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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Friends of Obamacare, horrified that the Supreme Court has taken a case that could blow up the federal health insurance exchanges, should recalibrate their dread. While the health reforms were safely humming along, there was little political price for demanding their demise. Thanks to the Supreme Court, now there is.

Years of carpet-bombing assaults on Obamacare have left many Americans thinking that they don’t like the Affordable Care Act. But close down the federal exchanges covering 6 million people (so far) in 36 states and they may think otherwise. With a vengeance.

Here are the stakes in King v. Burwell: Should the justices strike down subsidies for coverage in the federal exchanges, only the very sick would hang in. That would be the end of the federal exchanges.

Donald Taylor, a health policy expert at Duke University, likens the Obamacare attackers to a dog chasing a car. “What’s the dog going to do if it catches the car?” he said to me.

Subsidies would be untouched in the 12 or 14 state-run exchanges (depends on how you define them), the majority of which are in blue states. Red-state politicians — oddly the biggest foes of a law that in effect transfers tax dollars from high-income liberal states to poor conservative ones — would have a mess on their hands.

“Some Southern states will be back up to 20 percent uninsured,” Taylor said, “and that doesn’t sound politically stable.”

The solution for Republicans would be a plan B. But they don’t have a serious plan B.

Republicans do have a proposal of sorts, composed early last year by three senators — Richard Burr of North Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah and now-retired Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. But it was written mainly as a political document with which to hit Obamacare over the head during the 2016 campaign — not as a ready-to-plug-in substitute.

Let’s look at the Republican plan that we aren’t supposed to examine too closely.

For starters, it would empower private insurers to play a bigger role in the relationship between you and your doctor — encouraging them to shrink the network of doctors and hospitals you may visit. So much for “choice.”

It also would cut government subsidies for many working stiffs who earn too much to claim poverty but too little to afford decent private coverage. And it would enable insurers to charge older people far more for their insurance. Obamacare lets them charge three times as much. The Republican plan would let them charge five times as much.

Gone would be the minimal coverage standards. That means the insurers could more easily deny payment for services that Obamacare considers basic. For all these gifts to private insurers, the industry actually prefers Obamacare because its subsidies create many more customers for their products.

The Republican replacement plan (as written so far) contains lots of other controversial elements pretty much ignored because few have taken it seriously. For example, it would tax employer-sponsored health benefits. (Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax” on luxurious coverage does some of that, for which it continues to take a beating.)

A group of conservative economists, led by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, has scored the Burr-Hatch-Coburn plan and claims that it would cut deficits by $1 trillion. These are reputable economists, Taylor says, but the text they were working with was “incredibly vague” on where the cap on the taxes would be put.

“The score is a number, and the text on which they did the score was ambiguous,” he said. “It shows just how hard this is.”

So now Obamacare won’t be the only piñata in town.

The Supreme Court will take up King v. Burwell in March. We do live in interesting times.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at [email protected] To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at

Photo: SEIU International via Flickr

  • Dominick Vila

    Not surprisingly, the attacks against the Affordable Care Act are focused strictly on ways to deny help to those who can ill afford to pay exorbitant insurance premiums, limit coverage, and do whatever it takes to help for profit medical institutions.
    The part that was left out of the Republican “plan” and the rhetoric that dominated debate on this issue, is the need to make the so called Obamacare more cost effective. That can be accomplished by introducing regulation designed to control the obscene charges made by the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries. Why do we allow this sector of our economy to post profits in the 40% to 50% range, while most U.S. companies would be ecstatic to earn a 10% return on their investment?
    On the issue of subsidies to people whose income is over the poverty line, but who do not make enough to pay insurance premiums, and who have no choice but to get freebies at Emergency Rooms, at tax payers expense, I would proposal is closer to inhumanity than a rational discussion on how to control cost or reduce taxation. It is hard to believe that the people proposing an end to subsidies to people who cannot afford to pay high insurance premiums, are the same ones who support subsidies to the agricultural sector and to industries posting record profits…and who consider themselves Christians.
    As for the not so “supreme” Court, I would say their decision to consider and rule on this case is not surprising. All we have to do is consider their recent decisions to understand that our “Justices” are as subservient to our special interests as their colleagues in the legislative branch of government.

    • FireBaron

      Frankly, as there was NO Republican support, they should have gone for the Single-Payer plan from the start.

      • Dominick Vila

        I would have preferred a Single Payer system, but considering the level of opposition against a system that uses for profit hospitals and labs, for profit insurance companies to administer it, and private practice professionals, an incremental approach to what is by all measures a major change in paradigm was probably the most prudent way to go.
        Using insurance companies to administer the Affordable Care Act add cost to the program, but they are not the main culprits for the exorbitant cost of healthcare in the USA, compared to what all the other industrialized nations in the world spend. The worst offenders are the pharmaceutical industry and the makers of medical equipment. There is something very wrong when we can buy American-made drugs in Canada for half the cost of what we pay in the USA. The same goes for the cost of medical equipment in the USA, compared to what is charged in other countries for the same, or comparable, equipment.

        • TZToronto

          A single-payer system would set the payment schedule for all doctors and hospitals. And the for-profit hospitals should be eager to participate since, as we hear all the time, for-profit companies are more efficient and can cut costs dramatically compared to bloated government-run operations. It would charge the same amount for coverage regardless of age, and deductibles and co-pays would be set at a relatively low level to prevent abuse of the system (if there were any deductibles and co-pays at all). Here in the Great White North, I pay nothing out of pocket for my medical care, and I never even see what the costs are. My most recent trip to the ER would have cost on the order of $10K at a private U.S. hospital for the same outcome; here I paid nothing. Sound good?

          • Dominick Vila

            I have relatives in the UK, Sweden, and Spain who have conveyed identical experiences to me.The effectiveness of the claims advanced by medical industry in the USA, and our willingness to accept those claims based on the false belief that we have the best medical system in the world, contribute to the ability of special interests – and their paid legislators – to resist change and preserve the status quo.

