Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’
Health Care News
Expanding Medicaid will be costly for most states. The authors of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare) threatened to strip all federal funding for states’ Medicaid programs if they refused to expand the entitlement.
But 27 states filed suit over Obamacare and the Supreme Court struck down this threat as coercive, making the Medicaid expansion optional for states. Now, governors and state legislatures are debating whether to expand or not, as the above presentation shows. As Nina Owcharenko notes, Medicaid needs reform, not expansion.
Of course, states are tempted by the offer of new federal dollars. But, as Heritage expert Drew Gonshorowski writes:
The Medicaid expansion represents a massive increase in federal and state spending. Although some claim that states could experience savings, it is clear that this is the exception, not the rule. Expanding Medicaid will ultimately cost states in the long run.
For a breakdown of state-by-state costs, click here.
Health Care News
Months since the Supreme Court ruling that made the Obamacare Medicaid expansion optional, the state costs associated with expansion still remain highly uncertain—making expansion a dicey course for states and their budgets.
Indeed, states should not lose sight of the fact that the original Medicaid expansion was coercive for a reason. As Nina Owcharenko, director of Heritage’s Center for Health Policy Studies, points out, “The fact that the authors of Obamacare felt the need to threaten states with total defunding tells you that they knew many states would resist expanding their programs—even with 100 percent federal funding.”
States are still weighing their options. Many of them have commissioned studies to project the state costs of expanding. However, all cost estimates reflect the assumptions used to construct them, and using different assumptions can result in estimates varying wildly between (and sometimes within) states.
In late June, the Supreme Court upheld most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. To read the Court’s entire ruling on the individual mandate as well as the Medicaid expansion requirements, access the Court’s PDF here.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, what’s next? Where do we go from here? What can we do? Click here to join us on LIVE from 12-1 ET for our “Lunch with Heritage” online chat. We are joined by health care expert Kate Nix. She is taking your questions about policy options in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling. If you can’t make the chat, leave a question in the comments and we’ll get it answered for you.
This morning, the Supreme Court didn’t just miss the opportunity to protect individual liberty. It also failed to defend religious freedom. The Court’s ruling to uphold Obamacare doesn’t mean the law has cleared its legal challenges, however. Twenty-three federal lawsuits against Obamacare’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate—which goes into effect on August 1—now take on added urgency.
Implementation of the behemoth 2,700-page Obamacare law has only just begun, and the HHS mandate signals the damage to religious liberty and other freedoms Americans will experience as the teeth of the law sink deeply into our society in the coming months and years.
The HHS anti-conscience mandate is a completely separate rule from the individual mandate, and its constitutionality was not considered by the Supreme Court in the cases decided today. The HHS mandate, along with the individual mandate and the rest of Obamacare, still presents a clear threat to individual and religious liberty. Nothing short of full repeal of the statute will adequately protect our freedoms from this federal overreach.
The policy landscape will change dramatically after 10 a.m. today. If the Supreme Court does not strike down Obamacare in its entirety, Congress should move to repeal it. Americans support repeal of the health care law, as they have demonstrated in more than 100 polls since it passed in 2010. The infamous individual mandate is only the beginning of the problems Americans face under this law. Most importantly, Americans need real health care reform, and we need to begin moving toward a patient-friendly system where people have the freedom to choose the care that is best for them.
Once, Obamacare’s defenders were certain the Supreme Court would uphold the individual mandate requiring every citizen to purchase health insurance. Then came the oral argument. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was unable to articulate a limiting principle to Congress’s powers. That set off a scramble to find historical precedent for the individual mandate.
Enter Law professor Einer Elhauge. He’s “discovered” three Founding-era purchase mandates supposedly similar to the Obamacare mandate: the 1790 act to regulate commercial ships, the 1792 militia act, and the 1798 act creating a fund for sick seamen. However, none of these laws sets a precedent for the federal government to require every individual to purchase health insurance.
The 1790 act regulated all ships engaged in foreign commerce and large ships engaged in domestic commerce. Most of the regulations addressed contract disputes, desertion, and what recourse the crew had if the vessel was unsafe. It detailed penalties for sailors and captains who failed to comply with the regulations.
As the nation awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, much attention has been paid to the constitutional questions surrounding the individual mandate—and rightly so. Considerable attention has also focused on the ways Obamacare has already and will further harm our nation’s health care and how it has trampled religious liberty. But we shouldn’t forget something even more fundamental to justice: Obamacare is hostile to life, and it set a new precedent by federally subsidizing abortion.
An article by Bill Saunders and Anna Franzonello in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy explains the health law’s shift in federal abortion policy. Prior to the passage of Obamacare, long-standing policy was that federal tax dollars were not to be used to pay for abortion or to pay for plans that cover abortions. As they note: “At the time of the health care reform debate, no government health plans covered elective abortion, including Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other programs. The ‘status quo’ prior to the PPACA was that federal tax dollars are not used to pay for abortion nor for insurance plans that cover abortions.”
For the past two years, America has witnessed headline after headline reporting on flaws in President Barack Obama’s health care law. And as America learns more about this intolerable act, the opposition to Obamacare continues to grow. Yesterday, a new poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News showed that more than two-thirds of Americans want to see the Supreme Court strike down Obamacare in whole or in part, and only 24 percent would keep the law in place.
In the face of this ground-shaking opposition, the White House is continuing its public relations campaign to save face if the Court rules that Obamacare should fall — a decision that could come by the end of this month. Yesterday, the Administration hosted a health care townhall meeting during which Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius trumpeted the law’s reforms, warned of the consequences if it were to be struck down, and promised that her agency is “ready for court contingencies” if the White House doesn’t get its way.
This is all part of a broader strategy being implemented by supporters of the law. As Heritage’s Rob Bluey reported late last month, liberal groups have planned an aggressive propaganda effort to sway media coverage and public opinion in defense of government-run health care. But as the Times / CBS poll shows, they have a hard row to hoe. And the mountain of Obamacare failures isn’t making their job any easier.
Health Care News
While the Supreme Court deliberates whether the Affordable Care Act should stand, the Obama Administration is busy at work ensuring that the President’s health care law is implemented. The Hill reports that the White House has allocated half a billion dollars to the IRS to put Obamacare in place:
The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s healthcare law.
The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate.
The Hill also reports that the White House is also spending other funding allocated under Obamacare:
The law contains dozens of targeted appropriations to implement specific provisions. It also gave the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a $1 billion implementation fund, to use as it sees fit. Republicans have called it a “slush fund.”
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