Posts Tagged ‘individual mandate’

ObamaCare Declared Unconstitutional – Not That Democrats Give A Damn About The Constitution

February 1, 2011

ObamaCare is unconstitutional.  But Democrats could frankly care less what that meaningless moldy old document says.

Twenty-six states demanded that ObamaCare be declared unconstitutional in this decision, not counting Virginia which previously got its own successful decision against ObamaCare.

Federal District Judge Roger Vinson’s incredibly well-reasoned Constitution-based decision is available here.

A good article on this story was written by David Whelan for Forbes:

Justice Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola ruled today that the primary mechanism used by the health reform legislation to achieve universal insurance coverage–the individual mandate–is illegal. If his ruling stands it would void the 2,700 page, $938 billion health reform bill passed last year.

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications,” Vinson writes.

With this ruling, and a similar one in December by Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia, it’s likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will be the final arbiter of whether ObamaCare stands. Two other lawsuits–one in Michigan and one in Virginia–were thrown out by other federal district judges last year who ruled the constitutional challenge lacked merit.

Most analysts were expecting a ruling in favor of the 26 states hoping to overturn the bill. Vinson, in an earlier ruling, suggested that the federal fine for not buying insurance is more of a penalty than a tax. If it’s a penalty, the legislation relies on a broad interpretation of federal regulatory powers. If it’s a tax, as the Department of Justice’s lawyers argued, it’s much more difficult to make a constitutional objection.

In today’s ruling Vinson considered two arguments made by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, the lead plaintiff on the lawsuit. The first was the legislation forces states to expand Medicaid in a way that’s unaffordable. Vinson quickly dispatches that legal theory, pointing out that Medicaid is and always has been a voluntary program.

The second argument revolves around the individual mandate. The health reform legislation makes it illegal for insurers to discriminate against patients regardless of their health. With that change there’s a risk that only sick people would buy insurance and healthy people would wait or be priced out of the market. To address that problem, the bill forces everyone who does not have insurance to buy it. The combination of “guaranteed issue” and the “individual mandate” is the beating heart of the health bill.

While the new rules banning medical underwriting are popular, the individual mandate has bred resentment. The bill’s authors never anticipated the mandate would become a ripe target for legal challenges.

The argument that’s had the most traction is based on the limitations of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The Commerce Clause explicitly allows the federal government regulate interstate commerce. But it also has been used to justify federal laws that affect other kinds of economic activity. The question raised by the lawsuit against the health reform bill is whether refusing to buy insurance constitutes interstate commerce. In his ruling Vinson says that in the past the Commerce Clause has been used to regulate activities like growing marijuana or navigating a waterway, but not used to force someone to do something they weren’t already doing. “It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause,” he writes.

Vinson rejects the administration’s argument that the health care market is unique since nobody can truly opt out–and that not buying insurance is in itself an economic activity since the cost of care then falls on others. Vinson mocks this argument, writing: “Everyone must participate in the food market… under this logic, Congress could [mandate] that every adult purchase and consume wheat bread daily.” If they didn’t buy wheat bread they might have a bad diet which would put a strain on the health care system, he writes.

Later he offers another analogy: “Congress could require that everyone above a certain income threshold buy a General Motors automobile — now partially government-owned — because those who do not buy GM cars (or those who buy foreign cars) are adversely impacting commerce and a taxpayer-subsidized business.” Vinson concludes: “The individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law.”

Judge Vinson marshalled quite a few opinions against ObamaCare.  Interestingly, one of them was Obama’s himself.

From the Washington Times:

In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, arguing that there are other ways to tackle health care short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.

“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that ‘if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of the 78-page ruling Monday.

Democrats have established quite a recent history in thumbing their noses at the Constitution.

Charles Krauthammer had this to say on Fox News Special Report on January 5th about Democrats literally boycotting the reading of the Constitution on the House floor:

KRAUTHAMMER:  “It is truly astonishing. One member of Congress called it a long, dull document.  The New York Times editorial reading of the Constitution in the House is presumptuous.  Liberals got in trouble in the 60s and 70s for being on the wrong side of the flag and the anti-war demonstrations and now three decades later, they want to be on the wrong side of the Constitution.

The Constitution, after all – when these members were sworn in today, that they did not swear to defend the country or the army or the people; it was to defend the Constitution. That is the essence of America, and it is what makes us unique and why we are a country not of blood or race but ideas.  For liberals to think that there is actually an advantage in dismissing reading the Constitution and the requirement of having a constitutional reason to introduce a bill is real bad politics.”

It wasn’t just “bad politics.”  Krauthammer underscored that better than anyone.  It was contemptible citizenship.  It was the act of unAmerican people.

One Democrat actually called the reading of the U.S. Constitution “propaganda,” adding that a reading of the Constitution amounted to “total nonsense.”  He added that Republicans were reading it “like a sacred text.”  When, of course, so many Democrats treat it more like toilet paper.  Liberal Ezra Klein added historical ignorance to his moral ignorance by saying that the Constitution is confusing, having been written “a hundred years ago,” and that it is no longer binding.  Obviously, liberal Ezra Klein is an ignorant fool.

It is beyond official at this point.  We can separate the population of the United States of America into two groups: the American people and the unAmerican people.  And the Democrat Party has become the party of the unAmericans.

UnAmericans don’t give a damn about America.  They want to change it, pervert it, warp it, distort it.  They want to make it into something that it never was and never should have been.  And they call their effort “hope and change.”

Mind you, that’s “hope and change” in the direction set by Karl Marx; never the one set by George Washington.

A Muslim extremist named Tayyip Erdogan had this to say about democracy, comparing democracy to a bus: “You ride it to your destination, and then you step off.”  Democrats were elected democratically; and then they started imposing their 2,700 pages of fascism using every procedural gimmick in the book.  Nancy Pelosi actually said:

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Let’s take another bus tour to how we got ObamaCare shoved down our throat:

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nancy Pelosi:

(CNSNews.com) – When CNSNews.com asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday where the Constitution authorized Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance–a mandate included in both the House and Senate versions of the health care bill–Pelosi dismissed the question by saying: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

Youtube audio of Nancy Pelosi dismissing constitutionality:

Yeah, people who actually care about the Constitution, and care about the fact that our lawmakers – who take an oath to uphold the Constitution – actually consider it.

Rep. Pete Stark, responding to a question on health care:

Questioner: “If this legislation is constitutional, what limitations are there on the federal government’s ability to tell us how to run our private lives?”

Rep. Stark: “I think that there are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life.  now the basis for that would be how does that affect other people.”

Questioner: “The constitution specially enumerates certain powers to the federal government, and leaves all other authority to the states.  The constitution is very limited as to what it can do…. if they can do this, what can’t they do?”

Rep. Stark: “The federal government, yes, can do almost anything in this country.”

Watch the Youtube video of this question and answer:

Liberal Supreme Court justices imposed abortion on the grounds of a fundamental right to privacy – which is actually nowhere to be found in the Constitution – based on nothing more than “penumbras and emanations” discerned from gazing into the Constitution like a crystal ball rather than like a historical document.  Now they are saying there IS no right to privacy of any kind, whatsoever in order to impose government health care and all the violations of rights and liberties that go hand-in-hand with that imposition.  Because it never was about the Constitution or even about any right to privacy; it was always about using whatever rhetorical argument they wanted to get the result they wanted.  So they said we had a right to privacy until the right to privacy got in their way.

If the federal government can do almost anything in this country, how then do you stop the next dictatorship?  How do you stop tyranny?  How do you stop totalitarian big government?

And let’s consider a corresponding Democrat’s statement on the same subject of government health care:

Democrat Rep. John Dingell:

“The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re passing legislation that will cover 300 million American people in different ways, it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

And, of course, Dingell is right: it takes time and effort to abandon the Constitution – which places limits on federal power – and then impose controls on the people that utterly abandon any scintilla of any meaningful form of constitutional government.

