As if there weren’t already enough reasons to hope Newt Gingrich never becomes President, here comes another one: He says that he has no regrets about having supported the Medicare prescription drug benefit even though that program now presents the federal government with a $7.2 trillion unfunded liability.
In a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on March 14, the Obama administration argued that the court should deny a request to bypass the appeals process and hear directly a case involving the constitutionality of ObamaCare.
On January 31, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida ruled that President Barack Obama’s healthcare law is unconstitutional, essentially halting implementation of the law. However, on March 3 he issued a stay of his own ruling, thus allowing implementation of the law to proceed.
The Associated Press reports that President Barack Obama made “a concession over his divisive health care overhaul” during a February 28 address to state governors. The “concession” was a mild one indeed: Instead of forcing states to wait until 2017 to opt out of ObamaCare, Obama will allow them to opt out beginning in 2014, the year the individual mandate takes effect.
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Lloyd M. Krieger argues that while the Republicans in Congress are right to seek the repeal or defunding of ObamaCare, “the law has already yielded profound, destructive changes that will not be undone by repeal or defunding alone.” These changes, he says, can only be reversed by “active steps and new laws.”
The obvious lesson to be gleaned from the last election is that Americans are unhappy with the policies of the Democratic Party in general and President Barack Obama in particular, especially in regard to Obama’s monumental federal takeover of the healthcare system. To a typically egocentric politician such as Obama, however, the problem lies not with his policies themselves but with those doltish voters who just don’t understand and appreciate the blessings his policies are bestowing upon them.
ObamaCare was marketed to the American people as healthcare reform — something that would ensure that everyone could obtain health insurance and never lose it. It was most certainly not sold to us as a package of tax increases, especially considering that candidate Barack Obama had made “a firm pledge” that under his administration “no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”
Prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as ObamaCare, the Congressional Budget Office issued an analysis of the bill stating that it would result in a reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion between 2010 and 2019. This projected deficit reduction was never very convincing. It relied on politically untenable cuts in Medicare and Medicaid physician reimbursement — cuts that have already been forestalled for another year by Congress and the President. It counted as savings minor reductions in enormous future outlays. It was skewed because the tax increases in the bill began almost immediately while much of the spending — including, for example, a long-term at-home healthcare benefit that the CBO projected would “add to future federal budget deficits in a large and growing fashion” — will not commence for several years. And it did not include $115 billion in probable additional spending because of the speed with which the bill was rammed through Congress. (Most of these matters were raised by Richard Foster, chief Medicare actuary, in a pair of reports, one during the congressional debate on the bill and one last August.)
Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have said, quite presciently, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Americans found out in a big way during the 20th century that they could rob their neighbors via the voting booth. And senior citizens, among the most regular and outspoken voters, made sure they got the lion’s share of the loot with two huge entitlement programs: Medicare and Social Security.
Back in September, when Republicans first floated the idea of starving the ObamaCare beast, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argued that "what the Republicans will be faced with" when they try to defund ObamaCare "is really taking those benefits away," something the Obama administration was counting on to be a losing proposition for the GOP. The "benefits" to which Sebelius was referring include such things as the prohibition of denying health insurance to persons with pre-existing conditions, the extension of dependent coverage for children up to age 26, and the ban on lifetime coverage caps.