          • TZToronto

            The U.S. has the best medical technology and some of the best physicians in the world. No question. But when a good chunk of the population has no access to that technology and those doctors, it doesn’t help those people. The U.S. has the best health care in the world–if you can get it.

      • plc97477

        It would be nice but they did not have the votes to pass it. Too many dinos for that.

    • mike

      Dom, I see you are at it again.
      Until I see an official plan from Republicans this whole article is moot.
      Obamacare was suppose to cut cost and be affordable, both which are not happening. One reads everyday people not going to doctors because the out of pocket, deductibles are so high they are waitng out their health problem.
      This should put to rest your rhetoric of 40% to 50% range for the “this sector” , your words.

      • Dominick Vila

        Are you suggesting that people who were unable to get the preventive medical care that we all need to live healthy and productive lives, before the ACA was implemented, are not getting the medical care they need because they now have access to comprehensive medical care? Your point does not make any sense. It is true, however, that millions of Americans in the red states that rejected the MEDICAID expansion continue to be confronted by the same financial problems we all had during the past several decades, until the ACA gave the option to get what we need at affordable prices.
        It is true that the ACA has different levels coverage, and that deductibles are required for the most inexpensive, but the alternative – the old system – was much worse. Improvements are needed to make the ACA more cost effective and efficient, but denying subsidies to the poor and the middle class is not a solution. Especially when wealthy people, like Michele Bachmann, get subsidies they don’t need.

        • mike

          What I am saying is simply the so called “Affordable Care Act” some people are finding it is not that affordable as stated by Obama.

          Deductibles have jumped from 55%, 8 years ago to 80% now.

          Commonwealth Fund found 4 in 10 working age adults skipped care because of cost. Add in, co-insurance, co-pays, drugs and procedures not covered in plans and it is almost overwhelming.

          Look your Party wrote the damn thing, voted it into law without anyone seeing, so save me the outrage. Hell you have EEOC suing corporations over one part of ACA saying it violates the Amercians with Disability Act.

          You sure have dropped “that profit thing” like a NY minute.

          • Dominick Vila

            The website below highlights some of the obscene profit margins being realized by the pharma industry:
            Deductibles and co-pays continue to grow in red states, where the MEDICAID expansion was rejected. That was their choice, and people in those states must accept the consequences of their decisions.
            I know people who got healthcare insurance via the ACA exchanges, and they are paying about 1/3 less in premiums, and co-pays and deductibles are negligible.
            I would have preferred a system that did not use healthcare insurance companies to administer it, but since the ACA is the best we can hope for at the moment, I would say it is better than the alternative, which quite often meant no insurance coverage or premiums so exorbitant that most Americans could not afford it and relied instead on Emergency Room freebies…and no preventive medical care. The problem with the ACA is not that it is not helping people, but that it does not do enough to end abuses by the medical industry at large, from insurance companies, to the pharma industry, to manufacturers of medical equipment.
            As for “my party” writing the ACA legislation in its entirety, I acknowledge the fact that Democrats wrote most of it, but not all. Consider for example the Trojan Horse introduced by the GOP, allowing Americans to buy medication in Canada. At first glance, that proviso seems to be a positive benefit, but only until you understand its goal. The goal was to elicit robust opposition to ACA by the pharmaceutical industry, who anticipated a major drop in profit margins if Americans were able to buy RX at Canadian pharmacies.

          • mike

            Really Dom, you give me an article from a Progressive Campaign Strategist who played a crucial role in passing, promoting, defending Obamacare. Those are not my words those are how he is introduced in articles. He rants and raves about the obscene profits and how Americans are getting screwed by the Pharmaceutical Industry but yet it is the fault of one person, Obama. How disingenuous!!!!

            Having said that his numbers are much different to the BBC I gave you.

            What you and Mr. Rome don’t talk about is the deal Obama made with the Pharmaceutical industry to get health reform by not pushing lower prices on pharmaceuticals, and to keep in place federal law from prohibiting Medicare from negotiating drug prices.



            The person who really screwed the seniors, and America, is Obama.

      • Grannysmovin

        Thank you for link to the bbc article, which is a good source for pharmaceutical costs. I don’t read every day that people are not seeing doctors because of out of pocket and deductibles are so high. I agree that pharmaceutical costs are out of control and my 20% keeps getting higher. I believe single payer would be better. However the Republicans have had over 4 years to put forth an alternative or work to fix the problems with the ACA and they chose to do nothing but try and repeal the law at substantial cost to taxpayers. What plan will Republicans have to reign in pharmaceutical companies because both Democrats and Republicans are whores for the pharmaceutical industry.

        • mike

          Read my reply to Dom, “What I am saying” and those sources.
          “Republicans to put forth an alternative” why should they? It was a democratic bill with no republican votes, plus republicans controlled only one branch, where were Obama and Reid this whole time??

          • Grannysmovin

            I would say because they are United States Representatives who are suppose to represent all the people. It is their responsiblity to legislate irregardless of who presents the bill and if they don’t agree with the bill than offer amendments to correct or strengthen the bill; or provide your version of the bill to help United States Citizens who are suffering and in need of assistance. We as a Nation have no problem bailing out banks or building up our already well equiped military, or aiding the oil industries who are very profitable, or handing out tax exempt status to very political organizations, but we can not come to an agreement on health care law for millions of citizens? What proposed changes were offer to Obama or Reid? What alternatives were offer to Obama or Reid? The only thing the GOP has done was vote to repeal the ACA at great expense to the taxpayers, knowing very well it would never happen.

          • mike

            You seem to make it a one way street that only the Republicans have to show/make changes. Obama and Reid, what changes did they offer? Remember Obama on his own delayed the bill some 30+ times because of the problems in the law they voted on having not read the law.
            Its a two way street!!!