Democrat Robin Carnahan, Missouri Secretary of State and candidate for the United States Senate:

Carnahan: “We’re going to also have a libertarian and a Constitution Party candidate running.  And I will tell you no one’s going to know who they are, but it’s not going to matter, because Glenn Beck says you’re supposed to be for the Constitution, and there is some percentage of people who will go vote for them.  And in our internal polling about six or seven percent goes like that to the Libertarian and Constitution Party.  So I’m quite sure that whoever wins is going to do it with less than fifty percent of the vote.” […]

Donor: “You just don’t sound like those Constitution Party votes are going to come out of your account.”

Carnahan: “What do you think?” (Audience laughter)

Donor: “I think you’re right.” (Audience laughter)

Here’s the Youtube audio of that exchange:

Stop and think about that: it is a matter of mocking derision that no one who actually cares about the integrity of the Constitution is going to vote for the Democrats.  And in fact Robin Carnahan – who is serving as a Democrat in the office of Secretary of State – cynically intends to exploit the fact that she can divide those who care about the Constitution and win by attrition.

And they mock the fact that no one who votes Democrat gives a leaping damn about the Constitution.

Take Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky on “The Stephanie Miller Show” on 9/30/2010:

“Actually, I think really what it was was an effort to get the Tea Partiers to think that they really have some sort of revolutionary plan, because at the beginning they quote a lot from the Constitution, the idea that free people can govern themselves, that the government powers are derived from the consent of the governed.

All that stuff that I think that, that that’s an effort to try to appeal to those people, the Tea Party.

They embrace the Tenth Amendment – ‘tenthers,’ you know?”

The audio of the interview is available here.

That Tenth Amendment is a real load of crap, right?

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Let’s just go ahead and abolish it so we can have the kind of totalitarian big government that Democrats yearn for.  Because Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, and all these other leftist dictators were just such groovy people, and we need their ilk here in red, white and blue America.

Yeah, that’s right.  Ridicule me, Rep. Schakowsky.  Call me a “tenther” like I’m a “birther” or a “truther” or some sort of nutjob because – unlike Democrats – I actually honor our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

Jan Schakowsky calls Tea Party people “extreme” because they actually take their Constitution seriously.  But this is a woman who was perfectly willing to abandon principles to turn ObamaCare into a Trojan horse for a socialist single payer system (and see also here).  This is a woman who said:

“A public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer” – Rep. Jan Schakowsky (to wild applause).

Marxism and communism is not extreme.  Nope.  It’s not extreme to use ObamaCare as a vehicle to put the private sector out of business so you can sneak in a government-planned economy.  What’s “extreme” is believing in the Constitution that Democrats such as Jan Schakowsky once deceitfully swore an oath to uphold.

Democrats spent over a year imposing 2,700 pages of unconstitutional “laws” upon a people who never wanted it.  And now, amazingly, they’re demanding that Republicans merely recognize that it’s done and over with, and move on.

Fortunately, Republicans DO care about the Constitution.  And they’re going to fight Democrats for the soul of this country.

If Democrats give a damn about the American people, they will join Republicans in demanding that this verdict go immediately to the U.S. Supreme Court for a final judgment.  Rule 11 of the Supreme Court allows particularly important cases that are of imperative public importance to gain such an emergency hearing.  But only if both sides agree.  If Democrats don’t demand this, they will continue to do even more harm in keeping the American people in the dark about how to plan.  Businesses will continue to hold off on hiring, and the economy will continue to suffer until this decision is finalized.

Leading Democrat Expert On Health Care Turns Against Boondoggle ObamaCare

September 4, 2010

Apparently Ron Wyden joins such illustrious Democrat company as John Conyers (“What good is reading the bill…?”), Nancy Pelosi (“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”), and Ben Nelson (“I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill”), in not bothering to read the evil ObamaCare bill that he personally voted for and vigorously supported.

I’m wondering if the only Democrat who actually bothered to read the health care takeover bill he voted for is John Dingell, who accurately said of the bill, “It takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

Here’s the story of Democrat Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) actively turning against the ObamaCare boondoggle:

SEPTEMBER 3, 2010
Wyden Defects on ObamaCare
The Oregon Democrat breaks ranks with the White House
.

Most Democrats have come to understand that they can’t run on ObamaCare, but few have the temerity of Ron Wyden. The Oregon Senator is the first to break with the policy underpinnings of the bill he voted for
.

Last week Mr. Wyden sent a letter to Oregon health authority director Bruce Goldberg, encouraging the state to seek a waiver from certain ObamaCare rules so it can “come up with innovative solutions that the Federal government has never had the flexibility or will to implement.”

One little-known provision of the bill allows states to opt out of the “requirement that individuals purchase health insurance,” Mr. Wyden wrote, and “Because you and I believe that the heart of real health reform is affordability and not mandates, I wanted to bring this feature of Section 1332 to the attention of you and the legislature.”

Now, that’s news. One of the Democratic Party’s leading experts on health care wants his state to dump the individual mandate that is among ObamaCare’s core features. The U-turn is especially notable because Mr. Wyden once championed an individual mandate in the bill he sponsored with Utah Republican Bob Bennett. We have differences with Wyden-Bennett, but it was far better than ObamaCare and would have changed incentives by offering more choices to individuals and spurring competition among providers and insurers.

Mr. Wyden should have known better than to vote for ObamaCare given his market instincts and health-care experience. Even so, the price for his support included the Section 1332 waivers that he is now promoting. In addition to the individual mandate, states may evade regulations about business taxes, the exact federal standards for minimum benefits, and how subsidies are allocated in the insurance “exchanges”—as long as the state covers the same number of uninsured and keeps coverage as comprehensive.

Medicaid also grants some indulgences toward state flexibility, even if those waivers are difficult to acquire. The Secretary of Health and Human Services would need to approve the ObamaCare alternative of Oregon or any other states, and the waivers don’t start until 2017, three years after ObamaCare is supposed to be up and running. It is also hard to see how anyone in the current Administration would grant them.

These practical realities aside, Mr. Wyden’s move may be more important as a political signal. Mr. Wyden is running for re-election this year. And while he is now well ahead of GOP challenger Jim Huffman, in a year like this one he has cause to avoid becoming Barbara Boxer or Patty Murray, who may lose because they’ve remained liberals from MSNBC central casting.

This sort of thing also isn’t supposed to happen to newly passed entitlements. Democrats have long believed that once an entitlement passes, however unpopular at the time, voters and business will grow to like it and then Republicans begin to come around. The exception was a catastrophic-coverage program to replace private “Medigap” policies, which Democrats passed in 1988 and repealed a year later amid a public furor.

On ObamaCare, Democrats are having the first political second thoughts, at least in this election season. Mr. Wyden is essentially saying that what his party passed is not acceptable, and if such thinking builds, opponents may have a real chance to replace ObamaCare with something better.

Democrats are now actively running from the Democrat Party and the Democrat Platform.  Democrats are running campaign ads that literally omit the fact that they are Democrats.  They are running as opponents of Obama and his agenda.  They are running in droves as opponents of Nancy Pelosi (even when such Democrats actually VOTED for her as House Speaker).

These same cowardly and corrupt Democrats who were in lock step passing Obama’s Marxist agenda are now claiming that they will offer an “independent voice.” But no, they won’t.

Never forget, “Democrat” actually stands for “Demonic bureaucrat.”  And whenever Obama or Democrat leadership needs a vote from a Democrat, they’ll get it.  Votes are largely assigned in the party machine.  Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will allow vulnerable members to vote ‘no’ on their pork barrel bills if they have enough votes to pass them.  But virtually all of those representatives and senators who voted ‘no’ on bills like the $862 billion stimulus and ObamaCare would have voted ‘yes’ if it had been necessary for them to do so.

