I am not, with this post, going to attempt a detailed exposition on Judge Vinson s ruling that declared the individual mandate unconstitutional and, due to the lack of a severability clause, struck the whole law as unconstitutional. But I will give you a brief overview and direct you to other good sources.
Thoughts: Well, I ve read the whole thing. This really does hinge on what powers the Supreme Court is willing to grant Congress over the individual. I m hoping the Supreme Court trims Congress wings who in turn should trim the Executive Branches wings regarding all their legislation by regulation.
I appreciate Mr. Lehrer s comments but I must beg to differ with his characterization of the desires of President Obama or anyone else on the American left (a very large cohort, indeed) with respect to a healthcare system. There are many who would like an American system in which the government provided healthcare.
Yuval Levin addresses Paul Krugman's most recent New York Times column. According to Krugman, the Republican opposition to Obamacare represents a "war on logic." Here is Levin contra Krugman
It s time for America s youth to buckle up and take a rough ride on Reality Highway. For the past two years, President Obama has promised our children the moon, stars, rainbows, unicorns, and universal health care for all. But the White House Santa s cradle-to-grave entitlement mandates have been a spectacularly predictable bust. Don t take it from me. Take it from Obamacare s own biggest cheerleaders.
As with all economic topics batted about in the political sphere, there has consistently appeared to me to be a great deal of simplistic thinking and even misinformation floating around regarding healthcare insurance reform. We had a mess of a system with high costs, escalating premiums, unimpressive statistical results, and significant inequities before the latest attempt. The situation was not only problematic for the poor and uninsurable, but it was sapping the competitiveness of American business, which was saddled with healthcare costs far beyond those of foreign competitors.
The funny thing about President Obama, Charles Kesler notes in "The Stakes of Obamacare," is how resolute he is despite poll numbers that ought to be discouraging. Forty-two percent of Americans now call themselves conservative, compared to 20 percent who call themselves liberal; and the president's job approval ratings have steadily eroded since he took office. With midterm elections on the horizon, one might expect the president to stand a little less firmly, to give a little. But Obama, Kesler argues, will do no such thing. He is the most ambitious and the most ideological president we've had in decades, and he's playing a very long game.
It's not so much that Barack Obama's promises comes with expiration dates as it is that he'll say anything to get his way without the slightest care about whether what he's saying is true or not. Never was this more true than when it came to health care reform, where he promised Obamacare would reduce costs, improve the quality of care, that you could keep your plan, your lawn would be mowed once a week, the government would pick up your kids from daycare, and there'd be a chicken in every pot and a steak on every plate -- free of charge! Of course, the world doesn't work that way and when a politician promises you everything you want without a trade off, it's a good time to grab duck, grab your wallet, and start looking for a handy escape route.
'White House budget director Peter Orszag stated in February 2009 that health-care reform is entitlement reform.' As Mr. Orszag prepares to leave the White House this month, it s clear the health-care-overhaul law that President Obama signed in March falls far short of what was promised. Instead of solving our entitlement crisis, it makes matters worse.
The flames from Greece s debt-crisis protests have cast new light on the perils of our own overspending and overborrowing. You know the litany. California is imploding. Public-sector unions there, and across the country, are swallowing budgets. In California alone, pension costs have gone up 2,000 percent in a decade. At the national level, Obamacare has done little to fix - and much to hurt - America s long-term entitlement mess. Already, America s structural deficit has tripled since 2007. Economist Price Fishback has just published a paper finding that America spends more on social welfare than socialist Sweden (though we spend it differently).
Repealing Obamacare is a popular rallying cry on the stump, but the GOP will have a hard time delivering if they return to power. Instead, Republicans should focus on amending the health bill's worst features.
On Tuesday, West Virginia Democratic primary voters ousted an incumbent who has been in the House since 1983 partly because of his vote for Obamacare. That legislation is also at issue in a special election this month for a Pennsylvania House seat the Democrats have held since 1974. In that race, both candidates say they opposed the passage of Obamacare, but the Republican is running to the Democrat s right by saying that he will vote to repeal it.
