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VIDEO: We Don’t Need Another Obamacare | Senator Rand Paul on Healthcare Plan

Senator Rand Paul talks about the new Obamacare repeal and replacement bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Paul believes it is better than what it was before but it is still a far cry from being a free market bill and will most likely be Obamacare cut in half.

The Every Day American in an email notes:

TODAY’S BIG THING: THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT

WHAT’S THE BIG PICTURE?

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

HAVEN’T I HEARD THIS BEFORE?

Yes. About six weeks ago, Republicans came close to voting on the AHCA. Ultimately, the bill was pulled. So, moderate and conservative Republicans spent time working together to improve the legislation.

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?

The updated AHCA is the same bill as before, but with three important changes.

  1. Palmer/Schweikert Amendment: creates a new federal risk-sharing program, a high-risk pool that will lower costs for people with pre-existing conditions, and lower costs for everyone else.

  2. The MacArthur Amendment: allows states to apply for waivers to three of Obamacare’s costliest mandates: essential health benefits; age rating; and community rating, but only if the state has a risk-sharing program to help individuals with pre-existing conditions afford coverage.This new flexibility will allow states to design insurance frameworks that are right for their unique populations, providing superior care and lowering costs for patients.

  3. The Upton-Long Amendment: dedicates $8 billion solely to reducing premiums and other out-of-pocket costs for patients in the individual market with pre-existing conditions who do not maintain continuous coverage and who live in states that receive a waiver to redesign their insurance market.

SO… IS IT LAW?

Not quite. Next it goes to the Senate and then to the White House, where it is signed into law. Don’t worry. We’ll keep you updated every step of the way.

WAIT, IS CONGRESS EXEMPT?

No. Yesterday, Congress also voted on the McSally Bill, which ensures that Members of Congress and their staff live by the same health care rules as everyone else.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Congress has several big projects coming up this year and next, including balancing the budget, funding the military, fixing America’s infrastructure, and overhauling the tax code.

Stay tuned. It’s sure to be an exciting year.

RELATED ARTICLES:

As Senate Mulls Obamacare Repeal, Insurers in 2 States Ask Double-Digit Premium Hikes

Fact Check: It’s a Lie That the GOP Healthcare Bill Abandons People With Pre-Existing Conditions

The Growing Problem of ‘Fake Science’

No, the Rest of the World Doesn’t Use ‘Single Payer’ by Eli Lehrer

There’s plenty of reason for free marketers to be skeptical of proposals, like the ones emanating from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and hinted at by Republican Donald Trump, that would create a single-payer healthcare coverage system in the United States.

But, if only because these proposals have resonance with the public, they’re certainly worth debating. A rational debate depends on getting the facts straight and there’s one fact that both left and right often get wrong: “single payer” healthcare of the sort Bernie Sanders proposes isn’t universal in the developed world and the US system isn’t particularly free-market by the standards of peer nations.

Although definitions vary slightly, a single payer healthcare system is one where a single entity — a government-run insurance plan — pays all bills for a variety of medical care, and private payment for these same services is more-or-less banned.

Among the G-7 countries, only one nation, Canada, actually maintains such a system. One other, Italy, has a pretty similar system but allows much more private payment, and, because of the low standards of public hospitals, nearly everyone who can afford private insurance carries it.

Japan maintains a government-run healthcare plan, but it has so many gaps that most families find a need to carry private insurance to cover things like cancer-treatment related costs the public system excludes.

Germany, like the United States, has an employer-state hybrid system with heavy regulation of insurance companies.

France has a “dominant payer” system, where one quasi-governmental entity (CNAMTS) pays many bills, but about 90 percent of the population maintains private coverage as well, and most people pay something out of pocket each year.

The United Kingdom, finally, directly administers almost all medical personnel and facilities through a single governmental entity in each of the home countries. This is a “single provider” system.

Except in the United Kingdom, furthermore, there are significant numbers of people in all of these countries who report problems paying for needed medical care. This percentage is higher in the United States and Germany, intermediate in France, and lower in Canada. The UK only achieves its apparently enviable results because of long waiting lists for many procedures and health care rationing systems that are pretty close to the fictional “death panels” some conservatives claimed were part of Obamacare.

The American system as it exists isn’t unusually free market either. The German, French, and Japanese systems — where consumers much more frequently shop around for insurance plans they like rather than having the government or an employer chose — offer more consumer choices than most Americans enjoy. Even though taxpayers pick up a very large portion of the bills, the French practice of publically providing the prices of medical procedures makes that system feel a lot more like a free market than anything most Americans see day-to-day.

There are lots of valid criticisms of the United States’ healthcare system. The difficulty the poor or uninsured sometimes have in getting needed medical care is one of them. Some problems of the US health care system stem from lifestyle and cultural factors that organization and payment mechanisms can’t impact. But the lack of a single-payer system in the United States isn’t unusual in the slightest nor is the system we have particularly free-market.

Any debate should start by acknowledging both of those facts.

Eli LehrerEli Lehrer

Eli Lehrer is president and co-founder of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank.

VIDEO: Pastor Jack Martin Running for Congress in Florida’s 11th District

Florida’s 11th Congressional District includes Sumter, Citrus and Hernando counties and most of Marion county. The current representative of the 11th Congressional District is Richard B. Nugent (R). Nugent is retiring at the end of his current term.

Pastor John “Jack” Martin has decided for God and country to run for Nugent’s seat. Here is a video of Jack Martin speaking at a Second Amendment rally:

Guns Across America Florida Rally Pastor Jack Martin from Jack Martin on Vimeo.

Pastor Marin’s history is that of a 33 year pastor. He is a member of the Black Robe Regiment and Preacher from The Pulpit. He has been standing up, speaking out and attending various events throughout the State of Florida to Washington D.C. He has always felt that a position as a statesman, U.S. Congressional Rep. to represent The People was his next calling in life.

Martin on his website lists six major crises Americans face:

  1. The National Debt – Over 18 Trillion Dollars
  2. Our Borders – Unprotected and being flooded daily with those entering illegally from many nations.
  3. Our Military both Veterans and Active Duty treated poorly.
  4. Obamacare – Needing to be repealed and replaced.
  5. Israeli / American Relationships – Need to be restored.
  6. Our Judeo Christian Ethics – under heavy attack.

