Tag Archives: ACA

Supreme Court legislates from the bench to save Obamacare, again!

Obamacare premium increases by state
Obamacare premium increases by state (click for larger image)

Ben Shapiro who is a Harvard Law grad has a good summary of Thursday’s awful Supreme Court decision.

He writes:

On Thursday, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision on Obamacare’s IRS subsidies under federal health insurance exchanges. And, as expected, the Court rewrote the statute to help President Obama’s signature law.

[…]In King v. Burwell, four citizens sued over Obamacare, alleging that they had been forced to purchase health insurance; they said that the federal health exchange set up in Virginia in absence of a state-created health exchange under Obamacare did not count as a “state exchange” for purposes of the statute, making it illegal for them to receive federal subsidies for their health insurance. Without the subsidies, they would no longer be required to purchase health insurance, since it would be too expensive.

Now, Obamacare’s language is quite clear: it states that only those who buy insurance via state-run health exchanges may receive federal subsidies. This provision was purposefully designed to incentivize states to set up their own exchanges, in order that politicians could take credit for making health insurance more widely available with the help of the federal government. When states turned down the opportunity to set up such exchanges, the scheme collapsed. Or at least it would have, had not President Obama’s IRS casually rewritten the law, and provided federal health insurance subsidies via the federal health exchanges in violation of both the letter and spirit of the law.

Basically, the Supreme Court judges interpreted “an exchange established by the State” to mean “an exchange established by the State or the Federal Government“. If you think that’s a substantial mistake, you’re right. It’s a complete fabrication, and it amounts to writing legislation on-the-fly to save Obama’s law.

Shapiro again:

Roberts utilized the following logic, direct from the insane asylum:

[W]e must determine whether a Federal Ex- change is “established by the State” for purposes of Section 36B. At the outset, it might seem that a Federal Exchange cannot fulfill this requirement. After all, the Act defines “State” to mean “each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia”—a definition that does not include the Federal Government. 42 U. S. C. §18024(d). But when read in context, “with a view to [its] place in the overall statutory scheme,” the meaning of the phrase “established by the State” is not so clear.

Then, for page after dreadful page, Roberts and the Court majority torture the statute, declaring that if it floats, state exchanges will be deemed federal exchanges, and if it sinks, federal exchanges will be declared state exchanges.

Apparently, the plain meaning of the text is not so clear to our nine black-robed oligarchs.

Ben quotes Justice Scalia’s dissent:

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says “Exchange established by the State” it means “Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government.” That is of course quite absurd, and the Court’s 21 pages of explanation make it no less so…. Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words “established by the State.” And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words “by the State” other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges.

Investors Business Daily says that Obamacare is running into financial struggles. So it’s not just that you can’t keep your doctor, you can’t keep your health plan, and you have to pay thousands more for health insurance. Now we find out that the rosy fiscal projections for the cost of the law were false.

Looks like we are going to be stuck with Obamacare until we get a Republican President. I think that as more people who get their health care through their employers start to feel the premium pain that self-employed people have already felt. That may be useful for the 2016 election, especially since Hillary has already thrown her support behind Obamacare. Maybe when people are paying double what they used to pay for half as much coverage, then they’ll understand why we do not want government involved in the health care industry.

Pro-life family wins case to avoid paying Obamacare surcharge on health insurance

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this decision
Scheming Unborn Baby scheming about becoming an ADF lawyer

Great news from Life News.

Excerpt:

A pro-life leader and his family who lost their health plan due to Obamacare filed suit in federal court this year. The family was suing because they were being forced on to the state’s health insurance exchange, which only offers plans that require them to pay for other people’s abortions.

Barth and Abbie Bracy had insurance through a private insurer, but Obamacare forced the insurer to cancel the policy effective later this year. Forced on to the Obamacare exchange, the Bracys were left only with plans that include a mandatory surcharge used to fund the elective abortions of others. Ironically, Barth Bracy is executive director of The Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee and has warned people of exactly the problems his family is now facing.

The lawsuit also challenged secrecy clauses within Obamacare which forbid Americans from being told prior to enrollment whether the plans they would purchase on an exchange will include abortion coverage. The clauses also forbid Americans from being told how much of the premium is a federally mandated abortion surcharge that pays for other people’s elective abortions.