Yesterday I wrote about the Waxman/Stupak political theater of the absurd involving the charges against earnings taken by Caterpillar and other big companies because of Obamacare. On a related note, House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking minority member Joe Barton released a staff memo indicating that four big companies under investigation by committee Democrats see incentives in dropping employer health care coverage thanks to Obamacare. Rep. Barton's press release is here. The press release explains: "Turns out ObamaCare means if you like your health plan you can lose it. The president didn't have to actually strong-arm companies into dumping their employee health insurance because his bill carried financial incentives to virtually guarantee that result," Barton said. "But something's very wrong when, like AT&T found out, paying $600 million in penalties will allow you to stop paying $2.4 billion for insurance, leaving both workers and taxpayers stuck. I suppose we can't know for some years how many thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of workers will lose their company insurance because of health care reform, but I know that it will be a breach of faith for most of them and a tragedy for some." The preliminary investigation by the Republican staff indicates: 1. "Each of the large employers under investigation warned that health care legislation would trigger reporting requirements (of pending losses) months before passage of the health care law. 2. "Internal company documents from each large employer under investigation reflect concerns over the health care legislation's new taxes and effect on costs. 3. "Internal company documents indicate that there will be an incentive to drop employer health care coverage because the cost of providing coverage will be much larger than th
Caterpillar and other companies took billions of dollars in charges against earnings when Obamacare was enacted. One section of the Obamacare bill eliminated a tax break available to companies that provide drug benefits to retirees as part of their insurance coverage. The government's own accounting for the tax change anticipated that it would generate $4.5 billion of revenue over the next 10 years. Yet when Caterpillar and the other companies took the charges against earnings, the White House suggested that companies were exaggerating the effects of the tax change. Obama administration Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke dutifully peddled the administration line, asserting that the companies were being "premature and irresponsible" in taking the chargeoffs. Reps. Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak opened an investigation and demanded that four companies -- AT&T, Caterpillar, Deere and Verizon -- supply documents analyzing the "impact of health care reform," together with an explanation of their accounting methods. The Democrats apparently thought that they could eliminate a corporate tax deduction for the purpose of raising government revenue without affecting corporate earnings. That's why deep thinkers like Waxman and Stupak are paid the big bucks by taxpayers. . Waxman and Stupak even planned to produce a bit of political theater, scheduling a hearing on the chargeoffs at which the companies' executives were to testify. The production was canceled when Waxman was apprised of the obvious consequences of the bill he and his Democratic buddies had just voted for. I wonder which poor staffer drew the short straw requiring him to advise Waxman that the elimination of a big corporate tax deduction results in a big corporate tax expense that has to be recognized under applicable accounting standards. It can't have been pleasant duty. Robert Pear reports the results of the congressional inve
The litigation battle has begun. While the legal arguments are technical, the basic issue is straightforward: Can the federal government force people to buy a product in this instance, health insurance from a private company? Advocates of Obamacare claim that the mandate to purchase health insurance is authorized under the Commerce Clause. But constitutional experts note that this expansion of power is unprecedented. The only way for the Supreme Court to find Obamacare constitutional via the Commerce Clause would be for it to announce, for the first time in 221 years, that there are essentially no structural limits on the federal government s power to regulate interstate commerce.
The first steps toward the repeal of Obamacare have already occurred. First, the legislation passed without leading to a lasting improvement in the president s or the Democrats approval ratings. Second, in part as a result, it has quickly become Republican-party orthodoxy that the new health-care legislation needs to be repealed and replaced with conservative reforms. Two Republican senators who seemed to throw cold water on repeal, John Cornyn of Texas and Bob Corker of Tennessee, promptly clarified that they support the goal.
Think Progress: Mitt Romney continues to struggle with questions about why he wants to repeal a federal health care law that is so similar to the health reforms he signed in 2006 as Governor of Massachusetts. "Massachusetts is a model for getting everybody insured in a way that doesn't break the bank, doesn't put the government in the driver's seat and allows people to own their own insurance policies and not to have to worry about losing coverage," Romney said in October 2009.