Jack Martin speaking on the Black Robe Regiment at a Deland, Florida Rally in December 2015:

Pastor Martin has been endorsed by William Finlay, Wild Bill for America, also a Black Robe Regiment member among others.

Supporter Deb Howard states, “Pastor Jack is well known for his candor of Gods word and the application in conjunction with today’s times that we face. His deliveries are captivating. I am attaching one in particular that I believe delivers Jacks beliefs as he does walk the walk. There is no denying that people are pleasantly surprised as the preacher from the small country church is ready willing and able to face the evil in D.C. unafraid to be heard and willing to fight the mass corruption within our Halls!”

“Pastor Jack is also acquainted with Geoff Ross, Senior Chief, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Michael McCallister, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.), Ann Murrin, PoliticoChicks, Rodney Conover (writer and radio host), Joe The Plumber and numerous others who are supporting, covering the campaign trail and publishing information about him, ” said Howard.

Howard notes, “Our attempt to make Pastor John Martin a household name not only in District FL-11 but nationwide as he is challenging pastors to step out and off of the pulpit and guide congregations to comprehend the true nature of their work. As Black Robe Regiment Pastors joined in leading with George Washington to fight for our independence in the Revolutionary War, so stands John Martin.”

EDITORS NOTE: Readers wanting more information may visit the Jack Martin for Congress website.

New Biological Data Measures Issues that Divide American Voters

CHICAGO. IL /PRNewswire/ — Obamacare and immigration are the two issues on which Republicans and Democrats are the most divided, according to research by research and insights agency Shapiro+Raj, the company announced. Republican and Democratic respondents differed in their reactions to different candidates’ positions on these issues.

Researchers at Shapiro+Raj, led by Associate Manager Mike Winograd, Ph.D., used traditional survey methods complemented by biometrics to better measure respondents’ in-the-moment opinions about eight issues using video statements by some of the leading candidates from both parties in the 2016 presidential race.

Of the eight issues covered—abortion, climate change, gay marriage, gun control, immigration, Obamacare, Social Security and taxes—Obamacare, gun control and abortion elicited the strongest responses from both sides in terms of support or opposition. The majority of respondents also ranked gay marriage and climate change among the least important issues in the upcoming election.

For each issue, Shapiro+Raj used five video clips of Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and undeclared candidate Joe Biden. Republican candidates included Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. All of the clips lasted between 10 and 33 seconds. Clips for each issue were shown in serial with 15-second blank screens between each video clip.

In this study, Shapiro+Raj used a biometric measure known as galvanic skin response (GSR), to measure respondents’ perspiration levels, which are an indicator of arousal and emotional reactivity, and applied the results alongside facial coding to determine not only the strength of viewers’ responses, but also their comparative reactions.

The findings overall showed that the biometric analysis did not fully align with the survey responses.

“Biometrics have huge implications for the ad-marketing industry because they can be applied to extract more detailed and actionable consumer insights on behalf of brands,” Winograd said. “Traditional researchers have known for a long time that what people say doesn’t always align with their true beliefs or how they might behave.”

For example, aside from his image as Washington outsider, Trump has more moderate, or even liberal, views on some issues. While Democratic voters’ ratings of Trump were strongly negative, the biometric findings indicated that when the content of his messages aligned with their beliefs, Democratic voters do not necessarily dislike Trump.

A 2013 clip of Ben Carson referring to Obamacare as, “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” evoked the strongest negative reaction among some Democratic respondents, according to the biometric analysis. By contrast, Republicans’ responses to the Carson clip indicated that they did not find his statement provocative.

“Using biometrics, we can get nuanced perspectives on the emotions of voters and consumers,” Winograd added.

For more information about these findings, click here.

ABOUT SHAPIRO+RAJ

Shapiro+Raj is a new strategy and research company for the Insight Economy™, connecting Shapiro’s 60-year leadership in research, insights and analytics with new world brand strategy, innovation and ideation capabilities. Shapiro+Raj delivers deep, enduring insights and inspired ideas to help its Fortune 500 clients improve the value of their brands while driving profitable growth of their business. Headquartered in Chicago, the independent firm also has an office in New York.

RELATED ARTICLE: North Carolina: Craven County considering resolution to block some refugees from the county

LAWSUIT: ‘Neither the Courts nor Government Can Determine What Is a Sin’

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, yesterday, filed a friend of the court brief in the case of Zubik v. Burwell, in support of seven non-profit organizations including the Little Sisters of the Poor who claim they cannot comply with the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate (“HHS Mandate”) because even the so called “accommodations” make them actively complicit in the sin of abortion.  TMLC’s brief asserts that the Court is not the arbiter of sacred Scripture and, therefore, cannot determine whether or not an act constitutes a sin; it can only determine whether the government’s penalties for refusal to complete the sinful act are a substantial burden on religious liberty.

Thomas More Law Center Files Brief in Supreme Court Declaring Neither Court Nor Government Can Determine What Is a Sin

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, portrays this case as a potential turning point in American legal history, stating, “The HHS Mandate is a monumental attack on religious liberty.  If this appeal is lost, the government becomes the head of every religious denomination in the country by its assumed authority to determine what is in fact a sin.”

The HHS Mandate requires religious non-profit organizations to participate in a government scheme to provide free contraceptives, including abortion causing drugs and devices (abortifacients), to their employees or face monumental fines that would result in closing the doors of most non-profit organizations that object to the HHS Mandate.

However, the HHS Mandate allows non-profit organizations like the Little Sisters to receive a so-called accommodation from directly providing free contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees.  The accommodation  requires the non-profit organizations to either (1) fill out a form as notice of their objection to contraceptives and abortifacients and provide that form to their insurers, which includes language instructing the insurers to provide free contraceptives and abortifacients to the women in the non-profits’ health plans, or (2) write and send a detailed letter to HHS with all of the information necessary to notify the non-profits’ insurers of their newfound obligation to provide free contraceptives and abortifacients to the women in the non-profits’ health plans.

