Over 1000 health care waivers given, 2012-2013 waiver talks.

The Obama administration, which has taken heat from Republicans for granting more than 1,000 one-year waivers for a portion of the healthcare reform law, still faces an important question of how to handle waivers in 2012 and 2013, before a major component of the law goes into effect.

The 1 year waivers are typically granted to organizations that offer limited health insurance, known as “mini-med” plans, and are  meant as a stopgap measure until new state-run health insurance exchanges open.

However, the new state run exchange will not start until 2014, meaning HHS must come up with a plan for stabilizing the health insurance market for an additional 2 years when this round of waivers expires not to mention the underlying structure of the state ran exchange.

The department is just starting to deal with the problem, but its task is complicated by the lack of existing information about the low-value plans, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told The Hill on Friday.

“It’s a portion that frankly there isn’t a lot of data about,” Sebelius said. “Part of the waiver issue is also for companies to submit data on where they are, what the plans look like. A lot of them don’t even file at the state level.”

The healthcare law requires a phase-out of annual dollar limits on benefits, with a minimum limit of $750,000 in 2011. The limits gradually rise until they are completely eliminated in 2014—  that’s the extent of the backbone what is worked out for these low value plans. The state exchange needs to be more in depth than that, to ensure success.

Again, it seems that the Democrats are throwing a general blanket over the problem in an attempt to make it disappear.  If the health care law was somewhat attractive to small businesses,  exemptions would not be necessary.

Further talk on the waivers and the legality behind them will take place on the hill tomorrow, 03/15/11.
Copyright (c) March 14, 2011. All rights reserved.
Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Florida Judge who declared Obamacare unconstitutional sends msg to White House with second ruling

Roger Vinson, the U.S. federal judge who ruled Obamacare unconstitutional in its entirety, has ruled again on the health-care law.

On Thursday, Judge Vinson issued a stay on his earlier ruling that the law could not be enforced.

In doing so, he sent a clear message to the Obama administration: Appeal my decision to a higher court or stop implementing the law.

When Judge Vinson ruled on Jan. 31 that the health-care law was unconstitutional, the administration followed up by filing a motion for clarification rather than filing an official appeal.

Vinson’s ruling criticized the administration for that action.

“During the four-plus weeks since entry of my order, the defendants have seemingly continued to move forward and implement the act,” Vinson wrote. “While I believe that my order was as clear and unambiguous as it could be, it is possible that the defendants may have perhaps been confused or misunderstood its import.”

Now, Vinson has given the Obama administration an ultimatum to either stop implementing the law, or appeal it – presumably to the Supreme Court.

Following Vinson’s initial ruling, Florida and Alaska stopped implementing the law. Several other states have lawsuits pending challenging its constitutionality.

Meanwhile, President Obama continues on-  completely disregarding the ruling of Florida’s District Court.

Copyright (c) March 3, 2011. All rights reserved.

CBO Confirms Health Care Law Destroys Jobs by 800,000.

Senate Democrats- Finally Expressing the Unconstitutionality of the Health Care Law.

To much relief of concerned Republicans, A group of Senate Democrats are discussing ways to take aim at part of the Unconstitutional controversy of the new health care law- the individual mandate.

“We’re looking at everything humanly possible. I’ve always had a concern and a problem with the mandate, that we were forcing it, basically saying by the law of the land you have to buy the product,” Senator Joe Manchin.

Manchin is one of the moderate Democrats trying to figure out how to repeal the individual mandate. While talks are still in the early stages, Manchin hopes the push will take shape sooner rather than later.

Joining him in these efforts could be a handful of other Democrats who are also up for re-election in 2012: Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, and Montana’s Jon Tester.

Nelson, for one, has been exploring alternatives to the individual mandate since even before the bill was signed into law.

A former insurance commissioner, he has written to both the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office asking them to analyze various alternatives.

If the GAO and CBO eventually provide him with alternatives that would be improvements on the individual mandate, then he could propose legislation to replace the current law.

In addition, Nelson and Manchin have similar profiles and could end up leading this charge, possibly even unveiling a plan within weeks.

Meanwhile, Tester and McCaskill have indicated that they are willing to look at any proposal that improves the law.

Ultimately, the four senators appear interested in improving the bill if a better alternative exists.