The New York Times explains the thinking behind Obamacare: The federal government is now starting to build the institutions that will try to reduce the soaring growth of health care costs. There will be a group to compare the effectiveness of different treatments, a so-called Medicare innovation center and a Medicare oversight board that can set payment rates. But all these groups will face the same basic problem. Deep down, Americans tend to believe that more care is better care. We recoil from efforts to restrict care. ... From an economic perspective, health reform will fail if we can't sometimes push back against the try-anything instinct. The new agencies will be hounded by accusations of rationing, and Medicare's long-term budget deficit will grow. So figuring out how we can say no may be the single toughest and most important task facing the people who will be in charge of carrying out reform. "Being able to say no," Dr. Alan Garber of Stanford says, "is the heart of the issue." ... None of these steps will allow us to avoid the wrenching debates that are an inevitable part of health policy. Eventually, we may well have to decide against paying for expensive treatments with only modest benefits. A reader comments: ...So there WILL be rationing?....doctors controlled by a monopoly payer in all but name?....private medicine outlawed as in Canada?...So does this mean that Sarah Palin was actually right?....about the death panels...er, Medicare Practice Advisory Commission?When do the liars apologize to her? Don't hold your breath on that one. James Taranto adds: Having taken on, over the objections of the public, the responsibility
PoliFact: The Gun Owners of America has recently taken aim at an unlikely subject: health care reform. GOA has sent out a member alert titled, "ObamaCare Could be Used to Ban Guns in Home Self-Defense." PoliFact's response: "There is nothing in the bill itself to indicate that is contemplated. We find the statement False."
A Florida doctor who considers the national health-care overhaul to be bad medicine for the country posted a sign on his office door telling patients who voted for President Barack Obama to leave. "If you voted for Obama, seek care elsewhere," the sign on Dr. Jack Cassell's door reads. "Changes to your health care begin right now, not in four years."
Many millions of Americans regard the Democrats' takeover of health care not just as bad public policy, but as illegitimate government action. This is partly, but not entirely, due to the chicanery through which the legislation was adopted. The conventional wisdom is that voters don't care about process, but Obamacare, as Byron York notes, is an exception to the rule: A new Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans believes Democrats abused their power by using procedural shortcuts and controversial parliamentary tactics to pass the new national health care makeover. ... The poll asked, "Regardless of whether you favored or opposed the health care legislation Congress passed this past week, do you think the methods the Democratic leaders in Congress used to get enough votes to pass this legislation were an abuse of power or were an appropriate use of power by the party that controls the majority in Congress?" The results: 53 percent say the Democrats' methods were an abuse of power, while 40 percent say they were appropriate. The basic message of polls across a wide variety of subjects is that the Democrats have lost independent voters. We see that again here: Breaking down the results by party, 86 percent of Republicans say the Democrats abused their power, while 58 percent of independents agree. Nineteen percent of Democrats say their own leaders abused their power.... Why do voters suddenly care about process? Maybe the conventional wisdom is wrong. More likely, I think, is that this indicates how closely most Americans have followed the Democrats' attempt to take over health care.
At PJTV, Glenn Reynolds and Randy Barnett discuss the constitutionality of Obamacare's individual mandate. A number of states, among others, are poised to litigate that issue. Do they have a chance? My instinct is to be highly skeptical. Our courts have justified pretty much anything the federal government has undertaken involving any kind of commercial transaction under the interstate commerce clause. In order to lose that battle, Congress has just about had to go out of its way to define legislation in a way that excludes interstate commerce, like regulating firearms within so many feet of a school. What this reflects is that we, as a society, have stopped taking seriously the idea that the federal government is a government of limited powers. In this respect, I think the courts have followed, rather than led. But maybe the tide is turning. The Tea Party movement is at heart a call for limited government and a restoration of the Constitution. With the unprecedented accumulation of federal power taking place in the Obama administration, there is a growing sense that a final battle over the proper role of our national government must be fought. So who knows? Maybe the case for limited government has a chance.