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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)

Friday, August 02, 2013

House Passes Reasonable Constraints on Government | Obamacare Rate Shock: Premiums Going Up In Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Maryland

Today in Washington, D.C. - August 2, 2013
The Senate reconvened at 11:45 AM today for a pro forma session and will officially adjourn for August if the House approves an adjournment resolution today. Senators are spending the month working in their states.  The Senate will return for legislative business on Monday, September 9th.

Yesterday, Senate Republicans voted to block Democrats from advancing a spending bill, S. 1243, the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, which exceeded agreed-on spending limits in the 2011 agreement.

Also yesterday, the Senate voted 87-10 to confirm Samantha Power to be Ambassador to the United Nations and 97-0 to confirm Raymond Chen to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit.

The House convened today at 9:00 AM and took up and passed 232 - 183 H.R. 367 - "To amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law." Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise’s anti-carbon tax amendment was included and passed by a vote of 237 to 176. Passage of the amendment marks the first time the House has gone on record opposing a carbon tax. Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), a strong supporter of the Scalise amendment, noted that the amendment prevents the President and the EPA from bypassing Congress and imposing a devastating national energy tax that would affect every American. While the House is laying out reasonable constraints on run-away rules and regulations by government agencies, we can only hope the Senate will consider and pass this bill

The House also considered and quickly passed (232 - 185) H.R. 2009 — "To prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010." Four Democrats joined the Republicans in passing the bill. It is expected that Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid will refuse to take up the bill.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) commended House passage of the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act (H.R. 2009), another part of the Republican Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs: “The IRS has shown it cannot be trusted to implement the president’s train wreck of a health care law, and Dr. Tom Price’s legislation stops the agency from doing so. This is only right in light of the IRS’s abusive conduct, and I hope President Obama will support it just as he has the seven bills he signed that repeal or defund parts of his health care law. In the meantime, we will continue with a series of targeted votes in the House aimed at ending this law – because patients and doctors should be in charge of health care decisions, not Washington and certainly not the IRS.”

Yesterday the Senate Passed the following bills:
H.R. 1897 (405-3) — "To promote freedom and democracy in Vietnam."
H.R. 2879 (239-176) - Stop Government Abuse Act - "To provide limitations on bonuses for Federal employees during sequestration, to provide for investigative leave requirements for members of the Senior Executive Service, to establish certain procedures for conducting in-person or telephonic interactions by Executive branch employees with individuals, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1582 (232-181) - Energy Consumers Relief Act - "To protect consumers by prohibiting the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating as final certain energy-related rules that are estimated to cost more than $1 billion and will cause significant adverse effects to the economy."
Amendments Approved before passage of H.R. 1582:
Woodall (R-GA) (Voice Vote) Amendment No. 4 – Requires EPA to make publicly available all data and documents relied upon by the Agency to develop estimates under the bill.
Murphy (R-PA) (234-178) Amendment No. 6 – Prohibits the EPA from using the "social cost of carbon" valuation for any energy-related rule covered by this bill.

Yesterday the House began consideration of H.R. 367 - Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2013 with the following amendments approved:
Davis (R-IL), Peterson (D-MN) (Voice Vote) Amendment No.2 - Adds a to the definition of what constitutes a “major rule” to include any interim final rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would have a significant impact on a substantial amount of agricultural entities (as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture).
Sessions (R-TX), Davis (R-IL), Barr, (R-KY), Wenstrup (R-OH), Coffman (R-CO) (Voice Vote) Amendment No.5 -Requires the agency submitting the report on a proposed Federal rule to include an assessment, as part of the cost-benefit analysis submitted to the Comptroller General and each House of Congress, of anticipated jobs gained or lost as a result of implementation, and to specify whether those jobs will come from the public or private sector.
McKinley (R-WV) (voice Vote) Amendment No.9 - Reduces the annual effect on the economy of the term ‘major rule’ from $100 million or more to $50 million or more.
Webster (R-FL) (Voice Vote) Amendment No.11 - Prevents federal agencies from implementing significant policy changes without appropriate congressional review. Brings administrative rules having an economic impact of $100 million or more as scored by the Office of Management and Budget before Congress for a vote.

Today, the The Washington Times addressed the House Oversight Committee subpoenas of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew for IRS documents. "House Republicans on Friday accused Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew of obstructing their investigation into the IRS’s targeting of tea party and conservative groups, and issued subpoenas for more agency documents. Oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, sent a scathing latter to Mr. Lew blasting him and President Obama for dismissing the GOP’s claims about IRS targeting as a “phony” scandal, saying that Mr. Lew has “attempted to thwart” his investigation. . . . 'Over two months since the committee first requested documents, the IRS has produced only a small fraction of responsive documents,' Mr. Issa said. The IRS is an agency within the Treasury Department."

