In 2011, instead of being heralded for its popularity, President Obama's expensive and tyrannical health care law faced its unraveling, month by month.
Last January, Kansas became the 26th state suing the federal government to block implementation of the health care overhaul. By the end of t hat month, a second federal judge had declared the law unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court now decides whether part or all of Obamacare is unconstitutional, and it should rule sometime around early June.
It was also last February when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the embarrassing announcement that the CLASS Act, a key portion of the law that was supposed to "save" $70 billion, was "totally unsustainable." And the bad news kept on coming.
The law turned a year old March 23, the same day the House Committee on Energy and Commerce reported that the temporary Early Retirement Reinsurance Program would spend its allotted $5 billion far earlier than its January 2014 expiration date. By the end of March, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Obamacare will ultimately cost more than $1.1 trillion an increase of $90 billion from its February estimate.
Last May, the media reported that 20 percent of Obama administration waivers from the law were going to gourmet restaurants, nightclubs and swanky hotels in Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's district. The AARP, which betrayed members with its shameless cheerleading for Obamacare, was also granted a waiver from the law along with various Obama-supporting labor unions.
When June rolled around, a McKinsey & Co. survey of more than 1,300 private-sector employers found that 30 percent of employers would definitely or probably stop offering insurance to their employees if the law is fully implemented by 2014. At the end of June, another embarrassment in the law emerged: A glitch allowed middle-class Americans to get subsidized health care intended for poor people and Medicare's chief actuary flatly declared the section in question "doesn't make sense."
By mid-September, Republican lawmakers said, "We told you so," accusing congressional Democrats who voted for the law of recklessness for promoting the CLASS Act stipulation despite knowing it would eventually blow up the budget. By October, officials from Obama's Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged they "do not have a path to move forward" and announced they were giving up on pursuing CLASS (although that law section remains on the books).
Last November, dozens of congressmen wrote to the Internal Revenue Service commissioner objecting to a new IRS rule authorizing subsidies for participation in the yet-to-be-created federal health care exchange program. They argued that the agency was seeking to rewrite Obamacare, and experts noted the IRS was attempting to cover up a glitch in the original law that provides subsidies for people enrolled in state exchanges but not federal exchanges. That problem is still unresolved.
On Nov. 10, Belmont Abbey College, a Roman Catholic school, filed a lawsuit claiming violation of its religious freedom if forced to buy contraceptives for its students. It specifically objects to a Department of Health and Human Services ruling outlawing all insurance plans that don't fully cover the cost of all contraception, including pills that cause abortions.
Then came another shocker that month. On the heels of a Gallup poll showing almost half of the American people favor repeal of Obamacare, even ultraliberal Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, joined the effort to repeal the unaccountable Independent Payment Advisory Board, a key portion of the law that would recommend levels at which Medicare recipients, including seniors, can be reimbursed for health care expenses.
As Christmas arrived, The Washington Post reported that health care exerts doubted the law's federal insurance exchange program would be fully operational by the Jan. 1, 2014, deadline. That's because many states have refused to implement the state exchange program, hoping the Supreme Court will rule Obamacare unconstitutional.
As 2012 dawned, sticker shock was becoming evident. Seniors looking at Medicare Part B costs found that the per person Medicare insurance premium will increase from the present monthly fee of $96.40, rising to $104.20 in 2012, $120.20 in 2013, and $247 in 2014. That's an increase of 156 percent in just three years. Those provisions are embedded in Obamacare but were delayed by the Democratic bill writers until after the 2012 election in order to hide them from voters.
In light of this oncoming train wreck, it will indeed be a happy new year if the Supreme Court declares the whole law unconstitutional. It would save Congress the time and trouble of defunding or repealing it. Phil Kent is chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based American Seniors Association.
Phil Kent is chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based American Seniors Association.
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