And just as many Democrats said they’d vote against ObamaCare until they voted for it (think Bart Stupak and his gang of supposedly pro-life Democrats) – often getting incredibly sweetheart deals for their treachery (think “Louisiana Purchase,” think “Cornhusker Kickback,” among others), the fact of the matter is that you can’t trust Democrats to follow through with whatever the hell they promise they will or won’t do.  If you like relentless liberal socialism, then vote for Democrats.  But don’t be stupid and vote for your Senator or Representative because they say they’ll oppose Obama.  Because the next time they’re needed, they’ll be right back on board, voting as they’re told to vote.

I mean, quit being Charlie Brown thinking Lucy will finally hold the football so you can kick it.  She won’t.  And Democrats won’t oppose the liberal agenda; they’ll support it, they’ll be its footsoldiers, just like they were the last two years.

ObamaCare is more than just bad.  It is evil and it will lead to rationing and Sarah Palin’s death panels in spades.  There are 160 new federal bureaucracies created under ObamaCare, in the nearly 2,400 incomprehensible pages of the bill, and every single one of them both individually and through bureaucratic pinballing will ultimately amount to a death panel.

The stimulus was equally awful for our economy.  And Americans overwhelmingly recognize that, just as they overwhelmingly recognize that ObamaCare was awful.

If you want less of this, please don’t vote for the party that imposed it.  Vote for the party that united against it: the Republican Party.

Democrats have repeatedly demagogued Republicans as “the party of no” even when THEY had been the party of no when Republicans were in charge.  But being the party of no is a GOOD THING when the party in power seeks to pass one awful, America-destroying bill after another.

Interview With Tim Geithner, Poster Boy For An Administration That Has No Clue

November 2, 2009

From NBC’s “Meet the Press,” with David Gregory interviewing Treasury Secretary ‘Turbo Tax’ Timothy Geithner.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  You know, what the government did was to step in and make sure we’re providing the tax cuts and investments necessary to arrest the crisis, get credit markets starting to open up again.  And we did that, that plan worked.  But we’ve got a ways to go before…

GREGORY:  But that’s a big question, whether or not–yes, you have growth for the first time in four quarters.  But is any of this growth sustainable without government intervention?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  It will be, it will be.  But what the government has to do in a crisis is to provide a bridge until the economy can repair itself and businesses are confident enough to start to invest again.  And again, you’re starting to see it again.  Businesses now, I think they’ll say–you talk to people across the country, they’ll say that they feel that things are more stable now and for the first time they see orders starting to pick up.  And what’ll happen is they’ll start to invest again, they’ll start to bring people back onto their payroll and this will get more momentum.

GREGORY:  But that happened hasn’t yet–hasn’t happened yet.  We’ll get into that a little bit more in just a minute.

The question about consumer spending that really drove the market down on Friday, it’s off, biggest level that it’s been off in nine months.  Again, people are not consuming.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  There’s nothing new in those numbers on Friday.  They were in the GDP report.  No incremental news in those numbers.  So again, the overall picture for the economy is that consumers are a little more confident now, confident enough to start to spend again, investments starting to spend again. You know, there was another number on Friday that showed business confidence, in the Chicago survey, showing a little more optimism about the future, too. And–but, you know, again, this is a tough economy still, it’s going to take some time.  But we’re committed to making sure we’re reinforcing this progress we’ve seen.

But that is just a load of baloney, as Gregory pointed out.  Here’s a link to an AP article bearing the title, “Consumer Spending At Lowest In 9 Months.”  And the opening paragraph of that article begins with the words, “Consumer spending plunged in September by the largest amount in nine months.” [I used a different article because I know how articles that don’t pitch the Obama line tend to get deleted].

Seriously, exactly which part of that does Mr. Boy Genius Tim Geithner – who was so brilliant that we desperately needed him even though he was too incompetent or dishonest (or both!) to know how to pay his own taxes – fail to understand?  Consumers AREN’T “a little more confident,” Turbo Tax; they’re a LOT LESS confident!

The “growth” in GDP was almost entirely fueled by government spending.  That is a trend toward utter catastrophe and Zimbabwe-like hyperinflation, rather than anything positive.  It is absolutely unsustainable.  It is a terrible sign of artificially-generated growth by debt-fueled spending, rather than a sign for any kind of hope.

When our Treasury Secretary has his head so buried up Obama’s butt that he can’t understand simple realities, we are in a giant load of trouble.  And the anvil is being cued to drop as we speak.

Let’s go on.  Maybe Geithner and the Obama administration have some kind of solution, some kind of plan to help get us out of the problem they don’t even understand exists in the first place:

GREGORY:  Do we need another cash for clunkers program to stimulate the economy?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  I don’t think at the moment–well, let me start this way, David.  About half of the money in the Recovery Act, tax cuts and investments, are still ahead of us.  So there’s a lot of force still moving its way through the system now, and you’re going to see that continue to provide support for the economy going forward.

I interrupt at this point to point out that the Obama administration is literally refuting itself here  Geithner says the stimulus is going to creating beneficial impact.  But Obama’s chair for his Council for Economic Advisers claimed the exact opposite, saying:

“By mid-2010, fiscal stimulus will likely be contributing little to further growth.”

So which is it?

And pardon me while I mockingly laugh at an administration that is publicly literally talking out of both sides of their mouth at the same time.

In any event, when Geithner confidently declares that the stimulus that never really did squat in the first place is going to continue to continue to produce wonderful changes in the first place, you don’t have to go any farther than another key Obama official to see that that just isn’t true.

I’ve also got to point out that it is increasingly obvious that the cash for clunkers program was an unmitigated disaster.  First of all, it is now a documented fact that all the cash for clunkers program did was spur people to buy cars they were already going to buy within a matter of a few months anyway.  All the government did was move 4th quarter car sales into the 3rd quarter.  Second, we now know that the best and most impartial evidence demonstrates that the taxpayers forked out a whopping $20,000 for every car sold under the program.

In other words, it was an even bigger disaster than Republicans predicted it would be when they overwhelmingly opposed the program.

But we continue with Gregory and Geithner:

GREGORY:  Could you have had more impact if more of that money were paid out? You still have about $500 billion of the stimulus that has not been paid out yet.  How long will it take to get paid out?

SEC’Y GEITHER: Actually, I–again, it was designed to pay out over two years, because we knew it was going to take a long time to repair the damage we started with earlier this year.  So it was designed to pay out over this period of time.  And I think it’s actually delivering better results sooner than we would expect.  I think we’re seeing better outcomes in the financial sector, in the economy than many of us would’ve thought when we sat there with the president in Chicago at the end of last year.

GREGORY:  Right.  Well, but that’s not exactly true, because the president’s team said you’d keep unemployment to 8 percent if you didn’t have the stimulus, so.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  No.  No, you’re right, the unemployment is worse than almost everybody expectedBut growth is back a little more quickly, a little stronger than people thought, and growth is a necessary condition.  With growth jobs will come, but growth has to come first.  But just look at the financial sector.  You know, you’ve had banks repaying money with interest. Taxpayers are getting substantial earnings on this big investment in the financial system, and that’s delivering good, good returns for the American taxpayer.

Again, Geithner is utterly filled with fecal matter.

“Unemployment is worse than almost anybody thought”That was basically Vice President Biden’s line back in July.  And it was utterly idiotic when Biden said it back then.  Apparently, the Obama administration only has ears that hear liberals’ prognostications.  Republicans widely predicted the stimulus would utterly fail to create jobs.  That was why virtually every single one of them voted against it.  All kinds of economists said it would fail.  But they suffered from the flaw of not being liberals.

When high-level officials like Biden and Geithner say things like, “almost everybody was just shocked,” it shows how utterly insulated and ignorant these clowns who are running our government truly are.

Basically, 47% of the country didn’t vote for Obama.  And the 47% were the ones who turned out to be right.

The Obama administration consists on a bunch of weasels who are trying to dodge their central economic claim.  They said their massive stimulus (which actually cost taxpayers $3.27 TRILLION, by the way) would prevent unemployment from reaching 8%.  They were wrong.  Everything they thought was wrong.  And now “everybody” but them should be held responsible for their failure.

