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Florida Judge Rejects Obamacare
Good news! A federal judge in Florida has ruled that Obamacare is unconstitutional. More specifically, he declared the individual mandate to be unconstitutional, but voiding that particular penalty would consequently void the entire law.
Here is an excerpt from Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling, courtesy of Reuters:
"Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.
Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the Act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution."
Judge Vinson’s ruling is even broader than the Virginia ruling last month because it declares the entire law invalid, not merely the individual mandate.
This is a huge victory and we look forward to watching the law go all the way to the Supreme Court, where it will almost certainly be brought for final consideration. In the meantime, rest assured we will do all we can to address the issue within the legislative branch. As you may recall, the House of Representatives voted to repeal Obamacare two weeks ago. We hear additional repeal efforts in the Senate are in the works as well.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Tune into NTU's State of the Union Coverage tonight
Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, the National Taxpayers Union's crack government affairs and policy analysis teams will provide special online coverage of the President’s State of the Union Address, and we want you to be there and be a part of the discussion. We will be breaking down the President's proposals and what they will mean for taxpayers. Details on how you can join the conversation are below.
We look forward to seeing you online tonight at 9 p.m. EST!
We look forward to seeing you online tonight at 9 p.m. EST!
One Step Closer to Repeal
This past Wednesday, House conservatives followed through with their promise to repeal Obamacare. The vote – 245-189 – marks a major first step in overturning the mammoth, $2.5 trillion health care law.
Here is an excerpt from the Vote Alert we distributed to House offices in advance of Wednesday’s vote:
"From its inception to final passage, NTU has vehemently opposed the health care law because of its enormous tax hikes, inclusion of an 'individual mandate,' and mounds of restrictive regulations. This onerous law is NOT real reform, but rather a political ploy to deceive taxpayers and to expand the federal government in a way that is both unprecedented and unsustainable. Our nation deserves better.
Last year, the 111th Congress chose to ignore the wishes of the American people and implement a package that has done little to lower costs or improve the quality of health care. Furthermore, reports surfaced last fall that claimed the law could raise premiums as much as 20 percent, while 2,000+ pages of hidden taxes and fees have made transparency nearly impossible. It is imperative that Congress start over and enact reforms that put health care choices in the hands of patients and their doctors – not government bureaucrats."
The fate of Obamacare repeal in the U.S. Senate remains unclear, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed he will not permit it to reach the floor. That being said, Senator Jim DeMint is rumored to have a Senate version already in the works, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement after Wednesday’s House vote: “The Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want to vote on this bill. But I assure you, we will.”
And, regardless of Senate action (or inaction) on Obamacare repeal, the new House majority is already moving forward. According to The Hill, Representatives voted Thursday to instruct individual committees to begin to develop alternatives to the law.
The battle to "repeal and replace" is far from over, folks. It's only just begun.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
H.R. 2’s Five-Year Cost Examined in Latest Taxpayer’s Tab
The National Taxpayers Union Foundation starts off 2011 right with an analysis by Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady on the 112th Congress’ most talked about piece of legislation yet. The Congressional Budget Office has already released two preliminary reports on H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, but questions remain as to the budgetary impact of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. NTUF has laid out the costs and savings associated with such a repeal so that everyone can be on the same page.
Also included in the Tab are details of the National Taxpayers Union coverage of the upcoming President’s State of the Union Address, scheduled for Tuesday, January 25th. NTU will once again open a chat room to anyone wishing to share their opinions on the Administration’s accomplishments so far, the agenda the President outlines in the speech, and any other taxpayer-related items. NTU’s Facebook and blog, GovernmentBytes.com, pages will also be buzzing with posts and comments, updated throughout the night by policy experts, advocates, and everyday citizens. @NTU and @NTUF on Twitter will also be tweeting developments as they happen using the hashtags #NTUSOTU and #SOTU.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
A Disingenuous CBO Report
As a lead-up to Wednesday’s health care repeal vote, many of you may have heard assertions that repeal would increase the deficit by $145 billion. This false claim comes from a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on H.R. 2, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Fortunately, numerous experts have spoken up on why this is not the case, and why it’s imperative that Congress follow through with repeal if they do in fact want to reduce long-term deficits.
To be clear, I’m not knocking the CBO. They do good work, but the very nature of that work requires assumptions and a need to take the information they are given at face value.
Please take a look at this must-read National Review piece by former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin (one of the aforementioned experts). Holtz-Eakin says we should not blame CBO, but rather “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” budgeting that forces CBO to “incorporate a wide range of budget gimmicks in their original estimate of the health care law.”
