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Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Is the GOP's health repeal push creating "uncertainty" for businesses?

By Greg Sargent

Expect Democrats to start pushing that case more forcefully in the days ahead. By way of illustration, one Dem points me to this Associated Press interview with David Brown, a Philadelphia-based owner of an advertising and marketing agency that pays $150,000 in annual wages to employees.

Brown provides his employees with health, dental and vision coverage, and is hoping to secure a tax credit through the Affordable Care Act, but says the prospect of the law getting rolled back has left him unable to plan for the future:

In the past two years, Brown had to lay off three of his seven employees and get a second job. He still provides health insurance as a benefit for the remaining employees at his ad agency. For his own family's health insurance, he now relies on Philadelphia's WURD radio, where he took a job as general manager.

His daughters, ages 18 and 21, are on the family health plan, and will be able to stay on it if they need to through age 26 because of the Affordable Care Act. "That's very helpful," Brown said.

He doesn't know yet whether his business will qualify for a tax credit worth up to 35 percent of the company's health insurance premium costs, but he hopes it will. His tax preparer is looking into it. A qualifying employer must pay average annual wages below $50,000 per employee, so his business may indeed qualify.

Brown feels frustrated by the continued battle in Congress over the health law and worries that it will hurt "people who are vulnerable." As a businessman, he's looking for stability.

"This kind of political wrangling doesn't help us in business," Brown said. "If you're waiting to see if something will happen, you can't plan."

The "uncertainty" buzzword, of course, has long been monopolized by Republicans as a way of arguing that Dem policies are "job killers." Today John Boehner reacted to the news that unemployment had dropped to 9 percent by saying it wasn't good enough, insisting: "We need less spending, more freedom, and more certainty for those in America who create jobs."

Expect Dems to try a bit harder in the days ahead to turn the tables on Republicans by arguing that the repeal push itself creates uncertainty for businesses. They are likely to amplify the case by pointing out that some Republicans are flirting with the idea of not raising the debt ceiling, which could cause chaos.

I have no idea how widespread the sentiment echoed by Mr. Brown above is, but if I were a Dem strategist, I would be trying to round up as many people like that as possible and rolling them out to make that case themselves.

By Greg Sargent  | February 4, 2011; 12:06 PM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers  
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Comments

Guess this is Shumer.

What's so bizarro world about is the Gingrich has a company that helps business transition into the new health care law: Center for Health Transformation.

They hold conference calls and Newt gets on the calls occasionally, but usually to sell himself and bash Obama.

Your company can become a member too for the great price of $40,000 dollars! That's right. 40k to Newt's campaign contribution front group posing as a health care business transition consultant.

My guess is if it gets repealed he'll consult people on how to wind down out of the health care law.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 4, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Mike, you have a link handy to that stuff about Newt?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 4, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The uncertainty argument is nonsense on both sides, probably best reserved as a gotcha on a message board like this one or on cable shows where the main objective is to spout talking points. No one who makes the argument believes it except for maybe the Conservatives on here who are chomping at the bit for the next Sean Hannity line.

This doesn't change anything, much like it didn't change anything when Republicans were making the same idiotic point.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 4, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

[Greg: "I have no idea how widespread the sentiment echoed by Mr. Brown above is..."]

Whatever the number of supporters in business, it is dwarfed by opponents.

That is why the Chamber of Commerce wants REPEAL.

Now apart from the fact that this is one (1!) business owner-- and arguing from the particular to the general is a logical fallacy)-- Mr. Brown is hardly a non-partisan.

His company, BrownPartners, focuses on "multicultural marketing." In other words, Brown makes a liviing as a racial huckster-- hardly a credible example.

Try harder.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 4, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mr Sargent shared this sob story with us no doubt because he couldn't find a 12 year old girl on an iron lung who was going to die if Obamacare got rolled back.

It is the same old play from the same old play book. One emotion laden "story" that is supposed to show the opposition to whatever it is the liberals want as heartless and confused.

