“With round two of Obamacare enrollment here, New York’s policymakers should take stock of where the Empire State is and where it’s heading.
Take the state’s Medicaid program. Post-Obamacare, Medicaid enrollment has grown by over 7 percent to 6.1 million people: nearly 1 in 3 New Yorkers now receive coverage through the joint federal-state insurance program for the poor. New York’s Medicaid spending, among the highest in the country, makes up about 30 percent of the state budget.”
“Robert Pear of the New York Times recently described the “symbiotic” relationship between the Obama Administration and health insurers. It was not always so:
“But since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment.
“Insurers and the government have developed a symbiotic relationship, nurtured by tens of billions of dollars that flow from the federal Treasury to insurers each year,” said Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato CATO -1.93% Institute.”
““This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”
– MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, captured on videotape
What did Gruber mean when he uttered this words in a now-infamous video that has inflamed hostility to the Affordable Care Act?
“The mainstream press – a term which is rapidly losing all meaning as Fox News has begun to not only dominate cable news but the networks as well, but what was once understood to include big city newspapers and the three broadcast networks – has largely ignored the scandal surrounding Jonathan Gruber’s many impolitic comments.
“The pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare coupled with a small provision buried in the law could give Republicans in the new Congress the opportunity to power-boost free-market health reform.
The high court will hear arguments, likely in March, on whether the Obama administration had legal authority to allow tax subsidies to flow through the health insurance exchange established by the federal government.”
“Of all the taxes in ObamaCare, none is more onerous than the whopping 40 percent Cadillac tax on the more generous employer-provided health care plans, which often are union plans.
The now-famous former outside adviser on ObamaCare, Jonathan Gruber of MIT, spoke about the Cadillac tax before an audience at the Pioneer Institute in 2011, saying, “It turns out politically, it’s really hard to get rid of. And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people, when we all know it’s a tax on people who hold those insurance plans.””
“The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear King v. Burwell, an important case about Obamacare’s subsidies (tax credits) to health insurers. Plaintiffs argue that in the 36 states with federal Obamacare exchanges, subsidies cannot be paid legally. If no subsidies can be paid, neither the individual mandate to buy health insurance nor the employer mandate to offer insurance can be enforced.
Few people would voluntarily buy health insurance from an Obamacare exchange if health insurers on the exchanges did not receive subsidies to enroll people. The premiums would be too high otherwise. Experts expect that the Supreme Court might decide on King v. Burwell in July, in which case Obamacare will end with a bang.”
“Democrats took a serious one-two punch last week. First, they suffered their second consecutive mid-term “wave” election on Tuesday, losing the Senate in the process. Then on Friday, the Supreme Court announced it would review yet another Obamacare case that Obamacare champion Ron Pollack of Families USA said represented “the most serious existential threat” of the moment to the president’s signature piece of domestic policy legislation.
Consequently, conservative health reformers now have a platinum opportunity  to drastically overhaul or perhaps even replace the most misguided law enacted in recent memory. But taking advantage of this historic opportunity will require an exquisite balancing of speed and shrewdness.”
“Democrats are desperately distancing themselves from Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. He “never worked on our staff,” President Obama said this weekend in Brisbane, Australia, (even though Gruber was paid almost $400,000 by his administration, is the intellectual author of the individual mandate and met in the Oval Office with Obama and the head of the Congressional Budget Office to pore over the bill). “I don’t know who he is,” Nancy Pelosi declared on Capitol Hill (even though she repeatedly cited him by name during the Obamacare debate).
The reason Democrats are running from Gruber is the same reason conservatives should be thanking him: Gruber has exposed what liberals really think of the American people.”
“Imagine what would have happened in the midterm elections if the Jonathan Gruber videos had emerged a week before November 4th than the week after. Actually, we don’t have to imagine it, at least not entirely. There is one more Senate race still left to settle, and it looks like Gruber will play a big part in the finale for Mary Landrieu in Louisiana:
I included this in last night’s QOTD, but it’s worth its own look here. The attack strategy in the last two cycles of “Senator X was the deciding vote on ObamaCare” had a mixed track record. The exposure of Gruber’s remarks makes the attack work better than it did in the past, though. It makes each Democrat complicit in the lies and deceptions of ObamaCare which may resonate better than opposition to the law itself. The sheer arrogance of Gruber’s remarks will rub most voters raw.”