Posts Tagged ‘individual mandate’
May 27th, 2011 at 5:30 pm
Romney Supports Ethanol Subsidies

Or, to use Romney’s phrasing, “I support the subsidy of ethanol.”  Forget the passive voice; Mitt Romney is actively standing on his principles!

Two weeks ago, the former Massachusetts governor has defended his version of an individual mandate in health care.  Now, he’s declaring fealty to a $5 billion program to create a source of energy the free market will not support.

In 2008, Romney was tagged as being inauthentic because he tried to remake himself into a social conservative when he’s really more a country club Republican.  With his background in big business, Romney’s 2012 dalliances with corporate welfare may be more authentic, but they risk being out-of-step with free market tea partiers.

Mitt Romney seems like a genuinely nice, earnest guy.  Too bad he’s just not a conservative.

May 19th, 2011 at 9:37 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Gingrich’s Foot In Mouth
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

May 16th, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Gingrich’s “Voodoo Economics” Moment?

During the 1980 presidential campaign, Republican candidate George H. W. Bush decried Ronald Reagan’s supply-side tax cuts as “voodoo economics” because the policy promised to lower tax rates and generate more production, and thus more tax revenues.  Bush’s denunciation of Reagan’s economic vision was a proxy for Keynesian thinkers in both parties, who thought (and think) that tax reductions spur consumption (demand), not production (supply).

Of course, Bush lost to Reagan in the Republican primary that year, in part because Reagan had a more compelling message: let’s cut taxes to get the economy growing instead of cutting them simply to reduce spending.  Moreover, Bush was wrong because Reagan’s policies worked.

This weekend, 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich slammed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the latter’s “Path to Prosperity” budget proposal as “right-wing social engineering.”  Why?  Because Gingrich thinks changing the way Medicare operates – from straight government subsidy to vouchers – is too “radical.”

But that isn’t stopping Gingrich from continuing to support an individual mandate to buy health insurance.  (Like fellow contender Mitt Romney (R-MA), but unlike President Barack Obama, Gingrich wants the individual mandate at the state, not federal, level.)  So, in Gingrich’s mind, transforming Medicare from a defined benefit into a defined voucher is “radical,” but mandating individuals to buy health insurance is not?

When Reagan adopted the mantra of economic growth through across-the-board tax cuts in 1980, he gave voters a clear alternative to the shared scarcity narrative being peddled by politicians in both parties.  Ryan’s budget proposal is based on Reagan’s insight that less taxes and more growth sells; less choice and more government mandates do not.

Like Reagan, whoever wins the Republican presidential nomination next year will have to make some accommodation with Ryan’s economic vision.  Downsizing – whether it’s freedom, opportunity, taxes, or spending – isn’t enough of a message to create the kind of majority needed to enact the kind of policy changes that spur real private sector growth.  With positions supporting ethanol subsidies and state level individual mandates, it sounds like Newt Gingrich is more comfortable playing the elder Bush’s role in this campaign.

February 25th, 2011 at 2:10 pm
Media Announces Start of GOP 2012 Campaign

Like emaciated jackals hungry for fresh meat MSNBC’s political staff announced today that the GOP 2012 campaign is now underway.  The reason?  Mike Huckabee (R-AR) made the rather unsurprising link between Massachusetts’ individual mandate law passed under then-Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) and the almost identical requirement in ObamaCare.  Mitt’s “RomneyCare” problem has been so well documented it’s not worth a verifying hyperlink.

That said, the fact that Huckabee’s identifying of the main obstacle in Romney’s path to the GOP nomination is being treated like a campaign salvo is too much; especially since neither man has formally announced a candidacy.  At the earliest, it looks like Newt Gingrich might be the first to take the plunge sometime next month.  For now, MSNBC’s announcement is just the latest attempt to goad the pack of likely candidates into justifying a political reporter’s salary.

January 27th, 2011 at 7:48 pm
HHS Waiver-gate Adds Another 500 Exemptions

Perhaps the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should get credit for making the road to serfdom a little easier to travel.  Beset by criticisms that ObamaCare grants HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “dictatorship” status with powers including on whom to bestow compliance waivers, HHS confirmed it handed out 500 new get-out-jail-free cards.

The purpose of the year-long waivers is to provide a compliance-free bridge for employers who would otherwise opt to pay the penalty for canceling out-of-compliance insurance plans.  That bridge only extends to 2014.

