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Judge rules in favor of House Republicans in Obamacare lawsuit

Says administration usurped Congress’s power of the purse

By Tom Howell Jr.     •     The Washington Times

President Obama has been hoping to shore up his health legacy — roughly 20 million have gained coverage under his reforms — instead of fending off repeated legal challenges to reforms. (Associated Press)

A federal judge dealt President Obama and his health care law a major blow Thursday, ruling in favor of House Republicans who said the administration broke the law and trod on Congress’ fundamental powers by paying Obamacare insurers without permission from Capitol Hill.

An appeal is certain, but should U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling be upheld, it could spark the economic “death spiral” Republicans have predicted and Democrats feared would doom the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

But the ruling has implications far beyond Obamacare, signaling that federal courts may begin to play a more active role in reeling in executive powers that many legal experts say have grown far beyond what the country’s founders intended. [Read more...]

Former Obama speechwriters laugh at ‘you can keep your plan’ promise

By T. Becket Adams     •     Washington Examiner

Obamacare HurtCharlie Rose and a trio of former Obama speechwriters laughed it up this week at the mention of the president’s infamous promise that that under the Affordable Care Act, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.”

The moment occurred during the Monday edition of “Charlie Rose: The Week,” as the host and former speechwriters Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau and David Litt discussed the president’s writing abilities and his gift for oration.

Lovett mentioned that he was most proud of the president’s more serious speeches on the economy and healthcare, and that’s when Favreau ribbed him for the “you can keep your plan” line.

“My point is, do you have equal impact on serious speeches? Because it’s about style, use of language, etc.?” Rose asked. [Read more...]

Are Liberals Bailing On ObamaCare, Too?

Investor’s Business Daily

obamacare tire mud“I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” That was President Obama in a speech before Congress back in Sept. 2009, pitching the health reform plan he’d sign six months later.

It doesn’t look like he’s going to get his wish.

In the three-plus years since the ObamaCare exchanges opened, the law is teetering on the edge of the abyss. Enrollment is well below expectations, not enough young people are signing up, insurers are failing or dropping out of the program, and, by all appearances, premiums are set to spike even higher than last year.

Now a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released late last week shows that the public is far from satisfied with what Obama claimed was the be-all and end-all of reform. [Read more...]

Remember Obamacare? Despite Hillary’s Claims, It’s Still Not Working

If Hillary Clinton wants to defend Obamacare, fine. But she should explain to voters why the health care law is not working.

By John Daniel Davidson     •     The Federalist

Obamacare NeedleObamacare isn’t working. You wouldn’t know it from the scant media coverage, but six years after its passage, federal health-care reform has proven to be exactly what its critics said it would be: a trillion-dollar Rube Goldberg machine that doesn’t really work.

The law, although more unpopular now than it was when it passed, has quietly faded into the background of the presidential primary contests. That’s too bad, because Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has hitched her health-care wagon to this slow-motion disaster, and voters deserve to know why she thinks it’s so great—or at least why she thinks it just needs some tweaks, like larger exchange subsidies and tax credits for out-of-pocket costs. [Read more...]

Obama: The Lamest Duck

by Victor Davis Hanson     •     PJ Media

Obama SmirkPresident Obama is boxed in a state of paralysis—more so than typical lame-duck presidents.

His hard-left politics have insidiously eroded the Democratic Party, which has lost both houses of Congress and the vast majority of the state legislatures, state elected offices, and governorships. Obama has redefined the black vote, as a necessary, no-margin-of-error 95% bloc majority to offset his similar creation of an increasingly monolithic 65% bloc white vote. We are no longer individual voters, but, in Chicago-politics style, merely faceless “Latinos,” “Asians,” “African-Americans,” “gays,” “women,” and now “whites.”