          • Grannysmovin

            First if no one from the Republican side never read the bill why did they vehemately oppose the bill and voted no on the bill? I agree it is a two way street and Obama has made bad decisions when dealing with the GOP and the GOP’ hated Obama more than they loved this Country or they would not have been the party of NO. There had to be some common ground to work from but they also chose to be absent. I don’t accept that the GOP loves our country while they are rooting for us to fail because there is another party in the White House.

          • mike

            Why??? Because they saw what was going through committees, weren’t given any significant input into the amendments voted on.
            Looks like they were proven right. It is a mess and the American people see all the lies perpetrated on them by Obama and Democratic party.
            Then you say I don’t love this country which pure is garbage. I have served, lost a son, a Marine Col. son in law, and you say I don’t love my country. Go to H_ _ _!
            What I see are a bunch of left wing leaches that are destroying this country with massive debt, loss of freedoms, deliberately dividing this country for political votes to control every aspect of our lives, etc..

          • Grannysmovin

            First I am sorry very sorry for your loss and no parent should have to feel that depth of loss.

            I thought we were discussing just the elected officials and that is who I was referencing. I understand you are angry with me because you did not like my opinion, however, please tell me what freedoms you have lost? You don’t think Gerrymandering by either side is dividing the country for poltical votes. You don’t think voter suppression laws do not try to control political votes?
            The ones who spews fear, hatred, intollerance are the GOP and that has divided this country. Also the hatred and intollerance that we posters spread shows the impact of those speeches, op-eds, and interviews have.
            You don’t think that Citizens United did not put the Country up for sale?
            Who is controlling every aspect of your life and how? It is GOP legislation that wants to deny women the right to make their own reproductive choices. It is the GOP who wants to legislate who one person can marry. It is the GOP who keeps trying to force their idea of what Christianity is or isn’t on this country.
            Again I am sorry for your loss of both your son and son-in-law and I do respect the sacrafices you and your family have given to our country. Perhaps we both need to remember our brave men and women serving in the military represent the best of our Country and are Republicans, Democrats, Liberatarians, Tea Partiers, white, black, brown, Christian and non-Christian.

          • mike

            You don’t need to remind me who are the best and brightest of this magnificent country, I know too well.

            Who voted those elected officials into office? You were referring to me and people like me.
            Freedoms lost or losing.
            ACA no choice in plans, one size fits all. No control of doctors, Hospitals,”if you like your plan you can keep it.” Now who said that??
            You don’t think 23,000 new regulations by Obama are not taking freedoms away from us.
            Here is Jonathon Turley, who voted for Obama.


            As to control, you make me laugh. No, Republicans are not out to control reproductive rights as your War on Women tried to say. The right doesn’t believe the Fed. govt. should be paying for birth control pills.

            To your remark that the right doesn’t love our country.
            You on the left believe your way is the only way and anyone that disagrees is wrong, stupid and unpatriotic which is a load of horse manure. Different opinions have made this country great and just because I disagree with your plan does not make me the bad guy or lacking the love for this country.

            These are just starters there are many more but I am headed to “Y”.

          • Grannysmovin

            ACA no choice in plans? Are you saying that the exchanges don’t have various carriers offering different plans? Your right “If you like youur plan..” was a lie but you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,, Was that the first President to tell a lie to the American people? “Obama has approved 4.7 percent fewer rules than Bush had at the same point in his presidency, but they cost businesses more, according to a Bloomberg News analysis. Obama’s regulations are expected to cost businesses between $100 million and $4.1 billion more than Bush’s, Bloomberg finds. Still, neither president’s rules have cost as much as the annual high the costs of the elder Bush’s regulations hit in 1992.”

            Passing laws closing clinics so women can not get their women’s health issues addressed. Or how about the “personhood” laws they keep putting on the floor? Or how about the laws restricting abortions? You have a right to disagree with abortion, but not to intevere with another persons choice.

            What about trying to pass legislation to prevent people of the same sex from marrying? People can disagree with their life style but preventing them from the same rights as a heterosexual is wrong.

            How can a legislator say they love this country than root for our economy to fail or polcies to fail so they can get a political point? I don’t see that as loving our country – sorry. Disagreeing with Democratic or Republican policies does not make anyone stupid or unpatriotic – but rooting for them to fail and efforts to obstruct everything or anything the other party puts forth (even when your party once supported it) to gain political favor is unpatriotic in my view, because it hurts our country. That would be my view if Democrats did it as well. Legislators should be debating and comprosing not obstructing or being obstinate.

            Even though you appear not to accept my condolences on your loss or my apology for offending you – that is all I can do. Regretably I will not change my point of view nor apparently neither will you. I wish you and your family well.

          • mike

            Maybe I should have made it more clear, No choice in medical coverage, one size fits all. Is that not correct??? Obama’s lie was in reference to the biggest take over of our economy ever. It took over 20%.
            Now don’t play that numbers game on regulations. Obama has already passed Bush’s 8 years of new regs. and has 2 years to go. Federal registry.

            No, I appreciated your condolences, didn’t feel offended since you didn’t know. I was upset for a few minutes. I talk to them daily.

            I suggest you let Obama know about that “get along thing, get things done thing”, since he has threatened to veto, go his own way on EO/EM even before the new 114 congress.
            Take care!!

          • Independent1

            Granny, please don’t befriend this absolutely underhanded lying RWNJ. For the truth on why no Republicans voted for ACA, see my rebuttal to this blatant liar in a post earlier in the blog.

            The Dems allowed Republicans to offer amendments to ACA and they offered almost 300 of which over 220 were included. Republicans supported ACA until just before having to vote on it when Mitch McConnell decided the GOP didn’t want to be seen as supporting the bill. So he ensured that no Republican voted for it, even if they wanted to.

