ObamaCare -- 2010

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Conflict
Rasmussen Reports -- 61% say it’s time for Congress to drop ObamaCare.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of U.S. voters say Congress should drop health care reform and focus on more immediate ways to improve the economy and create jobs.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) say given the country’s current economic situation, Obama should wait on health care reform until the economy improves.

Fox News -- Obama pledges he won't "walk away" from ObamaCare.

On Friday, Obama pledged not to "walk away" from health care reform, telling a crowd in the Cleveland suburbs that he's still committed to driving down health care costs despite the crippling effect his party's loss in the Massachusetts Senate election had on the Democrats' bill.

Obama strongly defended the unpopular actions he has taken against banks and insurers and the nationalization of automakers. Such measures have fueled anger across the country about growing government intervention and ballooning deficits to help Wall Street while many throughout the country remain jobless and struggling.

More evidence that Obama is following Alinsky's paradigm, and ignoring the wishes of the American People.  Yesterday, he said, "Let me tell you, so long as I have the privilege of serving as your president, I'll never stop fighting for you.  I'll take my lumps, too.  I'll never stop fighting..."

He's going to continue with his agenda and direct the "voter anger" he discovered in Massachusetts against the "fat cat bankers."  Obamunism depends on the existence of an enemy -- the bourgeoisie -- specifically, in this case, the "fat cat bankers" of Wall Street.


UpdateThe global banking industry was thrown into turmoil on Thursday after Obama, responding to his bogus "public rage" over the financial crisis -- which he created -- the rage and the crisis, both -- proposed the most far-reaching overhaul of Wall Street since the 1930s.

In the middle of the "defeat in Massachusetts," Obama is making a move on Wall Street.
Good News!
NewsMax.com is reporting that after insisting for a year that failure was not an option, Barack Obama is now acknowledging his healthcare overhaul may die in Congress.

His tone at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Thursday night verged at times on defeatist.  Even while saying he still wanted to get the job done, Obama bowed to new political realities.  Democrats no longer command a filibuster-proof Senate majority, and voters and lawmakers are far more concerned with jobs and the economy than with enacting sweeping and expensive changes to the health system.

"I think it's very important for us to have a methodical, open process over the next several weeks, and then let's go ahead and make a decision," Obama said Thursday night.

"And it may be that ... if Congress decides we're not going to do it, even after all the facts are laid out, all the options are clear, then the American people can make a judgment as to whether this Congress has done the right thing for them or not," Obama said.  "And that's how democracy works.  There will be elections coming up and they'll be able to make a determination and register their concerns one way or the other during election time."

Continue reading here . . .

This guy is amazing.  He's been pushing ObamaCare 24/7/365, and now that it's going into the dumpah -- as it should -- Obama is putting the loss at Congress' feet by saying, "the American people can make a judgment as to whether this Congress has done the right thing for them or not."

I got a clue for Obama, the American people can also make a judgment as to whether he has done the right thing for them or not.
GOP Says, "No Thanks," To Obama
Susan Ferrechio says House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a statement late Saturday in response to Obama's Friday invite to a bipartisan Health Care Summit at the White House.

Boehner and other Republican leaders are complaining that the event is simply political gamesmanship and that Obama is planning to have a health care deal finalized before anyone even sits down at the meeting, which is scheduled to take place on Feb. 25.

Here's Boehner's statement:
    

A productive bipartisan discussion should begin with a clean sheet of paper.  We now know that instead of starting the 'bipartisan' health care 'summit' on Feb. 25 with a clean sheet of paper, the president and his party intend to arrive with a new bill written behind closed doors exclusively by Democrats -- a backroom deal that will transform one-sixth of our nation's economy and affect every family and small business in America.  They will then engage a largely handpicked audience in a televised 'dialogue' according to a script they have largely pre-determined.  They will do this as a precursor to embarking on a legislative course that Democratic congressional aides acknowledge has also been pre-determined -- a partisan course that relies on parliamentary tricks to circumvent the will of the American people and engineer a pre-determined outcome.  It doesn't sound much like bipartisanship to me.

      

Playing Freedom Cheap
Thomas Sowell says if eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, incessant distractions are the way that politicians take away our freedoms, in order to enhance their own power and longevity in office.  Dire alarms and heady crusades are among the many distractions of our attention from the ever increasing ways that government finds to take away more of our money and more of our freedom.

Magicians have long known that distracting an audience is the key to creating the illusion of magic.  It is also the key to political magic.

Alarms ranging from "overpopulation" to "global warming" and crusades ranging from "affordable housing" to "universal health care" have been among the distractions of political magicians.  But few distractions have had such a long and impressive political track record as getting people to resent and, if necessary, hate other people.

The most politically effective totalitarian systems have gotten people to give up their own freedom in order to vent their resentment or hatred at other people -- under Communism, the capitalists; under Nazis, the Jews.

Under extremist Islamic regimes today, hatred is directed at the infidels in general and the "great Satan," the United States, in particular.  There some people have been induced to give up not only their freedom but even their lives, in order to strike a blow against those they have been taught to hate.

We have not yet reached these levels of hostility, but those who are taking away our freedoms, bit by bit, on the installment plan, have been incessantly supplying us with people to resent.

One of the most audacious attempts to take away our freedom to live our lives as we see fit has been the so-called "health care reform" bills that were being rushed through Congress before either the public or the members of Congress themselves had a chance to discover all that was in it.

For this, we were taught to resent doctors, insurance companies and even people with "Cadillac health insurance plans," who were to be singled out for special taxes.  Meanwhile, our freedom to make our own medical decisions -- on which life and death can depend -- was to be quietly taken from us and transferred to our betters in Washington.

Only the recent Massachusetts election results have put that on hold.

Another dangerous power toward which we are moving, bit by bit, on the installment plan, is the power of politicians to tell people what their incomes can and cannot be.  Here the resentment is being directed against "the rich."

The distracting phrases here include "obscene" wealth and "unconscionable" profits.  But, if we stop and think about it -- which politicians don’t expect us to -- what is obscene about wealth?  Wouldn’t we consider it great if every human being on earth had a billion dollars and lived in a place that could rival the Taj Mahal?

Poverty is obscene.  It is poverty that needs to be reduced -- and increasing a country’s productivity has done that far more widely than redistributing income by targeting "the rich."

You can see the agenda behind the rhetoric when profits are called "unconscionable" but taxes never are, even when taxes take more than half of what someone has earned, or add much more to the prices we have to pay than profits do.

The assumption that what A pays B is any business of C is an assumption that means a dangerous power being transferred to politicians to tell us all what incomes we can and cannot receive.  It will not apply to everyone all at once.  Like the income tax, which at first applied only to the truly rich, and then slowly but steadily moved down the income scale to hit the rest of us, the power to say what incomes people can be allowed to make will inevitably move down the income scale to make us all dependents and supplicants of politicians.

The phrase "public servants" is increasingly misleading.  They are well on their way to becoming public masters -- like aptly named White House "czars."  The more they can get us all to resent those they designate, the more they can distract us from their increasing control of our own lives -- but only if we sell our freedom cheap.  We can sell our birthright and not even get the mess of pottage.
Obama Flip-Flops on His Own Record
John Hinderaker says that's how Byron York headlines his own shrewd observation: Obama can't keep his story straight when it comes to evaluating his own legislative record:
    

In his speech at a Denver fundraiser yesterday, Obama repeated what has become a key talking point for Democrats -- that the Senate "doesn't get anything done" and the reason for that is that some Republicans, who "don't believe in government," are happy to block the administration's initiatives because blocking government initiatives is "consistent with their philosophy."  ... It's a charge you'll no doubt hear more in the coming campaign.  But it's a striking flip-flop from Obama's earlier statements in which he praised Congress' ability to get things done.  As a matter of fact, at a DNC fundraiser in California last October, Obama said his administration and Congress had accomplished so much that, "If we stopped today, this legislative session would have been one of the most productive in a generation."