Obama issues a new initiative—and the nation snoozes. He wastes the day on the golf links—and the nation snoozes. He smear his critics, invites a rapper to the White House whose latest album cover has a dead white judge lying in front of the White House—and the nation snoozes. He cozies up to America’s enemies and snubs our friends—and the nation snoozes. For the nth time, he blusters about closing down Guantanamo—and the nation snoozes. He opens the border even wider to welcome in more illegal aliens and future constituents—and the nation snoozes. Lame duckestry means not even being able to wake up your opponents. [Read more...]

Obamacare off to a rocky start in 2016

by Philip Klein     •     Washington Examiner

obamacare-obama-government-inefficientAs most of the political world has been focusing on the presidential race, Obamacare has gotten off to a rocky start in 2016. This could be a major drag on Democrats come November.

On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that fewer than 13 million individuals signed up for Obamacare plans for 2016. Though the administration is trying to argue that this 12.7 million number beat expectations, nobody is buying it.

HHS officials set an artificially low target of 10 million signups for the year – essentially flat from 2015 – so they would have something to beat.

“While exchange enrollment will meet the Administration’s modest 10 million person goal, it does appear that growth in this market has slowed,” Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president of healthcare advisory firm Avalere said in a statement. [Read more...]

Obamacare Is Now on Life Support

By Edward Morrissey     •     The Fiscal Times

Democrats gained the political muscle to push the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through Congress on three basic arguments.

First, they argued that the United States had too many uninsured people, with estimates ranging from 30 million to 45 million.

Second, the rise in costs for health care outstripped inflation, and the market required an intervention that would bend the cost curve downward.

Third, Democrats claimed that insurance companies made too much profit and shorted most consumers on care, while those with generous health plans – so-called “Cadillac plans” – drove up utilization rates and costs for everyone else. [Read more...]

A new taxpayer bailout to cover up ObamaCare’s failure?

by Betsy McCaughey     •     New York Post

Obamacare fraudHow dare the Obama administration bail out insurance companies with our money in order to hide ObamaCare’s failures. Thursday, just hours after giant insurer UnitedHealthcare said it’s losing money selling ObamaCare plans and will likely exit the health exchanges next year, the Obama administration quietly promised to bail out insurers for their losses — using your money.

Nearly all insurers are bleeding red ink trying to sell the unworkable plans. Without a bailout, more insurers will abandon ObamaCare, pushing it closer to its demise. A bailout would benefit insurers and the Democratic Party, which is desperate to cover up the health law’s failure. Ironically Democrats (including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders) bad-mouth bank bailouts but are all for insurance-company bailouts. Truth is, it’s a ripoff for taxpayers, who shouldn’t have to pay for this sleazy coverup. [Read more...]

ObamaCare’s predictable collapse

by Rick Manning     •     The Hill

Obamacare NeedleEveryone knew that it was just a matter of time, but no one expected it to fail this fast. Yet, that is exactly what is happening, as bad news story after bad news story about the state of ObamaCare arrives on a seemingly weekly basis.

ObamaCare co-ops were supposed to provide lower cost health insurance alternatives because they weren’t driven by the profit motive. Now, just a couple of years after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented, 12 out of 23 co-ops have failed, costing taxpayers $1.2 billion in defaulted loan repayments. The failure rate even outstrips the Labor Department’s 2011 projections of 36 percent, and as The Carpenters used to sing, “We’ve Only Just Begun.” [Read more...]

The Biggest Obamacare Disaster You’ve Never Heard About

by Mark Tapscott     •      Daily Caller

ObamaCare IRS Cost CompassionIt’s an Obamacare story with every imaginable outrage — blatant conflicts of interest, millions of tax dollars going to political cronies, thousands of Americans left without health insurance, lavish pay for incompetent executives, federal funds diverted illegally, multiple congressional investigations, insider trading convictions and big decisions made behind closed doors.

Tragically, there is even a child abuser. But search the New York Times web site for “Obamacare co-ops” and nothing comes up. Just three entries appear for the same search on the Washington Post web site. [Read more...]

Largest health insurer on Colorado exchange collapses

80,000 or so Coloradans will need to find a new insurer for 2016.

by Associated Press     •     KRDO.com

Cancelled Cancellation ObamaCareColorado’s biggest nonprofit health insurer is closing, forcing 80,000 or so Coloradans to find a new insurer for 2016.

