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Guest Brian J. Gottstein

A federal judge ruled today that Virginia does indeed have standing to bring its lawsuit seeking to invalidate the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The judge also ruled that Virginia had stated a legally sufficient claim in its complaint. In doing so, federal district court judge Henry E. Hudson denied the federal government's motion to dismiss the commonwealth's suit.

 

"We are pleased that Judge Hudson agreed that Virginia has the standing to move forward with our suit and that our complaint alleged a valid claim," said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli and his legal team had their first opportunity in court on July 1, arguing that Virginia's lawsuit was a valid challenge of the federal health care act and that the court should not dismiss the case as the federal government had requested.

 

The U.S. Department of Justice argued that Virginia lacked the standing to bring a suit, that the suit is premature, and that the federal government had the power under the U.S. Constitution to mandate that citizens must be covered by government-approved health insurance or pay a monetary penalty.

 

In denying the motion to dismiss, Judge Hudson found that Virginia had alleged a legally recognized injury to its sovereignty, given the government's assertion that the federal law invalidates a Virginia law, the Health Care Freedom Act. In addressing the issue of Virginia's statute, the Court recognized that the "mere existence of the lawfully-enacted [Virginia] statute is sufficient to trigger the duty of the Attorney General of Virginia to defend the law and the associated sovereign power to enact it." He also found that even though the federal insurance mandate doesn't take effect until 2014, the case is "ripe" because a conflict of the laws is certain to occur.

 

"This lawsuit is not about health care, it's about our freedom and about standing up and calling on the federal government to follow the ultimate law of the land – the Constitution," Cuccinelli said. "The government cannot draft an unwilling citizen into commerce just so it can regulate him under the Commerce Clause."

 

The Court recognized that the federal health care law and its associated penalty were literally unprecedented. Specifically, the Court wrote that "[n]o reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person's decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce."

 

A summary judgment hearing is scheduled for October 18, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. to decide if the federal health care law is unconstitutional.

 

The case is Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Richmond.

 

VA-Health-Care-Ruling.pdf

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Guest Texas Tea

The question is now focused on whether or not Congress has the power to regulate and place a penalty tax on a citizen's decision not to participate in interstate commerce.

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Guest LAW

IRS Issues Guidance Explaining 2011 Changes to Flexible Spending Arrangements

 

The Internal Revenue Service today issued guidance reflecting statutory changes regarding the use of certain tax-favored arrangements, such as flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), to pay for over-the-counter medicines and drugs.

 

The Affordable Care Act, enacted in March, established a new uniform standard that, effective Jan. 1, 2011, applies to FSAs and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Under the new standard, the cost of an over-the-counter medicine or drug cannot be reimbursed from the account unless a prescription is obtained. The change does not affect insulin, even if purchased without a prescription, or other health care expenses such as medical devices, eye glasses, contact lenses, co-pays and deductibles. The new standard applies only to purchases made on or after Jan. 1, 2011, so claims for medicines or drugs purchased without a prescription in 2010 can still be reimbursed in 2011, if allowed by the employer’s plan.

 

A similar rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2011 for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs).

 

Employers and employees should take these changes into account as they make health benefit decisions for 2011.

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Guest LAW

Remarks by the President in a Backyard Discussion in Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Cavalier Residence

Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

With respect to the abortion issue, I actually think -- I mean, there are laws both federal, state and constitutional that are in place. And I think that this is an area where I think Bill Clinton had the right formulation a couple of decades ago, which is abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. I think that it’s something that all of us should recognize is a difficult, sometimes -- oftentimes tragic situation that families are wrestling with.

 

I think the families and the women involved are the ones who should make the decision, not the government. But I do think actually that there are a whole host of laws on the books that after a certain period, the interests shift such that you can have some restrictions, for example, on late-term abortions, and appropriately so. So there is in fact a set of rules in place.

 

Now, people still argue about it and still deeply disagree about it. And that’s part of our -- that’s part of our democratic way.

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Guest HUMAN

I'm running into alot of discrimination against legal Latinos/Latinas in the health care industry by the African American Community with in the health care industry.

 

Bad and a highly legally costly practice you will find it to be.

