Posts Tagged ‘ObamaCare’
King vs. Burwell. The little known heavy weight fight of the Obama administration’s tenure. This is for all of the Obamacare marbles. On March 4th, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in the case to decide whether to overturn an IRS rule that makes federal subsidies available to those enrolled in Obamacare and live in states without a state exchange. Of course, this case also serves to expose what many of us have known to be true since before Nancy Pelosi said we needed to pass the bill to know what’s in it: that without massive federal subsidies, the highly touted healthcare reforms promised by the President’s unAffordable Care Act (ACA) are in fact, not affordable.
Unfortunately for the President, the language in the ACA is quite clear. Federal subsidies are made available for plans purchased on exchanges “established by a state under Section 1311.” On Sept. 30th, 2014, a federal district court judge ruled that health insurance purchased through the federal exchange is not eligible for a subsidy under the ACA. This set the stage for the Supreme Court showdown in King vs. Burwell, which will determine whether 13 million Americans could lose their subsidies and likely be unable to afford a plan on the Obamacare exchange. However, and perhaps just as biting for the administration as the potential stripping of federal subsidies, a Supreme Court reversal of the IRS rule would also mean that Americans can no longer be penalized for not purchasing insurance in states that have refused to set up an exchange.
Yet, the fact that millions could have their perceived safety nets ripped from underneath them would be a tragedy—not because the subsidies to non-exchange states were overturned (because they are illegal and should be, since the Supreme Court’s responsibility is to uphold the rule of law), but because the president promised affordable healthcare, and delivered higher taxes, higher deductibles, robust mandates, and broken promises. In short, the ACA has been an immoral action from the beginning because it was passed with knowingly false assurances that leaves some our nation’s most vulnerable out to dry. For more background on King vs. Burwell, see the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon’s latest analysis in Forbes.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a projected 343,415 Tennesseans will stand to lose their subsidies if the Supreme Court overturns the IRS rule that allows subsidies to flow to non-exchange states. Certainly, these individuals should never have been subjected to these risks—an unfortunate consequence of relying upon an unreliable federal government.
However, as I noted, a Supreme Court decision against the IRS rule means that Tennesseans will no longer be subjected to federal fines for not having insurance. In an effort to preserve this immunity, the Tennessee legislature will be considering a bill today in Senate Commerce and Labor, sponsored by Senator Brian Kelsey, that will prohibit Tennessee from establishing a state exchange should the federal subsidies be overturned. Passing this legislation would ensure that Tennesseans will not be fined for not having insurance, and is an important first step towards protecting Tennesseans from future detrimental exposure from the ACA.
February 24th, 2015 | Beacon Blog, Recent News
As our researchers at Beacon have been anticipating, TennCare enrollment has skyrocketed due to Obamacare’s mandate to purchase insurance. We’ve been sounding the alarm about the “woodwork effect” of those who qualify for TennCare but had previously failed to enroll in the government-run insurance program. Now that Tennesseans will be fined for going without insurance, those who qualify for free TennCare are certainly starting to take advantage of it. Thus far in 2014, enrollment has grown by 120,000 people, and this is happening even without a Medicaid expansion in our state.
If we were to expand Medicaid as President Obama has pushed our state to do, this means even more people – at even greater costs – crowding onto the TennCare rolls. This is bad for those already on the program, it’s bad for those who would be enrolled, and it’s bad for taxpayers who can ill afford to cover the tab. It’s enough to grabble with the costly and unavoidable woodwork effect; it’s another to voluntarily submit to more pain. To learn more about the consequences of expanding the program, check out this new infographic we released along with State Budget Solutions and Federalism in Action.
President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, otherwise known as the education czar, is canvassing the South to take stock of how federal education programs and initiatives are faring in several states. Among Duncan’s visits was a stop at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Chambliss Center for Children, where he encouraged Gov. Bill Haslam to continue embracing Obama’s education agenda with the same enthusiasm that Haslam exhibited with the President’s “Race to the Top” program.
It seems that Duncan believes Haslam has drank the Obama education reform kool-aide and is ready for another glass. This time, Duncan hopes that Tennessee will compete for a portion of the $250 million in federal Pre-K grants available for select states. As TN Report’s Alex Harris explains, “The feds are holding [these] out as an incentive to encourage states to sign more kids up for early education programs.” Translation: The feds are bribing state governments with taxpayer dollars to push Obama’s agenda.
As with many other agenda’s the President deploys, this Pre-K scheme is both costly and ineffective. Here are the facts:
- Vanderbilt University evaluated 1,000 Pre-K students across the state and found that the slight benefits these students had in math and language over peers not enrolled in Pre-K barely lasted past kindergarten and were completely gone by 2nd grade.
- According to findings published in the Journal Science, the highest-rated publicly funded Pre-K classrooms’ results are no better than lower-rated classrooms.
- Yet, Tennessee spent over $85 million on Pre-K in 2013, and the feds want us taxpayers to pony up even more.
Perhaps Duncan missed our Dr. Seuss-inspired poligraphic, “Pre-K Sham, Uncle Sam” in January.
In any event, we hope he enjoys his time in the South, but suggest Duncan keeps his Washington-grown “solutions” where they belong. Between Obamacare that isn’t, and the so-called stimulus package that wasn’t, Tennessee will be seeking solutions elsewhere.
-Lindsay BoydSeptember 15th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News