    
Byron notes, too, that the White House web site includes a long list of the administration's legislative achievements. How to reconcile the contradiction?
    

The fact is, when you hear the president and Democrats in Congress complain about not being able to get anything done, or about Washington being broken, they're talking about one thing: their inability to pass a national health care reform bill.  Congress can do, and is doing, lots of things -- just not sprawling, omnibus "comprehensive" bills that are unpopular with the American people.  (The same can be said for cap-and-trade legislation, now dead in the Senate.)  If you put aside enormous bills that would re-order the American economy in ways the public does not want, Congress can do things just fine.

    
In Hinderaker's view, there is something a bit sinister about the petulance with which Democratic leaders bewail their inability to compel their own members to vote for legislation that is massively unpopular with the American people. This is, after all, a democracy.
Obama's Bipartisan Flim-Flammery
The Washington Examiner reminds us that two weeks ago, Obama challenged Republican congressional leaders to join him in a nationally televised summit to discuss their respective proposals for health care reform.  Republicans publicly wondered if Obama's proposal represented a refreshing new attempt by him to display genuine bipartisanship and whether they should trust him to come to the summit with a truly open mind.  We now know the answer to both questions is a resounding "No."

Yesterday, Obama unveiled a "new" health care proposal.  It costs an eye-popping $950 billion (that's the White House's rosy estimate), and represents nothing more than a warmed-over version of the 2,500-plus-page ObamaCare proposals passed last year by the Senate and House.  Like its predecessors, this newest version features government price fixing of the rates health insurance companies can charge.  It includes a sweetheart deal to protect unions' expensive health care plans from taxation imposed on nonunion health plans.  And worst of all, it still forces all Americans to fork over a hefty chunk of their income for a government-approved health insurance product, under penalty of heavy fines or imprisonment.

How does the White House pay for this monstrosity?  The Congressional Budget Office says there is insufficient detail available for it to estimate the new plan's cost to the federal government.  But according to Americans for Tax Reform, the bill represents a net federal tax increase of $629 billion, much of which will be paid by Americans earning less than $250,000, thus violating Obama's campaign pledge.  Further, many of the new taxes seem specially targeted to choke off economic growth.  In particular, the bill includes a 2.9 percent Medicare tax on all unearned income.

To gain passage of his proposal, Obama has joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an arcane legislative magic act known as "budget reconciliation."  Only 51 Senate votes -- not the usual 60 required to pass major legislation -- are required to approve a reconciliation measure in the Senate, and a simple majority of 218 in the House. Reconciliation is supposed to be for tying up loose ends -- for technical, budget-balancing measures.  But Democrats want to use it to put a government bureaucrat between patients and their doctors.  This, despite the recent Gallup poll that, like so many other recent polls, shows a strong majority of Americans want Congress to go back to square one on health care reform and start over.  Obama talks bipartisanship, but his proposal and his actions this week make clear that he and congressional Democrats are running a Washington con game and hoping the American people won't figure out they're the mark, yet again, until it's too late.
Obama Is Wasting No Time
Gather.com is reporting that Obama will sign the just-passed health care reform bill this morning, Democratic sources are saying.

The bill, which passed the Senate in December and was OK'd by the House of Representatives on Sunday -- in both cases without a single Republican "yes" vote -- will extend insurance coverage to 32 million currently uninsured Americans, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

A companion bill to fine tune the reforms that also passed the House on Sunday will be taken up by the Senate this week and faces fierce Republican opposition, although it will not be subject to a filibuster.

The bill before Obama will require individuals to purchase insurance from private insurance companies, and provide subsidies for those who cannot afford it on their own.

Meanwhile, the guy that made Obama possible, John McCain, is swearing to fight ObamaCare, saying that repercussions will occur, "at the polls and in the courts."
When Pigs Fly
As the Senate grinds through 20 hours of debate on the health care reconciliation bill, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Tuesday night offered an amendment that would require the president, vice-president, members of Congress, political appointees and congressional staff to get their federal health benefits through the soon-to-be-created health insurance exchanges.

This group currently gets insurance through a system overseen by the Office of Management and Budget and under the health care bill signed into law today, some of the congressional staff would have to sign up for insurance through the exchanges.  But some would be exempted.  Politico filed a story Tuesday night pointing out that leadership and committee staff are exempt from having to use the exchanges.  This has caused a bit of an uproar on Capitol Hill, with Republicans accusing top Democratic staff of writing a health care law that's not good enough for them to participate in.

"President Obama has publicly advertised that his reforms would give members of the public the same coverage available to Members of Congress," reads a GOP summary of the Grassley measure.  "This amendment would ensure that he, his successors, and all his appointed political officials would also have the same coverage members of the public enrolled in the Exchange receive."

I have a bridge to sell anyone that believes the Washington nobility will insure their families with whatever the hell ObamaCare turns out to be.  Congress has been a special class for a long-long time, and they make damned sure they have the best for themselves.  Presidents and ex presidents live better than the Royal Family.
ObamaCare's Federal Police Force
The editors at the Washington Times believe Obama's nationalization of health care is bad enough on its own, but the plan's implementation will require drastic measures that are just as troubling to those who value freedom.  Of particular concern is the bill's expansion of the Internal Revenue Service.

A report released last week by House Ways and Means Committee Republicans estimated that the dreaded agency's ranks would swell by 16,500.  The newly sworn agents would be charged with ensuring the public's obedience to Obama's health care directives.  The IRS also would enjoy the enhanced powers and budgetary authority required for monitoring the health care status of 300 million Americans on a month-to-month basis.  The total cost of the effort is likely to exceed $10 billion.

The investigations will gradually ramp up until 2016, when the individual mandate tax kicks in fully.  After that, if the O Force wins a second term, the unprecedented levy will fall upon citizens who fail to purchase health care coverage acceptable to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  IRS agents would conduct the audits and impose a fine of either $2,085 or 2.5 percent of income -- whichever is greater -- on disobedient households.  According to Congressional Budget Office figures, this tax will generate $17 billion by 2019.

Of course, not everyone will pay.  The Democrats carved out exemptions for two of its favorite constituencies: illegal aliens and imprisoned criminals.  Only law-abiding citizens will face the wrath of the IRS -- a wrath that can be substantial.

Consider the case of Aaron Zeff, owner of Harv's Metro Car Wash in Sacramento, Calif. Mr. Zeff paid his taxes on time and did everything he was supposed to do.  Nonetheless, a team of IRS agents descended on his business earlier this month.  "They were deadly serious, very aggressive, very condescending," Mr. Zeff said in describing the incident to the Sacramento Bee.  His crime?  Mr. Zeff reportedly owed 4 cents on his taxes in 2006.

That's the type of overzealous enforcement and lousy customer service we can look forward to as IRS agents are handed more power to terrorize law-abiding Americans.  Obama's plan moves us in the wrong direction.  We need to dismantle, not expand, the most hated agency of the federal government.  Fundamental tax reform and repeal of ObamaCare would go a long way toward restoring American freedoms.
Negative Impact Of ObamaCare Already Kicking In
Examiner.com/Boston says that 48 hours had not even passed after Congress approved ObamaCare before the negative impact of its provisions began kicking in.

Remember, the so-called 'benefits' of the program will not begin until 2014.  But the fees, taxes, and other surcharges that are essential to the plan go into effect immediately.  This has led to some disturbing consequences just within the last 24 hours.

Karl Denninger via WRSA reported this:
   

From the forum:

"So I just got a call from my health insurance provider.  My family rates are going up $200/month ... $2400/year per employee effective April 1st.  Didn't take long after signing to get this s**t going.

So much for the 'my plan will save Americans $2500/year in Healthcare premiums.'

