Barrington, IL Tea Party

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Democrats desperate to preserve their political power, not improve your healthcare

For those of you who don't receive the "Morning Jolt" email broadcasts from National Review, here is the latest one with insights into the Upton bill which will be in the news tomorrow.  You can subscribe at National Review online.   

Obama tried to deflect criticism today by declaring that health insurers no longer have to cancel existing private health insurance plans to comply with Obamacare.

This "fix" is for one year - until after the 2014 election is behind for the many Democrats who now fear getting voted out of office.  In short, he isn't trying to fix your health insurance problem.  He wants to fix his political problem.  Once the 2014 election is past, just like the way he lied to all Americans to get past the 2012 election, you will still lose your health insurance.  

In the interim, they are just shifting blame to the state insurance commissions and the insurance companies.  It's all about shifting blame away from the Democrats who inflicted this stupid law on you.  They still want you to believe that the insurance companies are to blame for any problems, while Obama and HHS are not responsible for any of this mess, and are still trying valiantly to help you.  It's pure political BS.  

The reality is that Obama has no power to actually restore any such cancelled plans, especially at their former cost levels.  He screwed up and destroyed what worked, and now is trying to avoid the blame for the mess he made.  Insurance companies do not have to do what he said today, nor do state insurance commissioners have to approve the reinstatement of such plans.  Even if they reinstate the old plans, they can change the pricing of them.

For example, here in Illinois, there were federal subsidies for the state insurance plans such as ICHIP which effectively reduced their premium costs in a manner similar to the value of employer tax breaks for offering insurance plans.  The plans were still very expensive, but there was some relief even though the premium costs were far higher than what individuals would usually pay on a business plan, because there was nothing to offset what an employer would usually contribute.  Those subsidies have been cancelled by the Obamacare law, and that's not going to change, so even if the plans are restored, the cost will go up substantially,  Furthermore the income tax deduction for medical expenses has been limited so that it will apply to fewer Americans, although many don't realize that yet.

In other words, only the plans in the new Obamacare exchanges will be eligible for any subsidies, and only if you have a low income.  Meanwhile, the website has been designed to overestimate the available subsidies and underestimate the premium costs of exchange plans.  Once people actually sign up for the plans and get the real bill and real subsidy (if any), they will be shocked at how much their costs have gone up.

In the past, employers got a tax break regardless of your income level to reduce the cost of offering you health insurance benefits.  The federal subsidies for state "high risk pools" like ICHIP were not limited by income.  Such high risk pools were set up to serve people who didn't have health insurance through an employers and couldn't otherwise purchase private healthcare insurance, even at a high price, because of chronic conditions.

I know, because I have been on ICHIP for over a decade.  It used to cost me about $17,000 per year for my family of four.  That was already pretty bad, but at least I had coverage.  Now, thanks to Obamacare, it costs about $23,000 per year and my ICHIP plan is being cancelled at the end of this year, forcing us into the Obamacare exchanges.

Will the ICHIP plan be restored on the basis of Obama's speech this morning?  Probably not.  Even if the cancellation is reversed, however, the price will go up dramatically (because the federal subsidy will end) while the income tax deduction for medical costs will go down.

So, once again, middle income people will get the short end of the stick.  They will lose their existing plans or face higher costs, while lower income people will get subsidized by those higher costs.

It is time for Republicans to go back to pushing for "repeal and replace".  Rather than playing political games with the Upton bill or others, they need to propose a simple and serious alternative to repeal and replace Obamacare.  By replace, I mean a totally different approach which does not put the idiots at HHS (and IRS) in charge of our health.


Morning Jolt
. . . with Jim Geraghty

November 14, 2013

The Upton Plan Will Never Get Enacted, But It's Beautiful Anyway

We don't know precisely how the rest of this month will play out. But we know it will include an excruciating amount of political pain for President Obama and Congressional Democrats.

First, understand what we're talking about when we discuss the Upton bill. Erick Erickson worries that a bill offered by Representative Fred Upton (R., Mich.) represents a trap for Republicans and opponents of Obamacare. He concludes, "the Republicans should not be helping Democrats with their re-election plans, which is all [they] are doing with Upton/Landrieu."

The concern has some validity, but the Upton and Landrieu plans do a heck of a lot more than just help Democrats insist they're trying to do something to help those losing their plans.

Jeffrey Anderson:

Moreover — and important — the Upton bill would not help fix Obamacare. To the contrary, if it were to become law, it would badly undermine Obamacare's exchanges, which would then be drained of millions of (previously insured and hence generally healthier) people whom Obama wanted to compel to buy exchange-based plans by banning their preferred plans. In short, Upton would hurt Obamacare, not fix it — which is why Obama opposes it.

James Capretta, a.k.a. "the health care guy" at Heritage, AEI, and ...:

The defenders of Obamacare know full well that the Upton legislation represents a serious threat to the viability of the law. It would provide a lifeline for a viable insurance market outside of Obamacare's rules and suffocating structure. Millions of Americans would flock to a revitalized insurance marketplace that offered lower premium products with better coverage. The end result would be one more step toward fully reversing the catastrophic mistake of Obamacare.

