#Obamacare chronicles: middle-class children lose their health insurance


**Posted by Phineas

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Wait. Wasn’t one of the justifications for passing the Affordable Care Act that we had to do it “for the children?” That so many children were among the uninsured that it would be heartless, cruel, and even racist to not pass Obamacare? (1)

Then how do they explain this?

While the federal government was trumpeting the benefits of Obamacare to boost enrollment earlier this year, about 1,800 families in New Jersey were receiving letters telling them their children would be losing their health coverage last week.

The Affordable Care Act — the federal law that mandates everyone have insurance — effectively killed FamilyCare Advantage, a low-cost option for kids in New Jersey created six years ago for parents who earned too much to qualify for Medicaid and other subsidized programs but too little to buy on a policy on their own. The state program was the first of its kind in the nation.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey was the only insurance carrier that agreed to offer the FamilyCare Advantage plan, which covered most medical, dental and vision needs for the relative bargain of $144 a month per child.

What was it that killed FamilyCare Advantage? Oh, just the lack of services Obamacare declares must be included in every policy.

Such as maternity care. For children.

FamilyCare Advantage was New Jersey’s experiment to help lower middle-class families who made too much to qualify for state assistance, but not enough to buy adequate insurance on their own. Under (what used to be) our federalist system, states could try different approaches to common problems, see what worked and what didn’t, and then other states could, if they wanted, copy and adapt them to their own people’s needs. It’s that famous “laboratories of democracy” concept that leads to the discovery of best practices. Instead, these 1,800 families and their children get to experience the “benefits” of a top-down, one-size-fits-all, we-know-better-than-you nationalized health care system. One that kills the health insurance plan they liked and were promised they could keep.

Neat, eh?

But, don’t worry. These families can still go on the exchange and buy a policy there. Of course, it will likely be more expensive and carry a high deductible, but beggars can’t be choosy, right?

After all, it’s for the children.

Afterthought: There’s one other point that needs to be made. The article quotes one father frustrated with both Obamacare and the insurance company:

“Obamacare did snuff it out, but it also looks like Horizon was looking for a reason to end it. With all of the federal mandates (for employers to offer insurance) delayed, they didn’t need to do anything right now.

Emphasis added. This kind of resentment is inevitable when you have chief executive whose governing style seems to be borrowed from Argentina’s Juan Domingo Peron. Rather than treat people as free citizens, equal under the rule of law, you instead get individuals clamoring to get the same special favor as the other guy, turning free citizens into dependent clients and a president of a constitutional republic into El Patrón, doling out the favors to those who please him (or he needs to please) most. And that dependency, in the long run, is the progressives’ real goal.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

(1) And I exaggerate only a bit, here.

RELATED: The Affordable Care Act becomes unaffordable.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

(Video) Jonah Goldberg on the real meaning of “social justice”


**Posted by Phineas

Justice is individual, not social

Justice is individual, not social

“Social justice” is one of those phrases the left loves: stripped of all precision, it means whatever progressives want it to mean — raising the minimum wage, economic redistribution, “rights” for this or that group, etc. It forms a hot mess of unrelated issues, until you see he common thread behind it: “social justice” means doing whatever progressives think is good, and this good is accomplished through the State, with progressives in charge. And, if you disagree, you must be a racist, fascist, misogynistic, reactionary, greedy capitalistic homophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

Anyway, the invaluable Prager University has published a new video that features Jonah Goldberg explaining the real meaning of “social justice:”

Try some of these arguments on liberals you know. Then have fun watching their heads explode.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obama declares it a crime to disobey his illegal law, which would be illegal to obey


**Posted by Phineas

Approved by Juan Peron!

Approved by Juan Peron!

As part of my post yesterday on Juan Domingo Obama’s latest and almost certainly illegal rewriting of the Affordable Care Act to delay the employer mandate for another year for businesses with 50-99 employees, I noted that the administration, with no supporting legislation, unilaterally created a felony. In a usurpation of congressional authority, Treasury is requiring businesses taking advantage of the waiver to attest that they are not letting employees go because of the waiver, under penalty of perjury.

To put it another way, the Obama administration is declaring it a federal crime to make a logical business decision if you do so to take advantage of illegal rules written by the Obama administration.

And you thought 1984 was fiction.

This would have Andrew McCarthy’s head spinning, too, except he’s too busy being outraged at the lawlessness of it all:

So now Obama, like a standard-issue leftist dictator, is complementing lawlessness with socialist irrationality.

