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The House of Representatives Endorses Obamacare
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Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives crafted a partisan compromise bill that endorsed and reinforced the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This was done notwithstanding claims to the contrary by President Donald Trump and the House Republican leadership, who want us to believe that this bill, if it becomes law, will effectively repeal and replace Obamacare.

Obamacare is a stool with four problematic legs. The constitutional leg is the premise that the federal government has the lawful power to regulate the delivery of health care. The legal leg is the premise that the federal government is obliged to provide health insurance to everyone in America. The economic leg commands that everyone in the U.S. purchase and maintain health insurance. And the Orwellian leg says that every physician in the U.S. shall retain all patient records digitally and that federal bureaucrats shall have access to all those records.

None of that is changed in the House-passed bill. Here is the back story.

The original Obamacare proposal had the taxpayers foot everyone’s medical bills through a series of taxes, regulations and controls. That is the so-called single-payer system that former President Barack Obama dreamed of. It would have been much like the systems in place today in Great Britain, Canada and Australia, where one waits for months to see government-employed physicians who are stingy with government-owned medications and mired in red tape and long lines over government-financed medical procedures.

Even many of the Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress during Obama’s first two years in office were unable to accept that idea. In its place, they produced a 2,700-page piece of legislation, which candidate Trump vowed to dismantle — saying he favored a market-based, state-regulated system with no federal involvement, the kind we knew in the pre-Obamacare era.
None of those goals is reached by the House-passed bill.

Obamacare’s imposition of the federal government between all patients and their physicians was a radical departure from the traditional delivery of medical services in America. This was done with utter disregard to the constitutional constraints imposed upon Congress — whereby the regulation of health, safety and welfare was retained by the states — and by radically expanding federal power derived from the Constitution.

Congress’ favorite constitutional hook upon which to hang its regulatory hat has been the commerce clause. After more than a half-century of letting Congress characterize nearly any human activity as commerce — and thus regulable federally — the Supreme Court in 1995 required that only those behaviors that constitute or support a truly commercial transaction can be reached by the feds. The professions — medicine, law, architecture, engineering, university teaching, for example — though one pays for them, had never been considered to be commercial in the sense that they could be federally regulable, until Obamacare came along.
None of this is changed in the House-passed bill.

Under Obamacare, the federal government took over the regulation of health care from the states with a one-size-fits-all metric administered by faceless bureaucrats. I say faceless because when you go to your doctor today, she or he may need the approval of a federal bureaucrat to perform a procedure for you — a bureaucrat the doctor will never see, only read via a laptop.

None of this is changed in the House-passed bill.

Obamacare also established the duty of the federal government to provide health insurance for every American. No law before Obamacare ever attempted that ambitious unconstitutional improbability. When the Supreme Court accepted a constitutional challenge to the Social Security system, it ruled that the system consisted of taxing and spending — but created no legally binding obligation on the part of the federal government to spend in the future. Stated differently, under Obamacare, the feds can take your money that they have promised you they will spend on your health care and spend it as they see fit.

None of this is changed in the House-passed bill.

The individual mandate in Obamacare requires that every person in America have health insurance. It also requires employers of more than 50 people to provide health insurance for all employees who work for those employers for more than 30 hours a week. The failure to provide or maintain a health insurance policy by employers or individuals triggers the imposition of a tax by the IRS.

Under the House-passed bill, your employer no longer has to provide you with health insurance, but you must still maintain your own health insurance. Instead of paying the IRS if you let your coverage lapse, you have to pay a $3,000 annual penalty to your insurance carrier — once you do sign up — for every year you lacked coverage.

What kind of a repeal is that?

And the faceless bureaucrats still reign. The House-passed bill permits the feds to decide whether your doctor is treating you in a manner consistent with the availability of government resources and to administer Obamacare’s thousands of minute politically driven regulations.

By definition, Obamacare will soon be a failure because it causes the expenditure of more money than it takes in. Eventually, it will have no cash. But Barack Obama may have subtly succeeded in changing the landscape of thinking about federal involvement in health care. For those who believe that the Constitution means what it says, it was disheartening to see President Trump and so many Republicans in Congress who once defended the free market now assume that all Americans want the feds to care for them and that somehow the Constitution permits it.

Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton rarely agreed on principles of government. But they did agree that when the public treasury becomes a public trough and the people recognize that, the people will send to the federal government only those who will bring home the biggest piece of the federal pie. The House-passed bill was produced by federal government representatives who manifest that.

That’s the same federal government that can’t deliver the mail.

Copyright 2017 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Obamacare 
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  1. Obama Care is not about health care or health insurance or the constitution. It’s about corruption and rent seeking. Health care racketeers took a bag of money into a room with Obama and came out with Obamacare. American citizens don’t like it when the health care racket leaves them dead or bankrupt. They rightly blame their crooked government which is supposed to protect them from extortion by health care monopolists. What the house Republicans have endorsed is crime. They can no longer blame it on Obama. It’s Trump Care now.

