The Daily Caller has a great explanation of why states should reject the establishment of ObamaCare health insurance exchanges. NIcole Kaeding writes:
One of the most important issues facing states this legislative session is whether to create a health care exchange to implement the president’s health care law. States are being tempted by words like “flexibility” and very large grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to gain their compliance, but states that value health care freedom should resist and refuse to implement Obama’s health care exchanges.
Health care exchanges organized voluntarily by market participants are something that conservatives could support. Exchanges should function as a free-market mechanism allowing consumers to make informed health care purchasing decisions in a simple, innovative and transparent manner. Yet, the exchanges as created by Obamacare and HHS fail to meet this most basic standard.
These exchanges pile thousands of pages of rules, regulations and mandates on each state’s insurance markets, harming competition and consumers. Forcing insurers to provide “essential health benefits” under “qualified health plans” with little to no cost-sharing does nothing but raise premiums, a fact even acknowledged by Obamacare’s chief architect, economist Jonathan Gruber. According to a study of the Wisconsin insurance market authored by Gruber, Obamacare will push up individual premiums by an average of 30% in the Badger State.
Conservative proponents of state exchange creation, like David Merritt here at The Daily Caller, argue that states will have “flexibility” if they create exchanges themselves. A review of the facts show this statement doesn’t pass the laugh test.
Read the full article here.
The Obama Administration has finally provided some transparency with respect to the waivers it issued to protect people from the harmful effects of ObamaCare. AHEC has previously discussed waivers and how HHS has violated the constitution (Sec. Sebelius issued waivers despite the fact that ObamaCare gave her no legal authority to do so. By regulatory fiat, she claimed this power and, in doing so, ignored federal law. You can read more on waivers, here).
HHS has provided waivers affecting: 3,914,356 people ostensibly to “protect consumers” but denied waivers affecting another 1,019,810 (I guess those people are not worthy of the same consumer protections that were given to labor unions and government employees).
Colorado Christian University is suing the federal government over a federal government mandate that requires businesses that provide insurance coverage for employees to also buy coverage that includes abortifacients. The suit is in response to a federal government mandate issued by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last summer that requires insurers to cover “preventative services” without any copays. The morning after pill and ella are among those “services.”
The college is contending this violates their rights to free speech and freedom of religion. The lawsuit contends that: “The government’s mandate unconstitutionally coerces Colorado Christian to violate its deeply-held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines and penalties.”
Ilya Shapiro, of the CATO Institute, has a fantastic article published at The Daily Caller about President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional violations. On that list, are four instances related to Obamacare, including:
- The Individual Mandate
- ObamaCare’s Medicaid Coercion
- ObamaCare’s IPAB – Independent Payment Advisory Board
- Waivers issues by HHS
Read Shapiro’s full article here.
In response to the revelation that the Obama Administration and the IRS have decided to ignore federal law and extend ObamaCare exchange subsidies to federal exchanges in the event a state does not set up an exchange (federal law only permits subsidies for state-established exchanges), Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah) wrote the following to Department of Treasury and IRS officials: “The legislative function, under the Constitution, is exclusively granted to Congress. This excessive use of regulatory authority is only the continuation of a trend by the Treasury Department and the IRS of violating the constitutional principle of separation of powers by usurping Congress’ exclusive role in law-making.”
As Hatch’s press release explains, “Under the $2.6 trillion health law, Americans purchasing coverage through the new health insurance exchanges can receive tax credits and subsidies to offset the cost of being mandated to buy health insurance. However, the language of the relevant law (Section 36B) limits the premium assistance to state run exchanges. The IRS has proposed a new rule to expand the premium assistance to include federal exchanges. If implemented, these regulations would alter the impact of the new law without the approval of Congress.”
Hatch continued in his letter to the Administration: “I would suggest that the failure to draft this language differently was the result of the highly partisan nature by which PPACA was pushed through Congress,” wrote Hatch. “Whatever the case, if the wording and effect of section 36B should somehow be different, then legislation is the appropriate means of changing section 36B.”
The decision by “Pay-No-Taxes” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to ignore the exchange subsidy requirement of federal law is not the first controversial action taken by Obama Administration officials in direct contradiction of ObamaCare. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also ignored the clear wording of the statute when she unlawfully gave herself the authority, through HHS regulations, to issue waivers from ObamaCare’s minimum coverage provisions. ObamaCare does not allow the Secretary to issue waivers. Like the IRS and the subsidies, she gave herself that authority.
This is a clear pattern by the Administration to ignore the limits of federal law, such as ObamaCare, even when the law itself is an unprecedented expansion of government power that itself ignores the Constitution. When Congress ignores the Constitution to legislate and the Executive Branch ignores the law to implement, we no longer are a free republic but a nation governed by tyrants and despots.
The LA Times is reporting that the Obama administration is calling on Everence Insurance Company to reduce its insurance rates. From the LA Times:
“Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that Everence Insurance Co.’s plan to raise rates by 12% next year on about 5,000 people who work for small businesses in Pennsylvania was ‘unreasonable.’ ‘We’re calling on the insurance company to immediately withdraw this rate and provide refunds or credits to any beneficiaries who have already paid the unreasonable amount,’ Sebelius said, promising that the Everence review would be ‘the first of many.'”
Officials at Everence are standing by the rate increase and disputed the federal government’s analysis.
Critics of the policy that allows the federal government to put pressure on small insurers point out that the role of regulating and overseeing insurance is a state responsibility and that the Obama Administration is using the tool to silence insurers who truthfully link rate hikes to ObamaCare.
Read the full article here.
The Department of Health and Human Services has released proposed regulations for the how states must establish health insurance exchanges. These regulations are a result of Section 1311 of ObamaCare. In addition, HHS released a set of proposed regulations related to how states can reinsure risk.
Notable from the proposed regulations related to health insurance exchanges are the following:
- States must submit a plan for how it intends to operate the Exchange and receive written approval of that plan from HHS “not later than January 1, 2013.” Section 155.105. Any changes to the plan, must be approved by HHS prior to those changes taking effect. Section 155.105(e). In this respect, the federal government will control each state Exchange much like the feds currently control the states under the Medicaid process.
- The Exchange cannot issue any “rules that conflict with or prevent the application of regulations promulgated by HHS under subtitle D of title I” of ObamaCare. Section 155.120.
- Existing Exchanges must come into compliance with federal rules and “must work with HHS to identify areas of non-compliance with [federal] standards.” Section 155.150.
- The regulations provide that an Exchange must make eligibility determinations (Sec. 155.200) but does not specify the process for making such determinations (it looks as if the details will be forth coming in other regulations). This raises the question of whether the determination process will be so weak as to allow illegal aliens to participate in the Exchange.