Stickum Up and Buy this Healthcare plan

By Eric Peters

This is written as the Supreme Court is weighing the constitutionality of ObamaCare – in particular, it is considering whether the federal government has the authority under the Constitution to force people at gunpoint to buy a health insurance policy from a private, for-profit business. That this is even being – as opposed to dismissed out of hand – tells us just how far down the slippery slope we’ve already slid. But what most people – especially people who support the mandate – may not have considered is where the precedent about to be established will take us.

Unfortunately in law, precedent is everything, because it becomes practice.

Once the courts countenance a given thing, it becomes the basis for countenancing other, similar-in-principle things.  Some 25 years ago, when the courts ruled it was within the government’s constitutional authority to stop motorists at random, without even the pretext of probable cause (as clearly demanded – without qualification – by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution), a precedent was established. Today, we are subject to random stops – and random searches – at any time, just about. It has become a routine – and routinely accepted – practice.

If the government has the authority to force each of us to buy a health insurance policy on the basis of “interstate commerce” or some appeal to the collective greater good – then a new precedent will have been established. Why, having gone that far, would they stop there? Do you imagine the government will stop there?  Has it ever once, having expanded its authority, failed to expand upon that authority?

Why not also force people at gunpoint to buy life insurance?  As things stand, there are families left without a breadwinner – and the breadwinner’s income – following an untimely death. Perhaps some people cannot afford to buy life insurance.  Surely life insurance is just as vital to interstate commerce – and the “security” provided by a policy just as much a “right” as the “right” to health care? Precisely the same arguments can – and will – be used. You are a fool if you don’t see it coming. And it will not come because of the government’s concern for you. It will come because of the concern over the money (and power) to be had – the two things really driving the individual mandate of Obamacare.

Private (an increasingly meaningless term) businesses have had an epiphany. They have come to realize that it’s in their interests to crawl under the sheets with the government. Because government can force people to buy the businesses’ product or service. Why compete for customers’ dollars when you can use the police power of the state to compel them to hand over the loot? And even better, you (the “private” business) no longer need worry much about quality, efficiency or customer service. After all, what are your customers going to do? They have to buy what you’re selling – or else.

As bad as HMOs and PPOs are – as Soviet and DMV-like as the staff at your doctor’s office may be – at least they cannot put a gun to your head. At least, you have the option of telling them what you think – and walking out the door. Shortly, that may change. And the only thing that will change is the threat of violence for noncompliance. The Soviet and DMV-like experience will be the same – no, it will grow worse. Because you won’t be able to say no – or walk out the door.

Not without the NKVD[People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs] stepping in to correct you. 

And then the precedent will be expanded – and become the general practice.

Life insurance. Home insurance (even if you’ve paid off your home and would rather save the $800 a year that is typically charged). And since this is a car-minded column, let’s not forget cars.

GM and Ford and the rest of them are having a heck of time selling the American consumer on the merits of electric and other “green” cars. Surely, it is in the interests of the furtherance of interstate commerce and the Greater Good that Americans be required to purchase a “green” vehicle. It would help the car companies. It would be an investment in “our future.” Surely, we cannot afford to allow selfish and irresponsible people to avoid paying their fair share….

I wish this were farce. But if the Supremes hold ObamaCare “constitutional” then we no longer have a Constitution. What we will have is the precedent of unlimited, open-ended federal authority – which in short order will become the routine practice of forcing each of us to do (and buy) literally anything. The flower will have blossomed. America will cease to exist.

But we’ll have “health care.”

And much more besides…

Could They really Do It?

By David G. Savage

The Supreme Court’s conservative justices said last Wednesday they are prepared to strike down President Obama’s healthcare law entirely.

Picking up where they left off Tuesday, the conservatives said they thought a decision striking down the law’s controversial individual mandate to purchase health insurance means the whole statute should fall with it.

The court’s conservatives sounded as though they had determined for themselves that the 2,700-page measure must be declared unconstitutional.

“One way or another, Congress will have to revisit it in toto,” said Justice Antonin Scalia.

Agreeing, Justice Anthony Kennedy said it would be an “extreme proposition” to allow the various insurance regulations to stand after the mandate was struck down.

