Monday, May 7, 2012

What You Missed Over the May Recess

Congress is back today after another week-long constituent work period.  However, news on health care continued; if you were out over the break, here’s what you need to know to get caught up to speed:

Why You WILL Lose Your Current Coverage:  The House Ways and Means Committee released a report analyzing how 71 of the nation’s largest companies would save over $422 billion within a decade by dropping health coverage and dumping their workers on to Obamacare’s Exchanges.  Some observers cited examples from Massachusetts to allege that employers will not drop coverage.  But under the Massachusetts law, individuals whose employers drop health coverage remain ineligible for taxpayer subsidized insurance for six full months, thus giving firms a stronger incentive to maintain coverage.  No such provision exists in Obamacare – firms can drop coverage on June 30, and their workers can apply for taxpayer-funded benefits the very same day.  The Ways and Means study once again illustrates how employers will take advantage of these incentives present in Obamacare to drop coverage for their workers.

Dems Fight for Purity on “Mediscare:”  Former Sen. Russ Feingold blasted Nancy Pelosi on entitlements, claiming Pelosi was willing to reduce Medicare benefits for seniors – a charge Pelosi denied.  Obscured amidst the back and forth were two fundamental facts.  First, Medicare’s trust fund could be exhausted as soon as 2017 – five short years from now – meaning seniors are already facing benefit cuts if we adopt the Left’s position and do nothing to change the program.  Second, Pelosi herself admitted last year that Democrats “took a half a trillion dollars out of Medicare in [Obamacare], the health care bill,” thus worsening the program’s already precarious financial position.

Mandating Health Coverage Essential to Liberty…?  Liberals Jonathan Cohn and David Strauss, author of “The Living Constitution,” published a Bloomberg op-ed claiming that Obamacare’s unprecedented individual mandate “is about liberty,” and that a Supreme Court decision upholding the mandate “would be a powerful defense of liberty in the modern age.” (No, I’m not making this up.)  The authors claim that such a ruling “would be consistent with the spirit of the Constitution, whose architects wished to construct an economically viable union of states.”  Many would question how the Framers’ wish for “an economically viable union of states” can be met by having centrally located bureaucrats in Washington dictate to states, and to individuals, what products they must buy, and when and how they must buy them.

Administration Tries to Defend Unpopular Law:  Buzzfeed obtained a Powerpoint document outlining the supposed “benefits” of Obamacare, part of a continuing strategy by the Administration to attempt to defend their unpopular 2700-page health care law.  The presentation repeats many familiar claims, alleging that new Medicare preventive benefits are free – they’re not: taxpayers will pay, even if seniors don’t – and repeating the dubious and debunked notion that 129 million Americans have pre-existing conditions.  The presentation also lists as a “success story” a 2010 incident where a Massachusetts insurer was limited to a rate increase of ONLY about 12% – a far cry from the $2500 premium reduction candidate Obama repeatedly promised.  With failed pledges like these, it’s no wonder the American public still does not like the law.

Voters to Supremes: Strike Down Obamacare:  Despite – or perhaps because of – the Administration’s supposed salesmanship efforts, a Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday found that a majority of voters in Florida (51-38%) and Ohio (51-37%), along with a plurality of voters in Pennsylvania (46-43%), want the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare.  Analysts noted that the phrasing of this particular poll question implies that voters in these key states want the Court to strike the entire law, not just its unpopular and unprecedented individual mandate.