GREGORY:  Let’s talk about claims of success about jobs.  The White House says 640,000 jobs have been created or saved by the $800 billion stimulus.  There are Republicans who say the number is bogus, that it’s just PR.  John Boehner, leader of the Republicans in the House, as you well know, circulated a quote from an economist at Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University, and I’ll put it up on the screen and you can look at it:  “One can search economic textbooks forever without finding a concept called `jobs saved.’ It doesn’t exist for good reason:  how can anyone know that his or her job has been saved?” You’ve got a lot of experience in the economy.  Is this PR or fact?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  This is fact.  Again, at–when the president took office, this economy was falling at the rate of 6.5 percent at an annual rate per year, fastest rate in decades.  We were losing three-quarters of a million jobs a month.  Now, the pace of job loss has slowed dramatically, the economy’s now growing again.  It’s growing not just because the effects of the Recovery Act.  Many people opposed the Recovery Act, said it wasn’t going to work.  It’s working, it’s delivering what it should result–what it should, it should produce.  Value of Americans’ savings are up almost 35 percent since the beginning of the year.  Interest rates down.  These are substantially powerful returns on the Recovery Act, and they are delivering what they were designed to deliver.

GREGORY:  OK.  What is a saved job?  How do you measure that?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  A, a saved–well…

GREGORY:  It’s not something an economist recognizes as an actual fact.

Thank you, David Gregory.  You must work for Fox News, given the fact that the White House has been demonizing Fox News as a propaganda outlet due to the fact that it presents the facts rather than Obama’s propaganda.

The Associated Press joined Fox News in Barry Obama’s doghouse by pointing out the fact that the administration was playing all kinds of ridiculous shenanigans with their job claims.

And we can go back months into the past and see that the Obama administration has stubbornly insisted as stating as fact what was months ago revealed to be blathering nonsense:

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX): “The administration, including the vice president, has claimed that stimulus policies have added 150,000 new jobs to the level of employment. We see this cited almost daily by the administration. Can you substantiate that claim?”

Mr. Keith Hall, Commissioner Of Bureau Of Labor Statistics: “No. That would be a very difficult thing for anybody to substantiate.”

“Created or saved” is a meaningless superficial category created by meaningless superficial people to advance a meaningless superficial agenda.

It doesn’t matter how deceitful the Obama’s bogus claims are, because they are liars without shame and they don’t give a damn about reality.  And they can’t solve the unemployment problem because they can’t get past their own propaganda.

Gregory goes on a little later and points out:

GREGORY:  Right.  But my, but my point is that this should not be overstated, the impact of the stimulus should not be overstated.  Here’s the facts about how many jobs have been lost since the stimulus:  2.7 million.  And you’ve got 14 states who have double-digit unemployment.  You can look at the top five, with Michigan at the top with 15.3 percent unemployment.  So you say it could’ve been a lot of worse.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  David…

GREGORY:  A, it’s still very bad, and B, the stimulus has had only a minimal effect.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Actually–no, no, I wouldn’t say that.  I said actually, even those numbers understate it, because there’s lots of people who are underemployed, working less they would like.  So again, this is a very tough economy.  It’s only been three initial months of positive growth.  It’s going to take some time for unemployment to come down and for jobs to get created again.  And that’s why it’s important to–for people to recognize that we have a responsibility to keep working at this so we’re reinforcing the recovery.

GREGORY:  How high will unemployment go, do you think?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Don’t know for sure, but it’s likely still rising and it, it probably going to rise further before it starts to come down again.

GREGORY:  Double digits?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Most economists think we’ll probably get there, and–but again, the economists think–and, you know, there’s a lot of uncertainty in this.  Economists don’t know that, don’t know that much about the future, David.  But they say that they think we’ll start to see net jobs created at the beginning of the year, sometime around the beginning of the year, in the first quarter sometime.

I have to begin by correcting David Gregory.  He said that Obama had lost 2.7 million jobs since he passed his stimulus.  ABC News, reporting facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, had a very different number:

Approximately 3.3 million jobs have been lost since the stimulus act passed, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But what are 600,000 jobs between friends?

And when Geither says that “most economists think we’ll get [to double digit unemployment], realize that we are going to get there VERY SOON.  Geithner is talking about the wonderful effect the stimulus has had on employment even as the unemployment rate is expected to climb to at least 10% when the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for October come out.

And respected economic analysts such as Meredith Whitney – who accurately predicted the 2008 economic crash when most of her fellows were whistling a very different tune – has gone on the record predicting unemployment rates of 13% or higher in our future.

Okay.  Things are bad and they’re going to get a lot worse.  But the Obama adminstration has some kind of plan, right?  I mean, RIGHT?

Nope.  Beyond “Blame Bush,” they’ve got NOTHING.

GREGORY:  What should the administration be going specifically to reduce unemployment at this point?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  The most important thing is to get growth growing again at a strong pace.

GREGORY:  Right.  But what can the government…

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  That’s the most…

GREGORY:  …what should the government be doing?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  The government’s doing exactly what it should be doing. It’s, it’s making sure that there are tax cuts to business and families, investments in improving infrastructure, creating incentives for businesses to spend again, relief for state and local governments and getting this financial system back on its feet.

Gregory could have pointed out that the government ISN’T actually doing ANY of these things.  Tax cuts?  They plan tax increases.  What the Obama administration calls “tax cuts” have been “redistribution of wealth” as the government takes money away from producers and hands it to non-producers.  And to small businesses?  Are you joking? Geithner claims that stimulus investments have imporoved infrastructure.  The problem is and always has been that not enough of the stimulus program ever went to infrastructure in the first place.  And what exactly what incentives has Obama provided for businesses to spend again?  The fact is, Obama is trying to force businesses to spend more on healthcare, more on job-killing minimum wages, more on electricity, all of which will result in them having a lot LESS to spend on anything else.

That’s okay though, I suppose.  Geithner would have spent the rest of his time quibbling over details and pumping sunshine if Gregory had stopped him at his last paragraph.

What Gregory did was continued to push Geithner for SOMETHING that Obama could offer as an economic solution.  Something.  Anything.  And Geithner had nothing.

GREGORY:  But do you need more stimulus?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  I don’t think we need to make that judgment yet, David. Again, there’s–about half of the money committed by the Congress is still working its way through the system by design.  It was designed to work over two years.  So we’re not in a position yet where we need to make a choice about whether it’s going to take more than that…

GREGORY:  Right.

[Please go back to what I demonstrated earlier, i.e., that Obama’s own chair for the Council of Economic Advisers actually said the precise opposite.]

We now continue the documentary about the fact that Tim Geithner and Barry Obama have absolutely no clue whatsoever how to fix the economy.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  …to bring growth back.  And again, that’s only a bridge. You’re not going to get real recovery until it’s led by the private sector, by businesses.

GREGORY:  So I want to be clear, additional stimulus you don’t think is needed right now.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Not, not yet.  Now, Congress is looking at extending unemployment insurance, some other targeted programs that would expire without additional action.  You’ve heard Congress today–you heard–saw Congress this week start to talk about extending the first-time homebuyer tax credit, some other measures.  We think those will be helpful things for the economy as a whole, and they’ll also provide some added support.

GREGORY:  Let me talk about the deficit and the debt.  These are alarming numbers, you said they are.  Let’s look at the deficit since Inauguration Day: $1.2 trillion, now $1.4 trillion; it’s up 17 percent.  The overall debt, Inauguration Day:  $10.6 trillion, now $11.9 trillion.  What’s it going to be a year from now?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Well, it’s going to have to come down.  Now it’s too high, and I think everybody understands this.  You know, we’ve got these two central imperatives:  restore growth, create jobs.  But make sure people understand we’re going to have to bring those fiscal deficits down as growth recovers. First growth, though.  Without growth, you can’t fix those long-term fiscal problems.  But you’re not going to have a recovery that’s going to be strong enough unless people are confident we’re going to have the will to go back to live within our means.

