Republicans believe Obamcare is threatening to become such a disaster, they are now introducing bills appealing to Democrats’ sense of decency and fairness, to try to protect Americans from the harmful consequences of the law.
And they believe they have reason to hope Democrats will finally apply some brakes to the careening health-care law Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., described in April as a looming “train wreck.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will introduce a bill to delay the health law’s individual mandate, requiring people without health insurance to buy it, until Obamcare’s numerous and serious technical problems are fixed.
Rubio’s press secretary Alex Conant told WND, “Senator Rubio believes this legislation is just a common-sense response to the problems with the website.”
“It’s unreasonable to penalize people for not buying Obamacare if they are literally unable to buy it.”
GOP lawmakers tried to delay the individual mandate during negotiations over the government shutdown, but Democrats refused to budge.
Since then, a series of bombshell revelations about the failures of the Obamacare website has created such an uproar, Republicans hope Democrats will see the benefit in a delay.
Conant said Rubio’s office is reaching out to both Democrat and Republican Senate offices, but it’s premature to discuss the sort of response they are getting, since the Senate is still in session.
“I expect that we’ll definitely have a lot of Republican co-sponsors, and we’re hopeful that at least some Democrats will join us, too,” said Conant.
On Monday, President Obama tried to distinguish the website from what he called the health-care “product,” which he said was “good.”
But, the product might not be so good if the Obamacare website is giving insurance companies incorrect information.
Those companies report receiving incomplete and garbled applications, with either inaccurate or unusable information.
Insurers told the Wall Street Journal, “[T]he federal health-care marketplace is generating flawed data that is straining their ability to handle even the trickle of enrollees who have gotten through so far.”
Executives at more than a dozen health plans said problems include “duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations.”
Obama recommended those trying to enroll in Obamacare sign up in-person or over the phone, but WND and many other news outlets have documented problems with those methods, such as potential fraud, identity theft and inability to get information necessary to enroll, including the cost of plans and what they would cover.
Good for the gander
Sen Rand Paul, R-Ky., is trying another approach to protect the public from Obamacare – changing the Constitution.
The senator has introduced a constitutional amendment that would prevent Congress from passing laws that do not apply to lawmakers, the president and the Supreme Court.
The language of the bill itself is notably simple.
Section 1 reads: Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.
Section 2 would make all laws applicable to the executive branch and section 3 would make all laws applicable to the Supreme Court, making sure all three branches of the federal government are included.
Supporters of the bill say it seems politically shrewd, as it may be difficult for lawmakers to explain why a law is good for ordinary Americans but not for them.
But, there is another reason that inspired Paul to draft the bill, and to include the Supreme Court, especially, Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the deciding vote upholding Obamacare.
“My amendment says basically that everybody including Justice Roberts – who seems to be such a fan of Obamacare – gets it, too,” Paul told the Daily Caller last month.
“See, right now, Justice Roberts is still continuing to have federal employee health insurance subsidized by the taxpayer. And if he likes Obamacare so much, I’m going to give him an amendment that gives Obamacare to Justice Roberts.”
Obamacare defeat in court
Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Obamacare, the battle against the health-care law is still playing out in court rooms.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman in Washington, D.C., refused to dismiss a lawsuit that could cripple Obamacare.
The suit brought by a group of small business claims the administration has ignored language in the Affordable Care Act that forbids the federal government from enforcing the law in the 34 states that opted not to set up their own health-care exchanges. Those states ended up in the federal health-care exchange, the same exchange run by the malfunctioning website.
According to the suit, the law does not allow the government to offer subsidies to citizens in those states, and that means those people should not be subject to fines if they do not carry health insurance.
But, the suit claims, the IRS illegally exceeded its authority by offering the subsides, thus forcing uninsured citizens in those states to buy health care.
The free-market think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute is coordinating the case. Its general counsel Sam Kazman tells WND a win would provide protection for businesses from the employer mandate and protection for a number of people from the individual mandate.
“It also means that companies in those states will not be under the pressure to reduce the number of full-time employees they have.”
Most importantly, said Kazman, it would be a big political hit for the Obamacare program, because a national program would suddenly apply in less than half the country.
“Companies know if they move to non-participating states the employer mandate is one less thing they’d have to worry about.”
Kazman doesn’t think a victory in court would sink Obamacare, but, “[I]t might cause Congress to take up the statute and start modifying it.”
The judge did not grant a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the IRS from granting subsidies, but he did agree to rule soon, by Feb. 15.
Quoth the raven, Obamacare
Meanwhile, as attorneys and politicians try to slow down Obamacare, the Super Bowl champions are promoting it.
Documnts obtained by Judicial Watch show the Baltimore Ravens will be getting $130,000 from taxpayers to promote the health-care law.
The National Football League, and other professional sports leagues, have turned down requests from the White House to push Obamacare.
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The NFL confirmed months ago it would not participate in the Obamacare public-relations campaign.
The league said, “We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about [the health-care law's] implementation.”
But Maryland health officials apparently lobbied the Ravens and struck a deal in which the team will help market the state’s Obamacare exchange, known as Maryland Health Connection, on television, radio and the team’s official website.
According to Judicial Watch, “[T]his includes the ‘Ravens Report’ show on cable TV and a number of pre- and post-game radio segments as well as Facebook and Twitter plugs.”