Alex Cortes at The Daily Caller notes that the waivers (averaging about two a day so far for 729 total) will only be granted until 2014 when ObamaCare’s state-run insurance exchanges come online.  Then, companies that stop offering insurance will pay the fine, but their employees will be able (i.e. forced) to use the exchanges or be fined themselves for ignoring the individual mandate.

Until then, private sector employers and employees must go hat-in-hand begging for a waiver from Comrade Sebelius.  Don’t worry, says a HHS spokesman, the number of waiver requests denied is “more than a handful, but not a big number.”  How benevolent.

December 16th, 2010 at 10:52 pm
Recent Obamacare Ruling a Pyrrhic Victory?

Christine Erickson at Free Enterprise Nation has a chilling analysis of Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional:

The idea behind the individual mandate is that it is a way to achieve universal coverage through the private market, rather than through a government-sponsored plan. When considering the regulations placed on insurance companies by the reform law, the individual mandate is necessary because it brings healthy individuals into the insurance pool. Under a major provision within the law, insurers can no longer deny policies to people with preexisting conditions. If this regulation is put in place without the individual mandate, a healthy individual can go without insurance, knowing that he or she can purchase coverage after having been diagnosed with a serious medical problem. For insurance companies that sell to the individual market, this would shift the makeup of their policy holders to the point where they would spend much more on claims than they make in premiums, leaving them with the decision to drastically raise premiums (15% to 20% by CBO estimations) or exit the individual market altogether. Once private insurers are forced out of the individual market, it is almost guaranteed that the government would step in and create a government-run plan.

With Judge Hudson’s ruling, as well as two other recent rulings that the mandate falls within Congressional limits, healthcare reform supporters now see two likely outcomes to a Supreme Court challenge: the law will be upheld in its entirety, or the individual mandate alone will be overturned. If the Supreme Court decides the latter, the country could be immediately set on a path towards a government-run, single payer system.

Oh, dear…

December 13th, 2010 at 4:46 pm
In Rejecting ObamaCare, Federal Judge Rejects Orwellian Illogic
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In his opinion declaring ObamaCare’s central provision (the individual mandate) unconstitutional, United States District Judge Henry Hudson today vindicated the core concept of individual freedom that provides the foundation of our constitutional republic.  More than that, however, Judge Hudson provided a refreshing break from that loathsome parade of shameless judges who have insulted Americans’ intelligence through recent decades by mangling the English language beyond any logical recognition.

Namely, Judge Hudson rejected the Obama Administration’s central argument that economic inactivity somehow amounts to “economic activity.”  On Page 11 of his ruling, Judge Hudson neatly summarized the Administration’s core logic: “Critical to the Secretary’s argument is the notion that an individual’s notion not to purchase health insurance is in effect ‘economic activity.'”  Just as neatly, he rejected that Orwellian illogic in terms that should be etched permanently as a reminder on Obama’s teleprompter:  “This broad definition of the economic activity subject to Congressional regulation lacks logical limitation and is unsupported by Commerce Clause jurisprudence.”

Individual freedom and linguistic logic won a historic victory today.  For if inactivity was somehow contorted to constitute “commerce,” then there is no limit whatsoever to Congress’s reach.

The fight continues, but we should also stop to savor this important moment.

December 13th, 2010 at 12:32 pm
Federal Judge Strikes Down ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that significant parts of ObamaCare are unconstitutional, including the mandate requiring individuals to purchase health care insurance.

As is reporting it:

In a highly-anticipated suit brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, District Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that the individual mandate to buy health insurance is unconstitutional as it “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.”

Hudson stopped short of blocking the law’s implementation until a higher court acts, but said he expects the administration to honor his ruling.

“The final word will undoubtedly reside with a higher court,” Hudson wrote in his ruling. “In this Court’s view, the award of declaratory judgment is sufficient to stay the hand of the executive branch pending appellate review.”

In light of today’s ruling, the Obama Administration should immediately cease implementation of the unconstitutional individual mandate and all other provisions of ObamCare until the matter is fully resolved by the courts.  If the Administration refuses to act, Congress should act without delay to force the Administration’s hand.