            Here’s the last part of what’s in wikipedia on what took place just before the voting:

            However, following the adoption of an individual mandate as a central component of the proposed reforms by Democrats, Republicans began to oppose the mandate and threatened to filibuster any bills that contained it.[48] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to keep party discipline and prevent defections:[79]

            It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.[80]

            Republican Senators, including those who had supported previous bills with a similar mandate, began to describe the mandate as “unconstitutional.” Journalist Ezra Klein wrote in The New Yorker that “the end result was … a policy that once enjoyed broad support within the Republican Party suddenly faced unified opposition.”[51]Reporter Michael Cooper of The New York Times wrote that: “It can be difficult to remember now, given the ferocity with which many Republicans assail it as an attack on freedom, but the provision in President Obama’s healthcare law requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.”[50][57]

          • Dominick Vila

            Two of the most important amendments to the original draft of the ACA legislation made to address Republican concerns involve language that prohibits funding abortion or extending benefits to illegal immigrants. Opposition to the ACA has nothing to do with cost effectiveness, high co-pays or deductibles, or even ideology; it is all about denying President Obama his legacy. The very idea of a black President doing anything that helps the American people, strengthens our economy, and minimize the probability of foreign terrorist attacks on U.S. soil is unacceptable and offensive to every bigot in America. President Obama is not being attacked because of failures or shortcomings, he is being attacked because of his successes, because of who he is, and what represents to every single white supremacist in the country.

      • highpckts

        Mike, I see you are at it again! I don’t read everyday that people are not going to Doctors because of out of pocket costs! What I do see is big Pharma raising drug costs even in the generic field! Until these companies are pulled back from their obscene profit making the public will still be paying. Also, don’t say the the ACA was pushed through by the Dems withput any input by the GOP. Untrue! They added their own amendments and sent it back so quit placing blame on one party if there is blame to be had. We have needed a fix to healthcare for years and this is a start! If the GOP truly cared about the “people” they would come up with some fixes but they won’t because it doesn’t affect them in the pocketbook. Their only goal is profit for their lobbiest and them and their
        Goddamned egos. They need to be able to say this was their plan and take full credit or they aren’t going to play!

        • mike

          Now! Now!
          How many Republicans voted for the bill??

          So let me get this straight, significant republican amendments that would alter the plan were added and voted thru and included in the bill but yet they voted against it, Right?? And Obama called it a bipartisan bill, that’s funny. Just another one of Obama’s lies.

          How many changes did Reid and Obama put up for a vote in the last 4 years???

          • highpckts

            How do you live with so much hate?? It’s got to be eating you alive!!

          • mike

            Hate??? Really!
            There is not even a smidgen of hate in my being.
            Have you always been so poor in your observations of people. On this hate thing, you are sooo wrong!
            Thanks for the chuckle.

          • highpckts

            Not wrong now! Denial is everywhere!

          • mike

            No, you are wrong!!! But that is nothing new.

          • Independent1

            See! I’m not the only one who sees you as a hateful blatant liar! You know full well why no Republican voted for ACA – Because McConnell determined the GOP didn’t want to support ACA and made certain that no Republican voted for it EVEN IF THEY WANTED TO:

            By deliberately drawing on bipartisan ideas — the same basic outline was supported by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Tom Daschle and George J. Mitchell—the bill’s drafters hoped to increase the chances of garnering the necessary votes for passage.[77][78]

            However, following the adoption of an individual mandate as a central component of the proposed reforms by Democrats, Republicans began to oppose the mandate and threatened to filibuster any bills that contained it.[48] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to keep party discipline and prevent defections:[79]

            Republican Senators, including those who had supported previous bills with a similar mandate, began to describe the mandate as “unconstitutional.” Journalist Ezra Klein wrote in The New Yorker that “the end result was … a policy that once enjoyed broad support within the Republican Party suddenly faced unified opposition.”[51]Reporter Michael Cooper of The New York Times wrote that: “It can be difficult to remember now, given the ferocity with which many Republicans assail it as an attack on freedom, but the provision in President Obama’s healthcare law requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.”[50][57]


          • mike

            You have made my day, I love a good laugh in the morning!!!

            I bet you like WP so I bet you will see they have spoken the truth on the so called negotiations.


            As you have just read,it you did read it at all, said simply that nothing the Republicans had been allowed to offer had any significant impact on the law.

            Nice try on the “roots” think!! The Heritage idea, and it was only an idea, had many facets to it and one was the mandate but the rest is like comparing apples to oranges to ACA, like tort reform, no expansion of medicare, state exchanges, no federal standardization of insurance, etc.. To suggest that if the Dems could add one part of a conservative idea and expect the Republicans to just follow is plain ludicrous.

            PS: not even a SMIDGEN of hate in my being. But aren’t you the one that called me EVil and told me how much you hated me and people of my political persuasion. Now who is the hateful person.

          • Independent1

            You really think I believe some right -wing nuts assessment of what over 200 amendments would affect from the clearly right-wing biased politifacts crap site??

            And you’re lying through your teeth when you keep claiming the bill was put together with no Republican input. ACA was crafted by a BIPARTISAN COMMITTEE of 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats who spent more than 60 hours in meetings over several months crafting ACA!!!

            Here’s how it really happened!! Dems Baucus, Bingaman and Conrad together with Repubs Enzi, Grassley and Snowe crafted ACA – IT WAS NOT A ONE SIDED CREATED PIECE OF LEGISLATION. IT WAS THE MOST TRANSPARENTLY CREATED PIECE OF LEGISLATION PUT TOGETHER IN DECADES!!

