4:22 PM, Sep 3, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
THE WEEKLY STANDARD has long observed that Obamacare, which President Obama pitched as a great deal for Americans of all stripes, is really only for the near-poor and near-elderly—at the expense of the middle class and the young. While only a small minority has benefitted from the 2,400-page overhaul, a large majority has been hit with higher costs and diminished freedom.
Obamacare is slated to cost more than $1.7 trillion over the next decade (for its insurance-coverage provisions alone) in large part because it funnels massive sums of money to the chosen few. Take a 64-year-old couple living in Miami and making $23,500 a year. As Jed Graham writes in an Investor’s Business Daily op-ed—which contrasts Obamacare with Scott Walker’s conservative alternative—that couple can get insurance through Obamacare that is worth about $24,000 while paying for only $936 of it themselves. The remaining $23,000 or so is financed at their fellow Americans’ expense. In other words, Obamacare essentially doubles the couple’s income (while funneling half of it to an insurance company).
As Graham details, the published price of such “silver” Obamacare insurance is about $15,000, with almost all of that covered by a taxpayer-funded premium subsidy. However, Obamacare also provides an additional taxpayer-funded subsidy that dramatically lowers the couple’s potential out-of-pocket costs, reducing their deductible from a potential $10,000 to $1,000. As Graham writes, this “effectively turns the silver plan to platinum, raising its implied price-tag to about $20,725.” If that weren’t enough, Obamacare also bans insurers from charging young people less than one-third what they charge older people (in defiance of actuarial science), which raises costs for the young and lowers them for the old. As Graham writes, “Removing age-rating restrictions would raise the cost of equivalent coverage for a 64-year-old couple by roughly 17%, to $24,175.” So the couple is getting $24,000 “platinum” insurance for $936.
Meanwhile a 40-year-old single woman, also living in Miami, who makes $35,000 a year, gets $0 under Obamacare. She’s too young and too middle class. If she were in her twenties or thirties and made $35,000, or more, she’d still get nothing. A man with the same income would also get nothing. If any of these people were to decide not to pay Obamacare’s inflated prices next year and simply forgo insurance, they’d get fined $875 for violating Obamacare’s unprecedented individual mandate. In short, Obamacare makes the near-poor richer and the middle class poorer.
But not all of those who are poorer become richer. If the couple making $23,500—and getting roughly $24,000 in insurance almost entirely at others’ expense—loses $8,000 in income, their Obamacare subsidy would actually drop rather than rise. In fact, it would drop off a cliff, to $0. Moreover, the couple wouldn’t even be eligible for Medicaid. Their ineligibility for Medicaid is attributable to Florida’s (wise) decision not to extend Medicaid under Obamacare, but their ineligibility for an insurance subsidy is due to Obamacare’s irrational design.
In vivid contrast to such byzantine redistribution, Scott Walker has proposed a simple, understandable conservative alternative that would lower costs and restore freedom. Under Walker’s plan—which is based on the alternative advanced by the 2017 Project (which I run)—the couple in question would get a $6,000 tax credit to buy health insurance of their choice, the 40-year-old woman would get a $2,100 tax credit to buy insurance of her choice, and those under 35 would each get a $1,200 tax credit to buy insurance of their choice. The structure of Walker’s tax credits, which would go directly to individuals and not to insurance companies, would encourage people to shop for value. Any portion of the tax credit they didn’t use would go into a health savings account (HSA) they would own.
Jeb, Walker down.1:05 PM, Sep 3, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new Monmouth poll of registered or leaning Republican primary voters nationally finds New York businessman Donald Trump continuing to lead in the crowded GOP field. Trump's support is at 30 percent, 4 points higher than he was in Monmouth's August poll and 17 points higher than in its July poll.
4:32 PM, Sep 2, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Comedian Stephen Colbert launches his version of The Late Show on CBS on September 8, and one of his first guests will be Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The Bush campaign was quick to turn the appearance into a fundraising opportunity. As the Associated Press reported, the campaign sent out an email to supporters asking for at least $3 to be entered into a contest to receive a ticket to the taping of Colbert's show.