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Guest Martha Branshaw

I think you are so right. We have the same problem with migrant workers here. The problem is that no one really wants to work. Everyone is just caught up in the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and reality tv everyday all day. Oprah, Lindsay Lohan, Top Chef, guide our lives. I for one would not hire a person to do that all day long. If we really want jobs; they are there at our doorstep for the taking. I am for government insurance health care plan option for my children. But, don't force feed the plan down my throat. That is why I am not voting Democrat. And I think it our patriotic duty to support made in United States again.

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Guest Fact Checker

The Truth About Health Insurance Premiums

The new law has brought increases for some. But GOP leaders exaggerate.

 

Leading Republicans in Congress are blaming the new health care law for double-digit rate increases being sought by insurance companies in Washington state, New York and Connecticut. But insurance regulators, leading health care experts and the companies themselves mostly blame an old culprit: rising medical costs.

 

Improved benefits required by the new law are responsible for a relatively small portion of the increases. Furthermore, the increases apply mostly to those buying policies individually, not the majority who get private insurance through employers. Those with employer-provided plans won’t see as much of an increase in premiums, since many of their policies already include the required benefits, a spokesman for an insurance trade association told us.

 

Some Republicans have claimed the law is responsible for "whopping" premium increases, but they have misrepresented the facts in the process. For example:

 

* House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner said premiums will "skyrocket" because of the law, citing a report on rising premiums by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the Kaiser report covered increases that took effect before the law was signed.

* Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell points to a news story about a Washington insurance provider that blamed premium increases on the health care law. But the state insurance commissioner says the increase had "absolutely nothing to do with health care reform," and the insurance company later admitted the law is only partly at fault.

* Both politicians refer to premiums for new plans on the individual market, where only about 6 percent of those with insurance now get their coverage.

 

Stories about some big increases may come as a shock to those who recall President Barack Obama’s often-repeated promise that the new law would reduce most people’s premiums and bring about lower medical costs — optimistic promises that remain question marks at this point. Still, Republicans go too far when they say the law, rather than rising medical costs, is chiefly responsible for big premium hikes.

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Guest Ethan Rome

At a time when right-wing extremists were trying to make the case that the health care reform bill was a government takeover plot, Fox News incorporated politically charged language into its day-to-day reporting to mislead its audience into thinking the public option was something that it wasn’t.

 

Fox News’ policy is to drive a political agenda and systematically influence its audience’s views.

 

http://www.healthcareforamericanow.org

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Guest American4Progress

On Monday, George W. Bush appointed-Judge Henry Hudson broke with 14 judges who have dismissed challenges to the Affordable Care Act to become the only judge in America to conclude that the portion of the law requiring almost all Americans to carry insurance is unconstitutional. Predictably, conservatives reacted to this outlier opinion by pretending it was the single most important decision since Brown v. Board of Education. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ®, who filed the lawsuit, immediately fired off a fundraising solicitation proclaiming, "Cucc inelli succeeded in overturning the individual mandate." Presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on states to ignore the law and refuse to implement it. Even former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ®, who signed a nearly identical law while he was governor, pretended to agree with Hudson. But the right is in for a rude awakening. The reality is that Hudson is a deeply ideological judge who handed down an exceptionally poorly reasoned opinion that is unlikely to sway any appellate judge to his side.

 

A THUMB ON THE SCALE: Hudson's decision is the culmination of a long career in Republican politics. Even at the beginning of his legal career, Hudson's loyalties were already clear -- one of Hudson's law school classmates observed that the judge-to-be seemed too concerned with "Giving Legal Problems to the Poor." As a young prosecutor in Arlington, VA, Hudson earned the nickname "Hang 'Em High Henry." Disgraced former Attorney General Ed Meese appointed Hudson to lead the Reagan administration's anti-pornography commission, which produced "a miasma of misplaced morality and prudishness masquerading as social science." Hudson celebrated this release with a proud announcement that "sexual promiscuity...is not something that should be socially condoned." In 1991, Hudson unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Republican. He received three political appointments -- as a U.S. Attorney, as a state judge, and then to the federal bench -- from Republicans. Today, Hudson earns up to $15,000 every year in dividends from stock in an elite Republican consulting firm whose clients included Cuccinelli's most recent campaign.

