ObamaCare

With Shutdown, Your Pain is Obama’s Gain

At the time of this writing, there seems to be some movement on the “government “shutdown” (the shutdown in which 83% of government continues to operate), mainly in the form of Republicans regrouping yet again to come up with yet another offer for Obama, every one of which he has thus far rejected, demanding the GOP unilaterally surrender before he will he “talk” with Republicans about issues concerning them, like a monstrous and growing national debt, entitlement spending which pushes America into bankruptcy, and Obamacare, which has been disastrous (to use CBS News’ description) and which is killing jobs and raising health insurance costs drastically.

Why would Republicans continue to negotiate against themselves, when it is Republicans who have fulfilled their constitutional obligations by passing four major appropriations bills and a dozen or so “mini-CR’s” (smaller Continuing Resolutions to fund every operation of government except Obamacare)? That would be because Obama and his media lapdogs continue to spin this as a “Republican” shutdown, regardless of the fact that it is the Democrat-controlled Senate which has refused to vote on these bills, demanding House Republicans pass a single, massive bill to fund ALL of government, including Obamacare.

With Republicans negotiating against themselves so often in trying to find an offer Obama would accept, it might make one wonder why we are still at an impasse, and why Obama still refuses to negotiate with them at all. In order to understand that, you first have to understand that Obama, all the way back to his pot-smoking college days, has been a disciple of leftist radical Saul Alinksy, who wrote the guidebook for other leftist radicals hell bent on destroying the social order.

Replacing ObamaCare: Republican Answer to Pre-Existing Conditions

This is the final post exploring the Republican Study Committee’s proposal for replacing ObamaCare.

The Republican Study Committee’s recently introduced comprehensive health care proposal titled the American Health Care Reform Act of 2013 (AHCRA), H.R. 3121, repeals ObamaCare and offers the best set of proposals to date toward establishing a Republican consumer-driven health care narrative.  Its core features include the Standard Deduction for Health Insurance, which would unchain the tax advantages for purchasing health insurance from employer-sponsored coverage, and its HSA enhancements to to unleash the power of the market in combating the skyrocketing costs of care and empower individuals to control their own medical savings and expenses.

AHCRA also includes a number of crucial market reforms that can answer some of the basic questions like “How do you address pre-existing condition exclusions without outright banning them like in ObamaCare?” or “If I can’t get coverage on an ObamaCare exchange, what would my options be?”  These proposals are important steps in showing that the federal government can act in unintrusive ways to improve the pre-ObamaCare health coverage landscape, and without the endless and heavy-handed stockpile of mandates that define ObamaCare’s failures.

Some of the highlights include:

Beware the Obamacare concern trolls

Ezra Klein

While it was a coincidence that the Obamacare insurance exchange website launched on October 1, the same day the partial federal government shutdown began, there have been few coincidences since. It is thus no twist of fate that many prominent liberals seem to be worried that the GOP is wasting an opportunity to criticize the failure of the exchange roll-out. This is concern trolling at its transparent worst.

The most blatant example comes from a usual source of concern trolling, Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. In a “Wonkblog” piece titled “Five thoughts on the Obamacare disaster” (bait deployed), the first three of those “thoughts” are overt criticisms of the law and its implementation so far (bait taken). Then Klein gets to the GOP’s “missed opportunity” (reeling in):

Their decision to shut down the government on the exact day the health-care law launched was a miracle for the White House. If Republicans had simply passed a clean-CR on Oct. 1 these last few weeks would’ve been nothing — nothing at all — save for coverage of the health-care law’s disaster. Instead the law has been knocked off the front page by coverage of the Republican Party’s disaster.

Covered California’s ObamaCare Exchange Fail

Covered California fail

The San Jose Mercury News reported this weekend that two weeks after the now infamous debacle that was the ObamaCare exchange rollout, California’s new pride and joy still doesn’t offer a way to find out which doctors and hospitals are included in each health plan:

The website tool designed to help shoppers cross-reference tens of thousands of doctors and hundreds of hospitals that belong to the networks of Covered California’s 12 insurance providers finally launched last week after earlier promises that it would be available on Oct. 1, the day similar exchanges opened for business nationwide under the new federal health care law.

But when it finally appeared on Tuesday, a hard-to-find online tool was only in place about 48 hours before it was removed from the site because of what exchange officials called “uneven” performance.

Hmmm.  This is the same “Covered California” that cost $313 million to develop, funded almost entirely with federal taxpayer dollars (thank you, everyone not living in CA).  The same site that originally boasted of 5 million hits on launch day, only to later admit that the real number was actually 645,000.  The same folks who described the overstatement of nearly 4.5 million hits as an “error,” “the result of an internal miscommunication,” and the always golden “someone misspoke.”

A Federated Approach Toward a Federated Approach

a fellow contributor here at United Liberty, wrote an interesting piece yesterday about the wisdom of not passing an all-encompassing federal budget, even in light of the chaos currently surrounding the shutdown over what gets passed as a continuing resolution and what, in the case of Obamacare, gets funded at all.

