“Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hopes you will believe her and not your own eyes, as she pens an op-ed in the Washington Post deceptively entitled, ‘The Affordable Care Act, helping Americans curb health-care costs.’
Health costs are rising, as we all can see, and independent analysts confirm they will accelerate under Obamacare.”

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“You’ll notice, however, that there’s something missing from the op-ed: any mention of actual health insurance premium prices. That’s not particularly surprising, I suppose, given that the premise of the piece is that the law helps make health care cheaper, yet since the law passed, family health insurance premiums have risen substantially faster than in the years before the law went into effect, rising nine percent following several years of three to five percent rises.”

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“The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows that, since the survey taken in the first month after Obamacare’s passage, the gap between those who like Obamacare and those who dislike it has swung 8 percentage points against the health care overhaul. Kaiser is an outlier poll, consistently showing greater support for Obamacare than can be found nearly anywhere else. Yet even Kaiser’s polling now shows that only 41 percent of Americans support President Obama’s signature legislation.”

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“Will the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) improve the performance of the U.S. health care system? The quality of the major interim final regulations issued under the ACA in 2010 gives three main reasons for pessimism on this score.”

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“More than 100 congressional Republicans signed a brief Friday urging the Supreme Court to strike down the entire healthcare reform law if it finds the law’s individual mandate unconstitutional… More than 100 economists, including Nobel laureates, joined a separate brief Friday on the issue of severability. That brief, filed by the American Action Forum, says the cost of the healthcare law would skyrocket without the mandate, making it unlikely that Congress would have passed the law without it.”

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“Yet another provision of ObamaCare has been found unworkable… Now it turns out the much-vaunted tax credit for small employers is also a bomb. At a recent (November 15, 2011) hearing of the Ways and Means Committee, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General J. Russell George reported that as of mid-October 2011 only 309,000 taxpayers had claimed the credit, for a total payout of $416 million — far below the 4.4 million the IRS thought would be eligible or the CBO estimate of $2 billion that would be paid out in 2010 alone.”

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“The final medical loss ratio (MLR) regulations will likely create a vacuum for affordable coverage that cannot be filled by Bronze plans under the state insurance exchanges. If the ‘essential benefits’ and ‘actuarial value’ requirements are equally as discriminatory, there will be no affordable options available and the cost of subsidies will skyrocket. As a result, millions of Americans that have policies today that could have qualified as Bronze plans will be forced to change their coverage or drop coverage because they can no longer afford it.”

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“The Obama administration is headed into a Supreme Court case over healthcare reform without a clear answer to significant questions about Congress’s power… Several lower courts have said the mandate falls within the bounds of the Commerce Clause, but even they have been wary about the Justice Department’s inability to clearly define a limit on Congress’s power.”

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“The Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit challenges IPAB’s very existence as an unlawful delegation of congressional power. Although most of the legal challenges to Obamacare have focused on the individual mandate to purchase government-prescribed health insurance, IPAB is no less central to the overall regulatory scheme. Many members of Congress voted for Obamacare only when convinced of the dubious premise that the law would constrain health-care costs. If IPAB is removed, the flimsy cost-containment rationale will disappear as well.”

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“A year from now, the federal government will start collecting a new tax on medical devices from tongue depressors to imaging machines, thanks to the sweeping health-care overhaul that Democrats enacted in the spring of 2010… Device makers complain that the tax will lead not only to higher prices and layoffs but also to reduced research and development. They also say that when combined with high U.S. corporate-tax rates, the device levy makes relocation to other countries more appealing.”

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