Free Markets, Free People
President Obama promised a new sort of presidency. And he’s delivered – Chicago politics in DC:
If Obamacare is so great, why do so many people want to get out from under it?
More specifically, why are more than half of those 3,095,593 in plans run by labor unions, which were among Obamacare’s biggest political supporters? Union members are only 12 percent of all employees but have gotten 50.3 percent of Obamacare waivers.
Emphasis mine. 12% get 50% of the waivers. Got a “gold plated health benefit package” but don’t belong to a union? Tough.
Pure and simple, this reflects who makes up the Democrats real constituency. The NLRB reflects it as well – see the Boeing stupidity and the attack on right-to-work states and the attempt to deny non-union workers their jobs.
But back to the waiver point. One of the things I constantly harp on is the fact that we supposedly are a nation that abides by the rule of law, not the rule of men. And that means something:
One basic principle of the rule of law is that laws apply to everybody. If the sign says "No Parking," you’re not supposed to park there even if you’re a pal of the alderman.
The special dispensation granted through 50% of the waivers to this point to a favored constituency seems to clearly point out that the law is at best being selectively applied (and the reason seems pretty obvious).
As for the NLRB":
Another principle of the rule of law is that government can’t make up new rules to help its cronies and hurt its adversaries except through due process, such as getting a legislature to pass a new law.
Chicago cronyism on a national level. And, you can be sure the unions will spend their members money to re-elect the politicians who favor them.
Yes friends, “hope and change” have taken on a new distinctly Chicago machine sort of air, haven’t they?
There’s a lot being written and said about the latest batch of ObamaCare waivers and the fact that many have gone to companies in Nancy Pelosi’s area. And, of course, the agency granting them has claimed that Pelosi had absolutely no effect on them being granted.
Okay, that’s not the important point anyway. Tim Pawlenty actually manages to stumble across it as he claims cronyism in their grant:
"I don’t blame people for trying to get out from underneath it — that it is an awful law," Pawlenty said. "But when you have that many needs for exemptions, it tells you that the law — it is a warning sign that the law is broken and doesn’t work."
Ya think? You have about 26 or 27 states challenging the Constitutionality of the bill and its individual mandate. You have hundreds, if not thousands of companies, agencies and businesses seeking waivers. And obviously, there’s an organization in place to grant those waivers. Imagine a job where you review and grant waivers to a law. I don’t know about you, but that would tell me there must be something fundamentally wrong with it.
Pawlenty is also correct about his broader point – those without the ability to appeal for a waiver are stuck with paying the piper:
"Another example of really crony politics or crony capitalism, if you’ve got the right connections, the right lobbyists, the right interest group, you get your special deal, and the rest of us get our wallet out, and that’s in the tax code, it’s in earmarking, and now you see it in ObamaCare.”
Yes, exactly. His larger point is absolutely correct. Those without the connections do indeed end up having our wallets looted. Cronyism is certainly alive and well and very prevalent not only in the treatment of ObamaCare, but in other areas as well. Which brings up an ironic point – for the party of “fairness” this seems singularly unfair. Yet Democrats aid and abet it – in fact, just like Republicans, they use this sort of process to gain favor with certain constituencies … at the expense of others. And by expense, I’m including paying the bill too.
ObamaCare is an obviously wretched law. What was supposed to be insurance reform ended up being a polyglot of government bureaucracy at a huge and unaffordable price.
Now we hear the House GOP members saying that repealing it is “hard”. We hear candidates like Romney and Gingrich saying they agree with parts of it, like the individual mandate. Cronyism is directly linked to power – it’s a give and take process that benefits politicians. It comes as no surprise to me that both sides are engaged in it up to their necks. The problem is it is unlikely to ever get fixed since it is the fox guarding the hen house and enjoying the job.
Yesterday, after the SOTU had been delivered and all attention was on discussing it, the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO), part of the US Health and Human Services Department, quietly announced that it had granted 511 new waivers to Obamacare (for a total of 733 as of this post) since its last report in November. Hot Air had been monitoring the site and found it rather interesting that a site that had been efficiently updated through November suddenly wasn’t updated until after SOTU. A bit like the CBO’s announced revision of this year’s deficit.
Anyway, the list contains businesses, local unions and other entities. Additionally, four states have applied for waivers (MA, NJ, OH and TN).
The reason for all these waivers (which, btw, only delay their integration into ObamaCare, it doesn’t exempt them)?
This ever-expanding list of waivers is the direct result of ObamaCare raising the annual benefit caps on certain health plans. Obviously, a plan with higher annual limits is potentially more costly than one without them. The money to cover the difference in premiums has to come from somewhere. Without the waivers, it will come from the employer who are forced by law to upgrade to the more expensive plan.
2.2 million effected with the waivers granted to this point. Part of that “less costly” promise Obama made when he was peddling this monstrosity.
Speaking of falsehoods, Jen Rubin at the Washington Post reports on an interesting exchange between Congressional reps and Medicare’s chief actuary (Robert Foster). In this particular exchange they discuss the “double-counting” that was used to justify ObamaCare (and which the Democrats and their pet economists like to claim is nonsense:
REP. JOHN CAMPBELL(R- Calif.): "Is it legitimate to say… that you can add a dozen years to the solvency of Medicare or that you can reduce the deficit, but it is not correct to say both simultaneously?"
FOSTER: "Both will happen as a result of the same one set of savings, under Medicare. But it takes two sets of money to make it happen. It happens directly for the budget deficit, from the Medicare savings, and then when we need the money to extend the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, we have a promissory note – it’s an IOU, not a worthless IOU, but it is an IOU – and Treasury has to pay that money back. But they have to get it from somewhere. That’s the missing link."
These are the sorts of budgetary tricks that Congress is famous for using (and it isn’t just the Democrats, although it was certainly the Democrats in this case)and one of the reasons we see government in the horrific financial shape it is in.
So, where is the money – promised in the IOUs for the money designated for Medicare but spent elsewhere – going to come from? Of course the Democrat’s answer is from higher taxes. But don’t worry – the result will be "lower health care costs" or so says the plan. Amazing.
Then Foster was asked about this:
Two of the central promises of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law are unlikely to be fulfilled, Medicare’s independent economic expert told Congress on Wednesday.
The landmark legislation probably won’t hold costs down, and it won’t let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it, Chief Actuary Richard Foster told the House Budget Committee. His office is responsible for independent long-range cost estimates. . . .
Foster was asked by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., for a simple true or false response on two of the main assertions made by supporters of the law: that it will bring down unsustainable medical costs and will let people keep their current health insurance if they like it.
On the costs issue, "I would say false, more so than true," Foster responded.
Finally, this exchange:
McCLINTOCK: "The other promise… was the promise that if you like your plan, you can keep it. True or false?"
FOSTER: "Not true in all cases."
Really? Other than true believers, who else thought “oh heck yeah, we can add more people to the rolls, require insurance companies to take everyone regardless of their health and remove all payment caps and have a cheaper product too boot? The same people who swallowed “if you like your plan you can keep it”, I guess.
For those folks: welcome to reality. If you think the new revised budget deficit of 1.5 trillion this year is alarming, wait till ObamaCare kicks in fully. Oh, and repeat after me “this is not the government taking over health care”.