Healthcare

Voters overwhelmingly reject ObamaCare’s individual mandate

The Obama Administration has issued the final regulations for ObamaCare’s individual mandate. This controversial provision of the law, which goes into effect at the beginning of next year, requires most Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face a punitive tax of $95 or 1% of their gross income.

Even as these regulations for the individual mandate are being implemented, Americans are weary of the provision and want it repealed or delayed, according to a recent tracking poll from The Morning Consult.

The poll, which was conducted at the end of July, found that 60% of registered voters oppose the individual mandate. It also shows that 49% want the individual mandate repealed while 28% believe it should be delayed. Only 39% support the provision and just 24% believe the provision should be implemented on schedule.

The Morning Consult also found that 57% of registered voters believe that ObamaCare will make healthcare more expensive for them through higher co-payments, premiums, and deductibles. Forty-one percent (41%) say that the law will make healthcare less expensive.

Obama declares a “right” to health insurance

President Obama's weekly address

Facing criticism and bad poll numbers over the 2010 healthcare law, known to most as “ObamaCare,” President Barack Obama extolled the perceived benefits of its provisions in his weekly address to the nation and proclaimed that Americans have a “right” to health insurance coverage.

“Right now, we’re well on our way to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act.  And in the next few months, we’ll reach a couple milestones with real meaning for millions of Americans,” said President Obama, in reference to the state health insurance exchanges that will open on October 1st.

The reality here is that the implementation of ObamaCare isn’t going all that smoothly. Many states are experiencing problems implementing the exchanges, the most recent of which is Oregon. The government is three months behind on data security testing, which opens up concerns about identity theft. The Obama Administration has also delayed two major provisions of the law, the employer mandate and consumer-cost caps.

That doesn’t leave much confidence that ObamaCare is being implemented when the administration has tacitly admitted that the law has very real, very concerning problems. And we have even mentioned the most serious adverse effect of the law yet, which is rising insurance premiums.

New study shows ObamaCare is a bad deal for young Americans

Despite ongoing efforts by the Obama Administration and its supporters to sell ObamaCare to a skeptical American public, a new study from the National Center for Public Policy Research finds that young people will see no financial benefit from the law’s insurance exchanges.

The centerpiece of the ObamaCare is the state insurance exchanges, through which uninsured Americans can purchase coverage from any one of four different plans, the cheapest of which is the Bronze plan.

But even with subsidies provided by the law, many Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 will be $500 richer if they don’t buy health insurance, according to the study, Why the ‘Young Invincibles’ Won’t Participate in the ObamaCare Exchanges and Why It Matters.

“Over 3.7 million individuals will pay at least $595 out-of-pocket for a Bronze plan, meaning that they will save at least $500 if they decline insurance and pay the fine,” noted Dr. David Hogberg, the author of the study. “About 3 million individuals will save at least $1,000 if they go the same route.”

“Also noteworthy is that a large portion of the total number of single people without children ages 18-34 have a substantial financial incentive not to participate next year,” he added. “Sixty-one percent will have at least $500 worth of incentive to avoid the exchange, and 49 percent will have at least $1,000 worth.”

But here’s how it is in real world terms.

“At $23,831 annual income, that 25-year-old will save $1,000 by just paying the one percent fine,” wrote Hogberg. “That’s a savings of about $83 a month that can purchase a month’s worth of groceries for a single person at a grocery store such as Aldi.”

Obama’s approval rating on economy plummets

Americans are not at all thrilled with President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, according to a new Gallup poll.

Looking to change the narrative away from several scandals that have distracted his administration, President Barack Obama has tried to focus on the economy in recent weeks, beginning with a widely panned speech last month in Illinois, during which he used recycled themes from his 2012 campaign. But it appears that voters aren’t buying what they’re hearing from the White House.

The poll released yesterday by Gallup shows that 62% of Americans now disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy, despite his recent focus on the issue. Only 35% approve, down from 42% in June.

“Obama in turning to economic matters thus has his focus in the right place,” noted Gallup, “but until the economy makes more impressive gains, ultimately reflected in improved economic confidence, Americans may not reward him with higher approval.”

Yes, ObamaCare destroys consumer-driven health insurance plans

Americans have heard the stories about rising health insurance premiums and other problems with ObamaCare. But what they may not know is that the law makes consumer-driven health insurance plans virtually non-existant.

Health saving accounts (HSAs) have served as a effective, affordable type of health insurance plan for Americans, particularly young people, who don’t visit a doctor too often. HSAs allow people to set aside tax-free money from their paycheck to use for qualified out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, which counts toward paying your deductible, and have catastrophic coverage if an unforeseen need should arise.

But ObamaCare has effectively gutted this type of consumer-driven healthcare, further giving lie to President Obama’s claim that “if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it,” as recently outlined by Michelle Andrews of Kaiser Health News:

Rod Coons and Florence Peace pay $403 a month for a family health plan that covers barely any medical care for either of them until he or she reaches $10,000 in claims in a given year. And that’s just the way they like it.

“I’m only really interested in catastrophic coverage,” says Coons, 58, who retired last year after selling an electronics manufacturing business in Indianapolis. Beyond their premium, the couple typically spends no more than $500 annually on medical care, Coons says. “I’d prefer to stay with our current plan.”

Poll: Voters call ObamaCare implementation a “joke”

With the administration’s efforts to carry out ObamaCare causing confusion for states and stress on business owners, a majority of Americans agree believe that implementation is a “joke.”