Trust me, there is definitely a better bill. So their support is a welcomed addition.

Copyright (c) February 8, 2011. All rights reserved.

GOP Rep. Paul Ryan Tears Down the CBO & ObamaCare Fiscal House of Cards

Senate strikes down health care reform road, Republicans find an alternate route.

Senate Republicans have vowed a sustained, unrelenting push to repeal President Obama’s healthcare reform law, despite falling short in their first effort Wednesday.

Republicans say they are not content to wait idly until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the healthcare law in 2012 or later.

Instead, they will pursue a multi-pronged strategy to delay implementation of the law and repeal its most controversial provisions.

“We think is just the beginning,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday evening after the Senate voted 47-51 along party lines to reject an amendment he offered to repeal the law.

“This issue is still ahead of us and we will be going back at it in a variety of ways,” McConnell added.

1099 Provision Struck Down

Republicans won a victory Wednesday when the Senate voted to strike down a 1099 requirement that businesses report all vendor payments exceeding $600 to the IRS. This is excellent news as it would have created a mountain of paperwork putting a financial strain on small businesses.

Another Strategy: Defunding the Healthcare Law

In addition to attempts to repeal various sections of the law, Republicans will attempt to block funding for implementation of the law when a stop-gap spending measure funding government expires on March 4.

McConnell noted that Republicans blocked more than a million dollars in funding for healthcare reform that Democrats tried to include in a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill at the end of last year.

“You may recall that when we passed the continuing resolution to March 4, we deleted funding for additional bureaucrats to ramp up enforcement of Obamacare,” McConnell said. “So we’ll be looking at it in every different way to revisit it.”

Republican strategists say defunding efforts are likely to be more successful than amendments to repeal it. Repeal proposals would require the support of at least 20 Senate Democrats to overturn a presidential veto.

Blocking funding is much easier with Republicans in control of the House and 47 seats in the Senate.

“He can’t appropriate,” Sen. John Cornyn said of Obama. “Conversely, he has a lot more power when it comes to vetoing legislation he disagrees with.”

House Republicans plan to take the lead in the battle over funding. They are expected to deny the administration the necessary resources in the appropriations bill it passes for the rest of 2011 when the stop-gap measure funding government expires next month.

Rejection of accumulation of social security funds to pay for health care.

The Senate passed a vote of 81 to 17 an amendment offered by Senator Debbie Stabenow.  Stabenow’s measure indicated that specified funds could not be taken from the Social Security Administration to offset the cost which I fully support. We cannot steal from Social Security to fund this law.  Social Security is already looking at a financial crisis with more money going out then is coming in and too many people are dependent on this government assistance. It would be reckless and irresponsible to play russian roulette with the Social Security program.

State opt out on the table

Senate Republican leaders will push a proposal sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso to allow states to opt out of federal requirements to add millions of beneficiaries to its Medicaid rolls.

Experts project the law could add 15 million to 23 million people to Medicaid, putting substantial pressure on state budgets.

“Medicaid is a real weak link” to this law, said Graham. “You’re going to have Democrat and Republican governors complaining about Medicaid expansion under the bill and how it will affect their states.

“The next debate is whether states should have a say about waivers for states,” Graham said.

Repeal on the Individual Manadate

Representative Paul Ryan said he would like GOP leaders to force a vote on repealing the individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or pay a fine, in which I agree, as this is a direct violation of the 10th Amendment, General Welfare and Commerce Clause which is outlined in the US Constitution.

While Im not surprised that the Senate (and the Democratic majority) did not vote to repeal health care, I am disappointed by the lack of regard for the US Constitution, a document, that each Senator promises to obey and protect before taking office. I understand the importance of everyone having the ability to obtain health care but we cannot buck the US Constitution in the process.

The best thing for the Republicans to do is to work on defunding this bill as outlined above as well  as to ensuring that the HHS cannot transfer any of their budget funds towards the implementation of this bill. The push for the individual mandate to be removed must also be enforced as that is strictly Unconstitutional.

My prediction is that the states will have to go back to the court and have a formal injunction filed against the administration to stop them from imposing health care on the People. If the ignoring of Judge Vision’s decision is the forerunner of what to expect from the Obama administration, they will most likely ignore that ruling as well.

