Tag Archives: Health care

Bad Omen for Obama and Democrats « Thomas Jefferson Club Blog

When a swing state votes overwhelmingly against a president’s biggest accomplishment, there is trouble on the horizon for that president and his political party. That is exactly what just happened in Missouri where the people voted, almost 3 to 1, to strike down the Obamacare mandate to purchase health care insurance. Missouri certainly came out swinging.

This is a loud and clear negation of Obama’s imagined mandate to “fundamentally” change America and a good indication of the direction independent voters are taking. Obama and Democrats were preparing to boast about administration accomplishments in upcoming campaigns for mid-term elections, stressing the passage of the stimulus and health care bills as reasons to keep the Democrat majority in Congress. Perhaps they will now re-think that strategy.

Read more via Bad Omen for Obama and Democrats « Thomas Jefferson Club Blog.

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Prop C passes overwhelmingly

Prop C passes overwhelmingly

Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama’s administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.

“The citizens of the Show-Me State don’t want Washington involved in their health care decisions,” said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.

Read more via Prop C passes overwhelmingly.

Republican Study Committee (RSC) – The Caucus of House Conservatives

Health Reform’s Bureaucratic Spawn

Don’t bother trying to count up the number of agencies, boards and commissions created under the new health care law. Estimating the number is “impossible,” a recent Congressional Research Service report says, and a true count “unknowable.”

The reasons for the uncertainty are many, according to CRS’s Curtis W. Copeland, the author of the report “New Entities Created Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

The provisions of the law that create the new entities vary dramatically in specificity.

The law says a lot about some of them and a little about many, and merely mentions a few. Some have been authorized without any instructions on who is to appoint whom, when that might happen and who will pay.

Those agencies created without specific appointment or appropriations procedures will have to wait indefinitely for staff and funding before they can function, according to Copeland’s report.

And others could be just the opposite: One entity might not be enough and could spawn others, resulting in an “indeterminate number of new organizations.”

Read more via Republican Study Committee (RSC) – The Caucus of House Conservatives.

Damn the Evidence, Full Speed Ahead?

Damn the Evidence, Full Speed Ahead? [Victor Davis Hanson]

The strangest thing about Obama’s gargantuan, trillion-dollar-plus new health-care entitlement is the timing.

Not only are we running $1.7 trillion annual deficits and scheduled to nearly double the $11 trillion debt in only eight years — and watching the logical end to an entitlement state in Greece’s implosion — but we are witnessing the meltdown of almost every government-run program imaginable: Medicare is broke; the Postal Service is insolvent and cutting back Saturday service (but probably not a commensurate one-sixth of their budget); and now Social Security spends more than it takes in.

So is this frenzied effort to expand government, widen entitlements, raise taxes, and borrow more money some sort of nihilistic urge to achieve a universal, cradle-to-grave, redistributionist entitlement state at about the same time the entire system goes bankrupt?

Constant campaigning, photo-ops, fluff interviews, adulatory essays in the corrupt media — all this can give a one or two point plus in the polls. But the reasons the bumps are transitory and followed by net losses after a week or two is that the public now realizes we are broke. When Obama announces yet another give-away or entitlement, the public equates that with spending more money we have just borrowed, and suspects that this can no more go on than can the spree of the giddy shopper who maxes out a dozen credit cards, oozing wealth and confidence, before the tab comes in and financial destruction follows.

Charles Krauthammer – Obamacare’s next trick: the VAT – washingtonpost.com

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, March 26, 2010; A25

As the night follows the day, VAT follows health-care reform.

With the passage of Obamacare, creating a vast new middle-class entitlement, a national sales tax of the kind near-universal in Europe is inevitable.

We are now $8 trillion in debt. The Congressional Budget Office projects that $12 trillion will be added over the next decade. Obamacare, when stripped of its budgetary gimmicks — the unfunded $200 billion-plus “doctor fix,” the double counting of Medicare cuts, the 10-6 sleight-of-hand (counting 10 years of revenue and only six years of outflows) — is at minimum a $2 trillion new entitlement.