F***ing liar in chief."

    
This is not the only troubling development as a consequence of ObamaCare.

Continue reading here . . .
Americans Want To Repeal It!
John Hinderaker has written elsewhere that we should wait at least a week or two before paying attention to polls on ObamaCare, but this one is too remarkable to pass up: Rasmussen finds that 55 percent of voters want ObamaCare repealed.

That is extraordinary.  Has the public ever greeted passage of a major piece of legislation with this much disgust?  I can't imagine that it has.  And so far, at least, there is no sign that mere passage of the bill will cause voters to look more favorably on it.

It occurs to me that there is precedent for this sort of widespread negative reaction, not to legislation, but to Supreme Court decisions.  The Supreme Court has on occasion issued liberal edicts that have been widely denounced and have been viewed unfavorably by substantial majorities of the population.  This doesn't normally happen with legislation, for obvious reasons.  But in the case of ObamaCare, a great many voters view the legislation as an edict handed down from on high in defiance of the will of the majority; a law that is illegitimate because of the extreme partisanship and legislative trickery that enabled its passage.  It thus engenders public outrage much like certain Supreme Court decisions that have been seen as undemocratic edicts imposed by out-of-touch elites.

If that analogy is right, the public's outrage is likely to persist for a long time.
Castro Endorses ObamaCare
The AP is reporting that it was not the endorsement Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.

"We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama's) government," Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president's hand against lobbyists and "mercenaries."

Continue reading here . . .
Judge Napolitano:  Supreme Court To Strike Down ObamaCare
Barack Obama is one of the worst occupants of the Oval Office ever, in terms of respecting constitutional limitations on government, and the states suing the federal government over healthcare reform "have a pretty strong case" and are likely to prevail, according to author and judicial analyst Andrew P. Napolitano.

Napolitano says Obama's healthcare reforms amount to "commandeering" the state legislatures for federal purposes, which the Supreme Court has forbidden as unconstitutional.

"The Constitution does not authorize the Congress to regulate the state governments," Napolitano says.

"Nevertheless, in this piece of legislation, the Congress has told the state governments that they must modify their regulation of certain areas of healthcare, they must surrender their regulation of other areas of healthcare, and they must spend state taxpayer-generated dollars in a way that the Congress wants it done.

"That's called commandeering the legislature," he says.  "That's the Congress taking away the discretion of the legislature with respect to regulation, and spending taxpayer dollars.  That's prohibited in a couple of Supreme Court cases.  So on that argument, the attorneys general have a pretty strong case and I think they will prevail.”

"The Supreme Court has ruled that in areas of human behavior that are not delegated to the Congress in the Constitution, and that have been traditionally regulated by the states, the Congress can't simply move in there," Napolitano says.  "And the states for 230 years have had near exclusive regulation over the delivery of healthcare.  The states license hospitals.  The states license medications.  The states license healthcare providers whether they're doctors, nurses, or pharmacists.  The feds have had nothing to do with it.

"The Congress can't simply wake up one day and decide that it wants to regulate this.  I predict that the Supreme Court will invalidate major portions of what the president just signed into law…"

"I believe we have a one party system in this country, called the big-government party," Napolitano says.  "There is a Republican branch that likes war and deficits and assaulting civil liberties.  There is a Democratic branch that likes welfare and taxes and assaulting commercial liberties.

"President Obama obviously is squarely within the Democratic branch.  The president who had the least fidelity to the Constitution was Abraham Lincoln, who waged war on half the country, even though there's obviously no authority for that, a war that killed nearly 700,000 people.  President Obama is close to that end of lacking fidelity to the Constitution.  He wants to outdo his hero FDR."

For those who oppose healthcare, the Fox legal expert says, the bad news is that many of the legal challenges to healthcare reform will have to wait until 2014, when the changes become fully operational.  Until then, there would be no legal case that individuals had been actually harmed by the law.  Moreover, Napolitano says it takes an average of four years for a case to work its way through the various federal courts the final hearing that's expected to come before the Supreme Court.

"You're talking about 2018, which is eight years from now, before it is likely the Supreme Court will hear this," he says.

Click here to read the other issues that Napolitano addressed during a wide-ranging interview with Newsmax.TV's Ashley Martella . . .
Obama Loses Argument -- Wins Dirty
Mona Charen says the revisionist history writers were busy last week.  The health care law was "sweeping" and "historic."  Pelosi was the "most powerful speaker in history," and Obama had cemented his place as "one of the most consequential presidents."  The press, in short, echoed Vice President Biden's view on the importance of the legislation.

This narrative is fantasy.  We are asked to believe that the Democrats achieved a glorious victory when they were able to squeak to passage with only four votes to spare.  If Bart Stupak and his colleagues had not sacrificed their consciences and gotten on board, then the speaker would have been impotent and the president a failure?  To quote Vice President Biden again, "If we were unable to move the ball on this issue . . . we would have been done, absolutely done."

To declare such a close contest -- during which Obama was reduced to begging Democratic members to save his butt -- to be a triumph is reminiscent of Pyrrhus of Epirus.  He fought and defeated Rome, but at such a cost in casualties that upon hearing of his success, he said, "One more such victory and I shall return to Epirus alone."

In fact, though the Democrats achieved a narrow victory by passing their health care behemoth, they lost the argument.  Despite some 58 speeches, vigorous press cheerleading, and more than a year of ceaseless lobbying, Obama, his  administration, and the Democrats were never able to convince a majority of the American people to believe in a fairy tale.  Voters were never persuaded that the government that brought us a $107 trillion unfunded liability in the Medicare and Social Security programs was going to provide subsidized coverage to 32 million uninsured; create 4 million new jobs; produce, as Pelosi put it, "a healthier America through prevention, wellness, and innovation;" make insurance more affordable for the middle class; and "save the taxpayers $1.3 trillion."

No, the reality that the compliant press was eager to obscure in the days following the vote was that the Democrats had abandoned any effort to persuade the American people and had chosen to bulldoze their way to victory with old-fashioned vote buying, harsh threats, and political hard ball.  That can purchase (narrow) success, but it doesn't signify a political breakthrough, far less an historic realignment.  Contrast the partisan victory Obama was able to eke out with Ronald Reagan's economic program.  With the House of Representatives controlled by the other party 244-191 in 1981, Reagan was able to persuade enough voters to call their representatives that his budget (including tax cuts) passed by a vote of 253-176.

Aware that their bankruptcy-inviting "triumph" was based on brute force rather than popular appeal, the Democrats adopted a smear-the-opposition tactic.  Thus the well-prepared stunt of having several members of the Congressional Black Congress walk above ground to the Capitol on the evening of the vote, rather than through the underground tunnels.  Their route took them past a noisy crowd of tea party protesters.  Two members later claimed that they had run a gauntlet of ugly racial slurs.  Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said, "I haven't heard anything like this in 40, 45 years.  Since the march to Selma, really."  Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., claimed that he was spat upon, and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., claimed to have endured anti-gay epithets.  Headlines were assured.

Only the Frank story is confirmed by any contemporaneous outside source.  A Politico reporter claims to have heard the word.  Such slurs are obviously despicable and were immediately condemned as such by leading Republicans.  But while the press went purple over one jerk's shouted insult to Frank, leading members of the Democratic Party and the press (to repeat myself) blatantly slur the tea party movement as "tea baggers" on a daily basis and the press regard it all as a great "in" joke.

As for the claims of the CBC members, one cannot vouch for an entire crowd of thousands of protesters, but no video that captured the moment (and there are several) picked up any racial slurs, just angry boos and chants of "kill the bill."  As for Cleaver's incident, it was captured on video.  He passed a man who had cupped his hands and was shouting as Cleaver passed by.  Some spittle seems to have sprayed.  It could not have been pleasant, but it's a world away from being intentionally spat upon.

