Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why do so many people oppose Obamacare and why isn’t Obama willing to fix it?

This article from National Review provides a simple overview of a few of the main problems with Obamacare.

I’ll just highlight a few of the points in the article.

Higher health care costs, higher health insurance costs, higher taxes:

Under ACA, health-care spending is expected to rise significantly, even beyond the usual inflation in medical prices. President Obama’s economic advisers originally had calculated that the bill would reduce health-care spending by $200 billion a year, from whence the president derived his intellectually indefensible conclusion that the bill would save the average family of four some $2,500 a year. Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calculated that ACA will not reduce health-care spending at all and will instead add about $70 billion per year in the immediate future. Estimates of the program’s expense keep growing. It will spend more than originally estimated, it will tax more than originally estimated, and its vaunted deficit-reduction benefits have been evaporating at a pace suggesting that, as many predicted, they will never come to pass. In 2010, CBO projected that ACA would reduce the deficit by $140 billion through 2019; today that projection is a mere $4 billion. The estimated tax increases in the bill have doubled.

It discriminates against men by forcing them to subsidize women’s health care:

The difference between the increase in men’s rates and those in women’s rates is one of the more naked bits of ideology apparent in the bill. Women spend considerably more on health care than men do, and hence have paid higher health-insurance premiums. The architects of the ACA decided that this was not permissible, and so by fiat eliminated the difference, meaning a disproportionate increase in men’s rates. Likewise, because there can be only so much difference permitted in prices paid by the young and the old, the young will pay much higher rates.

Employers are forced to make full-time employees work part-time:

[The employer mandate creates a] powerful economic preferences for part-time workers. By mandating coverage for those working 30 hours or more, the employer mandate makes part-time workers that much more attractive to businesses, a fact not lost on President Obama’s erstwhile supporters in organized  labor. “The ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class,” reads a joint letter from the major labor unions.

It creates incentives to not marry and to not work:

And in an especially clumsy move, the program’s architects have designed the income limits on its subsidies as hard cutoffs rather than gradual phaseouts. For example, as Ed Driscoll points out, a married couple earning $62,040 would face a $10,000 penalty for earning $1 extra — unless they get divorced. That’s a very high effective marginal tax rate. Likewise, a married couple with two children with $93,000 in joint income would pay far more for insurance than they would if they divorced and custody were granted to the lower-earning spouse. So while the employer mandate creates a disincentive to hire, the high penalties for extra income create a disincentive to work — hardly the thing that’s called for in a period of high joblessness and record welfare dependency.

That’s enough – read the article for many, many more. And the article doesn’t even cover all the problems, although some of my previous posts (like this one) have talked about these other problems that weren’t mentioned in the National Review article. And there are even ethical problems, like the abortion drugs coverage mandate and the fact that pro-life taxpayers will be subsidizing abortions from day one. I could go on, but I’ll try to keep this post short.

So what is Obama doing about the problems in his policy? The Republicans have asked him to delay the individual mandate for a year, and to make Congress give up their exemption from Obamacare – a law they passed themselves!

The Wall Street Journal explains Obama’s response to the problems in his health care policy.

Excerpt:

President Obama is sitting out one of the most important policy struggles since he entered the White House. With the government shutdown, it has reached the crisis stage. His statement about the shutdown on Tuesday from the White House Rose Garden was more a case of kibitzing than leading. He still refuses to take charge. He won’t negotiate with Republicans, though the fate of ObamaCare, funding of the government and the future of the economic recovery are at stake. He insists on staying on the sidelines—well, almost.

Mr. Obama has rejected conciliation and compromise with Republicans. Instead, he attacks them in sharp, partisan language in speech after speech. His approach—dealing with a deadlock by not dealing with it—is unprecedented. He has gone where no president has gone before.

[...][A]s he was predicting widespread suffering, Mr. Obama steadfastly refused to negotiate with Republicans. He told House Speaker John Boehner in a phone call that he wouldn’t be talking to him anymore. With the shutdown hours away, he called Mr. Boehner again. He still didn’t negotiate and said he wouldn’t on the debt limit either.

Mr. Obama has made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid his surrogate in the conflict with Republicans. Mr. Reid has also declined to negotiate. In fact, Politico reported that when the president considered meeting with Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, along with the two Democratic congressional leaders, Mr. Reid said he wouldn’t attend and urged Mr. Obama to abandon the idea. The president did just that.

[...]The president’s tactic of attacking Republicans during a crisis while spurning negotiations bodes for a season of discord and animosity in the final three-and-one-quarter years of the Obama presidency. That he has alienated Republicans doesn’t seem to trouble Mr. Obama.

