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Yet another ObamaCare dishonesty update


I've been collecting these stories for a few weeks, but with the release of yet another batch of ObamaCare waivers, the time has finally come to tie them all together and publish them.

Back in 1993, when P. J. O'Roarke famously remarked that we would be shocked at the cost of health care once the government made it "free", I was telling my friends that if HillaryCare ever became law we would never see another balanced budget in our lifetimes.

I think I was pretty much on the money.

For starters, the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Service Support) Act, a payroll deduction savings program administered by HHS and designed to encourage working Americans to begin saving for the cost of skilled nursing and assisted living care, has just been officially declared "unsustainable."  The program has been controversial since its unveiling last March (after the law was sgined by the President, of course) because it encourages workers to start saving in 2011, but doesn't start paying benefits until five years later.  Critics said that the program would burn through the 5 year accumulation of premiums quickly, then would be insolvent perhaps as early as 2021. 

During a Senate Finance Committee hearing last month, HSS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius confirmed the critics' suspicions by stating that the CLASS program, as currently laid out in the law, is "totally unsustainable," adding, "we very much share the concerns that have been expressed that, as written into law, the framework of the program was not sustainable."  Government officials are right to be worried, because drastically increasing the monthly deductions, which would be the simplest way to put the program back on track, would likely discourage a significant number of people from participating.

Then last week, during an appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Secretary Sibelius admitted that the Obama Administration's much-vaunted "$500 billion in Medicaid cuts" that was supposed to significantly reduce deficit spending over the next ten years, had in fact been double counted as both continuing funding for Medicaid, and as funding for ObamaCare services designed to supplant those that were scheduled to be phased out from Medicaid.  Actually this had already been discovered last summer by the CBO, which released a memo that read in part,

"[The funds] cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs ... To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government's ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings."
And last month, in testimony before the House Budget Committee, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf admitted that the burdens imposed on employers by the ObamaCare law would result in a net reduction of 800,000 American jobs over the next ten years:

Rep. [John] Campbell: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, we'll -- and Dr. Elmendorf -- and we'll continue this conversation right now. First on health care, before I get to -- before I get to broader issues, you just mentioned that you believe -- or that in your estimate, that the health care law would reduce the labor used in the economy by about 1/2 of 1 percent, given that, I believe you say, there's 160 million full-time people working in '20-'21.  That means that, in your estimation, the health care law would reduce employment by 800,000 in '20-'21. Is that correct? 

Director Elmendorf: Yes. The way I would put it is that we do estimate, as you said, that...employment will be about 160 million by the end of the decade.  Half a percent of that is 800,000.

Finally, as my collegue Rick pointed out in the previous post, the Obama Administration has just approved another 126 waivers for incorporated entities (businesses and labor union locals) effectively suspending their participation in mandatory health insurance coverage requirements, thus bring the total number of waivers to 1040.  The Administration has also given waivers to four entire states -- Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee -- that will allow insurers in those states to continue to offer health insurance plans that do not meet the new ObamaCare minimum coverage requirements. 

And to top it all off, state governments could be collectively facing $60 billion to $120 billion in additional cost outlays over the next decade, as the ObamaCare-mandated expansions of state medicare services start to kick in.

It's pretty clear that the term "money pit" is a pretty generous way to describe this legislative debacle.  Even if you support the idea of government-mandated health care services (and I have many friends who do) you should be livid over the outright lies and manipulations used by the Administration to hoodwink the American people into believing that the program would be cost effective and solvent, even to the point of reducing overall federal spending. 

I've often complained about the fact that, so far, the Obama Administration has failed to prosecute a single banking or finance executive responsible for the outright fraud that precipitated the stock market, home mortgage, and insurance industry meltdowns in 2008.  Maybe we've just figured out the answer -- it's hard to prosecute someone for a speck in their eye when you've got an Enron-sized plank in your own.