Meanwhile, the court’s liberal justices argued for restraint. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the court should do a “salvage job,” not undertake a “wrecking operation.” But she looked to be out-voted.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they shared the view of Scalia and Kennedy that the law should stand or fall in total. Along with Justice Clarence Thomas, they would have a majority to strike down the entire statute as unconstitutional.

An Obama administration lawyer, urging caution, said it would be “extraordinary” for the court to throw out the entire law. About 2.5 million young people under age 26 are on their parents’ insurance now because of the new law. If it were struck down entirely, “2.5 million of them would be thrown off the insurance rolls,” said Edwin Kneedler.

The administration indicated it was prepared to accept a ruling that some of the insurance reforms should fall if the mandate were struck down. For example, insurers would not be required to sell coverage to people with preexisting conditions. But Kneedler, a deputy solicitor general, said the court should go no further.

But the court’s conservatives said the law was passed as a package and must fall as a package.

End Article

Editor’s comments:

So the Supreme Court seems poised to do the right and constitutional thing. It’s funny how all the Internet outlets, newspapers, TV, et al, classifiy the justices as Conservative or liberal.

The Supreme Court has one job. It’s only job is to determine the constitutionality of the case before it. It is not supposed to write law or somehow fiddle around with the laws that are being decided by the court. Yet Justice Ruth (buzzi) Bader Ginsburg suggests that the court should perform a “salvage job” on the law. The only way that one could perform a “salvage job” on the law would be to rewrite it at the bench.

Somehow this minor inconvenience escapes justice Ginsburg. She must’ve forgotten that the justices are forbidden from writing or creating law from the bench. Either that, or she just doesn’t care. I vote for the latter. But Ginsburg is of course a liberal justice.

As I’ve stated many times in the past, liberals are liberals, first and foremost. What ever their vocation may be, a liberal will always think and act as one without regard to said vocation.

As for Mr. Kneedler’s plea regarding the 2.5 million young people that will may be kicked off their parents insurance if the court strikes down Obamacare, may I remind him, or maybe he doesn’t know, that the Constitution is not a conditional document.

Let’s hope that at least five of the justices will make the right constitutional decision and strike this travesty down in toto.

Did I Say That?

American Crossroads, a 527 organization advised by Karl Rove, has released a new video showing that Barack Obama himself has not always supported the individual mandate at the center of his controversial health care reform plan. Put aside what you may think of Karl Rove & just listen to Obama’s own words:

Affordable Light Bulbs

Government Stupidity Defies Satire When a $50 Light Bulb Wins an Affordability Prize

 by: Daniel J. Mitchell

I’ve written about the government’s war on consumer-friendly light bulbs (and also similar attacks on working toilets and washing machines that actually clean), so I’m generally not surprised by bureaucratic nonsense.

But even I’m shocked the federal government gave an affordability award for a light bulb that costs $50. I’m not making this up. Here’s a blurb from ABC News.

The U.S. government has awarded appliance-maker Philips $10 million for devising an “affordable” alternative to today’s standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. That standard bulb sells for around $1. The Philips alternative sells for $50. Of course, the award-winner is no ordinary bulb. It uses only one-sixth the energy of an incandescent. And it lasts 30,000 hours–about 30 times as long. In fact, if you don’t drop it, it may last 10 years or more. But only the U.S. Government (in this case, the Department of Energy) could view a $50 bulb as cheap.

Isn’t that wonderful? My tax dollars were used to reward a company that produced a light bulb I can’t afford.

Lisa Benson has a very good cartoon about this light bulb, as well as the less-than-shocking news that Obamacare will be more costly than originally forecast.

Santorum to Gingrich, “How about V.P.?”

By Martin Gould and Ashley Martella of Newsmax [emphasis added]:

Saying he’d look for a “strong and principled conservative” as a running mate should he win the Republican presidential nomination, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum tells Newsmax that he certainly would consider rival Newt Gingrich for that vital role.

When asked if he would consider the former House Speaker as number two on his ticket, Santorum said Gingrich had been “tested” by the bruising GOP race and that makes him an attractive vice presidential candidate.

Santorum tells Newsmax that his choice would be a core conservative who is “willing to stand up and fight for the things that I believe in.”

“My principal and only criterion for vice president is to make sure that I have someone that I have confidence that if something should happen to me that they could carry on and do what I promised the people of America I would try to do,” he said.