            After his inauguration, Obama announced to a joint session of Congress in February 2009 his intent to work with Congress to construct a plan for healthcare reform.[69][70] By July, a series of bills were approved by committees within the House of Representatives.[71] On the Senate side, from June to September, the Senate Finance Committee held a series of 31 meetings to develop a healthcare reform bill. This group — in particular, Democrats Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, and Kent Conrad, and Republicans Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley, and Olympia Snowe — met for more than 60 hours, and the principles that they discussed, in conjunction with the other committees, became the foundation of the Senate’s healthcare reform bill.[72][73][74]

            With universal healthcare as one of the stated goals of the Obama administration, congressional Democrats and health policy experts like Jonathan Gruber and David Cutler argued that guaranteed issue would require both community rating and an individual mandate to ensure that adverse selection and/or “free riding” would not result in an insurance “death spiral”;[75]they convinced Obama that this was necessary, and persuaded him to accept congressional proposals that included a mandate.[76] This approach was taken because the president and congressional leaders had concluded that more progressive plans, such as the (single-payer)Medicare for All act, could not obtain filibuster-proof support in the Senate. By deliberately drawing on bipartisan ideas — the same basic outline was supported by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Tom Daschle and George J. Mitchell—the bill’s drafters hoped to increase the chances of garnering the necessary votes for passage.[77][78]


            And not only was it crafted by a BIPARTISAN COMMITTEE, most of what it included had been previously offered up in Congress by REPUBLICANS 3-4 times earlier starting back in 1993!!!!!!!! As an alternative to what Hillary Clinton was trying to put together!!

            The 1993 Republican alternative, introduced by Senator John Chafee as the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act, contained a “universal coverage” requirement with a penalty for noncompliance—an individual mandate—as well as subsidies to be used in state-based ‘purchasing groups’.[54] Advocates for the 1993 bill included prominent Republicans who today oppose a mandate, such as Senators Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett, and Kit Bond.[55][56] Of the 43 Republicans Senators from 1993, 20 supported the HEART Act.[48][57]Another Republican proposal, introduced in 1994 by Senator Don Nickles (R-OK), the Consumer Choice Health Security Act, contained an individual mandate with a penalty provision;[58] however, Nickles subsequently removed the mandate from the bill, stating he had decided “that government should not compel people to buy health insurance”.[59] At the time of these proposals, Republicans did not raise constitutional issues with the mandate; Mark Pauly, who helped develop a proposal that included an individual mandate for George H.W. Bush, remarked, “I don’t remember that being raised at all. The way it was viewed by the Congressional Budget Office in 1994 was, effectively, as a tax.”[48]

            n 2006, an insurance expansion bill was enacted at the state level in Massachusetts. The bill contained both an individual health insurance mandate and an insurance exchange. Republican Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the mandate, but after Democrats overrode his veto, he signed it into law.[61] Romney’s implementation of the ‘Health Connector’ exchange and individual mandate in Massachusetts was at first lauded by Republicans. During Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Jim DeMint praised Romney’s ability to “take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured.” Romney said of the individual mandate: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be the model for the nation.”[62]

          • mike

            As always, you have a problem with comprehension.
            I never said they were not allowed to offer amendments, what is said that none of the amendments were significant enough to impact or alter the law as written.

            What you seem to forget there were more than the one by John Chafee. Chafee’s bill was not a full blown bill nor ever voted on by the senate. None of the other bills went anywhere.

          • Independent1

            And the Republicans knew that the bill had been crafted by a bipartisan committee AND THE GOP HAD EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO PUT INTO IT THEIR 2 CENTS; and only insisted on adding Amendments so they could try and include anything they could think of to SCREW UP WHAT THE BIPARTISAN COMMITTEE HAD CREATED!!! Just more BS from a political party that’s nothing but a bunch OF RATS!!!!! AND CROOKED RATS TO BOOT!!!!!

          • mike

            So was tort reform that Republicans wanted ever voted on? Yes??

            Once more, the Republicans have no amendments approved in the bill which would alter the law significantly. Period, End of story.
            Now how bipartisan was the final vote?

            My, so much hatred on your part. So sad.

          • Independent1

            And given that Republicans were an integral part of creating ACA IN THE BEGINNING. what has the fact that YOU CLAIM (WHICH IS A LIE), they weren’t given an opportunity to add amendments, that ‘WERE MEANINGFUL” ??? What has that got to do with a hill of beans???? Especially since it’s a BLATANT LIE!!!!

          • mike

            Show me where I said “Republicans were an integral part”. Show me, oh, great one.

          • Independent1

            And by the way. In voting on EVERY PIECE OF LEGISLATION, the process reaches the point where hours upon hours have been spent discussing and adding amendments, AND A LINE HAS TO BE DRAWN WHERE NO MORE AMENDMENTS WILL BE CONSIDERED!!! And that’s most likely what you’re mindlessly talking about.

            Do you have any idea how much time must have been spent in going through 300 GOP amendments??

            I’m sure at some point Reid said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! SO LIVE WITH IT YOU RAT!!!!!!

          • mike

            Keep trying!!!
            Not one significant Republican amendment was approved to alter or have impact on the final bill.

          • Independent1

            Because I hate EVIL!! And being EVIL is your every intention!!!!!!!!!

          • mike

            Laughing, and enjoying watching you having another mental midget moment.

          • Independent1

            That’s the only reason you’re posting on this site!! TO SEE HOW MUCH EVIL YOU CAN CREATE!!!!!

          • mike

            Thanks for the wonderful moment you are giving me.
            Loving your meltdown.

          • Independent1

            And all that was after the Dems had given the GOP the option of offering amendments – which they did – almost 300 of them with over 220 GOP amendments being included in the final Senate Bill.

            Republicans turned out once again to be nothing more than a bunch of THANKLESS RATS!!!!

          • mike
          • Faraday_Cat

            And yet, how many changes and concessions to the original bill were made to appease those republicans (who either were never going to vote for it anyway, but wanted to water it down by pretending they would vote for it “if only this or that change were made”, or were pressured by the caucus into voting no at the last minute)?
            I would call the bill bipartisan, it was the vote that was a lie…

          • mike
          • Independent1

            What do you mean about Reid and Obama put up changes for a vote?? How could any Dem put up anything for a vote when McConnell issued 425 fake filibuster threats for virtually anything Reid wanted to bring up for a vote?? And that included some legislation that passed the House but McConnell refused to let Reid bring them to the floor.