These notification requirements trigger the non-profits’ insurers to provide free contraceptives and abortifacients to the women in the non-profits’ health plans. This notification requirement makes the non profits complicit in the provision of a service that they find sinful, thereby causing them to sin themselves.

TMLC’s brief argues, supported by a long line of Supreme Court precedent, that neither the government nor the Supreme Court can determine whether an act does or does not violate a person’s religious beliefs.  Rather, the Supreme Court must accept the non-profits’ assertions that the notification requirement is indeed against their religion.  To accept otherwise is to supplant the Church and the Bible with the government, allowing the Supreme Court and the government to interpret tenants of faith.  This slippery slope would subject all religious exercise to the whim of the government’s approval.

 Excerpts from TMLC’s Amicus brief:

  • “This Court has already determined that the fines for noncompliance with the HHS Mandate impose a substantial burden on employers. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751, 2776 (2014). The ultimate question, therefore, is whether compliance is actually against the Petitioners’ religion. This is something that is for Petitioners to determine, not the Court.”
  • “The Court is not the arbiter of sacred scripture and cannot determine whether the notification form and letter are attenuated enough from the provision of contraceptives that they do not substantially burden Petitioners’ religion. Delving into this inquiry requires the Court to interpret Petitioners’ religious beliefs on the morality of the different levels of complicity with sin. Thomas v. Review Bd. of Indian Employment Security Div., 450 U.S. 707, 718 (1981).  Therefore, the Court can only determine whether Petitioners are being compelled to do something that violates their faith—here, filling out the notification form or writing a notification letter to HHS, both of which trigger the dissemination of contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees in connection with their employee health plans.”
  • “While women have a right to obtain contraceptives, see Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 485-486 (1965), this does not mean they have a right to free contraceptives and abortifacients. Moreover, this right certainly does not mean that a person has the right to obtain contraceptives and abortifacients—either directly or indirectly—from their employer at the expense of pillaging the employer’s religious liberty.”

Click here to read TMLC’s entire 19-page brief  

TMLC, representing thirty-six plaintiffs including six religious non-profit organizations, has filed twelve lawsuits challenging the illegal aims of the HHS Mandate.

“Affordable Care”: Higher Premiums, Higher Deductibles, Worse Healthcare by Michael F. Cannon

Aside from one necessary clarification (see far below), it would be difficult to improve on what the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the enrollees they interview have to say about ObamaCare.

First, from yesterday’s New York Times article, “Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless”:

For many consumers, the sticker shock is coming not on the front end, when they purchase the plans, but on the back end when they get sick: sky-high deductibles that are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage.

“The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.” …

“We could not afford the deductible,” said Kevin Fanning, 59, who lives in North Texas, near Wichita Falls. “Basically I was paying for insurance I could not afford to use.”

He dropped his policy. …

“Our deductible is so high, we practically pay for all of our medical expenses out of pocket,” said Wendy Kaplan, 50, of Evanston, Ill. “So our policy is really there for emergencies only, and basic wellness appointments.”

Her family of four pays premiums of $1,200 a month for coverage with an annual deductible of $12,700. …

Alexis C. Phillips, 29, of Houston, is the kind of consumer federal officials would like to enroll this fall. But after reviewing the available plans, she said, she concluded: “The deductibles are ridiculously high. I will never be able to go over the deductible unless something catastrophic happened to me. I’m better off not purchasing that insurance and saving the money in case something bad happens.”

“While my premiums are affordable, the out-of-pocket expenses required to meet the deductible are not,” said [Karin] Rosner, who makes about $30,000 a year. …

“When they said affordable, I thought they really meant affordable,” [Anne Cornwell of Chattanooga, Tenn.,] said.

And from today’s Boston Globe article, “High-Deductible Health Plans Make Affordable Care Act ‘Unaffordable,’ Critics Say”:

“We can’t afford the Affordable Care Act, quite honestly,” said Cassaundra Anderson, whose family canvassed for Obama in their neighborhood, a Republican stronghold outside Cincinnati. “The intention is great, but there is so much wrong. . . . I’m mad.” …

The Andersons’ experience echoes that of hundreds of thousands of newly insured Americans facing sticker shock over out-of-pocket costs. …

“This will be an issue at least one more time in the 2016 election. It could absolutely still hurt Democrats,” said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Polls about the Affordable Care Act have a considerable amount of middle-income people who say either the program has done nothing for them or actually hurt them.” …

“Unfortunately, what we are headed toward now is universal crappy health insurance,” said Dr. Budd Shenkin, a California pediatrician. … “It’s just not a good deal for people,” he said.

“We’re in the process of looking at going without insurance,” [Cassaundra Anderson] said, calculating that the family will be better off financially just paying the $2,000 tax penalty for not abiding by the law’s mandate. “What am I even paying these insurance people for? Why should we reenroll?” …

“I cannot get anything with this insurance. Nothing,” said [Laura] Torres, who avoids seeking treatment for her thyroid condition and high blood pressure because of cost. “I just pay my monthly payments, try to take care of myself, go to work, and hope something serious doesn’t happen to me.” …

Amete Kahsay, 53, works as a temporary warehouse packer in Columbus. The Affordable Care marketplace is her only option for health insurance. She and her husband, an airport shuttle driver, pay $275 a month for a “bronze” plan with a $13,200 deductible.

Shortly after they signed up for insurance last year, her husband rushed her to the emergency room when she experienced dizziness. The visit, which included a CT scan of her brain, cost $1,700. She paid the charge from her savings, then returned to her native Ethiopia, where care is cheaper, to consult a neurologist and seek follow-up care.

“I support Obamacare. Without it, I wouldn’t have any type of insurance. But I’m not sure it’s worth the money,” said Kahsay, a US citizen who is registered as an independent voter. “Now, unless I get very, very sick, like only if it’s life-threatening, I won’t go to the doctor. I just lay down and take a rest.”

The necessary clarification is that these people are not complaining about high-deductibles in a market system. In a market system, consumers who choose high deductibles save money on their premiums and therefore have more resources to help them pay their out-of-pocket expenses.

ObamaCare, on the other hand, manages to pair high deductibles with higher premiums, stripping many people of this benefit of high-deductible plans and leaving them unable to pay their medical bills.