Gingrich would seem to fit the bill more than any of the other candidates. He and Santorum have been battling for the same voters on the right of the party as they try to defeat front-runner Mitt Romney.

Santorum said the GOP only has to look to history to see that conservative candidates do better in general elections that do moderates.

“If we have another moderate Republican we are going to end up with the same situation we had four years ago,” he said, referring to John McCain’s loss to Barack Obama. “We’ll have the same situation we had with Bob Dole and the same situation we had with Gerry Ford.

“You go back. If we nominate conservatives we win. If we nominate moderates we lose. We can’t afford to lose this one.”

Santorum said he is not worried that the latest Rasmussen Reports poll gives Mitt Romney a double-digit lead over him, going into Saturday’s caucuses in Kansas and next week’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.

“Three weeks ago I had a double-digit lead and before that he had a double-digit lead and before that Newt Gingrich had a double-digit lead,” he pointed out. “This is an ebb-and-flow campaign.”

He said that Romney has spent some $65 million so far and has had a super PAC spend almost as much, while he only put some $6 million into his campaign.

“The fact that he hasn’t been able to close the deal and get this nomination behind him, that we are very much alive and well and have an opportunity to win this race, is a testament that money does not buy this election.

“Ideas and vision will not just win the primary but more importantly it’s the only chance we have to win the general election,” Santorum added.

The GOP has to nominate “someone who has convictions, someone who tells the truth to the American public, someone who goes out there and lives what he says he is going to do and follows through and has the courage of his convictions and can create a clear contrast with President Obama,” he said.

“I do that. Gov. Romney, in all fairness, is simply not measuring up. The people of America are beginning to see that and that is why we have the opportunity we do.”

Santorum said he is “very hopeful” that he will win Kansas and that he will at least beat Gingrich in the two Deep South states, proving he is the conservative alternative to Romney.

Santorum said Obama’s energy policies are one of the main issues that are preventing the nation getting below 8 percent unemployment. “It can be summed up in two letters,” he said. “N-O.

“We have literally 60 billion barrels of gas and oil off the coasts of this country and this administration is saying, ‘No, we are not going to go there.’ Shutting down federal lands for good, not voting the Keystone pipeline, not opening up Alaska – all of that is driving up energy prices, which is slowing down this economy and crushing it with a high-energy cost burden.”

The former senator from Pennsylvania said he would repeal costly regulations on businesses and simplify the tax system, and that too would add jobs.

I would cut the corporate rate of tax to zero and say to every manufacturer not just in this country but around the world, bring your business here; expand your business because we want to make things here in America again.”

He also made it clear that he is vehemently opposed to forcing religious institutions to have health insurance plans that cover contraception.

“It’s bad enough to impose a new rule making everybody buy insurance but the idea that they are going to force people to buy insurance on products that they have moral objections to is truly government run amok,” he explained.

And Santorum said that if there is enough GOP support in November to elect him, then the party can get at least 50 seats in the Senate.

“We’ll have the wherewithal to be able to strip all the funding and fines and fees out of Obamacare and make it basically a dead letter,” he vowed.

“That can be accomplished within a few months.”

A Glimpse into Obamacare

So Obamacare is going to save us money and undoubtably run like a swiss watch. Most government programs do.

Just picture the following on a national scale and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Also, keep in mind that this department was created in 2009, just 3 years ago.

By Snejana Farberov:

In Washington DC, being dead is no reason not to take full advantage of one’s health care benefits.

A new audit by the Office of the Inspector General has revealed that the municipality spent nearly $700,000 on Medicaid coverage for the deceased.

In total, there were 129 cases involving payments for services rendered that were made after a patient had died.

In one case, a payment was made nearly nine years after the patient’s passing.

According to the audit, the city’s Department of Health Care Finance shelled out nearly $4 million in erroneous payments in 2009, most of which went toward claims with an invalid or nonexistent Social Security number.

Officials are also investigating allegations that the department might have overpaid its billings by $22.6 million.

Some of the overpayments have been blamed on changes in insurance rates between the time of billing and the time of payment.

While the department, which was created in 2009, has corrected many of the clerical errors that caused these costly gaffes, the findings of the audit are likely to result in calls for increased scrutiny of its operations at an upcoming oversight hearing.

