Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is Obamacare Dead?

August 23, 2011 - Since the Atlanta appeals court issued its 2:1 decision declaring the individual mandate unconstitutional, rumors have been circulating among wishful conservatives that Obamacare is dead or dying.

This reminds me of the reply of humorist Dorothy Parker when told of President Calvin Coolidge’s death, “How can they tell?”

I don’t think Obamacare is dead, or even near death. President Obama and Democrats are resourceful. As long as the President has the Bully Pulpit, Obamacare will live and kick.

Obama says he likes the term “Obamacare” because it shows he cares. Here he is artfully playing the compassionate card, a powerful weapon in any political battle.

It’s 14 months until the election, a lifetime in politics. Until then word of the death of Obamacare is been greatly exaggerated as Mark Twain said when news of his death was making the rounds.

In any event, here are a few reasons why senior writer Conn Carroll, of the conservative Washington Examiner (“Obamacare Is Already On Its Deathbed,” August 11 edition) says Obamacare is near death.

When the United States Supreme Court examines the individual-mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act sometime next spring, it will undoubtedly give great weight to the text of the United States Constitution and relevant Commerce Clause case law. “

“Obamacare is already a very sick patient whose symptoms will inevitably require major action by Congress. A Supreme Court decision invalidating some, or all, of the law would only hasten the inevitable.”

“The signs that Obamacare was never long for this world began to appear soon after the bill became law last spring. Reports began leaking about large employers securing waivers from the Department of Health and Human Services…Almost 1,500 waivers have been granted since then, covering more than 3.2 million Americans.”

“Obamacare's next blow came in December when Congress needed money to prevent Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors from falling by almost 30 percent.”

“Earlier versions of Obamacare had included a permanent fix for the doctor reimbursement issue, but the provision was stricken from the final bill because Democrats were unwilling to reduce spending elsewhere in the federal budget in order to pay for it.”

“The $19 billion Congress used to pay for the one-year fix in December came from increased penalties on consumers whose eligibility for Obamacare health insurance subsidies decreases midyear because of income fluctuations.”

“Then in May this year, Congress increased the Obamacare health exchange subsidy penalties by another $19 billion. This time Congress had to pay for the repeal of the law's 1099 provision, which would have required small-business owners to file tax-reporting documents for almost all of their vendors.”

“Fast-forward to Aug. 12, when the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found Obamacare's individual mandate unconstitutional. That same day, the Treasury Department issued new regulations rendering millions of Americans ineligible for health insurance subsidies based on a technical definition of ‘affordable.’ "

“And we haven't even touched the inevitable controversy and litigation that will come when the Independent Payment Advisory Board begins making cuts to Medicare and refusing to reimburse providers for selected procedures.”

“Obamacare has never been popular. It debuted with a barely 50 percent favorable rating, which sunk to the low 40s by the time it passed, and stands in the high 30s today.”

“The law is unmanageable, unsustainable, unpopular and, according to the 11th Circuit, unconstitutional. If the justices on the Supreme Court have any sense of mercy, they will officially put the law out of its misery and invalidate the entire act.”

Whatever one thinks of Obamacare, it is not an animal to be put out of misery. Instead it is a political act concocted by humans to perpetuate their historical legacy. Let it twist in the political winds until November 2012.

1 comment:

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