Want specific examples of these budget gimmicks? According to Mr. Holtz-Eakin, CBO was provided information (from the former Congressional Majority) that forced them to:
In his article, Holtz-Eakin says, “There was never any reason to believe that the law reduced the deficit by roughly $140 billion over ten years. Starting two new open-ended entitlements without fixing the existing budgetary cancers just doesn’t work that way. Repealing Obamacare is simply a first step toward fiscal sanity that should happen as soon as possible.”
Take it from the expert. I think a former CBO director understands CBO reports far better than liberal media and Members of Congress.
For even more information on the disingenuous CBO report, check out this analysis from the Heritage Foundation.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
House to Vote on Obamacare Repeal
The 112th Congress has officially begun and House conservatives are quickly acting on their promise to repeal the new health care law. According to the Daily Caller, the vote has been set for next Wednesday, January 12.
Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told Fox News that he believes repeal does have the chance to pass through all of Congress with enough votes to override President Obama’s (inevitable) veto. In order to make that happen, you need 2/3 majority of both chambers. That means every single Republican as well as 48 House and 20 Senate Democrats. In my opinion, that is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, this is an important vote, and one that we will wholeheartedly endorse.
The budget-busting health care bill, complete with mammoth tax hikes and mounds of restrictive regulations, is NOT real reform and will do little to lower costs and improve quality of care. With every related vote that takes place, it enables us to keep the issue alive with American taxpayers and help stop the damaging provisions before they take effect.
I encourage all of you to put pressure on your Representative and Senators. Emphasize that next week’s vote is far more than a “symbolic” gesture, and remind them that they were sent to Washington to listen to the wishes of those people they serve.1 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Colorado Citizens Draft a Budget
Lately, the politicians who control Congress and the state house in Denver have complained about the difficulty with writing a sensible budget in a down economy. Perhaps they should consult with the people of Colorado more closely.
Late last week, the Independence Institute, Colorado’s premier free-market think tank, released the Colorado Citizens’ Budget, a product of many hours work by volunteers to find a way to balance the state’s budget without raising taxes. Some highlights from the Citizens’ Budget include: pension reform to reduce unfunded liabilities, fewer incarcerations for non-violent offenders to reduce the size of the corrections budget, more school choice to reduce the cost of K-12 education, and reforming Medicaid eligibility.
To think that the Citizens’ Budget is just about saving money or getting the state through the next budget cycle is to miss the point of the project. As Jon Caldara, President of the Independence Institute, puts it: “The [Colorado] General Assembly over the course of the next several years must make difficult decisions and will dramatically shape our state's economy. Its debates will echo the important question about the nature of government that is being carried out in Washington, D.C. Will we as a People expect only those public goods that allow for a vibrant, growing private sector, or will we demand an ever-larger, more intrusive government on which we depend for our every need and decision?”
To answer this question, it is helpful to read the Citizens’ Budget in its entirety.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Individual Mandate Unconstitutional
According to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, "Today, a federal judge in Richmond ruled the individual mandate of the federal health care law UNCONSTITUTIONAL!"
Cuccinelli says that the fight against health care law isn't over but that this victory is a first step.
The judge's ruling is available here (in PDF) via the Wall Street Journal.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
More on Mini-Meds
Back in June, I highlighted a Politico article entitled “Health care law could ban low-cost plans.” In case you missed it, here is an excerpt from that blog post:
The "Affordable" Health Care Act would ban the caps currently in place for the amount of insurance company payouts. While, on the surface, this sounds like a positive reform to improve the quality of care, it is problematic for a couple of reasons. There is a niche insurance market, called mini-med plans, which many employees (retail, restaurant workers, etc.) have come to depend on. While these plans do offer limited benefits, they are priced low for low-wage workers who may not be able to afford more comprehensive health care. If caps are eliminated, it could force insurance companies to significantly raise costs or eliminate the plans altogether. That would be detrimental to many of these low-wage workers since insurance exchanges and tax credits will not be available until 2014.
The big concern was that mini-med subscribers would lose their coverage before they could access subsidies to purchase government-regulated insurance in 2014. However, according to The Hill, “McDonald’s and other employers that offer low-value ‘mini-med’ health plans to 1.4 million workers will temporarily be allowed to keep them under highly anticipated federal regulations released Monday.” Employers that offer mini-med plans will still have to comply with new requirements, but they have been afforded extra time.
Go here for more information on the newest HHS-issued health care regulations.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts