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EPA power grab looks like Obamacare redux

by Peter Roff     •     Washington Examiner

epa-logoEveryone remembers former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ill-advised comment that the Affordable Care Act would have to pass so that the American people could find out what was in it. Unfortunately, what should have been a cautionary tale has instead been an object lesson in rulemaking for President Obama’s bureaucracy.

Take, for example, the pending Clean Power Plan, an initiative of the Environmental Protection Agency. If fully implemented, it could lead to the mass shuttering of existing power generation facilities, rolling brownouts, blackouts and a significant increase in electrical rates. [Read more...]

U.S. Emergency-Room Visits Keep Climbing

By Stephanie Armour     •     Wall Street Journal

Emergency-room visits continued to climb in the second year of the Affordable Care Act, contradicting the law’s supporters who had predicted a decline in traffic as more people gained access to doctors and other health-care providers.

A survey of 2,098 emergency-room doctors conducted in March showed about three-quarters said visits had risen since January 2014. That was a significant uptick from a year earlier, when less than half of doctors surveyed reported an increase. The survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians is scheduled to be published Monday. [Read more...]

Don’t Import Canada’s Ideas on Health Care

by Sally Pipes     •     RealClearPolitics

obamacare-obama-government-inefficientMove aside, maple syrup. Canada has a hot new export — single-payer health care.

The New York State Assembly may soon consider legislation that would switch the Empire State to a Canadian-style single-payer system. Maine has expressed interest in doing the same.

So has Congress. Earlier this year, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced a bill to create government-run insurance programs in every Obamacare exchange.

Our northern neighbor’s admirers should consult its history. Nearly fifty years ago, Canada charged a youthful chief executive with a massive overhaul of its healthcare system — just as the United States has today. Canada now has a half-century of proof that government-dominated healthcare systems force patients to wait interminably long times for subpar treatment. [Read more...]

Cutting Healthcare Costs Without Harming Patients

by Peter Roff     •     The Hill

obamacare pay less for healthcareA debate has raged for more than 20 years now over the best way to bend the U.S. healthcare cost curve downward. So far, no one is winning – least of all patients and healthcare providers. And no one will as long as “bending the curve” (which is just a fancy way of saying we need to find ways to make the delivery of healthcare cheaper) remains the primary objective regardless of the impact on patient care.

Up to now the debate has focused largely on what government can proactively do to ease costs. This led to the passage by the narrowest of margins of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – which is really nothing more than a complex series of new regulations and taxes, fines and fees that have forced insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, and patients all to make changes in the way they provide and receive care as well as coverage.

People don’t like the new system very much but they weren’t exactly fans of the old one either. And no matter what the United States Supreme Court determines in the pending King vs. Burwell suit over the questionable use of tax dollars to subsidize health insurance bought through the federal exchange by people living in states that do not have exchanges of their own, things can probably only get worse. [Read more...]

Barack Obama, Corporate Liberal

And secret friend of the one percent.

by Jay Cost     •     The Weekly Standard

Obama-smugIn last week’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama came across as the ultimate class warrior. His domestic agenda consists of more spending on roads and infrastructure, new entitlement programs for community college and preschool, and tax preferences targeted to low- and middle-income earners. All of this he would pay for with new inheritance taxes on the wealthy, a hike in the capital gains tax, and a special levy on the biggest financial institutions.

But don’t be fooled. Obama may seem like the newest member of Occupy Wall Street—chanting “We are the 99 percent!”—but his record shows him to be a corporate liberal, and a closer look at last week’s proposals confirms it. [Read more...]

Here Comes the Next Obamacare Showdown

by Philip Klein     •     Washington Examiner

obamacare logoIf the U.S. Supreme Court rules in June that health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans are illegal, Republicans better not be caught flat-footed, because President Obama will be ready to pounce, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told the Washington Examiner in an interview.

“As the president said to me in the White House [earlier this month], he said, ‘There are five million people [who receive subsidies through the federal exchange] — and I know who they are.’ He spoke like a community organizer who was going to try to use those people that he has actually caused significant damage to by not applying the law,” Barrasso said from his senate office.

