A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Taxes"

Eakinomics: Medicaid as “Stimulus”

American Action Forum
Mon, 2014-12-15
Late last night the House approved a $1.1 trillion spending measure that will keep the government funded. The measure passed 219-206, with 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats in favor. The so-called “CRomnibus” now moves onto the Senate where it is expected to pass today. While a House panel was meeting to discuss eliminating the 1970s era ban on crude oil exports, a group of economists from American Council for Capital Formation urged the president to lift the ban. Even according to the government’s own research, “This reduction in oil prices, if they persist for one year, puts approximately $1.3 trillion in the hands of consumers worldwide.” The FCC voted Thursday to increase the E-rate program by $1.5 billion, now totaling $3.9 billion per year. AAF has found that, with this vote, the program has expanded nearly 123 percent since 2008.

Security Flaws Found in IRS ObamaCare Fee System

The Fiscal Times
Wed, 2014-12-10
By Aliya Sternstein, A core Internal Revenue Service system for calculating Obamacare fees for health insurers and drug manufacturers has security weaknesses, according to an internal audit. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers must report their net premiums to the tax agency annually, and pharmaceutical companies must submit sales data from certain government programs. Related: Can IRS Collect Obamacare Taxes When It Can't Handle Tax Complaints? The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration recently examined a new computer application, called the ACA Information Returns system and known as AIR, that processes these returns. The IG's heavily redacted 44-page report, released Tuesday, suggests, specifically, the agency neglected to check source code for bugs and fix security vulnerabilities.

Economics professor brilliantly explains how Obamacare is a tax on full-time work

College Fix Staff
Mon, 2014-12-08
Casey Mulligan, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and author of “Side Effects: The Economic Consequences of the Health Reform,” recently gave a speech in which he essentially explains in easily understood terms how the Affordable Care Act is a tax on full-time work, and a huge downer on our economy. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Obamacare is dragging down our American workforce. Portions of his speech are reprinted below with permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College: So what are the tax distortions that emanate from the ACA? Here let me simply focus on two aspects of the law: the employer mandate or employer penalty—the requirement that employers of a certain size either provide health insurance for full-time employees or pay a penalty for not doing so; and the exchanges—sometimes they’re called marketplaces—where people can purchase health insurance separate from their employer.

ObamaCare’s Threat to Private Practice

The Wall Street Journal
Mon, 2014-12-08
By Scott Gottlieb Dec. 7, 2014 5:12 p.m. ET Here’s a dirty little secret about recent attempts to fix ObamaCare. The “reforms,” approved by Senate and House leaders this summer and set to advance in the next Congress, adopt many of the Medicare payment reforms already in the Affordable Care Act. Both favor the consolidation of previously independent doctors into salaried roles inside larger institutions, usually tied to a central hospital, in effect ending independent medical practices. Republicans must embrace a different vision to this forced reorganization of how medicine is practiced in America if they want to offer an alternative to ObamaCare. The law’s defenders view this consolidation as a necessary step to enable payment provisions that shift the financial risk of delivering medical care onto providers and away from government programs like Medicare.

Exploring the shortcomings and fault lines of the Affordable Care Act

Physicians for a National Health Program
Mon, 2014-12-08
The case for single payer – Medicare for All By Jeoffry B. Gordon, M.D., M.P.H. December 3, 2014 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has as its main and overriding purpose the expansion and subsidization of health insurance coverage for many (usually poor and uninsured) Americans who were previously unable to reliably access medical services. Under its auspices, the federal law has provided for health insurance enrollment for 1 million to 3 million additional 19- to 26-year-olds; 6 million new, expanded Medicaid enrollees; and 7.2 million commercial Qualified Health Plan enrollees. Of the latter, about 80 percent qualify for financial subsidy. Taking into account additional factors, e.g. the fact that some of the new enrollees were previously insured, there has been a net gain of about 10 million people who have coverage. Yet even at full expansion, it is estimated that the ACA will not insure another 30 million U.S.

How to Replace Obamacare

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.

The real lesson from 'Grubergate': Column

USA Today
Tue, 2014-12-02
Luke Hilgemann: A few weeks ago, hardly anyone in America had heard of Jonathan Gruber. Now, the Obamacare architect is a household name. Gruber became a national sensation earlier this month after videos emerged of him detailing how the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" became law. The short version: Its architects, including Gruber, exploited the legislative process to pass a bill that voters never would have supported had they known what it was.

Obama order extends benefits to immigrants

Elise Viebeck, The Hill
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Illegal immigrants protected from deportation under President Obama's executive action will be eligible for Medicare and other benefits once they enter the federal system. The sweeping White House announcement last week means that up to 5 million people will be considered lawfully present in the United States despite having entered the country illegally. This status makes them eligible for programs such as Medicare and Social Security if they work and submit payroll taxes that flow to those programs. This fact was noted Tuesday in a report by The Washington Post."

Administration Warns Employers: Don’t Dump Sick Workers From Plans

Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-11-26
"As employers try to minimize expenses under the health law, the Obama administration has warned them against paying high-cost workers to leave the company medical plan and buy coverage elsewhere. Such a move would unlawfully discriminate against employees based on their health status, three federal agencies said in a bulletin issued this month."

A Quarter Of Uninsured Say They Can’t Afford To Buy Coverage

Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News
Wed, 2014-11-26
"Just days before the health law’s marketplaces reopened, nearly a quarter of uninsured said they expect to remain without coverage because they did not think it would be affordable, according to a poll released Friday. That was by far the most common reason given by people who expect to stay uninsured next year, according to the latest tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) Forty-one percent of individuals without health insurance said they expected they would remain uninsured, while about half said they plan to get coverage in the coming months."

ObamaCare Watch Weekly

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Check out Jim Capretta's new book.

ObamaCare Primer