Cross-posted from Cato.org.

Michael F. Cannon
Michael F. Cannon

Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute’s director of health policy studies.

One-Third of Obamacare Co-Ops Shut Down by Charles Hughes

Hundreds of thousands people will lose their insurance plans as a raft of health insurance cooperatives (CO-OPs) created by the Affordable Care Act will cease operations.

Just last week, CO-OPs in Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee and Kentucky announced that they would be winding down operations due to lower than expected enrollment and solvency concerns (although the one in Colorado issuing the state over the shutdown order). They join four other CO-OPs that have announced that they would be closing their doors.

In total, only 15 out of the 23 CO-OPs created by the law remain. These closures reveal how ill-advised this aspect of the ACA was both in terms of lost money and the turmoil for the people who enrolled in them. The eight that have failed have received almost $1 billion in loans, and overall CO-OPs received loans totaling $2.4 billion that might never get paid back.

In addition, roughly 400,000 people will lose their plans.

Proponents of the CO-OPs believed that they would be able to offer lower premiums than for-profit insurers because they did not have the same profit motive, but even non-profit insurers cannot operate at a financial loss indefinitely.

When they were created, these CO-OPs had no customers, no experience in setting premiums, no networks and limited capital. The government tried to subsidize the early period of uncertainty by disbursing loans to help with startup and solvency issues, and money from other provisions like risk corridors would dampen losses in the initial years.

Lower than expected payments from the risk corridors have exacerbated the issues facing some of these CO-OPs, who were counting on substantial payments to stay afloat. But this is hardly the only factor contributing to their struggles, some of them the product of other government policies like delaying employer mandate penalties and giving states the option to allow transitional policies through 2017.

Some of these later developments could not have been anticipated, but many analysts, including Cato scholars, were skeptical about the prospects of CO-OPs from the beginning.  Even some ACA supporters recognized the flaws inherent in the CO-OP design: Paul Krugman derided them as a “sham” and in a 2009 interview Professor Timothy Jost said could not see how a CO-OP “does anything to control costs.”

There have been multiple warning signs that many CO-OPs were in trouble.  Earlier this year The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent letters to 11 CO-OPs placing them on “enhanced oversight” due to financial concerns, and a 2014 report from the HHS Office of Inspector General found that “most of the 23 CO-OPs we reviewed had not met their initial program enrollment and profitability projections,” and that the government “had not established guidance or criteria to assess whether a CO-OP was viable or sustainable.”

These CO-OPs were not a good idea at inception and were always going to face many obstacles to success.  Multiple changes to the law since they were established have exacerbated these problems, and already struggling CO-OPs have folded. Competition is indeed vital in health insurance markets, but the CO-OPs were a bad way to try to foster this competition.

With these closures, billions of taxpayer dollars could be lost and hundreds of thousands of people will discover that the “if you like your plan, you can keep it” promise does not apply to them.

This post first appeared at Cato.org.

Your Liberty Receipt

Here at Conservative Review we recently launched a new feature called the Taxpayer’s Monthly Government Receipt where we detail for you a receipt documenting the extraordinary financial burdens the cost of government is placing on your life. Whether taking the form of taxes paid, future taxes owed, government debts incurred, or future government obligations, these financial burdens are YOURS. There is no money fairy to rescue us. There are not enough wealthy people to pay a “fair share” high enough to get us out of this debt hole. These are our debts and they WILL be paid off by the sweat of your brow and the labor of your children and grandchildren.

After reading through the Taxpayer’s Monthly Government Receipt I decided to write this piece to call attention to the burden on your freedom, as well as your wallet.

The Liberty Receipt:

Healthcare 

Prior to the passing of Obamacare, using questionable legislative tactics, you were free to purchase health insurance or not, and to tailor it to your family’s needs. Many self-employed, or young and healthy individuals who felt it was more cost effective to pay their medical bills themselves took advantage of their freedom and liberty and didn’t purchase expensive health insurance. After Obamacare, you lost the ability to make those decisions for yourself. The government makes these decisions for you now, using the power of the IRS to ensure that you comply.

In short, liberty was lost.

The Economy

President Obama’s tax increases on income, capital gains, healthcare, payroll, and more, have taken record amounts of money from the wallets of hard working Americans, reducing their economic liberty with each additional dollar removed from their wallets. Your hard-earned money cannot belong to you and the government at the same time, and as the burden of government grows, your ability to economically support yourself and your family recedes. In short, liberty was lost.

Regulations

In 2014 alone, the Obama administration added over $180 billion in new regulations costing YOU over $500 per capita. This tidal wave of additional government red tape has not only stolen your economic liberty, it has also countermanded personal control of your private property, local control of your neighborhood and your business. Either way, decisions about your home, business and neighborhood which you were free to make prior to the Obama presidency, are no longer available to you. The government has already made those decisions for you. In short, liberty was lost.

Education

The Obama administration insists on standing in the way of educational liberty, and standing in the way of lower-income, minority children and a quality education. After suing, and then requesting a federal review of Louisiana’s school voucher program, followed by the administration’s refusal to fund the Washington D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, it’s clear that the Obama administration has stolen away the ability for struggling parents to freely choose where their children attend school. This life-changing decision was once just a school voucher away from changing the lives of lower income children just looking for a shot at the American Dream. That decision is no longer yours, the government made it for you. In short, liberty was lost.

Once liberty is lost it’s a difficult two-step process to get it back. First we have to raise awareness to what happened. President Obama has a gift for stealing your liberty and making you believe that he left you with a gift. We must all become Paul and Paulette Reveres and make every effort to sound the alarm as to what is going on. Second, we must elect and support fearless leaders who fear the loss of liberty and freedom more than the fear of losing an election. In short, liberty was lost and here’s your receipt. Use it to organize and fight back.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The featured image of the Twin Towers and Statue of Liberty is courtesy of the Associated Press.

Can We Afford ‘Affordable Care’? by D.W. MacKenzie

Does the Supreme Court decision upholding health insurance subsidies prove that Obamacare is here to stay?

