Archive for April, 2012

Republican Health Care plans

April 29, 2012

Thanks to BufordTJustice1 for the following information on Republican Health Care provision reform plans, in response to a Volokh commenter (troll?) claiming that “the Republicans have no plan”:

HR3400 sponsored by Tom Price detailed at the following URL:
http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/So…

The formal HR3400 bill can be viewed at:
http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/Up…

Another GOP bill for health care reform is HR3962 by John Boehner which is 219 pages in length. The URL is:
http://rules-republicans.house…

The Pledge to America also provides details of their ideas for alternative legislation. That has been available since September 23, 2010.

Also, John Boehner held a national Republican address on October 31, 2009 outlining GOP ideas for health care reform.

Mitt Romney has described his Medicare plan:
http://www.mittromney.com/blog…

http://articles.latimes.com/20…

www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/…

Paul Ryan released a Medicare plan which was soon followed by a revised plan with Ron Wyden.
www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/…

Most recently, Paul Broun released his replacement plan.

You speak of making things worse? The new cost shifting will blow away the current cost shifting by an order of magnitude. Subsidies and tax credits alone will cost $777 billion for the first seven years. Many if not most of them will pay nothing (or almost nothing) for their premiums. Then there’s the Medicaid expansion, estimated to cost $408 billion (state and federal combined). Obamacare preserves and reinforces the old cost shifting, while adding $1.2 trillion in new cost shifting.

The mandate will do absolutely nothing of any appreciable amount to resolve the current cost shifting and will make it massively worse:

About $30.2 billion of the $43 billion cannot be remedied by the mandate and will continue on just like before. That leaves $12.8 billion which is 0.5% of the nation’s health care costs, leaving 99.5% of health care expenditures unchanged. Unless you believe the mandate will work perfectly (which it won’t), it will not even come close to resolving $12.8 billion, especially once the word gets out how easy it is to game the system (see below). The government will be lucky if a small fraction of the $12.8 billion is even remotely alleviated, reducing the effect of the mandate to a purely symbolic token. This amount in relation to the total costs is virtually invisible and will have no tangible effect on cost shifting.

Those few not exempt from the mandate, not eligible for Medicaid and would not receive any tax credits or subsidies that don’t want to buy insurance now will not change their minds and will continue to freeload. Not only will the fine be less than the cost of the premium, but why even pay the fine if there is no arrest, lien, audit or garnishment allowed by Obamacare? All the IRS can do is withhold a tax refund.

Already, 49% of the country doesn’t even pay federal income tax in the first place. Out of the 51% who do, how many are owed a refund? Out of those, how much are they owed (i.e. even less than the amount of the fine)? Even if they pay the fine, they are still not in the insurance pool to spread the cost around which totally defeats the purpose of the mandate and Obamacare itself.

By the way, any exchanges run by the federal government will result in nobody in those states receiving tax credits/subsidies to buy insurance. The hasty, sloppy and corrupt writing of the bill only allowed this support for exchanges run by the states. This will result in the employer mandate going down. Business will sue if they are fined for not providing health insurance to employees who are not even eligible to receive benefits by going on the exchanges.

Did you also know Medicare Advantage is being propped up artificially by a corrupt and possibly illegal expenditure of $8.5 billion to sustain it only past the election? After the election, the plug will be pulled, screwing over seniors all across the country.

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The quality of the Obama Adminstration “Senior Staffers”

April 20, 2012

Michelle Obama took her daughters to Africa for a safari, at a cost to the taxpayers of over $400,000.  She listed her daughters as “senior staffers” in the paperwork for the trip.

Part of this is about the appalling sense of entitlement possessed by those on the Left.  But to me the more amusing part is the juxtaposition with President Obama’s dog eating.  When Senator McCain joked about it on Twitter, and when others have joked about it, the Democrats response has been “how dare you pick on a 6 – 10 year old?”  Now, silly me, I thought President Obama was in his late 40s / early 50s, and in his 40s when it wrote the book talking about his dog eating.  But this is the Obama Administration, where the children are “senior staffers”, and the President is a “child”.