 

A NOT-READY-FOR-PRIME-TIME OPINION: The Affordable Care Act eliminates one of the insurance industry's most abhorrent practices -- denying coverage to patients with preexisting conditions -- but this ban cannot function if patients are free to enter and exit the insurance market at will. If patients can wait until they get sick to buy insurance, they will drain all the money out of an insurance plan that they have not paid into, leaving nothing left for the rest of the plan's consumers and causing their premiums to spiral out of control. Because the Act's protections for patients with preexisting conditions cannot function without a requirement that almost everyone carry insurance, even ultra-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia has indicated that the law must be constitutional. In Scalia's words, "where Congress has the author ity to enact a regulation of interstate commerce, it possesses every power needed to make that regulation effective." Judge Hudson, however, waved this rule away with a cryptic statement that the Affordable Care Act doesn't fit within "the letter and spirit of the Constitution." This utter failure to even explain why he was ignoring the Constitution's clear command led several conservative commentators to dismiss Hudson's amateurish legal reasoning. Professor Orin Kerr, a former staffer to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), wrote that Hudson committed a "fairly obvious and quite significant error." Kerr's colleague Jonathan Adler, a leading opponent of environmental regulation, agrees that Hud son's opinion "cannot be right." Even right-wing attack dog Carrie Severino wrote in the conservative National Review that Hudson's opinion renders an entire provision of the Constitution "meaningless."

 

PARTYING LIKE IT'S 1859: Hudson's opinion is all the more troubling because he never should have reached the merits of this case in the first place. The Supreme Court held in Massachusetts v. EPA that the Constitution prohibits states from suing the federal government "to protect her citizens from the operation of federal statutes." Rather than follow the Supreme Court's unambiguous command, however, Hudson held that a state can get around the Supreme Court's cl ear command simply by passing a "nullification" statute that purports to invalidate a federal law. Nullification -- the unconstitutional theory that a state can invalidate federal law -- had its day in the pre-Civil War era and Jim Crow South. It has no place in the 21st century. Hudson's decision to breathe even a single breath of life into this long-dead doctrine is ominous, because an increasingly broad array of right-wing lawmakers seem eager to pretend that the North lost the Civil War. In addition to Virginia, the state of Louisiana also passed an unconstitutional law nullifiying the Affordable Care Act, and Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos ® recently announced his plan to usher his state into the 19th Century. One Texas lawmaker, a notorious birther, introduced an unconstitutional bill that would make it a felony for any federal official to enforce the Affordable Care Act in Texas. Simply put, it should be the job of the federal courts to dissuade out-of-control ideologues from embracing obviously unconstitutional ideas such as nullification. Judge Hudson did the country a terrible disservice by encouraging their antics.

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Guest LAW

Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the incoming House Republican leadership posted their legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

 

“As we begin the 112th Congress, the number one priority of House Democrats will continue to be putting Americans to work. Each new proposal will be measured by a simple test: does it create jobs? Does it strengthen America’s middle class? And does it reduce the deficit? When our Republican colleagues put forward solutions to the problems facing Americans that meet these tests, they will find in Democrats a willing partner.

 

“Instead of joining Democrats in our efforts for job creation, Republicans are planning to put insurance companies back in charge by repealing patient’s rights.

 

“House Democrats will fight to ensure that children with pre-existing conditions continue to get coverage; that young people can stay on their parents’ plans until age 26; that pregnant women and breast cancer survivors can no longer be thrown off the rolls; and that seniors do not pay higher drug prices.”

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Guest Mitch

Their majority is not even a day old, but House Republicans are already getting ready to pass a bill to repeal health reform.

 

Instead of focusing on the future, they want to put insurance companies back in charge of our health care. To go back to the days when these companies could deny coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions, cancel coverage when people would get sick, or limit the care you could receive -- even when you needed more. When seniors would be forced to choose between paying their mortgage and paying for their prescription drugs, simply because they landed in the "donut hole" in coverage.

 

They want to turn our progress into a partisan fight.

 

But you and I know that the Affordable Care Act and other reforms to protect consumers did not pass because of a partisan or ideological agenda.

 

They passed because millions of Americans stood up and said we were ready for commonsense solutions after years of fraud and abuse, for a new era of responsibility after unchecked power. They passed because, after 100 years of debate and negotiation, we said we would wait no longer for health reform.