Not even a nice try. We've seen this play too many times to fall for it yet again. Time for you guys to think of some new ways to sell your transfer payment schemes. Why not just tell the truth: power is all that matters.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Paul Ryan promised to have all those with pre-existing conditions, covered, while not requiring the young and healthy to contribute to the coverage pools.

.

Call Paul Ryan and ask him where is the reform plan he claimed to have ready, back in the fall of 2009.

Ask him; Where's The Beef Paul, and how are you going to pay for treating all the sick, without having the young and healthy paying into a coverage pool?

Republicans run The House Now, so it is Paul Ryan's turn to pass the reform that he lamented about not having passed, when they last had the chance. He has it again, and again he is not doing a damn thing about it. How hard could it be, for him to reach up on the damn shelf, and dust off his already prepared reform bill?

I think he was just Telling The Big Lie, and he never had any such bill ready.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Allow me to remove all the "uncertainty" for Mr. Brown.

PelosiCare has been ruled unconstitutional. It is void and no longer enforceable by the several states.

In any Supreme Court appeal, Kagan will be forced to recuse herself.

So, even if Kennedy sides with the liberal justices, a 4-4 deadlock means that the Supremes will defer to the decision made by the lower court, meaning the circuit court which handled it before them.

That will be the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta and covering Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. The Chief Justice is Indiana-native, Alabama-schooled, Bush-appointed (Reagan-nominee) Judge Dubina.

*VOID*Game Over*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 4, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

What was The Right Wing mantra? Repeal and Replace!

Where is the Replace that they said they already prepared, over a year ago?

Looks like Paul Ryan is just another Big Lie spreading Right Wing Wanker.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Greg-

Great point about the uncertainty created by Republican attempts/threats to repeal the bill. While I generally disagree with you about the constitutionality of the health care reform, I think Democrats would be foolish if they fail to exploit this angle.

That said, uncertainty about the future of the bill will remain until SCOTUS rules on the individual mandate. Republicans and Democrats should be pushing for SCOTUS to hear the case as soon as possible.

Posted by: mobrien83 | February 4, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Democrats passed the bill, to have it go into effect.

They should be in no hurry to have it come before the gang of five right wing stooges, who run with the likes of the Koch Bros, and the Federalist Society.

Repeal was just defeated in the US Senate. Since that happened, now Right Wingers are suddenly in a big hurry to have Judicial Activists step in, and do for them, what they were not able to do, in the US Senate.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "Paul Ryan promised to have all those with pre-existing conditions, covered, while not requiring the young and healthy to contribute to the coverage pools.

.

Call Paul Ryan and ask him where is the reform plan he claimed to have ready, back in the fall of 2009.

Ask him; Where's The Beef Paul, and how are you going to pay for treating all the sick, without having the young and healthy paying into a coverage pool?

Republicans run The House Now, so it is Paul Ryan's turn to pass the reform that he lamented about not having passed, when they last had the chance. He has it again, and again he is not doing a damn thing about it. How hard could it be, for him to reach up on the damn shelf, and dust off his already prepared reform bill?

I think he was just Telling The Big Lie, and he never had any such bill ready."

For what it's worth, you are on much more solid ground here and the Republicans should offer a replacement plan this year.

Specifically, they should offer Ryan-Rivlin and/or Wyden-Bennett as their replacement for the ACA and put them up for a vote, even if they don't go anywhere in the Senate.

I'd give them until after the budget and debt ceiling issues are resolved before scheduling this given the urgency of those issues.

This would actually be the ideal time for the Republicans to cut a deal with this, given that there is much greater concern about the vulnerability of the ACA to legal challenge on the Democratic side than there was last year.