The Individual Mandate and Welfare drug testing

April 19, 2012

There’s been a lot of arguing recently about whether or not the Federal Government should have the power to force individuals to buy health “insurance” policies they don’t want, and don’t need (I don’t need a $5,000 / year “comprehensive health insurance” policy if I’m a 25 year old male with no health problems. Catastrophic coverage, maybe, “comprehensive” coverage? No). The Left is in favor, the right is opposed.

From Tom McGuire I just learned about a different fight.  In this one, the State of Florida has decided that it doesn’t want to give cash assistance to drug users, and so is requiring drug tests from anyone who wants to get cash assistance (it pays for the drug test, if you pass it).  The Left is outraged at this.

I’m trying to wrap my mind around the mentality that approves of the first, but not the second.  The best I can come up with is that, to the Left, all money, everywhere, is theirs.  Not the government’s, most certainly not the property of the individual who made it, all money belongs to the Left.  Don’t want to spend your own money buying an unneeded “health insurance” policy?  Tough.  They want to cut costs for people they care about more than they care about you, so you have to pay.  Don’t want to give cash to drug users?  Tough.  They like drug users, esp. ones who’ve so screwed up their lives that they can’t survive without outside help, so the drug users get your money.

 

Any other justifications?

Gov Walker kills “Equal Pay Enforcement Act”

April 7, 2012

Ann Althouse wrote “I’d like to know more about the repeal of the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which I referred to a couple posts ago.”

Since her Capcha system never lets me though, I’ll respond here:

What’s to know?  it’s a bad law.  You want “equal pay for equal work”?  Great.  Do equal work.

You want to get paid as much as a cop?  be a cop.  You want to get paid as much as a garbage man?  Great.  Be one (or a garbage woman).

No bureaucrat, no court, no lawyer is qualified to judge whether or not two jobs are “equal”.  That is the job of the market, and the job of the individuals who make up the market.  You don’t like the pay for your job of choice?  Find a different one.

Two jobs require the same educational attainment, but one gets paid more than the other?  Sounds like more people want to do the lower paying job, and fewer want to do the higher paying one, so the higher paying one has to pay more to get people.

Good for Gov. Walker, and the Republican controlled Legislature,  for killing it.

Mushrooms and Health Care

April 3, 2012

No, this is not a post about the medicinal values of mushrooms.  This is about the 2001 Supreme Court ruling that a “Commerce Power” “corporate mandate” was unconstitutional, and what it should say about the Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate (hat tip John Hindraker)

In a 6 -3 decision written by Justice Kennedy, UNITED STATES v. UNITED FOODS, the Supreme Court struck down the Mushroom Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act mandate, ruling that the USDA could not force companies to give money to a program to “strengthen the market” for the commodity they produce.  The Federal government argued:

[A]s long as Congress has a legitimate interest in strengthening the market for a particular agricultural commodity, Congress is entitled . . . to enact this sort of program and impose it on an industry.

Sound familiar?  It should, if you’ve listened to any lefties arguing that Congress’ legitimate role in regulating the health insurance industry entitles it to impose the Individual Mandate on all American citizens.  However, Justice Kennedy wasn’t impressed.  In that case he said they Federal Government was trampling companies First Amendment rights, including the right not to say anything.  Which fits right in with the concerns stated by Justice Kennedy during Oral Argument, that the Individual Mandate was an Federal Government assault upon individual liberty.

Hopefully he’ll decide that individuals are entitled to the same liberty as corporations, when it comes to the right not to do things.

Contraception, ObamaCare, and the Left-Wing Bubble

April 1, 2012

Jonathan Adler wrote a post at Volokh asking why “legal elites” made such bad predictions about how the ObamaCare argument would go.  So far, I haven’t seen anyone ask if one of the results of that blindness was the Obama Administration rules forcing Catholic organizations to purchase health insurance that provides contraceptives, and even abortificants (Plan B).  “Swing Justice” Kennedy is a Catholic who is very concerned about “liberty”.  If the Obama Administration was aware a month ago that they desperately needed his vote to let ObamaCare live, and that it was going to be tight, at best, for their side, would they have gone ahead and announced that they were going to use ObamaCare to force every Catholic School, food kitchen, hospital, etc. to violate its principles?  Would they have announced that the final regulations would go into effect in May, so that the Supreme Court is getting appeals for protection from ObamaCare while the Supreme Court is finalizing the decisions and votes on whether to throw out ObamaCare?