GREGORY:  How do you bring it down, though?  Do taxes have to go up?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Well, we’re going to have to do–we’re going to have to make some hard choicesThe–but we’re not really at the point yet, David, we’re going to know what’s going to be the best path forward.  The president’s very committed to bring down these deficits, and he’s very committed to doing so in a way that’s not going to add to the burden on people, people making less than $250,000 a year.

GREGORY:  But wait a minute, though, what are hard–I mean, I think a lot of people, it’s fair to say, what are hard choices?  I mean, what hard choices have been made so far?  Are you going to raise taxes?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  We’re going to have to bring our resources and our expenditures more into balance.

GREGORY:  So it’s possible.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Well, again, the president’s committed to make sure we get this economy back on track.  We’re bringing down this deficit over time.  And to do so…

GREGORY:  Mr. Secretary, you talked about hard choices, so why can’t you give a straight answer to whether taxes have to come up…

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Because…

GREGORY:  …when you have a deficit this big?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Because, David, right now we’re focused on getting growth back on track, OK, and we’re not at the point yet we have to decide exactly what it’s going to take.  And I just want to say this very clearly.  He was committed in the campaign to make–he said in the campaign and he is committed to make sure we do this in a way that is not going to add to the burden on people making less than $250,000 a year.  Now, it’s going to be hard to do that, but he’s committed to doing that and we can do that.

GREGORY:  You can do it, but it’s still a chance that you’d have to raise taxes and go back on that if you’ve got a debt this big.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  We’re going to have to do it in a way that’s going to help to meet that test, meet that commitment, the commitment he made, to do it in a way that’s fair to Americans and make sure we do it in a way that’s going to allow–provide for growth and recovery going forward.  But we can do this. You know, this is not beyond our capacity as a country to do.

GREGORY:  But…

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  But first things first.

GREGORY:  Right.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  And unless we have a recovery, our long-term debts are going to be worse.  Now, you didn’t raise health care yet, but what’s happening on health care now is very encouraging.  Because if you look at what independent analysts say now, if you look at these bills moving their way through the Congress, they will make a substantial difference in reducing the rate of growth in healthcare costs over the long term and they will help bring down those long-term deficits.

GREGORY:  But there is going to be a heavy burden on the middle-class through, through health care by taxes going up, by premiums going up.  It will affect the middle-class.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  You know, I, I, I don’t think that’s the way to look at it. The–our tax–our healthcare system today imposes enormous burdens not just on businesses, but on families.  There are very high hidden costs to our current system.  And the best way to add to our long-term deficits, and the best way to add to those burdens is not reform health care today.

GREGORY:  But it doesn’t answer the question about premiums going up with an individual mandate and taxes going up on so-called Cadillac plans and other parts of this bill as they’re moving their way through the process that would increase taxes.

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Right.  Again, I don’t think that’s the right way to think about it.  I think you have to look at the entire system today and the cost that presents.  And if you look at those…

GREGORY:  Well, why isn’t that the right way to look at it if that’s the reality of what the legislation would do?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  No.

GREGORY:  How else should it be looked at?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  Well…

GREGORY:  Yes, there are, there are ballooning costs with the existing system, but the remedy still includes tax cuts–tax hikes, does it not?

SEC’Y GEITHNER:  No.  What the, what the bills moving through Congress do, and these are very important, they expand coverage, they will make care more affordable and they will reduce the rate of growth in healthcare costs.  And in that sense they’re going to provide a more fair system, so families are not going to live with the fear that if they lose their job they’re going to lose health care, they’re going to be denied healthcare coverage and they’re going to be able to afford a basic package of care that’s going to make sure they can provide for their families.

GREGORY:  Just a couple of minutes left…

Gregory turned the discussion to bonuses to AIG executives.

I’m not even going to begin to get into the terrible calamity that Obamacare will be if it passes.  Costs will go up massively.  People will pay more and get less.  There will be rationing.  A lot of people will unnecessarily die early deaths of medical neglect.

In what may be the most frightening thing of all to those who value liberty, the phrase “shall” granting the government sweeping powers and responsibilities appears a whopping 3,425 times.  That’s three thousand, four hundred and twenty-five times the government forces you to do something.  This is legislation that will give the government an all-encompassing mandate to dominate our lives.

And about the taxes Gregory mentioned?  Here’s a fun little trivia fact you can know about the 1,990 page health care bill:

According to that group, along with the word “shall” being used 3,425 times in the legislation, the word “tax” was used 87 times, “taxable” used 62 times, “excise tax” used ten times, “taxes” used 15 times, “fee” used 59 times, and “penalty” used 113 times. They also provided a list of 13 specific tax hikes contained within the bill, and even were so kind to include page numbers.

You want taxes?  Then you’ll LOVE H.R. 3692:

October 29th, 2009 by Legislative Staff

  1. SMALL BUSINESS SURTAX (Sec. 551, p. 336) – $460.5 BILLION
  2. EMPLOYER MANDATE TAX* (Secs. 511-512, p. 308) – $135.0 BILLION
  3. INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TAX* (Sec. 501, p. 296) – $33 BILLION
  4. MEDICAL DEVICE TAX* (Sec. 552, p. 339) – $20 BILLION
  5. $2,500 ANNUAL CAP ON FSAs* (Sec. 532, p. 325) – $13.3 BILLION
  6. PROHIBITION ON PRE-TAX PURCHASES OF OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS THROUGH HSAs, FSAs, and HRSs* – (Sec. 1802, p. 1162) – $2.0 BILLION
  7. TAX ON HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES TO FUND COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS RESEARCH TRUST FUND* (Sec. 1802, p. 1162) – $2.0 BILLION
  8. 20% PENALTY ON CERTAIN HAS DISTRIBUTIONS* (Sec. 533, p. 326) – $1.3 BILLION
  9. OTHER TAX HIKES AND INCREASED COMPLIANCE COSTS ON U.S. JOB CREATORS – $56.4 BILLION
    • IRS reporting on payments to certain businesses (Sec. 553, p. 344) – $17.1 BILLION
    • Delay implementation of worldwide interest allocation rules (Sec. 554, p. 345) – $26.1 BILLION
    • Override U.S. Treaties on certain payments by “insourcing” businesses (Sec. 561, p. 346) – $7.5 BILLION
    • Codify economic substance doctrine and impose penalties (Sec. 562, p. 349) – $5.7 BILLION
  10. OTHER REVENUE-RAISING PROVISIONS – $3.0 BILLION

TOTAL TAX INCREASES: $729.5 BILLION

*Violates President Obama’s pledge to avoid tax increases on Americans earning less than $250,000

My point in bringing this to you was simply to point out that if you have ever seen a circus that featured a bunch of clowns wildly driving around and crashing into each other in little clown cars or tricycles, you pretty much understand what it looks like inside the White House.

These people have no clue.

And the new United States of America under Obama, launched with such great fanfare, is – like the Titanic – on a collision course with a giant iceberg.

A Summary of the Government Takeover of Health Care

November 1, 2009

This is a prepared House Republican document which you can view as a PDF file here.

House Democrat Health “Reform” Legislation: Short Summary of the Government Takeover of Health Care

October 29, 2009


BACKGROUND AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On October 29, 2009, Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrat leadership introduced H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The legislation combines provisions in the versions of H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, approved by the Committees on Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means, as well as other provisions negotiated behind closed doors by the Democrat leadership. The bill is expected on the floor the week of November 2, under a likely structured rule. While press reports indicate the bill will cost at least $894 billion, a CBO score is not yet available, and the following analysis will be updated as events warrant.