"To review: When the first lawsuits were filed challenging the law in March 2010, the conventional wisdom was that they were little more than a Tea Party stunt. "Several constitutional law experts said this week that it is somewhere between unlikely and hard-to-imagine that the Supreme Court would strike down the new healthcare law," wrote David Savage at the Los Angeles Times. He quoted George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, a former Kennedy clerk, saying that "there is a less than 1 percent chance that the courts will invalidate the individual mandate." In Newsweek in September 2010, Stuart Taylor quoted Walter Dellinger, acting solicitor general under President Clinton, predicting an 8-1 vote at the high court, and Tom Goldstein, another prominent court watcher and litigator, calling for a vote of 7-2.

Fast forward to this week. As my colleague David Weigel put it Monday: "The fate of health care reform is where it was yesterday—in the hands of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy." The Wall Street Journal agreed, sighing, "As with so many contentious issues in American life, destiny appears to have appointed [Kennedy] the ultimate arbiter of the constitutionality of the linchpin of this new law: the individual mandate.""

http://www.slate.com/id/2283415/

Posted by: jnc4p | February 4, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

[Liam whined: "Where is the Replace"]

Repeal... then replace.

Cart... then horse.

Since Senate Democrats have defied Federal rulings and refused to repeal the unconstitutional law, Republicans now have to push repeal through the courts.

One proposal being supported by Republican Congressman Paul Broun from Georgia (who is also a family physician) would let people buy insurance across state lines; let individuals and businesses create insurance associations to reduce costs; create high-risk pools to cover those with pre-existing conditions and make all health care costs 100 percent tax deductible.

“It will be a patient-centered system... Patients will own their own insurance policy so it solves the portability problem... It would give patients an option of finding low cost health insurance that they control.”

*patience*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 4, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Liam-

Contrary to your take on my eagerness to see health reform dismantled by the Supreme Court, I am actually no "Right Winger." In fact, you might be astonished to learn that I work in a fairly liberal circle of advocates on civil rights and other justice issues (some of it funded by the Kochs liberal counterpart, Mr. Soros). While I believe that health care for all is a moral imperative, I do not believe that the law that was passed comports with constitutional restraints on what the federal government can do. Unfortunately, the "unless its a really good idea" escape clause to limits on federal power did not make its way into the Constitution.

Posted by: mobrien83 | February 4, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Scariest. Jobs. Chart. Evah.
http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-percent-job-losses-in-post-wwii-recessions-2011-2#ixzz1D0XiSm00

Pelosi-Obama-Reid (POR) Economy

Grade: F- (Massive Fail)

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 4, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It is increasingly apparent that liam-still is the late and unlamented Ethan. Sure looks that way today.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I have not faith in this Supreme Court.

They have created a situation in this country where Secret Big Money, can now be laundered by operations run by the likes of Rove and the Chamber Of Con Artists.

I am sure that Democrats will have to now, set up similar operations, to fight fire with fire.

How will we ever be able to link the piece of legislation that the Oligarch wanted passed, to his secret money, after it has been laundered.

This Supreme Court ruled that Money Shouts, and the Poor are Voiceless. Can you say the bad old poll tax days are back again, Boys and Girls?

The smoke filled rooms, where candidates will be selected, and then trotted out for the primary voters to rubber stamps will also soon return.

Egypt may be very slow in moving toward our form of government, but the Supreme Court has greatly accelerated our movement in the direction of the Egyptian form of government.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"PelosiCare has been ruled unconstitutional."

Obamacare. PelosiCare.

You guys are just full of pat phrases repeated by insistently and unthinkingly by your ilk. Grow up and think for yourself. A nation awaits.

Posted by: Alex3 | February 4, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Would it be constitutional to privatize Social Security?

You remember privatization, don’t you? The idea was to take Social Security, a mandatory public pension program, and turn it into a system of mandatory personal investment accounts. The schemes evolved over time, with different details, but the gist was always the same. During your working years, you’d make contributions into the accounts, just like you currently pay taxes that fill the Social Security Trust. Over time, you would invest the money in your private account—that is, you’d buy stocks, bonds, and so on—typically within certain guidelines set by the government. Once you hit retirement, you’d start to withdraw from the accounts or perhaps purchase an annuity, relying on subsequent payments for your financial security.

