Obama’s Catholic con job 3

By Tom Quiner

The Obama Mandate infuriates the faithfulQuick recap: Barack Obama, by presidential fiat imposed a health insurance mandate on faith-based organizations. The Obama Mandate dictates these organizations must require three types of services regardless of whether it violates their conscience or not. These services include:

√ Abortifacients like the morning after pill, a pill that kills human life.

√ Sterilization.

√ Contraception.

Faith-based institutions screamed that this is a violation of their religious freedoms.

The president yawned.

U.S. Catholic bishops objected vigorously:

“We objected to the rule forcing private health plans — nationwide, by the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen—to cover sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion. All the other mandated “preventive services” prevent disease, and pregnancy is not a disease. Moreover, forcing plans to cover abortifacients violates existing federal conscience laws. Therefore, we called for the rescission of the mandate altogether.”

They had more objections:

“We explained that the mandate would impose a burden of unprecedented reach and severity on the consciences of those who consider such “services” immoral: insurers forced to write policies including this coverage; employers and schools forced to sponsor and subsidize the coverage; and individual employees and students forced to pay premiums for the coverage.”

The president began to realize that Catholics and other faith-based organizations weren’t going to go away, that this may cost him votes, a lot of votes.

His solution is not a compromise, it is a con job that is cynical by even the president’s contemptuous standards. In essence, he said, “no problem, we’ll just force insurance companies to provide them for free. You don’t have to pay for them.”

Let us look at this compromise through the harsh light of basic honesty:

1. “Health” services that Catholics and other faith-based institutions consider to be immoral are still being forced upon their employees.

2. The services are not free. Someone pays. Whom? Why the organization writing the check. It doesn’t matter how much accounting sleight-of-hand you use, there is no free lunch. Faith-based groups are still paying for the destruction of human life … and for products that treat human life as if creation is a disease.

I have a simple solution. Let us call it the “Pro Choice Model”: let us eliminate ALL mandates at the state and federal level. Let us offer consumers real choice.

Two things will quickly happen:

First, insurance premiums will drop, because consumers will only pay for product features they really want.

Secondly, religious freedom is preserved. The federal government has no business telling us what to buy. And states have screwed up the insurance market by imposing dozens of mandates that drive up health insurance premiums.

And while we’re at it, let consumers purchase products across state lines like they do for practically every other product and service they buy.

What a win/win. The president could ride the Pro Choice Model to a landslide re-election if he wasn’t so driven by his anti-life ideology.

The rationale of health insurance reform 1

By Tom Quiner

You, as a voter, are faced with two competing rationales when it comes to health insurance reform.

The Democratic approach uses massive government control as being implemented in Obamacare.

The Republican approach focuses on consumer control.

Obamacare imposes a mandate on consumers. In other words, you will be required by law to purchase health insurance if you are not insured, or you’ll face legal sanction. (The Supreme Court will soon be weighing the constitutionality of this aspect of the law.)

The rationale behind the mandate is understandable. It broadens the insurance pool and in theory will help lower, or at least mitigate, the cost of health insurance. The mandate helps to reduce freeloaders in the system, goes the theory, to save the rest of us money.

As things stand now, a chunk of people don’t carry health insurance. When they get sick, they typically can’t pay for all their health care, so they get bailed out by the rest of us who have been paying for health insurance all along.

It doesn’t seem fair. That’s why the conservative-leaning think tank, The Heritage Foundation, embraced the idea of a mandate back in the 80s. That’s why Newt Gingrich also embraced the mandate back in 1992.

Both Heritage and Mr. Gingrich have backed away from the heavy-handed government mandate, because there is a better, more just way to accomplish the same thing. Rather than penalizing the uninsured, we should reward the insured.

Let’s use a carrot instead of a stick to reward the insured and encourage the uninsured to become insured.

We should extend a tax credit to everyone with health insurance, which is similar to the current system if you get insurance through your employer. We should extend the tax credit to individuals who also purchase their own health insurance. In other words, let’s not discriminate on where people get their insurance, let’s reward everyone for purchasing it, because it is good for society.

People without the insurance, of course, do not receive the credit since they are being partially subsidized by the folks who do. This seems logical and fair. (Specifically, the non-insured consume half the health care as the insured, but they only pay for half of what they consume. That means the insured subsidize a quarter of what the uninsured consume.)

However, there’s an inequity in the current system. Higher earners tend to get more of their health insurance subsidized by their employer than lower income earners. We can level the playing field by providing everyone a fixed sum, refundable tax credit.

There’s something we can do using this approach to help the uninsured who can’t pay their bills. They’re paying more in taxes since they’re unable to claim the health insurance tax credit. Let’s take the extra tax money they’re paying and put it in a charity pool to help them when they need it instead of pouring it down the government rathole. It’s kind of like insurance without calling it insurance.

Under this approach, no one is forced to purchase health insurance, but they’re financially rewarded if they do through lower taxes.

If they decide they don’t want insurance, fine, but they pay more in taxes. Those taxes are then set aside and used to help the uninsured who face health hardships.

This plan comes from us via John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

What do you think? Do you prefer a carrot or a stick?

Romney is willing to retain parts of Obamacare Reply

By Tom Quiner

Mitt Romney appreciates aspects of Obamacare.

This is understandable. After all, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid modeled Obamacare after Romneycare health insurance legislation enacted in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor.

Mr. Romney said his legislation provided consumers with “incentives” to purchase health insurance. This is a nicer word than mandate. Let us be crystal clear with Romneycare and Obamacare: if someone doesn’t buy health insurance, they can be fined and eventually imprisoned if they don’t pay their fine.

The president agrees with Romney’s basic philosophy.

Mr. Romney, however, rejects the mandate at the national level and would try to undue that aspect of Obamacare.

Let’s look at what’s happened to the health insurance market in Massachusetts with the enactment of Romneycare. Since the passage of this legislation in 2006, 412,000 new people have become insured, but only 7000 of them at unsubsidized rates. Tax payers are paying for chunks of the premiums for the rest of the new folks now being covered.

Mr. Romney says his plan helped to keep rates down. Really? Rates have increased dramatically since Romneycare passed. Today, Massachusetts has the most expensive health insurance premiums in the country, double the national average.

It’s much the same with Obamacare. The Kaiser Foundation examined the early impact of Obamacare on health insurance. Rates went up 9% last year, triple the rate increase of the previous year. They attribute 2% of the increase directly to Obamacare.

The president promised Obamacare would increase our choices. The exact opposite has happened as many companies have exited the business because of lack of profitability under more onerous government regulation.

Obamacare has reduced one of the best ways to reduce health care costs: health savings accounts. His party cut the deduction in half for these cost-effective plans. Now new Health and Human Service guidelines threaten to completely gut the plans, affecting 10 million Americans, including me.

In 2014, Obamacare fully kicks in, requiring us to buy government-designed plans whether we need, or want, the type of coverage offered.

Romneycare and Obamacare share some common aspects: more expensive coverage for consumers, less choice.

I have a concern with Mitt Romney. He really doesn’t have a problem with much of Obamacare, only some of it. In his own words: “I hope we’re ultimately able to eliminate some of the differences, and repeal the bad and keep the good.”

He wants to tinker around the edges.

I suggest the better approach is to cancel Obamacare and start over with market-driven solutions.


Health insurance implosion continues in Iowa 1

By Tom Quiner

Here’s what is happening in Iowa: health insurance companies are pulling out of the Iowa market. Thirteen companies have pulled out of the the market here in the past sixteen months.

These companies are victims of Obamacare, according to the CEO of the latest company to pull out of the market, Des Moines-based American Enterprise Group.

Here’s the problem, according to CEO, Michael Abbot:

“It’s a fairly predictable consequence of the regulation. The regulatory environment’s getting really complicated.”

One problem of Obamacare is that it limits profit margins for insurance companies. Is that a big deal? Yes, according to Mr. Abbott:

“The business is extremely expensive. We had very low margins, and it was very difficult to make margins on this business.”

As another company exits the market, another 110 people will lose their jobs. At the same time, consumers will find their competitive choices reduced once again.

Obamacare and Obamanomics are a failure. How many more examples do we need?