Buried within the contents of the 1,990 page bill—as well as a separate 13-page bill (H.R. 3961) that would increase the deficit by more than $200 billion—are details that will see a massive federal involvement in the health care of every American, including the following:

• Creation of a government-run insurance program that could cause as many as 114 million Americans to lose their current coverage;
• Abolition of the private market for individual health insurance, forcing individuals to purchase coverage in a government-run Exchange;
• Stifling insurance regulations that would raise premiums and encourage employers to drop coverage;
• Trillions of dollars in new federal spending that will exacerbate the deficit and imperil the nation’s long-term fiscal solvency;
• Taxes on all Americans—individuals who purchase insurance, individuals who do not purchase insurance, and millions of small businesses—that will kill jobs and raise health care premiums; and
• Cuts to Medicare Advantage plans that will result in higher premiums and dropped coverage for more than 10 million seniors.

SUMMARY OF KEY PROVISIONS
The Government Takeover

Creation of Exchange: The bill creates within the federal government a nationwide Health Insurance Exchange. Uninsured individuals would be eligible to purchase an Exchange plan, as would those whose existing employer coverage is deemed “insufficient” by the federal government. Once deemed eligible to enroll in the Exchange, individuals would be permitted to remain in the Exchange until becoming Medicare-eligible—a provision that would likely result in a significant movement of individuals into the bureaucrat-run Exchange over time. Employers with 25 or fewer employees would be permitted to join the Exchange in its first year, with employers with 25-50 employees permitted to join in its second year. Employers with fewer than 100 employees would be permitted to enroll in the third year, and all employers would also be eligible to join, if permitted to do so by the Commissioner. Many may note the limits on employer eligibility in the first several years are significantly higher than in H.R. 3200, thus expanding the scope of the government-run Exchange.

Exchange Benefit Standards: The bill requires the Commissioner to establish benefit standards for all plans. These onerous, bureaucrat-imposed standards would hinder the introduction of innovative models to improve enrollees’ health and wellness—and by insulating individuals from the cost of health services with restrictive cost-sharing, could raise health care costs.

Government-Run Health Plans: The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a “public health insurance option” through the Exchange. The bill states the plan shall comply with requirements related to other Exchange plans. Empowered to collect individuals’ personal health information, with access to federal courts for enforcement actions and $2 billion in “start-up funds”—as well as 90 days’ worth of premiums as “reserves”—from the Treasury, the bill’s headings regarding a “level playing field” belie the reality of the plain text. In addition, the bill requires the Secretary to establish premium rates that can fully finance the cost of benefits and administrative costs, but there would always be the implicit backing of the federal government.

The bill provides that the government-run plan shall enlist all Medicare providers unless physicians affirmatively decide to opt-out of the program. While the Secretary will be required to “negotiate” reimbursement rates with doctors and hospitals, nothing in the bill prohibits the Secretary from using such negotiation to impose Medicare reimbursement levels on providers as part of a government-imposed “negotiation.” Should such a scenario occur, the Lewin Group has estimated that as many as 114 million individuals could lose access to their current coverage under a government-run plan—and that a government-run plan reimbursing at the rates contemplated by the legislation would actually result in a net $16,207 decrease in reimbursements per physician per year, even after accounting for the newly insured.

The bill requires the Secretary to “establish conditions of participation for health care providers” under the government-run plan—however it includes no guidance or conditions under which the Secretary must establish those conditions. Many may be concerned that the bill would allow the Secretary to prohibit doctors from participating in other health plans as a condition of participation in the government-run plan—a way to co-opt existing provider networks and subvert private health coverage.

“Low-Income” Subsidies: The bill provides subsidies only through the Exchange, again putting employer health plans at a disadvantage. Individuals with access to employer-sponsored insurance whose group premium costs exceed 12 percent of adjusted gross income would be eligible for subsidies.

The bill provides that the Commissioner may authorize State Medicaid agencies—as well as other “public entit[ies]”—to make determinations of eligibility for subsidies and exempts the subsidy regime from the five-year waiting period on federal benefits established as part of the 1996 welfare reform law (P.L. 104-193). The second provision would give individuals a strong incentive to emigrate to the United States in order to obtain subsidized health benefits without a waiting period. Despite the bill’s purported prohibition on payments to immigrants not lawfully present, and the insertion of a citizenship verification provision, some may be concerned that the provisions as drafted would not require individuals to verify their identity when confirming eligibility for subsidies—encouraging identity fraud while still permitting undocumented immigrants and other ineligible individuals from obtaining taxpayer-subsidized benefits.

Premium subsidies provided would be determined on a six-tier sliding scale, such that individuals with incomes under 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL, $29,327 for a family of four in 2009) would be expected to pay 1.5 percent of their income, while individuals with incomes at 400 percent FPL ($88,200 for a family of four) would be expected to pay 12 percent of their income. Subsidies would be based on adjusted gross income (AGI), meaning that individuals with total incomes well in excess of the AGI threshold could qualify for subsidies.

The bill further provides for cost-sharing subsidies, such that individuals with incomes under 133 percent FPL would be covered for 97 percent of expenses, while individuals with incomes at 400 percent FPL would have a basic plan covering 70 percent (the statutory minimum). These rich benefit packages, in addition to raising subsidy costs for the federal government, would insulate plan participants from the effects of higher health spending, resulting in an increase in overall health costs—exactly the opposite of the bill’s purported purpose.

Medicaid Expansion: The bill would expand Medicaid to all individuals with incomes under 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($33,075 for a family of four). Under the bill, the bill’s expansion of Medicaid to more than 10 million individuals would be fully paid for by the federal government only through 2014—thus imposing billions in unfunded mandates on States, which would be expected to pay nearly 10 percent of the cost of the expansion beginning in 2015.

Benefits Committee: The bill establishes a new government health board called the “Health Benefits Advisory Committee” to make recommendations on minimum federal benefit standards and cost-sharing levels. The Committee would be comprised of federal employees and Presidential appointees.

The bill eliminates language in the discussion draft of H.R. 3200 stating that Committee should “ensure that essential benefits coverage does not lead to rationing of health care.” Many view this change as an admission that the bureaucrats on the Advisory Committee—and the new government-run health plan—would therefore deny access to life-saving services and treatments on cost grounds. As written, the Committee could require all Americans to obtain health insurance coverage of abortion procedures as part of the bill’s new individual mandate.

 

Funneling Patients into Government Care

Abolition of Private Insurance Market: The bill imposes new regulations on all health insurance offerings, with only limited exceptions. Existing individual market policies could remain in effect—but only so long as the carrier “does not change any of its terms and conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing” once the bill takes effect. With the exception of these grandfathered individual plans subject to numerous restrictions, insurance purchased on the individual market “may only be offered” until the Exchange comes into effect, thus abolishing the private market for individual health insurance and requiring all non-employer-based coverage to be purchased through the bureaucrat-run Exchange.

Employer coverage shall be considered exempt from the additional federal mandates, but only for a five year “grace period”—after which all the bill’s mandates shall apply. By applying new federal mandates and regulations to employer-sponsored coverage, this provision would increase health costs for businesses and their workers, encourage employers to drop existing coverage, and leave employees to access care through the government-run Exchange.

“Pay-or-Play” Mandate on Employers: The bill requires that employers offer health insurance coverage, and contribute to such coverage at least 72.5 percent of the cost of a basic individual policy—as defined by the Health Benefits Advisory Council—and at least 65 percent of the cost of a basic family policy, for full-time employees. The bill further extends the employer mandate to part-time employees, with contribution levels to be determined by the Commissioner, and mandates that any health care contribution “for which there is a corresponding reduction in the compensation of the employee” will not comply with the mandate—which would encourage them to lay off workers.

Employers must comply with the mandate by “paying” a tax of 8 percent of wages in lieu of “playing” by offering benefits that meet the criteria above. In addition, beginning in the Exchange’s second year, employers whose workers choose to purchase coverage through the Exchange would be forced to pay the 8 percent tax to finance their workers’ Exchange policy—even if they offer coverage to their workers.