Now, their attorneys, Alliance Defending Freedom, have informed LifeNews that the Bracy family won’t be forced to pay Obamacare’s abortion surcharge.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against federal and state officials Wednesday after the addition of Obamacare plan options that, for the first time in Connecticut, will not require participants to pay for others’ elective abortions. Despite the Connecticut change, many American families are still being forced to pay hidden abortion surcharges.

“Americans should not have to pay a special fee for other people’s abortions in order to take care of their own family’s health,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “The Bracy family has experienced first-hand the kind of deception that was used to pass and that continues to pervade this law. While we are pleased that Connecticut families will now have a choice to avoid paying this abortion surcharge, it is a shame that other families won’t have that choice, and that most Americans don’t even know that they must pay this secret fee.”

Federal law forbids taxpayer subsidies for elective abortions; however, the Affordable Care Act requires every exchange plan that includes abortion to collect a separate fee that is used exclusively to pay for abortions. The ACA further forbids disclosure of the abortion surcharge to customers.

So it’s not just this family that won the case – it’s the whole state!!! I think this is just amazingly awesome. We need more people like this to take on the government, and thank God the ADF is there to defend them. We need more Christian lawyers who are willing to take cases like this.

Universities limiting student employment to comply with Obamacare

Well, they are certainly getting what they voted for – but good.

Campus Reform has the story.

Excerpt:

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is restricting student work because of compliance issues associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare.

In an email last week, MTSU President Sidney McPhee explained that “due to our interpretation of the reporting requirements of ACA,” graduate assistants, adjunct faculty members, and resident assistants are barred from working on-campus jobs that exceed 29 hours of work per week.

Now, they cannot take on multiple campus jobs.

“[E]ffective beginning with the fall semester, we will no longer allow part-time employees, or those receiving monthly stipends from the university, to accept multiple work assignments on campus,” the email stated.

McPhee noted that violations of the law “could add up as high as $6 million” in penalties.

The Daily News Journal reports that graduate assistants are now restricted from picking up research work funded through grants to the university.

[…]As Campus Reform previously reported, the University of Kansas has reduced the number of hours student employees can work from 30 hours per week to 20, a move to ensure compliance with the ACA.

“The revised [KU] policy seeks to balance the necessity for students to make academic progress while managing potential fiscal liabilities with ACA,” Diane Goddard, KU vice provost for administration and finance wrote in an email early this month.

[…]Since 2012, at least 111 colleges and universities have limited adjunct professor course loads, capped student employment hours, or reduced hours for part-time faculty according to a list compiled by Investor’s Business Daily.

Advice for college students: next time you vote, don’t pay so much attention to what your liberal professors tell you about big, bad conservatives. Do your own research, make up your own mind. Think about what is best for you – ask yourself who is paying for all these happy-sounding promises that you hear from the left. We’ve borrowed 7 trillion dollars since Obama took office. You’re paying for it, so stop adding to it.

Michigan House and Senate Republicans pass Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act

Good news from Michigan, delivered by Live Action.

Excerpt:

[On Wednesday,] Michigan won an important pro-life victory.

It started this summer when over 315,000 registered voters, representing every county in Michigan, signed the NO Taxes for Abortion Insurance Petition, making it clear that the people of Michigan do not believe abortion is health care and we do not want to pay for it.

On December 11th, both the Michigan House and Senate passed this petition as the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, with the House voting 62-47 and the Senate voting 27-11. According to this act, elective abortion will no longer be a standard benefit in health plans. Abortion coverage will only be available by purchasing a separate rider. This act also ensures that our tax dollars and insurance premiums will not go toward funding abortions.

Because the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act was initiated by citizens, as allowed by the Michigan Constitution, it does not require the governor’s signature to become law.

[…]The Affordable Care Act requires all the states to have health care exchanges (also called marketplaces) available by 2014. The ACA allows states to exclude abortion as a covered benefit in these insurance exchanges through legislation like the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act. Michigan is the 24th state to exclude abortion coverage from its insurance plans through this provision.

But not everyone was pleased. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was not pleased. And when questioned by Republicans about whether they could see the list of plans that do not support abortion, she declined to provide that list.’

CNS News reports.

Excerpt:

Although Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Oct. 30 that she would provide Congress with a list of the Obamacare plans in the federal health exchange that do not cover abortion, she has yet to do so and, testifying on Dec. 11, backed away from that pledge and urged consumers to just look at the plan benefits on the exchange website.