The important lesson we must all learn from this is that Barack Obama had no experience in health care policy. He didn’t surround himself with people who understood health care policy, either. The next time that we have the opportunity to elect a President, we need to realize that we are not picking a favorite celebrity or an American Idol. The President’s job is not to dance and sing and act to amuse us. The President’s job is to solve problems. Part of being a problem solver is also being a good negotiator. We need to pick someone who has experience successfully solving the problems that are facing us as a nation. Speeches are no substitute for past performance.

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Republicans introduce Obamacare alternative: American Health Care Reform Act

Endorsements for the American Healthcare Reform Act

Endorsements for the American Healthcare Reform Act

The Daily Caller has an overview of what the bill would do.

There are 6 main sections:

  1. Repeal of Obamacare
  2. Increasing Access to Portable, Affordable Health Insurance
  3. Improving Access to Insurance for Vulnerable Americans
  4. Encouraging a More Competitive Health Care Market
  5. Reforming Medical Liability Law
  6. Respecting Human Life

I am a big supporter of making healthcare more consumer driven and less expensive, and of not violating conscience rights of medical workers. Does this bill do any of these things?

Section 4 addresses the need to make health  care consumer-driven:

Our bill would take steps toward creating a competitive health care marketplace. This legislation would take steps to address this problem by, most notably, allowing Americans to purchase health insurance products across state lines and by permitting small businesses to pool together to negotiate better rates.

Other pro-patient reforms include amending the McCarran-Ferguson Act to ensure that federal anti-trust law applies to health insurance, making Medicare claims and payment data publicly available so that patients and taxpayers alike can better understand what they are being charged, helping states develop transparency portals with useful information on insurance plans, and stopping the federal government from denying coverage for health care services based upon comparative effectiveness data.

Just like with any area of the free market, increasing competition among sellers reduces prices and increases quality.

Section 5 caps non-economic damages in medical liability lawsuits at $250,000:

This bill attempts to address the medical liability crisis that has played a role in the escalating cost of health care by implementing meaningful legal reforms that include caps on non- economic damages and limits to attorneys’ fees. These provisions set no caps on economic damages, which are often the largest component of liability awards, thus patients will continue to have their rights to economic damages protected.

Why didn’t Obamacare take that step? Because trial lawyers pressured them not to do it.

Section 6 should be of interest to anyone who believes in protecting the unborn:

Provides that nothing in this act requires health plans to provide coverage of abortion services, or permits any government official to require coverage of abortion. Prohibits federal funds authorized or appropriated by this act from covering abortion, except in the case of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is jeopardized. Ensures that no state pro-life or conscience protection laws will be preempted.

Pro-abortion groups made sure that Obamacare would offer free condoms and free abortion-causing drugs. That needs to be fixed.

So that’s what health care reform would look like if Republicans did it. You can click here to find out more about the bill.

Where I found out about this

I found out about this bill from the Family Research Council Washington Watch Weekly podcast.

Details:

On this week’s edition of Washington Watch Weekly, I will be joined by veteran sportscaster, Craig James, who will tell us why he was sacked by Fox Sports and why he is fighting back, not only for himself, but for all Christians. The media continues to say that Republicans and Conservatives who are against Obamacare are ignoring the problems in our health care system and really don’t care about the uninsured. Short response: they’re wrong. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) tells us why. Also, Tom Fitton with Judicial Watch tells us about the latest lawsuit against the Obama administration, who tries to say they are transparent. Well, this time, Tom and his team are suing the Pentagon over their relationship with the anti-Christian crusader, Mikey Weinstein.

Here is my full list of favorite podcasts.

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Surprise! New Stanford University study finds costs of Obamacare higher than estimated

I’m just kidding. I’m not surprised. Here’s the story from Reason magazine.

Excerpt:

Obamacare could cost a lot more than the official estimates, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University.

That’s because the law will create big incentives for employers to drop worker health coverage so that employees can get health insurance through the law’s insurance exchanges. Anyone who buys insurance through an exchange and has a household income between 133 and 400 percent of the poverty line is eligible for publicly funded subsidies. So if a lot more people than expected end up in the exchanges, that means a lot more subsidies — and a much higher total cost for the law.

The study, published this week in the journal Health Affairs, estimates that some 37 million people would benefit from shifting out of employer coverage and into exchanges. What “benefit” means, in this case, is that those people would be better off getting cash from their employer instead of coverage, and then buying subsidized coverage on the exchanges.

If all 37 million people in this category were to switch into exchange-based coverage, it would result in a dramatic increase in the law’s cost: about $132 billion annually in additional federal outlays, according to the study.