Conservatives presumably thought privatization was constitutional; otherwise, they would not have worked so feverishly to enact it. But if the principle holds for old-age insurance, it ought to hold for medical insurance, too. In other words, if it’s ok for the government to make you pay for regulated private investments, then it should be ok for the government to make you pay for regulated private health insurance. Yet, as far as I can tell, the folks who spent all of those years promoting Social Security as an all-American, free market innovation are the same ones that now insist the Affordable Care Act is an unprecedented threat to liberty.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/82828/the-bad-faith-mandate-critics-part-2

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 4, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"Is the GOP's health repeal push creating 'uncertainty' for businesses?"

No, because real world, on the ground, what's happening with customers and rents and shipping and so on is what creates certainty or uncertainty, not what levers government presses in their magical magic rooms every day. The whole "uncertainty" trope represents a huge, DC-centric bias, which made it a very poor argument against Obama or HCR or anything else the Republicans have trotted out as creating "uncertainty".

@Liam-Still: ""Egypt may be very slow in moving toward our form of government, but the Supreme Court has greatly accelerated our movement in the direction of the Egyptian form of government.""

If American has survived Jersey Shore, America will survive bloviating politicians having some more money to spend on their bloviating advertisement. We will not become Egypt. At least, not because of the money the CoC burns on an overabundance of political ads in an already saturated market.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 4, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Liam-

I think you are right about the expansion of interest group spending in elections being detrimental to our democracy. I'm just not sure there is a better solution.

I'm wondering what sorts of collectives you would permit to spend money on elections. Is it fair to prohibit corporations (collective business owners) to spend money on elections while allowing unions (collective laborers) to do so? It seems that outcome would be lacking in consistency. What types of collectives would you permit to spend money in elections? Presumably, by prohibiting collective groups from spending, you would open an even scarier door where only individuals with the capacity to do so unilaterally (think your dreaded Koch brothers) would be able to afford to run ads, etc... during campaigns.

Posted by: mobrien83 | February 4, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

[Liam whined: "the Poor are Voiceless"]

Oh Noes! The Obamateur's recent drone attacks in Tirah Valley have undermined polio-eradication efforts in the militancy-hit areas where militants have backtracked from their commitment and asked the anti-polio vaccination teams to stay away from the region.
http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=29326&Cat=7&dt=2/4/2011

So why isn't billionaire progressive George Soros financing any unhinged Leftist rent-a-mob rallies against ObaMao's summary execution of (un-Mirandized!) civilians by Reaper drone airstrikes in Pakistan?

Afterall, Obama's targeting tactics are clearly more Miranda-despising than Bush's post-9/11 moistening of KSM, et.al.

Obama's policy to use Reaper drones to target (un-Mirandized!) civilians has increased markedly without a peep. Get busy, Leftists.

Rev. Wright should burn a Koran every day until Obama either releases his birth certificate or ends his Reaper drone madness.

Rage against the machine, progressives!

Oh noes! More *Obama Doctrine* success:

Al-Qaeda Leader Admits Drone Strikes Wreak Havoc
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/al-qaida-leader-admits-facing-pressure-u

"A purported al-Qaida leader in Pakistan says the terror network is losing territory and fighters amid a U.S. drone strike campaign, according to an audio message monitored by a U.S. organization that tracks militant propaganda..."

*Miranda-despiser-in-Chief*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 4, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

All, John Thune's comments on repeal are nothing short of amazing:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/in_recent_days_jon_chait.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 4, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"PelosiCare has been ruled unconstitutional."

Obamacare. PelosiCare.

You guys are just full of pat phrases repeated by insistently and unthinkingly by your ilk. Grow up and think for yourself. A nation awaits.

Posted by: Alex3 | February 4, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Pragmatic-

I haven't seen the argument you make articulated before about SS privatization. I think it is a good one. I don't know enough about the laws that were put forward to say whether the comparison is completely accurate. I'm a fairly young guy, so I don't remember well, were opponents of the bills to privatize SS raising this Constitutional issue at the time Republicans were pushing this?