With its legality settled, the longevity of the healthcare program is supposed to be politically inevitable. The millions of voters who receive subsidies from the Affordable Care Act will not tolerate the loss of this money. Insurance companies will no doubt also lobby to prevent any loss of ACA subsidies, as stockholders and employees are major beneficiaries of this program.

Political factors may well preserve the ACA in the short run. But the Court’s ruling came on the heels of a gloomy report from the Congressional Budget Office that may prove to be more decisive for the law than all of Chief Justice Roberts’ legal gymnastics.

The CBO forecasts anemic economic growth and rising public debt for decades to come. Projected revenues and projected spending indicate a growing imbalance in federal finances, driven by long-term unfunded liabilities in old entitlement programs — mainly Social Security and Medicare.

The Affordable Care Act was supposed to control health insurance costs — hence the name. Unfortunately, things are not working out that way, and insurance companies are pressing for significant rate increases.

Consumers might hope that government officials would resist pressure for rate increases, but such actions are unlikely: Stock prices for major health insurers rose sharply after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Obama administration. Clearly, investors expect the ACA to benefit health insurers. And in Oregon, state regulators actually raised premiums higher than insurers requested, just to keep companies in the market. Rising premiums will likely drive more subsidies, worsening the looming debt and entitlement crisis.

Politicians have ignored these issues for decades because they seemed like “long-term” problems, and political pressures from elections and lobbying force them to be shortsighted. The short-term financial situation is being shored up by the willingness of investors to buy federal debt at low rates.

The trouble is that the long term isn’t as far off as it used to be. The CBO indicates that the fiscal situation in the federal government worsened significantly over the past few years, even as the deficit was declining. Further deterioration in federal finances is expected over the next decade. How much longer will private investors continue to finance this soaring debt?

A large part of the problem with rising debt is that financing it requires steady economic growth, but large public debts can crush growth. Federal debt is a millstone on the economy, the burden of which could at some point lead to national bankruptcy. The ACA, with its enormous subsidies and regulatory compliance costs, will simply pile on an already unaffordable mass of federal spending programs.

The bottom line is that Supreme Court maintained the ACA subsidies legally,but the American people will not be able to maintain them financially.

The passage and continued defense of the Affordable Care Act is an example of the rank irrationality of public budgeting. The outcome of our political and legislative processes over the past few decades has been to create a myriad of wasteful and financially unsustainable federal programs. Meanwhile, the analytical office the legislative branch of government has been quietly raising the alarm about to the direction and sustainability of government finances. It would seem that delirium is winning out over reason.

There is, of course, nothing truly inevitable about the growth of federal spending. Federal spending developed into its present irrational state because many people pressed for this growth.

But spending can and will be curtailed. Citizens can push for real spending cuts through the electoral process. Otherwise, investors in financial markets will at some point put a sharp and sudden stop to government excesses.


D.W. MacKenzie

D. W. MacKenzie is an assistant professor of economics at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

RELATED ARTICLE: Under Obamacare, Uninsured Rate Fell to Lowest Level in 50 Years. Why There’s More to That Number.

Has Organized Crime Hijacked our Medical Delivery System? By Alieta Eck, MD

What is organized crime? The dictionary defines it as a means of generating income through bribery and threats of grievous retribution, often buying political patronage for immunity from exposure and prosecution. Perpetrators of organized crime typically use credible front organizations, such as hospitals and charities. These establishments do not tolerate competition and constantly fight for monopolization, or “market share.” When organized crime is involved, goods and services cost more.

So how does this apply to our current medical care delivery “system?” Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there is a concerted effort to put everyone into a highly organized “insurance plan,” despite the fact that the plan costs far more than the free market would dictate. The overpricing ensures a steady flow of revenue to be siphoned off to the administrators and government officials. Campaign or “foundation” coffers are regularly subsidized to ensure favorable treatment by elected officials. And the people pay a huge price for poorer access and diminished quality.

Insurance companies claim to provide “protection” against financial ruin by selling a card that promises access to high quality care whenever it is needed. But the protection is illusion, as the purported savings are often fictitious.

Here are two real life examples:

  1. A patient with insurance had four lab tests performed at an outpatient hospital lab with the amount billed at $732. The insurance company brought that amount to $328. The lab deductible (out-of-pocket by the patient) came to $200, and insurance paid $128. Most patients would not question the original sum and would feel secure knowing that their insurer protected them from financial ruin by taking more than half off the original price. But the hidden truth is that the whole system is a scam perpetrated by insurance companies and hospitals. These very same lab tests, when done for cash at a local lab can be obtained for a total of $57. Insurance encourages over-pricing.
  2. Another savvy patient learned that telling an urgent care center that she has insurance is a sure way to pay more. She went for a minor ailment, produced her insurance card and was told that she should just pay the $20 co-pay, getting the final bill in the near future. She argued that her insurance deductible, or money she would be expected to pay out of pocket before insurance paid anything, was $5,000, so she would be happy to settle the entire bill right away. But the clerk just smiled and said that this is not how things are done. Soon after, the same patient’s insurance was canceled, and when she needed care, she went back to the same establishment, as she liked the doctor. This time, her bill was $120, but she was told she owed $180 for the prior visit. “Wait! If the fee is $120 and I already paid $20, it seems I should only owe $100.”  It was carefully explained that the insurance company and urgent care center had negotiated $200 for a routine visit and that the $180 she owed was not a mistake. But they feel sorry for people without insurance, so are willing to accept the lower fee of $120 from the uninsured.

Most people trust that, once they have paid the premium, which approaches the level of a home mortgage, their insurance company is there to secure the best deal for them. But this is simply not the case. The insurance-medical industrial complex falls into the category of “organized crime” when they can extract more than the market price for goods or services.

In both of these examples, the insurance company and service provider each benefited at the expense of the person ultimately paying the bills—through higher negotiated fees, or higher insurance premiums. The hospital was looking at $200 extra while the urgent care facility was planning to pocket an extra $80. Multiply this by millions of transactions, and our health care system is costing billions of dollars more than it should.

The Affordable Care Act requires that all citizens purchase overpriced government approved “insurance,” and this only perpetuates and expands the fraud. It explains why the premiums and deductibles have risen. Having taxpayers subsidize these overpriced plans assures that the palms of many “organized crime participants” are continually greased.

RELATED ARTICLES/VIDEOS:

Dr. Eck interview on Fox News Channel’s Freedom Watch

How Medicaid and Obamacare Hurts the Poor and How to Fix Them

Video: Dr. Alieta Eck, M.D. testifies before U.S. Senate

EDITORS NOTE: This column is published with permission from Angel Pictures and Publicity. For additional information on Dr. Eck and to read more of her published positions, click here.

7 Things the Left Should Apologize For

While attending a gathering of conservatives a few years ago in Washington, D.C., I was confronted by a far Left group conducting an amateur “ambush interview.” They demanded I opine on the comments of a number of 2012 Republican U.S. Senate candidates whom they found objectionable, and it was clear that they were seeking some sort of apology.

The Left loves to demand apologies from conservatives for grievances both real and imagined and, sadly, sometimes we play along with this ridiculous game.

The Left loves to demand apologies from conservatives for grievances both real and imagined and, sadly, sometimes we play along with this ridiculous game. I frequently wonder why conservatives don’t pay back the favor and demand apologies from the Left.

At the macro level, the Left should apologize to America for their continued allegiance to European-style welfare statism. At the micro level, they should apologize for their ongoing use of hateful division politics.

These two guiding ideologies of the Left have caused immeasurable poverty, misery and grief. Their intent to divide us is leading to concertina-wire-reinforced borders among the individual race, gender, and religious silos that they have chosen for us.

With the continued focus on the 2016 presidential elections we should start demanding apologies from the Left. Here are seven things the Left is largely responsible for which I’m demanding apologies before Election Day.

The death of four American patriots in Benghazi and the disgusting lies told to the families of the deceased…

  1. Sanctuary cities and the murder of Kate Steinle, by an illegal immigrant deported, an unforgivable five times.
  2. The ruthless political targeting of conservatives by the IRS to silence conservatives and advance the Left’s political agenda.
  3. The Obama economic “recovery,” where a tragic 1 in 5 Americans are now on some form of government welfare and over 90 million Americans are not working.
  4. The continuing destruction of the economies and education infrastructures of America’s once great inner cities by liberal governance.
  5. The massive health insurance premium hikes, outrageously high deductibles, and doctor and hospital restrictions imposed on middle class Americans by the disastrous Obamacare legislation.
  6. The death of four American patriots in Benghazi and the disgusting lies told to the families of the deceased, and to concerned American citizens, by the Obama administration afterwards.
  7. And, most importantly, the continued shredding of our Constitutional Republic, and what little faith we had left in our government.

Demand an apology from the Left for this, America deserves it.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The featured image of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying before Congress on Benghazi is courtesy by Bill Clark Roll Call CQ | AP Photo.

“SCOTUScare”: Supreme Court Guts Obamacare to Uphold Subsidies by Daniel Bier

The Supreme Court has voted 6-3 (with Chief Justice Roberts writing the majority opinion, joined by Justice Kennedy and the four liberal justices) to uphold the subsidies the IRS is distributing for health insurance plans purchased on the federal insurance exchange.

This ruling sets a dangerous precedent, and its reasoning is, as Justice Scalia wrote in his dissent, “quite absurd.”

There will no doubt be much written about the decision in the coming days, and almost all of it will mischaracterize the ruling as the Supreme Court “saving” the Affordable Care Act again.

This is a crucial error: The Court’s ruling guts the ACA and rewrites [it] in a way that is politically convenient for the president — again.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, the law was designed to work through a “cooperative federalism” approach. For example, the portion of the law expanding Medicaid, like the rest of Medicaid, would be a joint federal-state program, partly funded and regulated by the feds but administered by the states.

The part of the law meant to increase individually purchased insurance coverage was similarly designed to work through federal-state cooperation.

Each state would set up its own health insurance “exchange,” and the federal government would issue tax credits for qualified individuals who purchased policies on the state exchanges. The logic here is that the states are best suited to run exchanges for their residents, as they have particular and specialized knowledge about other state healthcare programs, state regulations on insurance, and their residents’ health needs.

But the law did not (and constitutionally could not) force state governments set up exchanges. So as a backstop, a separate section of the law allows the federal government to set up an exchange for residents in states that did not set up their own.

Here’s where it got problematic: The plain text of the law only authorizes tax credits for policies purchased on an “exchange established by the State.”

There’s no easy way around this fact. Nowhere does the ACA authorize subsidies for plans purchased on the federal exchange. None of this would have been an issue if every state had chosen to build an exchange, as the law’s authors anticipated.

But in reality, the ACA has been persistently unpopular, and only 14 states (and DC) had working exchanges. The details of the backstop provision suddenly became a lot more important as the residents of 36 states were cast onto the federal exchange.

Faced with uncooperative federalism, the Obama administration suddenly had a big political problem, and it would have been quite embarrassing for the law’s biggest benefit to evaporate just as the president was planning to run for reelection on it.

So 14 months after the bill was signed into law, the IRS issued a rule, by executive fiat, to issue subsidies on the federal exchange. Because the penalty for failing [to] purchase health insurance is based on the cost of insurance, including subsidies, relative to a person’s income, individuals and businesses in states without exchanges who would otherwise have been exempt from fines and mandates were now in violation.

Lawsuits followed, which argued the IRS’s decision to issue subsidies in states that had declined to create exchanges was against the law, and it had resulted in actual harm to them.

In one of the lower court rulings on this issue, the DC Circuit concluded that the law offered no clear basis for issuing subsidies through the federal exchange.

If Congress intended to issue subsidies through the federal exchange, it would have been perfectly easy for them to say so, in any number of sections. And if Congress intended to treat the federal exchange as though it were a State entity (as the ACA does with US territories’ exchanges), it knew how to do that too. Yet there is no section of the law that does this.

Some argued that this omission was a “drafting error,” a legislative slip-up. If so, it was one it made over and over again, in at least ten different sections. And, as Michael Cannon rather pointedly asks, if it was a drafting error, why didn’t the government make that case in court? Why didn’t the IRS make that claim when they issued the new rule?