Copyright (c) February 3, 2011. All rights reserved.

PREDICTION: Healthcare law will be sent to the Supreme Court. Eyes on Scalia/Kagan.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers believe the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the fate of President Obama’s healthcare law, and some of them are already exerting pressure on the justices.

The high-stakes lobbying comes as the Senate is scheduled to vote on a healthcare repeal bill Wednesday. That effort is expected to fall short, and the spotlight of the intense debate is expected to pivot back to the judicial branch.

Senator Orrin Hatch, who served as senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmations of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, said, “I would hope the four so-called liberals on the court would recognize that personal liberty is involved here.

“I think there are some very good Democrats there on the court, or I should say more liberal people on the court, who have to recognize these constitutional issues,” Hatch added.

Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Tuesday, “Justice Antonin Scalia, interestingly enough, has argued for years that barring any overly gross action by Congress, the court should let the Congress make its laws and if people don’t like them, let them decide at the ballot box.

It will be interesting to see how Scalia proceeds.

It will also be interesting to see Kagan proceeds. I fully believe that she should recuse herself from this case when it comes up as she was appointed by Obama as Solicitor General and is too close to this administration and results in a direct conflict of interests.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is expected in May to hear oral arguments on a challenge to the law, which requires people to buy health insurance or face penalties.

Depending on how fast other circuit courts act, the case could reach the Supreme Court at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012, according to legal experts. That timetable would coincide with the presidential primary season, which officially begins with the Iowa caucuses in February of next year.

Republicans want the case to reach the Supreme Court swiftly. The Obama administration, however, is in no rush for it to reach the nine justices who sit on the other side of First Street from the Capitol.

“Quite frankly, the longer the healthcare bill is in existence and the more people find out the benefits they have,” the more popular the law will become, Harkin said. “The court may want to take a look at that and think about what the public reaction will be.”

It is also important to note that the longer the health care bill is in existence the more people will find out about the high tax increase imposed. Read the 14 taxes that I have found thus far that will be pushed on the American People to pay for this unconstitutional atrocity by visiting: https://theheartofamerica.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/read-my-lips-no-new-taxes/

House Democratic leaders have also tried to shape public expectations ahead of Supreme Court consideration of the controversial law.

“We strongly believe that health reform is constitutional, and is consistent with longstanding precedents of the Supreme Court,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said after Roger Vinson, a federal district court judge in Florida, struck down the entire law in a ruling Monday.

Seriously, Pelosi? The health care reform flies in face of the 10th amendment as well as restricting the People’s voice in their healthcare choices as outlined by the Commerce and General Welfare clause.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote on the high court, will be watched very closely to note his response.

Legal consensus over the healthcare law has changed in the wake of Fla’s District Court Judge Vinson’s decision and a prior ruling by a federal court in Virginia that found the individual mandate unconstitutional.

Previously, many constitutional scholars expected the Supreme Court would vote by a comfortable margin to uphold the law, but now the consensus is it will be a 5-4 decision.

“There’s been a big change in the conventional wisdom,” said Randy Barnett, the Carmack Waterhouse professor of legal theory at the Georgetown University Law Center. “The temperature of law professors has changed considerably.”

Barnett described Vinson’s decision as “extremely deep in its discussion of principles and constitutional doctrine.”

Liberal legal experts and bloggers have already begun warning of the politicization of the courts and said a Supreme Court decision against the law would be a reprise of the Bush v. Gore decision that ultimately ended the 2000 presidential contest.

“That decision, Bush v. Gore, will go down in history as taking its place alongside the Dred Scott decision as being an outlier,” said Harkin, in reference to the 1857 ruling that held slaves were not protected by the Constitution.

If this law’s mandate that all Americans must purchase a product — and purchase it as well from a private company — is declared “constitutional”, then this would set an instant, unrestricted, and freedom-devastating, precedent — one that would eviscerate and pervert the actual content and purpose of the U.S. Constitution, converting it, by such an interpretation, into a purported justification for the Federal Government to do ANYTHING. Imagine the consequences.

Copyright (c) February 2, 2011. All rights reserved.

Florida to rule on constitutionality of the healthcare bill.

A Florida district court judge could rule today on whether the healthcare reform law is constitutional.