The poll, which was conducted by Fox News, finds that 57% of registered voters believe that implementation of the 2010 healthcare law is a joke while 31% say it’s “going fine.”

Voters overwhelming say that ObamaCare will have a negative effect on their wallet, with 71% believing it’ll raise their taxes and 62% agreeing with the premise that it’ll increase their health insurance premiums. Another 65% believe ObamaCare will raise the federal budget deficit.

Pluralities agree with the notion that ObamaCare will reduce the quality of healthcare for themselves and all Americans.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters says that the law needs to be changed and that Congress should continue working on legislative fixes for the law. That’s up from 58% last month. Only 31% say think that Congress should move onto other issues.

The Obama Administration delayed the employer mandate last month over concerns that businesses weren’t ready to comply with the provision. This provision of the law requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance benefits or face a punitive tax.

Joe Biden: No More Rand Pauls and Ted Cruzes in Congress

Vice President Joe Biden is calling Democrats to action to stop grassroots conservatives from electing more Republicans in the mold of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY).

In a fundraising letter for the Democratic National Committee, first reported by Ed Krayewski at Reason, Biden wrote told prospective donors that a “group of freshmen senators are running the show in the Republican Party” and played up the possibility of a government shutdown over ObamaCare.

“Now these aren’t bad guys, but I want you to think about this: not only are they still trying to get rid of health care reform — they’re willing to use the entire federal government as a bargaining chip to get it done,” wrote Biden. “That’s what we’re dealing with in Washington right now, and it’s unprecedented in my lifetime.”

“Make no mistake — one thing we don’t need is to let the Republicans outrun us in 2014, and elect a bunch more people to the House and Senate who think, act, and vote the way Ted Cruz and Rand Paul do,” he added.

Biden’s comments are practically identical to a speech he gave during a recent fundraiser in Massachusetts in which he asked the crowd, “Have you ever seen a time when two freshman senators are able to cower the bulk of the Republican Party in the Senate?”

While already notable players given how they won tough primaries against establishment-backed candidates, Paul, Cruz, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) have emerged as the conscience of the Republican Party in the Senate, principled conservatives who are willing to take stands when leaders would prefer they toe the party-line.

Chatting with Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA)

Paul Broun

“I talk to employer after employer that tells me that they’re just sitting tight trying to figure out what to do about it because they don’t know how to operate their business under this threat of ObamaCare. What is happening is employers who need to hire new people are not doing so because of ObamaCare.” — Rep. Paul Broun

If you’ve been following some of the news out of Washington, you know there is a big push from Republicans in both chambers of Congress to defund ObamaCare. But for some, there is more than can be done to fix the ongoing problems with America’s healthcare system.

Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA), a general practitioner who has represented Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, since, has a unique perspective when it comes to healthcare. He has spent the last several years making house calls to patients who need medical care.

During a discussion last week with United Liberty, Broun explained that that he has re-introduced the Patient Option Act, a consumer-driven healthcare proposal that presents a stark contrast between the top-down approach currently being implemented by Obama Administration.

Congress gets an exemption from ObamaCare

As Americans face rising health insurance premiums and confusion over ObamaCare, members of Congress and their aides won’t have to worry about a provision of the law that would have left them with higher healthcare costs:

The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources.

A White House official confirmed the deal and said the proposed regulations will be issued next week.
[…]
The problem was rooted in the original text of the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) inserted a provision which said members of Congress and their aides must be covered by plans “created” by the law or “offered through an exchange.” Until now, OPM had not said if the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program could contribute premium payments toward plans on the exchange. If payments stopped, lawmakers and aides would have faced thousands of dollars in additional premium payments each year. Under the old system, the government contributed nearly 75 percent of premium payments.

What this means is that members of Congress and congressional staffers will still have to go through ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges, but they will not be eligible for the subsidies provided under the law. There was a fear that Capitol Hill would suffer from “brain drain” if the significant government contributions were no longer allowed, forcing them to come out of pocket to make up the difference.

Obama “Pivots” to Focus on Economy…Again

Last week, Obama gave a speech before attendees at Knox College in his political home state of Illinois, a speech which signified a “pivot to the economy”, a new laser focus on job creation and improving the quality of life for the middle class. Some of you may be confused, recalling that Obama has declared a pivot to the economy before (14 times before, according to the Republican National Committee’s estimate, which only goes back to the beginning of 2011, or nineteen times, according to political reporter Salena Zito’s unofficial count).

But no, this is not the same as those other pivots. This is nothing like the stimulus bill which failed to stimulate the economy and actually INCREASED the unemployment rate by more than two points; and it is certainly nothing like “Recovery Summer” or “Recovery Summer 2” (or 3 or 4), which saw no actual recovery. No, this time, after nearly five years in office, he really, really means it!

And that is good news, considering how much the economy has struggled under the leadership in his administration (that new-fangled “leading from behind” technique that Obama has mastered). Under Obama, we now have more people on food stamps than at any time in the history of our nation. In fact, we have more people on food stamps than are employed in private sector jobs. And a disproportionate number of the few new jobs that are being created are either temp jobs, or work in the food and service industries, which typically are lower on the pay scale. So we sure are lucky that he is going to shine that brilliant intellect of his on our economic problems (I’d try to quantify just how brilliant but he hasn’t really been forthcoming with his work while in college…probably out of kindness so that the rest of us little people won’t be intimidated by just how much smarter he is than all of us!).


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