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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

NYT: "New Worries for Democrats on Health Law"

Today in Washington, D.C. - May 7, 2013:
The Senate reconvened  and  began consideration of the nomination of David Medine to be Chairman and Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The Senate then  confirmed Medine, 52-45

At 2:15, by unanimous consent, the Senate will agree to the motion to proceed to S. 601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013, and will begin consideration of the bill.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 69-27 to pass S. 743, the Internet sales tax bill. Prior to passage, senators voted& 70-24 to approve a manager’s amendment to the bill.

Today the House is in session and is debating whether to take up (H.R. 1406) to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide compensatory time for employees in the private sector. Yesterday the U.S. House passed:
H.R. 588 (398-2)  — "To provide for donor contribution acknowledgments to be displayed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center, and for other purposes."
H.R. 291 (390-2) — "To provide for the conveyance of certain cemeteries that are located on National Forest System land in Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota."
H.R. 507 (401-2) "To provide for the conveyance of certain land inholdings owned by the United States to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, and for other purposes."

Another day brings another story about Democrats publicly worrying about the problems coming to light from the implementation of Obamacare, an unpopular law they jammed through Congress on a partisan vote.

The New York Times writes today, “As the administration struggles to put in place the final, complex piece of President Obama’s signature health care law, an endeavor on a scale not seen since Medicare’s creation nearly a half-century ago, Democrats are worried that major snags will be exploited by Republicans in next year’s midterm elections. .  . .Democrats are worried about 2014 — a president’s party typically loses seats in midterm years — and some have gone public with concerns about the pace of carrying out the law. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, told an interviewer last week that he agreed with a recent comment by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, a Democratic architect of the law, who said ‘a train wreck’ could occur this fall if preparations fell short.”

The NYT explains, “The stakes for the president are high. The ultimate success of the law, and in turn his domestic legacy, depends on how well the insurance marketplaces operate, and whether enough young Americans enroll for coverage. . . . Without the participation of that generally healthy young population, insurance premiums for everyone else would increase — threatening support for a law already short of it. The Department of Health and Human Services is doing the nuts-and-bolts work of setting up the system. But essential regulations remain unresolved, leaving insurers, small businesses and health care providers unsure of how to proceed.”

Today’s story comes on the heels of a Reuters piece over the weekend pointing out, “[W]ith ‘Obamacare’ five months from show time, Democrats are worried about whether enough Americans will sign up to make the sweeping healthcare overhaul a success - and what failure might mean for Congress heading into the 2016 presidential race. Some of the law's main advocates fear that not enough of America's 49 million uninsured will know about health coverage offered in their own states. Even if they do, new insurance plans may not be attractive to young, healthy consumers needed to offset an expected influx of older and sicker patients.” Also this past weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported, “[E]mployers including cities, state agencies and charities have joined restaurants and retailers in paring workers' hours to avoid having to provide these workers insurance or pay a fee starting next year. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers must provide health insurance to employees working an average of 30 hours a week or more. If they don't, the employer faces fees starting at $2,000 per worker annually. . . . A large number of Americans already are working part-time (less than 34 hours a week) even though they'd prefer full-time jobs—7.92 million of them in April, the Labor Department reported Friday.”

All this has Democrats publicly airing their fears about Obamacare, saying things like “I just tell you, I just see a huge train wreck coming down” (Sen. Max Baucus [D-MT]), “There is reason to be very concerned about what's going to happen with young people” (Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR]), “We are hearing from a lot of small businesses in New Hampshire that do not know how to comply with the law...” (Sen. Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH]), and “I’m of the belief that the ACA is probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by United States Congress… it worries me, because it is so complicated. And if it isn't done right the first time, it'll just simply get worse” (Sen. Jay Rockefeller [D-WV]). Of course every one of these Democrats voted for Obamacare (or against repealing it) and Sen. Baucus even helped write the bill.

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