Enrolling Resolution Defunding Obamacare
The House has introduced an enrolling resolution (H.Con.Res. 35) that would add provisions to the continuing resolution (H.R. 1473) prohibiting any of its funds from being used to implement Obamacare. Text is available here. Timing of a Senate vote on the enrolling resolution is unclear, but the resolution is expected to require a 60-vote affirmative threshold for adoption. Background material on Obamacare implementation activities follows.
The resolution would direct the Clerk to correct the enrollment of H.R. 1473, so that the text of the continuing resolution would prohibit funding in the continuing resolution “or any previous Act” from being used to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, P.L. 111-148) or the health care provisions of the reconciliation Act (P.L. 111-152). The wording of the enrolling resolution WOULD de-fund mandatory as well as discretionary spending for Obamacare implementation, but WOULD NOT de-fund the education and student loan provisions included in last year’s reconciliation measure.
- At a time when the federal government is running record budget deficits, as well as significant unfunded liabilities within Medicare and Medicaid, many may object to the creation of a $2.6 trillion new entitlement program.
- Obamacare as enacted broke many of candidate Obama’s campaign promises – that health “reform” would allow individuals to keep their current coverage, save families $2500 from their health insurance premiums, not raise taxes on the middle class, and lower costs. Taxpayers should not be forced to fund a measure that so dramatically deviates from the President’s promised goals on health care.
- With the American economy still suffering from tepid growth and millions of individuals still unemployed, continuing to implement a law that experts agree will both raise taxes and reduce the net labor supply for the American economy represents a poor policy choice.
De-Funding Obamacare Means Federal Tax Dollars Will NOT Be Spent On:
Raising Premiums: While candidate Obama repeatedly promised that he would cut premiums by $2500 per family, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that due to the new mandates in the law, individual insurance premiums would rise by $2100 per family. Multiple stories in recent months have highlighted how premiums are not only going up despite the health care overhaul, in many instances they have risen BECAUSE of it.
Taking Away Coverage: According to the Administration’s own estimates, half of all businesses will lose their current coverage within two years – subjecting them to Obamacare’s costly insurance mandates. Moreover, the Medicare actuary estimates that the health care law will reduce projected enrollment in Medicare Advantage by half, and further testified the promise that the promise that individuals would keep their current coverage is “not true in all cases.”
Writing New Regulations: The Administration has released 6,578 pages of regulations and related notices in the Federal Register since the health care law passed last year – a mere down payment on the tens of thousands of pages of Washington mandates likely to be handed down over the coming years, even decades. Even a potential government shutdown didn’t prevent HHS from wanting to write more regulations; the Department’s contingency operations plan in the event of a lapse in funding classified those writing new Washington insurance mandates as “essential.” The mandates produced by these unelected bureaucrats will raise burdens on businesses, particularly small businesses, at a time when firms are still struggling economically.
Discouraging Workers: The non-partisan head of the Congressional Budget Office previously testified that the health care law will reduce the total labor supply by about 800,000 jobs. CBO found that the health law “will effectively increase marginal tax rates,” which will “encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market” altogether.
Raising Costs: President Obama promised that “If any bill arrives from Congress that is not controlling costs, that’s not a bill I can support.” However, the Medicare actuary previously noted that the health care law will RAISE total health spending by $310,800,000,000 in its first ten years alone, and further testified the promise that the health care law would lower costs was “false, more so than true.” The Congressional Budget Office also noted that the law will RAISE the federal budgetary commitment to health care by $464 billion.
Raising Taxes: At a time when the American economy faces continued sluggish job growth, the health care law imposes more than a half-trillion dollars of destructive tax increases – many of which will hurt middle-class families. For instance, one tax alone could raise insurance premiums on families by $5,000 during the law’s first ten years.
A “Feudal” Bureaucracy: An article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal discussed “a series of increasingly intense feuds” between federal bureaucrats aiming to protect their regulatory turf. As the article notes, much of the controversy among regulators involves who will be responsible for antitrust enforcement of the accountable care organizations created by Obamacare.
Extravagant Leases: The New York Times reported in December that “in Bethesda, [Maryland,] health care officials are leasing more than 70,000 square feet of space on three floors of an office building for about 230 employees to work on rule-making and other duties. The government agreed to pay $51.41 per usable square foot of space, compared with an average of $27 in Bethesda, because it wanted to get the operation running in July, officials said.” That’s an overpayment of more than $1.7 million of taxpayers’ dollars in one year alone – just for a single office lease.
Misleading Mailings: Last May, the Administration spent $18 million to send a mailing to seniors purportedly touting the “benefits” of the health care law to seniors. The Government Accountability Office found that the mailer – which was NOT reviewed or approved by the non-partisan Medicare actuary for its accuracy – “overstates some of [the law’s] benefits” and “presents a picture of [the law] that is not universally shared.”
Ads with “Weasel Words”: The Administration also spent millions more in taxpayer funds to run an ad campaign in which Andy Griffith took on the role of “pitching President Barack Obama’s health care law to seniors.” The non-partisan factcheck.org concluded that the ads used “weasel words” to mislead seniors about the impact of the health care law.
Propaganda Postcards: The Internal Revenue Service spent taxpayer funds to mail out 4 million postcards advertising the health care law’s “benefits,” in the form of a scaled-back small business tax credit. Yet the IRS has not shown a similar inclination to send out postcards warning the American people of the more than half-trillion dollars of destructive tax increases included as part of the law.
PR Agents: The public affairs office at the Department of Health and Human Services recently requested a 315% increase in its budget for the coming fiscal year; that office is “tasked with selling the health care reform law.”