Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’
Townhall.com published my latest column. Here are some excerpts:
As the new Congress, now controlled by Republicans in both houses, settles in for work in Washington D.C., there will be huge expectations from those on the Right. It will be important for Republicans to balance the “do-something” chorus and President Obama, who believes he can rule by veto-threat.
In addition to rolling back disasters like ObamaCare, Republicans should look at the next two years as a public relations battle, not just a legislative battle. Some on the right have said nothing short of a repeal of ObamaCare is good enough. However, there is a case to be made for small victories.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey often talks about the “Debt Snowball” principle. Rather than using the traditional method of paying off personal debt starting with the card with the highest interest rate, Ramsey suggests that you ignore the interest rates and start with the smallest debt. Then pay off the next smallest card, adding the previous debt’s minimum payment. Ramsey writes:
“The point of the debt snowball is behavior modification. In our example, if you start paying on the student loan first because it’s the largest debt, you won’t see it leave for a while. You’ll see numbers going down on a page, but that’s it. Pretty soon, you’ll lose steam and stop paying extra, but you’ll still have all your debts hanging around.
But when you ditch the small debt first, you see progress.”
This is what the Republican Congress needs: a few small victories to build momentum and show the American people that they can make progress.
As free-market conservatives, we have a lot of big goals, like repealing ObamaCare. However, we can’t let that cloud our appreciation and support for small victories like the Save American Workers Act and other legislation in American Encore’s Blueprint for 2015. These small victories can give us much-needed momentum that shows the American people that Republicans are committed to reform, not just rhetoric.
Read the entire piece here.
When Donald Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time,” he was roundly criticized. But it was true.
In war, life, and good governance, you must recognize reality and act within those conditions. You can’t sit around, twiddling your thumbs and wishing it were different.
An even larger mistake is the current liberal method of governance: reject reality and take action with the assumption that conditions will change because you reeeeaaally want them to and think they should.
Like, for example, launching a massive new entitlement that restructures almost 20% of the US economy based entirely on the premise that young, healthy, “invincibles” who chose not to buy health insurance in the past will buy it now…because you’ve launched a massive new program that depends on them to buy health insurance.
In the wisdom of Maya Angelou, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” These young invincibles showed us they wouldn’t buy insurance before and they’re not buying it now (though the White House assures us, the young are just procrastinating—they do that you know, silly young people).
The White House seems surprised by this fact. Are they, really?? If so, Barack Obama’s Administration is even more incompetent than we thought, actually believing Obama’s alternate reality on healthcare. Good grief, didn’t think that was possible!
If it turns out that Chris Christie lied yesterday during his nearly two-hour press conference, he’s screwed. I hope he was honest, (and I’m guessing he was) we’ll find out if he wasn’t. You can’t scandalously cause a major traffic jam in the center of the mainstream media’s universe and expect the story to die anytime soon.
In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal says, “compared to using the IRS against political opponents during an election campaign, closing traffic lanes for four days is jaywalking.” True, and the media should be admonished for its lethargy in hunting down the truth when it comes to Obama’s cover-ups, but both acts would demonstrate an inability to be trusted with power. Should the investigation uncover that Christie had even the slightest inkling that this “traffic study” was a petty political play, I don’t want him in the White House.
Christie’s performance yesterday however, provided a great service to the American people that cannot be undone—no matter the eventual outcome of this scandal. He reminded us all what leadership is supposed to look like: something goes wrong, a leader acknowledges it, determines who is responsible, and fires the person before any further harm can be done to the people the leader serves.
Christie’s immediate candor and what appears to be heartfelt embarrassment was completely opposite from Obama’s response to numerous scandals: Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the Obamacare rollout…I’m sure I’m missing at least one more, but you get the picture. Christie offered the perfect foil to Obama.
Whether Christie is honest or not, Americans clearly saw that such a leader could exist, such a leader is what our country deserves, such a leader Obama is not. So, thank you Governor Christie, for that.
