Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced a new “wellness program” for all city employees and their spouses (or domestic partners or civil-union spouses). “Our program will change lives, make our workforce healthier, and save taxpayers money,” Emanuel said.
The program, called Chicago Lives Healthy, is technically voluntary; but those refusing to participate in it will be penalized $50 a month per covered adult. In other words, it’s only voluntary if a couple wants to forego $1,200 a year.
Despite assertions by the Obama administration that the Affordable Care Act will save money, the Congressional Budget Office has determined that large increases in Medicare and Medicaid outlays as a result of ObamaCare will cause healthcare spending to skyrocket — surpassing discretionary spending by 2016. The Tax Foundation has called this a “truly unprecedented and scary” scenario.
ObamaCare may not have passed in March of 2010 had it not been for several swing voters, such as former Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak, who lead the pro-life Democrats in efforts against the healthcare law virtually up until the time of the vote. Stupak’s vote was swayed by a last minute deal with President Obama that put Stupak’s fears of federally-funded abortions at ease. In order for President Obama to secure the much-needed pro-life Democrats’ votes that were required to pass the law, Obama agreed to sign an Executive Order that stated abortions would not be financed through ObamaCare.
“Is ObamaCare a government takeover of medicine?” That’s the question Forbes contributor Carolyn McClanahan posed in a recent blog post, as she attempted to quell “misconceptions” about the President’s Affordable Care Act, while promoting key aspects of the law. McClanahan concedes the law is far from perfect, but that it is “the most significant attempt our country has ever made at reforming our costly and inefficient health care system.”
McClanahan attempts to belittle those ObamaCare opponents who allege, “If the government has one iota of involvement in any form, it is a government takeover.” But while President Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul may not establish a single-payer healthcare system, it has authorized the government to take over crucial aspects of the system, so analysts can arguably conclude that the law has ignited a “government takeover.”