October 14th, 2010 at 5:09 pm
CFIF Statement On Federal Judge’s Ruling Allowing Constitutional Challenge to ObamaCare to Proceed
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A federal judge in Florida today ruled that 20 U.S. states can proceed with a lawsuit against the recently passed federal health care legislation on the grounds that its individual mandate is unconstitutional.  In response, CFIF President Jeffrey Mazzella released the following statement: 

The Center for Individual Freedom commends the court for recognizing and validating arguments presented by the plaintiffs, who have provided substantive legal arguments regarding the unconstitutional nature of the legislation’s mandate on individuals and the troubling power grab by the federal government represented in it.
“We will continue to join the plaintiffs and others in advocating the merits of this case, making it clear to the American public that the legislation is an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom of individual Americans.”

September 1st, 2010 at 11:02 pm
Individual Mandate for Thee, But Not for Me
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Could it be that even liberals are starting to recoil at Obamacare now that it’s reality instead of a gauzy fantasy? That’s at least the case for Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. Wyden, long a major advocate for the individual mandate (compelling citizens to buy health insurance under penalty of fine or imprisonment), has suddenly decided that the provision — which he voted for — is good enough for the rest of the country, but not for the Beaver State.

According to the Huffington Post, Wyden wrote a letter to the Oregon Health Authority that included the following passage:

In addition, Senate Finance Committee Counsel has stated that a state that can meet the general coverage requirements of the PPACA can obtain a Federal waiver under Section 1332 without a requirement that individuals purchase health insurance. Because you and I believe that the heart of real health reform is affordability and not mandates, I wanted to bring this feature of Section 1332 to the attention of you and the legislature.

Affordability and not mandates, huh? Sounds like a defensible outlook. Too bad Oregon’s senior senator couldn’t bring it to mind while casting his vote. Oh well. Not a big deal when only 49 other states have to suffer.

July 24th, 2010 at 6:43 pm
ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate a “Commandeering of the People”?

In today’s Wall Street Journal constitutional law professor Randy Barnett makes an intriguing connection between the anti-government anger of millions of Americans and a currently accepted legal theory that may overturn ObamaCare’s individual mandate.

He notes that twice in the 1990s, the high court struck down federal mandates against state governments—one requiring legislatures to pass laws dealing with the transport of nuclear waste, and one mandating that police conduct background checks on gun buyers—saying they amounted to unconstitutional “commandeering” under the 10th Amendment. That amendment is usually thought of as protecting states’ rights, but note the final four words: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

“What is the individual mandate?” Mr. Barnett says. “I’ll tell you what the individual mandate, in reality, is. It is a commandeering of the people. . . . Now, is there a rule of law preventing that? No. Why isn’t there a rule of law preventing that? Because it’s never been done before. What’s bothering people about the mandate? This fact. It’s intuitive to them. People don’t even know how to explain it, but there’s something different about this, because it’s a commandeering of the people as a whole. . . . We commandeer people to serve in the military, to serve on juries, and to file a return and pay their taxes. That’s all we commandeer the people to do. This is a new kind of commandeering, and it’s offensive to a lot of people.”

Kudos to Barnett for providing a legal rationale for the frustration felt by millions of Tea Party activists.  Hopefully, swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy is listening.

July 19th, 2010 at 12:08 pm
ObamaCare Tax: So Did Obama Lie… Twice?
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Even proponents of ObamaCare are now admitting that Obama “has not been honest with the American people about the nature of this bill.”  Those are the words of Yale University professor Jack Balkin, who actually supports the bill.

Throughout his candidacy and now into his presidency, Barack Obama solemnly promised American voters that he wouldn’t raise taxes on anyone earning under $250,000 per year.  Not just income taxes – he said “any form” of taxes.  When he, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid subsequently dumped their ObamaCare monstrosity upon the resistant nation, however, the bill contained an individual mandate under which Americans who failed to purchase insurance for whatever reason would be assessed a punitive tax.  When career liberal George Stephanopoulos pointed out  to Obama during an ABC News interview that this mandate constitutes a tax, even reading a straightforward definition of “tax” from a dictionary, Obama petulantly objected.

That pesky interview from September now safely behind him, however, get a load of the Obama Administration’s new position on the matter.  In its legal brief defending ObamaCare against the lawsuit to overturn it brought by fifteen different states, Obama contends that the Constitution empowers the federal government “power to lay and collect taxes.”

Thus, it appears that Obama intentionally offered two falsehoods to the American people:  (1) that he would not increase “any form” of taxes upon anyone earning less than $250,000, and (2) that he didn’t consider ObamaCare’s individual mandate a “tax.”  How much deeper can this man bury his campaign false promise of “hope” and “change?”

June 17th, 2010 at 11:39 am
Taking a Hatch-et to ObamaCare

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) today introduced two new pieces of legislation to repeal the most troubling provisions of ObamaCare. 