Colorado HealthOP announced Friday that the state Division of Insurance has de-certified it as an eligible insurance company. That’s because the cooperative relied on federal support, and federal authorities announced last month they wouldn’t be able to pay most of what they owed in a program designed to help health insurance co-ops get established. [Read more...]

ObamaCare’s latest victims: 100,000 New Yorkers and taxpayers everywhere

By Betsy McCaughey     •     New York Post

Obamacare Lie ObamaBad news for New Yorkers, thanks to ObamaCare: More than 100,000 policyholders just learned that their Health Republic insurance plans will be canceled on Dec. 31. The start-up insurer (spun off from the Freelancers’ Union) is hemorrhaging red ink and has to close down.

That’s unfortunate for the policyholders, who now have to scramble to find other coverage and try to keep their doctors.

But even worse is the abuse of taxpayers across the country: Congress loaned a whopping $2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to Health Republic of New York and 22 other boondoggle insurance co-ops, even after being warned by its own budget experts that many co-ops would fail and not repay the loans. How carelessly politicians spend other people’s money. [Read more...]

More than two-thirds of Obamacare enrollees unsatisfied with coverage

By Tom Howell Jr.     •     The Washington Times

obamacare-obama-government-inefficientObamacare has offered insurance to millions of people, but they’re unhappy with the coverage they’re getting and are particularly upset about the costs, according to a survey released Monday that suggests the health care law continues to struggle to win over Americans.

Just 30 percent of customers on Obamacare’s exchanges were satisfied with their coverage, the health care research arm of the Deloitte consulting firm said.

Only a quarter of Obamacare customers in the survey were confident that they could get care when they needed it, and just 16 percent felt “financially prepared” to handle future health care costs, Deloitte said.

“Those are not high numbers,” said Paul Lambdin, a director for Deloitte’s work on insurance exchanges and retail practices.

Analysts said it is hard to tell at this point whether dissatisfaction is the inevitable byproduct of a new customer base or whether the law itself has structural problems. [Read more...]

Obamacare fines rise as subsidies go to people who don’t exist

by Eric Boehm     •     Watchdog.org

GOING JUST FINE: It was the first year in which purchasing health insurance was made mandatory under the ACA, with penalties of $95 or 1 percent of total income. The average penalty collected for the 2014 tax year was about $200, the IRS reported.

The IRS fined more than 7.5 million Americans who didn’t have health insurance in 2014, even as Obamacare subsidies flowed to people who didn’t even exist.

The Treasury Department reported last week the number of Americans who faced fines because of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was significantly higher than the Obama administration expected. For 2014, the IRS projected that roughly 6 million would face fines, but the final total was 1.5 million higher.

It was the first year in which buying health insurance was made mandatory under the ACA, with penalties of $95 or 1 percent of total income – whichever was higher – for people who did not comply. [Read more...]

The newest Obamacare fail: penalties of $36,500 per worker

The Internal Revenue Service swoops in with a money grab

by Diana Furchtgott-Roth     •     MarketWatch

ObamaCare IRSHey, employers, don’t even think about reimbursing your workers’ health-insurance premiums.

Beginning this month, the IRS can levy fines amounting to $100 per worker per day or $36,500 per worker per year, with a maximum of $500,000 per firm.

This Internal Revenue Service penalty is not written into the Obamacare law. The amount is over 12 times the statutory amount in the Affordable Care Act of $3,000 per worker per year. That is what an employer is charged when one of its employees gets subsidized care on one of the health-care exchanges. It’s 18 times the $2,000 penalty for not offering adequate health insurance.

The $100 fine is applicable not only to large firms, but also those with fewer than 50 workers that are exempt from the $2,000 and $3,000 employer penalties. Firms with one worker are exempt. The penalty for S-corporations will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. The new rule is broad, sweeping and overly punitive. [Read more...]