ObamaCare Can't Be Waived Away

Mitt Romney said again during the big GOP presidential debate Wednesday that one of his first acts as president would be to “put out an executive order granting a waiver from ObamaCare to all 50 states.”

Former Gov. Romney’s position is naïve and wrong. He can’t use an executive order to wipe out two massive new federal entitlement programs, $550 billion in new and higher taxes, $575 billion in cuts to Medicare, a vast expansion of Medicaid, and federal mandates on individuals, businesses, and the states. These must be repealed by Congress, and state waivers are simply not a solution. Rep. Bachmann was right in telling him so, and Politico wrote an article yesterday emphasizing that.

Gov. Perry’s qualified response was much better in saying he’d issue an executive order under which “ObamaCare will be wiped out as much as it can be.” But his repeated and strong emphasis on repeal is really the key.

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Important legislation passes! It’s becoming clear that the best way to get important legislation through Congress is by keeping it out of the partisan fray. Yesterday, the Senate approved the America Invents Act, a much-needed overhaul of the patent system, on an 89-9 vote. The same bill has already passed the House, and now it is on its way to President Obama’s desk, who has said he will sign it.

Foresighted leaders, such as Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, have been working for nearly a decade to get the legislation carefully drafted and enacted. While technology and inventions have been charging ahead at a dizzying pace, this is the first time in nearly six decades that Congress has made a major revision to the way patents are examined and issued. It’s high time. This is a big and important achievement.

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More ObamaCare blunders. More hidden consequences of ObamaCare are coming to light which will cause millions of unsuspecting people to suddenly lose their health insurance and explode the original cost estimates of ObamaCare.

Both involve the sloppiness and impossibility of masterminding a top-down overhaul of one-sixth of our economy by legislators and regulators who don’t trust consumers or market forces.

The newest “mistake” is explained in an article by David Hogberg of Investor’s Business Daily. He writes that “the statute specifies that insurance subsidies should be paid only to individuals enrolled ‘through an Exchange established by the state under [Section] 1311′ of the law.'”

We know, of course, that many states are refusing or delaying setting up their own exchanges. The law covers this by saying that if a state decides not to establish an Exchange, the federal government will establish one on states’ behalf — under authority granted in Section 1321(c) of ObamaCare.

“But the statute states that ONLY those enrolled in Exchanges established under Section 1311 are eligible for subsidies,” Hogberg writes.

“The Administration appears ready to ignore the law. Page 4 of the proposed premium subsidy regulation states that ‘a taxpayer is eligible for the [subsidy]…if the taxpayer is…enrolled in one or more qualified health plans through an Exchange established under Section 1311 or 1321‘ of Obamacare — despite the fact that the statute itself limits subsidy payments to individuals enrolled in Section 1311 Exchanges.”

This dovetails with another vexing problem in the law regarding individuals vs families being eligible for subsidies if an employer policy costs too much.

Under the health law, workers are eligible to receive taxpayer subsidies for health insurance if their employer plan is “unaffordable,” meaning that it costs more than 9.5% of their income for their share of the premium.

But what if it costs 20% of the worker’s salary to pay for the family plan? Too bad. The scorekeepers at the Congressional Budget Office assumed that the family wouldn’t be eligible for subsidized insurance if the individual policy was affordable to the worker.

The decision clearly was crucial to keeping the price tag of the total bill under the president’s $1 trillion limit, but it could leave families unable to buy affordable health insurance when the law requires it starting in 2014.

Liberal advocates are worried. Jocelyn Guyer, deputy executive director at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, said, “we’re going to have middle-class families extremely unhappy with [health care] reform in 2014, because they’ll basically be facing financial penalties for not buying coverage when they don’t have access to any affordable options.”

The (fictional) cost of ObamaCare could be kept under $1 trillion as long as they didn’t count all the people who would actually go into the exchanges. The costs of this monstrous law will explode and it is simply not affordable. It will blow the federal budget apart, is suffocating job creation, and will destroy the best medical care in the world. It MUST be repealed!

 

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States as “roving constitutional watchdogs.” Here is a link to a piece that I wrote yesterday for National Review after the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its non-opinion on two court challenges to ObamaCare in Virginia.

The court said that Virginia doesn’t have standing to challenge the law and its individual mandate. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli shot back with a noteworthy response:

“Contrary to the court’s suggestion, this suit has always been about vindicating the power of the Virginia General Assembly to legislate about a subject that has historically been viewed as falling within the areas the Constitution left to the states. Health, safety, and welfare issues have long been recognized as being part of the powers reserved to the states by the Constitution,” Cuccinelli said.

“In rejecting Virginia’s right to bring the action, the court said that allowing such suits would allow the states to serve as ‘roving constitutional watchdogs.’ This was exactly a role that the Founding Fathers planned for the states to have.”

