Skip to comments.Top five O-Care controversies.... 1) Canceled health plans
Posted on 12/25/2013 5:28:55 PM PST by Sub-Driver
December 25, 2013, 02:00 pm Top five O-Care controversies
By Elise Viebeck
The Obama administration faced an extraordinarily tough year when it came to Affordable Care Act's rollout and the surrounding debate. Between missed deadlines, botched projects and massive PR stumbles, the White House spent months trying to recover momentum for its signature domestic achievement.
Below are the healthcare law's top controversies in 2013:
1) Canceled health plans
One of President Obama's key promises that under ObamaCare, you could keep your health plan if you like it was turned on its head this fall when millions of people received cancellation notices from their insurance companies. The wave created a political firestorm for the White House as Republicans hammered Obama on his promise, which had also been echoed by many Democrats on Capitol Hill. The assurance was eventually labeled "Lie of the Year" by Politifact, a fact-checking organization with ties to the Tampa Bay Times.
The controversy took an unexpected turn in mid-November when former President Bill Clinton urged Obama to "honor the commitment," even if it meant a policy fix that would alter the Affordable Care Act's rollout. Days later, Obama announced that insurance companies could continue offering plans that would have been canceled under ObamaCare to their existing holders for an additional year.
The cancellation "fix" has had mixed results. Obama's announcement prompted an immediate backlash from health insurers loathe to accept blame for canceled plans. Several states have said they will not accept late renewals, arguing that plans that do not comply with ObamaCare are substandard. And the House passed legislation for a broader "fix" that received support from 39 Democrats.
While the criticism has quieted, plan cancellations are expected to be a major theme in next year's midterm elections. Republicans are eager to blame vulnerable Democrats for vowing that consumers could keep their coverage and frame the issue as part of a wider narrative of dysfunction surrounding ObamaCare's rollout. Democrats will try to argue that the law extends help to many people whose plans have been canceled, and that any GOP healthcare plan would also disrupt individuals' coverage, but it remains to be seen how much these arguments will help.
ObamaCare's federal enrollment website was supposed to be the easy part of the law's rollout. During its construction, the system was repeatedly compared to sites like Travelocity and Match.com, where millions of users can simultaneously navigate a complex, individualized shopping experience. But trouble was apparent on the morning of the launch, as users faced delays and glitchy code. The vast and persistent problems with HealthCare.gov created months of negative news for the White House and thwarted millions of users hoping to purchase health insurance.
The site has improved after hundreds of fixes to revamp the user experience and increase capacity. Criticism has quieted, and the administration has sought to relieve deadline pressure on consumers who faced technical problems with the system. Yet some issues are still lingering, including back-end glitches that have generated flawed transmissions from HealthCare.gov to insurance companies. The administration also flubbed other online enrollment systems, launching the Spanish-language site months late and delaying web-based sign-ups for small businesses by one year.
3) Employer mandate delay
The Obama administration took everyone by surprise in July by announcing that larger employers would not be required to offer health insurance to their workers until 2015. The decision came in reaction to pressure from the business community, which had sought more time to build the technical systems required to comply with the "employer mandate." Republicans immediately pounced on the move as a double-standard, since consumers will still be required to comply with the individual mandate to carry health insurance starting in 2014.
4) Government shutdown fight
The federal government shut down on Oct. 1 over a fiscal stalemate that was defined by Republicans' opposition to ObamaCare. The House GOP made three government-funding offers as the shutdown loomed in late September, each attacking the healthcare law in a different way. (One would have defunded the law, one would have delayed it for one year, and one would have delayed the individual mandate for one year.) Senate Democrats and the White House firmly rejected each bill, and vulnerable Dems in the upper chamber failed to rally around the GOP position as some conservatives had hoped. The shutdown saw Republicans' poll numbers drop, even as ObamaCare's new insurance exchanges began facing massive technical problems on Oct. 1. The final deal to reopen the government did virtually nothing to alter the healthcare law.