“We will dig into why this happened, what has been done to correct it, and how to prevent similar overpayments from happening in the future”, said at-large DC Councilman David Catania, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Health.

In response to the audit, a spokesperson for the agency told the Washington Examiner that in December 2010, the department put into place a new system capable of discontinuing payments after a patient’s death. What a great idea!

The department’s troubles do not stop there, however. The audit has found that the agency paid $22.6 million extra on Medicaid claims totaling $124 million. In one case, the department nearly made a payment of $5.6 million for a $100 claim.

According to the spokesperson, it was a case of ‘fat fingers’ that nearly caused the multimillion-dollar error when a clerk held down the ‘5’ key long enough to create a $5.6 million entry.

Officials are now going over all 78,361 claims that might include an error.

In its first year of operation, the Department of Health Care Finance paid about $1 billion.

Ann’s Pretzel Logic

I would like to first apologize for the length of this article, but I thought it too important to cut down. Anyway, here we go.

Has the once great conservative voice, Ann Coulter, become a moderate loving, Romney Zombie?

I’d say, evidently so, but you may judge for yourself.

I was going to disect this article myself, when I heard Mark Levin had already done it.

Knowing I could never compete with the intellect of Levin, I will instead pull some exerpts from his brilliant rebuttal of the following.

Due to the length of Levin’s rebuttal, I will, at times, paraphrase.

Three cheers for RomneyCare

by Ann Coulter

If only the Democrats had decided to socialize the food industry or housing, Romneycare would probably still be viewed as a massive triumph for conservative free-market principles — as it was at the time.

Levin: No it wasn’t a triumph for the free-market. Ted Kennedy was one of the main collaborators. He didn’t view it as conservative free-market principles.

It’s not as if we had a beautifully functioning free market in health care until Gov. Mitt Romney came along and wrecked it by requiring that Massachusetts residents purchase their own health insurance.

Levin: I don’t think we have a perfectly functioning  free-market in anything we do. The free-market accepts successes & failures & that there are many imperfect people within that system. That’s part of the brilliance of the free-market. That imperfection is not a justification to detroy it.

In 2007, when Romneycare became law, the federal government alone was already picking up the tab for 45.4 percent of all health care expenditures in the country.

Levin: So…what does that have to do with anything. Did all the other states say, “Hey, that’s a great idea, individual mandates. Let’s all copy Romneycare.” Have any of them copied Romneycare? No.

Until Obamacare, mandatory private health insurance was considered the free-market alternative to the Democrats’ piecemeal socialization of the entire medical industry.

In November 2004, for example, libertarian Ronald Bailey praised mandated private health insurance in Reason magazine, saying that it “could preserve and extend the advantages of a free market with a minimal amount of coercion.”

Levin: Apparently Ronald was wrong, Ann.

A leading conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, helped design Romneycare, and its health care analyst, Bob Moffit, flew to Boston for the bill signing.

Levin: What Ann leaves out of her column is that Heritage has since renounced the individual mandate.

Romneycare was also supported by Regina Herzlinger, Harvard Business School professor and health policy analyst for the conservative Manhattan Institute. Herzlinger praised Romneycare for making consumers, not business or government, the primary purchasers of health care.

Levin: Really, Ann. So Herzlinger supported it. But you left somebody out, didn’t you. Jonathan Gruber. Why did you leave Jonathan Gruber out, Ann? Because he’s a leftist? Jonathan Gruber had the biggest role in designing Romneycare of anybody and he was also one of the main architects of Obamacare. He has said publically that there is little difference between the two. Somehow Mr. Gruber didn’t make it into Ann’s piece. Anyway, why does it matter what any of these people thought. We can all think for ourselves, can’t we? The fact is, the only one who bit, was Mitt Romney. If any other Governor adopted such a thing, they’re awfully quiet about it.

The bill passed by 154-2 in the Massachusetts House and unanimously, 37-0, in the Massachusetts Senate — including the vote of Sen. Scott Brown, who won Teddy Kennedy’s seat in the U.S. Senate in January 2010 by pledging to be the “41st vote against Obamacare.”