The answer may be that the law meant what the law says. The scant legislative history on this question doesn’t show that Congress ever thought that subsidies were going to be disbursed through the federal exchanges. Perhaps the law’s authors simply didn’t think about it or did not consider the possibility that most states would refuse.

But, in fact, it is entirely plausible that the ACA’s authors intended to only offer subsidies to residents of states that created exchanges, as an incentive to states to build and run them.

The reasons why Congress wanted the states to run the exchanges are perfectly clear. But, apart from the possibility of losing the subsidies, there seems to be little reason for state governments to take the risk of building one of the notoriously dysfunctional exchanges if they could dump their citizens onto the federal exchange with no consequences.

Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who was involved in the design of the health care law, explicitly claimed that the law’s authors did this on purpose:

If you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. … I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it.

On the other hand, the government argued (and Roberts accepted) that the text of the law is ambiguous, and ambiguous phrases should be interpreted “in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme,” the goal of which was to increase health insurance coverage.

Given that, Roberts concludes, we should construe “exchange established by the State” to mean any ACA exchange, whether Federal or State.

Roberts got to this reasoned, methodical, and preposterous conclusion by arguing that the plain meaning of the text would lead to “calamitous results” that Congress meant to avoid. To wit, that only allowing subsidies for plans purchased on state exchanges would cause a “death spiral” in the insurance market in states that refused to establish exchanges.

The ACA reform has three basic components: subsidies for insurance plans, the individual mandate to purchase insurance, and regulations requiring insurers to issue coverage to people with preexisting conditions (“guaranteed issue”) and banning them from charging higher premiums to sicker people (“community rating”).

The “death spiral” logic goes:

  • If states chose not to establish exchanges, their residents would not get subsidies;
  • If they couldn’t get subsidies, many people would be exempt from the insurance mandate;
  • If they were exempt, they could just wait until they got sick to buy insurance;
  • If they did that, insurers would have to accept them, under the guaranteed issue rule;
  • If that happened, the price of insurance would go up for everyone, under community rating;
  • If that happened, more healthy people would drop out of the insurance market, leaving insurers with a pool of ever sicker and more expensive patients (“adverse selection”), thus forcing insurers out of business and leaving even more people without insurance. And so on.

Hence, “death spiral.” In fact, this is exactly what happened in the 1990s in many states with guaranteed issue and community rating, before Massachusetts invented the mandate to force people to buy insurance and keep the pool of insured people relatively healthy.

But in the ACA, the mandate rests on the cost of insurance with subsidies, and (under the plain text of the law) the subsidies rest on the states establishing exchanges. If the subsidies go, fewer people will buy insurance, and the mandate crumbles, leading to a spiral of higher costs and fewer people insured.

Roberts concluded that this risk would have been unacceptable to Congress, arguing: “The combination of no tax credits and an ineffective coverage requirement could well push a State’s individual insurance market into a death spiral. It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner.”

This perceived implausibility, combined with the alleged ambiguity of the text, caused the Court to rule in favor of the subsidies:

Petitioners’ plain-meaning arguments are strong, but the Act’s context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.

The basic problem with Roberts’ decision is that the text isn’t ambiguous. It’s actually pretty clear, as he acknowledged. But the second issue is that Roberts has no strong basis for his speculations about what Congress thought was likely to happen with states or what risks it was willing tolerate.

If the ACA’s authors thought (as almost everyone did) that the states would get with the program and establish their own exchanges, there is no reason that they would have assumed a serious risk of a death spiral. In fact, Gruber suggested that was the plan all along: offer a carrot to the states (the subsidies) and a stick (the risk of screwing up their insurance market).

But more importantly, the “implausible” risk that Roberts bases his interpretation on is precisely what the ACA deliberately did to US territories by imposing guaranteed issue and community rating without an individual mandate.

The DC Circuit Court that ruled against the subsidies last year made exactly this point:

The supposedly unthinkable scenario … one in which insurers in states with federal Exchanges remain subject to the community rating and guaranteed issue requirements but lack a broad base of healthy customers to stabilize prices and avoid adverse selection — is exactly what the ACA enacts in such federal territories as the Northern Mariana Islands, where the Act imposes guaranteed issue and community rating requirements without an individual mandate.

This combination, predictably, has thrown individual insurance markets in the territories into turmoil. But HHS has nevertheless refused to exempt the territories from the guaranteed issue and community rating requirements, recognizing that, “[h]owever meritorious” the reasons for doing so might be, “HHS is not authorized to choose which provisions of the [ACA] might apply to the territories.”

But, it seems, the Supreme Court feels that is authorized to choose what provisions of the ACA should apply, on the grounds that doing so would make better policy, regardless of what the law actually requires.

This is essentially what Roberts did in the previous Obamacare ruling, in which he rewrote the individual mandate and the Medicaid portions of the law in order to make them pass constitutional muster.

In his scathing dissent, Justice Scalia noted,

Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an “Exchange established by the State.”

This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

… This Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence.

This decision is not disastrous because it “saved” Obamacare — it did no such thing: The Court gutted the law and let the Obama administration stuff it with whatever policy it thought best.

No, the ruling is a catastrophe because it establishes the principle that the president can unilaterally override the plain meaning of the law whenever he or she thinks that doing so will lead to a better outcome, one more in keeping with his or her policy goals.

As is often the case with elaborate government programs, things didn’t turn out the way that the planners expected. And, once again, the Supreme Court allowed the government to skate around both the Affordable Care Act and the law of unintended consequences.

This decision sanctifies the administration’s decision to defy Congress, circumvent the states, and flout the law. And as the authors of Obamacare knew, if you subsidize something, you’ll get more of it. Expect this ruling to stimulate more sloppy legislation, executive overreach, and subversion of the rule of law.


Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.

The Left Will Always Blame the GOP on Obamacare

With the 2016 elections right around the corner, conservatives must begin immediately preparing to rebut the massive Democratic Party/mainstream media, symbiotic messaging operation. I read a piece this week by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that summarizes the far Left’s new Obamacare messaging strategy in the event of a Supreme Court loss in the King v. Burwell (Obamacare subsidies) case.