 

These reforms passed because of you. Now, we must prepare to stand up for them again.

 

It's clear that's not where House Republicans are looking -- they're putting the car in reverse and heading straight toward the ditch that we just spent two years climbing out of.

 

As the President said this week, we are still emerging from a recession that took a toll on millions of families, many of whom are still trying to get their lives back on track. The Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform were important steps forward on the road to recovery, and we can't afford to play political games with them now.

 

We have an obligation to ensure our progress is not rewritten by the insurance industry and big banks.

 

This year, we'll need to stand by the President as he works to grow our economy, make the United States more competitive, and keep moving the country forward -- but we're also going to have to work hard to defend what we have already achieved.

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Guest LAW

Representative John Fleming, M.D. introduced H.R. 38, legislation that would rescind $ 1 billion dollars from the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund originally appropriated to pay for federal administrative expenses to carry out ObamaCare.

 

“When ObamaCare passed last year, Democrats in Congress and the President raised all sorts of claims that it would lower insurance premiums, increase health care access and lower costs,” said Fleming. “Contrary to these claims, as this law continues to be implemented, premiums have risen, health insurance options have declined, and Medicare and Medicaid are facing significant physician shortages. ObamaCare needs to be repealed, and we will have a vote on that next week.”

 

“If the President won’t sign the repeal, which I expect, then the next best thing is to defund this monstrosity. The American people sent a clear message in November that they want nothing to do with ObamaCare,” continued Fleming. “It’s time to stop implementation of this law and choke it off at the roots. H.R. 38 will do just that by defunding the money appropriated to implement ObamaCare and putting it back towards reducing the federal deficit. Passage of my bill will be a crucial first step toward restoring health care liberty for the American people.”

 

H.R. 38 can be viewed here.

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Guest HUMAN

I didn't even bother to read your post. There will be Real Health Care Reform,but Not the type of game that you, and your group are trying to play.

 

By the way; Your post at 1:49am shows that you are trying to hide a guilt. You should feel ashamed of yourself as well as your group. Riding on the BACKS OF THE DISABLED just so you, and your group "Democrats" can push foward a larger policy.

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Representative John Fleming, M.D. introduced H.R. 38, legislation that would rescind $ 1 billion dollars from the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund originally appropriated to pay for federal administrative expenses to carry out ObamaCare.

 

“When ObamaCare passed last year, Democrats in Congress and the President raised all sorts of claims that it would lower insurance premiums, increase health care access and lower costs,” said Fleming. “Contrary to these claims, as this law continues to be implemented, premiums have risen, health insurance options have declined, and Medicare and Medicaid are facing significant physician shortages. ObamaCare needs to be repealed, and we will have a vote on that next week.”

 

“If the President won’t sign the repeal, which I expect, then the next best thing is to defund this monstrosity. The American people sent a clear message in November that they want nothing to do with ObamaCare,” continued Fleming. “It’s time to stop implementation of this law and choke it off at the roots. H.R. 38 will do just that by defunding the money appropriated to implement ObamaCare and putting it back towards reducing the federal deficit. Passage of my bill will be a crucial first step toward restoring health care liberty for the American people.”

 

H.R. 38 can be viewed here.

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Guest Jim Scheibel

The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that a repeal would increase the federal deficit by about $230 billion over the next decade and leave 32 million more Americans uninsured. The CBO also predicts that most Americans would have to pay more for private health insurance if the law were repealed. And when presented with this report from the non-partisan CBO, the new speaker dismissed it and pulled out his own report ladled with partisan inflammatory language.

 

GOP leaders have made their priorities clear – they’re wasting time on this repeal instead of trying to create new jobs and turn around the economy. They don’t care about providing security to working families who need affordable care. What they do care about is catering to the insurance industry.

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Guest LAW

The CBO report to Speaker Boehner reveals that the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare will cost the taxpayers more money, increase the federal deficit, and 32 million people will no longer have coverage. <_<

 

January 6, 2011

Honorable John Boehner

Speaker of the House

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Mr. Speaker:

 

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reviewed H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, as introduced on January 5, 2011. That bill would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, Public Law 111-148) and the provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152) that are related to health care. Both of those laws were enacted in March 2010.