The Democrats have their narrative and such is their influence with the press that they can circulate it widely: Virtuous liberals enact far-reaching benevolent legislation in the face of violent, racist, homophobic opposition.  Their fans at MSNBC and The New York Times may even buy it.  But for most of us, it's the boy who cried "racist" once too often.
Happy Dependence Day
Mark Stein says it seems to be in the bag now.  I try to be a sunny the-glass-is-one-sixteenth-full kinda guy, but it's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished.  Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage: As the graph posted earlier shows, the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be "insurers" in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that's clear we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis.

If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history.  It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government.  You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn't be doing what they're doing.  Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people.  As I wrote in National Review recently, there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

More prosaically, it's also unaffordable.  That's why one of the first things that middle-rank powers abandon once they go down this road is a global military capability.  If you take the view that the U.S. is an imperialist aggressor, congratulations: You can cease worrying.  But, if you think that America has been the ultimate guarantor of the post-war global order, it's less cheery.  Five years from now, just as in Canada and Europe two generations ago, we'll be getting used to announcements of defense cuts to prop up the unsustainable costs of big government at home.  And, as the superpower retrenches, America's enemies will be quick to scent opportunity.

Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon.  Must try to look on the bright side . . .
Robbing Peter To Pay Paul's Health Care
The Washington Times contends that ObamaCare is a socialist law designed to take money from some Americans and use it to benefit others.  The health care bill signed into law by Obama is full of hidden time bombs.  One costly provision buried in the lengthy reconciliation bill at the last minute has taxpayers covering long-term at-home care for the elderly.  Through the so-called Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS Act), Americans will find between $150 and $250 taken out of their paychecks each month to cover this program nobody knew about.

Democrats claim this isn't a controversial program, but if they really believed that, they wouldn't have had to sneak the provision into the reconciliation bill.  But it was snuck in the reconciliation bill only two days before the House vote.

Even some Democrats warned about the financial impact of the home-care program.  Before the idea was dropped last year because of stiff opposition, Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, called the program a Ponzi scheme that would produce massive deficits in the future.  A letter released at that time by Mr. Conrad and Democratic Sens. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Warner of Virginia warned: "While the goals of the CLASS Act are laudable -- finding a way to provide long-term care insurance to individuals -- the effects of including this legislation in the merged Senate bill would not be fiscally responsible for several reasons."

The senators were particularly concerned that the Congressional Budget Office numbers missed the real costs of the program. The CBO is instructed only to consider the fiscal impact over the next 10 years, but the way the scheme is set up, people must pay the additional taxes for at least five years to become eligible.  So for the first five years we only see revenue.  After that, the taxpayers are eligible only gradually.  They must then become old enough to require home health care, so expenditures will occur in the distant future.  In other words, we see taxes with no expenditures upfront, but huge expenditures picking up after the CBO's 10-year evaluation window passes.

The budget concerns of a handful of Democratic senators kept the program out of the earlier version of the health care bill, which passed the Senate before Christmas.  If the provision hadn't been removed, Democrats wouldn't have obtained the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster.  Only by jamming it into the Senate reconciliation bill in March were they able to get it passed with the bare minimum 51 votes.

Ironically, the reconciliation procedure, requiring only a simple majority, was originally designed to help reduce the deficit.  It certainly was not meant for circumventing normal procedures and throwing in last-minute budgetary land mines.

Democrats might not consider $109 billion in taxes over the program's first 10 years to be controversial.  But taking $150 to $250 out of each monthly paycheck will cause problems for millions of Americans.  This is yet another example of Mr. Obama breaking his promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year.  It's not what we consider a very classy act.
Sebelius Says, "We Don't Know How Much It's Going To Cost"
Jim Hoft says the fact that Democrats spent nearly a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus bill means nothing.  The fact that they created no jobs means nothing.  This group of looters and crooks rammed through their nationalized health care bill and now admit that they have no idea how much their "high risk pools" will cost the country.
    
    
Unreal. And, now they want to nationalize banks, energy and open the borders to illegal immigrants.

How's that for hope and change?

Related:  Economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department concluded in a report issued Thursday that the health care remake will achieve Obama's aim of expanding health insurance -- adding 34 million to the coverage rolls.

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of Obama's twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years.  That increase could get bigger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the report warned.

It's a worrisome assessment for Democrats.
ObamaCare Costs To Skyrocket
Jim Hoft says government releases new numbers on ObamaCare showing that costs will skyrocket.

This really is criminal -- now that ObamaCare has been rammed into law we get to see just how much we were lied to by the radical left and the state-run media.

The federal government released a new report on the cost of ObamaCare and the results are troubling.  The report comes from actuaries from Medicare and Medicaid. Medical costs will skyrocket rising $389 billion 10 years.  14 million will lose employer-based coverage.  Millions will be left without insurance.  And millions more will be may be dumped into the already overwhelmed Medicaid system.  4 million American families will be hit with tax penalties under this new law.

Of course, these were ALL things that democrats and Obama assured us would not happen.

Nancy Pelosi told America in March, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

Now we know.
ObamaCare Will Be A Total Disaster
Examiner.com (Boston) says that a new report issued by Obama's own experts has confirmed that everything Democrats told us about their economy-killing, debt-exploding, illegal health care takeover was wrong.

Just as conservatives had warned, ObamaCare will actually increase costs while forcing millions of seniors off Medicare and severely limiting access to care -- the findings:
    

•  Roughly 14 million people will lose their employer coverage by 2019 as companies terminate employee coverage (the fines are cheaper) and force workers onto Medicaid. -- What was that about being able to keep your existing coverage?

•  The cost "reductions" will not be "fully achievable" because millions will be forced onto Medicare, even as it is being completely gutted. -- But, weren't Republicans just "fear-mongering?"

•  Crushing new fees and taxes on medical device makers will (in addition to killing innovation) "be passed through to health consumers" via higher prices and premiums on drugs and medical devices. -- Welcome to "the change we need."

•  Funding for the national high-risk pool will be exhausted by 2012, resulting in substantial premium increases to sustain the program, which will "limit further participation." -- So much for "bending down the cost curve."

•  Forcing millions of people onto Medicaid when most doctors already won't accept it will be "difficult" for the program to endure. -- But, isn't ObamaCare supposed to improve access?

•  As companies pass on the costs of $87 billion in penalties between 2014-2019 to consumers, everything will become more expensive and we will lose even more jobs. -- But, didn't Democrats repeatedly tell us this would be good for the economy?

•  It will drive15% of medical care providers who take Medicare Part A out of business. -- Again, how will reducing care (this doesn't even include the 45% of doctors who said they would consider leaving the profession if this insanity passed) while adding millions of patients improve access?

•  Severe Medicare cuts would drive roughly 50% of seniors out of the wildly popular Medicare Advantage program. -- Again, contrary to everything we were told.

     
What do you know?  Tea Partiers really are better at reading Obama's legislation than the news media -- or Obama himself.
Obama Covered Up HHS Report
David Freddoso says I can't say I'm surprised, but I didn't know the deceptions surrounding ObamaCare went quite this far, to the point of smothering a government report.  From The Prowler:
    

The economic report released last week by Health and Human Services, which indicated that President Barack Obama's health care "reform" law would actually increase the cost of health care and impose higher costs on consumers, had been submitted to the office of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius more than a week before the Congressional votes on the bill, according to career HHS sources, who added that Sebelius's staff refused to review the document before the vote was taken.

"The reason we were given was that they did not want to influence the vote," says an HHS source.  "Which is actually the point of having a review like this, you would think."

An Unmitigated Disaster
Janice Shaw Crouse says Americans are learning that ObamaCare will pile on insurmountable debt and cause government to encroach on every area of our lives.  ObamaCare is, as Yuval Levin said, an "unmitigated disaster -- for our health care system, for our fiscal future, and for any notion of limited government."  And the more we learn about the specific provisions, the more we discover that the bill does not reflect our values -- faith, family and freedom -- nor does it strengthen those principles that are the foundation of a great nation.