The Wyoming senator has of late been something of a Paul Revere of the Republican Senate majority, shouting, “King vs. Burwell is coming! King vs. Burwell is coming!” [Read more...]

Endlessly Slapped by ObamaCare

By Justin Haskins     •     The New York Post

Cancelled Cancellation ObamaCare“I’m sorry sir,” the polite Healthcare.gov customer-service agent said. “There’s nothing I can do. You’re either going to have to enroll in Medicaid or you’re going to have to pay the full health-insurance rate.”

“The rate you quoted earlier?” I asked. “That’s nearly 30 percent higher than my current insurance bill, I just can’t afford it.”

“You’ll have to pay the full rate, yes,” the agent replied. [Read more...]

Planning the Next Obamacare Offensive

Republicans recently mapped out possible moves in light of a Supreme Court case on deck this summer.

By John Fund     •     National Review Online

obamacare-2It’s a bit surprising that Jay Leno showed up last week as the entertainment at the first joint Senate–House Republican congressional retreat in decades. While Leno, the 64-year-old former host of NBC’s Tonight Show, was scrupulously non-partisan in his jibes and jabs, he added a touch of Hollywood flash to the serious discussions on budgets and bills. His favorite jokes involved Obamacare: “I’m telling you this Obamacare is getting serious and painful. I went in for a prostate exam the other day, and it was conducted by a government drone.”

If any topic dominated the three-day congressional retreat (held in America’s “Chocolate City” of Hershey, Pa.), it was indeed Obamacare — specifically, how both houses of Congress should handle a consistently unpopular program that President Obama nonetheless intends to preserve as a crowning legacy of his administration. Republicans recently mapped out possible moves in light of a Supreme Court case on deck this summer.

By John Fund     •     National Review Online

obamacare-2It’s a bit surprising that Jay Leno showed up last week as the entertainment at the first joint Senate–House Republican congressional retreat in decades. While Leno, the 64-year-old former host of NBC’s Tonight Show, was scrupulously non-partisan in his jibes and jabs, he added a touch of Hollywood flash to the serious discussions on budgets and bills. His favorite jokes involved Obamacare: “I’m telling you this Obamacare is getting serious and painful. I went in for a prostate exam the other day, and it was conducted by a government drone.”

If any topic dominated the three-day congressional retreat (held in America’s “Chocolate City” of Hershey, Pa.), it was indeed Obamacare — specifically, how both houses of Congress should handle a consistently unpopular program that President Obama nonetheless intends to preserve as a crowning legacy of his administration. [Read more...]

Shunning ObamaCare

Of my company’s 5,453 eligible employees, only 420 actually enrolled. The other 5,033 opted to pay a penalty.

by Andy Puzder     •     The Wall Street Journal

ObamaCare Side EffectsAmong the Affordable Care Act’s many economic and political disruptions, the law has unintentionally encouraged employers to convert full-time jobs into part-time jobs. ObamaCare mandates that employers offer health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week, or pay a penalty up to $3,000 an employee. But employers have no such obligation for employees who work less than 30 hours a week, making part-time employment less costly.

It’s a simple fact: Make something more expensive and people will use less of it; make something less expensive and they will use more of it. So naturally employee hours have been reduced, particularly in the retail segment, which has lowered wages and reduced consumer spending. [Read more...]

Liar’s Remorse and Obamacare

Democrats have second thoughts about Obamacare

by William Voegeli     •      The Weekly Standard

Obamacare fraud

In the Time magazine issue published after the 2008 election—whose cover depicted Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt—Peter Beinart anticipated a new “era of liberal hegemony” that would last until “Sasha and Malia have kids.”

