The Obamacare Hydra


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The Hydra was a mythical swamp beast whose multiple heads grew back after being severed. Obamacare is a real Washington monster whose countless hidden bureaucracies keep sprouting forth even after they’re rooted out. As soon as combatants lop off one of the law’s unconstitutional agencies, another takes its place.

On Thursday, as the behemoth federal health care law marked its second anniversary, House Republicans repealed the infamous Independent Payment Advisory Board. The mother of all death panels, IPAB would have unprecedented authority over health care spending through a rogue board of 15 Medicare spending czars. The House repeal has a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving the Senate. But IPAB’s legality is being challenged in federal court by the conservative Arizona-based Goldwater Institute. And the more the public knows about these freedom-usurping, taxpayer-soaking institutions buried in the health care law the less they like it.

Seven House Democrats crossed the aisle to vote for the GOP majority rollback. Analysts on both sides of the political aisle have decried IPAB’s complete lack of accountability and insulation from judicial review. Critical decisions about public and private health insurance payment rates would be freed from the normal administrative rules process – public notice, public comment, public review — that governs every other federal commission in existence. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., summed up bipartisan opposition: “IPAB embodies the very thing Americans fear most about ObamaCare — unaccountable Washington bureaucrats meeting behind closed doors to make unilateral decisions that should be made by patients and their doctors.”

The problem with piecemeal repeal is that for every old IPAB, there’s a new, multibillion-dollar bureaucracy waiting in the Obamacare wings. Senate Republicans and fellow medical doctors Tom Coburn and John Barrasso point to a $10 billion entity called the “Innovation Center” that “would test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures under Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”

According to a new Congressional Research Service analysis of this little known office to be operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, there would be “no administrative or judicial review” of the director’s payment experiments.

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  • davarino

    I am not free if you can tell me what I have to buy, or that I have to buy anything.

    Yaaa a bunch of kids in their 20's now have health insurance. Big deal, they will never use it and dont care, but it sounds good.

  • Schlomotion

    I find no mention in this article of The Heritage Foundation, which is the true author of Obamacare. Obama is not a medical professional, nor does he run an HMO. You can find the Heritage Foundation article here:
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1990/07/

    • sedoanman

      "…The Heritage Foundation, which is the true author of Obamacare."

      From the report in your referenced link: "Todays tax laws make the place of work virtually the only group that Americans can join to have the bargaining power and the economies of scale to obtain affordable insurance. Under the Heritage proposal, by contrast families could join other groups as the basis for insurance, with the group administrators perhaps charging a management fee Forming Groups. The group presumably would be an organization that the family felt would act in its interest, such as a union, a church, a group representing minority workers, or women business owners. It could also be a group of individuals with special medical needs, such as diabetics, needing plans with particular services. In each case the individual would gain the economies of scale and bargaining power of the larger group, and he or she could choose a group that arranged the desired package of insurance and services at the best price.Today a worker and his family normally must accept the plan services selected by the employer, whether or not they are ideal."

      This report is over 20 years old. Congratulations. You have surpassed øbama in blaming someone else. øbama care is government run health care. What the Heritage Foundation proposed is NOT øbamacare because it would be run by private, non-government organizations. Can't you read your own reference?

      • Schlomotion

        It did endorse mandatory enrollment, so it is still corporatist swindle. Frequently, old reports are the basis for current strategy in our slow-moving government. "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" was written in 1996. Nevertheless, it formed much of the basis for the Bush Administration's subversion of American law. I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican.

        • kentatwater

          A completely disingenuous characterization of the Heritage plan, on many levels.

          The Heritage proposal posits a mandated minimum level of coverage, managed by a head of household, not employer, and obtained independently, or through some other voluntary association, such as a church. The mandated purchase would be offset by tax credits.

          I don't necessarily endorse the Heritage plan, but these attributes are in stark contrast to Obamacare. Both your predicate and conclusion are invalid.

          But you knew that already, of course.

          • Schlomotion

            The mandated purchase is real money. The tax credit is fake money. I would never accept forced purchasing in exchange for a counterfeit rebate on other real money that was confiscated from my earnings. So to distinguish it from Obamacare simply because more CEOS benefit from it is hairsplitting.

          • kentatwater

            Non-sequitor. The proposals are not the same, therefore, attributing authorship of the Obama plan to Heritage is laughable.

            hairsplitting

            Yes. Details get in the way for sweeping, and false, generalizations, don't they?

          • Schlomotion

            Your argument is that because two things are not identical, they are not sufficiently similar to compare. The fact remains that The Heritage Foundation proposal IS the parent document to Obamacare, and it is similar enough to trace the origin. One can indeed find negligible differences, but that is a mere parlor game. The Heritage Foundation invented Obamacare.

            Furthermore, Gingrich endorsed the individual mandate. Romney signed it into law, and Santorum backed Specter who voted it into cloture.

          • kentatwater

            Your argument is that because two things are not identical, they are not sufficiently similar to compare.

            Show me where I made that argument. It sure doesn't sound like me, because I know the purpose of comparison, is to determine equivalence, or to identify differences.

            I also know that to characterize your conduct as comparison is dishonest, because you predicate your argument, such as it is, with, and I quote:

            The Heritage Foundation, which is the true author of Obamacare.

            The fact is, there are significant differences in the two proposals, and it is those differences which, if I may say, make all the difference. A cursory examination is all it takes to see that under the Heritage plan, there would be no need for the notorious "exemption" fiasco, which is favoring unions and businesses "too big to fail." Now that is cronyism.

            The Heritage Foundation invented Obamacare.

            A gratuitous assertion may be just as gratuitously denied.

            Denied.

            Furthermore, Gingrich endorsed the individual mandate. Romney signed it into law, and Santorum backed Specter who voted it into cloture.

            None of which supports your gratuitous assertion. And though these candidates are all flawed, as all humans are, they are all, to a man, better than the current burden we bear.

          • Schlomotion

            We will have to agree to disagree, as I have discovered that my account is now being monitored as a result of my opinions.

          • kentatwater

            I will agree that your attempts to equivocate aren't going to go unchallenged in this forum.

            As to being monitored for your "opinions," pull the other one.

  • kentatwater

    Non-sequitor. The proposals are not the same, therefore, attributing authorship of the Obama plan to Heritage is laughable.

  • digdigby

    Just think of the Death Panels as a Human Cash for Clunkers.

    • intrcptr2

      Cash for Croakers, I think you mean.

  • 080

    It is not widely observed that the determinations of the IPAB or death panel has nothing to do with science. Science is what was afforded Dick Cheney. The doctors using the best of medical science recommended a heart transplant. That is science. To have a panel state that statistics indicate that Cheney was too old to have to undergo the expenses of such an operation has nothing to do with science. Furthermore, those who are ranting against the operation are perilously close to Hitler's minions when they are deciding which life is worthy of life. Cheney wasn't worthy? What about those with Downs Syndrome. Or what about those with very low IQs. Or criminals?

  • Sage on the Stage

    Obamacare? First and foremost, its a job-killer. It eliminates the tax deduction for company prescription drug benefits. If big companies can't deduct the money they reimburse employees with, they have to take a loss. When companies take losses, they frequently respond by firing people. Second, Obamacare(aka the PPACA) has a provision that, under the individual mandate, exempts those that join "health-sharing ministries." Also, anyone that doesn't participate in Social Security is exempt, as are Scientologists and the Amish. Third, there is a real estate tax, pertaining to the sale of homes, hidden in it. This amounts to 4% of the value of the house. REPEAL THE WHOLE THING. Period.