Each day while Democrats are criss-crossing the country to declare that ObamaCare is not a government takeover of health care, a new government expert releases figures indicating that ObamaCare is going to be outrageously expensive and won't do what Obama promised it would.  Now they tell us!

Many Americans were outraged after ObamaCare passed when a report from the Office of the Actuary of Medicare indicated that the costs of the bill would increase rather than cut the costs of health care in the United States.  In an April 23 appearance before the House Appropriations Committee, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared that nobody really knows what ObamaCare will cost.  Ed Morrissey, the prominent blogger on Hot Air, called the $5 billion appropriated for ObamaCare just a "spit-balling number," because "no one has the faintest clue how much money will actually get spent on this program."  There is clear evidence, however, from the Congressional Budget Office that the average fine for those three million middle-class Americans who are expected to pay a penalty for not having health insurance will amount to more than $1,000 per person.  The report estimates that the government will collect about $4 billion per year in fines from 2017 to 2019.

In addition to questions about cost, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll reveals that over half of Americans are confused about what the law means (55 percent) and what impact it will have on them (56 percent).  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), ranking Republican on the Budget Committee and a leader in explaining Obamanomics, believes that the nation is at a "tipping point" and could be on a "very dangerous" path toward a social welfare state.  He says ObamaCare "has $2 trillion in higher taxes, doubles the debt in five years, triples the debt in 10 years," and consists of the "largest entitlement" expansion in 35 years where the "majority of Americans are more dependent upon the government than they are themselves."  More than 70 percent, Ryan claims, will get more benefits from the government than they pay for in taxes -- making 3-out-of-10 families either supplement or supply the income for the other seven families.

Numerous polls indicate that the public's trust in government is at an "historic low."  The Pew Research Center reported that only 22 percent of Americans trust government today.  A Quinnipiac poll notes that Obama's approval rating is down to 44 percent, and Congress's approval is 25 percent.  Daniel Henninger, of the Wall Street Journal, said, "The American people have issued a no-confidence vote in government."  Henninger thinks that the distrust is because, with almost universal access to the Internet, the "veil was ripped from the true cost of government" so that everyone could see how much spending -- $9 trillion -- was out of control.

ObamaCare contains $670 billion in tax increases.  For the middle class, there are at least 14 different tax increases signed into law that target taxpayers making less than $250,000 per year.  In Massachusetts, a state that enacted health care reforms similar to the national plan, more than a half-dozen lawsuits were filed to stop double-digit premium increases.  The Boston Globe warned that ObamaCare could result in similar lawsuits at the federal level.  Indeed, Richard Epstein, a constitutional lawyer writing in the Wall Street Journal, stated that regulated public utilities have a right to a "risk-adjusted rate of return on their invested capital."  Others are predicting federal lawsuits where courts will slap down "efforts to control by fiat the price of the insurance" that Americans are legally mandated to buy.  Attorneys general in more than a dozen states are working to challenge the legal mandate in federal court as unconstitutional.

Finally, officials are owning up to what most Americans already knew.  ObamaCare means higher costs and lower quality; ObamaCare means rationing and higher taxes -- including a Value Added Tax (VAT).  It means mandating and penalties.  Obama and his progressive colleagues on the Hill jettisoned the world's best health care system for the dubious honor of having achieved "health care reform."  Now, in addition to figuring out how to pay for the trillion dollar government takeover of health care, we have to untangle the budgetary gimmicks, bureaucratic mess, and disastrous financial crisis that the nation faces as a result.
$115 Billion Accounting Error
David Hogberg says you'd better sit down, because you are in for a "shock" -- ObamaCare will cost more than previously thought.

The Congressional Budget Office today released an analysis of discretionary spending in the law, and found that those costs will "probably exceed" $115 billion over 10 years.

At a stroke, that erases almost all of ObamaCare’s $143 billion in budget savings based off rushed, incomplete CBO projections given just before the decisive House vote in March.

Of course, that original forecast also assumed politically poisonous Medicare cuts and numerous other budget tricks. But, continuing to set those issues aside, the CBO suggests even its surplus forecast may prove ephemeral.

The new estimate includes the costs of administering the law by the IRS and the Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the cost of "future appropriations for a variety of grant and other program spending for which the act identifies the specific funding levels it envisions for one or more years."

Yet there are other programs for which "no specific funding levels are identified in the legislation," and the CBO couldn’t estimate the cost of those.  The smart money says those costs will exceed $28 billion.

Continue reading here . . .

Related:  56% of American voters want the Democrat’s ObamaCare law repealed.

Related: Even supporters are shocked by its sweeping implications that reach into every corner of our lives and society.
ObamaCare Repeal Support Rises To 63%
Ed Morrissey says Democrats may be celebrating holding a seat in a Pennsylvania district by eight points with a 2-1 registration advantage, but a new Rasmussen poll shows that as whistling past the graveyard.  Support for repealing ObamaCare has risen by seven points in the last week, hitting its highest level ever at 63%.  Opposition to the idea of repeal dropped seven points, for a total of a fourteen-point swing in eight days:
    

Support for repeal of the new national health care plan has jumped to its highest level ever. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of U.S. voters now favor repeal of the plan passed by congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Obama in March.

Prior to today, weekly polling had shown support for repeal ranging from 54% to 58%.

Currently, just 32% oppose repeal.

    
The White House has attempted to front-load the rollout of ObamaCare with its most popular elements in an attempt to change the narrative.  Not only has that effort completely failed, it also leaves Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi with little ammunition left with which to fight in the upcoming general election.  Despite their bravado, Democrat Mark Critz won PA-12 by running against ObamaCare, not in support of it, in a momentarily successful triangulation against a tough Republican challenge from Tim Burns -- one that will be repeated in November.

Not only has support grown for repeal overall, it has also grown broadly in the electorate.  Majorities of both men (65%) and women (62%) want ObamaCare repealed.  Majorities in every age demographic want it repealed as well, including a shocking 70% of 18-29 year-old voters, which normally form the base of Barack Obama’s age-demographic support.  That includes a 47% plurality that strongly supports repeal, suggesting that younger voters have finally realized that ObamaCare uses them to subsidize insurance premiums of older Americans.

In other demographics, the news is equally bad.  Only the lowest income earners don’t want repeal, and that’s just by eight points, 40/48.  Solid majorities support repeal in every other income bracket, and "strongly supports" doesn’t get below 48% in any of them.  Seventy-two percent of independents want it repealed, and even 36% of Democrats support repeal -- 17% of them strongly.

The more people discover about ObamaCare, the more they want an end to it.  What does it say about the chances of Democrats in the midterms when support for their one legislative accomplishment (32%) gets outstripped by the number of Democrats who want it reversed (36%)?  I’d expect to hear a lot about the Lily Ledbetter Act in October, because thanks to their singular focus on the ObamaCare hobby horse, Democrats have nothing else on which to run.
Proof!  Destruction Planned For Private Insurance Interests
Aaron Klein says a socialist organization with close ties to Barack Obama has outlined a plan to turn ObamaCare into a government-run system that will ultimately eliminate private insurance companies.

ObamaCare "should create millions of new stakeholders in a health-care system governed by democratically established rules rather than by the fiats of private insurers," wrote Frank Llewellyn, national director of Democratic Socialists of America.

Writing in the latest issue of the socialist Democratic Left magazine, Llewellyn said "progressives" must use ObamaCare legislation "to build support for the elimination of private insurers."

Llewellyn called for a public information campaign regarding ObamaCare and socialized medicine.
    