It will vastly increase the debt. But even if it were revenue-neutral, Obamacare preempts and appropriates for itself the best and easiest means of reducing the existing deficit. Obamacare’s $500 billion of cuts in Medicare and $600 billion in tax hikes are no longer available for deficit reduction. They are siphoned off for the new entitlement of insuring the uninsured.

This is fiscally disastrous because, as President Obama himself explained last year in unveiling his grand transformational policies, our unsustainable fiscal path requires control of entitlement spending, the most ruinous of which is out-of-control health-care costs.

Obamacare was sold on the premise that, as Nancy Pelosi put it, “health-care reform is entitlement reform. Our budget cannot take this upward spiral of cost.” But the bill enacted on Tuesday accelerates the spiral: It radically expands Medicaid (adding 15 million recipients/dependents) and shamelessly raids Medicare by spending on a new entitlement the $500 billion in cuts and the yield from the Medicare tax hikes.

Obama knows that the debt bomb is looming, that Moody’s is warning that the Treasury’s AAA rating is in jeopardy, that we are headed for a run on the dollar and/or hyperinflation if nothing is done.

Hence his deficit-reduction commission. It will report (surprise!) after the November elections.

What will it recommend? What can it recommend? Sure, Social Security can be trimmed by raising the retirement age, introducing means testing and changing the indexing formula from wage growth to price inflation.

But this won’t be nearly enough. As Obama has repeatedly insisted, the real money is in health-care costs — which are locked in place by the new Obamacare mandates.

That’s where the value-added tax comes in. For the politician, it has the virtue of expediency: People are used to sales taxes, and this one produces a river of revenue. Every 1 percent of VAT would yield up to $1 trillion a decade (depending on what you exclude — if you exempt food, for example, the yield would be more like $900 billion).

It’s the ultimate cash cow. Obama will need it. By introducing universal health care, he has pulled off the largest expansion of the welfare state in four decades. And the most expensive. Which is why all of the European Union has the VAT. Huge VATs. Germany: 19 percent. France and Italy: 20 percent. Most of Scandinavia: 25 percent.

American liberals have long complained that ours is the only advanced industrial country without universal health care. Well, now we shall have it. And as we approach European levels of entitlements, we will need European levels of taxation.

Obama set out to be a consequential president, on the order of Ronald Reagan. With the VAT, Obama’s triumph will be complete. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism. Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the (governmental) beast in order to shrink it: First, cut taxes — then ultimately you have to reduce government spending.

Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed.

And the VAT is the only trough in creation large enough.

As a substitute for the income tax, the VAT would be a splendid idea. Taxing consumption makes infinitely more sense than taxing work. But to feed the liberal social-democratic project, the VAT must be added on top of the income tax.

Ultimately, even that won’t be enough. As the population ages and health care becomes increasingly expensive, the only way to avoid fiscal ruin (as Britain, for example, has discovered) is health-care rationing.

It will take a while to break the American populace to that idea. In the meantime, get ready for the VAT. Or start fighting it.

Obama’s Empty Health Care Victory

March 24, 2010

By J.R. Dunn

One major fantasy of American liberalism is the illusion that they get the last word. That the debate is over when they say it is. That their actions are irreversible, that their decisions and conclusions have both the firmness and the weight of the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Eightfold Way combined, and that nothing in the human universe can ever reverse them once made. We have heard this concerning abortion, concerning climate change, and now, concerning health-care “reform.”