5) Congressional subsidies
The month of January will see lawmakers and most staffers enter ObamaCare's new insurance exchanges, but this shift did not come without controversy. The first firestorm came in the summer when the administration ruled that members and aides can continue receiving a generous employer healthcare subsidy despite moving out of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan. Many people had expressed concerns that Capitol Hill workers would depart to the private sector if made to pay the entire cost of their healthcare coverage like those in the individual market. President Obama reportedly told lawmakers he was personally involved in preventing this outcome.
The decision to extend subsidies to members and staff was widely criticized on the right, and it prompted Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) to propose legislation that would stop the contributions from going forward. Vitter's bills became part of several distinct conflicts throughout the fall, including debate over raising the debt ceiling in October.
Conflict reared its head again when news broke that lawmakers could keep their aides off of the exchanges by deeming them "official staff" instead of "official office." Some pro-ObamaCare offices later regretted choices to shift workers on the exchanges, citing higher costs for older staffers. Aides also encountered problems enrolling in the District of Columbia's new marketplace, and received notices to confirm their sign-ups in person rather than online.
Obamacare? It's a failure. How much of a "controversy" is that?
This one was a blessing for Obama, it kept Obamacare off the news.
Once the House started passing partial funding bills like for the military, bills which didn't defund Obamacare(but wasn't that the whole point?) , the shutdown had little to do with Obamacare.
NOTRE DAME PROFESSOR ON OBAMACARE
THE CHRISTIAN POST ^ | 11/20/2013 | Laura Hollis
Obamacare Should Remind Us We Are Not ‘Subjects,’ We Are People Laura Hollis is a professor at the University of Notre Dame November 20, 2013 http://www.christianpost.com/news/obamacare-should-remind-us-we-are-not-subjects-we-are-people-109165/
Laura Hollis is a professor at the University of Notre Dame
The unveiling of the dictatorial debacle that is Obamacare absolutely flabbergasts me. It is stunning on so many levels, but the most shocking aspect of it for me is watching millions of free Americans stand idly by while this man, his minions in Congress and his cheerleaders in the press systematically dismantle our Constitution, steal our money, and crush our freedoms. The President, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (with no small help from Justice John Roberts) take away our health care, and we allow it. They take away our insurance, and we allow it. They take away our doctors, and we allow it. They charge us thousands of dollars more a year, and we allow it. They make legal products illegal, and we allow it. They cripple our businesses, and we allow it. They announce by fiat that we must ignore our most deeply held beliefs and we allow it.
Where is your spine, America ? Yes, I know people are complaining. I read the news on the internet. I read blogs. I have a Twitter feed. So what? People in the Soviet Union complained. People in Cuba complain. People in China complain (quietly). Complaining isn’t the same thing as doing anything about it. In fact, much of the complaining that we hear sounds like resignation: Wow. This sucks. Oh well, this is the way things are. Too bad. Perhaps you need reminding of a few important facts. Here goes:
1. The President is not a king. Barack Obama does not behave like a President, an elected official, someone who realizes that he works for us. He behaves like a king, a dictator someone who believes that his own pronouncements have the force of law, and who thinks he can dispense with the law’s enforcement when he deigns to do so. And those of us who object? How dare we? Racists! And while he moves steadily “forward” with his plans to “fundamentally transform” the greatest country in human history, he distracts people with cheap, meaningless trivialities, like “free birth control pills”! (In fact, let’s face it: this administration’s odd obsession with sex in general - Birth control! Abortion! Sterilization! Gay guys who play basketball! — is just plain weird. Since when did the leader of the free world care so much about how people have sex, who they have it with, and what meds they use when they have it? Does he have nothing more important to concern himself with?)
2. It isn’t just a failed software program; it is a failed philosophy. People are marveling that Healthcare.gov was such a spectacular failure. Well, if one is only interested in it as a product launch, I’ve explained some of the reasons for that here. But the larger point is that it isn’t a software failure, or even a product failure; it is a philosophy failure. I have said this before: Obama is not a centrist; he is a central planner. And this all of it: the disastrous computer program, the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted, the lies, the manipulation of public opinion, the theft of the public’s money and property, and freedom (read insurance, and premiums, and doctors) — IS what central planning looks like. The central premise of central planning is that a handful of wunderkinds with your best interests at heart (yeah, right) know better than you what’s good for you. The failure of such a premise and the misery it causes have been clear from the dawn of humanity. Kings and congressmen, dictators and Dear Leaders, potentates, princes and presidents can all fall prey to the same imperial impulses: “we know what is good the ‘the people.’ And they are always wrong. There is a reason that the only times communism has really been tried have been after wars, revolutions, or coups d’état. You have to have complete chaos for people to be willing to accept the garbage that centralized planning produces. Take the Soviet Union , for example. After two wars, famine, and the collapse of the Romanov dynasty, why wouldn’t people wait in line for hours to buy size 10 shoes? Or settle for the gray matter that passed for meat in the grocery stores? But communism’s watered-down cousin, socialism, isn’t much better. Ask the Venezuelans who cannot get toilet paper. Toilet paper. ¡Viva la Revolución! Contrary to what so many who believe in a “living Constitution” say, the Founding Fathers absolutely understood this. That is why the Constitution was set up to limit government power. (Memo to the President: the drafters of the Constitution deliberately didn’t say “what government had to do on your behalf.”) They understood that that was the path to folly, fear, and famine.)
3. Obama is deceitful. Just as the collapse of the computer program should not surprise anyone, neither should we be shocked that the President lied about his healthcare plan. Have any of you been paying attention over the past few years? Obama has made no secret of his motivations or his methods. The philosophies which inspire him espouse deceit and other vicious tactics. (Don’t take my word for it: read Saul Alinsky.) Obama infamously told reporter Richard Wolffe, “You know, I actually believe my own bullshit.” He has refused to be forthcoming about his past (where are his academic records?). His own pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, told author Ed Klein, that Obama said to him, “You know what your problem is? You have to tell the truth.” Did Obama lie when he said dozens of times, “If you like you plan, you can keep it. Period!”? Of course he did. That’s what he does.
4. The media is responsible. And had the media been doing their jobs, we would have known a lot of this much, much earlier. The press is charged with the sacred responsibility of protecting the people from the excesses of government. Our press has been complicit, incompetent, or corrupt. Had they vetted this man in 2008, as they would have a Republican candidate, we would have known far more about him than we do, even now. Had they pressed for more details about Obamacare, Congress’ feet would have been held to the fire. Had they done their jobs about Eric Holder, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, NSA spying - or any of the other myriad betrayals of the public trust that this administration has committed, Obama would likely have lost his 2012 reelection campaign. (A fact that even The Washington Post has tacitly acknowledged. Well done, fellas! Happy now?) Instead, they turned a blind eye, even when they knew he was lying, abusing power, disregarding the limits of the Constitution. It was only when he began to spy on them, and when the lies were so blatant that the lowest of low-information voters could figure it out that they realized they had to report on it. (Even in the face of blatant, deliberate and repeated lies, The New York Times has the audacity to tell us that the President “misspoke.”) They have betrayed us, abandoned us, and deceived us.
5. Ted Cruz was right. So was Sarah Palin. The computer program is a disaster. The insurance exchanges are a disaster. What’s left? The healthcare system itself. And this, of necessity, will be a disaster, too. Millions of people have lost their individual insurance plans. In 2015, millions more will lose their employer-provided coverage (a fact which the Obama administration also knew, and admitted elsewhere).
The exorbitant additional costs that Obamacare has foisted on unsuspecting Americans are all part of a plan of wealth confiscation and redistribution. That is bad enough. But it will not end there. When the numbers of people into the system and the corresponding demand for care vastly exceed the cost projections (and they will, make no mistake), then the rationing will start. Not only choice at that point, but quality and care itself will go down the tubes. And then will come the decisions made by the Independent Payment Advisory Board about what care will be covered (read “paid for”) and what will not. That’s just a death panel, put politely. In fact, progressives are already greasing the wheels for acceptance of that miserable reality as well. They’re spreading the lie that it will be about the ability of the dying to refuse unwanted or unhelpful care. Don’t fall for that one, either. It will be about the deaths that inevitably result from decisions made by people other than the patients, their families, and their physicians. (Perhaps it’s helpful to think of their assurances this way: “If you like your end-of-life care, you can keep your end-of-life-care.”)
6. We are not SUBJECTS. (or, Nice Try, the Tea Party Isn’t Going Away). We have tolerated these incursions into our lives and livelihoods too long already. There is no end to the insatiable demand “progressives” have to remake us in their image. Today it is our insurance, our businesses, our doctors, our health care. Tomorrow some new crusade will be announced that enables them to take over other aspects of our formerly free lives. I will say it again: WE ARE NOT SUBJECTS. Not only is the Tea Party right on the fiscal issues, but it appears that they are more relevant than ever. We fought a war once to prove we did not want to be the subjects of a king, and the Boston Tea Party was just a taste of the larger conflict to come. If some people missed that lesson in history class, we can give them a refresher. The 2014 elections are a good place to start. Call your representative, your senator, your candidate and tell them: “We are not subjects. You work for us. And if the word “REPEAL” isn’t front and center in your campaign, we won’t vote for you. Period.”
Laura Hollis is an attorney and teaches entrepreneurship and business law at the University of Notre Dame . She resides in Indiana with her husband and two children.
Finally, someone who thinks like me In this country many people have always talked about the banana republics (referring mostly to Central and South American countries), their revolutions, their coup detats, etc. But when the governments act like they have in those countries, usually that is the ONLY way to get rid of them. In this country, up to 2008, that was not the case but since then it is rapidly going that route and the natives are not used to it nor prepared to fight it effectively. Most of those natives (and sadly quite a few natives of those banana republics) naively believe in the checks and balances which the usurper is quietly but swiftly doing away with. I repeat Professor Hollis words: Where is your spine, America ? In case someone wants to write, her address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark for later...
The article failed to mention the Severe Security problems with the website. One user got another users private information without even trying. Another was the victim of ID Theft. Developmental website left users information open to the web.
These Security Issues would have caused an immediate fix in the private sector, but because it is government this is OK??
Not to mention, of course, that many "Navigators" have criminal records and were not screened for the same.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
President Obamas Top 10 Constitutional Violations Of 2013
By Ilya Shapiro
One of Barack Obamas chief accomplishments has been to return the Constitution to a central place in our public discourse.
Unfortunately, the president fomented this upswing in civic interest not by talking up the constitutional aspects of his policy agenda, but by blatantly violating the strictures of our founding document. And hes been most frustrated with the separation of powers, which doesnt allow him to fundamentally transform the country without congressional acquiescence.
But that hasnt stopped him. In its first term, the Administration launched a We Cant Wait initiative, with senior aide Dan Pfeiffer explaining that when Congress wont act, this president will. And earlier this year, President Obama said in announcing his new economic plans that I will not allow gridlock, or inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way.
And so, as we reach the end of another year of political strife thats fundamentally based on clashing views on the role of government in society, I thought Id update a list I made two years ago and hereby present President Obamas top 10 constitutional violations of 2013.
1. Delay of Obamacares out-of-pocket caps. The Labor Department announced in February that it was delaying for a year the part of the healthcare law that limits how much people have to spend on their own insurance. This may have been sensibleinsurers and employers need time to comply with rapidly changing regulationsbut changing the law requires actual legislation.
2. Delay of Obamacares employer mandate. The administration announced via blogpost on the eve of the July 4 holiday that it was delaying the requirement that employers of at least 50 people provide complying insurance or pay a fine. This time it did cite statutory authority, but the cited provisions allow the delay of certain reporting requirements, not of the mandate itself.
3. Delay of Obamacares insurance requirements. The famous pledge that if you like your plan, you can keep it backfired when insurance companies started cancelling millions of plans that didnt comply with Obamacares requirements. President Obama called a press conference last month to proclaim that people could continue buying non-complying plans in 2014despite Obamacares explicit language to the contrary. He then refused to consider a House-passed bill that wouldve made this action legal.
4. Exemption of Congress from Obamacare. A little-known part of Obamacare requires Congressmen and their staff to get insurance through the new healthcare exchanges, rather than a taxpayer-funded program. In the quiet of August, President Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management to interpret the law to maintain the generous congressional benefits.
5. Expansion of the employer mandate penalty through IRS regulation. Obamacare grants tax credits to people whose employers dont provide coverage if they buy a plan through an Exchange established by the Stateand then fines employers for each employee receiving such a subsidy. No tax credits are authorized for residents of states where the exchanges are established by the federal government, as an incentive for states to create exchanges themselves. Because so few (16) states did, however, the IRS issued a rule ignoring that plain text and allowed subsidies (and commensurate fines) for plans coming from a State Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary Exchange, and federally-facilitated Exchange.
6. Political profiling by the IRS. After seeing a rise in the number of applications for tax-exempt status, the IRS in 2010 compiled a be on the lookout (BOLO) list to identify organizations engaged in political activities. The list included words such as Tea Party, Patriots, and Israel; subjects such as government spending, debt, or taxes; and activities such as criticizing the government, educating about the Constitution, or challenging Obamacare. The targeting continued through May of this year.
7. Outlandish Supreme Court arguments. Between January 2012 and June 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Justice Departments extreme positions 9 times. The cases ranged from criminal procedure to property rights, religious liberty to immigration, securities regulation to tax law. They had nothing in common other than the governments view that federal power is virtually unlimited. As a comparison, in the entire Bush and Clinton presidencies, the government suffered 15 and 23 unanimous rulings, respectively.
8. Recess appointments. Last year, President Obama appointed three members of the National Labor Relations Board, as well as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, during what he considered to be a Senate recess. But the Senate was still holding pro forma sessions every three daysa technique developed by Sen. Harry Reid to thwart Bush recess appointments. (Meanwhile, the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, provides that authority remains with the Treasury Secretary until a director is confirmed by the Senate.) In January, the D.C. Circuit held the NLRB appointments to be unconstitutional, which ruling White House spokesman Jay Carney said only applied to one court, one case, one company.
9. Assault on free speech and due process on college campuses. Responding to complaints about the University of Montanas handling of sexual assault claims, the Department of Educations Office of Civil Rights, in conjunction with the Justice Department, sent the university a letter intended as a national blueprint for tackling sexual harassment. The letter urges a crackdown on unwelcome speech and requires complaints to be heard in quasi-judicial procedures that deny legal representation, encourage punishment before trial, and convict based on a mere more likely than not standard.
10. Mini-DREAM Act. Congress has shamelessly failed to pass any sort of immigration reform, including for the most sympathetic victims of the current non-system, young people who were brought into the country illegally as children. Nonetheless, President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority, directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers. The executive branch undoubtedly has discretion regarding enforcement priorities, but granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.
It was hard to limit myself to 10 items, of courseObamacare alone couldve filled many such listsbut these, in my judgment, represent the chief executives biggest dereliction this year of his duty to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and to take care that the law be faithfully executed.
Alas, things may get worse before they get better. New presidential counselor John Podestas belief in governance by fiat is no secret; in a 2010 report, he wrote that focusing on executive power presents a real opportunity for the Obama administration to turn its focus away from a divided Congress and the unappetizing process of making legislative sausage.
Happy New Year!
Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.
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