Posted by: mobrien83 | February 4, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@Alex: "You guys are just full of pat phrases repeated by insistently and unthinkingly by your ilk. "

I usually refer to it as ACA or as HCR but have also called it Obamacare. I think that's pretty accurate, and has a nice ring. PelosiCare, not so much.

But, I'm glad to have someone out there letting us know what those "of our ilk" are doing. In many ways, our critics are our very best friends.

@pragmatic: "Conservatives presumably thought privatization" . . .

Partial. It was always partial (or additional). That being said, that doesn't make your point any less relevant.

"was constitutional; otherwise, they would not have worked so feverishly to enact it. But if the principle holds for old-age insurance, it ought to hold for medical insurance, too. In other words, if it’s ok for the government to make you pay for regulated private investments, then it should be ok for the government to make you pay for regulated private health insurance."

It was indeed constitutional, as the mandate probably is, and how a simple tax for folks who don't have health insurance clearly is. The government has the power to tax anything, including being a non-insurance carrier. This may raise ire and irritation and be unpopular, but it would be constitutional, as would be taxing people for being fat or any number of other things. Although, as always, challenges could be mounted.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 4, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

[Alex3 muttered: "Obamacare. PelosiCare. You guys are just full of pat phrases repeated by insistently"]

That's twice now. You want to go for three?

*insistently*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 4, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

You are dead wrong. Attack ads work. They are more effective when they are not being made by the opponent of the person being attacked. That is why Rove, etc. ran ran relentless attack ads against Russ Feingold, for example, and Johnson stayed above it all. In fact he was told to not even provide any details of what his legislative agenda would be, should he win. He actually said, I will wait until I get to Washington, and then I will figure out what needs to be done. He won, because the secretly funded attack ads, ripped Feingold to shreds, while he didn't even tell the voters what he stood for, so there was nothing for much of them to feel any unease about.


It worked so well, for the Koch Bros, etc, that they are going all in with the same approach for 2012. If it had not worked, they would not be doing that.

I am not going to waste time, laying out my preferred election campaign system, because the transfer of power over the outcome of elections has already being transferred to the Oligarchs, and that train can not be stopped.

That is why I have lost all respect for This Supreme Court. I expected nothing better from Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito.

It is Anthony Kennedy that I reserve my real scorn for. He knew better, but he turned into a profile in Jello, and just went along with the other four.

He is the one who should be ashamed of himself, for having voted to turn America into a permanent Oligarchy.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I never mutter.

I don't agree with all of the items in HCR or how they got the insurance company lobbyists to write certain provisions in the committee process.

However, I find right wing arguments against it to dumbed down and extremely unhelpful. I mean what do you do with "OBAMA WANTS TO KILL GRANDMA!!"? It's not true in the least (the provision in question merely provided funds to pay medicare doctors for time spent going over end-of-life options) and it insults intelligence.

I really fed up with it. America is full of smart people and I have no doubt there are plenty of smart conservatives. I just find it utterly reprehensible that so many have decided to take a dive into complete and utter nonsense.

The very use of the "Obamacare" or "Pelosicare" doesn't help anything and only proves my point. It just alienates and divides. Meanwhile a very real problem goes unaddressed.

Grow up please. Your nation needs your grown-up and rational input. We await patiently.

Posted by: Alex3 | February 4, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Your contention about health care is that Republicans need to offer an alternative if they want to be taken seriously when they talk about repeal, but you refuse to say how you would change the outcome of Citizens United, beyond repealing its result. Granted, Republicans have affirmatively stated they will "replace" the health care law, so expecting a proposal from them is natural and fair, but refusing to offer an alternative to Citizens United indicates to me that I am right that there is not a better solution that can be implemented fairly.

