When Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) suggested that a single-payer system is the “cure for America’s ailing health care,” he suggested that ObamaCare was a small step in comparison to the reform he envisions. And what would this reform be, you ask.
The subsidized program that places the health care monopoly in the hands of the government.
Thomas Sowell pointed out that the reason why the single-payer system still sounds appealing to some is that people are being fooled into thinking that they are getting something for nothing. Health care at no cost for every single American, subsidized by taxpayer dollars is their goal, and the ObamaCare failure might be just the type of blessing that Congress is looking for.
But before we continue, have you ever asked yourself whether single-payer system supporters understand or even realize that subsidized health care is not free?
According to a report released by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, during 113th Congress’ first six months, some lawmakers have been much more interested in pushing for the singe-payer health care system than introducing budget cuts. All legislation introduced during the first six months in both the House and the Senate would increase spending by $1.74 trillion. Cuts introduced by Congress would only amount to $453 billion.
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee got their chance to ask embattled Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the disastrous rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website, Healthcare.gov, and other issues that have arisen in recent days with the law.
“The Energy and Commerce Committee welcomes the President’s point person on healthcare, Secretary Sebelius, as part of our continuing oversight of the healthcare law and we look forward to a thoughtful conversation on a number of issues, including transparency and fairness,” said Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) in his prepared opening remarks.
During his daily briefing with reporters, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was pressed on President Barack Obama’s promise that Americans could keep their health insurance plan under Obamacare after an admission by former White House advisor David Axelrod that some will, indeed, lose their coverage.
Ed Henry, a correspondent from Fox News, pointedly asked Carney about Axelrod’s comments and challenged him to admit that what President Obama said wasn’t true.
“The President, when he was trying to get the law passed, repeatedly said, if you currently have health insurance you will be able to keep your plan,” noted Henry. “This morning David Axelrod was pressed on that point and said, the majority — the vast majority — will be able to keep their plans. He no longer works at the White House.”
“From the podium, will you admit that when president said, if you have a plan, you’ll get to keep it, that that was not true?” asked Henry.
“Well, let’s just be clear, what the President said and what everybody said all along was that there were going to be changes under brought about by the Affordable Care Act that create minimum standards of coverage — minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide,” said Carney.
There’s no question that the individual mandate is the center of the ObamaCare universe. Many other provisions are crucial to the law, but none to the extent of the individual mandate. This is what made John Roberts’ decision last June to abandon originalism by constitutionally validating the individual mandate tax-penalty so painful. Regardless of where the court came down on severability, the law could not have effectively functioned without the mandate intact.
Which brings us to the most recent episode of the ObamaCare delay game, this time focused on a one-year individual mandate delay. At the height of the CR/debt-ceiling showdown, I wrote a post titled “Don’t Settle for One-Year Individual Mandate Delay,” arguing that any acceptable compromise would need to at least delay the exchange subsidies to be an effective barrier toward full implementation.
Those were the good ol’ days where there was hope that the Republicans would stand together and fight for real ObamaCare concessions. Like defunding it or a one-year delay of the entire law. In retrospect, I suppose I should have written a post titled “Don’t Settle for…Nothing.”
So here’s my point again: The first year of the individual mandate isn’t that big of a deal. It’s an existential issue as a matter of constitutional law and individual liberty generally, but don’t believe the hype that the individual mandate is absolutely essential to ObamaCare in the first year.
There are two major reasons why:
Back in 2009, as he was beginning the push for his so-called “healthcare reform” law, President Barack Obama promised Americans that they would be able to keep health insurance plan. “No one will take it away,” he said. “No matter what.”
That promise has turned out has turned out to be a lie, as hundreds of thousands of people have lost their health insurance because their plans weren’t compatible with the mandates implemented under Obamacare. Many will now be left to find more costly plans with benefits that they may not want or need.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is hoping to fix this very real and serious problem. He’s proposed the “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act,” which will give Americans the opportunity to retain the health insurance plan they had before Obamacare took it away from them.
“One of the most important promises made by President Obama and Democrat congressional leadership to promote the Affordable Care Act was that Americans who were satisfied with their health plans could keep them,” said Johnson in a statement from his office. “That promise has been broken. More than a million Americans have been notified that the plans they like with the coverage they have chosen have been canceled. Millions more Americans will have the plans of their choice canceled in months to come.”
Listening to lawmakers talk about the economy when they do not understand the mechanisms behind capitalism can be quite frustrating. Too often, they are unaware of how the system works and why it gives rise to affordable services and products, making trade and the distribution of several products, from basic to valuable items, accessible to nearly almost every American.
But every now and then, a legislator comes along to prove that they weren’t only elected to brag about passing complicated laws on national television.
