Obamacare, the White House, and SCOTUS
Few legal cases in the modern era are as consequential, or as defining, as the challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court hears beginning Monday. The powers that the Obama Administration is claiming change the structure of the American government as it has existed for 225 years. Thus has the health-care law provoked an unprecedented and unnecessary constitutional showdown that endangers individual liberty.
It is a remarkable moment. The High Court has scheduled the longest oral arguments in nearly a half-century: five and a half hours, spread over three days. Yet Democrats, the liberal legal establishment and the press corps spent most of 2010 and 2011 deriding the government of limited and enumerated powers of Article I as a quaint artifact of the 18th century. Now even President Obama and his staff seem to grasp their constitutional gamble.
Consider a White House strategy memo that leaked this month, revealing that senior Administration officials are coordinating with liberal advocacy groups to pressure the Court. "Frame the Supreme Court oral arguments in terms of real people and real benefits that would be lost if the law were overturned," the memo notes, rather than "the individual responsibility piece of the law and the legal precedence [sic]." Those nonpolitical details are merely what "lawyers will be talking about."
The White House is even organizing demonstrations during the proceedings, including a "'prayerful witness' encircling the Supreme Court." The executive branch is supposed to speak to the Court through the Solicitor General, not agitprop and crowds in the streets
The political tactics the White House is trying to use reminded me of this quote by Ann Coulter: “liberals don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘fact’ or ‘truth.’ Everything is a struggle for power between rival doctrines.” Apparently the rule of law isn’t too high on their list either.
Obamacare: The reckoning
….Serendipitously, the recently issued regulation on contraceptive coverage has allowed us to see exactly how this new power works. All institutions — excepting only churches, but not excepting church-run charities, hospitals, etc. — will be required to offer health care that must include free contraception, sterilization and drugs that cause abortion.
Consider the cascade of arbitrary bureaucratic decisions that resulted in this edict:
(1) Contraception, sterilization and abortion pills are classified as medical prevention. On whose authority? The secretary of health and human services, invoking the Institute of Medicine. But surely categorizing pregnancy as a disease equivalent IS A VALUE DECISION DISGUISED AS SCIENCE. If contraception is prevention, what are fertility clinics? Disease inducers? And if contraception is prevention because it lessens morbidity and saves money, by that logic, mass sterilization would be the greatest boon to public health since the pasteurization of milk.
(2) This type of prevention is free — no co-pay. Why? Is contraception morally superior to or more socially vital than — and thus more of a “right” than — penicillin for a child with pneumonia?
(3) “Religious” exemptions to this edict extend only to churches, places where the faithful worship God, and not to church-run hospitals and charities, places where the faithful do God’s work. Who promulgated this definition, so stunningly ignorant of the very idea of religious vocation? The almighty HHS secretary.
Today, it’s the Catholic Church whose free-exercise powers are under assault from this cascade of diktats sanctioned by — indeed required by — Obamacare. Tomorrow it will be the turn of other institutions of civil society that dare stand between unfettered state and atomized citizen.
Rarely has one law so exemplified the worst of the Leviathan state — grotesque cost, questionable constitutionality and arbitrary bureaucratic coerciveness. Little wonder the president barely mentioned it in his latest State of the Union address. He wants to be reelected. He’d rather talk about other things.
But there’s no escaping it now. Oral arguments begin Monday at 10 a.m…
A powerful piece by Charles Krauthammer regarding the issues with Obamacare. I highlighted this one but there is more to read and I recommend you do so.
Obamacare: Business Concerns
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will begin three days of hearings over the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The court has a variety of choices it can make with this 2,000-page behemoth of a law: It can strike it down entirely, it can excise the individual mandate as an unconstitutional intrusion on individual rights, or it can leave it intact.
For employers, none of the above will offer complete relief from the law’s many intended and unintended effects. For a few of the biggest headaches employers need to think about I spoke with Chantel Speaks, principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox unit that advises employers on human resources and healthcare insurance issues.
Obamacare doesn’t really go into effect until 2014 but employers are already wrestling with its rules — such as the requirement they cover children up to age 26 on employer policies — and there myriad more effects that are either unknown or can only be guessed at. Here are some Sheaks says every employer should be concerned about:
- Should I Continue To Offer Coverage? The law encourages states to set up “insurance exchanges” where anybody can buy health insurance as part of a large group, ostensibly at a lower cost. The premiums will even come with a subsidy for households earning up to 400% of the poverty level, or over $88,000 for a family of four. So why not just drop coverage and let the government pick up the cost? “Everyone says, `I don’t want to be the first, but I don’t mind being the second,’ to drop coverage” Sheaks says….
It’s a lot more complicated that Washington would care to admit and in that complexity is the question, “did Obama lie when he said, ‘if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.’”
The Mother of all Death Panels
…Seven House Democrats crossed the aisle to vote for the GOP-majority rollback. Analysts on both sides of the political aisle have decried IPAB’s complete lack of accountability and insulation from judicial review. Critical decisions about public and private health-insurance payment rates would be freed from the normal administrative-rules process — public notice, public comment, public review — that governs every other federal commission in existence. Rep. Todd Akin (R., Mo.) summed up bipartisan opposition: “IPAB embodies the very thing Americans fear most about Obamacare — unaccountable Washington bureaucrats meeting behind closed doors to make unilateral decisions that should be made by patients and their doctors.”
The problem with piecemeal repeal is that for every old IPAB, there’s a new, multibillion-dollar bureaucracy waiting in the Obamacare wings. Senate Republicans and fellow medical doctors Tom Coburn and John Barrasso point to a $10 billion entity called the “Innovation Center” that “would test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures under Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program” (S-CHIP).
According to a new Congressional Research Service analysis of this little-known office to be operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, there would be “no administrative or judicial review” of the director’s payment experiments. Coburn and Barrasso explain that “this means that the administrator of CMS is the sole individual in the entire federal government with the power to decide whether or not models tested negatively impact seniors’ quality of care and meet the financial requirements spelled out in law.”
This “innovation” super-czar would be allowed to tinker behind closed doors — and then impose whatever experiments the “Innovation Center” chose, without any checks or balances on the methods or results. Moreover, at least two other sub-offices within CMS (subject to normal open-meetings and open-records rules) have already been tasked with researching payment and delivery models. At National Review Online’s health-care blog, Critical Condition, Tevi Troy warns: “The ‘innovation’ center appears to be one more way in which the health-care law is going to interfere with the practice of medicine, and one that physicians should start paying more attention to.”…
Obamacare is anti-democratic, anti-freedom, and anti-accountability. In short it is the perfect dream for progressive “experts.”
Comprehensive List of Tax Hikes in Obamacare
Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on an historic repeal of the Obamacare law. While there are many reasons to oppose this flawed government health insurance law, it is important to remember that Obamacare is also one of the largest tax increases in American history. Below is a comprehensive list of the two dozen new or higher taxes that pay for Obamcare’s expansion of government spending and interference between doctors and patients.
Individual Mandate Excise Tax(Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following…
This is an eye opening list of new taxes that go along with Obamacare. Guess who will be paying for these?