 

As a result of changes in direct spending and revenues, CBO expects that enacting H.R. 2 would probably increase federal budget deficits over the 2012–2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes that CBO and JCT will include in the forthcoming estimate. That figure consists of the following two components:

 

• About $130 billion, representing the net reduction in deficits over the 2012–2019 period expected to result from the health care provisions of the enacted legislation (as estimated by CBO and JCT last March),3 plus

 

• About $15 billion, representing the reduction brought about by the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 in the estimated cost of subsidies to be provided through the insurance exchanges through 2019.

 

PPACA and the Reconciliation Act also included a number of provisions to reduce federal outlays (primarily for Medicare) and to increase federal revenues (mostly by increasing the Hospital Insurance payroll tax and imposing fees on certain manufacturers and insurers); in March, CBO and JCT estimated that those provisions unrelated to insurance coverage would, on balance, reduce direct spending by about $500 billion and increase revenues by about $410 billion over the 2012–2019 period. If that legislation was repealed, such reductions in spending and increases in revenues would not occur. Thus, H.R. 2 would, on net, increase federal deficits over that period.

 

CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would increase federal budget deficits by a total of roughly $80 billion to $90 billion over the 2020–2021 period.

 

Impact on the Federal Budget Beyond the First 10 Years

 

Relative to current law, enacting H.R. 2 would, CBO estimates, increase federal budget deficits in the decade following 2019; similarly, the legislation would increase budget deficits in the decade following 2021 and in subsequent years.

 

Effects on the Number of People with Health Insurance Under H.R. 2, about 32 million fewer nonelderly people would have health insurance in 2019, leaving a total of about 54 million nonelderly people uninsured. The share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance coverage in 2019 would be about 83 percent, compared with a projected share of 94 percent under current law (and 83 percent currently).

 

Effects on Health Insurance Premiums

 

In particular, if H.R. 2 was enacted, many people would end up paying more for health insurance—

because under current law, the majority of enrollees purchasing coverage in that market would receive subsidies via the insurance exchanges, and H.R. 2 would eliminate those subsidies.

 

Premiums for employment-based coverage obtained through large employers would be slightly higher under H.R. 2 than under current law, reflecting the net impact of many relatively small changes. Premiums for employment-based coverage obtained through small employers might be

slightly higher or slightly lower (reflecting uncertainty about the impact of the enacted legislation on premiums in that market).

 

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12040/01-06-PPACA_Repeal.pdf

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Guest Mitch

At 5:53 p.m. Eastern Time today, the House moved to repeal health insurance reform.

 

Every single Republican -- all 242 -- voted for repeal.

 

This is a vote for insurance companies. There is no other way to put it.

 

Because if the question is what is best for Americans, repeal would never come up: Health reform is already at work improving the lives of millions of people. Repeal will result in 32 million fewer Americans with health coverage -- and add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

 

Republicans in Congress need to know there's a political price to pay for siding with special interests over the constituents in their districts.

 

he Affordable Care Act addresses and ends some of the worst insurance-industry abuses against families, children, seniors, and the sick -- the cost of repeal would be steep:

 

-- Families, many already struggling to get by, could lose their coverage if someone is in an accident or becomes sick -- right when they need it the most.

 

-- A woman with cancer could have her coverage stripped away because of a tiny mistake on a form.

 

-- Pregnant women, children born with disabilities, and anyone with a pre-existing condition -- as many as half of Americans under age 65 -- could face discrimination or be denied coverage by an insurance company that deems them too costly.

 

-- A senior on Medicare who falls in the "donut hole" in prescription coverage would once again have to make up that cost out of pocket -- and start paying for all preventative care.

 

-- The deficit would increase by $230 billion over the next 10 years -- placing an unfair burden on our children and grandchildren and future generations who will have to pay for this mistake.

 

-- Insurance companies could go back to working for corporate profit and CEO bonuses -- instead of for the people who pay their premiums.

 

These cruel and unjust practices are exactly why we organized, donated, volunteered, and spoke out for months, helping to pass legislation 100 years in the making. It's why we worked with the President and Democrats in Congress to reform a broken and unsustainable health care system.