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  2. I know government bashing is fun, but this is just incorrect:

    “That is the so-called single-payer system that former President Barack Obama dreamed of. It would have been much like the systems in place today in Great Britain, Canada and Australia, where one waits for months to see government-employed physicians who are stingy with government-owned medications and mired in red tape and long lines over government-financed medical procedures.”

    In single-payer, the government is the insurance company, and all care is provided by the private sector. This is our Medicare system, where no one waits months to see a doctor, and no one over 65 declines to use. Obama never proposed single payer with its 3% government overhead fee, but had taxpayers subsidize the insurance giants 40% overhead fee, which is why Republicans had trouble cutting it back. Canadians love their single payer system, although rare stories of Canadians wanting American health care is often promoted as proof of failure, by our insurance and big pharma racketeers.

    The Brits have a socialist health care system like our VA, which is rated better than average compared to America’s chaotic “free market” system. If you read international comparisons, America’s system costs twice as much and is rated below average.

    Some things work better in government. Your police and fire department is socialist, and so are your airports and road networks. Healthcare is so important and complex that it must be government run. This is why even our “free market” insurance system is heavily regulated. If you insist on the free market, never call 911 for an emergency because socialists will arrive to help.

    Read More
    • Replies: @WorkingClass
    The Judge means well. But he is a Libertarian. He puts his faith in a living document and an invisible hand.
    , @mukat
    "chaotic free market system" LOL haven't heard that phrase since the berlin wall came down.

    This poster has made up his mind, but other readers skeptical of libertarian economics should read up on the Lighthouse Fallacy.

    As for roads and local government, private zoning works great. Look at Orange County, CA, one of the most desirable places to live in the US. The Irvine Company put together this paradise on virgin ranch land using private zoning (HOAs and deed restrictions). In an example Orange County city, every resident is a member of an HOA (or apartment building equivalent) that is accumulated into a citywide umbrella HOA. In other words you can't live in the town without signing on to a private agreement. It's really nice there.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. Under the House-passed bill, your employer no longer has to provide you with health insurance, but you must still maintain your own health insurance. Instead of paying the IRS if you let your coverage lapse, you have to pay a $3,000 annual penalty to your insurance carrier — once you do sign up — for every year you lacked coverage.

    I didn’t realize that was in the bill — I’ve been too demoralized to pay much attention. That seems enormously punitive and simply a guarantee that those who choose not to have insurance will, eventually, be unable to have insurance. Go a decade without and face a penalty of $30k dollars? Another decade and face a penalty of $60k? A lot of people are simply going to rely on emergency services and bad debt, instead.

    ETA: A story on NPR describes the penalty differently: ” If coverage is interrupted for more than 63 days, however, insurers can charge people a 30 percent penalty over their premium for one year.”

    Which is correct?

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    This is similar to the Medicare Part D penalty that you have to pay forever. For every month after age 65 that you did not sign up for a Medicare Part D plan, I think you pay 30 cents or 3.60 a year. The ridiculousness of this is that for those months you weren't in a Part D plan, you had to pay the full value of any drugs you bought. You will usually find a Medicare Part D plan that will be cheaper in total than paying the costs without it. However you still have to pay this to your Part D plan provider for the rest of your life (my mom pays 21.70 each month).

    When she wasn't in the HMO (where the Part D plan is included) the Part D plan premium was only about 30 dollars a month and most drugs had 0 co-pays then, so he entire cost of drugs was the Part D premium.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. @Carlton Meyer
    I know government bashing is fun, but this is just incorrect:

    "That is the so-called single-payer system that former President Barack Obama dreamed of. It would have been much like the systems in place today in Great Britain, Canada and Australia, where one waits for months to see government-employed physicians who are stingy with government-owned medications and mired in red tape and long lines over government-financed medical procedures."

    In single-payer, the government is the insurance company, and all care is provided by the private sector. This is our Medicare system, where no one waits months to see a doctor, and no one over 65 declines to use. Obama never proposed single payer with its 3% government overhead fee, but had taxpayers subsidize the insurance giants 40% overhead fee, which is why Republicans had trouble cutting it back. Canadians love their single payer system, although rare stories of Canadians wanting American health care is often promoted as proof of failure, by our insurance and big pharma racketeers.

    The Brits have a socialist health care system like our VA, which is rated better than average compared to America's chaotic "free market" system. If you read international comparisons, America's system costs twice as much and is rated below average.

    Some things work better in government. Your police and fire department is socialist, and so are your airports and road networks. Healthcare is so important and complex that it must be government run. This is why even our "free market" insurance system is heavily regulated. If you insist on the free market, never call 911 for an emergency because socialists will arrive to help.

    The Judge means well. But he is a Libertarian. He puts his faith in a living document and an invisible hand.

    Read More
    • Replies: @toomuch
    I agree.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. MarkinLA says:
    @Cloudbuster
    Under the House-passed bill, your employer no longer has to provide you with health insurance, but you must still maintain your own health insurance. Instead of paying the IRS if you let your coverage lapse, you have to pay a $3,000 annual penalty to your insurance carrier — once you do sign up — for every year you lacked coverage.

