Tag: Obamacare

Will the Newest Obamacare Challenge Succeed at the Supreme Court?


I’ve been asked a lot recently what I think of the Supreme Court’s decision to take up King v. Burwell, one of the legal challenges to the IRS’s decision to allow tax credits and subsidies to be applied to federal insurance exchanges, even though the text of the law seems to indicate that they’re only allowed on exchanges established by the states. I think the chances are high that the administration will lose because:

1. The plain text of the statute denies subsidies to people who live in states without an exchange. This reading is not absurd, because it creates a powerful incentive for states to create an exchange in the first place. The obvious meaning of the text should only be discarded if it creates absurd or ridiculous results. We shouldn’t discount the possibility that the Justices just want to do the right thing!

A Bad Night For ObamaCare


shutterstock_137110268On December 24, 2009, sixty US Senators — all Democrats or independents caucusing with them — voted for the Affordable Care & Patient Protection Act. A scant five years later, only 33 (55%) of them are still in office. That’s an attrition rate of 45%, 15% per election, among members of body famously designed to be insulated from popular whim.

To be fair, there are a number of reasons for this that have nothing to do with ObamaCare: some senators have died; some have taken appointments in the Obama administration and been replaced by ideological clones; others elected during the last major wave reached their natural age of retirement. Still, it’s a historically high number.

Contrast that with the 39 Republicans who voted against ObamaCare: 27 (69%) of them are still in office; 9 (23%) retired; two lost primaries; and one resigned. In all, Republican attrition during the same period has been about 11% per election (see below for details).

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I boldly predict that of three contested races- in Alaska, Louisiana and Virginia, Republicans will get at least two of them, (probably the first two) and possibly three. I think it is not only important to get a majority to remove Reid and to pass legislation, but a three to four vote advantage will make […]

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Republicans, Give Me Something to Work With


I’ve been having some breakthrough conversations about politics and government with a Millenial who works with me. He’s an intelligent lad, and well-informed, though his limited life experience hasn’t chipped away at his idealism yet.

He has a number of conservative views and opinions — net neutrality, big data, TSA, etc. — although he doesn’t necessarily recognize them as such. But hey, it’s a start.

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Someone showed me a form from her recent trip to the Urgent Care clinic. As I recall, “indigency” as defined by Obamacare includes a person of middle class income with a high deductible, a person of middle income who pays in cash, and a person of lower income. Based only on what I read, it […]

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Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion Gives Priority to Ex-Cons


States continue to debate whether they should expand their Medicaid programs under Obamacare. While the siren song of “free money” from Washington, D.C. lures governors from both parties, states often cut the budgets of programs helping the truly needy to prioritize a massive influx of able-bodied patients. Even worse, one third of those patients have criminal histories:

Lawmakers in expansion states have decided to put their most needy citizens on the chopping block so they can move able-bodied, working-age adults; almost all of whom (82 percent) have no children to support, nearly half of whom (45 percent) do not work, many of whom (35 percent) with a record of run-ins with the criminal justice system to the front of the line. So what happens to those on the ObamaCare chopping block? States that previously expanded Medicaid had to eliminate coverage for life-saving organ transplants, overload waitlists for services, cap enrollment and raise patient costs, all because promises were broken and costs exceeded projections.

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I’d like to see the next president attack head-on the vexing and unconstitutional trend toward rule by administration. The fastest (and most terrifying) way to cure Congress forever of delegating its authority to the bureaucracy would be by giving them what they ask for good and hard. I’d like to see the next president take […]

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What Is HealthCare.gov For?


Healthcare.gov was hacked. Of course it was. The website’s lax security has been known since before the launch date (if you can call it that). HHS tells us the “website was not specifically targeted,” so I guess we’re supposed to be reassured that those responsible didn’t mean to break into the website, they just happened to stumble across it on a stroll through IP address space.

Forcing the entire population to buy health insurance is a massive task, a job which sounds like something a broadly functional website might be well-suited for. However, its failure was inevitable from the moment of its conception: it was created for compliance with the law and its subsequent enforcement, not to provide a helpful and secure service to customers, any more than self-driving cars were created to finish your crossword puzzle.

Liberal Commentators Unserious and Undemocratic Response to Halbig


Liberal commentators endorse a peculiar method of statutory interpretation to support their claim that Obamacare (“the ACA”) provides for subsidies on both State and Federal Exchanges. They argue that the private intent of specific legislators and even staffers should replace the plain text of the statute. This method of interpretation would prove unworkable and inconsistent with democratic norms.

In one particularly egregious example of this argument, the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent cites a draft of Obamacare that was passed by a Senate committee but never became law. This unpassed version of the law explicitly authorized subsidies on Federal Exchanges. Sargent claims this version of the law embodies Congress’s “true intent.” He wants courts to ignore the bill that was actually passed and to effectuate the supposed will of Congress.