When President Obama was first selling his now unpopular health care law, he promised a number of times that because of the law, “Families will save on their premiums,” as he said in December 2009. Later, Obama claimed, “All this is going to lower premiums. It's going to make healthcare more affordable.” And in 2011 he declared, “This law will lower premiums.”

Of course, very much the opposite is happening across the country as the administration races to implement the law. In an editorial today, the Savannah Morning News writes, “Georgians who will be forced to buy health insurance under Obamacare later this year should be prepared to dig deeply into their wallets — then hold on for dear life. That’s because of heart attack-inducing sticker shock. The premiums for the five health insurers that will be offering policies in Georgia’s federally run insurance exchange are ‘massive,’ according to Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. ‘Insurance companies in Georgia have filed rate plans increasing health insurance rates up to 198 percent for some individuals,’ Mr. Hudgens wrote in a July 29 letter to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the president’s point person on Obamacare. The commissioner correctly said that Georgians cannot afford these steep hikes. For their protection, he asked for an emergency, 30-day delay on the July 31 deadline for his department’s approval of the increases. Predictably, Ms. Sebelius gave the commissioner — an open foe of Obamacare — the cold shoulder. That left Mr. Hudgens no choice but to approve these rates Wednesday. . . . Interestingly, Mr. Hudgens said the premiums that these companies are charging aren’t excessive — if you look at the ground rules that Obamacare established. Put simply, insurers had to flatten premiums if they wanted to be players. Younger people, who are healthier and file fewer claims, would be forced to pay a lot more for an insurance policy than they do now. Older people, who tend to have more illnesses and require more services, would still pay more — but the percentage increase would be less than their younger counterparts.”

And Georgia is by no means the only state suffering sticker shock. It’s not even the only one this week. According to The Columbus Dispatch yesterday, “Ohioans purchasing health insurance on a new online federally run marketplace will spend 41 percent more for individual coverage than they would have this year, according to the state Department of Insurance.” On Wednesday the AP reported, “Florida's insurance officials are predicting that health insurance rates will rise 5 to 20 percent for small businesses and 30 to 40 percent in the individual market through the state's new exchange.” And last weekend The Baltimore Sun wrote, “Marylanders who buy health insurance on a state exchange under health reform could see their premiums jump as much as 25 percent under rates approved by state regulators . . . .” And prior to this past week, there were reports of rate shock at premium increases due to Obamacare coming from Indiana, Idaho, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Higher premiums aren’t the only consequence of Obamacare we’ve seen on display this week. The Savannah Morning News reported, “Two insurance companies told the state today they decided not to offer plans in Georgia’s health exchange next year as part of Obamacare. That still leaves five plans participating, but the withdrawal of Aetna — one of the state’s largest insurers — will leave residents of some parts of the state with limited choice. The other company pulling out is Coventry Health Insurance.” And in Midland, Texas, at a meeting of county commissioners about how to implement a fee mandated by Obamacare, County Judge Mike Bradford sighed, “Not trying to put politics in it, but this piece of legislation is anything near what we were led to believe it was. It is costs, costs and more costs.”

Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Last month, the Administration announced it would delay Obamacare’s employer mandate on businesses. It’s not hard to see why. We keep reading about how businesses large and small will have little option but to cut employee hours and paychecks as Obamacare comes online. About how restaurants like White Castle are considering hiring only part-time workers moving forward. About how small businesses are citing Obamacare as a top worry.”

He continued, “Here’s the thing though: Don’t families and individuals deserve the same kind of relief? I believe they do. I don’t believe it’s fair to give a break to business and leave Americans out in the cold. I mean, just recently, we learned that Ohioans buying health insurance next year can expect about a 40 percent premium increase. For Indianans, costs could rise by more than 70 percent. Some Georgians could face a nearly 200 percent premium spike. In my home state of Kentucky, actuaries are predicting cost increases that could exceed 30 percent. Remember, the President said costs would go down – that Obamacare was the ‘Affordable’ Care Act. And millions face the prospect of losing the insurance they like and want to keep. Which, again, is not what the President promised. That’s why I’ll be asking for the Senate to pass H.R. 2668 in just a moment. This legislation passed the House on a strong bipartisan vote – nearly two dozen Democrats supported it – and it would delay some of Obamacare’s most burdensome mandates for everyone. Shortly after its passage in the House, my colleagues and I called on Leader Reid to bring it to the floor for a vote. Those calls went unheeded.”

Leader McConnell then asked unanimous consent to pass H.R. 2668. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) objected, choosing to allow the mandates to stay in place while more states announce the law resulting in higher premiums every week.

Tags: House, economic growth, jobs plan, responsible government, Obamacare, Rate Shock To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:31 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Stephen Roy Meyer said...

This is so funny. They were the ones saying. Obamacare is fir all. It is do great. Etc. lol. I guess not. We need to vote everyone of them out that ok this. If we have to have obamacare. They do too.


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