“What happened on Thursday… will stand as one of the most lawless acts yet committed by this administration”

Avik Roy of Forbes is one of the unsung heroes in the battle against Obamacare. His latest article — “Government Takeover: White House Forces Obamacare Insurers To Cover Unpaid Patients At A Loss” — outlines the increasingly frenzied thrashing of an administration that is operating completely outside the boundaries of the Constitution.

Of all of the last-minute delays, website bungles, and Presidential whims that have marred the roll-out of Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges, what happened on Thursday, December 12 will stand as one of the most lawless acts yet committed by this administration. The White House—having canceled Americans’ old health plans, and having botched the system for enrolling people in new ones—knows that millions of Americans will enter the new year without health coverage. So instead of actually fixing the problem, the administration is retroactively attempting to force insurers to hand out free health care—at a loss—to those whom the White House has rendered uninsured. If Obamacare wasn’t a government takeover of the health insurance industry [before], then what is it now?

On Wednesday afternoon, health policy reporters found in their inboxes a friendly e-mail from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announcing “steps to ensure Americans signing up through the Marketplace have coverage and access to the care they need on January 1.” Basically, the “steps” involve muscling insurers to provide free or discounted care to those who have become uninsured because of the problems with healthcare.gov.

HHS threatens to throw non-complying plans off the exchanges

HHS assured reporters that it would be “urging issuers to give consumers additional time to pay their first month’s premium and still have coverage beginning January 1, 2014.” In other words, urging them to offer free care to those who haven’t paid. This is a problem because the government has yet to build the system that allows people who’ve signed up for plans to actually pay for them. “One client reports only 15 percent [of applicants] have paid so far,” Bob Laszewski told Charles Ornstein. “So far I’m hearing from health plans that around 5 percent and 10 percent of consumers who have made it through the data transfer gauntlet have paid first month’s premium and therefore truly enrolled,” said Kip Piper.

“What’s wrong with ‘urging’ insurers to offer free care?” you might ask. “That’s not the same as forcing them to offer free care.” Except that the government is using the full force of its regulatory powers, under Obamacare, to threaten insurers if they don’t comply. All you have to do is read the menacing language in the new regulations that HHS published this week [PDF], in which HHS says it may throw otherwise qualified health plans off of the exchanges next year if they don’t comply with the government’s “requests.”

…There are other services HHS is asking insurers to offer for free. The administration is “strongly encouraging insurers to treat out-of-network providers”—i.e., costly ones—“as in-network to ensure continuity of care” and to “refill prescriptions covered under previous plans during January.” But the issue of unpaid premiums looms largest.

It’s unconstitutional to force insurers to cover people for free

The administration could pay insurers to cover up for its mistakes. But that would lead to criticism—as it has in other instances—that the White House is lawlessly throwing taxpayer money at insurers to, well, cover up for its mistakes. So, instead, they’re asking insurers to pay for the mistakes.

But, of course, the cost of paying for those mistakes won’t end up being paid by insurers, but by consumers, in the form of higher premiums.

In theory, the Obama administration’s actions aren’t merely illegal—they’re unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights says that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

But it will be up to insurers to sue to protect their rights. Like battered wives, they are unlikely to do so. Companies like Aetna and Humana are so terrified that the administration will run them out of business that they are more likely to do what they’re told, and quietly pass the costs on to consumers. The chaos and recriminations have made insurers like UnitedHealth, who have largely stayed out of the exchanges, look smart.

In 2010, PolitiFact said that the claim that Obamacare was a “government takeover of health care” was its “lie of the year.” The Federal Register disagrees.

So as the long list of Obama administration scandals continues to expand — seemingly every day — what are the Republican leaders doing?

You guessed it: allowing Democrats to destroy the spending caps (“the sequester”) that had been promised for 10 years… just two years ago.

Oh. And passing Amnesty for illegal immigrants.

It’s time to vote out every fake Republican. Find out when your primary is and start working to support the most conservative candidate you can in your local race. It’s time. November is coming.

Hat tip: BadBlue Money News.

Doug Ross @ Journal

SAY, WHATEVER HAPPENED AFTER THE LAST ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN EXPIRED? Oh, that’s right: murders and violent crime went down.

I wonder if our betters ever review history before trying to slam more unconstitutional diktats down our throats?

That’s a rhetorical question: of course they don’t.

When the federal assault weapons ban ended on Sept. 13, 2004, gun crimes and police killings were predicted to surge. Instead, they have declined.

For a decade, the ban was a cornerstone of the gun control movement. Sarah Brady, one of the nation’s leading gun control advocates, warned that “our streets are going to be filled with AK-47s and Uzis.” Life without the ban would mean rampant murder and bloodshed.

Well, more than nine months have passed and the first crime numbers are in. Last week, the FBI announced that the number of murders nationwide fell by 3.6% last year, the first drop since 1999. The trend was consistent; murders kept on declining after the assault weapons ban ended.

Even more interesting, the seven states that have their own assault weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders than the 43 states without such laws, suggesting that doing away with the ban actually reduced crime. (States with bans averaged a 2.4% decline in murders; in three states with bans, the number of murders rose. States without bans saw murders fall by more than 4%.)

…violent crime also declined last year, according to the FBI, and the complete statistics carry another surprise for gun control advocates. Guns are used in murder and robbery more frequently then in rapes and aggravated assaults, but after the assault weapons ban ended, the number of murders and robberies fell more than the number of rapes and aggravated assaults.