Think about how lunatic this is. There is nothing even faintly illegal about businesses’ – indeed, all economic actors’ – making financial decisions based on tax consequences. (And remember, notwithstanding Obama’s misrepresentations to the contrary, Obamacare mandates are taxes – as Obama’s Justice Department argued and as Chief Justice Roberts & Co. concluded.) The tax consequences of Obamacare are profound – that is precisely the reason that Obama is “waiving” them. No responsible officers in a corporation of relevant size would fail to take them into account in making the decision to staff at over or under 100 employees; in determining whether some full-time employees should be terminated or shifted to part-time; or in making any number of the decisions Obamacare’s mind-numbing complexity requires.

The officers’ responsibility is to the owners of the company, the shareholders. The business exists to create value, not to provide employment – employing workers is a function of the value added to the enterprise, not the need to create a more favorable election environment for the statist political party. Corporate officers who overlooked material tax consequences would be unfit to be corporate officers.

What is illegal and irrational is not a company’s commonsense deliberation over its costs, it is Obama’s edict. And look what attends this one: criminal prosecution if Obama’s Justice Department decides the business has falsely certified that its staffing decision was not motivated by Obamacare.

And, as McCarthy points out, if a company does take advantage of the waiver, regardless of the reason for doing so, it is in violation of the ACA as written, because the fine revenue is owed to the public, not the president. He has no authority forego its collection. Talk about being between the proverbial rock and a hard place: a company can pass on the waiver, even though it makes economic sense for them, thus breaking its fiduciary duty to its owners, or it could take advantage of it and face the threat of prosecution from two directions.

Heads you lose, tails you lose.

And so does the Rule of Law.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Oh, gee. Another illegal #Obamacare delay by King Barack I


**Posted by Phineas

"My will is enough!"

“We have a pen and a phone!”

Legal dictionaries define the word “usurpation” thus:

The illegal encroachment or assumption of the use of authority, power, or property properly belonging to another; the interruption or disturbance of an individual in his or her right or possession.

The term usurpation is also used in reference to the unlawful assumption or seizure of sovereign power, in derogation of the constitution and rights of the proper ruler.

–West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

In which case, what are we to make of this news:

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was again extending the ObamaCare enrollment deadline for people with pre-existing conditions.

The administration said it would extend the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), slated to end Jan. 31, until March 15.

“As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers’ transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.

The deadline was originally at the end of December, but last month, the administration pushed it back through January because of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov.

The new extension is just the latest in a string of unilateral delays the administration has implemented to buy time after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov.

By “unilateral,” the author means “done without any statutory authority from Congress, the body charged under the constitution with writing and rewriting our laws.”

Or, in a word, “usurpation.”

But that’s not the only one (hat tip ST):

Republicans renewed their calls to delay or repeal ObamaCare Monday after the Obama administration announced another delay in the requirement for businesses to provide health coverage to workers, giving some employers a reprieve next year while phasing in the mandate for others.

The administration had already delayed the implementation of the so-called employer mandate by a year, initially pushing the requirements off until 2015 — past the midterm elections. In a concession to business, though, Treasury Department officials announced Monday that the administration would not enforce the rules across the board next year.


As a result of the delay, the administration will let employers with 50 to 99 employees off the hook in 2015. They’ll be required to report on how many workers are covered but will have until 2016 before being required to cover full-time staff or pay a penalty. Americans would still be required to obtain health insurance through what’s known as the individual mandate.

In other words, they’re giving a break to some employers, but not others, with, again, no legal authority to do so. This isn’t “prosecutorial discretion,” as the administration has tried sometimes to claim, but the seizure of legislative authority by the Executive to effectively rewrite an inconvenient law.


And, in the same article, Gabriel Malor found this gem:


To answer Gabe’s question, I’m willing to bet one could look high and low in the ACA and never find the authority.

But think about that highlighted portion and what follows: the Treasury, an executive department under the presidency, is unilaterally creating a criminal offense, a felony. Legislature? They don’t need no steenkin’ legislature! They’ll just rewrite the law as they see fit and then declare it a crime not to obey. (1)

To usurpation, then, let’s add “tyranny:”

a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially :  one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state.

“Tyranny” and “usurpation” have a much more meaningful ring to them than “overreach,” don’t you think? Why, I can hear Jefferson sharpening his pen, even now.