Posted by: mobrien83 | February 4, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Alex-

Could we agree that there are people saying a lot of stupid things on both sides of the aisle? "Death panels" and other hyperbolic and incendiary rhetoric from the right is certainly misleading, but I don't think its fair to say "right wing arguments against it" are dumbed down. Perhaps some arguments are dumbed down, but arguments about the proper scope of federal power under our Constitution are not dumb, even if you disagree with them. I happen to think the individual mandate exceeds congressional authority. I don't think people who believe the provision is within the boundaries of the Constitution are making dumb arguments just because I think they're wrong.

Posted by: mobrien83 | February 4, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I can not change what has been validated by the Five Supreme Activists. I have lots of ways that I would run things differently, if this were a legislative debate, but it is not.

Health care is a legislative debate, and Paul Ryan's Party has passed repeal in the House. He is the one who said that he had a better reform plan already on the shelf, so all I am asking is why hasn't he introduced it yet?

I am not proposing any plan for him. He said he has had one, for more than a year, so where is it?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The liberals are certainly in a quandry here. I have heard that a liberal commentator on MSNBC found it unfortunate that the fate of Obamacare would rest on a single, unelected and unaccountable person, a supreme court justice.

I don't recall these same angst spasms concerning RoeVwade. In that case a few men in black fabricated a constitutional framework that legalized infanticide. Liberals have spent a serious amount of effort between the day that decision was rendered and today defending it and insuring that it stands. The attention liberals spend on looming Supreme court appointments is based on their concern that the court never be so constructed that it could over turn Roe.

why else would the left insist that justices be given a litmus test concerning stare decisis?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I can live with calling it: Obamacare, because I fully support it.

And of course, that entitle me to call those repeal votes;

The Republicans' NoCare Plan.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think people who believe the provision is within the boundaries of the Constitution are making dumb arguments just because I think they're wrong."

I think that's a valid issue. But that's not what we've been hearing until very recently. We are told it will lead to socialism and the end of America.

When in fact it is a Republican designed healthcare plan at its heart. Obama thought he could bring the Republican party on board by using their ideas. What he didn't count on how the right wing media would explode against him in a spasm of hate not seen since the days of Clinton.

"Perhaps some arguments are dumbed down"

PERHAPS?!!! It's cartoonish in its extremism.

Posted by: Alex3 | February 4, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Liam-

I agree that Republicans should be held to account when they say they plan to "replace" the health care reform law. To be taken seriously, they must offer alternatives. My opinion on health care is that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that Congress should find another way to convince people to participate in the insurance market before they become sick/injured or should encourage the states to perform their own health care reforms (a la Massachusetts).

Posted by: mobrien83 | February 4, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Isn't SS based on whether you earn an income? And I'm not even sure if I'm required by law to have a number, if I don't have an income. And aren't Federal employees exempt from SS? Don't they have their own plan? The mandate requires, if I'm not mistaken, to have insurance because on my existence in this country.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 4, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@TrollMcWingnut "Isn't SS based on whether you earn an income? And I'm not even sure if I'm required by law to have a number, if I don't have an income. And aren't Federal employees exempt from SS? Don't they have their own plan? The mandate requires, if I'm not mistaken, to have insurance because on my existence in this country. "

This is correct. The primary basis for the constitutionality of Social Security is the Sixteenth Amendment (Income Tax) to the United States Constitution.

A simple way to deal with the privatization constitutionality question would be to give everyone an opt out provision. They can chose to "opt out" of participating the privatization, but it wouldn't exempt them from the tax. Of course, this would be a pretty bad decision to make from an economic standpoint.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Posted by: jnc4p | February 4, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Alex-

If you read other of my posts I think you will find that I agree with you about the goodness of health care reform. I think it is a great idea. I also think there are many great ideas that simply fall outside the scope of the authority granted to Congress.

To be fair, you are right that some of the arguments you mention are "cartoonish" and even ridiculous. I would point out that there is no doubt that there are socialistic aspects of the bill. Socialism is part of our economy. It is really a question of degree. I don't think it is cartoonish to say that health care reform makes our economy socialistic to a greater degree than it was before. On the other hand, the right has succeeded in turning the word socialism into a boogey man connoting repressive communism, when in fact socialism is an economic system that is not dependent on a communistic political system, and many aspects of our economy already have socialist elements.