It’s instructive to remember just how passionately the media hyped the dangers of “sunsetting” the ban. Associated Press headlines warned “Gun shops and police officers brace for end of assault weapons ban.” It was even part of the presidential campaign: “Kerry blasts lapse of assault weapons ban.” An Internet search turned up more than 560 news stories in the first two weeks of September that expressed fear about ending the ban…

The fact that the end of the assault weapons ban didn’t create a crime wave should not have surprised anyone. After all, there is not a single published academic study showing that these bans have reduced any type of violent crime

Research funded by the Justice Department under the Clinton administration concluded only that the effect of the assault weapons ban on gun violence “has been uncertain”… Gun controllers’ fears that the end of the assault weapons ban would mean the sky would fall were simply not true. How much longer can the media take such hysteria seriously when it is so at odds with the facts?

How much longer? As long as it takes to eviscerate the Second Amendment.

Which is why you haven’t heard about any of this in the antique media.

hypocritical, would-be potentates

Doug Ross @ Journal

The Palestinians could have been celebrating the 65th anniversary of their state today. What happened?

Map of 1947 UN “Partition Plan.” (source: BBC)

(Los Angeles, California) I am sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people. They are loved by the Lord God of the Bible, but they are forgotten or ignored by much of the world. Tragically, most of their leaders over the years have been either corrupt, misguided, or incompetent. They deserve so much better. Consider briefly the sad pattern of modern history:

* 1947– Humanly speaking, the Palestinians could have been celebrating the 65th anniversary of their state today. After all, 65 years ago today, the U.N. voted on the “Partition Plan,” giving part of British Mandated “Palestine” to the Jews to create the state of Israel, and part to the Arabs to create a Palestinian/Jordanian state. The Jewish leaders said yes to the U.N. plan, and created Israel. The Arabs said no to the U.N. plan, and went to war to destroy the Jews. They lost the war and got heartache and poverty instead.

* 1967 — The Arabs — led by Egypt and Syria — built up their military forces, surrounded Israel, and vowed to “throw the Jews into the sea.” But they not only lost the Six Day War, they lost control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and the Golan Heights, and the city of Jerusalem. Israel offered to make a peace treaty. But the Arabs issued the famous “Three Noes” declaration at a summit in Khartoum: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.

* 2000 – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat a sovereign Palestinian state in 2000 at Camp David, including all of Gaza, 90% of the West Bank, and half the Old City of Jerusalem. Arafat said no, and went home to unleash a wave of suicide bombings and other terrorists attacks against Israel known as the Second Intifada.

* 2005 – Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all Israeli forces and people from Gaza and unilaterally gave the Palestinians Gaza without asking for a treaty in return. Yet the Palestinian leadership said no to making peace. Rather, the Palestinians began firing thousands of rocket and missile from Gaza at Israeli civilians.

* 2008 – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians a sovereign state, yet again the Palestinian leadership said no.

* 2009 — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out in support of a Palestinian state (with some caveats). Yet the Palestinian leadership refused even to sit down for direct negotiations with Netanyahu and his government.

Today, the Palestinian people still live in pain and poverty. Last week, the Palestinian leaders in Gaza started a war with Israel and committed more than 3,000 war crimes. Today, they want the world to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, rather than sittting down and negotiating with the Israeli government and people. In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor writes a column that is worth reading and considering. He asks, “Exactly what kind of state are we voting for?” A few excerpts:

  • A state with no control over its territory — The Palestinian Authority has zero authority in Gaza today. Out of concern for his personal safety, President Abbas has not even seen this area with binoculars since 2007, when the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of it in a bloody coup. Demonstrating their affection for Mr. Abbas, Hamas threw members of his political party off 12-story rooftops. While members of the U.S. Congress visit their constituents on a weekly basis, President Abbas hasn’t laid eyes on almost half of the Palestinian population for six years.
  • A terrorist state — States recognized by the U.N. must pledge to be “peace-loving.” This month, Hamas showed its commitment to peace and love in Gaza by firing more than 1,200 rockets into Israeli cities.
  • An undemocratic state — Hamas has imposed brutal tyranny in Gaza, and Palestinian democracy in the West Bank is also far from Jeffersonian. President Abbas’s mandate to rule expired three years ago. He continues to personally extend it without elections or consultation from his people.
  • A bankrupt state —  Palestinian Authority institutions remain completely dependent on foreign aid, limping from crisis to crisis. Yet this year, as the PA threatened to delay payroll for many employees, it tripled payments to convicted terrorists. Today the PA devotes 6% of its annual budget to payments for imprisoned terrorists and the families of suicide bombers, and less than 1% to higher education.

As I stated at the beginning of this column, I am sympathetic with the plight of the Palestinian people. They are loved by God, but so poorly led. That said, should the world support a sovereign Palestinians state under current circumstances? Should Christians around the world support a Palestinian state at all? As I explained in detail yesterday, and have written numerous times before, I believe the answer is no. The Bible says God will judge all nations who divide the Land of Israel. Our love for Palestinians cannot turn a blind eye to such Biblical warnings. But we should support autonomy for the Palestinian people. And as Christians, we should support and encourage the Christian community in the West Bank and Gaza, and do what the Lord allows us to do to build up the Church among the Palestinian people. We should help them love their neighbors, study the Word of God, share the Gospel, make disciples, train pastors, and plant new Bible-teaching congregations. We should also help them stand for justice and stand against injustice of all kinds.

Please be praying for the Palestinian people today — that God may show them His grace and favor and mercy in a real and special way, and that the Church will show them God’s love, too. These are precious people loved by our Lord and need so much better than they have gotten over the years.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog