Posts Tagged ‘ObamaCare’

Teachers Can Send Message to Unions

Teachers Can Send Message to Unions

Check out the letter to the editor written by Beacon CEO Justin Owen and J.C. Bowman from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

One of the biggest draws for businesses to relocate to and grow in Tennessee is our right-to-work environment. Unlike in many states, Tennesseans cannot be forced to join a union and pay dues in order to keep their jobs.

That’s why it is important to celebrate National Employee Freedom Week, which runs through Saturday. This week serves as a reminder that employees should be free to join — or withdraw from — a union. In fact, more than 80 percent of Tennesseans believe in employees’ freedom to join or leave a union when they see fit.

Here in Tennessee, the state teachers’ union has advocated for a state income tax, a measure that, if enacted, would have substantially raised its own members’ tax bills. Its national outfit — the National Education Association — has endorsed a complete government-takeover of health care. Whatever one’s position on these issues, what do income taxes and Obamacare have to do with representing teachers?

Tennessee’s teachers should take the time to review their dues deduction authorization. The teachers’ unions continue to make the process of opting out difficult and complicated. We believe opting out should be simple and transparent.

Teachers can use this week as the perfect time to send the message that unions should work to protect their members, not advance a radical, left-wing political agenda out of step with mainstream Tennesseans.

Justin Owen, president and CEO, Beacon Center of Tennessee, and J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, Nashville

August 12th, 2014 | Feature, Recent News

“Crisis” Communication

“Crisis” Communication

I recently heard a talk radio interview with a D.C.-based operative. This operative is usually on the right side of issues, but something struck me during the interview. The discussion revolved around the “transportation crisis” hitting our nation’s capital. Another crisis?! Shocker.

There are certainly pressing matters to address—our debt is at an all time high, and we have done nothing to quell limitless spending; Obamacare is ravaging our economy and driving a wedge between doctors and patients; and we are embroiled in several real predicaments at home and abroad. But the current “crises” often discussed by cable TV talking heads and Beltway elites are nothing but manufactured storms of political convenience.

Take the numerous debt ceiling discussions that have taken place over the past couple of years. There have been so many shutdown showdowns that I don’t even care to go back and count the number. Politicians would draw a line in the sand, hold a months-long stare off on their respective sides of the line, then wipe away the line with their feet and move along, no substantive change resulting from their charade.

While the lack of adequate transportation funding is indeed a real issue, of course it’s not a shortage of revenue that plights us, it’s the squandering of existing funding on unnecessary projects. It’s been a problem coming for a long time, with few caring to even give it a passing glance. Yet, D.C. politicians and the hucksters who sell their crises-in-a-bottle are trying to convince us that this new ordeal is the most important issue of our time. Just like the last crisis and the one before it.

We don’t need to send politicians to Washington to fix our crises. We need statesmen who won’t create them in the first place. The best time to start a family budget is not after filing for bankruptcy, nor is it prudent to buy car insurance after you have a fender bender. We need to roll up our sleeves and fix the problems plaguing our nation’s long-term survival, not become distracted by the manufactured crisis de jour.

-Justin Owen

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August 6th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

Rapid Response: Is Obamacare a Sinking Ship?

Rapid Response: Is Obamacare a Sinking Ship?

When Congress was scrambling to pass Obamacare back in 2010, they certainly made some missteps in the nearly 1,000 pages of text. One such misstep was to limit subsidies that Americans can receive for purchasing health insurance to plans purchased “through an exchange established by the state.” A smug president and Congress assumed that all states would set up their own exchanges—local type sites—so there would be no cause for concern.

But now there is. Numerous states, including our own, accurately concluded that setting up a state exchange would be too costly and the strings attached by the federal government not worth the headache. So they left the Obama administration to set up its own exchanges in the states, where some 4.5 million Americans have now purchased health insurance.

Back to that phrase about “exchange established by the state.” According to the plain language of the law, those purchasing insurance through a federal exchange do not qualify for subsidies, because the federal government is not at all a “state.” Despite the clear wording, the Obama administration realized the mistake and quickly acted to “correct” it via a unilateral rule passed by the IRS.

In today’s decision, the D.C. Court of Appeals sided with common sense and the letter of the law, ruling that no subsidies can flow through federally-created exchanges like the one in Tennessee, and repudiating the executive branch’s attempts to just re-write laws duly passed by Congress.

This means that without the subsidies, many of those purchasing insurance through cannot afford coverage, and may drop their plan altogether and pay the fine instead. The ability of the Obama administration to hook millions of Americans onto Obamacare relies considerably on the carrot represented by these subsidies. Without that carrot, enrollees simply get the stick.

This isn’t the end of the road, but it’s a severe blow for Obamacare, and it has far greater implications for the future of the law than even the Hobby Lobby case a few weeks ago. The appellate court’s full panel can review the case and possibly overturn the ruling, but the decision definitely increases the probability that this issue will wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. If the high court does its job, it will uphold the plain language of the statute, striking down the IRS rule. Let’s hope “what we meant to say was…” is not accepted as a viable excuse for one branch unilaterally changing the law passed by another. If it is, we have even bigger problems on our hands than Obamacare.

-Justin Owen 


July 22nd, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

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