The bill includes a limited exemption for small businesses from the employer mandate—those with total payroll under $500,000 annually would be exempt, and those with payrolls between $500,000 and
$750,000 would be subjected to lower tax penalties (2-6 percent, as opposed to 8 percent for firms with payrolls over $750,000). However, these limits are not indexed for inflation, and the threshold amounts would likely become increasingly irrelevant over time, meaning virtually all employers would be subjected to the 8 percent payroll tax.

The bill amends ERISA to require the Secretary of Labor to conduct regular plan audits and “conduct investigations” and audits “to discover non-compliance” with the mandate. The bill provides a further penalty of $100 per employee per day for non-compliance with the “pay-or-play” mandate—subject only to a limit of $500,000 for unintentional failures on the part of the employer.

The employer mandate would impose added costs on businesses with respect to both their payroll and administrative overhead. An economic model developed by Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer found that an employer mandate could result in the loss of up to 5.5 million jobs as employers lay off employees to avoid providing costly, government-forced health insurance.

Individual Mandate: The bill places a tax on individuals who do not purchase “acceptable health care coverage,” as defined by the bureaucratic standards in the bill. The tax would constitute 2.5 percent of adjusted gross income, up to the amount of the national average premium through the Exchange. The tax would not apply to dependent filers, non-resident aliens, individuals resident outside the United States, and those exempted on religious grounds. “Acceptable coverage” includes qualified Exchange plans, “grandfathered” individual and group health plans, Medicare and Medicaid plans, and military and veterans’ benefits.

For individuals with incomes of under $100,000, the cost of complying with the mandate would be under $2,000—raising questions of how effective the mandate will be, as paying the tax would in many cases cost less than purchasing an insurance policy. Despite, or perhaps because of, this fact, the bill language does not include an affordability exemption from the mandate; thus, if the many benefit mandates imposed raise premiums so as to make coverage less affordable for many Americans, they will have no choice but to pay an additional tax as their “penalty” for not being able to afford coverage. Then-Senator Barack Obama, pointed out in a February 2008 debate that in Massachusetts, the one State with an individual mandate, “there are people who are paying fines and still can’t afford [health insurance], so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance and they’re paying a fine.”

Medicare Advantage: The bill reduces Medicare Advantage (MA) payment benchmarks to levels paid by traditional Medicare—which provides less care to seniors—over a three-year period. This arbitrary adjustment would reduce access for millions of seniors to MA plans that have brought additional benefits.

The bill imposes requirements on MA plans to offer cost-sharing no greater than that provided in government-run Medicare, and imposes price controls on MA plans, limiting their ability to offer innovative benefit packages. This policy would encourage plans to keep seniors sick, rather than manage their chronic disease.

The bill also gives the Secretary blanket authority to reject “any or every bid by an MA organization,” as well as any bid by a carrier offering private Part D Medicare prescription drug coverage, giving federal bureaucrats the power to eliminate the MA program entirely—by rejecting all plan bids for nothing more than the arbitrary reason that an Administration wishes to force the 10 million beneficiaries enrolled in MA back into traditional, government-run Medicare against their will.
Tax Increases

Government-Forced Insurance Penalties: Offsetting payments to finance the government takeover of health care would include taxes on individuals not complying with the mandate to purchase coverage, as well as taxes and payments by businesses associated with the “pay-or-play” mandate.

Taxes on Small Businesses: The bill also imposes a new 5.4 percent “surtax” on individuals with incomes over incomes over $500,000 and families with incomes greater than $1 million. The tax would apply beginning in 2011. As more than half of all high-income filers are small businesses, this provision would cripple small businesses and destroy jobs during a deep recession.

Taxes on Health Plans: The bill prohibits the reimbursement of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals from Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Medical Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and increases the penalties for non-qualified HSA withdrawals from 10 percent to 20 percent, effective in 2011. Because these savings vehicles are tax-preferred, adopting this prohibition would raise taxes by $8.2 billion over ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

H.R. 3962 would place a cap on FSA contributions, beginning in 2012; contributions could only total $2,500 per year, subject to annual adjustments linked to the growth in general (not medical) inflation. Members may be concerned that these provisions would first raise taxes, and second—by imposing additional restrictions on health savings vehicles popular with tens of millions of Americans—undermines the promise that “If you like your current coverage, you can keep it.” At least 8 million individuals hold insurance policies eligible for HSAs, and millions more participate in FSAs. All these individuals would be subject to additional coverage restrictions—and tax increases—under this provision.

The bill also repeals the current-law tax deductibility of subsidies provided to companies offering prescription drug companies to retirees. Many may be concerned that this provision would lead to companies dropping their current coverage as a result.

Taxes on Health Products: Finally, H.R. 3962 would impose a 2.5 percent excise tax on medical devices, beginning in 2013. Many may echo the concerns of the Congressional Budget Office and other independent experts, who have confirmed that this tax would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices—and ultimately higher premiums.
Budgetary Gimmicks

Unpaid-For Doctor Fix: While the Democrats claim their bill is now deficit-neutral, the majority also introduced a separate piece of stand-alone legislation (H.R. 3961). The more than $200 billion cost of this legislation is not paid for, thus adding hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit spending and interest costs to the federal debt. Many may also note that the Congressional Budget Office recently analyzed similar legislation (S. 1776) as raising Medicare premiums by $70 billion.

Long-Term Care Program: The bill includes a new program for long-term care services that provides a benefit of at least $50 per day to individuals unable to perform certain functions of daily living. As the long-term care program requires individuals to contribute five years’ worth of premiums before becoming eligible for benefits, the program would find its revenue over the first ten years diverted to finance other spending in Democrats’ health care “reform.” However, the Congressional Budget Office, in analyzing similar provisions included in Section 191 of legislation considered by the Senate HELP Committee, found that “if the Secretary did not modify the program to improve its actuarial soundness, the program would add to future federal budget deficits in a large and growing fashion beginning a few years beyond the 10-year budget window.” As even Democrats such as Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) have called the program a “Ponzi scheme,” many may find any legislation that relies upon such a program to maintain “deficit-neutrality” fiscally irresponsible and not credible.

Democrats KNOW Their ‘You Can Keep Your Current Health Coverage’ Line Is A Lie

September 27, 2009

I’m sure that you’ve heard Barack Obama, congressional Democrats, and their media propagandists say over and over again that if you like your current health coverage, you can keep it.

Last Thursday, as the Senate Finance Committee was marking up the Baucus version of the bill, Sen. Orrin Hatch tested the sincerity and integrity of the Democrats by offering this incredibly simple amendment:

The purpose of this amendment is simple. If the secretary of Health and Human Services certifies that more than 1 million Americans would lose the current coverage of their choice because of this bill, then this bill would not go into effect.

It seems like a very, very simple but perfect amendment for those of us who have integrity. This amendment is simply trying to safeguard President Obama’s pledge to the American people, you’ll get — that you will get to keep what you have.

And the Democrats failed the test.

Every single Democrat in the Finance Committee voted against it.  Every single one.

As Powerline put it:

One of President Obama’s mantras with regard to the Democrats’ health care proposal (whatever it turns out to be) is that if you like your present health insurance coverage, you will get to keep it. More recently, when the fraudulent nature of that pledge was revealed, he changed the formula to “the bill won’t require you to lose your coverage.” That’s right; it won’t require you to lose your coverage, it will just cause you to lose your coverage.

Don’t think for a second Democrats and President Obama don’t know what a pack of liars they are.

Last Sunday, Barack Obama proved that he is a liar by refusing to call what is clearly a tax a tax.  And Obama’s own hometown newspaper proves the obvious.

Last Tuesday, the Democrat-approved Congressional Budget Office laid out Obama’s lie that Medicare would not be cut:

Congress’ chief budget officer on Tuesday contradicted President Barack Obama’s oft-stated claim that seniors wouldn’t see their Medicare benefits cut under a health care overhaul.

The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, told senators that seniors in Medicare’s managed care plans could see reduced benefits under a bill in the Finance Committee.

