7:01 AM, Jul 28, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
The New York Times has described M.I.T. economist Jonathan Gruber as “a card-carrying Democrat” whose “position as an adviser to the influential Congressional Budget Office also left him perfectly positioned to advise the White House on health reform.” Moreover, the Times writes, “After Mr. Gruber helped the administration put together the basic principles of the [Obamacare] proposal, the White House lent him to Capitol Hill to help Congressional staff members draft the specifics of the legislation.” Now it turns out that, as the Competitive Enterprise Institute has unearthed, Gruber told audiences as far back as early 2012 that Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies couldn’t flow through federally established exchanges, but only through state-established ones. More recently, Gruber has been singing a different tune, as legal challenges on that aspect of the law have proceeded.
As Politico writes, “This matters not because it is an embarrassing deception for an academic to be caught in, but because it suggests the falsity of the administration’s claim that this was a glitch and not a feature.”
Here’s Gruber, in a video that was uploaded in early 2012 (the relevant comments start around the 31:30 mark):
“I think, what’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all your taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges and that they’ll do it.”
The legislative text of Obamacare speaks of the premiums as being available only “through an Exchange established by the State.” But 36 states have not established exchanges and are instead relying on exchanges that have been established, and are being operated, by the federal government. The IRS, apparently responding to pressure from Obama’s political appointees, is allowing subsidies to flow through such federally established exchanges as well as through state-established ones. Last week, a 3-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that this was in violation of the legislation’s plain text.
Nine in ten heard from clients again with post-enrollment problems.
8:33 AM, Jul 17, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
During the open enrollment period for the state and federal health care exchanges, each staff member and volunteer worked with an average of 1.8 people per day, according to a survey of assister programs released by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
10:05 AM, Jul 15, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In March 2010, Obamacare was about to be voted upon by the House of Representatives, and the Democrats were in the process of deciding whether to ignore public opinion at their peril. At that time, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that Obamacare would cost $938 billion over a decade and would reduce the number of uninsured people by 19 million as of 2014 (with a reduction of 1 million prior to 2014 and 18 million in 2014 alone). Unimpressed, the American people overwhelmingly opposed the intrusive overhaul — with 20 of 21 polls taken that month showing it to be unpopular, most of them by double digits. The Democrats willfully passed Obamacare anyway and lost 63 House seats that November.
Even the sign in button is broken.7:01 AM, Jul 3, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Colorado's 9News reviews its state's Obamacare exchange and finds that it's "clunky, counterintuitive, and confusing." The site was built with a $179 million grant from the federal government, but even the sign in button doesn't work.
2:14 PM, Jul 1, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration has violated federal law in its implementation of Obamacare. Specifically, it has violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law passed (almost unanimously) twenty years ago by a Democratic House and Senate and signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton. Adam White provides a nice overview and analysis of the ruling. I just wanted to highlight a few aspects of it.
In Case of 'Last Minute Delays or Issues'12:08 PM, Jun 25, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In June 2013, even before the launch of Healthcare.gov, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a contract to Hewlett-Packard to replace Verizon's Terremark subsidiary as host for the Obamacare website and related Data Services Hub (DSH).
10:05 AM, Jun 24, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In January. And this time, presumably, there will be no extension, which has been the administration’s preferred tool in dealing with the more onerous provisions of the Affordable Care Act. There have been some 21 such extensions and perhaps the White House will again come up with a way. But for now, as Andhya Somashekhar of the Washington Post reports:
9:12 AM, Jun 24, 2014 • By PETE HEGSETH
Forty-four years after the legendary May 1970 Life magazine cover story first exposed the disgusting and shameful mistreatment of our nation’s Vietnam-era veterans in government medical facilities, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is once again in desperate need of reform. Courageous whistleblowers have exposed systemic corruption and exposed falsified records, secret waiting lists, and delayed care — representing yet another scandalous and unconscionable neglect of our nation’s veterans.
11:15 AM, Jun 9, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Among the arguments in support of the Affordable Care Act was that unless there was something close to universal insurance, the nation’s emergency rooms would be flooded with people needing care.
11:45 AM, Jun 6, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Two stories about the problems at the Veterans Affairs. Both come with numbers, if not faces, attached.
6:09 PM, Jun 4, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The shakedown problems with the Affordable Care Act were supposed to be behind us and it was going to be smooth sailing from now on. People would, we were told, first become accustomed to this new way of doing things and, then, learn to love it.
8:14 AM, Jun 4, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Before President Obama took office, the federal government left Americans free to buy only those products or services they chose to buy. Under Obamacare, however, that has changed. For the first time in our nation’s 200-plus-year history, the federal government now compels private American citizens to buy a product or service of the government’s choosing — namely, Obamacare-compliant health insurance — merely as a condition of living in the United States. The question is, did this unprecedented level of coercion fuel enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges? Recent polling suggests that it did.
10:56 AM, May 27, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It appears that in the age of Obamacare, no health care plan is safe. Not even one covering California farm workers and named after Robert F.
7:45 AM, May 19, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
President Obama has painted a bleak portrait of cooperation in Washington in several recent speeches, charging that Republicans say "no to every proposal that we know could make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans," and