Cuccinelli continued, “Not only does the court’s opinion reject the role of the states envisioned by the Constitution, it dismisses an act of the Virginia General Assembly — the Health Care Freedom Act — as a mere pretense or pretext. It is unfortunate that the court would be so dismissive of a piece of legislation that passed both houses of a divided legislature by overwhelming margins with broad, bipartisan support.”

Cuccinelli said he will appeal, but the real action now is with the US Supreme Court. It has a split between two appeals court decisions — the 6th in Cincinnati and the 11th in Atlanta — and that could set the stage for a hearing on the case in the coming session that starts next month.

CLIP OF THE WEEK

FreedomFest 2011: Grace-Marie Turner, “Why Obamacare Is Wrong for America” and Sally Pipes, “The Truth About Obamacare”

Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute and Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute take a critical look at the health overhaul law. The authors spoke at FreedomFest, a libertarian conference held annually in Las Vegas.
Watch now >>

 

 

GALEN IN THE NEWS

Fourth Circuit Doesn’t Rule on Obamacare’s Constitutionality

Grace-Marie Turner
National Review Online: Critical Condition, 09/08/11

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said yesterday that Virginia has no standing to challenge Obamacare’s individual mandate. In a second ruling issued at the same time, the Richmond court also said that Liberty University can’t challenge the law before the mandate goes into effect in 2014. This is not a victory for the Obama administration. But neither does it help those opposed to the law. Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli had argued that his state has standing because the federal health law conflicts with a state law protecting its citizens from Obamacare’s individual mandate, litigating on behalf of the rights of its citizens. The court disagreed: “When a state brings a suit seeking to protect individuals from a federal statute, it usurps this sovereign prerogative of the federal government and threatens the ‘general supremacy of federal law.'” The battles now move one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read More »

HEALTH REFORM

Employment Effects of the New Excise Tax on the Medical Device Industry
Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Harold Furchtgott-Roth, AdvaMed, 09/11

Competing To Save The Health-Care System Money
Sally C. Pipes, Forbes.com, 08/23/11

Bachmann schools rivals on ‘Obamacare’
Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico, 09/08/11

Spurring the market for high-tech home health care
Basel Kayyali, Zeb Kimmel, and Steve van Kuiken, McKinsey Quarterly, 09/11

Individual Mandate and Related Information Requirements under PPACA
David Newman, Congressional Research Service, 08/22/11

Employers Committed to Offering Health Care Benefits Today; Concerned About Viability of Insurance Exchanges
Towers Watson, 08/24/11

Romney vs. Perry: The Debate Over Health Care Reform
Merrill Matthews, Forbes: Right Directions, 09/08/11

Oops! No ObamaCare Tax Credit Via Federal Exchanges?
David Hogberg, Investor’s Business Daily, 09/07/11

Innovations in Patient Safety
America’s Health Insurance Plans, 08/11

Survey: Physician Opinions of the American Medical Association
Jackson and Coker, 09/11

MEDICARE AND MEDICAID

How Should Washington Control Medicare Spending?
Robert Moffit Ph. D. , Gail Wilensky, Ph.D. and James Capretta, The Heritage Foundation, 08/30/11

Democrats’ Plan B For Medicare: Medicare For All
Sally C. Pipes, Forbes.com, 09/07/11

A New Medicaid: A Flexible, Innovative and Accountable Future
Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, Health Care Task Force, 08/30/11

The Fog of Mediscare
Tevi Troy, Commentary Magazine, 09/11

A Trojan horse named IPAB
Dr. Hal Scherz, The Washington Times, 08/10/11

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Preventive Care, Obamacare Style
Robert M. Goldberg, The American Spectator: The Right Prescription, 08/24/11

STATE ISSUES

Texas and Health Care
The Wall Street Journal, 09/06/11

Whoops! ObamaCare Backers in Wisconsin Produce Report Showing That the Health Care Overhaul Will Make Health Insurance More Expensive
Peter Suderman, Reason: Hit and Run, 09/06/11

INTERNATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEMS

NHS makes patients wait ‘to lower expectations’
Martin Beckford and Kiri Little, The Telegraph, 09/04/11

Events

Changing Course: A Discussion on How to Turn the Economy Around
American Action Forum Event
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
8:30am – 11am
Washington, DC

Will ObamaCare be More or Less Appealing before the Supreme Court? The Law & Economics of the Individual Mandate
American Enterprise Institute Event
Thursday, September 15, 2011
8:45am – 10:30am
Washington, DC

Medicare Part D Drug Benefit: Five Years Later–Is It Working?
Hudson Institute Event
Thursday, September 15, 2011
12:00pm – 3:00pm
Washington, DC

Everything You Wanted To Know About ObamaCare Educational Workshop
Lehigh Valley Coalition for Health Care Reform Event
Saturday, September 17, 2011
1:00pm – 5:00pm
Center Valley, PA
Our new book, Why ObamaCare Is Wrong for America, will be on sale at this event.

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