[...]The paper concludes with a warning: policy makers “should plan for the possibility that the exchange subsidies may end up costing the federal government much more than currently projected.”

It’s a warning they should take seriously. It’s also one they ought to have heard before. Former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and James Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center have been sounding this alarm for years. Back in 2010, they estimated that, because of the law’s incentives to drop coverage, 35 million more Americans than expected could end up in subsidized coverage through the exchanges.

On election day in 2012, I wrote this post that quoted Investors Business Daily’s warning about Obamacare:

Despite repeated promises that the more we knew about ObamaCare, the more we’d like it, the law has never been less popular. Just 38% now approve of it, down from 46% when it passed in March 2010, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

But unless voters defeat Obama on Tuesday, they’ll never get rid of his disastrous “reform.” Even before ObamaCare takes full effect, its damage is evident.

Insurance premiums, which Obama promised to slash $2,500 by the end of his first term, have climbed 14% since the law went into effect. Nearly six in 10 doctors say ObamaCare has made them less positive about the future of health care in America, and almost two-thirds say they’d retire today if they could, according to a Physicians Foundation survey.

Businesses are holding back on hiring, or are shifting workers to part time because of ObamaCare’s looming coverage mandate. Darden Restaurants, for example, has stopped offering full-time schedules at several of its popular eateries “to help us address the cost implications of health care reform.”

This is only one of the horrors ObamaCare will unleash if fully implemented in 2014. Among others:

  • ObamaCare will force as many as 20 million workers into government-run insurance exchanges after their employers drop coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  • More companies will follow Darden’s example, refusing to schedule workers more than 30 hours wherever they can to avoid the coverage mandate.
  • Insurance costs will explode. Even ObamaCare’s fans admit that its benefit mandates, marketplace rules and bans on coverage caps will force premiums to skyrocket. Jonathan Gruber, who helped design ObamaCare, says the law will add 30% to premiums in the individual market in the states he’s studied.
  • Doctor shortages will reach 90,000 in about a decade, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
  • Seniors will find it increasingly difficult to get treatments, as ObamaCare’s deep Medicare payment cuts cause one in six hospitals to become unprofitable and still more doctors to refuse to see Medicare patients.
  • Even when a patient does get to see a doctor, ObamaCare will intrude, using the law’s “Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute” to create top-down rules for what doctors can prescribe for any given ailment.
  • ObamaCare’s vast new taxes — including a crippling $20 billion surtax on the medical device industry and a $123 billion surtax on investors — will slow down medical innovation.
  • And when these and dozens of other new taxes fail to cover ObamaCare’s massive 10-year $1.76 trillion price tag, everyone will suffer a bigger tax bite.

Not to mention the fact that ObamaCare will, for the first time in our nation’s history, force people to buy a government-approved product, setting a frightening new precedent for federal intrusiveness.

That’s a warning that we should have heeded as voters in the 2012 election. But we didn’t. And 2014 is almost here.

Look, even when a person means well and wants to help others, if they don’t know what to do to help others, then we shouldn’t put them in charge. The best way to tell if someone knows how to do what they say they want to do is to look at their record and see if they have been able to do what they say they want to do in the past. That’s what a job interview is – it’s when the people doing the hiring look at the candidate’s record – not his rhetoric – and decide whether to hire him to do certain specific tasks. The requirements of the job should be key to the decision of whether to hire or not. Obama had no experience passing health care laws that lowered costs, improved access, and so on. He had never done anything remotely like that in all of his life. If we wanted to fix health care, then we should hire people like Bobby Jindal. People who know how to do the work because they’ve actually done the work before.

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Companies announce layoffs in the wake of Obama’s re-election

The Washington Times links to this article by Freedom Works.

Excerpt:

 With 20 or so new or higher taxes set to be implemented, ranging from a $123 billion surtax on investment income, through the $20 billion medical device tax, all the way down to the $600 million executive compensation limit, Obamacare will be a nearly unbearable tax burden on the economy.

Who will pay?  The middle-class workforce, of course.

So with another four years for President Obama to look forward to, and the obvious inevitability of Obamacare that this entails, let’s examine the very real jobs that will be lost, and the very real lives that will be affected.

Here are some of the companies impacted by Obamacare:

Welch Allyn

Welch Allyn, a company that manufactures medical diagnostic equipment in central New York, announced in September that they would be laying off 275 employees, or roughly 10% of their workforce over the next three years.  One of the major reasons discussed for the layoffs was a proactive response to the Medical Device Tax mandated by the new healthcare law.

Dana Holding Corp.

As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing “$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses”.  After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come.  The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.

