ON OBAMACARE, IT’S THE PRESIDENT WHO REFUSES TO EMBRACE REALITY

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BY PETER SUDERMAN

Obamacare turns five years old this week, and to mark the occasion, President Obama took after critics of the health law, noting their ongoing opposition while briefly laying out the reasons he believes it to be a success. “It’s time to embrace reality,” he said, according to The Hill.

The president ticked off a string of points in support of the law: an additional 16 million insured, 50,000 fewer preventable deaths, slow growth in health premium costs, and lower deficit projections as a result.

The law, he said, is “working even better than expected.”

One could reasonably quibble with much of this, because not all of the points President Obama cited are clearly or fully attributable to Obamacare.

Health spending growth, for example, is indeed down, and this is driving much of the decline in the deficit, but at least a sizable portion of the decline—perhaps most of it—can be attributed to the recession. One study in Health Affairs last year concluded that about 70 percent of the health spending slowdown is a result of the economy, not any structural changes to health care delivery. Obamacare may be due some credit, but not too much.

Similarly, it’s true that a government report estimated that between 2010 and 2013, deaths from “hospital-acquired conditions” were reduced by about 50,000. But it’s hard to fully pin this on Obamacare when the report states up front that “the precise causes of the decline in patient harm are not fully understood.” 

Meanwhile, the 16 million insured figure comes from a March report by the Department of Health and Human Services, and it is a total of those who gained coverage through Obamacare’s exchanges, Medicaid, employment, and the individual market place, which means it’s not wholly attributable to the law. And it tallies those who signed up for coverage rather than those “effectuated enrollment”—those who have already paid their premiums. The actual number is probably not too far off from what President Obama stated, but, once again, Obamacare isn’t the entire story here.

So Obama is overstating the case, and, of course, leaving out points against the law.

For example: About half of the people who received subsidies through the law last year will have to pay them back through their taxes this year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study this week. On average, those who owe will have to pay a little more than a quarter of their subsidy back. A few will have to pay back the entire subsidy.

On the flip side, a little less than half will end up getting money back, but even that will be complicated by the fact that the federal government and California, which runs the biggest state exchange, sent out nearly a million tax forms related to the health law with incorrect information, leading the administration to ask many to delay filing their taxes as a result. California has already issued 120,000 correct tax forms, but there are still “tens of thousands” who haven’t gotten updated forms, according to the L.A. Times.

Whitehouse.gov

Beyond that, there are additional questions about whether the Internal Revenue Service is even equipped to handle all the new paperwork required by the law. According to the Chicago Tribune, roughly a quarter of tax filers will have extra filing requirements due to the health law.

And then there are the poll numbers for the law, which is still unpopular, just as it has been throughout the five years it has been law. Polls differ on the exact contours of public opinion about the law, but all the polls in the Real Clear Politics opinion survey show that oppositions outweighs support by at least seven points; on average, the opposition is 10.5 points higher than the support.

If the law is truly working so well for so many people, if it is, as Obama has now taken to saying, working better than expected or anticipated, then why does it remain so stubbornly unpopular?

When the law was being debated in Congress, many supporters of the law argued that it would grow popular once it passed. When that didn’t happen, Obamacare backers insisted that it polled poorly because the major benefits had yet to kick in.  When the major benefits kicked in, they argued that the botched launch of the exchanges was killing support.

These excuses no longer work. The coverage expansion has arrived, and while the precise numbers aren’t clear, there’s no denying that far more people are covered now than two years ago. The exchanges are still incomplete on the back end, but the consumer-facing part of the system works well enough. The health insurance subsidies have arrived, and are being doled out to millions, and so have the insurance rules restricting insurers from charging or denying coverage based on preexisting conditions.

Obamacare’s major benefits have gone into effect and had time to work their way through the system—and yet the law remains widely disliked. Obama’s message about the law, meanwhile, remains the same as always: It’s great, and people should stop resisting and recognize how great it is.

After five years, in other words, President Obama has not changed his message, even in the face of consistent broad public opposition, even as the various theories for why it remains unpopular have fallen away. Obamacare is simply not well liked. This is the political reality—and President Obama still refuses to embrace it. 

Nothing to see here: Obamacare to cost $50K per person covered

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Buried deep inside the latest CBO budget outlook report there is some shocking (by which I mean not shocking to anyone who has been paying attention) information on the effects of ObamaCare. You can forget about all the promises that were made by the administration and their Democrat allies during the debate… they were lying clearly inaccurate in their estimates. So how bad is it? The Daily Mail came out with the first report.

It will cost the federal government – taxpayers, that is – $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office revealed on Monday.

The number comes from figures buried in a 15-page section of the nonpartisan organization’s new ten-year budget outlook.

The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.
If you want to read the report yourself, it’s tucked away back in Appendix B of the document. (.pdf format) The total bill over ten years is closing in on the two trillion mark, and the various taxes and fees imposed under Obamacare are only going to make up for $643B of it. So I guess we really did have to pass the bill to find out what was in it.

At this point it is worth asking if maybe the entire fight could have been avoided without crafting such an elaborate system. Assume for arguments’ sake that the Democrats were going to win on the general subject of having some form of massive government program for health insurance. Assume further that the insurance industry was going to agree to go along with some new government mandates about having to cover pre-existing conditions and older children living at home, etc. in exchange for an assurance that they would have a bunch of new customers paying them. At that point, the bill could have been chopped down to about ten pages in length.

The plan is covering 27 million people with estimates of that growing by 25% over the next decade. A mid-range quality health care plan through most employers – including the employer contribution – can be had for roughly $5,400 per year. That works out to a little less than 150 billion dollars to just buy all of those people a health plan under the old system and the insurers would have been thrilled. The crippled, complicated government web site could have been stripped down to just ask how much you make each year and, based on that, issue you a voucher for a health insurance plan from a company that covers your area. We wouldn’t have liked it, but it would have come in at one heck of a cheaper rate and the debate would be over.

Rather than an exit question, we’ll just close with an observation. You were lied to. Again.

Did Obama just blame Republicans? *(IS DEAR LEADER TALKING ABOUT OBAMACARE?)*

Did Obama just blame Republicans?

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BY PAIGE WINFIELD CUNNINGHAM

President Obama slammed Republicans Wednesday for continuing to war against his signature healthcare law five years in.

“It’s working, despite countless attempts to repeal, undermine, defund and defame this law,” Obama said in a speech commemorating the Affordable Care Act’s anniversary of passage.

“We’ve made our share of mistakes since we passed this law, but we also know beyond a shred of doubt the law has worked,” he said. “Deficits have been slashed, lives have been saved.”

It’s been half a decade since Democrats in Congress passed the healthcare law and it remains arguably the most controversial piece of legislation passed during Obama’s tenure. Democrats spent this week touting its provisions extending coverage to millions of Americans, while Republicans aired their many ongoing complaints about the law.

There’s one thing members of both parties agree on: Major reforms are still needed in how healthcare is delivered and paid for.

Obama focused on that common ground in the first part of his speech, announcing a network of healthcare providers, payers, advocates and localities his administration is trying to bring together to share ideas on how to improve the quality and cost of care. More than 2,800 organizations — including seven of the country’s 10 biggest insurers — have signed on to the network so far, officials said.

But he also addressed the continuing disputes over the law that Republicans have focused on for years.

He reminded Republicans that some of the ideas behind the Affordable Care Act — most notably its individual mandate to buy coverage — were once supported by some conservatives, although its Medicaid expansion and some other big parts of the law stem more from liberal thought.

“The Affordable Care Act pretty much was their plan before I adopted it,” he said.

While the law has extended health coverage to millions of Americans — and no serious experts dispute that — Republicans charge that it’s still causing more problems than it’s solving.

But Obama sharply criticized the GOP for trying to undermine the law but failing to introduce their own comprehensive alternative. Republicans have introduced many separate bills aimed at reforming healthcare, but have been unable to unite behind one big plan.

And the president condemned the proposed GOP budget the House is voting on this week, which would repeal the entire healthcare law and cost millions of Americans federally subsidized health plans they’ve purchased in the law’s new insurance marketplaces.

“For folks who are basing their entire political agenda on repealing the law, you gotta explain how kicking people off their health insurance is supposed to make us more free,” Obama said.

“Dear John” Boehner, Conservatives are Breaking Up with You! | Three Percenter Nation (*NO MORE RINOS!*)

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BY SUSAN KNOWLES

Remember when you knew that it was time to “break up” with someone that you once felt something for but no longer shared those same feelings?

That’s why I’m writing my “Dear John” letter today to the Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Ohio).

I believe that my letter speaks for many conservative Republicans who believe that Boehner has lost his way. Having formed that opinion, it’s time for us to go our separate ways.

Please join me as I pen this letter to “Dear John”.

Dear John:

You are the Speaker of the House. That in and of itself says a lot about how others must have once valued your abilities to nobly carry out the requirements of such an austere office.

Your esteemed position was established in 1789 under the United States Constitution, during a time when the founding Fathers were highly respected and the Constitution was unquestionably the law of the land. It was created long before President Barack Obama was born and prior to his first “apology tour” around the world.

