“Voting for President Obama’s healthcare reform law cost Democratic incumbents 5.8 percentage points of support at the polls in 2010, according to a new study in the journal American Politics Research. The study helps explain why Democrats lost 66 House seats, significantly more than the median academic forecast of 44 to 45 seats, study co-author Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College writes on his blog.”

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“During the debate over the health care law, it was often argued that the added federal cost of the coverage provisions would be more than offset by other tax hikes and spending cuts. Indeed, it was suggested that the new law would actually reduce the longterm budget deficit. But this perspective rests critically on how one accounts for the Medicare taxes
and cuts that were enacted in the law, and specifically the taxes and cuts that were assigned to the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund.”

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“If employers dump many of their workers onto the exchanges, as numerous independent analyses suggest is likely, taxpayers may need to spend as much as $200 billion a year extra on these exchange subsidies. Well, it turns out that the Obama Administration agrees that initial spending estimates are too low. The White House’s fiscal year 2013 budget adds $111 billion in exchange spending between 2014 and 2021, with even more spending to come in future years.”

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“ObamaCare will repeat the mistake when it enrolls about 16 million new people in Medicaid. Many will be converting from private coverage that pays physicians more than Medicaid pays (even with the somewhat higher rates for two years). The net result: millions of patients will have less access to care than they had before the reform.”

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“The Senate is under increasing pressure to bring up legislation repealing a key part of President Obama’s healthcare law. A House subpanel on Wednesday easily approved a measure to repeal a Medicare cost-cutting panel derided by Republicans as a ‘rationing board.’ Two Democrats — including the panel’s ranking member — crossed the aisle and joined Republicans in voting to nix the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The lopsided 17-5 vote underscored the bipartisan support for repealing the board, which Obama has made the centerpiece of his efforts to reduce Medicare spending. It also provided evidence the legislation could have a shot at passing the Senate.”

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“Just when you think everything that can be said about Obamacare’s constitutionality has been said, along comes another legal brief that makes a new point. The latest was filed by the Arlington-based Institute for Justice, a nonpartisan, libertarian public-interest law firm. The institute points out that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — the requirement to purchase insurance — is not only an unprecedented expansion of federal power. It also undermines several centuries of contract law.”

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“The health care overhaul that President Obama intended to be the signature achievement of his first term instead has become a significant problem in his bid for a second one, uniting Republicans in opposition and eroding his standing among independents. In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a clear majority of registered voters call the bill’s passage ‘a bad thing’ and support its repeal if a Republican wins the White House in November.”

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“ObamaCare’s core philosophies are standardization and centralization, which in practice will mean higher costs for everyone caused by suffocating price competition. The share of insurance industry revenue that comes from government now stands at 42%, up from 36% just three years ago, and that’s before the new entitlement kicks in. And a wave of ObamaCare-promoted provider consolidation is creating hospital monopolies that can demand higher-than-competitive prices.”

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“A fair amount of evidence suggests that consumer-driven health plans, which typically pair high-deductible insurance with health savings accounts (HSAs), offer one of the most promising mechanisms for controlling the growth of health insurance premiums as well as overall health spending. Naturally, it looks like ObamaCare’s insurance regulations will impact people with consumer-driven plans more than others, and make it hard for CDHP plans to survive.”

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“Bill Galston, a former Clinton administration official, and Melissa Rogers, the director of Wake Forest University Divinity School’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs, attempted to inject some balance into a debate that has exploded over the past month in their report examining conscience issues in health care.
But they also said the White House’s initial position on the birth-control rule – which exempted religious groups only when they primarily serve people of their own faith, among other requirements – was not a fair position. It violated the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Rogers said, because it was not the ‘least restrictive’ way for the federal government to impose on religious practice.”

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