            And as I commented to you in a little later blog – the reason no Republicans voted for the final bill which has over 220 GOP amendments, is because MCCONNELL REFUSED TO LET ANY REPUBLICANS VOTE FOR THE BILL!!!!

          • mike

            Let me help you!!!
            With all the problems found in Obamacare, and there are many, why didn’t Obama and his surrogate Reid make the changes necessary to correct the mistakes of Obamacare.
            All that hate for Republicans is showing through again I see from you.
            Obamacare is poorly written, full of lies that were perpetrated on the American people.
            Are we stuck with it? probably!! All this could be moot depending on SCOTUS.

      • Independent1

        “Obamacare is supposed to cut cost”.

        What do you call holding premium increases for the past 4 years to less than 4% per year when they had been averaging over 6.9%/yr for the previous decade??

        Even before ACA took affect, Americans were saving thousands of dollars a year just from ACA having kept premium increases over the past 5 years at the lowest levels in almost 2 decades.

        What do you call more areas in America that have promoted ACA actually reducing premiums for 2015 than raising them??

        What do you call hospitals across the nation saving over 6.9 billion in 2014 with some hospitals actually seeing profits for the 1st time in their existence?

        What do you call Arizona State University projecting that Arizona should see as many as 15,000 new jobs created there just through Medicaid expansion, with over 1.8 Billion being added to the Arizona economy in 2015 because of dollars freed up from those Arizonians now being now covered by Medicaid; and a projection of 2.85 billlion in added tax revenues for Arizona over the next 2-3 years??

        And if we get outside money, what do you call the fact that they’re projecting that ACA has already kept at least 50,000 Americans from dying from diseases they caught while in the hospital because ACA has pushed hospitals into dramatically reducing their readmission rates??

        And what about the more than 15,000 Americans who are alive today because by obtaining health insurance through ACA they were able to get the health care they needed for an existing potentially terminal illness – or their 1st physical exam revealed an illness that was cured which they may well have died from.

        When are you going to stop your negativism and hate for something that is already saving thousands of Americans’ their lives. You are such a hateful person it is beyond my imagination!!!!

        • mike

          Obama, $2500 saving for each family.
          Now, Now! you can’t pick just what you want on increases in healtcare without giving the whole picture. I have seen an average of 5+% but you and the rest don’t talk about is the increase in out of pocket and deductibles rising much higher.

          Show us the articles on increased employment, show the hospitals information, show all the projections saving 50K deaths, show the 15k who are alive today. I really want to see your resources. Thanks. I really do.

          One last time, show me all the people who were denied service and died. You keep saying it but never produce the articles that you claim that died having been denied treatment.

    • charleo1

      This fight over affordable healthcare for the masses is not only happening in the U.S. but in all developed countries around the World. And is only now just beginning in earnest. And it’s not only healthcare, but other of what we see, or have come to see as quality of life necessities. Such as adequate housing, education, protection of the environment, safe products, and secure retirements, and so forth. All of which ultimately depends on the ability of enough workers to garner sufficient wages to underwrite all of it. Or, lacking that, to elect representatives who will stand against the tide of corporate power, to secure these benefits by other mandates, and measures. In other words, we can have an economy that buckles, and 95% of the efforts to right it, go to the top 1/2 of 1%. Or, we can have universal healthcare, educate our youth, take care of our elderly, and infirm, and invest in our Country, and in it’s people. But, we cannot do both. So we have a fundamental decision to make. The Republican Right pressing the corporate case, points out. That we now compete in a global arena with Countries who have no such priorities as these. That the playing field is being made unequal by those governments that insist on these, “social luxuries,” and these onerous, unequally applied, regulations. And further, to insist that these other competitors in the third world, raise their people’s standards of living, or impose some restrictions on their access to our lucrative markets, violates some sacrosanct, free market principles, or some such. So, the only alternative, according to this worldview, is for the American People, along with others in the developed economies, to make the necessary sacrifices to accommodate the, “realities of a global economy.” And of course, this is the core reason for the maniacal obsession with not only stopping the advance of anything resembling, or striving to achieve universal healthcare in the U.S. But in reigning back, and eventually eliminating all social insurance programs. The U.S. being the World’s largest economy, and the lone holdout among modern developed Nations, without a cohesive National healthcare policy that holds public health is a matter of primary importance to both economic, and National security. Corporate interests are loathe to see this advantage slip away at the first sign of access insecurity, or lack of affordability of healthcare. For they predict it will get much worse, and their profits will suffer if things go another way. So what better time, or better way, than to take this issue head on now? And what a blessing the Supreme Court has provided in all this! And with the American People returning Congress back into their hands, despite some deep divisions within their rank, and file. I think they, the Republican/ Corporate establishment, see the wind at their back in this struggle to reinstate the monied aristocracy, after it’s 85 years of expulsion to the desert, by American Liberalism. I hope to God they are wrong!

    • Independent1

      “On the issue of subsidies to people whose income is over the poverty line, but who do not make enough to pay insurance premiums, and who have no choice but to get freebies at Emergency Rooms, at tax payers expense, I would proposal is closer to inhumanity than a rational discussion on how to control cost or reduce taxation. ”

      I’d just like to suggest that any subsidies that taxpayers are having to foot the bill for are being greatly reduced by the savings taxpayers are realizing, even this year, in the dramatically reduced subsidies that states are having to pay in reimbursing hospitals for people who get health care that they can’t pay for. States across the nation, especially those that are supporting ACA, are realizing millions of savings in reduced hospital reimbursements. In addition, I think taxpayers need to look at the fact the subsidies they’re paying for, which are helping improve health care competition in many states, is saving them (taxpayers) often thousands every year in reduced health insurance premiums. I think people need to realize this is also an offset to the subsidies. And the savings in reduced premiums has been going on since ACA was enacted back in 2010. As you’re aware, health care premiums have increased at a far slower pace than in the past couple decades, making today’s health care premiums thousands of dollars per year less than they would have been without ACA. And what most people seem to overlook, is that the healthcare insurance they’re getting for those lower premiums, is light years better than the health care insurance they would be paying more for had ACA not been enacted.