    I didn't realize that was in the bill -- I've been too demoralized to pay much attention. That seems enormously punitive and simply a guarantee that those who choose not to have insurance will, eventually, be unable to have insurance. Go a decade without and face a penalty of $30k dollars? Another decade and face a penalty of $60k? A lot of people are simply going to rely on emergency services and bad debt, instead.

    ETA: A story on NPR describes the penalty differently: " If coverage is interrupted for more than 63 days, however, insurers can charge people a 30 percent penalty over their premium for one year."

    Which is correct?

    This is similar to the Medicare Part D penalty that you have to pay forever. For every month after age 65 that you did not sign up for a Medicare Part D plan, I think you pay 30 cents or 3.60 a year. The ridiculousness of this is that for those months you weren’t in a Part D plan, you had to pay the full value of any drugs you bought. You will usually find a Medicare Part D plan that will be cheaper in total than paying the costs without it. However you still have to pay this to your Part D plan provider for the rest of your life (my mom pays 21.70 each month).

    When she wasn’t in the HMO (where the Part D plan is included) the Part D plan premium was only about 30 dollars a month and most drugs had 0 co-pays then, so he entire cost of drugs was the Part D premium.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. mukat says:
    @Carlton Meyer
    I know government bashing is fun, but this is just incorrect:

    "That is the so-called single-payer system that former President Barack Obama dreamed of. It would have been much like the systems in place today in Great Britain, Canada and Australia, where one waits for months to see government-employed physicians who are stingy with government-owned medications and mired in red tape and long lines over government-financed medical procedures."

    In single-payer, the government is the insurance company, and all care is provided by the private sector. This is our Medicare system, where no one waits months to see a doctor, and no one over 65 declines to use. Obama never proposed single payer with its 3% government overhead fee, but had taxpayers subsidize the insurance giants 40% overhead fee, which is why Republicans had trouble cutting it back. Canadians love their single payer system, although rare stories of Canadians wanting American health care is often promoted as proof of failure, by our insurance and big pharma racketeers.

    The Brits have a socialist health care system like our VA, which is rated better than average compared to America's chaotic "free market" system. If you read international comparisons, America's system costs twice as much and is rated below average.

    Some things work better in government. Your police and fire department is socialist, and so are your airports and road networks. Healthcare is so important and complex that it must be government run. This is why even our "free market" insurance system is heavily regulated. If you insist on the free market, never call 911 for an emergency because socialists will arrive to help.

    “chaotic free market system” LOL haven’t heard that phrase since the berlin wall came down.

    This poster has made up his mind, but other readers skeptical of libertarian economics should read up on the Lighthouse Fallacy.

    As for roads and local government, private zoning works great. Look at Orange County, CA, one of the most desirable places to live in the US. The Irvine Company put together this paradise on virgin ranch land using private zoning (HOAs and deed restrictions). In an example Orange County city, every resident is a member of an HOA (or apartment building equivalent) that is accumulated into a citywide umbrella HOA. In other words you can’t live in the town without signing on to a private agreement. It’s really nice there.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Carlton Meyer
    An HOA is a form of democratic local government, it is not a private business. You must pay the HOA fee, its a tax. Its the same as anyone who buys a property in the USA, they agree abide by everything the HOA, local, state, and federal governments demand.

    Its funny you choose Orange County CA, an area with some of the nation's highest taxes and strict government regulation. This is why everything is so nice there, it is regulated like socialist Singapore, with little freedom to do what a property owner desires. No freedom to paint your house pink, cut down your tree, park a car on your lawn, run a business from home, or even add a shed without approval from the local government.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. @mukat
    "chaotic free market system" LOL haven't heard that phrase since the berlin wall came down.

    This poster has made up his mind, but other readers skeptical of libertarian economics should read up on the Lighthouse Fallacy.

    As for roads and local government, private zoning works great. Look at Orange County, CA, one of the most desirable places to live in the US. The Irvine Company put together this paradise on virgin ranch land using private zoning (HOAs and deed restrictions). In an example Orange County city, every resident is a member of an HOA (or apartment building equivalent) that is accumulated into a citywide umbrella HOA. In other words you can't live in the town without signing on to a private agreement. It's really nice there.

    An HOA is a form of democratic local government, it is not a private business. You must pay the HOA fee, its a tax. Its the same as anyone who buys a property in the USA, they agree abide by everything the HOA, local, state, and federal governments demand.

    Its funny you choose Orange County CA, an area with some of the nation’s highest taxes and strict government regulation. This is why everything is so nice there, it is regulated like socialist Singapore, with little freedom to do what a property owner desires. No freedom to paint your house pink, cut down your tree, park a car on your lawn, run a business from home, or even add a shed without approval from the local government.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. toomuch says:
    @WorkingClass
    The Judge means well. But he is a Libertarian. He puts his faith in a living document and an invisible hand.

    I agree.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
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