Another Healthcare.gov design flaw

These are the geniuses to whom you’re entrusting your private health information, America. They promise to keep it secure. Pinky swear. Just like the prices for health insurance they’re trying to keep behind a login wall on Healthcare.gov so that nobody can see every available plan in America all at once until they’ve given up their private information … and … wait, what? They did what? Really??

Obamacare price list leak

Oops.

Rep. Bob Gibbs won’t defund Obamacare

I sent my Congressman, Bob Gibbs (R-OH) an e-mail urging him to join Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and millions of other Americans in their effort to defund Obamacare when the next Continuing Resolution comes up.

Here was his e-mailed reply (the highlights are mine). The vast bulk of his response is the same old “Obamacare is bad and I oppose it” language every Republican says but on which they rarely follow through. The substance is in the lines I highlighted.

August 21, 2013

Dear Alo,

Thank you for contacting my office regarding defunding Obamacare. As your representative in Congress, I appreciate your input on this important issue.

As you know, the federal government is currently operating on a continuing resolution through September 30, 2013. Unless the 12 remaining appropriations bills or another continuing resolution (CR) is completed most government functions will cease to operate on October 1st. This has lead to calls from some Senators and Congressman to not take up a CR and allow the shutdown of the federal government to prevent the implementation of Obamacare.

Although it is common misconception there is no dedicated funding stream for Obamacare in a CR. CRs only address discretionary appropriations, not mandatory spending, which makes up the bulk of Obamacare spending. In fact a recent Congressional Research Service report determined a government shutdown would not stop Obamacare due to the large amount of discretion the Administration would have.

I want to be perfectly clear, I oppose Obamacare and I have supported every vote to defund, repeal and stop it. Furthermore, I have co-sponsored over thirty pieces of legislation to repeal the most devastating pieces including the Independent Payment Advisory Board and 1099 provision.

Once fully implemented, Obamacare will cost more than $2 trillion (more than double what was originally estimated), raise taxes by $1.1 trillion, cut Medicare by $716 billion, and add over $700 billion to the deficit. Every day we get closer to its implementation it’s becoming painstakingly clear to Americans how bad this law really is.

Recently, the architect of the bill, Senator Baucus, referred to the law as a train wreck and Health and Human Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius stated she did not anticipate how complicated implementing the president’s healthcare law would be. In light of news the IRS was deliberately targeting certain Americans can we really trust them to be in charge of our healthcare?

Even more telling was the Obama Administration quietly announcing they would delay enforcement of a major provision in Obamacare over the July 4th holiday. By delaying the employer mandate provision, which requires companies with over full time 50 employees to provide healthcare, the President has admitted his healthcare bill is unaffordable and crippling to small businesses. Unfortunately, we will be in the exact same position next year because this does nothing to fix the underlying problems with the law.

Obamacare is not controlling costs as promised. In fact, despite the President’s statement premiums would decrease by $2,500, the average family premium has grown over $3,000 and climbing since 2008. Over 30 studies have concluded the law will make health care premiums more unaffordable in 2014. The Ohio Department of Insurance estimates the average individual-market health insurance premium in 2014 will come in around $420, representing an increase of 88 percent from 2013.

Another promise the President made was if you like your insurance you can keep it. In reality, seven million Americans will lose their job-based health insurance and 30 percent of employers will definitely or likely drop coverage for their workers in 2014. That number increases as employers become more aware of the law.

Then Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised that Obamacare would create four million jobs, including 400,000 almost immediately. Yet according to a study by the National Federation of Independent Business, Obamacare could eliminate 1.6 million jobs by 2014 (66 percent of these loses could come from small businesses). These losses are due to the 21 new or higher taxes and regulations contained in Obamacare that will further harm our economy. Even worse the study doesn’t factor in employees whose hours are being reduced in order to comply with these new regulations.

Currently, over 20,000 pages regulations have already been issued or about eight times the length of the original bill. The grim reality is there are hundreds of more regulations to come and no one knows what they will be. Our job creators are citing these unknowns as reasons for planned layoffs and why they cannot expand their business and hire new employees. A recent Gallup Poll of small businesses found 41 percent have frozen any new hires and 19 percent have reduced their workforce due to Obamacare.