Here is a short summary of where we are. The far Left is terrified that the Supreme Court is going to rule against the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, essentially voiding the Obamacare subsidies in the states using the federal exchange even though the legislative language in the law regarding the “subsidies” was written this way to punish states for failing to set up state exchanges. The far Left and the Obama administration are disputing this point despite clear, videotaped evidence of Professor Jonathan Gruber, one of Obamacare’s lead architects, stating otherwise.

Now, the Obama administration has never let videotaped evidence of their prior contradicting statements dissuade them from continuing to lie to the American people (i.e. “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.”) but, in this case, their lies are especially egregious because their plan to withhold subsidies from states that refused to set up a state exchange was designed to punish the citizens of that state for not complying with Obamacare. When the punishment backfired because of public opposition to Obamacare, and support for the governors and legislators who refused to comply with its exchange language only increased, they went with plan B: lie. As usual, after their strategic miscalculation they are desperately trying to find a way to blame Republicans for this disaster, although not one Republican in the House or Senate voted for the final version of Obamacare.

The far Left’s messaging strategy to avert political disaster because of their tactical miscalculation regarding the Obamacare subsidies is to say that the Republicans have “taken away” the subsidies and pin the blame on Republicans if the court rules against the Obama administration. But, here’s the catch; the Dems destroyed our already-troubled healthcare system all by themselves by unilaterally supporting Obamacare. The reason the Obamacare “subsidies” (which are your tax payer dollars given back to you after the government takes a cut) are necessary is because insurance costs are exploding because Obamacare forces Americans to buy expensive insurance they do not want and do not need. And the reason these “subsidies” may be taken away is because the Democrats unilaterally wrote and passed the law this way to punish Americans for resisting this legislative debacle.

Unsurprisingly, when you combine the mandate to purchase health insurance policies, which included multiple unwanted and unneeded services with the community rating and guaranteed issue provisions designed to redistribute costs according to government edicts, you have a recipe for explosive healthcare cost growth. Of course, none of this was a mystery to the Republican Party when they warned America about the coming storm of healthcare premium hikes, a warning the mainstream media largely downplayed to ensure the “wizard” stayed well-hidden behind the curtain.

So here it is in a nutshell: Obamacare was shoved down your throats using parliamentary trickery. Obamacare forced you to buy expensive insurance you don’t want or need at dramatically inflated costs to compensate for the redistributive, big-government, effort to price-control the health insurance market. Obamacare taxed you to gather a honey pot of money. Obamacare then used this honey pot of taxpayer money to “give back” to Americans to pay for their new, and more expensive insurance.

You will never fix this legislative disaster by doubling down on absurdity. The economics won’t work because they can’t work. The Republican Party must prepare their counter message right now to explain to the American people the horrible tsunami that Obamacare has created. If we allow the far Left to continue to distort markets, engage in massive income redistribution operations, and instill more big-government coercion schemes to force compliance on the American people by simply pledging to prolong the misery by “fixing” the subsidy system and continuing the misery, then we are no better than the president who lied to us to sell us this jalopy.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The feature image of the Supreme Court building is by Tom Williams | AP Photo.

Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Implodes

by Alexander Hendrie, Americans for Tax Reform.

Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down.  Since its implementation, the exchange has somehow failed to become financially viable because of lower than expected Obamacare enrollment figures. With the state legislature rejecting a $28 million bailout, the website will now be unable to operate past this year.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the Hawaii Health Connector will stop taking new enrollees on Friday and plans to begin migrating to the federally run Healthcare.gov. Outreach services will end by May 31, all technology will be transferred to the state by September 30, and its workforce will be eliminated by February 28.

While the exchange has struggled since its creation, it is not for lack of funding. Since 2011 Hawaii has received a total of $205,342,270 in federal grant money from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In total, HHS provided nearly $4.5 billion to Hawaii and other state exchanges, with little federal oversight and virtually no strings attached.

Despite this generous funding, the exchange has under performed from day one. In its first year, Hawaii enrolled only 8,592 individuals – meaning it spent almost $23,899 on its website for each individual enrolled. Currently over 37,000 individuals are enrolled in Hawaii’s exchange – well below the estimated 70,000 enrollees that is required to make the website financially viable. Unfortunately, taxpayers will have to hand out an additional $30 million so that Hawaii can migrate to the federal system.

This is not the first time that a state exchange has failed, and taken millions of dollars in federal funds down with it. Earlier this year, Oregon’s state exchange was officially abolished at an estimated cost of $41 million. Cover Oregon, as it used to be known received $305 million in funds from HHS but failed to produce a workable website months after the 2013 November deadline. The debacle has promoted numerous federal agencies and organizations to investigate allegations of inappropriate political interference from then Governor Kitzhaber’s 2014 reelection campaign.

Hawaii now joins Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico, and Nevada as cautionary tales in government central planning. With so many failed state exchanges, questions need to be asked about the haphazard allocation of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds and the complete lack of oversight.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Shutterstock.

Texas and Kansas File Amicus Briefs Supporting Florida’s Lawsuit Against Expansion Of Obamacare

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today filed an amicus brief in support of Governor Rick Scott and the State of Florida’s lawsuit against the Obama administration’s unlawful attempt to coerce the State of Florida into a massive expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Governor Abbott released the following statement:

“The federal government has overstepped its constitutional authority and ignored the Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB v. Sebelius, where the Court held that Congress could not coerce States into accepting a massive expansion of an already broken and bloated Medicaid program. The State of Texas will exercise its constitutional right to refuse Medicaid expansion, and we support the State of Florida’s effort to do the same.”

“[The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)] has threatened to withhold from Florida billions of dollars in Medicaid payments, and it has issued similar threats to Texas, Kansas, and others,” wrote Governor Abbott in the amicus brief. “These threats are surely just the beginning of a nationwide campaign to hold hostage federal waiver dollars in those States who are standing firm on their constitutional right to refuse the new Medicaid.

“No litigant should be put to the choice of surrendering its day in court against an agency that is violating the constitution, or facing unjustifiable retaliation by the same agency in the future. HHS’s public reasons for harassing Florida do not withstand scrutiny. The agency picked this fight with Florida in an unlawful attempt to isolate, intimidate, and coerce, [and] the court should grant Florida’s request for declaratory and injunctive relief.”

To view the amicus brief in its entirety, click here.