Some have argued that mandating the passage of a federal budget — and by “mandate” I mean actually tied to consequences for not doing so — is one way to prevent future shutdowns. But as DesOrmeaux argues, this may not be the most effective way to skin — or herd — a cat:

Many say we have to be responsible and pass a real budget. But the truth is the concept of a single federal budget is actually pretty new. While the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 created the first federal budget process, it wasn’t until the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 that the current version of mandatory budget proposals and resolutions was adopted. For the 150-200 years before that, all federal funding was appropriated with specific bills for programs or departments.

Passing a federal budget is neither necessary nor wise

budget

As the partial federal government shutdown enters its second week, the calls for a “grand bargain” to solve all and sundry income and revenue issues have returned. The idea that Congress should pass a single, all-encompassing budget, even a balanced one, is a collective mental plague spread by inertia that must be eradicated.

Congress has not passed a full budget to fund the federal government since April 2009. Since then, unable to reach a deal on a full budget, spending has been controlled by successive continuing resolutions, adjusting total government funding levels for short periods of weeks or months each time.

Many say we have to be responsible and pass a real budget. But the truth is the concept of a single federal budget is actually pretty new. While the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 created the first federal budget process, it wasn’t until the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 that the current version of mandatory budget proposals and resolutions was adopted. For the 150-200 years before that, all federal funding was appropriated with specific bills for programs or departments.

Government Shuts Down, Nobody Notices

As has become an increasingly frequent occurrence of late, it seems Obama, the supposed political genius, has once again misplayed his hand. Emboldened by the knowledge that he has an army of uninformed voters supporting him, and a compliant and sycophantic media spinning and deflecting any bad news that might harm him, Obama had little worry that he would win the Battle of the Continuing Resolution. After all, time after time, Republicans have been terrified of standing firm on principle, fearing voter backlash as Obama, the Democrats, and the media successfully painted them as racist, obstructionist, greedy, and heartless.

Until an odd thing happened; despite leadership’s attempts to give in to Obama’s every demand, rank and file House Republicans, and even a few in the Senate, defied their leadership and welcomed a battle over Obama’s latest red line; namely, the budget. Now, as happened with his Syrian red line, Obama has an unexpected fight on his hands, and rather than the thoughtful, deliberative actions of a man who stands on the moral high ground, Obama has revealed himself as a petty, vindictive tyrant, desperate to maintain the illusion that Big Government is essential to our lives.

However, like with the sequester, it seems that the only people who’ve noticed that the government is shut down is the political class, the media, and the 800,000 or so “non-essential” federal employees that are now sitting at home (including 1,265 White House staffers!).

The answer to government shutdown is less federal power, not more

In the wake of the now five-day long federal government partial shutdown, center-left pundits have wasted no time calling for drastic changes to the republic.

In the Washington Post, Dylan Matthews openly called for fascism:

Max Weber, in conversation with Gen. Erich Ludendorff, advanced my personal favorite theory of democracy: “In a democracy the people choose a leader in whom they trust. Then the chosen leader says, ‘Now shut up and obey me.’ ” People and party are then no longer free to interfere in his business.

Max Fisher, also in the Post, called for monarchy:

You might find yourself wishing that the United States could follow Australia’s example: Fire everyone in Congress, hold snap elections next month and restart from scratch. But we can’t, because we haven’t recognized the British monarchy or had a London-appointed governor -general in more than two centuries. Maybe, if we ask nicely, Britain will take us back?

The New Republic suggested the President dissolve Congress and then attack it:

Almost exactly 20 years ago, he dissolved parliament. The vice president and the speaker of the parliament dissolved Yeltsin’s presidency, and holed up with their supporters in the parliament’s headquarters, now known as “the White House.”

Then Yeltsin [sent in the tanks].

ObamaCare Mocks Youthful Idealism

Back in 2012, President Obama gave a speech in Roanoke, Virginia wherein he uttered some now famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) words:

…look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

Covered less — although not that much less in conservative and libertarian circles — was another statement he made in the same speech: his proposition that the wealthy “pay a little bit more” in taxes to “give something back”.

Replacing ObamaCare: Republican Alternative Expands HSA Access

RSC ObamaCare Alternative

This is the second in a multi-part series exploring the Republican Study Committee’s proposal for replacing ObamaCare.

As we reach the climax of the CR stalemate centered around ObamaCare, the debate will eventually have to shift away from the endless evils of government-driven health care and toward the redeeming power of free-market forces.  Fortunately, the Republican Study Committee recently introduced a comprehensive health care proposal titled the American Health Care Reform Act of 2013 (AHCRA).  The bill, H.R. 3121, both repeals ObamaCare and offers the best set of proposals to date toward establishing a consumer-driven health care narrative for replacing ObamaCare.

Last week I addressed AHCRA’s first core principle, the Standard Deduction for Health Insurance (SDHI), which would unchain the tax advantages for purchasing health insurance from employer-sponsored coverage.  This post focuses on the benefits of enhancing the health savings account (HSA) to unleash the power of the market in combating the skyrocketing costs of care.

HSA Provides Triple-Tax Advantage


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