While we must lower healthcare costs, Obamacare is not the answer. The President’s flawed healthcare plan does nothing to address rising healthcare costs while adding trillions of dollars in new government spending we cannot afford. Ohioans have overwhelmingly made it very clear that this government takeover of the health care system is not what they had in mind. That is why I voted 40 times to repeal or defund all or part of this harmful legislation since I have been in Congress.

I will continue to fight to repeal this job-killing law and find common ground for competition-driven reforms backed by a majority of Americans that will actually lower healthcare costs and make it more affordable for those who choose to purchase insurance coverage. However, with a federal government shutdown our military members would not receive their pay and certain beneficiaries would experience delays in the processing and payment of their social security benefits. That is just not an acceptable option.

Again, thank you for contacting my office. Please continue to keep me informed on the issues that are important to you. For more information on my work in Congress, or to sign up to receive my e-newsletter, please visit my website at: http://gibbs.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Bob Gibbs
Member of Congress

Unacceptable.

I’ll post a rebuttal of each highlighted claim, but since he’s on the record now, the voters of Ohio’s 7th District deserve to know where he stands.

Obamacare will lead to infanticide

Unless we repeal Obamacare, it will drive private sector health care companies out of business, and then it will itself collapse. When Obamacare collapses, and when there are no free market companies left to take over, we’ll get a single-payer system — in other words, socialized medicine.

When we get socialized medicine, we get this:

baby in NICUOne doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.

Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice paediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticise the use of death pathways for children.

She said: ‘The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a “reasonable” number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.

‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die.

‘I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.’

These are born children, intentionally starved and dehydrated to death by government bureaucrats trying to cut costs.

Behold progressivism. Obama fans, this is what you voted for.

H/T: Red State

1:35 PM Update: No, I am not exaggerating about the National Health Service in the UK. Socialized medicine will kill you.

Bob Gibbs & the Obamacare repeal letter

The effort to choke off funding for Obamacare continues in the U.S. House of Representatives. Yesterday morning I e-mailed the following question to Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) via his 7th District campaign’s Facebook page

Why didn’t you sign this letter pledging to defund Obamacare?

His reply:

Alo,

Obviously I’m totally against Obamacare, I have voted 33 times to repeal, defund and different parts etc. The reason I didn’t sign on to the letter to leadership because the letter stated to include defunding Obamacare in every piece of legislation going forward. This week we are doing defense appropriations and I can’t support holding funding up for our troops and national security, essentially holding our troops hostage. Also I’m completely fed up with the spectacle of the dog and pony show here in DC, I’m working for real results not being part of a circus.

Bob

Seems reasonable. My only quibble is the implication that Rep. Jim Jordan is running a circus. The Republican Study Committee is nothing of the kind.

Did the Supreme Court limit the Commerce Clause?

As you read this post, keep these words in the front of your mind: “the opinion of the Court.”

In Part III-A of his published opinion on the Obamacare case, Chief Justice Roberts explained that he would forbid Congress from relying on the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to pass legislation to force you to buy something. Plenty of conservatives — and even a few leftists — seem to think that his opinion on the Commerce Clause is also the formal opinion of the Supreme Court. Not so.

Here’s the very first paragraph of the published ruling, taken from page 7 of the PDF file.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III–C, an opinion with respect to Part IV, in which JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAGAN join, and an opinion with respect to Parts III–A, III–B, and III–D.

See that highlighted text? Part III-A is where Roberts fleshes out his theories about the limits of the Commerce Clause, but that doesn’t change a damn thing. Part III-A is obiter dictum (often shortened to dictum or dicta), a fancy Latin term that means “this is a part of the written opinion where the judge yammers on about something or other, but it isn’t part of the court’s formal ruling, so it isn’t controlling precedent and you can ignore it.”

Go read the opinion, and look at the beginning of Part III-A and compare it to the beginning of Part III-C.

Roberts opinion, Part III-A Roberts opinion, Part III-C

You have to pay attention to details when you read a Supreme Court opinion. The Obamacare case did not rein in Congress’ use of the Commerce Clause. Chief Justice Roberts wrote his opinion about it, but not enough justices joined him to make it the official, binding opinion of the Court. They did join him in Part III-C, where he upheld the individual mandate by magically rewriting the law as a tax. Part III-C is indeed the opinion of the Court.

