The White House and leading congressional Democrats are still trying to fight back against critics of ObamaCare, but their specious case isn’t convincing skeptical small business owners. According to a recent survey from Gallup, only 9% believe that the law will help them, while 48% of small business owners believe ObamaCare is going to be bad for business:
To show how deep the concern over the law goes and the messaging problem before apologists of the law, only 13% of small business owners believe that ObamaCare will improve quality of healthcare.
FreeEnterprise.com, the official blog of the United States Chamber of Commerce, also points to a separate poll of business owners showing the confusion over ObamaCare and points to the fact that “41% said [of sma held off on hiring workers, and 38% said they’ve pulled back on growing their businesses because of the law.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is still living in Fantasyland when it comes to ObamaCare. During an interview on MSNBC, a frequent mouthpiece for Leftists, the ex-House Speaker claimed that ObamaCare is responsible for bringing down the budget deficit:
“Many of the initiatives that he passed are what are coming to bear now, including the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “The Affordable Care Act is bringing the cost of health care in our country down in both the public and private sector. And that is what is largely responsible for the deficit coming down.”
The CBO reported last week that the federal budget deficit declined in the first seven months of fiscal year 2013 compared to 2012.
It’s true that the budget deficit will shrink this year, but that’s because of increasing tax revenues, not because of ObamaCare. Additionally, we’re finally — after nearly four years — coming out of a recession, so tax revenues inching up is not surprising.
Health insurers are already seeking premium hikes, which could rise even higher, to deal with the added strain of the law and implementation efforts are becoming a disaster, both of which have caused many Democrats to become concerned. Even more troublesome is the effect that ObamaCare is having on businesses, including moves to cut hours to prevent from having to offer workers insurance benefits.
While they may not exactly be flocking to Republicans, young voters, perhaps better known as “millennials,” are beginning to express signs of dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
In a column last week, Charlie Cook, one of the best political analysts in the business, noted the results of a recent survey of these voters which shows significant disapproval ratings for President Obama on hot-button issues and a healthy skepticism of government:
President Obama carried the 18-to-29-year-old voting bloc by 34 points in 2008 and by 23 points last year. But a new national survey of millennial voters conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics suggests this emerging generation might not be as locked into the Democratic camp as conventional wisdom suggests, and that young voters exhibit some of the same stark partisan divides as older Americans.
Though Democrats are still behind the law, many are beginning to worry about the effects of ObamaCare on Americans, including rising insurance premiums and implementation efforts, which Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) described as a “train wreck.”
The worry from Democrats coupled with the law’s unpopularity with Americans presents an opportunity for opponents of the law — and opponents are seizing on it. The New York Times has noted that Republicans plan to make the law a central part of their campaigns in the 2014 mid-term election:
Republicans are trying to make the law perhaps the biggest issue of the elections, and are preparing to exploit every problem that arises. After many unsuccessful efforts to repeal the law, the Republican-led House plans another vote soon. And Republican governors or legislatures in many states are balking at participating, leaving Washington responsible for the marketplaces.
“There are very few issues that are as personal and as tangible as health care, and the implementation of the law over the next year is going to reveal a lot of kinks, a lot of red tape, a lot of taxes, a lot of price increases and a lot of people forced into health care that they didn’t anticipate,” said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “It’s going to be an issue that’s front and center for voters even in a more tangible way than it was in 2010.”
There are yet more concerns coming from Senate Democrats over ObamaCare and its implementation. Over the last few weeks, members of President Barack Obama’s party have expressed concerns about the law’s affect on insurance premiums and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) partly blamed ObamaCare for the increased costs to the insured.
According to Reuters, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is just the latest member to relay concerns about rising premiums as a result of the law he supported when it came up in the chamber back in 2010:
While Obama and his administration say they are working nonstop on reform, analysts believe a poor performance could make the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a big enough campaign issue in 2014 to jeopardize Democratic control of the Senate - particularly if insurance costs rise sharply.
“There is reason to be very concerned about what’s going to happen with young people. If their (insurance) premiums shoot up, I can tell you, that is going to wash into the United States Senate in a hurry,” said Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat.
Some Democrats are frustrated about the lack of details surrounding administration plans to promote the exchanges.
As the debate over ObamaCare was raging back in March 2010, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told Americans that Congress had to “pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
More than three years after it was passed and subsequently signed into law, a majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of ObamaCare and want it repealed. Of couse, congressional Democrats aren’t listening, despite their own concerns about the law’s implementation and rising health insurance premiums.
Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a Democrat who will face Mark Sanford in tomorrow’s special election in South Carolina’s First Congressional District, has channeled Pelosi in her response to whether she will vote to repeal the law:
When BuzzFeed’s Kate Nocera asked her how she would vote on an impending House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Colbert Busch described the president’s signature piece of legislation as “so problematic.”
“Will you vote to repeal it?” asked Yahoo!’s Chris Moody
“I have to see the bill,” she responded, adding that she didn’t want to comment on hypothetical legislation.
“It will say, ‘Repealed,’” responded Moody.
“Let’s see it,” she responded. “Let’s get elected on May 7th, and then we’ll go from there. And then when they bring it to the desk, we’ll go from there.”
A little more than a week ago, many reporters seemed more than ready to write Mark Sanford’s political obituary. Public Policy Polling had him down by 9 points to Elizabeth Colbert Busch, perhaps properly known as “Stephen Colbert’s sister,” and the spin of a Democratic Party win in South Carolina’s First Congressional District, which strongly leans Republican, was already beginning.
But there has been a notable shift in the race over the last few days. Sanford’s campaign has nationalized their message, making the race about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Democratic Party, and big labor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and grassroots groups like FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Express have also went to bat for Sanford when the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) wouldn’t.
The House of Representatives will vote on repeal of ObamaCare “in the near future,” according to a memo from Major Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). The memo, which was obtained by The Hill, outlines several policy measures — including ObamaCare repeal, approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and debt prioritization — that will be taken up by House Republicans over the next few weeks.
“In line with our underlying principles for legislation and our goal of helping make life work for American families and businesses, I expect the House to have a full legislative agenda in May,” wrote Cantor to the House Republican Conference (PDF). “We will push the administration to finally approve the Keystone pipeline delivering much needed jobs and lower energy prices for families. We will ensure that working moms and dads in the private sector have the same freedoms and flexibility currently offered government employees.”
“We will reform our student loan process and hold the SEC accountable so that business can be assured of more certainty and less red tape. We will put pediatric disease research ahead of politics to focus on finding cures,” he added. “And we will guarantee our debt obligations are met under any circumstance so as not to burden our kids with unpaid bills. While we have not locked in the timing, I expect that the House will vote on full repeal of ObamaCare in the near future.”
No other specifics were offered on ObamaCare repeal, but Cantor did outline the case for the other legislative matters that House Republicans will pursue before Congress adjourns for a district work period at the end of the month.
One of the great myths of the last decade is that the Bush Administration deregulated the economy. President Barack Obama has made this claim on multiple occasions as he and his supporters made their case that more regulation was needed after the Great Recession. But the truth of the matter was that George W. Bush was, as Veronique de Rugy wrote at Reason back in January 2009, the “biggest regulator since Nixon.”
“The Bush team has spent more taxpayer money on issuing and enforcing regulations than any previous administration in U.S. history,” wrote de Rugy. “Between fiscal year 2001 and fiscal year 2009, outlays on regulatory activities, adjusted for inflation, increased from $26.4 billion to an estimated $42.7 billion, or 62 percent.”
But since taking office in 2009, President Obama has ramped up regulation. In fact, he’s claimed the not-so-honorbale mantle of “biggest regulator since Nixon” from his predecessor.
According a new report by James Gattuso and Diane Katz from the Heritage Foundation, President Obama has imposed almost $70 billion in regulatory burdens on Americans, ranging from new financial rules via Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Unlike federal taxation and spending, there is no official accounting of total regulatory costs,” noted Gattuso and Katz. “Estimates range from hundreds of billions of dollars to nearly $2 trillion each year. However, the number and cost of new regulations can be tracked, and both are growing substantially.”
Over the last few weeks, Democrats have become increasingly concerned that ObamaCare is driving up health insuance premiums in their states. One of the several promises (they’ve since become broken promises) that the Obama Administration made about the law was that it would keep insurance premiums down, making coverage more affordable. That just hasn’t happened.
Rochester, New York-based WHEC covered the anticipated 10% rise in premiums for the Empire States insured in 2014. “Some healthcare experts are warning that premiums could go up by more than 10% on January 1st when Obamacare kicks in across the country,” said WHEC’s Ray Levato. “This is on top of the annual increases we’ve seen in insurance premiums. It’s going to mean less money in your paycheck. Less money for groceries. Less for gas. Less for your family.”
Among the people they talked to for the story was Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who talked about the need for state regulators to “protect families.”
“Our Insurance Department is empowered to protect families and we’re going to watch them like a hawk to make sure they do,” he said. “Because if they don’t, these rates could go through the roof. It’s in part because of Obamacare but health care costs have been going up by double digits for years and years and years. The good news is in this bill there’s a way to stop it.”