Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Obama's Health Care Bill Has Passed - Now We See What's In It!

The Washington Examiner writes: Taxpayers earning less than $200,000 a year will pay roughly $3.9 billion more in taxes — in 2019 alone — because of healthcare reform, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ official scorekeeper for legislation.
The new law raises $15.2 billion over 10 years by limiting the medical expense deduction, a provision widely used by taxpayers who either have a serious illness or are older.
Taxpayers can currently deduct medical expenses in excess of 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. Starting in 2013, most taxpayers will only be allowed to deducted expenses greater than 10 percent of AGI. Older taxpayers are hit by this threshold increase in 2017.
This is worse than a tax on the middle class. It’s a tax on the middle class who are seriously ill. And what’s the over/under on how may times Obama is going to break that “no taxes on anyone earning under $250,000 a year” pledge, anyway?
From Human Events comes the following: In 1798, long before the “Nullification Crisis” arose, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Kentucky Resolutions, contending that states not only had the right to decide the constitutionality of federal legislation but to leave the Union if unconstitutional legislation was not rescinded. One year later, James Madison took an identical position in the Virginia Resolutions.  (Both sets of resolutions were written in the belief that President John Adams had violated the Constitution via the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts.)

Three decades later, southerners viewed the “Tariff of Abominations” as Jefferson and Madison had viewed Adams’ legislation. And sharing Jefferson’s view that the federal government was a compact created by the states, and therefore one the states had a right to dismantle should tyranny arise, South Carolina pushed the doctrine of nullification coupled with the threat of secession.
And the demarcation between supporters of a burgeoning government and supporters of states’ rights is as clear (and important) in 2010 as it was in 1828 and 1832. For within days after the passage of Obamacare, Utah, Texas, Virgnia, Alabama, Michigan, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Dakota, and South Dakota, positioned themselves to file suit against it on grounds that portions of the legislation were unconstitutional: And before the legislation was even signed into law Idaho and Minnesota were taking their stand.

Within weeks, these first fourteen states were joined by six more, and now the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that “members of at least 39 state legislatures have proposed legislation” which, in one way or another, is aimed at stopping Obamacare in its tracks.

In short, the race is on to nullify this legislation before the citizens of the states fall prey to the greedy, overreaching paws of those who put government first, and liberty second.

May it ever be the theme of Conservatism that regardless of the stakes involved, we hold liberty, above all else, “most dear.”
[It's not as if those with functioning minds didn't predict this, but the Wall St. Journal reports]:  Experts warn there won't be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000. 
A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.  [Sounds like Canada.  Might this be what we call rationing, in effect leading to "death panels"?]
Proponents of the new health-care law say it does attempt to address the physician shortage. The law offers sweeteners to encourage more people to enter medical professions, and a 10% Medicare pay boost for primary-care doctors.
Meanwhile, a number of new medical schools have opened around the country recently. As of last October, four new medical schools enrolled a total of about 190 students, and 12 medical schools raised the enrollment of first-year students by a total of 150 slots, according to the AAMC. Some 18,000 students entered U.S. medical schools in the fall of 2009, the AAMC says.
But medical colleges and hospitals warn that these efforts will hit a big bottleneck: There is a shortage of medical resident positions. The residency is the minimum three-year period when medical-school graduates train in hospitals and clinics.  [Yes indeed, we are beginning to see the effects of Obamacare already.]
The NYT, on the new health care bill: The law apparently bars members of Congress from the federal employees health program, on the assumption that lawmakers should join many of their constituents in getting coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.
But the research service found that this provision was written in an imprecise, confusing way, so it is not clear when it takes effect.
The new exchanges do not have to be in operation until 2014. But because of a possible “drafting error,” the report says, Congress did not specify an effective date for the section excluding lawmakers from the existing program.
Under well-established canons of statutory interpretation, the report said, “a law takes effect on the date of its enactment” unless Congress clearly specifies otherwise. And Congress did not specify any other effective date for this part of the health care law. The law was enacted when President Obama signed it three weeks ago.
“It is unclear whether members of Congress and Congressional staff who are currently participating in F.E.H.B.P. may be able to retain this coverage,” the research service said in an 8,100-word memorandum.
And even if current members of Congress can stay in the popular program for federal employees, that option will probably not be available to newly elected lawmakers, the report says.
Moreover, it says, the strictures of the new law will apply to staff members who work in the personal office of a member of Congress. But they may or may not apply to people who work on the staff of Congressional committees and in “leadership offices” like those of the House speaker and the Democratic and Republican leaders and whips in the two chambers.
From Human Events: 58 percent of American voters support the repeal of Obamacare just three weeks after Congress passed it, and that's probably without even realizing the extent of the tainted cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office or the tax consequences of the bill.

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