Want an even simpler explanation of what Chief Justice Roberts tried to achieve?

Commerce Clause or Taxing Power?

Always look for the opinion of the Court. Let Mark Levin explain it for you.

Pack the Supreme Court

Want to reign in the activist tendencies of the statists* on the U.S. Supreme Court? Take a look at current federal law to see the answer:

The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum.

Elect conservative Republicans — and tractable RINOs — to the House and Senate, evict Barack Obama from the White House, and change this law. Increase the size of the Court to 11 or 13 justices, then fill the vacancies with constitutionalists (those who interpret a law by looking to the commonly-understood meaning of a law’s text).

Problem solved.


* the four leftists plus the squishes, Kennedy and Roberts

Why won’t Sherrod Brown take credit for passing Obamacare?

Today should be a happy day for Ohio’s senior U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, the Democrat whose vote pushed Obamacare over the finish line in March of 2010. After all, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it today. There was a time way back in October 2010 ancient history when Sherrod Brown urged his fellow Democrats to run for election with the passage of Obamacare as their main campaign theme.

But a funny thing has happened in the 20 months since: Sherrod Brown doesn’t talk about Obamacare anymore. Notice anything missing from these two screen shots (taken an hour ago) of his Twitter activity?

Sherrod Brown on Obamacare

Sherrod Brown on Obamacare

If you peruse the press releases on his campaign web site, you’ll find no mentions of Obamacare. On his Senate site, you’ll see a prime example of spreading the blame:

“Supreme Court Justices appointed by presidents of both parties today made an independent legal judgment to uphold the health law. I hope today’s ruling will put an end to the partisan bickering so that we can continue our focus on jobs and improving the economy” Brown said.

Translation: “Don’t blame me and my party for this abomination. Let’s talk about something else. Please.” If you manage to confront him in person and ask him about his instrumental support for Obamacare — without which it would not have passed — his response will be the following:

Look! Shiny object!

C’mon, Senator, man up for once. Own it. Obamacare is your baby.

Obamacare prediction

Here’s my prediction for tomorrow’s ruling on Obamacare by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Based on reports of über-leftist Justice Ginsburg penning the dissent, and based on the way the conservative wing of the Court (plus perennial swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy) grilled Obama’s Solicitor General during oral argument over the severability issue earlier this year, I’m guardedly optimistic.

The individual mandate will be tossed as unconstitutional. Then, because there’s no severability clause in the bill, the Court will toss the rest of the bill along with the mandate. That will kick the whole issue back to Congress for a do-over, on what’s as close to a procedural technicality as possible. This Court doesn’t want to sift through thousands of pages of legislative sausage to craft a politically palatable compromise. That’s not possible to achieve, and they’re loathe to get blatantly involved in partisan politics to begin with. The ruling will be a long-winded version of “you guys did this wrong so you have to start over from scratch.”

At any rate, that’s what I’m praying for.

6/27/2012 Update: Whoa.

Personnel is policy, even with Mitt Romney

Would Democrats have quietly rolled over if Bill Clinton had appointed Ken Starr as his campaign’s legal advisor? What if Al Gore chose well-known manmade global warming skeptic Richard Lindzen to be one of his key staffers? Would Democrats tolerate Barack Obama hiring Glenn Beck for … well … any reason whatsoever?

Ben Domenech on Mike LeavittNow imagine Mitt Romney choosing a fan of Obamacare to be the man in charge of the transition to a Romney Administration after a victory in November. This Obamacare fan would likely end up as the White House Chief of Staff in January. Would you doubt Romney’s honesty about wanting to repeal Obamacare? Would you be upset?

Well, there’s no need to imagine it because Romney’s already done it. Say hello to former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Over at Ace of Spades, Drew’s complaint treads rather lightly on the problem:

So Leavitt’s concern about ObamaCare was that Kathleen Sebilius might not be aggressive enough in using the power given to her by ObamaCare? Was that your first reaction or the reaction of any conservative/Republican you know?

Romney’s camp says don’t worry, only Mitt makes decisions and he’s on board with repeal.

Romney says the right things about ObamaCare (usually) but his actions on healthcare reform, including picking a transition director who is thought to be a leading candidate to be his Chief of Staff often are at odds with his words.