Smugness is obnoxious. Since the failed ObamaCare rollout, there have been a lot of smug Republicans.
They gleefully recount healthcare.gov horror stories—hours spent on the site without being able to sign up—and people who haven’t been able to keep their plans, period. Contrary to the pervasive joy in Conservative circles, these aren’t good things.
The average American may not have been a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act when it passed, but now that it’s law, they’d like it to work properly, make their lives easier. They’re worried. It seems like their government can’t do anything right. Their country appears to be faltering.
They look around for an alternative, someone to rescue them from this leaderless chaos, and what do they see? Republicans with sh**-eating grins on their faces taking triumphant turns on talking head shows. We don’t look like the better option.
If Republicans don’t change our behavior and attitude, we will squander the opportunity to right the terrible wrongs of Obama’s presidency. We can’t dance in the end zone.
We need to let people know that we don’t want to win for the sake of winning. We want to provide constructive solutions to improve their lives. Sometimes, those solutions are just to get government out of the way, a point Obamacare is effectively illustrating for us.
We have to say, “I know you’re frustrated and disappointed the health care law is not working, we are too and here’s what we’d like to do to make it better.” Or, “I recognize that aspects of Obamacare—letting young adults stay on their parents’ plan until age 26 or enabling people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage—really help your family, but we think there’s an even better way to help you and others, and here it is.”
As Republicans, we have the better ideas. If we truly want the American people to give us the chance to prove it, we’d better shape up.
From her blog posted at 4:31pm yesterday, it would appear Peggy Noonan is psychic.
In her advice to Republicans on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Noonan instructs, “Do not be defeated by Sebelius’s media coaches. Do not let the secretary’s slightly dazed unflappability get under your skin. All representatives of government are surrounded by communications advisers. Sebelius’s are no doubt advising her right now to do what they always tell officials in trouble to do: Come forth with long, meaningless yet on some level data-filled sentences that will steer clear of speaking plain truth and yet on some level imply the effort to be candid.”
Noonan then provides a hypothetical transcript that bears a striking resemblance to the actual transcript from today’s hearing:
Q: Madame Secretary, did you know or have reason to know the ObamaCare website would crash on opening day? If you did, did you tell the White House? Who in the White House? If you did not know, how did it happen that you, the person in charge of the program, did not understand the depth of its problems?
A: So, we know through historical experience that a vast, multitiered, horizontally integrated program will always yield or produce certain unanticipated challenges of a technological or other nature, which is inevitably and also predictably the pattern, and it’s increased by the scale and size of the endeavor . . .
Q: Let me ask: Did you know that as soon as the program debuted, millions of Americans would see their own health insurance policies canceled or terminated? And that they would often find that newer policies would be more expensive with less coverage? When did you come to understand this—during the writing of the law, after its passage, in the ensuing years? If you did not know that millions would lose their coverage, how did it happen that you did not know?
A: So, in the intervening days and months following the passage of the ACA, a focused task force composed of peer-reviewed stakeholders throughout the government and the private sector, in addition to appropriate designated agency officials, along with contractors and subcontractors . . .
Of course, initial headlines covering the hearing highlight Sebelius’s apology for the failed rollout. Another delightful tidbit making the rounds online is this exchange between Sebelius and Mississippi representative, Greg Harper, in which Sebelius replies to Harper’s insistence that Obama is ultimately responsible with, “whatever.”
Really however, there was nothing new or earth shattering in the testimony. In fact, for those of us who fought Obamacare since its inception, the failed rollout and millions of Americans losing their current plans is not at all surprising. It’s what we always knew would happen.
As was clear in today’s hearing and this week’s coverage, Democrats have seized on our forewarnings of failure as proof that the failure is our fault.
That’s right. Republicans’ mental power is so strong that we can make things come true simply by stating them out loud. If that were the case, President Romney would currently be dismantling the Affordable Care Act, aided by a Republican controlled House and Senate.
No, responsibility for Obamacare—it’s failures and lies—rests fully with the president and congressional Democrats (reason #123 why it’s best to pass massive legislation with bipartisan support).
The Obamacare debate and debacle highlights big government liberalism’s inherent flaw: Overpromising and under-delivering is the only thing government consistently does well. Conservatives recognize this reality and legislate accordingly. Democrats do not. Thus, we knew Obamacare wouldn’t work, while they’re stunned it’s not going smoothly.
In the end, I guess the problems of Obamacare could be blamed on Republicans—despite our wisdom, we failed to defeat the bill.
Wouldn’t it be fascinating to listen into the White House conversations about Arizona, and in particular, Governor Jan Brewer?
Staffer: “Mr. President, that Governor that wagged her finger in your face is doing more than even Democrat Governors to implement your health care bill!”
POTUS: “ReallyShould we consider her for an Administration post?”
Staffer: “You want her wagging her finger at you at every Cabinet meeting?”
POTUS: “Good point. Let’s just send her some flowers.”
It’s been interesting to watch the reaction from national reporters in watching Brewer cheerlead Medicaid expansion. Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court gave State the “out” from one of the most egregious parts of Obamacare and a “conservative” Republican Governor not only decides to opt-in, she does so with the enthusiasm of a school girl getting ready for prom.
So there is a cognitive dissonance in the heads of DC-based reporters who, if you mention “Arizona Governor” immediately think about immigration crackdowns. No open borders, but it’ll be open enrollment.
The Supreme Court ruling, striking down the federal component of the Defense of Marriage Act, affirms, for now, the state’s ability to define marriage. This was expected, and as a believer in State’s Rights, it was the right decision.
While my friends in the gay community celebrated the “overturning” of California’s Proposition 8, what the Court did was much more nuanced and process oriented. They basically ruled that the federal appellate courts had no jurisdiction over the appeal because backers of Prop. 8 didn’t have standing to carry the appeal. Only the state could have done that. Call it a victory for gay marriage on a technicality. That is, the higher courts have not affirmed the district court’s overturning of Prop. 8 (yet).
That’s not to say that there isn’t a obvious trend towards gay marriage becoming more accepted and eventually legal across the board. The challenge will be how to balance the rights of gay couples with the religious freedom of churches and faith-based institutions.
For example, while I believe gay couples should have the same rights afforded straight couples, I don’t think the Catholic Church’s adoption services should be required to facilitate adoptions by gay couples. However, as a result of Massachusetts state law, the Catholic Church was faced with the choice of facilitating such adoptions or close their doors. That’s a clear overreach of the First Amendment, which protects religious liberty.
Needless to say, this discussion is far from over.
Obama’s big play on dealing with “climate change” exposes, yet again, his complete disregard for Congress, the will of the American people or the rule of law. Keep in mind, it was five years ago this month that Obama said, “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
This is a President who claims to be looking out for the little guy, but subsidizes his billionaire friends with “green energy” cash and wants to shut down coal-fired power plants, even admitting that “under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily sky-rocket.” Who gets hurt? The poor and those on fixed-income. With friends like these…
The Arizona Capitol Times had their “Best of the Capitol” awards dinner this week. Inexplicably, I was nominated for a couple categories in which the competition was overwhelming. Congrats to Arizona Chamber President Glenn Hamer for his “Power Broker” award and to Chuck Coughlin for “Best Political Operative.” Well-deserved by both.
When my kids were small, they’d cover their eyes and think that because they couldn’t see the world, the world couldn’t see them. It was cute. It’s not so cute when the President of the United States does it though.
President Obama told Americans repeatedly that al Qaeda was “on the run.” Even the day after four Americans were murdered by terrorists in Benghazi, Obama told supporters in Las Vegas, “a day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.” On September 18 and numerous other occasions, Obama said al Qaeda had been “decimated.” He continued the War-on-Terror-is-so-over-I-won’t-even-use-the-word-terror theme throughout his campaign.