“The first, The American Liberty Restoration Act (S. 3502), would repeal the individual mandate that Hatch has repeatedly called unconstitutional and has prompted lawsuits by over 20 states. The second, the American Job Protection Act (S.3501), would repeal the job-killing employer mandate that Hatch says would force more layoffs and increase taxes on businesses at a time of near 10 percent unemployment,” reads a press statement released by the Senator’s office.

On the individual mandate, Senator Hatch said:

Congress overstepped its authority by telling Americans that they have to buy health insurance or else.  The Constitution empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce, but does not tell Americans what they must buy. It’s time to repeal this unconstitutional Washington mandate that encroaches on the principle of federalism and Utahns’ personal liberty.”

On the employer mandate, Hatch noted:

The employer mandate would force businesses to let people go or raise the cost of doing business to such an extent that they don’t start hiring. This doesn’t make any sense at any time, but especially when our nation’s unemployment rate remains stuck around ten percent.  Let’s repeal this job-killing provision so businesses can back in the business of hiring.”

It’s time to light up the Capitol switchboard, folks.  Both S. 3502 and S.3501 are more than worthy and in need of your support!

May 7th, 2010 at 11:15 am
Podcast: Florida AG Bill McCollum Discusses Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of ObamaCare

In an interview with CFIF, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum discusses the lawsuit brought by at least 20 states challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare and why the new law’s unprecedented mandates are an affront to individual freedom.

Listen to the interview here.

March 30th, 2010 at 10:03 am
ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate Paradox: Penalize the Poor, or Watch Costs Skyrocket
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Welcome to the ObamaCare hangover, America.

In his weekly Main Street column entitled “The Tax Police and the Health Care Mandate,” Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn points out a malignant paradox within ObamaCare.  Namely, that ObmaCare’s infamous individual mandate (which compels uninsured Americans to suddenly purchase insurance under penalty of prosecution) will have one of two consequences.  It will either (1) penalize poorer Americans who fail – or find themselves unable – to purchase insurance by unleashing a horde of IRS enforcers upon them;  or, alternatively, (2) remain lightly enforced in order to avoid punishing the poor, thereby escalating our collective taxpayer cost into the stratosphere.

The rationale behind the individual mandate, of course, is that many of ObamaCare’s provisions, such as forcing insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions, would make its total cost unaffordable unless healthier and younger uninsured Americans were required to buy coverage.  McGurn notes that Obama was against this individual mandate before he was for it, opposing it during the 2008 Democrat primaries against Hillary Clinton, but unsurprisingly inserting it into ObamaCare’s provisions later on.  Nevertheless, enforcing the individual mandate will require new legions of IRS agents to target Americans who refuse to either purchase insurance or pay the federal tax penalty.

Which creates the paradox.  Those who consider themselves too poor to buy insurance today may still feel that way even when ObamaCare’s mandate is imposed, in which case they’ll find themselves the targets of the IRS.  If, however, federal bureaucrats in their famed mercy refrain from enforcing ObamaCare’s individual mandate in order to avoid persecuting poorer Americans (just as they do not penalize failure to return census forms), the total cost of ObamaCare will far exceed what its proponents promised us while they shoved it up our…  noses.

Nancy Pelosi was right about one thing, though.  We’re sure finding out a lot about ObamaCare now that it’s passed.

March 26th, 2010 at 3:03 pm
We’re All Amish Now
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Despairing over the passage of Obamacare? Beginning to fret that you sound like those liberals who are constanly promising to emigrate if a Republican wins the White House? Fear not, my friends, the health care bill contains an escape hatch for those of you who’d like to avoid the European Med-State to come. But you better be able to grow a beard.

As I’ve chronicled on Freedom Line before (here and here), the Amish and Old Order Mennonites have long pushed for an exemption from the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, as their religious beliefs forbid it. Well, they got it. And some are speculating that Muslims may be the next in line for an opt-out.

What would happen, one wonders, if millions of conservative Americans started declaring themselves Amish when the Obama Administration’s insurance company-underwritten collection agency came knocking?

March 22nd, 2010 at 9:16 am
If Healthcare Is a “Right,” Why Must Obama Mandate Its Purchase?
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Proponents of ObamaCare make the intellectually sloppy claim that health insurance is a “right.”

Simultaneously, however, they insert an individual mandate requiring American citizens to purchase that “right” as a necessary component of the bill.  A mandate enforced by none other than the IRS, and which is potentially unconstitutional, oh by the way.