  • Al Egro

    I wonder how many people will have their identities stolen when the Obamacare website is hacked?

  • Gary Miles

    I’m in the VA system, so basically the ACA has no effect on me when it comes to direct involvement. I do have a question or two and than a short statement. What even happened to the 48 million uninsured that everybody talked about 6 years ago? The 6 million covered only covers the number that lost their coverage because of the ACA.

    How does adding costs’ as in government employees to do the vast amount of work to run the government side lower costs? How is adding more employees to ensure that the insurance companies are in compliance with the ACA supposed to lower costs.

    How is adding more employees to those who actually provide healthcare (we just got to them) to process all the new paperwork and pay all the new taxes going to lower prices?

    How is adding millions more (if this actually happens, as it won’t be affordable to begin with) with insurance all trying to get regular healthcare (non ER) with out adding more healthcare providers going to lower prices. When the demand exceeds the supply, prices naturally go up. When the government, who dictates the payments for Medicare and Medicaid lower them to the point that it is no longer economically feasible to treat these patients, what is the next step?

    I would like everybody to have good health insurance too. I’m having a problem with people convoluting the ACA, which is nothing but insurance, and healthcare, which are two separate entities. Affordable healthcare means keeping the costs to provide actual healthcare down, adding more and more costs because of government intervention as saving anything. You cannot add millions to the insurance roles, whatever they may be, government or otherwise and NOT add to the supply of healthcare providers (which isn’t going to happen, just the opposite is happening). Having a big heart and wanting to help the poor is admirable, but if it don’t stay within the economic reality it is destined to fail.

    • Independent1

      You’re obviously very confused. ACA is in no way anything like insurance; it is nothing more than a piece of legislation (regulations if you will) that puts restrictions and directives to require private sector insurance companies to treat their insureds fairly. You’re obviously not aware of all the nefarious activities of private sector insurance companies in the past, which included a practice called recission – which they often applied when a policy holder was due for some very expense medical procedure – they’d come up with some loophole in their insurance contract and drop that persons coverage – leaving them holding the bag for hundreds of thousands of dollars of healthcare costs. Or like with millions, they’d simply refuse to cover them for some fabricated excuse of a ‘pre-existing condition’ like having had asthma when they were a kid. (Some health insurers actually gave bonuses to the customer service people who could save the company the most by using recission.)

      And you’re also grossly mistaken about there actually ever having been 6 million Americans whose health insurance had actually been cancelled. Cancelling policies at the end of a policy year was a traditional practice in private sector insurance. Health insurers did that as a routine so they could update their policy forms to include or omit anything in it that the found out during the year was impacting their profits or keeping them from making their profit objectives.

      What you saw toward the end of 2013 was Health insurers doing their normal end of year cancelling in a way to try and hoodwink their policyholders into converting their existing policies into unnecessarily higher premium policies. And many of them did this fraudulently, by deliberately forgetting to notify their policyholders that they had the option to go on the ACA website and find a cheaper alternative. Wellpoint, the largest insurer and an number of others were actually fined millions of dollars for this charade.

      So in reality, the number of people out of that original fake 6 million who really ended up without being able to renew their insurance at a lower premium than they had been paying was only in the several hundred thousands – no where near millions.
      And part of the reason these people had to pay higher premiums is because their original insurance was basically worthless – it really would have left them holding the bag had they really needed expensive healthcare.

      And when you think about ACA’s premiums, you have to realize that an ACA compliant policy compared to pre-ACA policy is like comparing a Cadillac or Jaguar to a Toyota Corolla. ACA compliant policies require HEALTH INSURERS to provide vastly more coverage to their insureds. Like:

      No annual or life time caps on how much they will cover. The majority of private sector policies had very low annual and life time caps. Insurers can no longer say you’ve reached your max.

      Insurers are no longer able to use recission and arbitrarily cancel someone’s insurance just as they’re about to get a heart operation.

      Insurers can no longer refuse to cover people who had Asthma when they were young or have diabetes today, or had a melanoma removed years ago, etc.etc.

      There are fixed maximum deductibles which are generally much lower than what was the case pre-ACA. So when someone claims they bought an ACA policy with a high deductible – what they bought was not an ACA compliant policy; and some companies are still trying to sell those.

      And ACA requires insurers to cover the dependents of insureds on family policies to age 26 if they’re not out on their own.

      And ACA has drastically reduced the donut hole for Seniors by adjusting the size of the hole and requiring insurers to provide certain medications at reduced costs. And there’s even more.

      With respect to all that government stuff you questioned. Given that the government is really not in the middle with respect to administering the majority of ACA aside from running the federal website and there were always folks in the federal government insuring that private sector insurers were abiding by the rules – of which there are simply more now – I doubt seriously that your questions on government employees is an issue given that the IRS will collect the ACA penalty simply as part of a person’s normal tax return. Even after ACA, the federal government is still 330,000 workers smaller than when Reagan left office in 1989.

      And none of that can offset the benefits ACA has already generated:

      A projected 50,000 people are alive today because of improvements ACA has forced hospitals to make in preventing readmissions.

      Arguably more than 15,000 additional people are alive because of medical care people were able to get who had terminal illnesses when they got insurance and were able to see a doctor or go to a hospital. And many potentially terminal illnesses were discovered in people who had gone to a doctor for the 1st time when they got insurance.

