If George Washington was the father of our country, Benjamin Franklin was its grandfather. While the former was fighting the British at home, the latter was on the other side of the Atlantic securing the money and arms that kept the revolution alive. It is no exaggeration to say that, without Franklin’s indefatigable diplomatic efforts in Europe, the American Revolution would have failed. What has this to do with Obamacare? When that conflict was officially ended by the Treaty of Paris, Franklin was 77 — well past the age when key ACA architect Ezekiel Emanuel says we should all embrace death.
The Right Prescription
Remember the controversial provision of Obamacare that would have paid physicians extra money to provide “end-of-life counseling” to seniors whose conditions required expensive medical care? That feature of “reform” caused such a public outcry that the Democrats had to drop it from the final legislation. But the government apparatchiks didn’t give up. On Christmas Day, 2010, it came to light that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) planned to implement the program anyway. Within a week, however, vehement objections by clinicians and citizens alike forced the CMS bureaucrats to back off once more. Well, they’re at it again.
In an obvious attempt to help the Democrats preserve their Senate majority, the “reporters” of the legacy news media have been hard at work promoting a new Obamacare meme. The Los Angeles Times assisted in the launch of this propaganda campaign early this month with a piece titled, “Obamacare loses some of its campaign punch for Republicans.” The evidence provided by the article’s authors in support of this claim consists primarily of a July study involving GOP advertising: “The percentage of broadcast television ads focused on Obamacare dipped in the spring, according to a study conducted by Kantar Media/CMAG.”
It has been widely reported that the latest Obama administration official to delete emails requested by congressional investigators is Marilyn Tavenner, who runs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Far less coverage, however, has been devoted to the ironic fact that Tavenner’s agency administers the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. The “Sunshine Act,” as it is generally known, is a provision of Obamacare meant to ensure that physicians conduct business transactions with complete transparency. In other words, the very bureaucrat whose emails have conveniently gone missing oversees the agency tasked with keeping your doctor and his business associates honest.
During the oral arguments that preceded the recent appeals court ruling against the Obama administration in Halbig v. Burwell, an under-reported yet crucial discussion took place between two of the judges and counsel for the plaintiffs. Judge Harry T. Edwards pronounced himself confused as to why Congress would have concerned itself with what entity ultimately set up Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. Judge A. Raymond Randolph and attorney Michael A. Carvin did their best to enlighten the befuddled jurist:
JUDGE EDWARDS: I’m trying to understand … who cares who sets up the exchange?
JUDGE RANDOLPH: Ben Nelson …
MR. CARVIN: The enactors of the law …
JUDGE RANDOLPH: Ben Nelson cared.
JUDGE EDWARDS: Who cares?
JUDGE RANDOLPH: Ben Nelson.
MR. CARVIN: They couldn’t get to 60… Ben Nelson said we are not going to have a Federally run exchange, we are going to implement basic principles of federalism and the states are going to run those exchanges or I don’t vote for it and it doesn’t get passed.
A while back, I suggested in this space that Obamacare might go the way of McCain-Feingold. That campaign finance “reform” law was not, you will recall, killed by a single lawsuit or act of Congress. Indeed, the general consensus at the end of 2003 was that McCain-Feingold was in perfect health. Less than seven years later it was, for all intents and purposes, dead. It had succumbed to a long series of attacks by determined opponents who were convinced that it was unconstitutional. Much the same thing is obviously happening to PPACA.
Obamacare’s supporters have long insisted that it is the “law of the land,” implicitly suggesting that it is immutable and permanent. Evidently, it hasn’t occurred to these people to mention that to their dear leader. His Majesty, Barack I, obviously thinks of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a collection of royal decrees, any one of which may be altered at his pleasure. Thus, in a proclamation issued last week through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, His Highness declared that all U.S. territories are now exempt from most of PPACA’s morass of rules and regulations.
For most of 2014, the Democrats looked on the looming congressional elections with considerable dread. All of the standard indicators portend an unhappy outcome for their party. The voters are deeply dissatisfied with the direction in which the country is headed, the President’s popularity—an important gauge of a party’s prospects in any midterm—is at rock bottom, and most competitive seats are in places where Mitt Romney performed well in 2012. Consequently, the Democrats had abandoned hope of winning back the House and stood in real fear of losing their Senate majority. Then came last week’s Hobby Lobby ruling.
This morning’s Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby will doubtless precipitate a flood of stories from the establishment “news” media claiming that an entrenched cadre of conservative justices have dealt a grievous blow to the reproductive freedom of women and somehow endowed corporations with religious rights. These reports should be ignored as so much hysterical nonsense. What the Court actually said was that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the government to provide closely held corporate objectors to Obamacare’s contraception mandate the same accommodation it already provides nonprofit organizations.
The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby on June 26, and the closer we get to that date the more frantic liberals become. Their fear of a decision in favor of the arts and crafts chain, whose owners have challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare’s contraception mandate on the grounds that it violates their religious liberty, has reached such a pitch that they are making claims that transcend the merely portentous. Their warnings concerning the consequences of a high court win for the Green family, the company’s owners, have now become downright apocalyptic.