But wait a moment.  How is it that one can label something a “right,” and then turn around and mandate its purchase under penalty of imprisonment and IRS persecution?  Does the Second Amendment’s individual right to keep and bear arms require that the federal government mandate firearms purchase by citizens who don’t possess them?  Does the First Amendment right to free speech require that the federal government mandate the purchase printing presses?

It’s dishonest, and it’s cognitively vapid.

March 19th, 2010 at 8:51 am
ObamaCare: The Dream Come True for Americans Who Love the IRS
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Americans who love the IRS are giddy with excitement over the pending Sunday House vote on ObamaCare, because enforcement of its mandates will be delegated to the agency. 

Don’t have government-approved health insurance?  The IRS will help you get some.  Now. 

Not paying your fine for not having government-approved health insurance?  The IRS will take it.  Don’t have it?  Hey, the IRS knows how to seize assets and sell them.  What do you mean you “need your car to get to work?”

Not paying the additional taxes on capital gains imposed by the bill?  Who do you think you are,  Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner?

Can’t understand why you must pay the additional taxes now and only get those awesome promised benefits some years down the road?  Take it up with the President.  Maybe he’ll read your letter on TV.  The IRS is just the new national health care police force.  It just does what it’s told to do, not make policy.  You better do the same.

Think the IRS is not going to have the manpower and money to find you and fine you?  Think again, meathead.  Ten billion dollars in new funding and almost 17,000 in new enforcers will take care of that.

Think you can plead illness and hide out in the hospital?  Well, maybe yours will be one of the very few that can afford to take new patients.

Think it’ll help to take your meds before your visit with the IRS?  Might ought to get your prescription soon, because your doctor is leaving to practice in Indonesia.

In a public relations effort to build even greater support for its new duties, the IRS is considering a national public school contest to help design the imposing new uniforms it will need to make sure its authority is understood.  To simplify the contest, the uniform color has already been chosen:  brown.

Although no final decision has yet been made for the new IRS slogan, we are hearing that “resistance is futile” is the most popular choice at the moment.

February 23rd, 2010 at 10:20 am
Slow-Motion Government
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In the President’s shiny new once-over-lightly-with-a-higher-price-tag health care proposal (too vaguely written, it seems, for the CBO to score the economic impact), parts of it are implemented all the way to 2018, when the excise tax on expensive health care plans kicks in (and kicks anyone who has one in the groin). 

Many people who believe they don’t have one of those “Cadillac” plans now are likely to find that they do have one by 2018.

Also in the proposal, the fines for those incorrigible scoff-laws who stubbornly refuse to yield to the so-called “individual mandate” start small and progressively increase by year.

Call that slo-mo government, which has the distinct and not-to-be-overlooked advantage that all who impose it will likely have gone on to greater or lesser rewards by the time the populace actually catches on.

As David Brooks points out in his column this morning, “The odds are high that the excise tax will never actually happen.”  But that excise tax (along with other tricks in the bill) is what allows the whole house of cards to be nominally (and nominally only if you are deceiver or deceived) “deficit neutral.”  We thus face punitive taxation or fiscal disaster.

In a different slo-mo government development, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has informed some unruly coal-state Senators (all Democrats) that they shouldn’t get all worried about that EPA plan to regulate greenhouse gases.  It will now be “phased in” beginning in 2011, so as not to upset the fragile economy. 

Hit the buzz saw with your overreaching, did you, lady?  By 2011, the science on which the EPA determinations are being made will be so discredited that the EPA will have to cop an insanity defense.

There are good and rational reasons for phased-in government projects (such as you don’t build the bridge until you’ve got the road to it, even if it’s going nowhere), but the two aforementioned are not among those.  They are examples of government folly, the former predicted, the latter now being acknowledged.

In the meantime, where are the fast forward projects to get us out of our economic mess?  You know, some stuff the people actually want the government to do.

February 1st, 2010 at 4:45 pm
Virginia Senate Says “No” to ObamaCare
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Virginia is now one of many states pushing through a legislative response to complete federal control of health care.  Today, 23 Virginia Senators voted to exempt the Commonwealth from ObamaCare’s individual health insurance mandate.  Five Democrats joined all 18 Republicans to enact the measure in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If President Obama’s health care bill does come back to life in the U.S. Congress, it appears that more states will follow Virginia’s lead to fight ObamaCare locally.