The Greatest Show on Earth

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: health care | Tags: , , , , |

Step right up: A new entitlement that cuts the deficit!

Washington spent the week waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to roll in with its new cost estimates of the Senate health-care bill, and what a carnival. Behold: a new $829 billion entitlement that will subsidize insurance for tens of millions of people—and reduce deficits by $81 billion at the same time. In the next tent, see the mermaid and a two-headed cow.

The political and media classes are proving they’ll believe anything, as they are now pronouncing that this never-before-seen miracle is a “green light” for ObamaCare. (What isn’t these days?) The irony is that the CBO’s guesstimate exposes the fraudulence and fiscal sleight-of-hand underlying this whole exercise. Anyone who reads beyond the top-line numbers will find that the bill creates massive new spending commitments that will inevitably explode over time, and that this is “paid for” with huge tax increases plus phantom spending cuts that will never happen in practice.

The better part of the 10-year $829 billion overall cost will finance insurance “exchanges” where individuals and families could purchase coverage at heavily subsidized rates. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus kept a lid on the cost by making this program non-universal: Enrollment is limited to those who aren’t offered employer-sponsored insurance and earn under 400% of the poverty level, or about $88,000 for a family of four. CBO expects some 23 million people to sign up by 2019.

But this “firewall” is unlikely to last even that long. Liberals are demanding heftier subsidies, and once people see the deal their neighbors are getting on “free” health care, they too will want in. Even CBO seems to find this unrealistic, noting “These projections assume that the proposals are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation.” Scratch “often.”

Then there are the many budget gimmicks. Take the “failsafe budgeting mechanism” that would require automatic cuts in exchange spending if it increases the deficit. CBO expects 15% reductions in exchange subsidies each year from 2015 to 2018, even though the exchanges don’t open until 2014. That kind of re-gifting should have been laughed out of the committee room, but the ruse helps to move future spending off the current budget “score.”

Read the rest at Wall Street Journal

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Watching the Constitution Disappear

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: constitution | Tags: , , , |

by Joseph Smith
The President says the Constitution is defective, and now Senator Harry Reid is preparing the coup de grace.

Once Reid and Obama emerge from their transparent closed-door consultations on how to blend the two competing Senate Health Care bills, Senator Reid has a nifty parlor trick up his sleeve.  The normal course of legislative events would be to debate and vote on the bill on the Senate floor, and then send the result to a House-Senate conference committee.  The committee would then blend the final House and Senate bills into a product acceptable to both houses.  Unfortunately for the citizens of the United States, that normal course of events in this case would allow too much time for discovery and discussion, and it might therefore result in the public learning too much about the future of their health care.  Extended public inspection might even result in the bill not passing in the form desired by the President and his allies, or perhaps not passing at all.  
The American people have consistently rejected the left’s attempts over the past fifty years or more to impose their idea of health care reform, and might do so yet again if given enough time and information.  For Obama and his fellow travelers, therefore, time and obfuscation are of the essence, so why let an annoying and “defective” piece of paper like the Constitution get in the way of spiking government health care home forever.
The plan to railroad Obamacare through was initially reported last week by Human Events and The Heritage Foundation, and has now been confirmed by Senator Reid’s office.  Here is Senator Reid’s plan in a nutshell, from CNS News:

 Read the rest at American Thinker

 

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Could Obamacare Be Repealed?

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: health care | Tags: , , |

By Stephen Spruiell

In the early 1990s, eight state governments imposed “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” regulations on health-insurance companies operating in their states. Guaranteed issue means that insurance companies cannot deny coverage except in rare cases, such as those involving fraud. Community rating means that insurance companies are restricted in their ability to charge higher rates based on things like gender, age, or medical history. All the versions of Obamacare being debated in Congress would impose guaranteed issue and community rating on the nation.

The effect of these reforms at the state level is no longer a matter for debate: In each case, insurance premiums skyrocketed; healthy people stopped buying insurance; and insurance companies exited the market in droves. Each state government was forced to take corrective action. Yet, while three state governments possessed the good sense to repeal or weaken their guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements, the other five papered over their failures with inadequate, short-term fixes.

What accounts for the difference? In Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Washington state, conservative Republicans were able to find footholds at key moments and repeal or weaken the requirements. In New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts, the political culture proved inhospitable to calls for market-based solutions.
Keep reading on National Review

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Spin Doctors for Obamacare

Posted on October 7, 2009. Filed under: health care | Tags: , , , , |

Lights, camera, agitprop! The curtains opened on yet another artfully staged performance of Obamacare Theater this week. One hundred and fifty doctors took their places on the plush lawn outside the West Wing — many acting like “Twilight” groupies with cameras instead of credible medical professionals. The president approved the scenery: “I am thrilled to have all of you here today, and you look very spiffy in your coats.”

White House wardrobe assistants guaranteed the “spiffy.” As the New York Post’s Charles Hurt reported, the physicians “were told to bring their white lab coats to make sure that TV cameras captured the image.” President Obama’s aides hastily handed out costumes to those who came in suits or dresses before the doc-and-pony show began.

But while Halloween came early to the Potomac, these partisan single-payer activists in White House-supplied clothing aren’t fooling anyone.

Obama’s spin doctors belong to a group called Doctors for America (DFA), which reportedly supplied the white lab coats. The White House event was organized in conjunction with DFA and Organizing for America, Obama’s campaign outfit.

OFA and DFA are behind a massive new Obamacare ad campaign, letter-writing campaign and doctor-recruitment campaign. The supposedly “grassroots” nonprofit DFA is a spin-off of Doctors for Obama, a 2008 campaign arm that aggressively pushed the Democrats’ government health care takeover. DFA claims to have thousands of members with a “variety of backgrounds.” But there’s little diversity in their views on socialized medicine (98 percent want a taxpayer-funded public insurance option) — or in their political contributions.

Read the list at Townhall.com

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