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Comments (16)

"The Obama Misery Index and... (Below threshold)
Dan:

"The Obama Misery Index and the Rise of Obamavilles" is the best blog post I've read in a long time. This is why President Obama will be a one-term president! http://t.co/hhFr73z

I can't recommend this piece highly enough. This will be all the ammo we'll need when talking to other voters during the 2012 general election.

Only the most ignorant of p... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Only the most ignorant of people think that obamacare was ever about reducing the cost of healthcare. obama never once proposed anything that would reduce actual costs. He only proposed ways to reduce what the government would pay for it. Ultimately, the increased regulations only increase the costs of delivering health care.

This was always about control of the economy and control of people. It has been about being able to grab 1/6th of the economy and divvy up the spoils to his political friends. That is becoming more and more apparent as time passes.

"This was always about cont... (Below threshold)
Hank:

"This was always about control of the economy and control of people."

That and Obama's legacy. He has these visions of grandeur, unsubstantiated by anything he's done.

"you should be livid over t... (Below threshold)
Constitution First:

"you should be livid over the outright lies and manipulations used by the Administration to hoodwink the American people..."

Pretty much sums up all most everything Øbambi (The Anointed One) has touched, thus far.

2012 can't come soon enough.

Right now I'm ready to take a comet strike over a slow death.

Please deatil the "outright... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Please deatil the "outright fraud" that casued the financial crisis ?

Outside of Fannie and Freddie and their gaming of the ratings agencies to inflate the valuations of sub prime CMO's I haven't heard of a specific fraudulent activity that had anyhting to do with the crisis ...

Examples, please ... :)

sorry for the awful spell c... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

sorry for the awful spell checking ...

Please detail the "outright fraud" that caused the financial crisis ?

Outside of Fannie and Freddie and their gaming of the ratings agencies to inflate the valuations of sub prime CMO's I haven't heard of a specific fraudulent activity that had anything to do with the crisis ...

Examples, please ... :)

The problem wasn't even "in... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

The problem wasn't even "inflated valuations" on CMOs. Investors never realized that sub-prime mortgages could ever be a major component of any CMO - it was always assumed they would be a tiny percentage if included at all. No one understood just how many of these the Dodd-Frank-Clinton campaign to control Fannie and Freddie had created.

There was no requirement to disclose how many subprimes were included in a given security, so even those selling them had no idea. Therefore, once the problem became evident, no one would buy CMOs or any security which included them in any form or at any price. That is what caused the crisis, combined with the idiotic capitalization and "mark-to-market" regs.

All of a sudden, the once rock-solid values of CMOs plunged to ZERO (because there were no buyers). This is what threatened financial institutions with bankruptcy. The problem was entirely the creation of misbegotten Democratic policies (which Republicans were afraid to block, since so much of the questionable lending was directed at minority households) and foolish regulations.

It was a government manufactured crisis.

We look at the problems of ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

We look at the problems of sustainability of Government Insurance programs world wide and some Dem had the arrogance to say we could do it better.
Social Security and Medicare eat up our budget like ravenous pigs and we ask for another massive entitlement program. We dropped Billions into Eduction and are told we need to spend more but each year our school systems get worse.
With that track record was their any doubt that this would be an unmitigated cluster frack?

Let's talk on topic -- shal... (Below threshold)

Let's talk on topic -- shall we? Judge Vinson suddenly seems very-concerned about preserving his reputation, after all the dust settles on the § 1501 flap.

Let us be clear -- there are no real issues of triable fact here; this is all simply a matter of finding, and applying, the law -- the Constitutional law. In short, the just sort of law that the Supremes are uniquely empowered to interpret.

So, why is that Judge Vinson just granted a stay of his own ruling on the § 1501 individual mandate controversy, when no party asked for a stay?

It is possible -- likely, even -- that it has now dawned on Judge Vinson that his reputation as a conservative jurist has been deeply pock-marked by the activism he exhibited in ruling an entire 3,400 page law unconstitutional. Thus, he stayed his own ruling, sua sponte (at least in part) to avoid additional tarnishing of his reputation should several intermmediate level courts rule he was (way) off base, here.