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Guest American4Progress

Yesterday, a conservative district court judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan ruled that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, arguing further that, since he believes the mandate is "inextricably linked" to the rest of the measure, the entire law must be unconstitutional. "The act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker," Judge Roger Vinson wrote. The ruling, however, contradicts 14 other court decisions, the opinion of over 100 law professors, not to mention recent polling showing that Americans want the law to be either protected or expanded. There is also a distinctly political aspect to the ruling. Vinson acknowledged borrowing heavily in his opinion from a brief written by the right-wing group Family Research Council, and he seemed to give a shout-out to the Tea Party in his ruling, which has long targeted health care reforms as "economic Marxism."

 

THE RULING: Vinson ruled that, "f Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain." However, as the Center for American Progress' Ian Millhiser writes, "there is a long line of Supreme Court decisions holding that Congress has broad power to enact laws that substantially affect prices, marketplaces, or other economic transactions. Because health care comprises approximately 17 percent of the national economy, it is impossible to argue that a bill regulating the national health care market does not fit within Congress's power to regulate commerce." The Supreme Court has long held that Congress can exercise its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce to regulate insurance, which the Court has stated "touches the home, the family, and the occupation or the business of almost every person in the United States." A group of 35 economists -- including three Nobel Prize winners -- argue that the minimum coverage provision is "necessary to achieving Congress' goal of reforming the national health insurance market and making quality medical care available to millions of Americans." After finding the law unconstitutional, Vinson did not issue an injunction to halt the law's implementation, but wrote that "the federal government should adhere to his declaratory judgment as the functional equivalent of an injunction." This is quite confusing. It would be wise for states to wait for a Supreme Court ruling, but also under the Affordable Care Act, 12.5 million Americans are eligible to receive benefits right now -- for example, three million seniors have already gotten checks to help make prescription drugs more affordable, and 1.8 million young adults who previously did not have insurance are able to get health coverage through their parents' plan. Should these people immediately surrender their benefits because of Vinson's ruling?

 

 

RED MEAT FOR THE RIGHT: There is undoubtedly a political context to Vinson's ruling. Almost immediately following passage of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans began agitating for a full repeal. It was a major, stated goal of Republican and Tea Party candidates in the midterm elections, and the House of Representatives passed a repeal as soon as the GOP took control of the chamber. In the Senate, every Republican Senator has signed onto a repeal bill authored by Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). In his ruling, Vinson seemed to offer several nods to this far-right political movement. He referenced the "opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America," which spoke directly to Tea Party activists across the country. "It's very exciting. He’s invoking the tea party movement," noted Mark Meckler, co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest tea party organizing groups. Vinson also "borrowed heavily" from the ultra-conservative Family Research Council in his ruling, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its extensive history of "defaming gays and lesbians." Conservative media outlets were quick to amplify Vinson's ruling. On Fox News this morning, Fox & Friends anchor Steve Doocy triumphantly noted for his audience that "we've argued on this program" that the individual mandate is "against the law." Bill O'Reilly led his program last night with the news, and confidently predicted the Supreme Court would agree with Vinson: "say goodbye to Obamacare," O'Reilly crowed.

 

A BUMP IN THE ROAD: Though Vinson's reasoning seems to be faulty, there is potential for further rulings that would reinforce his view. The Department of Justice will appeal Vinson's ruling, but the case will likely head to the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, "considered one of the country's most conservative appellate benches." (Hudson's ruling in Virginia "is already with another conservative court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.") This is likely to ultimately reach the Supreme Court. However, Vinson's reasoning seems to go against the findings of even conservative Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia. And while Vinson and Hudson issued high-profile rulings overturning health care reform, two other district court judges have upheld the law, and a total of 14 courts have found challenges to the individual mandate to be either without standing, or baseless. Also, more than 100 law professors recently signed a letter explaining that "the current challenges to the constitutionality of this legislation seek to jettison nearly two centuries of settled constitutional law." In the past, when Congress has passed historic legislation, there have often been challenges -- and victories for the challengers -- in lower courts. But these have almost always been overturned by the Supreme Court. In United States v. Darby, the Supreme Court upheld a federal minimum wage and overruled a district court decision striking down federal child labor laws. In Helvering v. Davis, the Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision declaring Social Security unconstitutional. In Katzenbach v. McClung, the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters -- reversing a district court's decision striking down this law. In Katzenbach v. Morgan, the Supreme Court reversed a district court decision striking down a portion of the Voting Rights Act. "Luckily, as Millhiser writes, Vinson's decision is "heavy on rhetoric, light on actual legal reasoning and all but certain to be ignored by higher-court judges who understand their duty to follow the Constitution. ... When Vinson is remembered 50 years from now -- if anyone remembers him at all -- he will be remembered as one of the long line of activist judges who stood athwart history and got run over by it."