Judge Roger Vinson is expected to hand down his decision on the suit brought by 26 states.

This ruling is following a Virginia federal district judge who ruled the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty beginning in 2014 invited a “unbridled exercise of federal police powers.”

Vinson has made suggestions that he will follow the Virginia court.

In an October opinion he wrote the individual mandate is without precedent.

Last month he said it would be a giant leap for courts to encroach on the freedom of citizens to buy or not buy a product.

Heart of America’s CEO was giddy with excitement as this verdict reaches a conclusion, “Im glad to be a part of the history of striking down this inflated and unconstitutional garbled filled 2000+ page bill that nobody read and progressive attempt at controlling people via their healthcare options. Go Pensacola Go! Strike that baby down.”

The ultimate ruling will be held in the Supreme Court although the State Judiciary could impose a significant leaning on the validity of the issue at hand.

Copyright (c) January 31, 2011. All rights reserved.

“Read my lips, no new taxes”

Amongst numerous other reasons to oppose the new healthcare reform law, a sharp tax increase can be added to the list.

Yet, I thought Obama stated time and time again, that there would be no new taxes for families making less than $250,000 a year? Perhaps he never read the 2000+ health care bill, wouldn’t surprise me- a majority of our Representatives who supported it did not read it either.

Let’s take a closer look into the bill and see what type of new taxes or elimination of current taxes (which, by default, would raise our taxes) which will households that fall well under the $250,00 mark.

1. Individual Mandate Excise Tax
Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax ranging from $95-1390 or 2.5% AGI.

2. Employer Mandate Tax

If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees.  This provision applies to all employers with 50 or more employees.

If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).

3. Surtax on Investment Income

This increase involves the creation of a new 3.8% surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).

3. Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans

Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). For early retirees and high-risk professions exists a higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family).  CPI +1 percentage point indexed.

4. Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax

1.45% raised to 2.35% and for self employed-  the tax increases from 2.9% to 3.8%.

5. Medicine Cabinet Tax.

Americans will be no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)

6. HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike

Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

7. Flexible Spending Account Cap (aka Speak Needs Kids Tax)

Imposes cap of $2500 (Indexed to inflation after 2013) on FSAs (now unlimited). . There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

8. Tax on Medical Device Manufactuers

Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exemptions include items retailing for less than $100.

9. Raise Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI.

Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI; it is waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only.

9. Tax on Indoor Tanning Services.

10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons.

10. Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement prescription drug coverage.

11. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals.

$50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS.

12. Corporate 1099 Information Reporting.

Requires businesses to send 1099 forms to IRS any work you that exceed $600 which will result in a multitude of paperwork hurting small businesses.

13. “Black liquor” tax hike.

This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel.

14. Real Estate Tax

3.8% tax on the sale of real estate  starting in 2013.

14. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”.

This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed.

The Good news is, according to the Tax Payer Protection Pledge, we should be able to count on at least 41 Senators voting to repeal this health care law. That is, if Senatory Harry Reid doesnt buck the voice of the American people and prohibit the repeal from being discussed on the Senate  floor.

Copyright (c) January 20, 2011. All rights reserved.

26 (potentially 28) states have filed a lawsuit against Obamacare.

Six more states joined a lawsuit in Florida against President Obama’s health care overhaul this week, bringing the total to 26 states who consider the health care law unconstitutional in an attempt to force people to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties and are willing to fight out the legalities in court which is in defiance of the 10th amendment, which grants the enumerated powers to the State- not the Federal Government.

In Florida,  the states also argue the federal government is violating the Constitution by forcing a mandate on the states without providing money to pay for it.

They say the new law gives the state’s the impossible choice of accepting the new costs or forfeiting federal social security and medicaid funding.

Florida U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson could rule later this month whether he will grant a summary judgment in favor of the states or the Obama administration without a trial.

Florida’s former Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum filed the lawsuit just minutes after President Obama signed the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill into law in March in a Pensacola court.

States joining the coalition in the Florida case are Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The other states that have already entered the alliance are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Add Virginia and Michigan who are debating suing over the healthcare law,  there would be 28 states suing the federal government. Over half of the United States of America, that’s a significant movement.

Copyright (c) January 20, 2011. All rights reserved.

Published in: on January 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,