Posted by: mobrien83 | February 4, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

As a conservative I would be deeply troubled by a Republican party that advanced the individual mandate as a method of solving the non existant health care "crisis".

that's the fact of life that Democrats just don't get. Unlike their constituencies, we conservatives won't stay on the plantation. When the Republicans strayed from our basic beliefs we withdrew support.

The election victories for Democrats in 06 and 08 were very much a function of the inability of the old line Republicans to woo back alienated conservatives.

Further, a bad idea is a bad idea, period. Asserting that Republicans should support the mandate, and other aspects of Obamacare, because some of the ideas contained therein were origninally "Republican" simply makes no sense. Wrong is wrong.

Just to lend some credibility to this, please note that many of us conservatives have a well earned distrust of Mitch McConnell. After all, spending went UP when he was in charge.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 4, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"And aren't Federal employees exempt from SS? Don't they have their own plan?"

Used to be, but not anymore. changed in 1984. you can be grandfathered in as exempt if you were with the gov before 84.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 4, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Republicans vote to repeal RomneyCare.

He will make a wonderful Republican Presidential Nominee.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@NoVAHockey ""And aren't Federal employees exempt from SS? Don't they have their own plan?"

Used to be, but not anymore. changed in 1984. you can be grandfathered in as exempt if you were with the gov before 84."

I think certain state government employees are exempt as well, depending on their state retirement systems.

Also, apparently are the Amish and other groups that have religious objections to it.

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/514/~/religious-groups-exempt-from-social-security.

I wonder at what point a philosophical or ideological objection becomes a religious objection.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 4, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Jnc4p,

I guess that's why I think it's different than SS. In that SS is not required to be paid into if no income is earned, unlike Obamacare [;-)] that requires a purchase of a good/service merely for existing. And I'm pretty sure there are groups exempt from Obamacare as well, Amish and, I think, Muslims come to mind.

Just thinking the Mandate question, Constitutionally, is different than SS contribution. YMMV.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 4, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder at what point a philosophical or ideological objection becomes a religious objection."

here's the form you have to complete:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4029.pdf

The IRS are very clear on the matter. Ideological oppositions won't cut it. You have to be a member of a religious group that:

It is conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits of any private or public insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement; makes payments for the cost of
medical care; or provides services for medical care (including social
security and Medicare benefits).

It has provided a reasonable level of living for its dependent members.

It has existed continuously since December 31, 1950.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 4, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@NoVAHockey ""I wonder at what point a philosophical or ideological objection becomes a religious objection."

here's the form you have to complete:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4029.pdf

The IRS are very clear on the matter. Ideological oppositions won't cut it. You have to be a member of a religious group that:

It is conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits of any private or public insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement; makes payments for the cost of
medical care; or provides services for medical care (including social
security and Medicare benefits).

It has provided a reasonable level of living for its dependent members.

It has existed continuously since December 31, 1950."

Hmmm. Sounds a little like "establishment" of a religion to me.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 4, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the prevention of phony religions being set up now, to get around the law.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the prevention of phony religions being set up now, to get around the law.
--------------------------------------------------
Maybe not. Maybe this IRS provision was written around 1950 and was written specifically to describe the Amish and not allow more "religions" to form simply to avoid taxation. Does anyone know the history of this provision?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 4, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "Sounds like the prevention of phony religions being set up now, to get around the law."

You are correct, but by automatically ruling any religion set up after December 31, 1950 is not valid for this purpose, the IRS is favoring one religion over another (or "establishing" some).

This is the problem with allowing "religious" exemptions to laws.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 4, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@liam,

Sorry, I misread your comments. We're in agreement.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 4, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Refresh me ould memory. Who was the President back in 1984, when Federal employees were first mandated to have to pay into the Federal Social Security System?