      And hospitals across the nation have already saved over 6 billion in reduced costs incurred by having to treat patients who could not pay – in places where ACA has been supported, the uninsured rates have dropped by 30-40% or more. And because of the dramatically reduced uninsured rates, taxpayers in many states across the nation are saving millions by the state having to reimburse hospitals for far fewer people who haven’t been able to pay for their care.

      Aca has even boosted the economy. During the 1st quarter of 2014 when he economy was down, the majority of what was positive in the economy was due to people who had gotten ACA spending money that they had either saved up in case of a medical emergency, or money they simply no longer had to try and save, because they now had insurance to cover a potential catastrophic illness. And in Arizona, it’s projected that just expanding Medicaid will inject more than 1.8 billion into the Arizona economy this year, from people who feel free to spend more because they don’t have to worry about being bankrupted by an illness.

      • Gary Miles

        Indy, You have already copy and pasted this psychobabble before, and you have not provided a source. Without a legitimate source, why do you bother? Whether the 6 million are normal drops was not a subject I even brought up. Whether the govt is still less than when Reagan left office is completely insignificant and has not bearing on today’s world. Your strawmen and red herrings are less than impressive, how about trying to answer the questions with facts that pertain to the questions. I’m going to bet that you can’t.

        • Independent1

          Go suck wind!! I’ve previously posted supporting articles numerous times from reputable websites to everything I stated above and the sane people on this website know full well that I’m not making claims I can’t support. So you can just go and pound sand like a normal low IQ RWNJ!!!

          • Gary Miles

            Yes, you are the copy and paste King as I have seen one sane poster mention. But I was right, you cannot answer the questions I asked because their are no answers out there that you can copy and paste, from any source, legit or not. This shows your complete inability to think for yourself. Don’t worry though, you have lot’s of company here.

          • Independent1

            Here’s a little more cutting an pasting for you clueless!! Whatever you say or do America is on the rebound, Even a consevative think tank admitts it:

            WASHINGTON — The United States capped its best year for hiring in 15 years with a healthy gain in December, and the unemployment rate hit a six-year low. The numbers support expectations that the United States will strengthen further this year even as overseas economies stumble.

            The government said Friday that employers added 252,000 jobs last month and 50,000 more in October and November combined than it had previously estimated. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent in November. The rate is now at its lowest point since 2008.

            Still, wage growth remains weak. Average hourly pay slipped 5 cents in December. And the unemployment rate fell partly because many of the jobless gave up looking for work and so were no longer counted as unemployed.

            Even so, nearly 3 million more people are earning paychecks than at the start of 2014 — the largest annual job gain since 1999. Gas prices have also plunged, which will give consumers — the main driver of the U.S. economy — a further boost in coming months.

            “We are in a recovery that is accelerating,” said Michael Strain, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.


          • Gary Miles

            Indy1, My initial reply to this was to remind you who caused the housing bubble/credit issue that caused the recession that MAYBE we are coming out of. Certain things are good, some not so much. But I can save that for another day because I have something to say, that you may or may not like, I really don’t care one way or the other. I’m guessing you a male, based on your responses. I know your relatively young, based on your knowledge base. I believe you come here (and possibly other Left Wing sites) to feel relevant. When your relevance is questioned, you lash out as a child would (hence my guess at your age).

            Politics is and will forever be an unwinnable game, unless your the politician that’s getting rich. For those of us who just express our opinions, there will never be pure agreement. Even on a blog that I frequent with like minded people, we have heated debates on issues quite often. I can be quite entertaining to those who also frequent the blog but are not directly involved in the debate. Basically, the best anyone can do is express there position and do his/her best to support it. It’s not a crime or a bad thing. We just don’t take it to the point of name calling and childish behavior. We, many times, just agree to disagree. The we all wish each other well. We’ll chat daily, mostly about daily stuff, life stuff, pass along suggestions on any number of subjects and share our highs and lows in life. Don’t know but one person face to face. We are from all over the country, coast to coast, North border to South border.

            What we don’t do is let our disagreements divide the group, because we all know, despite our differing views, we’re all in this together. The groups is as diverse as this nation, with all political views represented well. The Liberals are treated with respect and the conservatives are treated likewise. We even have a few true Anarchists on board. Going on seven years now, the blog goes on and the original person who started the blog no longer operates it, a few of us take turns keeping it going. It’s much like a big family, where we may not get along often, be we accept the others views and learn from one another.

            I have been reading articles here for some two years or so. I didn’t comment because of the total disrespect that some posters had towards those that didn’t have the same political views. I was raised a Democrat in a still Democrat controlled city. I read often and understand what is going on in the world, even at the young age of 50. And I write this because I have come to feel sorry for you, not because I have similar political beliefs.

            Your desire to be RIGHT when debated those who may not agree with you is your biggest flaw. I’m not sure if it’s youth or your want for acceptance, or both, but you will never be taken seriously on your current course. Being the “copy and paste King” isn’t a great way to be looked upon. Maybe it’s because you just don’t have the time to type a well thought out opinion because your working, which is cool, just say so. If you want polite debate then debate that way, if you think you can just WIN a political debate by just plagiarizing another writer, your sadly mistaken. Many of us have figured out that no one really wins a political debate, we just talk about our differing views on life. It’s easy to be mean and condescending, but it takes skills to debate nicely. I’ll try , if you’ll try.

  • 1standlastword

    “A group of conservative economists, led by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, has scored the Burr-Hatch-Coburn plan and claims that it would cut deficits by $1 trillion. These are reputable economists, Taylor says, but the text they were working with was “incredibly vague” on where the cap on the taxes would be put.”
    This is Paul Ryan’s “Dynamic Scoring” at work to create the alternative universe we’ll be living in until 2016 and maybe beyond as Republican constituencies continue to prefer their authoritarian leaders and liberal apathy continues to reward boys and girls acting badly !!!!

  • Scott Smith

    The more that people find out about Obamacare, the more they realize it’s going to hurt people.