Voters Can Bank on States to Cut Costs
No wonder people are getting nervous about ObamaCare. If even the President's party is pushing the panic button, then there's plenty of reason for concern. "I just see a huge train wreck coming down," confessed Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.), one of the Democrats who helped drag the bill across the finish line in 2010. And he's not alone. More liberals are trying to distance themselves from the health care law--both publicly and personally--before the country feels its full effect. Just last week, members were hiding behind closed doors, hatching a scheme to exempt themselves from the coverage they swore every American needs.
With the wheels falling off his coalition, President Obama held a press conference to try to control the damage. Sure, there will be "glitches and bumps," he tried to reassure people, but for "the 85-90% of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing's already happened, and their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before. Full stop. That's it. Now they don't have to worry about anything else."
In other words: So what if you're paying higher taxes and premiums, losing your insurance--or worse, your freedom--cutting employees, and sacrificing jobs? Those things may not bother the President, but they sure bother the rest of us. Even the Washington Post was surprised by his flippancy. "Obama... suggested that only a small segment of the population... will have to worry about the impact of implementation. But there are a variety of studies and reports that suggest that [far more people will feel its] impact." The paper gave him two "Pinocchios" for "significant omissions and/or exaggerations."
One of the reasons the President gets away with these whoppers is that the American people are still surprisingly ignorant about the most expensive policy in American history. In a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 42% of Americans didn't even know the law was in place. Twelve percent thought it had been repealed (wishful thinking!), 7% believed it had been overturned by the Supreme Court, and 23% didn't know enough to speculate. About half of America says they don't have enough information on ObamaCare to understand its impact on their family (try $20,000, the IRS warns). Costs are already starting to skyrocket--and not just in insurance coverage. Businesses from movie theaters to medical companies are hiking prices to compensate for the new taxes, staff cutbacks, and pricy mandates.
And while Americans pinned most of their hopes for repeal on the Supreme Court or Congress, states may end up playing the biggest role in minimizing the damage of this $3 trillion mistake. There was a gift, the Wall Street Journal says, tucked into last summer's disappointing Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare. It may have been small consolation then, but it could amount to huge savings for taxpayers now. As part of their decision, the justices ruled that Congress can't strong-arm states into expanding Medicaid by "threatening to withhold federal dollars from the state's existing program" (a favorite tactic of this administration when it comes to Planned Parenthood funding).
This ruling, Christina Corieri explains, "effectively gave state policymakers the unique opportunity to veto hundreds of billions of dollars in new federal spending..." As it stands, 18 states have opted out of Medicaid expansion and 12 more are undecided. That would translate into more than $609 billion in total savings over the next eight years if all 30 opt out. That's more than seven times the 2013 sequester cuts, and more than half the projected federal deficit for this fiscal year! If Congress won't get serious about the deficit, states will force them too--just by saying no to more Medicaid.
Superbug a Super Problem for FDA
The FDA's new Plan B decision is a compromise alright--but what it's compromising is young girls' health. Desperate to get their "emergency contraception" in medicine cabinets across America, the FDA is helping teenagers as young as 15 access the drug over-the-counter--without a shred of evidence that it's safe for their age group. Although Plan B's packaging warns that it may abort a pregnancy, the evidence is still inconclusive regarding its complete mechanism of action. Until additional studies clarify the impact, we advise erring on the safe side.
Unfortunately, the FDA refuses to, since the agency is making this decision before conducting a single study on Plan B's effect on young girls. Regardless of the risks, yesterday's announcement came just a week before Judge Edward Korman's deadline for stores to start stocking the morning-after pill over the counter to anyone of any age. Under the FDA's plan, Plan B would line drugstore shelves next to condoms or other women's health products. To buy it, girls would have to show the cashier an ID proving that they're 15-years old or older.
As usual, the FDA's "solution" fails to address a larger problem: that Plan B is a drug with quadruple the hormones of a birth control pill and taking it without so much as a pharmacy consult could be dangerous. It undermines the right of parents to be involved in medical decisions; and it lulls girls into a false sense of security about the other risks of sex outside of marriage; and it facilitates the abuse of girls. While an unplanned pregnancy is inconvenient, it's not deadly. Many sexually transmitted diseases, however, are--and there's no retroactive protection for them.
Unfortunately, the FDA is so obsessed with preventing pregnancy that it's blind to the wave of killer diseases ravaging America. Just this week, the medical community warned Americans about a new strain of gonorrhea--a "superbug"--that they believe could be just as lethal as AIDS. In fact, said Dr. Alan Christianson, it "might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect people more quickly." The potential for disaster, experts say, is great. This strain is completely resistant to antibiotics and like other forms of gonorrhea, it's transmitted through unprotected sexual contact--which the use of Plan B only encourages.
Apparently, the Obama FDA is willing to risk girls' exposure to superbugs like this one to advance their liberal ideology. Obviously, in the politics of sex, there is no reason or logic--or even the pretense of safety. We rightly make children wait until they're adults to buy cigarettes and alcohol, but when it comes to sex, we throw caution to the wind. That's not fair to our young people, it's not fair to parents, and at a cost of $16 billion a year, it's not fair to taxpayers.
** If you missed it, FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin stopped by "Fox and Friends" to talk about the outrageous new military policy that would court martial service members who share the Gospel. Click below to watch. And if you haven't signed our petition to Secretary Chuck Hagel demanding that he intervene, join the 60,000 Americans who have! Also, FRC's Ken Klukowski's column on the controversy was a leading item on Drudge Report today, read it here!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.