A project of the Galen Institute

Commentary

Alexander Bolton
The Hill
Wed, 2014-12-03
Sen. Tom Harkin, one of the coauthors of the Affordable Care Act, now thinks Democrats may have been better off not passing it at all and holding out for a better bill. The Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, laments the complexity of legislation the Senate passed five years ago. He wonders in hindsight whether the law was made overly complicated to satisfy the political concerns of a few Democratic centrists who have since left Congress. “We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill.
James C. Capretta
National Review
Tue, 2014-12-02
In the 2014 midterm elections, opposition to the Affordable Care Act — i.e., Obamacare — was a clear political winner. That’s obvious from the election results themselves but also from polling that consistently finds that far more of the electorate disapproves of the law than approves of it. It is therefore to be expected that the incoming Congress, fully under the control of the GOP, will vote on a straight repeal bill, probably very early in next session. In the House, such a bill will pass easily. But in the Senate, Democrats will control at least 46 seats in the new Congress, giving them plenty of votes to filibuster most legislation they oppose. Consequently, the most likely scenario is that the repeal legislation will die in the Senate and therefore never get sent to the president for a certain veto. Perhaps that’s just as well, because repeal without a replacement plan is not the best long-term position for ACA opponents anyway.
Bruce Parker
Vermont Watchdog
Mon, 2014-12-01
Vermont lawmakers say they’re skeptical of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s forthcoming single-payer financing plan because it relies on economic modeling provided by Jonathan Gruber. As Shumlin gets ready to present a health-care financing plan to the Legislature in January, key lawmakers who will decide its fate are saying Gruber’s explosive video confessions severely damage the proposal. “How could anyone trust this man who has said with arrogance that the lack of transparency and the stupidity of the American people is why Obamacare and related individual state health-care reform has passed?” state Rep. Mary Morrissey, R-Bennington, told Vermont Watchdog. Morrissey, a member of the House Committee on Health Care, said the issue was too important to keep Gruber on as a consultant in Vermont, even if he’s no longer being paid. “How could anyone put a person like Mr.
Noah Rothman
Hot Air
Sat, 2014-11-29
"There are certain laws of political physics that just cannot be ignored for long. All the bravado about minuscule midterm turnout or audacious executive actions out of the White House cannot forever mask the fact that two disastrous midterm election cycles have sapped the Democratic Party of authority. In 2015, the party will be in one of the weakest positions it has been in nearly a century. As Democrats begin to internalize that suboptimal reality, the effects are spectacular beyond Republicans’ wildest imaginings. On Tuesday, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said aloud what many Democrats had been thinking privately for years when he observed that the party “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” by focusing on passing health care reform amid a recession in 2009 and 2010. Schumer admonished Democrats for being myopically consumed with addressing “the wrong problem” at the time.
Christine Rousselle
Townhall
Sat, 2014-11-29
"The holiday shopping season kicks off tomorrow with Black Friday, the annual mad-dash for good deals and early-morning sales. This year, shoppers in a few states will see something new this year at shopping malls--and its not exactly a hot new store. It's...Obamacare. In an effort to boost floundering enrollment numbers, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken to partnering with retail stores, pharmacies and websites to promote the open enrollment period, which lasts until Feb. 15. Enrollment workers will be present on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday to tell shoppers about how to sign up for a plan on the exchange."
John C. Goodman
Townhall
Sat, 2014-11-29
"As I wrote at Forbes yesterday, New York Senator Charles Schumer has placed the blame for the Democrat’s disastrous defeat in this fall’s election squarely at the feet of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Speaking at the National Press Club the other day, the third-ranking Democrat in the US Senate said that whatever the merits or demerits of health reform, it was bad politics."
Chris Conover
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Anyone who has listened to the Gruber tapes has heard Prof. Gruber’s repeated references to the “three-legged stool” that forms the core of Obamacare.[1] However, those who pay close attention to his remarks–variously characterized as “arrogant” (Charles Krauthammer), “ careless” (New York Times), “dumb” (Ezra Klein) “ ill-advised and indefensible” (Times Argus), “offensive” (New York Times), and “stupid” (David Axelrod)–may have detected that Gruber enthusiastically endorses (and Obamacare contains) a more sinister three-legged stool of deception regarding employer health plans."
Avik Roy
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Despite the enduring unpopularity of Obamacare, Congressional Democrats have up to now stood by their health care law, allowing that “it’s not perfect” but that they are proud of their votes to pass it. That all changed on Tuesday, when the Senate’s third-highest-ranking Democrat—New York’s Chuck Schumer—declared that “we took [the public’s] mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform…When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, ‘The Democrats aren’t paying enough attention to me.’”"
Chris Conover
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-26
"The Obama administration has admitted to erroneously inflating the count of Exchange enrollees by incorrectly including 380,000 dental subscribers. Instead of 7.1 paid enrollments in the Exchanges as of mid-October, the correct figure should have been only 6.7 million. For the same reason, the reported number of paid enrollments in August should have been only 6.9 million rather than the 7.3 million figure originally reported. It’s a bit disappointing that this goof might never have been discovered but for the investigative efforts of Republican staffers for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, using data that took weeks of negotiations to secure from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That said, it’s encouraging to see DHHS Secretary Burwell take the position “The mistake we made is unacceptable. I will be communicating that clearly throughout the department.”"
Sarah Jean Seman
Townhall
Wed, 2014-11-26
"A rising number of Americans are claiming that Obamacare has negatively impacted their health insurance policies. Only 14 percent claim they have been helped by Obamacare, while more than twice as many (35 percent) say they have been hurt by it, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll release Monday."

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