Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been making headlines with his comments on the Senate floor. Calling citizens liars, acting on behalf of the Koch brothers was round one, followed by a denial that he’d ever said that.
While generally despicable, this sort of commentary from Reid is not uncommon. Some might explain it away by pointing out that he’s getting old, and has been in Washington for too long. This sort of situation definitely makes a case for term limits, however that’s a debate for another time.
No, perhaps it is time to revisit a time-honored portion of the Constitution that Senators and Representatives have enjoyed — arguably has kept quite a few, like Reid, from facing legal issues over statements they have made.
Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution protects them from facing legal action for statements that they make on the floor of either house. While it’s idealistic to think that the Framers intended this to prevent problems arising from unintentionally erroneous statements, that probably wasn’t the case. Even then, politics was a blood sport, so they wanted the freedom to beat each other verbally without any restrictions against lying about each other — or the public.
Reid, if one does not buy senility or insanity as an excuse, has been trying to elevate this practice of fibbing on the floor to an art form. His latest target was fellow member Tom Coburn, and Reid definitely is reaching for new depths with this one. Coburn is a medical doctor and is battling cancer.
The current prevailing political trends have been failing the predictions of their original proponents.
Higher minimum wages and the implementation of health care mandates that force companies to spend more to maintain employees on the payroll are just a few of the many policies that have been linked to the many difficulties that teens and young adults have been facing in the past decade.
The current job market for teens is the toughest on record and the type of solutions that are now being supported by the Obama administration do nothing to solve the problem but aggravate it. Once higher minimum wages kick in, the current administration’s solution will prove to be yet another impediment to the entry of inexperienced or young individuals with little or no experience in the workforce.
Because these policies lead to constant harassment that young Americans are forced to struggle with daily, Congressmen Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) will be participating in a “War on Youth” town hall, which will take place in Arizona.
The Glendale Community College chapter of Young Americans for Liberty will host the event. If you can’t make it, YAL will be broadcasting the event live online on April 3, at 7 p.m. EDT or 4 p.m. PDT.
Viewers can send in their questions to both congressmen by using the hashtag #WarOnYouth.
Every individual who has told the press that they have had a bad experience with ObamaCare is either lying or are too stupid to know how to use the Internet. This is the latest line by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), anyway. Perhaps it’s these kinds of accusations that gave one Colorado woman the presence of mind to record her phone call with the “Connect for Health Colorado” navigator due to her own problems with the website.
Rebecca Ryan of Fort Collins has a preexisting condition but until recently, she was covered by a different government healthcare plan called “Cover Colorado.” The reason for changing her plan? As it turns Cover Colorado did not meet the requirements of ObamaCare and some 14,000 plans were canceled as a result. Rebecca liked her healthcare plan but wasn’t able to keep it. Sen. Reid wants Americans to believe Rebecca is lying about this “horror story” but this is only the beginning of Rebecca’s experience so far with ObamaCare.
As it turned out, Rebecca could save $15 a month with the new plan with one little caveat: she would lose her doctor whom she has received care from for the last 9 years. If, however; Rebecca wants to keep seeing this doctor she can do so if she is willing to pay an additional $140 a month:
Rebecca: So, the lowest monthly premium is, um, way higher than I was paying before and I thought this was supposed to be lower.
The Supreme Court heard the case of Hobby Lobby, et.al. on the HHS mandate that requires most businesses that employ over 50 individuals to provide coverage for 21 forms of birth control. The businesses that are parties to the suit, while they are private for-profit companies, have incorporated or otherwise stated in their mission statements, that their businesses are owned and operated by individuals that include their religious practices in their work.
Due to their religious beliefs, that are freely stated to potential employees before they consent to work for these companies, they object to providing some or all of the contraceptives in the HHS mandate on moral grounds. The government presented the case that since they are not religious organizations per se, they do not have the freedom to run their businesses with religious overtones, at least not when it interferes with governmental mandates.
That is a thumbnail sketch of the case, and in spite of the fact that SCOTUS will not hand down a ruling until June, there are plenty of pundits offering opinions on exactly how that will end up. It’s interesting to attempt to guess what a given Justice will say on this issue, based on the questions presented during the case yesterday, however, it probably isn’t going to serve anyone to do that. Let’s not forget the ruling that the ObamaCare penalties were actually taxes by Chief Justice John Roberts, that got us to this point in the first place.
While it seems that quite a few of the commentators out there seem to think that this will fall in favor of Hobby Lobby, and the other corporations involved, perhaps at this point it would be better to think about “what comes next?” if that isn’t the case.
Last week, the Democrats held their Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton, where Emperor Obama, Slayer of Insurance Companies, Defender of the Poor (and making more every day), the Duke of Deficits, addressed his faithful assembled minions, dispensing tidbits of propaganda like an imperial Pez dispenser, reeling them in with promises of endless supplies of government candy, assuring them it is oh so good for them.
Obama declared that “[a]s Democrats, we’ve let the other side define the word ‘freedom’ for too long…freedom for ordinary Americans to honestly pursue their dreams, that’s what we believe.” He went on to define freedom as the power of government to protect you from any adverse circumstance that may arise in your life, and as the ability for government to provide for your health care, your retirement, food, housing, and so on and so forth.