Your position is the second in the United States presidential line of succession, right after the Vice President and ahead of the President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate.

It’s a tremendous position of trust, honor, and power. The American people depend upon you to uphold that office with the dignity set forth in the Constitution and to represent them to the best of your ability.

While I can’t and don’t speak for everyone, I believe that you have failed the American people and have irrevocably lost their trust.

Several actions that you took have led me to this conclusion.

Who could forget the “Cromnibus” bill and the vote taken under your leadership, in which funding was extended for the Department of Homeland Security until February 2015 and funding for most of the federal government through September 2015, including Obamacare?

The bill did nothing, at the time, to block Obama’s illegal immigration actions which granted quasi-legal status, work permits and provided Social Security numbers to illegal immigrants.

Back in November 2014, right after the Republicans won the majority vote for both the House and Senate, you warned Obama against signing an illegal immigration executive order on amnesty and told him that the House was going to vote to repeal Obamacare.

You said then, “I’ve made clear to the president that if he acts unilaterally on his own, outside of his authority, he will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving in this Congress, it’s as simple as that.”

It’s true, you did “vote” to repeal Obamacare, but Obamacare has not been repealed nor has it been defunded.

Additionally, Obama is closer than ever to getting his executive actions on amnesty up and running. You played a part in helping him achieve this goal when you separated the funding of the Department of Homeland Security from the issue of the executive order on amnesty.

Once again, you caved on DHS funding and this in turn gave the Democrats a long-term DHS funding bill with no immigration provisions, just like when you voted for “Cromnibus.”

If it weren’t for the court currently ordering a stay, Obama’s executive order on immigration would be in full-swing right now. Thankfully, we still have a functioning court for the most part, that can be utilized to uphold the Constitutional principles, at least for now.

You are not a leader, John! You are a “caver” and a pawn for the Democratic Party. Your comrades in politics have vowed to protect you from the “big bad” Republican Tea Party who also want to write you a “Dear John” letter but don’t have the votes to do it.

Know this, John: You will go down in political history as the Republican who helped the progressive left achieve their goals while assisting in causing the Republican Party to fail to fulfill its goals. In addition, you will be responsible for the loss of Republican Party members due to those having had enough of your apparent change of heart to represent your own party.

A principled and moral House Speaker would take the high road and admit that he no longer represents the Republican Party ideologies. He would then stepdown and turn over the position to someone who does. If you choose not to stepdown, which is most likely what you will do, then you must take the onus, along with Obama for “fundamentally transforming” this country to a place that Republican constituents do not support.

It seems that the philosophy to which you once aspired in 2013, may no longer hold any significance to you. A plaque on your desk then with words written in Latin, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down,” may be very telling as to what changed a man who came from humble beginnings and once lived a seemingly down-to-earth and blue collar life.

In closing, John, many people of the United States feel as I do and will join with me in no longer supporting the Republican Party financially or otherwise, until you have resigned as Speaker of the House. You have forgotten who you were elected to serve and conservatives have had enough.

Sincerely,

We the People of the United States of America

Read more at http://threepercenternation.com/2015/03/dear-john-boehner-conservatives-are-breaking-up-with-you/

Glenn Beck ‘done’ with Republican Party (I’M GLAD I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.)*

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By DYLAN BYERS | 3/18/15 10:58 AM EDT

Glenn Beck, the conservative/libertarian radio host and media entrepreneur, said Wednesday he is officially done with the Republican Party.

“I’ve made my decision – I’m out. I’m out of the Republican Party,” Beck said on his radio show. “I am not a Republican; I will not give a dime to the Republican Party. I’m out. I highly recommend – run from the Republican Party. They are not good.”

Beck’s apparent frustration lies with the GOP’s inability to defeat President Obama’s actions on health care and immigration, as well as the establishment wing’s opposition to insurgent senators like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz.

“They ran and they said they were doing all of these great things and they were going to stand against Obamacare and illegal immigration – they set us up,” Beck said. “They set us up. Enough is enough. They’re torpedoing the Constitution and they’re doing it knowingly. They’re taking on people like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz and they are torpedoing them. Knowingly.”

“So I’m done with them,” Beck continued. “Four years ago, I was with them. Four years ago, I said work from the inside: let’s change it. Let’s get new guys in there. It’s too late.”

Beck, who achieved national fame and notoriety as a Fox News host, wields a significant amount of influence among conservatives and libertarians. He launched his own news site, TheBlaze, which includes television, radio and digital platforms, in 2011.