Government Shutdown Day 4: This morning, with no let-up in sight on the part of the House, Senate or President Obama, here are some new factoids about the matters at hand…with only a little commentary added (-:
- The House has now passed and sent 9 bills to the Senate that would either completely or partially re-open the government. Harry Reid has refused to let the Senate vote on a single one of them. Harry Reid has sent the House one single proposal in all that time.
- 57 House Democrats have joined every House Republican in voting for all or some of those 9 bills. That’s over one-quarter of all the House Democrats that have supported all or at least one of the Republican proposed solutions. Similar support from Senate Democrats would guarantee passage in the Senate. But, votes have not been allowed in the Senate on these bills. Speaking of Democratic support for Republican solutions, click HERE to view a chart that tracks party defections vote-by-vote on each funding bill before the House since September 20.
- The White House has been raving about all of the “hits” on ObamaCare exchange websites across the country as proof of the success of the program. But, that is not the whole story. In the California exchange, for example, millions of your taxpayer dollars have been spent to pay Obama supporters to encourage people to sign up on the exchanges. This ad campaign resulted in 465,000 unique visitors to the California exchange in the first days. Sounds good. Except that only 7,700 of those people applied for a policy. That’s 7,700 in a state of 38 million people. That is also an application rate of under 2%. Other states are reporting similar and even worse rates of order. In Connecticut, only slightly over 100 people have submitted applications. If you have a business where your customers by law are required to buy your product and only 2% of the people in your store do so, you have a problem. The mandated, but unnecessary or unwanted coverages, the lack of competition and the closed rather than open marketplaces all are predictably leading to higher monthly costs, higher deductibles, less desired coverages and limitations on doctors and hospitals that will accept the coverage. And, by the way, payments by many Medicare recipients were increased in order to partially pay for the subsidies to ObamaCare recipients.
- My office is receiving a steady and increasing stream of unsolicited letters and e-mails from constituents who have lost their health care, lost their job, had their hours reduced or seen a huge increase in heath care premiums all due to ObamaCare. Other Members of Congress with whom I have spoken are seeing the same thing. Many of these letters are from Obama supporters who were led to believe that, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” and they are realizing the depth of that lie. Others have been ObamaCare supporters because they thought that the cost of health care would go down for everyone under ObamaCare, but now are learning that their costs are going up. The fact is that some people will get cheaper or free health insurance under ObamaCare. But, most people will see their costs increase, coverage diminish (including almost everyone on Medicare) or job circumstances change badly as a result of what it takes to pay for those people who will now get something for free. There truly is no free lunch. Here are a few examples of the letters I have received (I have removed the constituent names for purposes of privacy):
- “Hi John: Blue Shield just notified me that ‘due to changes in federal law’ my premiums will increase 58% in January to $1304.00 a month. As a self employed individual I have to find a way to earn more money just to fund this increase.”
- “Please support the Individual exemption to ObamaCare. My insurance company (Healthnet) sent me a letter stating, because of ObamaCare, they are being forced to drop my coverage. I looked on the “exchange” and it will cost my wife and I, who are retired, ages 58/62 $1200/month with a $10,000 deductible. We cannot afford that, so we will be uninsured because of ObamaCare.”
- “I implore you to take action against Obama’s healthcare reform! Please stand up for us! Healthcare as it is now is just border lining affordable. My premium is doubling, deductible is tripling, out of
pocket yearly maximum is tripling, and the insurance is going to pay less than they already do only once I’ve reached my deductible. Since I am a healthy young man, and maybe see a doctor once every few years, I never meet my deductible as it stands now. Basically, in 2014 it is no longer going to be “affordable” for me to pay for myself and my fiancee’s healthcare. I am beyond frustrated. This country is in such bad shape; the fact that Obamacare passed without anyone thinking about the ramifications is just plain sad. Hopefully there is something that can be done.“
- “Given all the attention to ‘Affordable Health Care”‘ I thought I’d check Covered California to see what ObamaCare will do for me. The new MANDATORY health care cost DOUBLE what I’ve been paying, with the same $5,000 deductible! But I get a “free” doctor’s visit for the extra $6,500 cost. DOUBLE THE COST! Much attention is given to the high volume of ObamaCare inquiries. It would be interesting to research the total number of people for whom health care coverage has been canceled and are left as unwitting victims to rely on ObamaCare. No wonder there is such a high level of interest!”
- “Please fight to repeal Obamacare. I was just notified by my healthcare provider that my family’s monthly health insurance premium will increase 140% starting 2014 as a result of Obamacare. That translates to over $400 in additional premiums a month. This is outrageous. Please repeal Obamacare.”
- “I just received health insurance cost for 2014 from my employer. For a family of four my premium has INCREASED by $1,800 and out of pocket in network has gone up by $1,700 and out of network $2,750.”
- “I want to share my personal experience with Obamacare. I am currently paying 4375.35 monthly. In 2014 when my new coverage begins, according to Covered California,for similar coverage my monthly premium will be between $683 to $688. That’s a 55% increase if my math is correct. Is this fair? To be honest, I must state that I went online and pulled up an individual quote. The rate I am paying is as a widow of a retiree of the Orange County Courts. When the open enrollment starts in November this amount may be less. In the meantime, however, I am very disconcerted to realize that this health plan is not favorable to me.”
- “Stop Obama care !!!! My healthcare premium is going up 75 percent for the same coverage based on what I am paying now and being told by my carrier. I am a healthy individual.”
- This is the third major deadline/shutdown precipice in the 3 years that Barack Obama has not had Democratic supermajorities in both houses of Congress. The first such crisis was the August, 2011 debt limit, which was resolved when Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Harry Reid reached a deal. The second such crisis was the so-called fiscal cliff last December, which was resolved with an agreement between Vice President Joe Biden and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Note that Barack Obama has been a major instigator in both of these prior disputes, but has yet to be a part of any of the solutions.
- Here is a short video clip of CNN news conference in which reporter Dana Bash questioned Harry Reid. It speaks for itself: Click to Watch Video
This dispute is far from resolution today. We will be working all weekend again and you will get “laptop reports” from me on Saturday and Sunday. I hope I don’t spoil your weekend with them.
So, I conclude today in truly bipartisan fashion with…..Go Chiefs; Go Kansas State Wildcats (Trojans have a bye week); Go Detroit Tigers; Go any National League team not named Dodgers; Go Clint Bowyer; Go Fernando Alonso; Go Helio Castoneves; Go Corvette Racing; Go Anaheim Ducks; Go Boston Bruins!!! This should be a great sports weekend with baseball playoffs, college and pro football and car races. Maybe my NFL fantasy team can perform better than Washington politics. I’m 1-3 so far.
My passion for the things in which I believe in the arena of public policy extends to the sports teams I am for and against. The weekend is unlikely to bear much fruit in DC. We’ll see if my sports teams perform better than that.
Drive Fast and Live Free!