the statutory text does.”

Rather than illegally promulgating guidance to dole out subsidies, the Obama administration should have gone to Congress to seek a legislative remedy to fix the problem. That’s something President Obama just wasn’t willing to do, whether it was pride holding him back or the prospect of having to try to forge a compromise with House Republicans on the law.

The Left: Obama knows best, or something

Is the health plan you chose before Obamacare good enough for you and your family?  For many Americans, the Obama administration doesn’t think so.

Court case could bring Obamacare to its knees

A lawsuit currently working its way through federal court could undermine key Obamacare regulations written by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) concerning states that had opted not to participate in the insurance exchanges per last year’s Supreme Court decision.

The lawsuit, filed by business owners with the assistance of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), seeks to invalidate the subsidies given to individuals who purchase insurance coverage through the federal health insurance exchange and the fines that employers face if they don’t offer their employees health insurance.

The plaintiffs cleared their first major hurdle last week when U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, a Clinton appointee, denied the Obama Administration’s motion to dismiss the case. The judge, however, also denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the subsidies until a final ruling on the case is issued.

“We have been hoping for a quick ruling since we filed this case, and now it looks like we will get it,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel for CEI, in a statement after the initial rulings last week. “We are hopeful the forthcoming ruling will invalidate the attempt by the IRS to eliminate the distinction between states that participate in the insurance exchange program and those that do not.”

Restaurant Franchisees Feel ObamaCare’s Bite

There have already been a number of stories written on the effects of ObamaCare on many small businesses. Perhaps no enterprise has felt the impacts of the law worse than the restaurant industry.

ObamaCare requires employers with over 50 employees to offer insurance coverage to those who work 30 hours or more, which is considered to be “full-time” under the law, or otherwise pay a $2,000 fine per worker. This is known as the “employer mandate.” Opponents of ObamaCare warned that this mandate would hurt investment and many workers, who would either lose their jobs or face scaled back hours. Supporters of the law obviously didn’t care enough listen.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal highlighted the plight of restaurant franchisees who are struggling to remain profitable as the realities of ObamaCare hit their businesses:

Sam Ballas, chief executive of ECW Enterprises Inc., owner of East Coast Wings & Grill, a 26-unit chain in North Carolina and Texas, in March imposed a three- to five-unit limit, for the time being, on the number of restaurants that franchisees can own, because of worries about health-care costs.
[…]
Mr. Ballas said several East Coast Wings franchisees are up against that limit now and that one is considering selling a restaurant to remain below the threshold.


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