Sean Hannity had Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as a guest on his show to ask him a few questions regarding ObamaCare, the problematic Health Insurance Marketplace website and why Americans are appalled to have learned that their insurance premiums are actually much higher now than they were before the law kicked in.
According to Sen. Paul “if you mandate what is included in your insurance policy, if you say it has to cover all kinds of new things that haven’t been covered, it has to be more expensive,” which is why so many young and healthy people are quickly discovering that their coverage is much more expensive than before. While the Obama administration is attempting to give access to health coverage to every single American through ObamaCare, the final cost was apparently never taken into consideration.
The administration keeps repeating that people will now get better coverage without having to pay as much, but consumers are slowly learning that that is simply untrue, since all they have access to is insurance premiums offering excessive coverage that do not fit their budget.
If laws do not apply equally to Americans and members of the U.S. Congress, they shouldn’t be put on the books in the first place.
While this thought may seem commonsensical enough, it does not seem good enough for folks in Washington. The Affordable Care Act, for an instance, ensures that lawmakers continue to obtain federal employer contributions, which are destined to help them with their health insurance. The financial assistance that lawmakers and some Capitol Hill aides will continue to receive what amounts to an exemption from ObamaCare, which prompted Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to act and ensure the legislative language is modified so that lawmakers are not exempt from the law.
To prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) drafted a constitutional amendment that would assure Congress “shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.”
According to The Daily Caller, Senator Paul explained earlier in September that the amendment he was then working on was directed to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts: “If he likes Obamacare so much, I’m going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts.”
Now that the anti-Obamacare defund “strategy” (such as it was) has been tried and failed, many on the right are suggesting we get out of the way and let it be implemented in full, on time, as written, so that it can be allowed to fail on its own. The theory is that when it doesn’t work, runs out of money, and breaks the insurance system, the public will demand its repeal just in time for a Republican president to be elected in 2016 and do just that. This, like “repeal and replace” and defund before it, is an unwise and short-sighted strategy.
What precedent is there for a government program, especially an entitlement, failing and just ending? Social Security is out of money, but no one will touch it. Medicare is out of money, Obamacare cut doctor payments rates under it, but no one will dare to truly reform it. Welfare was reformed, not ended or repealed, in the 1990s. Food stamps have exploded. Medicaid doesn’t work either, but was expanded under Obamacare. But we somehow think that if Obamacare runs out of money or doesn’t work as well as it was intended, it will just go away, unlike every other program ever?
Many conservatives who consider themselves the real Republicans have been grousing about those damn Tea Partiers; you know, the ones Ted Cruz was trying to appeal to when he filibustered against Obamacare? A calculated risk — because he and probably everyone else knew defunding was never going to happen — that led almost directly (no offense to a friend of mine who keeps trying to separate the two things) to the nearly two-week shutdown that ended with celebratory high-fives as bureaucrats skipped their way back into work this week.
Just shut-up rabble rousers, they said in kinder terms, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn among them. Because you managed to make us all look bad and get us nothing in return except repeated lectures from the Reid-Pelosi-Obama trifecta.
I make no claims to be a Tea Partier but (with apologies), I don’t hold with Grover Norquist’s assertion that Cruz et al should apologize to their fellow conservatives:
“They hurt the conservative movement, they hurt people’s health care, they hurt the country’s economic situation and they hurt the Republican party,” he says. “And a lot of congressmen and senators are not going to win because we spent three months chasing our own tail — or at least, parts of the conservative movement spent three months chasing their own tail.”
Now that the debt ceiling has been raised through February 7 and the government shutdown has come to an end, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) used his official page to discuss the last crisis and bring the public’s attention to the fact that Washington is out of touch with the American people.
Lee stressed that the fight to defund ObamaCare might have seemed pointless to those who now regret that the Affordable Care Act was funded, and the debt ceiling raised as a result of a deal worked out between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). According to the senator, this fight ended the same way ObamaCare began, “in a last-minute deal, negotiated in back rooms, then forced on Congress and the American people.”
“The Washington Establishment can’t bring itself to believe that this is why Congress has a poor approval rating – because Washington doesn’t listen to the American people. It ignores them. And when the American people can no longer be ignored, the administration shuts down national parks, blocks veterans from going to their own memorials, uses the IRS to target certain groups, and holds hostage critical funding for cancer research, low-income women and children, veterans’ health benefits, border security, and our National Guard.”
While some conservatives suggest that House GOP should have considered they did not have enough influence or bargain power to ensure that Democrats would go with their plan before pushing the fight to defund ObamaCare, Sen. Lee believes that “fighting against an abusive government in defense of protecting our individual rights and freedoms is always the right thing.”