Ah gwan gwan, tell me who it was. I am dying to know.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I see no reason to allow any new religions to be established after 1950. If the Cosmic Chef had not settled on his finally recipe by then, he must not be sure what the hell he wants us to believe.

What is he; the President of the Multiverse Procrastinators' Club?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

If most healthy people opt out of purchasing insurance, the health care Insurance Industry, and most likely the Medical Providers system will collapse.

The Insurance Industry is based solely on having a large number of low risk, healthy people in their pools, to allow them to skim large profit margins, large salaries/bonuses, and operating expenses off the top of their premiums receivables. It is really a Ponzi scheme. Pay us when you are healthy, and we will drop you, if you look like you are going to start asking for a payout.

So who are the Republicans going to bat for, with their efforts to repeal the individual mandate? Isn't it mostly a bunch of free loaders, risk takers, or dead beats?

It has to be, or else the Insurance Companies would have already gone out of business.

So why are The Republicans going to bat for that minority of people, who just do not want to contribute their fair share?

They are still going to seek to medical care, as needed, but they just are not prepared to contribute to covering the over all costs of the system.

Should we also let them show up at restaurants, when ever they run out of food, and be allowed to eat for free?

I am not talking about people who are so poor they can not afford the premiums. The reform bill already addressed that issue. I am talking about people who can afford the premiums but do not want to pay anything for coverage, but still will seek medical care, when ever the get injured or become seriously sick.

It still strikes me, that all The Republicans are doing, is going to bat for that class of freeloaders.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 4, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I guess I want to know when the media is going to point out the idiocy of the "certainty" argument. In what universe has business ever been certain, beside Bernie Madoff's? Risk is what its about. If someone is risk averse, that person should probably be an employee, and not an employer. As for the certainty of planning around the tax code, how is that different from being a taxpayer? Taxpayers are subject to the whims of the tax code, and so are businesses. Big deal.

Posted by: knajjar60 | February 4, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm ... let's see ... mandatory overhead expense due to governmental requirement of health care coverage for workers under threat of fine ( or worse ) vs. running your business as you choose free of meddling from the beancounters and technocrats ... which one do YOU think it is Mr. Sargent ?? ... Watching you libs play Twister trying to defend this Titanic is highly entertaining ... please keep it coming ...

Posted by: cunn9305 | February 4, 2011 8:59 PM | Report abuse


Search on the web "Wise Health Insurance" if you have a condition such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, cancer, depression or have had an injury, like a broken leg and need health Insurance NOW.

Posted by: lonnieesykes4 | February 4, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Greg and his fellow Dems continue to demonstrate how out of touch they are with most Americans. And with logic.

Posted by: cajunkate | February 7, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

The best case for businesses in the face of Obamacare would be to opt out and leave their employees uncovered, paying the penalty which would be less than the cost of compliance, and leaving employees to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, Democrats are handing out waivers to some companies and not to others, knowing that this is the case, while they themselves are trying to "fix" Obamacare (meaning they know it is deeply flawed) in Congress. If that weren't enough, there is a reasonable chance that the Supreme Court will strike down at least a significant portion, if not all, of this flawed legislation.

Republicans had nothing to do with any of that uncertainty. Trying to pin the blame on them now, when this is exactly what they predicted would happen, is like trying to blame the watchdog because he barked at the people breaking into your house.

Posted by: INTJ | February 7, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The best case for businesses in the face of Obamacare would be to opt out and leave their employees uncovered, paying the penalty which would be less than the cost of compliance, and leaving employees to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, Democrats are handing out waivers to some companies and not to others, knowing that this is the case, while they themselves are trying to "fix" Obamacare (meaning they know it is deeply flawed) in Congress. If that weren't enough, there is a reasonable chance that the Supreme Court will strike down at least a significant portion, if not all, of this flawed legislation.

Republicans had nothing to do with any of that uncertainty. Trying to pin the blame on them now, when this is exactly what they predicted would happen, is like trying to blame the watchdog because he barked at the people breaking into your house.

Posted by: INTJ | February 7, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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