Unfortunately, as many of us knew at the time, and as the Boston Marathon bombings made clear, that’s not true. No matter how gifted a speaker Barack Obama believes himself to be, he cannot will something to be true simply by saying it out loud.
It appears that the Obama Administration’s strict denial of reality is also partly to blame for the FBI and intelligence failures surrounding the Boston bombings. Following a September 2011 story in Wired Magazine, “FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims are ‘Violent, Radical,’” 57 Muslim advocacy groups wrote a letter to Obama Administration officials complaining about “the federal government’s use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims.” Instead of asking why these groups weren’t directing their energy towards the jihadists around the world who use the Quran to incite violence and murder thousands of innocent people, Obama’s people promptly “pulled more than 700 documents and 300 presentations,” scrubbing from its counterterrorism training mentions of Islam, Muslim, Hamas, and jihad—which is now referred to as “violent extremism.” Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism specialist with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tells the Washington Times, “the fact is, religion has been expunged from counterterrorism training. The FBI can’t talk about Islam and can’t talk about jihad.”
Well, if the Commander-in-Chief is claiming the War on Terror is over and you remove Muslim extremism as a red flag then it’s no wonder the FBI missed the fact that jihadist Tamerlan Tsarnaev posed a threat to America. Obama wants Islam and terrorism not to be connected, so he ties the hands of our intelligence community and forces them to operate as if they aren’t. Does this make you feel safer?
The same disregard for reality can be found in his approach to domestic issues. As predicted by its opponents, the health care law has been disastrous. Even the author of the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Max Baucus, sees “a huge train wreck coming down” with the law’s implementation. In a press conference yesterday however, an extraordinarily out-of-touch Obama said, “and there will be stories that can be written that say, oh, look, this thing is not working the way it’s supposed to, and this happened and that happened. And that’s pretty much true of every government program that’s ever been set up…But if we stay with it and we understand what our long-term objective is…if we keep that in mind, then we’re going to be able to drive down costs; we’re going to be able to improve efficiencies in the system; we’re going to be able to see people benefit from better health care. And that will save the country money as a whole over the long term.” No acknowledgement of the concerns expressed by small business people, no answers to questions raised by Senator Baucus and others. “Everything is fine because I say that it is fine. My presidency has been a roaring success because I want it to be.”
America is not safer, our economy is worse and the man charged with protecting us and leading our recovery says things like, “it’s not optimal,” and “glitches and bumps.”
My kids figured out that we could see them by the time they reached their 3rd birthday. It’s time for Barack Obama to uncover his eyes and see the world for what it is. Before he hurts our country even more.
Obama’s health care law may be on life support. After three days of oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the challenge to the health care bill signed into law two years ago, the future of the law is very uncertain.
It’s clear that supporters of the law were rocked by how aggressive the questioning was by Justices Kennedy and Breyer – two justices that are key to which way the decision goes. The Left is also very unhappy with Obama’s Solicitor General. Mother Jones wrote, “If the law is upheld, it will be in spite of Verrilli’s performance, not because of it.”
I was struck my Kennedy’s first question right out of the box, “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?” That is how a Supreme Court Justice “gets up in your grill.”
Justices Scalia, Alito and Chief Justice Roberts also asked withering questions. Justice Thomas was typically silent – he hasn’t asked a question in the last six years. It is assumed that those four are near-certain to support striking down the individual mandate and based on Kennedy’s questioning, he could be the fifth vote.
What has alarmed the Left more than anything is the discussion in the final day of arguments when the Court discussed whether it was more reasonable to overturn the entire law if they agree that the individual mandate is struck down.
While I strongly believe that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and have been cautiously optimistic that the Court would so rule, I have been very pessimistic about the Court overturning the entire law. That would be a nice gift to the American people if it were to happen.
Transcripts of the three days of arguments are here:
With oral arguments in the case challenging the individual mandate of Obama’s health care law starting in the Supreme Court on Monday, this piece by Charles Krauthammer is worthy of posting in total. It is a must read.
