Friday, February 4, 2011

Obama Care Is A Tangled Web

  Earlier this week in Pensacola Florida, Judge Roger Vinson ruled because of the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate in Obama Care,  that requires people to buy insurance, the entire law must be declared void. It doesn't seem this ruling is getting as much attention as it probably should. Questions should be asked, what happens now? Are the feds bound to stop the implementation of the law? Are the states, especially the 26 who filed the suit, now free to reject Obama Care? Tracy Schmaler, a justice department spokesman said, "we are analyzing this opinion to determine what steps, if any--including seeking a stay--are necessary while the appeal is pending, to continue our progress toward ensuring that Americans do not lose out on the important protections this law provides." Stephanie Cutter a deputy senior  adviser wrote on the White House blog, "we don't believe this kind of judicial activism will be upheld." It appears that Obama is taking the Clinton approach of attacking the judge much like Billy Boy did with his relentless attacks on Ken Starr during the Monica Lowensky scandal. Their tactic is predictable. Frame this as an activist judge trying to remove protections for Americans from the evil and greedy insurance companies.

The problem  for the administration is the American people are buying their rhetoric even less than before. The newest Rasmussen poll on Obama Care shows that 58% of likely voters favor repeal while only 38% oppose repeal. The drum beat for repeal is getting louder rather than quieter. This newest ruling will obviously add several bass drums and a few more snares to the intensifying beat. Let's look at the question, "should the government stop implementation of Obama Care?" Judge Vinson, in his ruling, failed to enjoin Obama care. In plain English, he did not grant an injunction to stop the implementation of the law. White house officials site this as a reason to go on with implementation. But, he did say, and I quote from page 75 of his ruling, "injunctive relief is an  "extraordinary" and "drastic' remedy. It is even more so when the party that is to be enjoined is the federal government, for there is a long standing presumption "that officials of the executive branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court. As a result the declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction." He goes on to say, "declaratory judgment is, in a context such as this where federal officers are defendants, the practical equivalent of specific relief such as injunction....since it must be presumed that federal officials will adhere to the law as declared by the court." In other words, he expects them to stop implementation because federal officials must obey the law as defined by the courts. Therefore an injunction is unnecessary. 

Dick Durbin, a member of the judiciary committee said he didn't think the administration should stop implementation of Obama Care, because there was no injunction. This sounds like spin to me and a blatant violation of the ruling. A stay has not been granted and as of today an appeal has not been filed. The administration game plan has been, and continues to be, that Obama Care will become more popular as the benefits kick in. Therefore the longer they can perpetuate the tangled web the greater the chance the American people will embrace it. If the bureaucracy can extent it's tentacles far into the states and the business community with this law the chances of undoing it becomes more difficult. The only problem is that everything they originally said about this law is false. It is not reducing costs. Rather, costs are skyrocketing. Businesses are reluctant to hire because of the increased costs associated with Obama Care. This one size fits all approach in Obama care has prompted hundreds of businesses to seek waivers because they can't afford the increased coverage they must provide. McDonalds threatened to drop the minimal coverage to most of their employees if a waiver was not granted.  

There is no surprise that of the 733 waivers that have been granted by HHS, unions are the main beneficiaries.  This is curious when you consider that SEIU, UFCW, and many other large unions were the biggest boosters of Obama Care. It appears the administration is rewarding them for their support of Obama Care by exempting them from  Obama Care. In a curious way, this defines the administrations own opinion of the law they hailed. Remember Obama himself has said "we must punish our enemies and reward our friends." The majority of the American people are being punished by this law. Insurance companies were promised a glut of new insured because of the individual mandate. In part this would go a long way to alleviate the increased cost for them of insuring those with preexisting conditions. The more waivers HHS grants the less likely that becomes, and therefore cost will continue to soar. The weight of the deceit of this bill, with it's cooked numbers and unrealistic assumptions will cause it to fall like a house of cards. Assuming that the law continues unabated through appeals and favorable court rulings until 2014, when the individual mandate kicks in, will there be enough left to ensure it's survival? Most will opt to pay the penalty, enforced with 16 thousand new IRS agents, rather then pay the soaring insurance cost. Like a snowball rolling down hill these costs will continue to increase because of so many opting out and insurance companies forced to insure according to federal mandates. 

Obama himself could take action to fast track an appeal of Judge Vinson's ruling immediately to the supreme court. But he probably will not. He would rather take it to the appellate courts first to slow down the process. The 11th appellate court in Atlanta will probably hear the case. That is why they're continuing on with implementation of the law even though Vinson had declared it void. Their tactic is to slow the process so more can be implemented and the tentacles grab hold. It will fall on the newly elected majority republicans in the house to continue to chip away by de-funding everywhere they can. The senate republicans finally got a vote on repeal and it came down on party lines. It was good to get those democrats in purple and red leaning states on record that they stand by Obama Care. The states that were plaintiffs in the Florida case have decisions of their own on whether to abide by the Vinson ruling or succumb to Obama Care mandates. Meanwhile businesses and our economy are held hostage to the uncertainty of an outcome. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive." This should be the inscription seared on the tombstone of a dead Obama Care law. We can also hope that this tangled web will entrap the democrats that weaved it. The next 12 months will tell us more.
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