Latest posts by Jane M. Orient, M.D. (see all)
- Quality and Value in Health Care Explained - November 15, 2016
- Making American Medicine Great Again - July 19, 2016
- Medicare-Age Patient to Mr. Trump: Let’s Make a Deal - June 7, 2016
Obama has announced that he will defund the entire government rather than sign a bill that does not contain funding for ObamaCare. Senator Harry Reid has said he will not let the U.S. Senate pass a continuing resolution that does not contain funding for the program that he rammed through despite the opposition of the majority of Americans.
Now Obama, denying the need for congressional approval, is defunding part of his own program all by himself.
Delaying the employer mandate has the effect of losing the revenue from the penalties. But not to worry. In a July 31 article in the generally pro-Obama New England Journal of Medicine, Mark Pauly and Adam Leive state that the lost revenue amounts to a mere $10 billion, “a small fraction of the eventual cost of the exchange subsidies.” The Congressional Budget Office expects those to reach an annual $153 billion by 2023.
The Administration’s rationale for the postponement is to reduce a burden on employers. More importantly, say Pauly and Lieve, it gives them an opportunity to help employees “take maximum advantage of exchange subsidies.”
Less revenue in, more spending out: isn’t that the functional equivalent of defunding other programs in a zero-sum government budget?
Moreover, “crowding out of fully paid private insurance by more generously subsidized coverage”—already documented in Medicaid—poses an even greater threat to the government budget for financing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The annual subsidy bill could nearly triple, Pauly and Lieve suggest.
Not verifying eligibility for subsidies is still another way for Obama to effectively increase the program’s drain on the Treasury. There is no guarantee that the money spent for such “liar loans” can ever be recouped.
The ACA is of course the great defunder of private insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, medical device manufacturers, and all the other entities subject to the premium price controls, fee cuts, and new taxes. Senator Reid finally admitted to the Las Vegas Sun that the plan is to purge the private sector from health care.
What a situation for the American system of government! We have two men, a President and a senator, each asserting the power to singlehandedly defund the entire government, shutting down everything that the people’s House has voted to fund—unless funds continue to flow to ObamaCare implementers and promoters, such as Planned Parenthood’s Navigators.
Spending on these implementers and promoters is leveraging the defunding of other items in the federal budget, as well as the private sector. All of ACA’s funds come from defunding businesses’ hiring and expansion plans, research and development, and the hopes and aspirations of current and future taxpayers.
Obama is a great pretender—pretending that all is well with the American economy. We will surely hear from those cronies who are getting funded by his redistributive largesse— and not so much from the invisible ones who are defunded, sucked dry, exhausted, or silenced.
Obama is the Great Defunder. Congress can either defund his pet program, or stand by as the PAC-Man-like program defunds and eats out America’s substance until it collapses. Maybe with a bang, maybe with a whimper.