To quote the inimitable Inigo Montoya, the glorious Spaniard from one of my all time favorite movies, The Princess Bride…Mr. Obama, “You keep using that word [freedom]…I do not think it means what you think it means!’” What Obama is describing is not freedom; it is lifelong dependency on the gargantuan Nanny State, with promises of cradle-to-grave nurturing no matter how irresponsible the decisions you make in your life. Of course, the only way for government to protect you from your own mistakes is by forcing others to pay the price for you. Every action has a consequence, and just because you don’t suffer does not mean that someone does not suffer. Someone has to pay the piper. There is no free lunch.
The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) released a study earlier this week finding that Americans looking to purchase health insurance on the state and federal Obamacare exchanges would find higher premiums and less choice than plans available last year on private exchanges.
The findings in the study aren’t surprising given that Obamacare mandates a number of changes to health insurance, including minimum benefits and actuarial requirements, all of which result increase the cost of coverage. Though the NCPPR offered some insight into the higher costs consumers face, it didn’t offer much in real dollars being spent on health insurance coverage compared to 2013 plans.
eHealthInsurance.com (eHealth), however, has released data that does provide some insight into how much consumers are paying for off-exchange health plans compared to a year ago. Despite a multitude of promises that Obamacare would make health coverage more affordable, the eHealth study proves otherwise.
“As of February 24, 2014, the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month,” the nation’s first and largest private exchange noted in a recent press release, ”a 39% increase from the average individual premium for pre-Obamacare coverage.”
Nearly an hour after the House of Representatives passed a measure to ostensibly delay enforcement of the individual mandate, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it would extend the “administrative fix” for canceled health plans through 2016 as well as extended the open enrollment period for 2015:
The Obama administration announced Wednesday it will let people with health insurance plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act standard to keep them into 2017 if their states permit.
The administration also extended Obamacare’s open enrollment for next year by one month—it now will run from Nov. 15, 2014, until Feb. 15, 2015—and gave insurers more financial help in dealing with costs from new ACA enrollees.
The announced rule changes also simplified the paperwork that larger employers will have to file when the rule obliging them to offer affordable health insurance to workers begins in 2015.
Under the new rule, people who maintain those plans, and who renew them as late as Oct. 1, 2016, will be able to keep them until as late as 2017. The administration said the rule will apply to anyone currently in a non-compliant small-group plan, as well as an individual plan, and said it would be up to individual states to allow the extension, and to what extent.
It seems that every day there is a new story about the horrors of Obamacare, whether it’s the desperately ill losing their doctors or coverage for life-saving treatments, or radically increasing costs for insurance. The vast majority of this coverage is being handled by conservative or libertarian media outlets, but occasionally something hits the mainstream.
When Senator Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) admitted that he lost his cancer doctor due to his switch to Obamacare, at least a few people probably started thinking that it was finally getting close enough to home for lawmakers to realize that this law is causing real problems for real people every day.
Perhaps Senator Harry Reid missed that story. To be fair, it did appear on Fox News, and it’s possible that Coburn didn’t bother to point out his personal problems to the leader of his chamber on the Hill. Whatever the reasoning or logic, Reid seems to be determined to tow the party line, and insist that all the problems with Obamacare - all the horror stories from people about high costs and limited choices among healthcare providers - are simply lies. It truly is something to behold, that it simply must be shared:
The idea from the start was that Congress and its staff would have to live under the same Obamacare rules as the rest of us. Senator Grassley’s (R-IA) amendment to PPACA added Section 1312, requiring that they move from the enviable employer-sponsored Federal Employee Health Benefit Program to the sub-par coverage offered on the Obamacare exchanges:
(D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE.—…the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are…offered through an Exchange established under this Act….
A good idea indeed, but one that has become a farce in practice.
First, OPM came out with the original exemption for Congress that preserved the 75% employer contribution from the federal government for exchange coverage, rather than the same subsidies available to the rest of us. Then we learned that this congressional Obamacare exemption would be illegally offered on a tax-free basis. Harry Reid followed this up by exempting some of his staff from the Obamacare exchange train wreck (earning multiple pinocchios for his explanation).
“[The President] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…” — Article II, Section 3 (The Faithful Execution Clause)
Yesterday’s announcement of additional Obamacare employer mandate delays offers us yet another occasion to turn to actual the law passed by Congress. When the four statutory Obamacare provisions below are viewed head-to-head against the new Obama Administration/IRS regulatory guidance, it’s clear that one of these things is not like the other.
EXHIBIT I: EFFECTIVE DATE
Statutory Authority - PPACA Section 1513(d):
(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.
Obama Administration/IRS - Preamble to the February 10, 2014 Final Regulations (Page 106):
Section 1513(d) of the Affordable Care Act provides that section 4980H applies to months after December 31, 2013; however, Notice 2013-45, issued on July 9, 2013, provides as transition relief that no assessable payments under section 4980H will apply for 2014…Notice 2013-45 provides that the employer shared responsibility provisions under section 4980H (and the information reporting provisions) will become effective for 2015.