A Rough Week for ObamaCare

The bad news about ObamaCare came in a torrent this week with a new poll showing overwhelming opposition to the individual mandate, another court decision declaring it unconstitutional, information showing the administration suppressed information about the fiscally disastrous long-term care program in ObamaCare, new studies showing its adverse impact on job creation, new bills targeting repeal — and much more.

  • A new poll shows that the individual mandate is wildly unpopular.

    A poll released this week shows that 82% of Americans say the federal government should not have the power to require Americans to buy health care insurance. Among politically important independents, 87% say government should have no right to require insurance; 95% of Republicans agreed.

    The U.S. Supreme Court surely will take note as it considers its inevitable decision on the constitutionality of the individual mandate.

  • Federal judge in Pennsylvania rules that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

    The administration’s insistence that the individual mandate is authorized by the Constitution’s Commerce Clause was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Conner. Giving the mandate a “constitutional blessing would effectively sanction Congress’ exercise of police power under the auspices of the Commerce Clause,” he wrote.

    He also struck down the ban on considering pre-existing conditions and the requirement in ObamaCare that insurance companies be required to sell health insurance to anyone, anytime — even if they are on the way to the emergency room. Without the individual mandate, Conner wrote, “or some other source of subsidy, enforcement of these guaranteed issue and pre-existing conditions provisions will likely drive insurers from the market, threatening the stability of the health insurance market.”

  • CLASS Act a “recipe for disaster.”

    Congressional investigators released a report this week showing that government experts repeatedly warned that a new long-term care insurance plan in ObamaCare — the CLASS act — was a fiscal time bomb.

    Emails released on Thursday in a bicameral congressional report show that HHS was acutely aware the program was unsustainable and “suppressed this information from congressional leaders and the American people prior to the passage of the law, all in the effort to achieve phony savings to offset the bill’s massive spending and taxpayer-funded price tag,” the report said.

    One example: “Thirty-six years of (professional) experience lead me to believe that this program would collapse in short order and require significant federal subsidies to continue,” Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster told HHS officials when they were drafting the law. Foster said the program would have to enroll more than 230 million people — more than the U.S. workforce — to be financially feasible.

    The White House, HHS, and leaders in Congress nevertheless ignored the warnings of experts and jammed the program into the unpopular law.

  • Leading health systems who were the models for ObamaCare’s Accountable Care Organizations won’t participate in ObamaCare’s ACOs.

    In a blow to the administration, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Health System and Intermountain Healthcare — repeatedly touted as models for a new health care delivery system — say they will not apply to participate in the new federal ACO program. The rules are just too onerous and the bureaucratic hoops too high for them to succeed.

    Now the administration will have to depend upon several dozen other applicants, many untested affiliations without the decades of experience of these established systems in coordinating and managing care. This program is often touted by supporters of the law as key to future cost savings and its prospects dim by the day.

  • Grandfathering and MLR regs are in Congress’ sights.

    The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing yesterday on bills that would repeal two of ObamaCare’s regulations governing health insurance. I testified about the “grandfathering” rules that detail what existing health plans must do to keep their current plans and not be required to add expensive new federal mandated benefits.

    “The grandfathering rules box employers into a corner,” I said. “They cannot make changes, other than minor modifications, to their health plans to keep costs down without being forced to comply with expensive PPACA regulations that increase their health costs.” While most companies initially hoped they would be able to preserve much of their existing group health plans under the new grandfather provisions, numerous surveys show almost all will not be able to do so. “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan”? Apparently not.

  • Sen. Hatch introduces legislation to repeal the employer mandate.

    Sen. Hatch says that there isn’t bipartisan agreement on much in Congress, but there is bipartisan support for his bill to repeal the employer mandate “that’s stifling economic growth and job creation.” ObamaCare requires employers with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance to their employees and if they don’t, they will be forced to pay between $2,000 and $3,000 in penalties per worker. Repealing the mandate “would help hiring and spur economic growth,” he said.

    He’s right: The best thing that the Congress could do to spur job creation is to repeal ObamaCare.

  • Two new studies show that the law is killing jobs.

    Labor economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth, formerly of the Hudson Institute and newly affiliated with the Manhattan Institute, has produced two new studies showing the impact of ObamaCare on two specific industries: medical devices and franchise businesses. These studies demonstrate in detail how ObamaCare is a job killer.

    She found that “The new healthcare law will encourage franchise businesses to reduce employment and to hire part-time rather than full-time workers. The sector will have incentives to stop expanding due to increased penalties. This is the wrong direction for our economy and for millions of unemployed Americans.” The law will affect tens of thousands of franchise businesses, and more than 3.2 million full-time employees risk losing their jobs if the employer mandate is instituted, the study finds.

    And she found that the 2.3% excise tax on the medical device industry in the health law “could result in job losses in excess of 43,000 and employment compensation losses in excess of $3.5 billion.”

  • More people are in poverty and uninsured.

    The Census Bureau released its latest figures on Tuesday showing that 46 million Americans live in poverty — the highest number in the 52 years for which such estimates have been published. The number of poor increased by 2.6 million between 2009 and 2010, and the number of those without health insurance grew by nearly 1 million people.

This law can’t work. It is already leaving a wake of destruction. The sooner it is repealed, the better, so we can get on with the business of the right health reform that respects markets and freedom.