Levin: So now we’re going to sight Scott Brown who’s feet are firmly planted in the air. Scott Brown voted for Romneycare and against Obamacare. You know why that is? Because his constituants are turning. The more people are invloved in Romneycare, the less they like it. But again, what does that have to do with anything, particularly if you are a Constitutionalist. The fact that anything like Romneycare empowers any government to interfere with your private medical decisions, who cares how many people vote for it. Politicians imposing their will on the people. The Founders rejected all of that.

But because both Obamacare and Romneycare concern the same general topic area — health care — and can be nicknamed (politician’s name plus “care”), Romney’s health care bill is suddenly perceived as virtually the same thing as the widely detested Obamacare. (How about “Romneycare-gate”?)

Levin: You can mock it, Ann, but the architect of both, which you left out of your column, he said they were the same.

As The New York Times put it, “Mr. Romney’s bellicose opposition to ‘Obamacare’ is an almost comical contradiction to his support for the same idea in Massachusetts when he was governor there.” This is like saying state school-choice plans are “the same idea” as the Department of Education.

Levin: No it’s not like saying that. It is like saying it’s the same mind set, that government knows best. Government can and will pass laws and has no respect for the circle of liberty.

One difference between the health care bills is that Romneycare is constitutional and Obamacare is not. True, Obamacare’s unconstitutional provisions are the least of its horrors, but the Constitution still matters to some Americans. (Oh, to be there when someone at the Times discovers this document called “the Constitution”!)

Levin: So what, who cares. Romney says it’s different. You (Romney) says he believes in the tenth amendment, but you don’t believe in the individual and that’s the proiblem. You believe in Utopianism, these impossible fantasies, State run healthcare.

As Rick Santorum has pointed out, states can enact all sorts of laws — including laws banning contraception — without violating the Constitution.

That document places strict limits on what Congress can do, not what the states can do. Romney, incidentally, has always said his plan would be a bad idea nationally.

Levin: Well, good for him. It’s a bad idea, period.

The only reason the “individual mandate” has become a malediction is because the legal argument against Obamacare is that Congress has no constitutional authority to force citizens to buy a particular product.

The legal briefs opposing Obamacare argue that someone sitting at home, minding his own business, is not engaged in “commerce … among the several states,” and, therefore, Congress has no authority under the to Commerce Clause force people to buy insurance.

Levin: There is absolutely nothing in American history, including the examples Ann has given, that compels two private parties, an individual & a business to enter into a private contract for goods or services the individual may not want nor the business may not want to give, and none of the examples Ann provides, disputes that.

No one is claiming that the Constitution gives each person an unalienable right not to buy insurance.

Levin: No, what we’re saying is that people should free to pursue their own interests and to be unmolested by government a much as possible. I’m not even sure why she’s mixing the Constitution with state issue. Maybe she thinks she’s on to something? She’s on to nothing.

States have been forcing people to do things from the beginning of the republic: drilling for the militia, taking blood tests before marriage, paying for public schools, registering property titles and waiting in line for six hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to drive.

Levin: None of these are examples of entities being forced to enter into private contracts with other entities against their will. That has never been done in the history of this country. Are we to reject our principles to defend this man? I don’t believe in three cheers for socialism.

There’s no obvious constitutional difference between a state forcing militia-age males to equip themselves with guns and a state forcing adults in today’s world to equip themselves with health insurance.

The hyperventilating over government-mandated health insurance confuses a legal argument with a policy objection.

If Obamacare were a one-page bill that did nothing but mandate that every American buy health insurance, it would still be unconstitutional, but it wouldn’t be the godawful train wreck that it is. It wouldn’t even be the godawful train wreck that high-speed rail is.

Levin: Some of us have been arguing to the Supreme Court, that this individual mandate changes the relationship of the individual to the government. That government can order you to enter into private contracts against your will, or fine you, penalize you, sick the IRS on you. There is not a single example in history of that. None! What then, would prevent the government from ordering to buy anything? I don’t know. I’ll have to wait for Ann’s next column.

It would not be a 2,000-page, trillion-dollar federal program micromanaging every aspect of health care in America with enormous, unresponsive federal bureaucracies manned by no-show public-sector union members enforcing a mountain of regulations that will bankrupt the country and destroy medical care, as liberals scratch their heads and wonder why Obamacare is costing 20 times more than they expected and doctors are leaving the profession in droves for more lucrative careers, such as video store clerk.