Obamacare: The reckoning
By Charles Krauthammer, Published: March 22
Obamacare dominated the 2010 midterms, driving its Democratic authors to a historic electoral shellacking. But since then, the issue has slipped quietly underground.
Now it’s back, summoned to the national stage by the confluence of three disparate events: the release of new Congressional Budget Office cost estimates, the approach of Supreme Court hearings on the law’s constitutionality and the issuance of a compulsory contraception mandate.
Obamacare was carefully constructed to manipulate the standard 10-year cost projections of the CBO. Because benefits would not fully kick in for four years, President Obama could trumpet 10-year gross costs of less than $1 trillion — $938 billion to be exact.
But now that the near-costless years 2010 and 2011 have elapsed, the true 10-year price tag comes into focus. From 2013 through 2022, the CBO reports, the costs of Obamacare come to $1.76 trillion — almost twice the phony original number.
It gets worse. Annual gross costs after 2021 are more than a quarter of $1 trillion every year — until the end of time. That, for a new entitlement in a country already drowning in $16 trillion of debt.
Beginning Monday, the Supreme Court will hear challenges to the law. The American people, by an astonishing two-thirds majority, want the law and/or the individual mandate tossed out by the court. In practice, however, questions this momentous are generally decided 5 to 4 — i.e., they depend on whatever side of the bed Justice Anthony Kennedy gets out of that morning.
Ultimately, the question will hinge on whether the Commerce Clause has any limits. If the federal government can compel a private citizen, under threat of a federally imposed penalty, to engage in a private contract with a private entity (to buy health insurance), is there anything the federal government cannot compel the citizen to do?
If Obamacare is upheld, it fundamentally changes the nature of the American social contract. It means the effective end of a government of enumerated powers — i.e., finite, delineated powers beyond which the government may not go, beyond which lies the free realm of the people and their voluntary institutions. The new post-Obamacare dispensation is a central government of unlimited power from which citizen and civil society struggle to carve out and maintain spheres of autonomy.
Figure becomes ground; ground becomes figure. The stakes could not be higher.
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.
Already there are consequences of the passage Obama’s government takeover of health care.
Dr. Joseph Scherzer is informing patients that he will close his practice by 2014 – when the bill goes into full effect – if it hasn’t been repealed or struck down by the courts.
While it may be years before most Americans feel the impact of President Obama’s health-care bill, a few patients in Scottsdale, Ariz., got a small taste of life under Obamacare last week when they arrived at their Dermatologist’s office only to see a sign with the following taped to the front door:
“If you voted for Obamacare, be aware these doors will close before it goes into effect.” The note is signed Joseph M. Scherzer M.D. and includes the following addendum: “****Unless Congress or the Courts repeal the BILL.”
Scherzer, who attended Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, has been a practicing Dermatologist in Scottsdale, Ariz., since 1976. Reached yesterday at his office, Dr. Scherzer, 63, said he plans to stop practicing before 2014 when the bill’s full impact will be felt because he refuses to deal with the headache of increased government involvement in health care.
“I’m absolutely serious [about stopping practicing] and it’s not just because I’ll be nearing 65,” Scherzer said. “The stress is what would push me out the door. From what I’ve gathered hearing from my friends and peers, most physicians I’ve heard from feel the same way.”
Scherzer said the bill’s emphasis on punitive measures for physicians not following government-prescribed treatment methods under Medicare would increase his anxiety level to the point he would no longer be able to practice medicine. The maximum fine was previously $10,000; under the bill it will now be capped at $50,000. Scherzer said the fine system makes seeing a Medicare patients a difficult and stressful exercise.
This is just the beginning of what is to come as the bill is fully implemented. It wasn’t just rhetoric during the debate when there were warnings of fewer doctors, longer wait times and the rationing of care. That is coming, and the proponents of government-run health care know it. Watch how they spin in the months to come.