1:35 PM, Sep 2, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The Washington Post has a poll out this today that finds Hillary Clinton's numbers are down in the wake of her email scandal. The poll undercuts one of the main arguments for her candidacy -- electing the first woman president would excite female voters. While Hillary Clinton has a negative approval rating among 53 percent of voters, the poll doesn't show a huge gender gap on that figure.
11:09 AM, Sep 2, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Hillary Clinton will be going to Puerto Rico later this week to discuss the "health care crisis." The Clinton campaign announced the visit in a press release this morning.
"It should require two-thirds vote of the Senate to go in force."10:04 AM, Sep 2, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Former vice president Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday morning to promote their new book, Exceptional. The Cheneys spoke about national security, foreign policy issues like the Iran deal, and 2016 politics.
7:47 AM, Sep 2, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
Presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finds herself under growing scrutiny over the classified contents of dozens of emails (perhaps hundreds once the State Department finishes releasing them all) she sent and received as head of the State Department. As it turns out, Mrs. Clinton could have avoided this pitfall by following her own guidance while she was still in office.
6:16 PM, Sep 1, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A prevailing media narrative is that while Republicans have pitched a fit over Barack Obama’s negotiated deal with Iran over that country’s nuclear program, the seeds of such a deal were sown by the previous administration.
3:59 PM, Sep 1, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
More than 200 elected officials, Republican and conservative activists, and business leaders have signed a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker requesting the cable network award Carly Fiorina a spot in the upcoming Republican presidential primary debate. Fiorina campaign staff posted the letter on Medium, with a note saying the campaign is "so grateful for their support."
Read the contents of the letter below:
3:24 PM, Sep 1, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
So far, the Republican presidential contest has been light on Obamacare, with Scott Walker — who has essentially championed the 2017 Project’s “Winning Alternative to Obamacare” — providing a noteworthy exception. Since Obamacare is the biggest issue of Barack Obama’s presidency, why are most GOP candidates shying away from talking about their plans to bring about its full repeal? The answer, in part, is that while almost all Tea Partiers and most grassroots Republicans are fully committed to repeal, two groups within the Republican party or the conservative (or libertarian) movement are either not fully dedicated to the cause or are actively working against it.
Here's how Hillary solved that problem.12:35 PM, Sep 1, 2015 • By SHOSHANA WEISSMANN
In one of the newly release Hillary Clinton emails, a mostly redacted message from Philip Gordon to Huma Abedin and Jacob Sullivan ends with, "To quote Huma, I don't get paid enough." Abedin, Clinton’s closest aide, was able to change her fortunes with a little help from friends.
8:08 AM, Sep 1, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Jeb Bush has said Donald Trump "should be treated like the frontrunner" for the Republican nomination. On Tuesday, the Bush campaign continues to do just that with a short web video aimed squarely at the leading GOP contender's past "liberal" views on taxes, health care, and abortion as well as Trump's friendship with Hillary Clinton.
9:45 PM, Aug 31, 2015 • By SHOSHANA WEISSMANN
In one of Hillary Clinton's recently released emails, it appears she was concerned Ambassador Capricia Marshall was dancing on tables and singing.
This holds as ironic, as Clinton famously had fun grinding in South Africa, and more recently, dancing in Martha's Vineyard.
Carly Fiorina comes in second.11:16 AM, Aug 31, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new poll of likely Republican caucusgoers in Iowa finds Donald Trump and Ben Carson tied for the lead at 23 percent support. The Monmouth University poll is the first since July to show Trump not in the sole lead position in Iowa.
Behind Trump and Carson in the poll is Carly Fiorina at 10 percent support. All three top candidates are not officeholders and only one, Fiorina, has ever run for public office before.
10:46 AM, Aug 31, 2015 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
I've suggested before that 2016 is beginning to look more and more like 1968. This is true in terms of the presidential contests—on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is Eugene McCarthy, Hillary Clinton is Lyndon Johnson, Joe Biden will be Hubert Humphrey, and (the big question!) Elizabeth Warren could be Bobby Kennedy; and on the Republican side, where Donald Trump is "a kind of cartoon version of Richard Nixon."