"DSAers (Democratic Socialists of America members) in every state and city," he said, "should be prepared to rebut distortions with letters to the editor and op-eds that talk about what socialism really is – and what true social democratic public provision would look like, particularly when health care is the paradigmatic public good that markets, let alone for profit oligopolies, simply cannot justly and affordably supply."

    
He recommended removing Democratic lawmakers who oppose single-payer and socialized health care.
    

"Progressives must now work to ensure that some conservative Democrats who did not support the final bill will be punished with primaries or even third-party challenges."

     
Llewellyn argued the passage of Obama's health-care bill opens the door for other progressive policies, such as immigration reform, anti-corporate measures and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Continue reading here . . .
Obama Picks A Socialist For His Socialized Medicine
CNSNews.com says Obama's unconfirmed recess appointee to run Medicare advocates rationing, redistribution of wealth.

Obama today circumvented the Senate confirmation process by granting a recess appointment to Dr. Donald Berwick to be director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid.

Berwick, a professor at Harvard Medical School and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (a think tank), has expressed his disdain for free-market medicine and his "love" for Great Britain’s government-run health-care system, while advocating health-care rationing and using the health-care system to redistribute wealth.

The directorship of CMS normally requires confirmation by the Senate, which currently has a 59-member majority of Obama’s party (counting Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut Independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats).

Berwick is known for his staunch defense of Great Britain’s government-run National Health System (NHS) -- which he has hailed as a model for the world -- and his penchant for comparing the U.S. health-care system unfavorably to the British system.

Dr. Berwick argued that redistribution of wealth is an absolutely necessary component in any just health-care system and that the British had made the right decision in nationalizing their system.

More here . . .

RelatedThe top 10 things Obama doesn't want you to know about Donald Berwick.
Health Coverage For Life
Byron York says Donald Berwick, recess-appointed by Obama to head Medicare and Medicaid, is a well-known advocate of health care rationing and admirer of Britain's National Health Service.  Rising health costs and limited resources "require decisions about who will have access to care and the extent of their coverage," Berwick wrote in 1999.  Last year, he said, "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care -- the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."  Of the NHS, Berwick says simply, "I love it," adding that it is "one of the great human health care endeavors on earth."

As it turns out, Berwick himself does not have to deal with the anxieties created by limited access to care and the extent of coverage.  In a special benefit conferred on him by the board of directors of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, a nonprofit health care charitable organization he created and which he served as chief executive officer, Berwick and his wife will have health coverage "from retirement until death."

The provision is deep inside a 2009 audit report on the nonprofit's finances.  On page 17 of that document, there is a paragraph headlined "Post Retirement Health Benefits":
    

During fiscal year 2003, the Institute created a postretirement health benefit plan for its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). It provides the CEO and his spouse medical insurance from retirement until death. The present value of the estimated cost of this benefit is approximately $120,000, which is being accrued over the CEO's estimated remaining service period. The amount expensed by the Institute for the years ended 2009 and 2008 related to this liability was approximately $12,000 and $17,000, respectively. At 2009 and 2008, approximately $84,000 and $72,000, respectively, was included in accounts payable and accrued expenses.

    
Berwick was the CEO in question; under the provision, he and his wife will be covered for the rest of their lives -- a benefit that was on top of the $2.3 million in compensation the nonprofit gave Berwick in 2008, the $637,006 in compensation he received in 2007, and the $585,008 he received in 2006.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has been asking questions about the Institute's finances.  Specifically, Grassley wanted to know more about the millions of dollars in grants and contributions to the organization: where did that money come from?  Given the zillions of dollars that changed hands during the debate over Obamacare, it was a reasonable question.

But it was a question the White House did not want to answer.  Not long after Grassley inquired about the Institute's donors, the White House decided to bypass Senate confirmation for Berwick. Obama's recess appointment means that Berwick will not have to answer Grassley's, or anyone else's, questions.

Now comes word that Berwick enjoys his nonprofit's generosity in the form of health care coverage for life.  That undoubtedly would also have been a topic of questioning had Berwick gone through the normal course of Senate confirmation.  But the recess appointment avoided all that.
Let The Death Panels Commence
Peter Heck says that on Friday, August 7, 2009, Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook page: "The Democrats promise that a government healthcare system will reduce the cost of healthcare, but [it] will not...it will simply refuse to pay the cost. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide...whether they are worthy of healthcare. Such a system is downright evil."

The response of Democrats and the media to Palin's assertion can only be described as outrage. Howard Dean went on ABC and called it "totally erroneous," concluding, "She just made that up." Even David Brooks, the closest thing to a conservative the New York Times can bring themselves to hire, proclaimed on Meet the Press, "That's crazy...the crazies are attacking the plan because it'll cut off granny, and that -- that's simply not true. That simply is not going to happen."

And even last week, Newsweek magazine ranked the idea that there would be bureaucratic boards making life-and-death decisions for people as one of the "Dumb Things Americans Believe."

The only problem for Dean, Brooks, Newsweek and the whole lot is that it now appears that under ObamaCare there ARE bureaucratic boards making life-and-death decisions for people.

Continue reading here . . .
Obama's War On America's Seniors
Peter Ferrara says senior citizens probably provided less support for Obama in the 2008 election than any other voter bloc.  That reflects the wisdom of age.  But for Obama, apparently it's payback time, because he is conducting a comprehensive economic assault on America's senior citizens.

First He Trashed Medicare

A Democrat campaign theme this fall is that those scary Republicans want to end Medicare as we know it.  But that is not possible, because Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the Democrats have already done that, in ObamaCare.

The Chief Actuary for Medicare has publicly reported that the Medicare payment rates for the doctors and hospitals serving seniors will be cut by 30% over the next 3 years.  By 2019, those Medicare payment rates will be lower than under Medicaid, which leaves the poor often unable to find doctors and hospitals willing to serve them.  Medicare's Chief Actuary reports that ultimately under ObamaCare Medicare payment rates will be only one-third of what will be paid by private insurance and only half of what is paid by Medicaid.  Good luck to Grandma in finding a doctor then.

If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep him, Obama promised in trying to sell ObamaCare to the nation.  But the question under Medicare now, after ObamaCare, is whether your doctor will be willing to keep you.

Last month's Annual Report of the Medicare Board of Trustees revealed that ObamaCare's total cuts to Medicare run to over $1 trillion over the first 10 years of full implementation, and to nearly $5 trillion over the first 20 years.  These are cuts for seniors who are already retired!

Ultimately, by the end of the Trustees' Report projection period, Medicare Part A is cut by 60%.  Medicare Part B is cut by 43%.  Translation: this means the end of Medicare as we know it.

Continue reading here . . .
ObamaCare Is Even Worse Than Critics Thought
The Washington Examiner says that six months ago, Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed ObamaCare down the throats of an unwilling American public.  Half a year removed from the unprecedented legislative chicanery and backroom dealing that characterized the bill's passage, we know much more about the bill than we did then.  A few of the revelations:
    

•  ObamaCare won't decrease health care costs for the government.  According to Medicare's actuary, it will increase costs.  The same is likely to happen for privately funded health care.

•  As written, ObamaCare covers elective abortions, contrary to Obama's promise that it wouldn't.  This means that tax dollars will be used to pay for a procedure millions of Americans across the political spectrum view as immoral.  Supposedly, the Department of Health and Human Services will bar abortion coverage with new regulations but these will likely be tied up for years in litigation, and in the end may not survive the court challenge.

•  ObamaCare won't allow employees or most small businesses to keep the coverage they have and like.  By Obama's estimates, as many as 69 percent of employees, 80 percent of small businesses, and 64 percent of large businesses will be forced to change coverage, probably to more expensive plans.

•  ObamaCare will increase insurance premiums -- in some places, it already has.  Insurers, suddenly forced to cover clients' children until age 26, have little choice but to raise premiums, and they attribute to ObamaCare's mandates a 1 to 9 percent increase.  Obama's only method of preventing massive rate increases so far has been to threaten insurers.