Stryker

One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December.  Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce – an estimated 1,170 positions.

Boston Scientific

In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could “lead to significant job losses” for his company.  Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas – to China.

Medtronic

In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs.  That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.

Obamacare encourages companies to limit their number of full-time employees by switching to part-time employees. Some companies are doing that to avoid having to pay Obamacare fines.

Look:

Darden Restaurants

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Darden Restaurants, a casual dining chain best known for their Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants, is “experimenting with limiting the hours of some of its workers to avoid health care requirements under the Affordable Care Act when they take effect in 2014″.

JANCOA Janitorial Services

The CEO of JANCOA, Mary Miller, testified to Congress that Obamacare was a “dream killer”, adding that one option she had to consider “is reducing the majority of my team members to part-time employment in order to reduce the amount that I will be penalized.”

Kroger

The American retailer in Cincinnati, Ohio recently was reported to be planning a significant slashing of their hourly workers.  Doug Ross writes:

Operative Faith (a mid-level manager with the company) reveals that Kroger will soon join the ranks of Darden Restaurants and slash the hours of its non-exempt (hourly) workers to avoid millions in Obamacare penalties.

According to the source, Obamacare could result in tens of thousands of Kroger employees being limited to working 28 hours per week.

And of course there are the layoffs by defense companies like Boeing, because of Obama’s defense cuts. The one thing that the government is actually supposed to do – that’s the thing he cuts.

The effects of Obamacare were well-known before the 2012 election took place. But the Democrat voters were just not paying attention when the voted to re-elect Obama.

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Why do some people oppose Obamacare? What does Obamacare do?

Investors Business Daily explains what you should know about Obamacare.

Excerpt:

Despite repeated promises that the more we knew about ObamaCare, the more we’d like it, the law has never been less popular. Just 38% now approve of it, down from 46% when it passed in March 2010, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

But unless voters defeat Obama on Tuesday, they’ll never get rid of his disastrous “reform.” Even before ObamaCare takes full effect, its damage is evident.

Insurance premiums, which Obama promised to slash $2,500 by the end of his first term, have climbed 14% since the law went into effect. Nearly six in 10 doctors say ObamaCare has made them less positive about the future of health care in America, and almost two-thirds say they’d retire today if they could, according to a Physicians Foundation survey.

Businesses are holding back on hiring, or are shifting workers to part time because of ObamaCare’s looming coverage mandate. Darden Restaurants, for example, has stopped offering full-time schedules at several of its popular eateries “to help us address the cost implications of health care reform.”

This is only one of the horrors ObamaCare will unleash if fully implemented in 2014. Among others:

  • ObamaCare will force as many as 20 million workers into government-run insurance exchanges after their employers drop coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  • More companies will follow Darden’s example, refusing to schedule workers more than 30 hours wherever they can to avoid the coverage mandate.
  • Insurance costs will explode. Even ObamaCare’s fans admit that its benefit mandates, marketplace rules and bans on coverage caps will force premiums to skyrocket. Jonathan Gruber, who helped design ObamaCare, says the law will add 30% to premiums in the individual market in the states he’s studied.
  • Doctor shortages will reach 90,000 in about a decade, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
  • Seniors will find it increasingly difficult to get treatments, as ObamaCare’s deep Medicare payment cuts cause one in six hospitals to become unprofitable and still more doctors to refuse to see Medicare patients.
  • Even when a patient does get to see a doctor, ObamaCare will intrude, using the law’s “Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute” to create top-down rules for what doctors can prescribe for any given ailment.
  • ObamaCare’s vast new taxes — including a crippling $20 billion surtax on the medical device industry and a $123 billion surtax on investors — will slow down medical innovation.
  • And when these and dozens of other new taxes fail to cover ObamaCare’s massive 10-year $1.76 trillion price tag, everyone will suffer a bigger tax bite.

Not to mention the fact that ObamaCare will, for the first time in our nation’s history, force people to buy a government-approved product, setting a frightening new precedent for federal intrusiveness.

Here are a few articles that I have been using lately to inform people about the problems with Obamacare:

It’s important to understand that people who oppose this law don’t oppose because we are just being contrary. Obama’s health care plan has the goal of destroying private medicine and putting everyone into a single-payer system like Canada’s. It’s not good for us to be waiting in line for MRIs for months and months, or even years and years. NO.

Today is our last chance to vote against this heinous law that will reduce the supply of doctors, drugs, medical devices and health care, while raising the costs of health care. I beg you to get out there and vote against Obama’s health care monstrosity. And if you have already voted, then get on your knees and pray that Obama loses this election.

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