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By request, I’m reposting a thread from November, with only minor edits. The big news then was Obamacare’s trainwreck of a rollout — especially healthcare.gov, and the Obama administration’s desperate efforts to have health insurers re-offer cancelled plans that Obamacare had outlawed. (Can you remember when Obamacare was the mistake that was going to sink […]

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In all the commentary I’ve read about the Halbig case, I’ve not seen any discussion of CBO scoring. Does anyone know whether the CBO based its scoring of Obamacare on the assumption that people enrolled through the Federal exchange would not receive subsidies? Preview Open

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Obamacare Subsidies Ruled Illegal!


After holding us in suspense for almost two weeks beyond the expected date for the decision, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on Halbig v. Sebelius. In a 2-1 ruling, the court held that the text of the Affordable Care Act only allows subsidies for insurance policies purchased through state established exchanges. Thus, the subsidies currently being paid to those who purchased through the federal exchange (the overwhelming majority of all policies) are illegal.

This is a really big deal. Though the ruling will certainly be appealed, first to an en banc panel of the D.C. Circuit and then probably to the Supreme Court, Obamacare will essentially collapse if the panel’s ruling is upheld. Stay tuned.

A Time to Offer Choice


The lie that works is the lie with at least a particle of truth.

This is the case with the outraged feminist response to the Hobby Lobby ruling. Conservatives were frozen in disbelief in 2012 as the “war on women” campaign swept in votes for Obama, and they are equally amazed now as the Democrats plan to make Hobby Lobby a campaign issue. How can it possibly work?

Down Is Up and Up Is Too


shutterstock_132270326Today the Obama Administration drastically lowered its already dismal estimate of first quarter GDP. At the end of April, the Commerce Department claimed the GDP fell at a 1.0 percent pace. The agency has now revised that to a 2.9 percent annual rate, which is the economy’s worst performance in five years.

In the heady days of -1.0% growth, Democrats blamed the bad numbers on an unusually cold winter, but maintained there was one bright spot. The only reason the number wasn’t worse, they claimed, was because healthcare spending had drastically increased. Ignoring that Obama promised his health care reform would “bend the cost curve down,” the left praised the jump in spending — Obamacare saved the economy!

Today’s revision shows that healthcare spending actually dropped along with everything else. In a bad economy, no one wants to spend money on anything. But to our non-partisan press, yesterday’s spin is ancient history; what’s important is protecting the president today.

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  (Note: For entertainment purposes only. – DD) The family I grew up in, like so many American families, was divided politically. On one side there was my mom and two brothers (the conservatives) and on the other there was my dad, sister and me (the right-wing nut jobs). As an adult, the milieu I […]

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Democrats Bail on Obamacare


ObamaCare-chartThe news gets worse and worse for President Obama. Assuming that his lickspittle acolytes in the press do what they usually do — muffle the litany of lies and incompetence and bad judgment that went into the disasters of Benghazi and Bergdahl; spin economic and unemployment indicators; bow meekly as the dog collar is tightened and the choke-chain yanked — that still leaves the President with the problem of ObamaCare.  

Most people still don’t like it. And by “most people” I mean Democrats. From the WaPo:

Obamacare is a boon to Republicans in the 2014 election; this much is clear. The issue is galvanizing conservative voters like none other right now, and that’s important.

‘Do It Yourself, White Boy!’ Life at the VA


Gil C / Shutterstock.comAnother lifetime ago, those five words were spoken to me in a VA hospital in New Orleans. Another typical civil service, morbidly obese nurse biding her time until retirement. The patient was a WW1 vet (who’d been gassed, etc.) and he needed to have his bladder catheterized. I wrote the order that was countersigned by a resident but it didn’t happen.

A few hours later I returned. I asked about it and was told,”Do it yourself, white boy!” So I did, although I fumbled my way through the procedure since his 90-year-old prostate was the size of Delaware. He’d been hurting for hours while this lady did her very minimal job as well as her nails.

Now let’s go to an actual VA doc who, when he resigned after a couple of years, was told by his boss that he was the worst employee ever. Funny thing, that doc was as bright, compassionate and motivated as any I’ve ever met. But being the “worst” actually meant he busted his bottom and refused to give in to the slothy culture which permeates ALL civil service life. Holding a meeting and resolving to eventually do something positive but never doing it was the norm. This “worst employee ever” could not deal with the rampant laziness and dysfunction. Having spent plenty of time in four VA hospitals, I can say this is epidemic.   

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In August my oldest daughter shall be leaving Australia and moving to the United States for five years. There she will be undertaking graduate studies in linguistics towards a PhD at UC Berkeley, thanks to her academic acceptance and the award of a Berkeley Fellowship. As the time draws close she has been taking the […]

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Healthcare Equality for All!


ambulanceJust over a week ago a beloved family member collapsed in the middle of the night, was rushed to the hospital in shock and underwent emergency surgery for internal bleeding. Sophie received a post-operative blood transfusion and spent two days in intensive care. Thanks to expert, timely and compassionate care, today she is back home and doing well.

Excellent emergency medical care is the norm in the United States, thank goodness. What stands out from my family’s recent hospital experience is the administrative side.

Consider: while Sophie was being prepped for surgery, the nurse provided us a detailed estimate of the likely cost of her stay, breaking down the clinical variables and associated prices that would determine the final bill. On discharge day the charges came in as forecast. No surprises. No red tape. No Obamacare. We paid by credit card and were on our way.