This is exactly the way that Roe v. Wade was unveiled in 1973 — both Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun, the tag team that put that one over, declared that there would be no controversy whatsoever and that a tidy round of state lawmaking would tie up the final loose ends. The actual conflagration that greeted the decision, and which continues to this day, left them and the liberal elite they represented utterly dumbfounded.
All this reveals a profound misunderstanding of human nature, an almost childlike conviction that what the book says goes, that the rules are sacrosanct, and that if you’re in a position to make those rules — as American liberals like to think they are — then the common people simply have to do things your way.
That’s how it’s supposed to work with ObamaCare. Now that Congress has spoken, and the law is on the books, we’re supposed to line up and silently take our orders. Forget the chicanery, the sleazy side deals; forget the simple lack of constitutional legitimacy of the thing. It’s on the books now, so we have to obey. So says seventy years of modern liberalism.
Needless to say, nothing of the sort is going to happen. This battle has only started. Obama has his bill? Indeed he does — but along with it, he also has:
  • Well over half the populace infuriated by the bill and the methods used to push it through. (Poll numbers range from the mid-50s to the lower 60s, depending on how the questions are worded. The latest CNN poll puts opposition at 59%.)
  • Thirty-seven states considering laws forbidding the federal government from ordering their citizens to purchase health insurance. (Idaho has already passed such a provision.)
  • A raft of lawsuit filings,beginning yesterday, attacking the bill on virtually every level from funding to the “reconciliation” process. (What a misnomer that is!) Many are based on very substantial grounds, and some have an excellent chance before the bench.
  • A lengthy and convoluted series of actions that must be taken, beginning now, to assure that the provisions of the bill go into effect without breaking the budgetary barriers and revealing ObamaCare’s actual costs. Many are as controversial and unpopular as the bill itself. Chief among these is cutting Medicare benefits, which must be done sometime in the next few months. Need I say more?
  • Obama’s personal and party poll numbers falling through the floor, as the Democrats shed not only the voters attracted by Obama in 2008, but those who had drifted in the over eight years of the Bush presidency. Independents, Reagan Democrats, liberal Republicans, floaters…all gone. As of this Monday, CNN puts Obama’s disapproval rate at 51%. We’ll see what seats the Dems can carry with the combined Move On/ACORN vote. (Well, it seems that they can forget about the ACORN part too.   You see how this works?)
It will get worse. The liberals have guaranteed as much with their shifty procedural methods along with such cute little schticks as delaying actual implementation until 2013 while beginning most new taxes after the November election. And the weight will fall on Obama himself. He owns the thing. It was his bill, it was his insistence that it go through, and it has his name on it. So the Messiah is going to be fighting this battle for the rest of his term. Nothing short of a massive attack on the United States is going to change that. First come the November elections. Then the Supreme Court case. Then the guerrilla war in Congress, with the new kids elected solely on the basis of rolling back Obama’s attempt to hijack the economy entering office in January 2011. And throughout it all, the continuous, everyday acts of defiance and contempt by the little platoons, the people who actually make up this country.
What does that leave Obama? Absolutely nothing. He will have no more opportunities. His hands will be full. He will be spending every last minute defending his major achievement, which he sees as his legacy. He will have time for nothing else. While he is otherwise involved, his crew of Chicago gangsters and career political hustlers will be roaming around cutting their own deals and making their own arrangements, further crippling his efforts and infuriating the public. Mark Steyn has suggested that the goal of ObamaCare is to institutionalize the left as America’s base political culture. Instead, Obama appears to be bringing it to ruination.
Harry Blackmun was the man who actually wrote the extremely flawed — in truth, legally empty — Roe decision. He spent the rest of his career defending it. He never accomplished anything else, never put his name on another notable decision, never became associated with any worthy legal doctrine. He deteriorated at last into an isolated, querulous figure, obsessed with Roe v. Wade and his role in seeing it into law. All to achieve no more than to permanently intertwine his name with the legal decision that came closer than any action since the Civil War to rending the country in twain.
So it will be with Obama. That’s what he has to look forward to, on a much wider stage and in a much shorter compass of time. It may well be that future historians will refer to his term as the short presidency — effectively brought to an end at his own initiative only fourteen months after it began. It remains up to us to make it so.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker, and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker website.

