Archive for February, 2012
During his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama barely discussed his health care law. But that doesn’t mean Americans must remain in the dark about how the unpopular health law will impact each and every one of them. Heritage has compiled a series of videos that highlight how individuals and families will be affected by the new law.
Obamacare’s new taxes and mandates on business are a hindrance to economic growth and job creation. The law requires that employers provide health insurance to their employees or face a fine. As the cost of health insurance continues to increase under Obamacare, employers will face increasingly steep costs to keep employees insured and avoid the penalties. According to research by McKinsey and Company, close to one-third of employers says they will definitely or probably stop covering employees once Obamacare is fully implemented; this increased to 50 percent after the law had been explained to employers in greater detail. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Today, the House Judiciary Committee held a full committee hearing to investigate the Obama administration’s unprecedented overreach through the latest Obamacare mandate’s assault on religious liberty.
Asma Uddin, an attorney with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, testified at the hearing on the administration’s insulting disregard for the right to religious freedom.
“As a Muslim-American woman and an academic, I have spent my career fighting for women’s and minority’s rights, and the fact that I must be here today to explain why our constitutional rights exist is extremely offensive to me personally,” Uddin stated.
Tomorrow, the Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up legislation to repeal Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). IPAB is a dangerous mechanism that puts the power to limit seniors’ treatment options and access to care in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, essentially ending Medicare as we know it.
Despite the enormity of IPAB’s power and its influence on Medicare beneficiaries, its members are not accountable to the American people, unlike Congress. IPAB will consist of 15 unelected bureaucrats who are tasked with finding savings within Medicare to meet a new, fixed target for spending growth in the program. IPAB members will be appointed by the President and approved by the Senate, and the board’s recommendations will be implemented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unless Congress enacts an alternative proposal that amounts to the same level of savings. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Talking about his health care law, President Obama has said, “If you misrepresent what’s in this plan, we will call you out.” In keeping with that spirit, below is a list of Obamacare’s top five biggest broken promises:
1.) “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”
Reality: Research continues to show that as many as 30 percent of employers will dump their employees out of their existing health care coverage. And, as Heritage analysts have noted, new coverage mandates are forcing plans to change, even for those who have moral objections. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Medicare reform is coming soon; it has to if the program is going to survive. As budget expert J. D. Foster writes, “Medicare reform is inevitable because its demands on the federal budget are unsustainable.”
The Congressional Budget Office projects that by 2022, Medicare spending will exceed $1 trillion—almost 90 percent more than expected in 2012. In addition, the Medicare Part A trust fund is predicted to reach insolvency as soon as 2024.
The Heritage Foundation has put forth a model for premium support that would avert disaster and preserve Medicare for future generations. Moving to premium support would replace Medicare’s current defined-benefit system with one where seniors use a defined contribution to enroll in private plans of their choice. Writing for Heritage, expert James Capretta point outs, “Political momentum continues to build for premium support because of its potential to control health care costs through the power of consumer choice.” (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Everyone remembers President Obama’s repeated promise, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.” Unfortunately, Obamacare breaks this promise many times over. One way is through its medical loss ratio (MLR) requirement and the impact it will have on consumer-driven, high-deductible health plans (HDHP) that include health savings accounts (HSA) in individual and small group markets, a new report from Milliman shows.
The MLR requires that insurance companies spend 80 percent of revenue from premiums on medical claims or anything that improves the quality of health care. The additional 20 percent is for administrative and other non-medically related expenses. If the minimum of 80 percent is not met, the insurer must issue a rebate to the consumer. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Today is Ash Wednesday — the first day of Lent — the beginning of 40 days of prayer and fasting observed by Christians across the country, culminating in the Easter feast. Likewise in April, Jews will gather to celebrate Passover, one of many traditions observed under the religious freedom that the U.S. Constitution was designed to preserve. Now, though, that freedom is under direct attack by the very government that purports to represent the people, and that is but the first step in Obamacare’s re-writing of America’s blueprint.
This week, two more Christian colleges joined other religious institutions in fighting back against that attack when they filed lawsuits against the Obama Administration for imposing an anti-conscience mandate under Obamacare. The controversial regulation forces almost all employers to provide health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, without a co-pay. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Two years ago, everything about Obamacare was in the future. Recall the revealing comment at the time by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) that Congress had to pass the legislation to see what was in it. Now that the disputed law is in its implementation stage, Americans are beginning to see what is in it and what it means for them. Welcome to the future.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is the centerpiece of the current progressive agenda. At its core is the requirement for individuals—under penalty of law—to buy health insurance. As we have argued before, this requirement is unprecedented and unconstitutional. The concern is that if government can regulate inactivity, it can do anything and everything.
We now see how this new regime will operate. Massive regulatory authority over one-sixth of the American economy is transferred to a collection of more than 150 federal agencies, bureaus, and commissions, along with an unprecedented delegation of power to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. As a result, key policy decisions are given over to bureaucrats whose “rules” in the guise of “regulations,” mostly unaccountable and invisible to the public, have the full force and effect of laws passed by Congress. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
In Obamacare’s collision course with Americans’ freedom, one of the first casualties is religious liberty. Despite the Administration’s obfuscating press comments, the finalized preventive services mandate changed nothing from the interim rule. It put into law the requirement that many religious employers violate their deeply held beliefs by paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization. Many recognize the religious liberty violations in the mandate—and Obamacare’s broader threats to individual liberty—will not be rectified unless the health care law is repealed.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains that the President’s February 10 announcement of a supposed “accommodation” amounted to nothing more than a smoke screen for the submission of the final mandate without any greater protection of religious liberty.
The rule that created the uproar has not changed at all, but was finalized as is. Friday evening, after a day of touting meaningful changes in the mandate, [Department of Health and Human Services] HHS issued a regulation finalizing the rule first issued in August 2011, “without change.” So religious employers dedicated to serving people of other faiths are still not exempt as “religious employers.” Indeed, the rule describes them as “non-exempt.”…The new “accommodation” is not a current rule, but a promise that comes due beyond the point of public accountability. Also on Friday evening, HHS issued regulations describing the intention to develop more regulations that would apply the same mandate differently to “non-exempt, non-profit religious organizations”—the charities, schools, and hospitals that are still left out of the “religious employer” exemption. These policies will be developed over a one-year delay in enforcement, so if they turn out badly, their impact will not be felt until August 2013, well after the election. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, was among a number of experts who recently convened at The Heritage Foundation on a panel entitled “Beyond the Individual Mandate: Why Obamacare Must Be Repealed.” Turner is one of the authors of Why Obamacare Is Wrong for America, along with James Capretta, Thomas Miller, and Heritage expert Robert Moffit.
At the panel, Turner highlighted a number of the law’s problems, including its constitutionality. Never before has the federal government required individuals to purchase a product, which as she says in her book, “makes one wonder what else Congress can make Americans do if it makes us buy health insurance.”
The law’s mandate, she believes, also presents an economic problem. The legislation requires employers to provide insurance for employees or pay a penalty, forcing businesses to hire fewer employers, keep wages down, and reduce investments. As a result, business will suffer, which could translate into higher prices for consumers. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
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