Put another way, if the Upton bill's primary impact really was just to provide cover for Democrats, why would Obama and his closest allies be fighting it tooth and nail? Why are they arm-twisting their own members to not vote for something that could...?

House Democratic leaders are doubling down in their opposition to GOP legislation that would allow Americans to keep their healthcare plans, even as the party is taking a political drubbing over the contentious issue.

Think about it. Nancy Pelosi and company are insisting to their rank-and-file -- approaching reelection less than twelve months from now -- that stopping the Upton bill is worth taking a beating in the press right now. The only way this stance makes sense is if the Upton bill represents a metaphorical bullet to the gut of Obamacare. It may not kill it immediately, but it will kill it eventually.

Right now, Fred Upton is competing for the title of your favorite member of the Upton family, against his perennial favorite niece.

You'll always be special to us, Kate.

The House is going to take up the Upton bill. It's going to pass. It's going to pass with just about every Republican vote, and in all likelihood, a heck of a lot of Democratic votes.

Then it goes to the Senate, where three things can happen.

Harry Reid refuses to bring it to the floor for a vote.

You're already smiling, aren't you? You're already picturing the ad:

"A bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives passed the Keep Your Plan Bill. But Harry Reid is playing politics, not even allowing the Senate to vote on it."

Ouch. Every Senate Democrat will be asked, on the record, if they agree with Reid's decision. They'll have to denounce him.

The second possibility is that Harry Reid allows the bill to go to the floor, and the Senate rejects it.

Picture the ad, coming from the NRSC and various conservative groups.

"A bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives passed the Keep Your Plan Bill. But after voting for the Obamacare bill that cancelled your health insurance,[insert Democratic incumbent here] voted NO -- leaving you and your family without insurance."

Brutal, just brutal. Under that scenario, the 2014 midterms turn into a Democratic bloodbath that makes the 2010 midterms look like the good old days.

Then there's the third possibility… the Senate passes it… and it goes before Obama.

And then Obama can either sign the metaphorical gut-shot into law, or he can veto it.

He's not going to sign it. Instead President Obama will provide the most excruciatingly painful veto in recent memory, as he becomes the president who assured the American people dozens of times they could keep their plan, broke his promise, and then shot down the bipartisan legislation to keep his promise after he broke it. You think his approval rating is low now? He'll make Bush's second term look like a joyous series of unhindered triumphs.

Nobody knows what Democrats are going to do. Because they themselves don't know what they're going to do:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) on Thursday will convene a special meeting of the Senate Democratic caucus and senior White Officials to discuss the troubled rollout of ObamaCare. Reid on Wednesday told reporters he would not answer questions about the hundreds of thousands of insurance policy cancellations or other issues until he has further discussions with the White House.

Very soon, the question is going to be put before Obama, Reid, and the rest: Save the policy or save the party. Pick one.

Oh, and after They Get Rid of the Upton Plan . . .

Brutal month. But at least in December the Obamacare exchange website starts working, right?

"The frustration is they are setting up deadlines they know they can't meet. They are not going to meet the Nov. 30deadline, I would bet anything on that. If I had a farm I'd bet the farm on that."

Man, who's that cynical right-wing administration critic?

Oh, that's just my congressman, Jim Moran, Democrat of Virginia, and usually one of....

Now . . . it's November 14. They've got about two weeks left before their much-touted deadline. They already know if they're going to make it or not. (SPOILER ALERT: They won't.) So why are they publicly insisting that they're going to make the deadline?

The Obama administration continues to stand behind its prediction that it will fix the Obamacare website "for the vast majority of users" by the end of the month, administration spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri confirms over e-mail.

Is the mentality over there, "we've already broken all our other promises, why worry about one more"?

Views: 40

Comment by Bruce Donnelly on November 14, 2013 at 3:52pm

Here's some further thoughts from a Daily Events broadcast email today ( .


As pressure for a legislative "fix" to halt the mass cancellation of insurance policies under ObamaCare grows, President Obama announced he would graciously "allow" insurance companies to keep offering the policies ObamaCare has been aggressively killing off.

Does everyone remember how, just a few weeks ago, Obama and his Party denied these cancellations were occurring at all? Then they tried claiming it was a good thing, because the dying policies were junk? But now the President will permit those fly-by-night ripoff artist insurance providers to continue offering the lousy scam coverage you idiot voters seem to like for some reason. 

Do these people really think nobody in America remembers their talking points from the day before yesterday?

In truth, there is no way to "fix" ObamaCare. It's rotten to the core. It won't survive if better free-market plans can compete with the overpriced, heavily-mandated, high-deductible policies Obama needs young and healthy people to buy, pumping money into insurance corporation hands to cover their losses for taking care of the heavily subsidized "winners" in the scheme. And those companies would not long continue to voluntarily offer policies that don't make business sense, thanks to the heavy burden of ObamaCare mandates.