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Guest ALWAYSRED

Finally change is coming. Thanks for showing me again how to do videos.

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday in regard to the upcoming vote to repeal of the unconstitutional health spending bill:

 

“Later today, as I noted yesterday, the Senate will have a rare opportunity.

 

“For those who’ve supported the health spending bill in the past, it’s an opportunity to revisit your first vote.

 

“To listen to those who have desperately been trying to get your attention.

 

“To say, yes, maybe my vote for this bill was a mistake, and that we can do better.

 

“To listen to the small business owners who’ve been contacting our offices every day and telling us all the ways this bill keeps them from creating the jobs we need.

 

“To show that you’ve actually noticed that most Americans don’t want this bill.

 

“To show that you’re aware more people want it repealed than don’t.

 

“To show that you’ve noticed the town halls in your states.

 

“To show that you’ve noticed the opposition to this bill continues to grow.

 

“To show that you’ve noticed the federal court rulings that said this bill is unconstitutional at its core.

 

“It’s not every day that you can get a second chance on a big decision after you know all the facts.

 

“This is that second chance.

 

“And for all of us who opposed the health bill.

 

“Today we reaffirm our commitment to work a little harder to get it right.

 

“We can’t afford to get it wrong.

 

“But let’s not anyone hide behind the preposterous talking point that repealing this bill would add to the deficit. I mean, only in Washington would somebody claim that spending trillions of dollars on a brand new government entitlement and a massive bureaucracy to go along with it will save money.

 

“So I urge all my colleagues to move beyond party affiliation.

 

“To look at the facts alone.

 

“If everyone in this chamber did that, we’d repeal this bill right now.

 

“And then we’d begin the work of achieving our common goal of delivering health care at a higher quality for lower costs. We’d put in place the commonsense reforms people actually want.

 

“Now, we also expect a vote later today that would clear away one of the many impediments to job creation that was layered into this bill. It turns out Senator Johanns did such an outstanding job raising awareness about the 1099 requirement that Democrats took the idea and are now claiming it as their own. Which is fine with us. It’s not a bad precedent actually. We’ve got a lot of other good ideas that we’d be happy to share.

 

“Not replacing one 2700-page bill with another, but passing commonsense reforms that people actually want.

 

“The case against this bill is more compelling every day.

 

“Everything we learn tells us it was a bad idea.

 

“That it should be repealed and replaced.

 

“The courts say so.

 

“The American people say so.

 

“Job creators say so.

 

“It's time for those who passed this bill to show that they've noticed.

 

“Let’s take this opportunity.

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Guest ALWAYSRED



Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following statement on the Health Spending Bill and the Senate GOP effort to repeal it:

“The Senate Republicans promised the American people we would vote to repeal Obamacare, and we have done that. But this fight isn’t over. We intend to continue the fight to repeal and replace Obamacare with sensible reforms that would lower the cost of American health care, like medical malpractice, like selling insurance across state lines. This fight isn’t over, so I hope you’ll stay in the fight with us.”

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Guest LAW

The Affordable Care Act, which became law on March 23, 2010, has started to put consumers back in charge of their health care by requiring insurance companies to be more transparent and accountable for their costs and actions, ending many of the worst insurance industry abuses, improving the quality of care, and lowering costs.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has coincided with a significant slow-down in health spending growth. National health care spending increased by only 4 percent in 2009 compared to 6.9 percent five years earlier.26 In 2010, family premiums in the employer-based market increased by only 3 percent compared to 11.2 percent in 2004.