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Strategy of silence: And while all this was going on, the administration was remarkably silent on ObamaCare. I explain why in my piece in this month’s American Spectator. Rush Limbaugh spent most of a segment reading the piece during his program on Tuesday.


Will ObamaCare be More or Less Appealing before the Supreme Court? The Law & Economics of the Individual Mandate

At this American Enterprise Institute forum, distinguished constitutional law scholars and health policy researchers, including AEI’s Tom Miller, examined what we have learned thus far from the appellate litigation.
Watch now >>


Cutting the Red Tape: Saving Jobs from PPACA’s Harmful Regulations

Grace-Marie Turner
Testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, 09/15/11

Many employers said assurances that their health plans would be “grandfathered” was a key reason that led to their support or to their taking a neutral stance on passage of PPACA. Yet most will not be able to “keep the coverage they have now” because the regulations governing this provision are so onerous. They cannot make changes, other than minor modifications, to their health plans to keep costs down without violating the grandfathering regulations and therefore being forced to comply with expensive rules that increase their health costs. Health costs are a jobs issue. The administration recognizes that companies need relief from burdensome and expensive regulations that impact their competitiveness and their ability to generate the revenues they need to hire more workers. Withdrawing the grandfathering regulation would be a good place to start to give them that relief.

Read More »

Obama’s Strategy of Silence

Grace-Marie Turner
The American Spectator, 09/11

The White House is quietly implementing a shrewd new strategy of silence on Obamacare. Its goal: making sure the revolt against the unpopular health care overhaul that swept Republicans into power across the country in November 2010 isn’t repeated in 2012. After two years of nonstop focus on health care, the president has stopped talking about the law’s far-reaching effects. Now he is concentrating on a few micro changes. Meanwhile the administration is working hard to dampen controversy by handing out buckets of waivers and attacking Republicans over Medicare. Our country’s future will be determined by what happens in 2012. That’s why it is so crucially important that Obamacare not slip to a second-tier issue in the political debate. The threats to our liberty, our economy, and our future prosperity could not be greater.

Read More »

Washington Is Tightening Its Grip On Medical Decision-Making

Grace-Marie Turner
Forbes.com, 09/13/11

A new proposed CMS rule involving treatment for patients receiving kidney dialysis, and another decision regarding “competitive bidding” for medical devices are two recent examples of the trend toward greater government intrusion into medical decisions. These examples are only the tip of the iceberg of Washington’s micromanagement of health care decisions. Medical care increasingly can be personalized, even to medicines that fit a person’s individual genetic code. But these advances will be stopped cold if Washington continues its bureaucratization with one-size-fits-all medical decisions and misguided price-fixing.

Read More »


The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on the Franchise Industry
Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Amlan Banerjee, Hudson Institute, 09/11

Does Health Insurance and Seeing the Doctor Keep You Out of the Hospital?
Robert Kaestner and Anthony Lo Sasso, American Enterprise Institute, 09/13/11

Long-Term Care Plan Alarms Ignored
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, 09/14/11

‘Poster Boys’ Take A Pass On Pioneer ACO Program
Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health News/Politico Pro, 09/14/11

Fourth Circuit Rules, but Challenge to Obamacare Still Stands
Robert Alt, The Foundry, 09/08/11

Physician-Owned Hospitals
Spencer Harris and Brad Zarin, Texas Public Policy Foundation, 08/11

Opposition to broadening president’s economic power lessens, but 82% oppose government health insurance requirement
AP/National Constitution Center Poll, 09/13/11


The Case for Competition in Medicare
James C. Capretta, The Heritage Foundation, 09/12/11

Congress Should Not Undermine What Works in the Medicare Drug Benefit
James C. Capretta, The Heritage Foundation, 09/09/11

Lessons from the Physician Group Practice Demonstration — A Sobering Reflection
Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D., The New England Journal of Medicine, 09/14/11

Medicaid Block Grants and Consumer-Directed Health Care
Linda Gorman, National Center for Policy Analysis, 09/15/11

2012 Medicare Advantage premiums fall and projected enrollment rises
Department of Health and Human Services, 09/15/11


The Impact of Health Care Reform on Access to Biologics, Health Policy, and Managed Care: A Conversation with Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
Biotechnology Healthcare, Fall 2011

Anti-Vaccine Activists Apparently Immune To Science
Sally C. Pipes, Forbes.com, 09/12/11

Shared Value for Patients and Pharmaceutical Companies
Bartley J. Madden, SSRN, 06/20/11


Let’s Look at Romneycare
Doug Bandow, The DC Examiner, 09/12/11


HSAs, FSAs, HRAs: Which Consumer-Driven Health Care Option Should You Choose?
Victoria Craig Bunce, Council for Affordable Health Insurance, Updated for tax years 2011 and 2012

Answering Your Questions About Health Savings Accounts
Victoria Craig Bunce, Council for Affordable Health Insurance, 09/11


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.

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons 68th Annual Meeting
Sep 28, 2011 – Oct 1, 2011
Atlanta, GA
Grace-Marie Turner will speak about “Free Market Health Care Solutions – the proposals their prospects in DC” on Thursday, September 29.

St. Louis Association of Health Underwriters 2011 Symposium: Challenges & Solutions for Tomorrow
September 30, 2011
St. Louis, MO
Grace-Marie Turner will speak about “Challenges with the New Health Care Law.”