The best a "fix" can do is delay the wave of mass cancellations until after the 2014 elections, which is obviously politically desirable for terrified congressional Democrats, but it's hard to see why anyone else in the United States would be even slightly interested. The worst result of a "fix" would be the almost immediate bankruptcy of the insurance industry. In neither case would the many other problems caused by ObamaCare be addressed.

The verdict is in, and it should be final: ObamaCare doesn't work. It's time to cast it aside, root and branch, so real reforms can be designed. Who wants to be the last American to lose his or her insurance coverage, so Barack Obama can feel good about himself, and Democrats can eke out a few midterm election victories?

John Hayward
Senior Writer

Comment by Bruce Donnelly on November 14, 2013 at 4:13pm

Here's the truth about pre-existing conditions from our friend Steven Tucker. 

Note that the HIPAA law prevents insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick or have a chronic pre-existing condition.  That may enable some folks who are having their plans cancelled en masse to challenge the legality of such cancellations, as in the example he cited.  In short, the Obamacare regulations do not trump the established HIPAA law.

Comment by Bruce Donnelly on November 15, 2013 at 5:51am

Obama's messy breakup with insurers - on Politico. 

NRO editors decide to support full repeal after waffling like the GOP establishment during the shutdown. 

Comment by Bruce Donnelly on November 16, 2013 at 11:56am

Newt Gingrich sent out an interesting email about Obamacare, as follows: 


Obama on Obamacare in 4 Quotes

Obama on Obamacare in 4 Quotes

President Obama’s press conference yesterday was a fascinating opportunity to observe the mindset of the person who is trying to forcibly reorganize a fifth of the nation’s economy. Four quotes stuck out as particularly revealing.

1. “What we're also discovering is that, you know, insurance is complicated to buy.”

At 52 years of age, the President is finally learning what every adult American already knows. Health insurance is complicated to buy, with hundreds of factors affecting the price and availability of plans.

It is alarming that the President is only now coming to grips with the complexity of the insurance industry that he made it his signature initiative to rearrange--operating on wildly naive assumptions about his ability to do that successfully and to predict the consequences, as should now be clear to everyone on both sides of the aisle.

2. “Another mistake that we made, I think, was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance online and shopping for a lot of options, with a lot of costs and a lot of different benefits and plans.”

As anyone who has ever bought insurance knows, insurance companies want to know a lot of personal information before agreeing to cover your medical expenses, and buying a policy is not something Americans look forward to. That’s a big part of the reason millions of people are so frustrated that their plans have been cancelled due to the health care law. Many have a hard enough time understanding the details of their policies even once they have one.

Yet apparently the President and the architects of the health care law believed the experience of shopping for insurance would be “the same way you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon,” as President Obama put it on October 1.

3. “I don't think I'm stupid enough to go around saying ‘this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity,’ a week before the website opens if I thought that it wasn't going to work.”

Taking the President at his word that he didn’t know about the tech failures raises a number of other serious questions. We know that senior officials were warned the website wasn’t ready, so why wasn’t the President informed? Who didn’t tell him? And why hasn’t he fired them?

More importantly, if he wasn’t informed about the centerpiece of his signature policy initiative, what else isn’t he informed about? What doesn’t he know on Iran? Or Syria? Or North Korea?

It is baffling that senior aides could keep such information from the President and still keep their jobs.

4. “I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem [of policy cancellations], and today I'm offering an idea that will help do it.”

To the millions of Americans who’ve had their insurance plans cancelled despite President Obama’s promises, yesterday the President offered “an idea.” Not a policy change. Not a proposed piece of legislation. Not language to change the rules. An idea--essentially a promise to insurers that the federal government would ignore the law and allow plans that Obamacare made illegal to continue to operate.

Of course, he came up with this “idea” after the insurance companies had already cancelled hundreds of thousands of policies to comply with the law. As the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner--who serves as president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners--said in his response, “It is unclear how, as a practical matter, the changes proposed today by the President can be put into effect. In many states, cancellation notices have already gone out to policyholders and rates and plans have already been approved for 2014. Changing the rules through administrative action at this late date creates uncertainty and may not address the underlying issues.”

At least one state insurance commissioner who is a Democrat, Mike Kreidler from Washington, has already said he won’t comply--which suggests that the President’s “idea” to keep his promise won’t get past the drawing board in most states, and he probably knows it--or maybe aides didn’t tell him that either.

That was the stunning takeaway from yesterday’s press conference: he wasn’t informed, he didn’t fire anyone over it, he doesn’t understand how impossible a task it is to reorganize a whole industry, and he hasn’t learned much from the experience.

Your Friend,

Comment by Bruce Donnelly on November 17, 2013 at 12:57pm

It is time to make more Americans aware of conservative alternatives to Obamacare.  Here are some ideas from the Heritage Foundation. 


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