That’s awfully understated, Drew. Ben Domenech elaborates on what Leavitt’s been up to:

Over the past year, Leavitt and his staff have repeatedly tangled with conservative and libertarian think-tanks and advocates who oppose him on [state-level health care “exchanges”], understanding that there is no such thing as a state run exchange under Obamacare, and that this represents the primary front for states in the battle against Obamacare’s implementation. This hasn’t stopped him from lobbying all over the country for it.

The reaction from the Romney team — so far — is that Leavitt’s not in charge. Romney’s the boss and will pursue the repeal of Obamacare, say his staffers.

I don’t buy it. Governor Romney’s instincts are not conservative. He’s the father of Romneycare after all, upon which the Democrats built Obamacare. One of his key health care advisors from his time in the Governor’s office in Massachusetts actually helped write the monstrosity that is Obamacare.

To understand an executive’s priorities, look past the policy pronouncements and look at who they hire. Personnel is policy. It’s not enough to defeat Barack Obama and turn the U.S. Senate conservative. To repeal Obamacare, to tear it out by the roots, Mitt Romney must constantly be reminded that words aren’t enough. He must know in his bones that the people who can put him in the Oval Office will never accept anything less than his personal, aggressive leadership in the repeal effort. Effective leadership demands wise personnel choices, and delegating essential duties to an Obamacare shill like Mike Leavitt stands in stark opposition to Mitt Romney’s stated goals. Either Romney is not 100% committed to repealing Obamacare and reducing the size and scope of the federal government, or he’s deluding himself about the danger of giving Leavitt enough power to undermine Romney’s work from the inside. Neither possibility is acceptable.

RINO Threat LevelRomney is the only credible alternative to four more disastrous years of Barack Obama. While evicting the Oval Office’s current occupier ranks first on the priority list for those who love the U.S. Constitution and the American Dream, that doesn’t mean Mitt Romney should have carte blanche to indulge his progressive instincts.

The Republican establishment will shriek in angry panic if constitutional conservatives forcefully oppose Mike Leavitt’s role on Romney’s campaign team, and they will warn that all opposition to Romney helps Obama (we’re at RINO Threat Level Blue, in other words).

Not true. If constitutional conservatives keep Romney on a short leash, his election chances will actually go up. This is not an optional fight.

Contact the Romney campaign and demand that Mile Leavitt be excluded from any and all positions that have any influence on the effort to repeal Obamacare.

3:50 PM update: More detail from Ben Domenech here.

Betty Sutton (OH-13) will vote “yes” on Obamacare

Unless you’ve spent the last four years living in a cave, this is no surprise at all. In a statement e-mailed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Betty Sutton said:

Obama medalEvery year more than 40,000 people die because they don’t have health insurance coverage, and in this great nation it should not be that way. The legislation is not perfect and indeed contains provisions that I will continue to strive to improve, but I will vote for the bill. By passing this legislation we will take the long overdue step toward ending the egregious, discriminatory practices of insurance companies that deny care based on pre-existing conditions and impose outrageous premium increases. This legislation will also strengthen the solvency of Medicare, lower drug costs for our seniors, and make health insurance more affordable and accessible for small businesses and individuals.

The bosses of the big labor unions want this bill passed, and what union bosses want, Betty Sutton delivers.
By the way, Betty, that “40,000 deaths” statistic is a complete crock of poo:

So, how did these political doctors come up with the 44,000 figure? They used data from a health survey conducted between 1988 and 1994. The questionnaires asked a sample of 9,000 participants if they were insured and how they rated their own health. The federal Centers for Disease Control tracked the deaths of people in the sample group through the year 2000. Drs. Himmelstein, Woolhandler, and company then crunched the numbers and attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period.
At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggy-backed off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America’s callous health care system had insurance or not.

To boil it all down in plain English: The single-payer scientists had no way of assessing whether the survey participants received insurance coverage between the time they answered the questionnaires and the time they died. They had no way of assessing whether the deaths could have been averted with health insurance coverage. A significant portion of those classified as “uninsured” may not have even been uninsured, based on past studies that actually did verify insurance status. But the Himmelstein team just took the rate of uninsurance from the original study (3.3 percent), applied it to census data, and voila: more than 44,000 Americans are dying from lack of insurance.

At least do your constituents the favor of using honest data when you try to support your socialist initiatives, Betty.