•  ObamaCare will force seasonal employers -- especially the ski and amusement park industries -- to pay huge fines, cut hours, or lay off employees.

•  ObamaCare forces states to guarantee not only payment but also treatment for indigent Medicaid patients.  With many doctors now refusing to take Medicaid (because they lose money doing so), cash-strapped states could be sued and ordered to increase reimbursement rates beyond their means.

•  ObamaCare imposes a huge nonmedical tax compliance burden on small business.  It will require them to mail IRS 1099 tax forms to every vendor from whom they make purchases of more than $600 in a year, with duplicate forms going to the Internal Revenue Service.  Like so much else in the 2,500-page bill, our senators and representatives were apparently unaware of this when they passed the measure.

•  ObamaCare allows the IRS to confiscate part or all of your tax refund if you do not purchase a qualified insurance plan.  The bill funds 16,000 new IRS agents to make sure Americans stay in line.

    
If you wonder why so many American voters are angry, and no longer give Obama the benefit of the doubt on a variety of issues, you need look no further than ObamaCare, whose birthday gift to America might just be a GOP congressional majority.
Barack Obama:  Welfare King
For the three or four Democrats who are actually defending their health care bill, they are essentially saying:
    

"My fellow Americans, since you elected me to office I have put millions of our fellow citizens on welfare.  And if you re-elect me, I promise to get even more on the public dole." 

    
ObamaCare is supposed to help about 32 million uninsured Americans get health coverage.  Half of those will get it through Medicaid, a means-tested entitlement program.  Merrill Matthews says Medicaid is welfare.  Democrats want to put 16 million more Americans on the welfare rolls through Medicaid -- and they think that’s a good thing!  And it’s not just future welfare recipients.  For the 12-month period from December 2008 to December 2009, Medicaid added 3.7 million new enrollees, the largest jump since the program’s earliest days, according to the Associated Press’s Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, and I expect we could see an even bigger jump by December of this year.

Now, it isn’t really fair to blame Obama for the Medicaid jump his first year in office.  That’s the residual from the recession he inherited.  But had Obama’s numerous -- albeit worthless -- efforts to stimulate the economy by pumping in trillions of dollars worked, we should have seen a growing economy by now.  Indeed, compared to past recoveries, we should be in the middle of an economic boom.  That boom would have employers hiring again and providing more people with employer-based coverage, taking millions off Medicaid rolls.  Obama must accept some blame for that failure.

Of course, Medicaid is only one of the roughly 70 means-tested welfare programs.  There’s the cash-grant program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the food stamp program, housing assistance, and many more.  And those are all experiencing record applications.  But Medicaid is by far the biggest, and it can be a "gateway" to other welfare programs.  To be sure, those programs can be very important to the poor; but growing the welfare rolls as part of the administration’s policy, whether its food stamps or Medicaid, is destructive.  Working Americans, even those with low incomes, want to be self-sufficient.  They may need a little help here and there, but most of them don’t want to be on welfare.  Yet that’s the administration’s goal under ObamaCare.

We’ve been trying since the hugely successful -- at least until recently -- welfare reform legislation of 1996 to get people off welfare and back to work.  The Heritage Foundation reports, "Between 1996 and 2009 over 2.8 million families left the welfare rolls.  In addition, the child poverty rate dropped and in particular the black child poverty rate hit historic lows."

Then Obama arrived in Washington.  His stimulus bill returned to the old pre-reform approach that gives states bonuses for expanding welfare rolls.  And Heritage says, "President Obama’s FY 2011 budget request would increase total welfare spending to $953 billion, a 42 percent increase over welfare spending in FY 2008."  When the government creates economic incentives to expand welfare, don’t be surprised if the welfare rolls grow, in bad times or in good.  Forget the old notion of the "welfare queen."  What we have is a Welfare King whose policies, both directly and indirectly, encourage a growing welfare population.

Now, someone might reasonably argue, these are people who have lost their coverage, or never had it to begin with.  Maybe it’s welfare, but at least it’s coverage.  Yes, Medicaid is coverage, but it’s terrible coverage.  It’s increasingly difficult to find a doctor who will even see a new Medicaid patient.  Medicaid pays roughly 70% of what Medicare pays, and Medicare pays significantly less than what private coverage pays.  The result is that many doctors aren’t taking new Medicaid patients, if they see any.  The Center for Studying Health System Change reports that only 40.2% of physicians are accepting new Medicaid patients, while 28% turn away all of them.  And every survey expects that spread to widen significantly as ObamaCare is implemented.

If the goal is to get people covered, Obama could have done so without a huge expansion of a welfare entitlement program.  ObamaCare expands Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and includes subsidies for families making incomes up to 400% of FPL.  That’s $88,000 for a family of four today, and it will be even higher when the subsidies go into effect in 2014.  Alternatively, the legislation could have made a sliding-scale subsidy available to anyone up to, say, 200% of FPL.  The family could take the subsidy and go out and buy its own coverage, or buy into the state’s plan for teachers and state employees.  If family members wanted to stay in the state’s current Medicaid program, they could, but if they wanted out of Medicaid and in private insurance, they could do that instead.

In other words, Democrats could have expanded health coverage without expanding Medicaid.  The fact that the Welfare King was determined to put millions of people in a government-run health insurance welfare program tells us a lot about his underlying motives -- and our future.
Virginia Attorney General Compares Obama To King George III
Chris Moody says Virginia’s fiery attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, who argued against the constitutionality of the health care law in federal court this week, has a new line: Obama is worse than King George III, the English king in power when Americans declared independence in 1776.

Cuccinelli said Monday that at no other time in American history had a government forced citizens to purchase a product and gotten away with it, even the British King that sparked the American Revolution.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in April contains a provision that requires citizens to buy health insurance.  Virginia’s lawsuit argues that the mandate is beyond the powers of the federal government, as defined in the Constitution.  (A Massachusetts state measure, championed by former governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, requires everyone in the state to have insurance.)

In 1774, the American colonists signed onto a document that notified King George III that Americans would boycott British goods until the so-called "Intolerable Acts" were lifted.  Speaking like a history professor, Cuccinelli told the story of how American colonists boycotted British products in response to the Acts more than 200 years ago.

"The King’s own lawyer, his solicitor general, advised him that the boycott was legal under British law and that Americans could not be forced to buy British goods," Cuccinelli said.  "Yet in 2010 we have a Congress and a president that have enacted a law that compels Americans for the first time in history under the guise of regulating commerce, that they must buy a private product even when the King of England and the parliament that we rebelled against acknowledged that they should not have the authority to compel us to do that when we were their subjects."

The Obama administration has countered that Congress has the power to mandate health insurance under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The battle over the mandate is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bleak Prognosis
IBD Editorials says the more we know about ObamaCare, the more we find out it wasn't designed to cut costs but to eventually eliminate private insurance coverage and create a government-run system.

Provisions of the Democrats' health care overhaul started to become law only a month ago, yet the list of companies dropping medical benefits for their employers is piling up.  Mega-firms such as AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere and Verizon are among those that are either considering ending coverage for their employees or have already chosen to do so.

It's not just the big companies eliminating benefits, either.  Smaller employers are doing the same.  Larry M. Elkin, president of Palisades Hudson Financial Group, wrote Thursday in the Business Insider: "For 15 years, I have taken pride in paying the full cost of health insurance for every full-time Palisades Hudson employee who wanted it.  This month marks the last time I will do that."

Elkin said that every one of his employees has the option of staying on the company plan.  But those who choose that route "will have to pay the entire cost -- ranging from $574 to $683 per month -- themselves, through payroll deductions."

And where will those who don't opt for staying on the company plan go?  Maybe they end up leaning on the government along with the 46 million or so other uninsured Americans the Democrats are trying to cover.  Elkin is not acting out of spite because he doesn't like the Democrats.  He's acting rationally, as any good businessman should.