CNSNews.com – IRS to Enforce Health Reform

CNSNews.com

IRS to Enforce Health Reform
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer


IRS income tax forms.(AP file photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The Internal Revenue Service will function as the government’s chief enforcer for health care reform, should President Obama sign the bill into law as expected, monitoring both businesses and individuals to certify whether they have the insurance coverage the government requires.

The tax collection agency will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the individual and employer insurance mandates which form the backbone of the Democrats’ hard-won reforms.

The bill states that the purpose of the mandates is to regulate “economic and financial decisions about how and when health care is paid for, and when health insurance is purchased.”

The mandates require that all Americans carry a minimum level of health insurance or pay a separate tax for every month they are without such coverage. All employers with 50 employers or more will also be required to provide their employees with that same minimum level of coverage.

While that minimum level of coverage will be defined at a later date by the Department of Health and Human Services, it will be the responsibility of the IRS to monitor individuals and employers and to punish those who do not comply.

Under the bill, which passed despite bipartisan opposition March 21, starting in 2014 the IRS would be responsible for monitoring which employers are complying with the mandate and which ones are not. The IRS would begin such monitoring of individuals’ health insurance status in 2014 as well.

The IRS would monitor individuals and businesses’ health insurance statuses through the mandatory reporting the bill requires. Under the law, every individual and most businesses are required to report to the IRS, on their tax returns, whether they have purchased or provided the required level of coverage and disclose to the IRS which months, if any, in which they failed to do so.

Using this information, the IRS would then determine whether an employer or individual falls under the mandate, which contains exceptions for religious conscience, hardship, incarcerated persons, and members of Indian tribes.

If either an individual or a business has failed to comply with this mandate for any month out of the year, they are required to pay a separate tax to the IRS. For individuals this is a maximum of $750 per person (up to $2,250 per household) and $750 per uncovered employee for businesses.

Because these penalties would each apply on a monthly basis, individuals and employers would have to pay 1/12th of the maximum penalties for each month they failed to comply with the mandates.

In order to carry out its new monitoring and enforcement duties, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the IRS will need $10 billion in additional funds, funds which were not made available under the health reform bill.

An analysis done by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that this $10 billion could go to fund an additional 16,500 new IRS agents and other personnel to monitor and enforce the new mandates.

“[T]he IRS could add more than 16,500 additional agents, auditors, examiners, and administrative support personnel to enforce large portions of the nation’s health insurance system,” the report said.

The IRS will also be in charge of collecting the new taxes on high cost insurance plans and on so-called unearned income from couples making over $250,000 per year and single filers making over $200,000 per year.

Both of these provisions could be modified should the Senate approve a budget reconciliation measure the House also passed March 21. Whichever final form they take, they are both direct taxes and thus will be directly administered by the IRS.

Because these new mandates and taxes are under the purview of the IRS, taxpayers and businesses could incur additional penalties normally reserved for normal income tax cheats, paying fees over and above those for not complying with Congress’ new mandates.

The IRS currently charges potentially hefty penalties for, among other things, filing false or fraudulent returns, filing late returns, and failure to pay a tax on time.

Taxpayers and businesses could be hit with these extra penalties because they are required to use their tax returns to prove to the IRS that they are complying with the mandates and because they will have to pay any tax penalties to that agency as well.

Wolf Files: 12% pure hope

Wolf Files: 12% pure hope

A glimmer of hope has appeared in the mid of the Health-care debate with the appearance of Cousin Milton Wolfe, the once removed cousin of President Obama.  He appeared on Fox & Friends this morning first demonstrating his pride in the fact that President Obama has risen to the office of the President and then went on to renounce the pending Health-care legislation.  He gave an excellent lesson in economics explaining why the reform will not work and that, in the end, it will harm the country.  In a brief search I found no political agenda on this man and found him to be quite credible.  He intends on going to Washington to visit with his congressman to express his concerns.  I feel that this is a major development and it will be interesting to see if it ever sees the light of day in the main stream media.

Joepf

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