President Obama is not yet a grandfather, but his era of liberal hegemony only appears to have lasted months, not decades. Photoshopping gave Obama the pince-nez and cigarette holder that were FDR’s trademarks but could not conjure the startling congressional majorities of the 1930s. The Depression and New Deal left Republicans discredited, irrelevant, and shattered. GOP House and Senate majorities of 62 percent and 58 percent, respectively, after the 1928 election shrank to caucuses of 20 percent and 17 percent after 1936. Under Obama the trajectory has been the opposite: Republicans have gone from 41 percent of the House seats after the 2008 election to 57 percent after 2014 and from 40 senators to 54. [Read more...]

Harvard Faculty Crimson Over Obamacare-Influenced Health Plan Changes

Harvard profs helped design Obamacare—and now that the reform is hitting university health plans, their colleagues are furious.

John Allen Gay     •     The National Interest

Obamacare NeedleWilliam F. Buckley famously proclaimed that he’d “rather be governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University.” Buckley’s point was that the common man can be wiser, for he can’t stray far from common sense without suffering, while the intellectual is in danger of burying his common sense under abstract theories and well-footnoted daydreams.

But sometimes even the thickest clouds of pure reason can’t mask reality forever. Sometimes the elite cannot insulate themselves from the common man’s reality. They get a rude awakening, and suddenly the common man and his common sense sound a lot more sensible. The two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard, to adapt Buckley’s phrase, suddenly start to talk a lot like the first two thousand names in the Boston phone book. [Read more...]

Obamacare Architects Knew Affordable Care Act Wouldn’t Be Affordable

IBD Editorials     •     Investors.com

ObamaCare Gruber LiesObamaCare was sold as a means to making health care more affordable. It even makes that claim in its official name. But its creators knew it wouldn’t, and they forced the idea into law anyway.

Obama adviser Jonathan Gruber seems to be carving out a new career as the go-to guy for those of us who were and still are opposed to a government takeover of the health care sector.

Statements he made while the Democrats were crafting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act show to what depths they sank to deceive the public to get the bill passed. [Read more...]

Obamacare’s Annus Horribilis

by Michelle Malkin     •     RealClearPolitics

 

obamacare-everyone-hatesThere’s no candy coating the truth: Obamacare has had a very terrible, horrible, crappy, none-too-happy year. What it really means is that the victims of Obamacare — taxpayers, health care consumers, health care providers, employers and employees — have had a hellish, nightmarish 2014.

Let’s start with premiums. President Candy Land promised that he’d “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.” But premiums for people in the individual market for health insurance have spiked over the last year. In fact, Forbes health policy journalist Avik Roy and the Manhattan Institute analyzed 3,137 counties and found that individual market [Read more...]

Obama’s Year In Review

ISIS, Ferguson, the Senate, Ukraine, Ebola, border kids. Really, this was a pretty awful sixth year for the president. Not that he’s acting like it.

by James Oliphant     •     National Journal

Smug-ObamaYou can make a compelling case that 2014 was the worst year for President Obama since, well, the year before. And, in fact, the president spent much of this year trying to recover from some body blows he took in the final months of 2013, when, in short order, Congress rebuffed him on Syria and the federal health care exchange imploded.

Those setbacks ate away at Obama’s public support. According to Gallup, the president began 2014 with a 41 percent approval rating, and he’s ending it a tick or two higher. He’s also ending the year as a certified lame duck, facing two final years with a hostile Congress and the political conversation centering around the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul. [Read more...]

As Vermont Goes … an early warning for ObamaCare

The Green Mountain State’s ultra-liberal governor has pulled the plug on single-payer.

obamacare costsby John Fund    •    National Review

The one state that not only embraced Obamacarebut insisted on going beyond it to a full single-payer system was Vermont, the haven of hippies and expatriate New Yorkers, which has become one of the most liberal states in the nation. In 2011, it adopted a form of neighboring Canada’s government-financed health care and promised to implement it by 2017. (And Jonathan Gruber was a key architect of this plan as well as of Obamacare.) This week, however, Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, admitted the state couldn’t afford the plan’s $2 billion price tag and consequent sky-high taxes, and pulled the plug. The lessons for Obamacare are obvious and profound. [Read more...]