He knew in March, before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed, that it "is likely to make health coverage anything but affordable for those who actually pay the bills" and that he would have to make changes for his 20 employees.

Continue reading here . . .
ObamaCare Will Drive People From The Workforce
Matt Cover says Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf said the most significant economic effect of Barack Obama’s health care reform package will be to drive people out of the job market.
    

"For the economy outside the health sector, the most significant impact of the legislation will be through the labor market," Elmendorf said on Oct. 22.  "We estimated that the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent, primarily by reducing the amount that people choose to work."

    
Elmendorf made the remarks at a conference sponsored by the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California.

He explained that people would choose not to work because they could subsist on the generous federal insurance subsidies and Medicaid payments contained in the health care overhaul.

"Some provisions of the legislation will discourage people from working more hours or entering the workforce, and other provisions will encourage them to work more," he said, adding that "[t]he net reduction in the supply of labor is largely attributable to the substantial expansion of Medicaid and the provision of subsidies through the new insurance exchanges."

Elmendorf’s analysis of the health care law’s economic impact seems to support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) seemingly off-the-cuff remark in May when she said that because of the subsidies in the health care bill, people could quit their regular jobs and pursue their artistic dreams because the government would now provide for their health care.

"We see it as an entrepreneurial bill," Pelosi said on May 14, "a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care."

Continue reading here . . .
Death Squad Already Appointed

    
Before It's News is reporting that buried 600 pages deep in the stimulus bill was some language authorizing $1.1 billion to create "death squads" to be appointed.  Obama has already appointed 15 rationing board chiefs who will determine who lives and dies under ObamaCare.

The diabolical rationing board is called the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparable Effectiveness Research. Sounds benign but watch this [very long] video to see what they really are all about.

This information is coming from a Dr. Dave Janda, a medical doctor who testified before Congress.  He was speaking at a rally for a Dr. Rob Steele, a conservative from Michigan.
ObamaCare R.I.P.
The Washington Times says Americans are heading to the polls to reject socialized medicine.

November 2nd is the nation's referendum on ObamaCare.  No other issue has so polarized the public and shed light on the policy failings of the left.  The midterm elections represent the last, best hope for millions of Americans who don't want to see the health care law's most onerous provisions ever take effect.

While Obama's veto power increases the difficulty of a complete repeal, Republican control of the House -- and perhaps the Senate -- certainly would deflate Obama's Democratic dreams.  The Internal Revenue Service, for example, needs an estimated $10 billion to raise a well-equipped army of agents 16,500 strong to implement the individual health care mandate penalties.  The congressional power of the purse is sufficient to send that agency into retreat.

"Fall back" has been the most-heard cry on the campaign trail this season.  Erstwhile ObamaCare devotees have traded their hope-and-change banners for the white flag, ducking the issue and refusing to list votes in favor of ObamaCare among their accomplishments.  Rory Reid, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Nevada and son of endangered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the health care bill his father pushed through the Senate is riddled with problems.  "There is potential for it to put significant pressure on states because Medicaid rates could go up significantly," Reid the Younger admitted in a debate.

West Virginia governor and Democratic Senate nominee Joe Manchin went from enthusiastically endorsing ObamaCare in the spring to conceding the scheme needs to be overhauled.  "There's a lot wrong in that bill that West Virginians and myself don't agree with," Mr. Manchin told The Washington Times' Kerry Picket.  His about-face stopped short of a full repeal, however.  "It doesn't have to be totally repealed unless you totally try to fix it," he said.

Perhaps the most comprehensive critique can be found in "Fresh Medicine," a new book by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat.  In a year in which he isn't even running for re-election, Bredesen pulls few punches.  "Congress and the Obama administration have just added over 30 million people into an obsolete and broken system and done little to address the underlying problems; in multiple ways, they've made them worse," he wrote.  "Worse" is an understatement.  Lower quality health care, higher costs, more complexity and more regulations would be ObamaCare's legacy.

The American people have a chance to stop it from happening.  Just as the drubbing of congressional Democrats in 1994 in the wake of the Clinton gun ban has kept overt gun-control measures out of the national spotlight, the 2010 drubbing could kill the desire for health care nationalization once and for all.  Already, 71 percent of voters in Missouri have approved a ballot measure that will block implementation of ObamaCare at the state level.  Big votes tomorrow on similar constitutional amendments in Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma will make it clear once and for all that ObamaCare is not long for this world.
ObamaCare Loses In Court
The Wall Street Journal says that only a few months ago, the White House and its allies on the legal left dismissed the constitutional challenges to ObamaCare as frivolous, futile and politically motivated.  So much for that.  Yesterday, a federal district court judge in Virginia ruled that the health law breaches the Constitution's limits on government power.

In a careful 42-page ruling, Judge Henry Hudson declared that ObamaCare's core enforcement mechanism known as the individual mandate -- the regulation that requires everyone to purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty -- exceeds Congress's authority to regulate the lives of Americans.

"The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision [the individual mandate] would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers," Judge Hudson writes.  "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance -- or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage -- it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."

So the issue is joined, and no doubt with historic consequences for American liberty.  For most of the last century, the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution's Commerce Clause as so elastic as to allow any regulation desired by a Congressional majority.  Only with the William Rehnquist Court did the Justices begin to rediscover that the Commerce Clause has some limits, as in the Lopez (1995) and Morrison (2000) cases.

The courts up through the Supremes will now decide if government can order individuals to buy a private product or be penalized for not doing so.  If government can punish citizens for in essence doing nothing, then what is left of the core Constitutional principle of limited and enumerated government powers?

Judge Hudson's opinion is particularly valuable because it dispatches the White House's carousel of rationalizations for its unprecedented intrusions.  The Justice Department argued that the mandate is justified by the Commerce Clause because the decision not to purchase insurance has a substantial effect on interstate commerce because everybody needs medical care eventually.  And if not that, then it's permissible under the broader taxing power for the general welfare; and if not that, then it's viable under the Necessary and Proper clause; and if not that, well, it's needed to make the overall regulatory scheme function.

But as Judge Hudson argues, the nut of the case is the Commerce Clause.  Justice can't now claim that the mandate is "really" a tax when the bill itself imposes what it calls a "penalty" for failing to buy insurance and says the power to impose the mandate is vested in interstate commerce.  Recall that Obama went on national television during the ObamaCare debate to angrily assert that the mandate "is absolutely not a tax increase."

Moreover, Judge Hudson says that no court has ever "extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market."

Liberals are attacking Judge Hudson because he was appointed by George W. Bush, but his ruling is relatively narrow.  He didn't strike down the rest of ObamaCare even though it lacked a severability clause, and he didn't enjoin the law's implementation pending appeal.  His opinion also doesn't touch Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's long-shot claim that his state's "health freedom" law can nullify an act of Congress. In fact, federal laws that are constitutional are supreme under the 10th Amendment.

Yesterday liberals were crowing that even if the mandate is eventually declared illegal, it's no big deal because the rest of ObamaCare's new system would remain intact.  Yet they've argued for years that the mandate is essential to health reform, because the mandate is at the heart of the regulatory machine.  ObamaCare without a mandate would mean individuals wouldn't have to pay into a system until they were sick, driving up costs even faster and ruining what's left of health insurance markets.

While Judge Hudson's ruling is the first to declare part of the law unconstitutional, more than 20 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Business are also suing in Florida.  Oral arguments will be heard on Thursday in that case, which we think is the strongest constitutional challenge to the law.

As the Virginia case shows, ObamaCare really does stretch the Commerce Clause to the breaking point.  The core issue is whether the federal government can order individuals to do anything the political class decides it wants them to do.  The stakes couldn't be higher for our constitutional order.
 

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