Nothing good has ever come of a 2,000-page bill.

Levin: Really. She just gave a explaination for what is beginning to happen in Massachussetts, albeit, on a smaller level, because it’s a state.

There’s not much governors can do about the collectivist mess Congress has made of health care in this country. They are mere functionaries in the federal government’s health care Leviathan.

Levin: So every governor is compelled to do what Romney did, right? There’s evidently only one response, Romneycare.

A governor can’t repeal or expand the federal tax break given to companies that pay their employees’ health insurance premiums — a tax break denied the self-employed and self-insured.

A governor can’t order the IRS to start recognizing tax deductions for individual health savings accounts.

A governor can’t repeal the 1946 federal law essentially requiring hospitals to provide free medical services to all comers, thus dumping a free-rider problem on the states.

Levin: While a state does have to deal with these things like free hospital care, there are ways to deal with it. Why can’t they garnish wages, seize assets, do all those things for people who really can afford there hospital & medical care, but simply refuse to pay for it.

It was precisely this free-rider problem that Romneycare was designed to address in the only way a governor can. In addition to mandating that everyone purchase health insurance, Romneycare used the $1.2 billion that the state was already spending on medical care for the uninsured to subsidize the purchase of private health insurance for those who couldn’t afford it.

Levin: So as Governor, he was concerned about those poor. It’s just unfair. Sounds just like a liberal. So in the name of fairness & equity, we will create a whole top down government run system. That’s what every Governor would do, right? Problem is, every Governor didn’t do that. You want to look at a Governor whose making real  progress, fighting like hell. Look at Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Where as Teddy Kennedy stood shoulder to shoulder with Mitt, you won’t find anyone like that standing with Scott Walker. Tells you something, doesn’t it.

What went wrong with Romneycare wasn’t a problem in the bill, but a problem in Massachusetts: Democrats.

Levin: That’s precisely the problem. When George Bush opened the door to bailouts, did he think would end with him? Did Mitt really think when he opened the flood gates the water would stop when he left? Just as Bush did, you and he only laid the foundation and set the precedent for future governors and presidents to run with it, as it were.

First, the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature set the threshold for receiving a subsidy so that it included people making just below the median income in the United States, a policy known as “redistribution of income.” For more on this policy, see “Marx, Karl.”

Levin: Gee, that was utterly unpredictable!

Then, liberals destroyed the group-rate, “no frills” private insurance plans allowed under Romneycare (i.e. the only kind of health insurance a normal person would want to buy, but which is banned in most states) by adding dozens of state mandates, including requiring insurers to cover chiropractors and in vitro fertilization — a policy known as “pandering to lobbyists.”

Levin: We know they do these things in advance, Ann, don’t we? DON”T WE!

For more on “pandering” and “lobbyists,” see “Gingrich, Newt.” (Yes, that’s an actual person’s name.)

Romney’s critics, such as Rick Santorum, charge that the governor should have known that Democrats would wreck whatever reforms he attempted.

Levin: Gee, ya think?

They have, but no more than they would have wrecked health care in Massachusetts without Romneycare. Democrats could use a sunny day as an excuse to destroy the free market, redistribute income and pander to lobbyists. Does that mean Republicans should never try to reform anything and start denouncing sunny days?

Levin: That’s your defense? Liberals & democrats will do what they always do. Is this why we elect republicans? This isn’t reform, it’s big government. This is absurd!

Santorum has boasted of his role in passing welfare reform in the 1990s. You know what the Democrats’ 2009 stimulus bill dismantled? That’s right: the welfare reform that passed in the 1990s.

Levin: Isn’t that interesting. Santorum tried to undo the welfare state. She says because liberals can undo it, why bother. Liberals try to undo a lot, but we must fight the good fight. Romneycare was not the good fight.

The problem isn’t health insurance mandates. The problem isn’t Romneycare. The problem isn’t welfare reform. The problem is Democrats.

Levin: Actually, Ann, the problem is leftists and republicans who play along with them. Shame, shame, shame.

Real Estate can be Taxing

I recently received an email titled: “UNBELIEVABLE” Fwd: If you own a home, please read this!

It was regarding a hidden real estate tax buried in Obamacare.