The bill would cut payments to the Medicare Advantage plans by more than $100 billion over 10 years.

The Democrats’ shocking deceit – and Barack Obama’s own personal deceptions and lies – are incredible.  They will literally say ANYTHING to get their terrible plan passed.

The biggest Democrat lie of all is the one that they tried to use to justify their takeover of health care in the first place: that they could cover nearly 50 million more people with better care while saving money.  People with common sense knew it was a blatant lie even before all the various iterations and deceptions came out.  It was simply transparently false from the outset.

Please don’t trust these liars to take over 1/6th of the U.S. economy during a period when the economy is already in deep trouble.  And please don’t turn the lives of seniors over to a plan that will literally kill many of them.

Obama And The HUGE Health Care Tax That He Simply Refuses To Call A Tax

September 21, 2009

At the Oct. 7 presidential debate, Barack Obama said, “If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year, you will not see a single dime of your taxes go up. If you make $200,000 a year or less, your taxes will go down.”

I point this out so that you realize that Obama supports your (note: use any word but “taxes” here) going up by 85800 dimes if your family makes $66,000 a year.  More on that later.

And as part of my “I told you so” moment, allow me to cite my October 2008 article entitled “Obama-Biden Will Come After Middle Class With Taxes.”

Our Narcissist-in-Chief appeared on five Sunday morning political talk show programs to sell the current iteration of ObamaCare.  During his time with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” there was this exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were against the individual mandate…

OBAMA: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: …during the campaign. Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t

How is that not a tax?

OBAMA: Well, hold on a second, George. Here — here’s what’s happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average — our families — in higher premiums because of uncompensated care. Now what I’ve said is that if you can’t afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn’t be punished for that. That’s just piling on.

If, on the other hand, we’re giving tax credits, we’ve set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we’ve driven down the costs, we’ve done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you’ve just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that’s…

STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it’s still a tax increase.

OBAMA: No. That’s not true, George. The — for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase.

People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy…

OBAMA: No, but — but, George, you — you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase. Any...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here’s the…

OBAMA: What — what — if I — if I say that right now your premiums are going to be going up by 5 or 8 or 10 percent next year and you say well, that’s not a tax increase; but, on the other hand, if I say that I don’t want to have to pay for you not carrying coverage even after I give you tax credits that make it affordable, then…

STEPHANOPOULOS: I — I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary: Tax — “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but…

OBAMA: …what you’re saying is…

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that.

Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.

This little chunk of dialogue should show anyone what a truly disingenuous little weasel Barack Obama truly is.

Let’s start with the “critics say it is a tax increase” part that Obama deceitfully jumped all over.  Obama’s answer makes it seem that all the people characterizing the “individual mandate” as a “tax increase” are rightwing Republican loons.  But – to allude to Joe Wilson’s famous outburst – Obama lies.

It’s not just conservatives who are calling it a tax increase.  Senator Max Baucus, the author of the Senate bill – HIMSELF calls it a tax increase, as the Politico article entitled, “Baucus bill calls individual mandate a tax, Obama says it isn’t” kind of proves.

And it isn’t just Max Baucus who calls it a tax.  The bill itself calls it a tax:

Page 29, sentence one of the bill introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) says: “The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax.”

And just in case someone wants to argue that Obama wasn’t familiar with the details of the Baucus bill because it’s so recent (in which case an honest man would have simply kept his mouth shut), allow me to refer to the House bill that has been around for months:

From HR 3200, page 167, line 15:

What the bill says, pages 167-168, section 401, TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE:

‘‘(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—

(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over

(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer. . . .”

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGE:

1. This section amends the Internal Revenue Code.

2. Anyone caught without acceptable coverage and not in the government plan will pay a special tax.

3. The IRS will be a major enforcement mechanism for the plan.

And if that isn’t enough to convince someone that Obama is flat-out lying to the American people, let’s go back to his days on the campaign trail to see that he very much knew that his health care agenda was going to cost huge money that would require heavy taxation:

So the “notion” that Obama “absolutely rejects” is absolutely true.  It’s Obama who is lying.

And fortunately, at least some part of the mainstream media realizes it.  In their article entitled, “FACT CHECK: Coverage requirement enforced with tax,” the Associated Press begins by saying:

WASHINGTON – Memo to President Barack Obama: It’s a tax.

So when Obama says, “My critics say everything is a tax increase.”  And, “My critics say I’m taking over every sector of the economy,” maybe people will finally start to trust us when we tell them that everything he’s proposing IS a tax increase, and he really IS taking over every sector of the economy.

You just can’t trust this guy.  He’s the kind of fellow who would candy-coat cow pies and sell them by the dozen.

Let’s look at just how disingenuous and deceitful Obama is as he tries to sell his lie.  He says to Stephanopoulos:

“No, but — but, George, you — you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.”

And so Stephanopoulos – perfectly reasonably – referred to the dictionary to demonstrate that he was hardly “making up language” as Obama had just falsely claimed:

“I — I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary: Tax — ‘a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.'”

And you can just wrap up every lie, every fallacy, every disinformation tactic, every pile of crap, ever uttered by this Weasel-in-Chief in this one amazing rhetoric:

“George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition.”

So Obama begins by saying that the notion that the government mandate on individuals being “tax increase” is “made-up language”, and then tries to say that referring to a dictionary and documenting that it is clearly NOT made up language somehow demonstrates the opposite of what it in fact clearly demonstrates.

This is a president who truly believes that you are stupid.

Now that we’ve pointed out that 1) Obama is a liar who 2) thinks you’re stupid and that 3) it clearly IS a tax increase, let us see just how huge of a tax increase that Obama wants to foist on the sea of drooling idiots he calls America.

Under the section entitled, “Would there be an individual mandate?” Time Magazine answers:

Yes. Beginning in 2013, individuals would be required to have health insurance. Individuals and families who do not have insurance for more than three months in a given year would be subject to an annual excise tax of $750 and $1,500, respectively, if their income is below 300% of the federal poverty line (or $66,150 for a family of four). Tax penalties for individuals and families with incomes above that would be $950 and $3,800. The excise tax would be waived for Native Americans and individuals and families whose health-insurance costs would be more than 10% of their annual income.

George Will brings that paragraph into sharp focus in the discussion that followed Obama’s appearance, saying:

“And this week, George, something immense happened, and that is we got a big number. Actually, we got a little number. We deal with hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars in talking about this. The number that came out this week is 13 percent.

They said 13 percent of a family’s income, a family making $66,000 a year, about $15,000 over the median income, about 13 percent of their income under this plan would go for health care, not counting co-payments and not counting deductibles.”

That’s right.  The tax increase that Obama deceitfully refuses to call a tax increase (because that would expose his even more fundamental lie that he would LOWER TAXES for people making less than $200,000 a year) would cost a family making $66,000 a year a whopping $8,500 bucks – not counting co-op payments or deductibles.

That’s 85,850 dimes for those of you who bought Obama’s campaign promise.

So we’re not just talking about a giant lie; we’re talking about an incredibly expensive lie.  Quite possibly the most expensive lie in American political history.

Barack Obama is a man who literally began his presidential run with a lie:

MR. RUSSERT: But, but—so you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?

SEN. OBAMA: I will not.

As another gigantic lie, Obama promised that he would accept federal matching funds if John McCain did (which McCain kept his word and did).  In rejecting federal matching funds, Obama became the first candidate to reject such funds.  After hypocritically and self-righteously praising the federal matching funds system as “limiting the corrupting influence of money on the race.”

Obama is even worse than a liar. He is a deceiver; he carefully crafts a story with just enough of the truth in it to fool you so you will buy a whole package of lies.

An awful lot of people who voted for Obama or who are supporting his health care plan are going to find themselves very, very shocked if Obama gets anything close to his way.

Don’t believe this president who was against individual mandates before he was for them.  And don’t forget his amazing lie that a huge tax increase isn’t a tax increase.