At the Oct. 30 hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce , Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) asked Seblius, “Can you provide for the committee the list of insurers in the federal exchange who do not offer, as part of their package, abortion coverage?”

During a somewhat heated back-and-forth, Sebelis said, “I think we can do that, sir,” and added, “I know that is the plan, I will get that information to you.”

Yet during a Dec. 11 House subcommittee hearing, Sebelius declined to say whether she would provide the list requested and instead urged lawmakers and consumers to just look at the benefits package for each plan on the Obamacare exchange websites.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Shimkus said,  “Madam Secretary, you promised last time you were here that you would provide me a national list of those who cover and those who do not cover abortion and abortion services. We have yet to receive that list.”

[…]In an earlier, fractious exchange with Sebelius, Rep. Shimkus expressed frustration, saying, “This is why we’re frustrated, because we just don’t get the truth out of you.”

Oh those Democrats. Always trying to make us pay for abortions even if we are pro-life.

Why is the unemployment rate for young people so high?

A few of the policies that are causing the problem are explained in this article from the American Enterprise Institute. I have highlighted the policies that discourage employers in the snippet I excerpted below.

Excerpt:

If Washington is serious about helping this vulnerable population, it should focus on increasing workers’ take home pay and lowering the business employment costs. Conventional wisdom preaches increasing minimum wages. But a far more effective policy would be to simply exempt younger workers and their employers from paying taxes related to their employment.

People in the workforce typically get their start when they are young – beginning with some entry level job where they learn basic job skills, develop effective work habits, and earn a modest wage. This important first step gives them a chance at earning wages and achieving a level of success that facilitates advance up the economic ladder. Work habits and skills are generally learned early in life or unfortunately for too many, not learned at all.

The long term damage caused by this lack of employment is very large. Income mobility has declined. The sad fact is the probability of people at the bottom moving up the income ladder is lower than it was 20 and 30 years ago. Many studies have demonstrated that three factors determine most of the difference between those who start in poverty and stay there and those who don’t – finishing high school; avoiding becoming a teenage parent, and getting a full-time job. Those who do all three have only a 2 percent chance of living in poverty and a 75 percent chance of joining the middle class.

Many economists and social scientists have suggested both demand and supply reasons why youth unemployment is so high. On the demand side, the national safety net – Food Stamps, Earned Income Tax, welfare and subsidy programs of all kinds – substantially reduce the relative benefit of working. In other words, the wage premium for working versus taking advantage of benefit programs on an after-tax basis is simply too small to encourage many people to work.

If a young person enters the work force at the minimum wage, he grosses $7.25 per hour. From this, in a place like Los Angeles, he pays federal and state income taxes and Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes which total $1.11. So, out of the $7.25 earned, he keeps just over $6. If he is single and without children, he won’t qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or food stamps.

On the supply side, the cost of employing young people is high relative to their economic contribution to potential employers. An entry-level employee costs his employer much more than $7.25. In addition to his wages, the employer also pays Social Security and Medicare taxes, plus unemployment insurance, that add on an average of 92 cents. So today, the new employee costs the business $8.13 per hour, of which the young employee keeps only three-quarters.

This cost will increase further when the Affordable Care Act kicks in. Beginning in 2015, if the employer has more than 50 employees, he will have to provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a $2,000 fine – which comes to $.96 per hour. That will make an abysmal employment situation even worse.

Overall, public policy ought to be aimed at encouraging businesses to create entry level jobs. Perversely, attempts to increase the minimum wage and institute so-called living wages would do the exact opposite. If government wanted to help create a permanent economic underclass, it would implement exactly the policies that are in place. All of us who want people to enjoy earned success ought to be outraged at these government policies.

This is important, because very often the policies proposed by people on the left are not designed to solve the problem. Thomas Sowell argues that the real purpose of leftist policies is for leftist leaders to feel self-important by getting applause from those who are economically ignorant. They push policies that sound good but that don’t actually work.

The good news is that young people are waking up. According to a Harvard University survey, 57% of young adults now disapprove of Obamacare. Even they are starting to think about what is happening to them. Maybe they can avoid the slavery that awaits them under the Democrat’s massive program of intergenerational theft, but I’m not optimistic. They have really short attention spans, and you don’t learn the fundamentals of economics on Instagram and Pinterest.