Under our Madisonian system, institutional jealousy is supposed to keep the various branches from encroaching on each other’s constitutional prerogatives, but, for various reasons, those barriers eroded over the last century, especially since the New Deal.

The remedies Congress has for these usurpations are few and clumsy, the two most relevant being the refusal to allocate funds, and impeachment. So why not impeach President Obama?

Like Andrew McCarthy, while I’m convinced impeachment is well-warranted, I don’t believe the necessary political will among the public yet exists to carry it out. (2) In fact, I contend that the resulting political crisis, given that the Senate would never convict absent direct evidence that Obama ax-murdered someone in the Oval Office, wouldn’t be worth the destruction of Republicans’ electoral prospects in the coming midterm elections, which, thanks to Obamacare, are looking better and better. With control of both chambers starting in 2015 (3), Republicans and conservatives will be in a much better position to geld the White House and send Obama even more often to the links.

And that’s the real solution to Obama’s usurpations and petty tyrannies: a good, old-fashioned election. As Clint Eastwood said, “We own this country.” It’s time for the owners to take charge.

PS: Some relevant humor from Slublog.


RELATED: Obamacare and the corruption of the rule of law. Yuval Levin on the “Adhocracy.”

(1) God, but I’d love to see this tested in federal court and watch a judge shove this back in the administration’s face like a grapefruit wielded by Jimmy Cagney.
(2) This was the big mistake of the Clinton impeachment, which was also merited: Clinton was well-liked by the public, and so the public consensus did not exist that would otherwise have pressured senators into convicting him. A drastic move like this in a republic requires public support a priori to be successful.
(3) I hope.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

King, er, President Obama to raise fed worker min. wage to $10.10/hour

King Obama

Image via Salon.com

Fox News reports this morning that, in a move that should surprise no one, our celebrity President plans on circumventing Congress with the wave of his pen in order to give federal workers under new federal contracts a minimum wage hike:

President Obama, in the first of potentially many executive actions tied to his State of the Union address, will unilaterally increase the minimum wage for workers under new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour, from $7.25, in an effort to build momentum for a minimum wage hike for all Americans.

The executive order, which has been championed by progressive Democratic lawmakers, applies to all contractors performing services for the federal government and would effect more than 2 million employees, according to an administration official.

The president will use Tuesday night’s address to press Congress to pass a Democratic plan to increase the federal wage to $10.10 over three years, then indexing it to inflation, while also raising the minimum wage for tipped workers, the official said.

The president, who does not have the power to unilaterally raise the minimum wage for private sector workers, used last year’s State of the Union speech to call for a federal minimum wage hike.

“Let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour,” the president said to applause in his 2013 address.


Obama, in an effort to avoid the appearance of being a lame duck president, is expected to use Tuesday’s State of the Union address to make clear his intentions to use his executive powers to achieve his goals when Congress fails to pass legislation.

You know what? It’s one thing to be in the final weeks of your Presidency and make “unilateral” moves around Congress on any number of issues. It’s questionable but Presidents in the past – including President Bush – did it. In this case, President Obama has a full two three years left to go in his remaining term, and he’s already working to go around Congress every chance he gets – and on critical issues and decisions that, once implemented, will be hard to undo by future Presidents. This isn’t leadership – this is fascism and a monarchy rolled into one. I thought we fought a long time ago to get away from this exact type of dangerous rule. Would someone alert Dear Leader?

Schumer calls for Obama to use IRS as weapon against Tea Party. UPDATE: Et tu, Booker?


**Posted by Phineas

A shark has a more sincere smile

A shark has a more sincere smile

Wait, didn’t we just have a national stink over the IRS harassing conservative and libertarian groups for their political beliefs? Yet now, not at all hiding his lack of understanding of or even his disdain for the principles that underlie our political system, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in a speech at the progressive Center for American Progress, has called on President Obama to use the IRS to limit the activities of these same groups.

Arguing that Tea Party groups have a financial advantage after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, Schumer said the Obama administration should bypass Congress and institute new campaign finance rules through the IRS.

“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies—we must redouble those efforts immediately,” Schumer said.

“One of the great advantages the Tea Party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created [by] the ill advised decision [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission],” Schumer said. “Obviously the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”

What really upsets Chuck is free speech and that these groups are effective at getting their message out and that people respond to it. Citizens United merely respected the First Amendment and, in the process, somewhat leveled the playing field against liberal donor groups and the liberal MSM that gives the Democrats arguably illegal in-kind aid. Can’t have that.