In 2014, annual premiums are projected to fall compared to what they would have been without the Affordable Care Act. These savings could be as much as $2,300 for middle-income families purchasing through Exchanges. A low-income family of four with an income of $33,525 could save as much as $9,900 in premiums and $5,000 in cost sharing due to the extra help from new

tax credits and cost sharing assistance. Small businesses, on average, could save up to $350 per family policy due to lower costs in the Exchanges and could get tax credits for up to 50 percent of their premiums. Even large businesses will likely see lower premiums of $200 per family due to an increase in healthier enrollees. After 2014, analysts predict that premium growth should slow because of the Affordable Care Act, adding another $2,000 to family savings by 2019. Without health reform, American consumers and businesses would face higher premiums, fewer insurance choices, and rapidly rising health care costs.

 

National data are not yet available, but one study estimates that approximately 16.6 million workers are in firms that qualify for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. The Congressional Budget Office estimated roughly $6 billion in these tax credits. To illustrate its savings, a firm with 10 workers who are earning an average of $20,000 could receive credits of $35,000.38 There are signs that insurance sales to small businesses are increasing. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City, which reached out to local employers to make sure they were aware of the credit, is reporting a 58 percent increase in the number of small businesses buying insurance since April 2010. This translates into 400 new small businesses buying coverage for 9,000 employees in the area. UnitedHealth Group enrolled 75,000 new customers in firms with fewer than 50 employees. Coventry Health Care in Maryland signed contracts to cover 115,000 new workers, an 8 percent increase. One small business owner and former head of a local Chamber of Commerce said of the tax credit, "Now that I know I can afford health care for my company, I'm more willing to bring on more employees, and they will be better employees, too, because they'll want to work for a company that offers health care."

 

This year, health insurers must either meet the new minimum loss ratio requirements by spending at least 80 percent of premiums on care and quality improvement or offer customers rebates in 2012. Already, 75 million Americans in plans covered by this rule are benefiting from insurers' efforts to lower administrative costs and increase the value of their coverage.

 

CBO estimates that premiums in the small group market could be up to 2 percent lower than they would have been without the Affordable Care Act. Assuming family premiums for small businesses without the law of $17,200, this translates into roughly $350 per family. Savings will come primarily from insurance reforms and the competitive nature of the Exchanges. In addition, small businesses will have the option to purchase a low-cost "bronze" plan whose premiums could be $2,500 lower for singles, $6,100 lower for families, in 2014.45 Moreover, the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit increases in 2014, paying 50 percent of small businesses' premium costs. For example, a firm with 10 workers who earn an average of $20,000 a year could receive credits for all of its workers that total $50,000 in 2014.

 

More information can be found here:

 

http://www.healthcare.gov/center/reports/premiums01282011a.pdf

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Guest 3rdEye

On Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans have failed to repeal President Obama’s year-old healthcare law in a close vote. Republicans conceded their attempt was largely symbolic but argued it forced Democrats to take a position on the issue. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the law after a series of conflicting decisions by federal judges.

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Guest Nathaniel

According to a new CBS poll most Americans, 55 percent, disapprove of the plan to cut off funding to the new health care reforms, and just 35 percent approve. Among Republicans, approval rises to 57 percent. Forty-nine percent of independents disapprove, and 38 percent approve.

 

Overall, Americans are wary of the new health care reform laws: 21 percent think the new law will make the system better, but 23 percent think the law will make the system worse.

 

Another 44 percent say they don't know enough to say what the law's impact will be. Uncertainty has increased since the law was first passed last year.

 

And while there are partisan differences - 43 percent of Republicans think it will make the system worse, but 40 percent of Democrats see it as an improvement - large segments of Republicans, Democrats and independents don't know what effect the law will have on the health care system.

 

As has been the case since the law was passed nearly a year ago, more Americans disapprove than approve of the legislation. Now, 33 percent approve, while 51 percent disapprove, including 34 percent who disapprove strongly.

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20032114-503544.html

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Guest Progressive Thinker

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler, a 1994 appointee of President Bill Clinton, declared that Congress had the authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to enact the contentious 2010 law, which requires individuals to purchase health insurance starting in 2014. In rejecting an argument by the law's challengers, she said that an individual's decision not to purchase health insurance was an active choice impacting the cost of health insurance for everyone else.

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Guest LAW

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a historic ruling: They upheld the Affordable Care Act and ensured that millions of American families will have access to health care and protection from the worst abuses of the insurance industry.

 

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