“Is it true?”, I was asked.

This should clear things up. Although it is not a new, stand alone tax, the short answer is YES.

Settling the Question of a Real Estate Tax in Obamacare

By Kathryn Nix & Derek Pyburn (IBD)

By now, Americans have become well acquainted with the fact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will have a multitude of adverse effects. The new law is certain to add to the federal deficit. It increases taxes on all Americans in a number of different ways, encourages employers to dump coverage, and will cause many to lose their current health plan. However, a circulating claim that the PPACA includes a tax on real estate sales has misinformed the American public.

There is not a new specific tax on all real estate transactions in the PPACA. But that’s not the end of the story. There is a surtax on real estate transactions that are already taxed under current law. Capital gains in excess of $500,000 from the sale of primary residences already face the capital gains tax. The new tax in the PPACA will raise the rate on these gains.

The Tax Foundation clears the air by explaining how the new tax will work:
The bill would impose essentially a capital gains taxes on some home sales made by a limited number of taxpayers. (The health care law contains a new 3.8 percent tax on “unearned income” for high-income taxpayers. Unearned income includes capital gains.) To be hit by the 3.8 percent capital gains tax, you first have to be a married couple making more than $250,000 in adjusted gross income or $200,000 if you are single. The capital gain on the home sale must also exceed $500,000 if this is a primary home and you are a married couple ($250,000 for singles).
Here’s an example of how the tax would work: Say a couple makes $260,000. They purchase a primary residence at $400,000 and sell it for $1,000,000. This would amount to a capital gain from the sale of their home of $600,000. Capital gains tax plus the new Medicare tax would apply to profits over and above the threshold of $500,000. In this case, the couple’s capital gain of $600,000 exceeds the threshold by $100,000. The couple would pay the capital gains tax, which rises to 20 percent in 2011 under President Obama’s tax hike plan, plus the new 3.8 percent tax for a total tax rate of 23.8 percent on that $100,000. Their tax bill in this scenario is $23,800. The PPACA adds $3,800 to the couple’s final tally in this example.

The new Medicare investment tax provides a disincentive for business expansion. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reports, “The $250,000/$500,000 thresholds only apply to the sale of a primary residence, so the tax will hit other property sales harder.”

NFIB also points out that this tax “marks the first time that non-wage income is designated to fund Medicare.” Beyond its marginal effects on real estate sales, the new application of the Medicare tax to investment income will have substantial effects on the economy at large. Analysts in Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis write, “Raising the tax burden on investment income further damages the economy and ultimately affects all members of society.” Their findings show that this tax will result in lost job opportunities, a reduction in productivity, losses in gross domestic product, and reductions in household income.

So is there a sales tax on real estate included in the health care law? In some cases, yes. But will the same provision that taxes some profits from real estate cause widespread damage to the economy? Absolutely.

Affordable Waiver

We haven’t heard much lately about all those Obamacare waivers that have been granted.

We all remember the waivers given to companies & unions that couldn’t afford Obama’s “Affordable Care Act”.

Friday marks the last time HHS (Health & Human Services) will have to update the total number of waivers, putting to rest a recurring political firestorm.

The department had been updating its waiver totals every month, prompting monthly attacks from the GOP, posted by Sam Baker of The Hill.

All told, 1,231 companies applied for and received waivers from the law’s restrictions on annual benefit caps.

The law requires plans to gradually raise their benefit limits, and all annual limits will become illegal in 2014. Companies that received waivers can keep their caps intact until 2014.

Republicans say the need for waivers proves that the healthcare law is unworkable. HHS argues that the waivers show the law provides flexibility.

I wasn’t aware waiver & flexible were synonymous, so I looked them up & son of gun, they’re not.

Flexible: susceptible of modification or adaptation; adaptable

Waiver: an intentional relinquishment of some right, interest, or the like.

So flexibility means to modify & waiver means to drop all together. Hmmm.

Let’s see just how “flexible” our government has been.

The Daily Caller reports the documents released in a classic Friday afternoon news dump show that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation since June 17, 2011.

By contrast, private employers with a total of 69,813 employees, many of whom work for small businesses, were granted waivers.

That’s pretty flexible. So flexible it seems, they bent over backwards, for some. Must be double jointed.