Note also his acknowledgement that no further restrictions on political speech would pass the House. Smart man, that Chuck. What escapes him, or really what he refuses to admit, is that the massacre his party suffered in the 2010 midterms in the House was due to popular reaction against his party and its policies. Quite literally, the Republican Party, the majority party in the House –the People’s House–  represents the will of most of the American people.

His solution? Rule by decree via administrative rule-making, in defiance of that will. Use the power of big government to silence the proponents of limited government.

Admit it, Chuck: What you really want is an Enabling Act, not a Constitution.

It seems Chuckie also hates competition. Would-be tyrants usually do.

Schumer also proposed electoral reform in his speech. “Our very electoral structure has been rigged to favor Tea Party candidates in Republican primaries,” he said.

He argued that this is due to the political makeup of primary voters and gerrymandering by Republicans who “draw districts where a Democrat could never be elected.”

Schumer recommended a primary system “where all voters, members of every party, can vote and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, then enter a run-off.”

Whining against gerrymandering is rich, since Democrats have long benefited from the creation of safe seats. I don’t like it; I’d like to get rid of it. But those are the rules we have now, so, tough, Senator.Try enacting policies that don’t lead to a wipe out in state-level elections, and maybe on day your allies will control the process. And I’ll bet you’ll suddenly be a fan of the system, too.

The leaders of the Democratic Party sure have a problem with democracy, don’t they?

PS: Anyone else get a weird vibe from Schumer, like he’s sworn an oath to Don Corleone? The guy just oozes “made man.”

RELATED: Ted Cruz sends a letter to Eric Holder, demanding an independent prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal. Worth reading.

UPDATE: Just an hour ago on Twitter, Senator Cory “Imaginary Friend” Booker (D-NJ) had this to say about Senator Schumer’s call for restrictions on free speech:

via Katnandu

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Obamacare Follies: Calorie info on all vending machines


**Posted by Phineas

"Does Nanny approve?"

“Does Nanny approve?”

Nancy Pelosi once said we’d have to pass the ACA bill in order to find out what’s in it. The latest escapee from Pandora’s box? Vending machine operators across the nation now must display calorie information for every item stocked on each and every machine.

That’s about five million machines, btw:

The rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate 20 or more machines. Nearly three quarters of those companies have three or fewer employees, and their profit margin is extremely low, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association. An initial investment of $2,400 plus $2,200 in annual costs is a lot of money for a small company that only clears a few thousand dollars a year, said Eric Dell, the group’s vice president for government affairs.

“The money that would be spent to comply with this — there’s no return on the investment,” he said.

“Return on investment?” Don’t you know the State has a higher purpose in mind than your grubby profits, you capitalist-roader kulak? Prepare for liquidation!!


Carol Brennan, who owns Brennan Food Vending Services in Londonderry, said she doesn’t yet know how she will handle the regulations, but she doesn’t like them. She has five employees servicing hundreds of machines and says she’ll be forced to limit the items offered so her employees don’t spend too much time updating the calorie counts.

“It is outrageous for us to have to do this on all our equipment,” she said.

Brennan also doubts that consumers will benefit from the calorie information.

“How many people have not read a label on a candy bar?” she said. “If you’re concerned about it, you’ve already read it for years.”

But Kim Gould, 58, of Seattle, said he doesn’t read the labels even after his choice pops out of a vending machine, so having access to that information wouldn’t change what he buys.

That last line is the key, in my mind. I’ve learned from the Real World Job that most people will ignore signs, especially if it’s providing information they already know, such as “that pack of sugared donuts probably isn’t good for you, even if you are drinking a diet soda.” If they’re interested in the information, it’s already printed on the product. If they’re not, adding another warning label for them to ignore when they’re hungry isn’t going to change much at all, certainly not enough to justify the non-productive compliance costs. (If I have to sink more money into obeying regulations, then I have less to hire more people if my business does well. Economics, progressives. You should try learning it sometime.)

But shouldn’t all this be the individual’s business,  in any event? We know roughly which foods are good for us and which aren’t, and that too much of almost anything is bad. But if I choose to have that Three Musketeers bar, I don’t need the government hanging over me like a nag and a scold, and I don’t need them forcing vendors to raise prices to compensate for the government’s useless, onerous rules. This is another example of the infantilization of the citizen through the cancerous growth of the State, as it claims jurisdiction over anything even remotely tied to health.

A recent survey showed a record number of Americans — 72%! –feel government is a bigger threat to the United States than Big Business or Big Labor.

And it’s finding out just what’s in the ACA that’s convincing them.

via Jim Geraghty (Be sure to read the rest — it’s an eye-opener.)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obama’s top-ten constitutional violations of 2013


**Posted by Phineas



From a list compiled by Forbes. Like they wrote, it’s tough limiting yourself to just ten, and a lot of those chosen come under the rubric of “general lawlessness.” Here’s one example:

10. Mini-DREAM Act. Congress has shamelessly failed to pass any sort of immigration reform, including for the most sympathetic victims of the current non-system, young people who were brought into the country illegally as children. Nonetheless, President Obama, contradicting his own previous statements claiming to lack authority, directed the Department of Homeland Security to issue work and residence permits to the so-called Dreamers. The executive branch undoubtedly has discretion regarding enforcement priorities, but granting de facto green cards goes beyond a decision to defer deportation in certain cases.

This is typical of the Obama administration: unable to get want they want through Congress, Obama abuses prosecutorial discretion and the regulatory powers granted by Congress to rewrite or even abrogate the law itself. And this has happened time and again, especially in the last year with regard to Obamacare. These are not the actions of a president under a constitutional republic, but those of a Peronist-style presidente, who only needs the legislature to rubber-stamp his decisions and carry out his directives. Not that I’m saying Obama is another Hugo Chavez or even Juan Peron (though I’ve snarkily referred to him that way, before), but his attitudes and predilections are both lazy and authoritarian. Why should he not do whatever he wants, if he thinks something needs doing? Why should he go to the effort of dealing with Congress, when he already knows what’s right?

Other presidents have tested the limits, of course, and some have gone beyond them. But the prior gentleman had some sense of limits, of boundaries they couldn’t cross, because “that’s not the way we do things.”

I don’t think Obama knows any such limits.

via Allahpundit 

EDIT: Deleted a section that, on further review, didn’t fit.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Free speech in Britain not dead; just gut-shot


**Posted by Phineas

I’m telling you, George Orwell was a prophet:

Neil Phillips said he was fingerprinted, DNA-swabbed and had his computers seized.

The 44-year-old was held after posting: “My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.”

Another read: “Free Mandela – switch the power off.”

But police swooped after a councillor complained over the gags about the former South African leader, who passed away on Thursday, aged 95.

Mr Phillips who insisted he meant no harm, said: “It was an awful experience. I was fingerprinted, they took DNA and my computer.

“It was a couple of jokes, Bernard Manning type,” he added. “There was no hatred. What happened to freedom of speech? I think they over-reacted massively.”

Mr Phillips, who runs Crumbs sandwich shop in Rugeley, Staffs, was arrested after complaints by [local councilor] Tim Jones about the one-liners, aired when the anti-apartheid hero was critically ill.

Mr. Phillips “crime,” aside from telling some mildly tasteless jokes, is that he broke the 1986 Public Order Act (1), which, among other things, makes it an offense to say things that others might find insulting and distressing. And because a local pol was “offended,” Phillips was hauled in and treated like an enemy of the state.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we get our traditions of free speech from that very same island, where now an off-color joke means an official knock at the door?

Via Charles Cooke, who has this to say about the state of liberty in his former country:

In other words, Section 5 [of the POA] allows anybody to have anybody else investigated for speaking. And they have. The arrests have run the gamut: from Muslims criticizing atheists to atheists critcizing Muslims; from a young man who told a police officer that his horse was “gay” to protesters criticizing Scientology; from a Christian arguing against homosexuality on the street to a man arrested and charged with offending a chaplain. I’ll give them this: The British are at least thorough with their suppression. 

Cooke points out that, after public outrage, the law has been amended to ban prosecutions for insulting people, but only if no particular victim can be identified. A real blow for liberty, that. It’s also a good example of why we should zealously guard our own 1st Amendment; we all know pols and academics here who’d love to have a similar law in the name of “respecting each other’s feelings.”

Britain’s Glorious Revolution resulted in the English Bill of Rights, forerunner to our own. Maybe it’s time they had another.

(1) Passed under Margaret Thatcher? Really?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)