On the other hand, being overruled directly by the Supremes alone (but not letting the appellate courts pick his reasoning apart, line by line) doesn't carry quite the same sting (kinda' like losing to the ultimate winner in a basketball tournament -- in the final rounds). I do think there is a whiff of that in Vinson's order of this past week. Afterall, the Supremes will likely not discuss each of the five trial level opinions in any great detail -- they'll largely just rule, after analyzing the older Supreme Court precedents, of course.

In any event, it is time for the appellate courts to certify this directly to the Supreme Court, and -- if Judge Vinson's assessment of the 3-2 decision-split thus far is accurate -- that both sides are advancing novel arguments, then we ought to just stop "inventing" law, at the intermediate level.

That (inventing law) is solely the province of the Supremes. Let's just get on with it. Bring on the Supremes.

Anyone care to speak (any) truth to power, here?

Namaste

"So, why is that Judge Vins... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"So, why is that Judge Vinson just granted a stay of his own ruling on the § 1501 individual mandate controversy, when no party asked for a stay?"

Did not the Obama administration ask for a "clarification"?

"So, why is that Judge Vins... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

"So, why is that Judge Vinson just granted a stay of his own ruling on the § 1501 individual mandate controversy, when no party asked for a stay?"

The Judge said the Administration is making bad-faith arguments that are "manifestly incorrect" and contrary to the well-established legal precedents "that they themselves had identified and specifically insisted they would honor" in earlier proceedings and motions. The transparent political goal is to string out the legal challenges as long as possible.

Therefore, Judge Vinson decided to treat the dilatory tactics as a motion for a stay, and granted it. But he also gave the Justice Department a mere seven days—that is, this Thursday—to file an appeal and required that it seek an expedited appellate review. He writes that "the battle lines have been drawn, the relevant case law marshalled, and the legal arguments refined." There is no reason for further delay.

Looks to me like the Judge is saying bring it ON

Vinson actually gave the th... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Vinson actually gave the the stay in order to back them into a corner. The administration wanted to drag things out and see if they could not get other more favorable rulings to the court first. However, by granting the stay and ordering them to expedite the appeal he forces them to either allow the whole law to lapse in that circuit or they need to take him directly to the Supreme Court.

Basically, he spanked them for being ignorant and incapable of reading his ruling and then challenged them to take his ruling to the high court first.

They were stupid and he out foxed them.

I just found a place called... (Below threshold)
edithcstone:

I just found a place called "printapons" where I can get my fav. restaurant coupon for 90% off!! all you have to do is just print and take it.

"Even if you support the id... (Below threshold)
Marc:

"Even if you support the idea of government-mandated health care services (and I have many friends who do) you should be livid over the outright lies and manipulations used by the Administration to hoodwink the American people into believing that the program would be cost effective and solvent, even to the point of reducing overall federal spending"

There is NO way to support government mandated health care services without lying.

Has anyone yet mentioned th... (Below threshold)

Has anyone yet mentioned the One Hundred and Five Billion Dollars of already appropriated future funding insidiously incorporated into the O'Zero-Care legislation, hidden in a score of obscure clauses and that appears likely to have been intended to prevent future houses of reps from ever de-funding the monster.

Too bad, then, that the Pelosi "Democrats" didn't bother with a 2010-2011 budget.

Now, by hanging tough over continuing resolutions, the house Republicans can insist the O'Zero-Care $105-Billion is spent first - on the feral gummint's day-to-day operations. And, as efficaciously by way of that mechanism as by any other, de-fund the, in-any-case, Judge Vinson adjudged un-Constitutional O'Zero fascissocialist scam.

Updating berrys dishonesty... (Below threshold)
914:

Updating berrys dishonesty is a minute by minute undertaking.




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