What will the effect be on the 5 Catholic “conservative” Justices?  Will they look at the Obama Administration’s assault upon religious liberty using ObamaCare, and say “let’s just kill the whole thing, so we don’t have to deal with this”?  If they strike down the individual mandate, and strike down community rating and guaranteed issue, and strike down the Federal Government’s power to define “minimum insurance standards”, what’s left?  Also, if they strike down the whole law, then they don’t have to try to answer if the Medicare expansion is “coercive”.  Perhaps they want to answer that question.  But if they don’t, “kill it all, let the voters settle it” seems like a smart way to go.

What happens to Obama’s Re-election campaign if ObamaCare loses?

April 1, 2012

As Democrats start to come to grips with the idea that the Individual Mandate might be ruled unconstitutional, the next bit of spin comes to the fore “if the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare, this will just motivate liberals to get out there and vote for Obama.”

I disagree.

When the Democrats were carrying out their unprecedented filibusters of President Bush’s judicial nominees, there were 55 Republican Senators, and most Republican supporting voters couldn’t figure out why the Republicans were letting the Democrat minority run the show like that.  Then the Republican Senate leadership threatened to “go nuclear”, and all was right with the world.  Then John McCain organized the Gang of 14 to block the nuclear option, and reward the Democrats for having changed the rules of the game.  This ripped the heart out of many Republican supporters.  He we’d gotten a 55 seat majority, and those idiots in Washington still screwed it up!

Then came the 2006 Elections, and the Republicans no longer had their useless majority.

If the Supreme Court tosses out ObamaCare (and I think they should, because it’s unconstitutional), I think the Democrats will face a similar response.  They had the White House, 240+ Democrats in the House, and 60 Democrats in the Senate.  What’d they do with it?  They passed a “stimulus” law that didn’t help the economy, and an unconstitutional and unpopular “health care reform” law.

Tell me again why these guys deserve power?

It’s the mushy middle who decide elections.  And when they give you power, they expect you to accomplish something with it.  If you don’t, they’re going to give it to the other side.

With ObamaCare gone, record high gas prices, and a crappy economy, what did Obama and the Democrats do with the power the people gave them in 2008?  Unless they can answer that, all the scary stories about the Republicans, and all the promises of future benefits, aren’t going to be enough.

A Federal Government of Limited Powers

April 1, 2012

Over at Volokh, several commenters have been whining that it’s a violation of precedent for the Supreme Court to reject a government power (such as the individual mandate) just because there’s no “limiting principle” that would accept that power, but deny the Federal Government other powers.  Glenn Reynolds article in the Examiner today effectively rebuts that, with a quote from Lopez (the decision that overturned the “no guns within 1000 feet of a school law):

It was not acceptable, the majority opinion said, to “pile inference upon inference” in order to extend federal power so far beyond its intended limits. “To do so would require us to conclude that the Constitution’s enumeration of powers does not presuppose something not enumerated, and that there never will be a distinction between what is truly national and what is truly local. This we are unwilling to do.”

Verrilli didn’t look like an ass because the Court changed the rules on him,Verrilli looked like an ass because the people who wrote ObamaCare decided they could ignore Lopez, and as such they left Verrilli with an indefensible law to try to defend.  Also left looking like the asses they are are all the left-wing “legal commentators” (Linda Greenhouse, etc.) who insisted that the Individual mandate was a Constitutional “slam dunk”, apparently having wiped from their minds that Kennedy voted in the majority on Lopez and in Bond v. United States Kennedy wrote last year:

[Limiting federal power] protects the liberty of all persons within a state by ensuring that laws enacted in excess of delegated governmental power cannot direct or control their actions. By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake.

If that doesn’t sound like “just because States can do it, doesn’t mean the Federal Government can”, then you’re not paying attention.  That, BTW, was a 9-0 decision.  Which is what the ruling striking down the Individual Mandate would be, if the four “liberals” on the Court were honest Justices, rather than left-wing hacks.