Conservative Wanderer

“A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill.” — Ronald Wilson Reagan

Supreme Court Justices Seem Ready To Rule On ObamaCare

The first question before the Supreme Court this morning was whether or not they could even rule on ObamaCare, because of an old and somewhat obscure law that might stand in the way. Heritage explains:

The 145-year-old Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) provides that courts may not hear most cases to block tax collections until the challengers first pay the tax and seek a refund.  The individual mandate in Obamacare doesn’t kick in until 2014, and one court ruled that no one may challenge it until they pay the penalty for not buying insurance in 2015. The United States no longer takes that position; it thinks the AIA doesn’t apply to the mandate penalty because it is not a tax. The challengers argue there are four other reasons why the AIA doesn’t apply.

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Romney Follows Obama’s Lead In Blaming Others For His Own Errors

The news broke today that under RomneyCare, illegal immigrants are eligible for medical care under a program called Free Care, which is pretty self-explanatory.

This would be enough of a problem for Romney, but given how hard he’s been hammering Perry over the college tuition for illegal immigrants issue, it’s doubly dangerous, because now Romney looks like a flaming hypocrite (which he is).

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Asthma Sufferers Forced Into More Expensive Medications By Obama’s EPA

What’s driving the cost of health care up, up, and up? Well, this may be only one instance, but it’s indicative of the type of thing that certainly contributes to it.

Asthma patients who rely on over-the-counter inhalers will need to switch to prescription-only alternatives as part of the federal government’s latest attempt to protect the Earth’s atmosphere.

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The Debt Deal Could Lead To Big Cuts In ObamaCare

Looks like Boehner and the GOP snuck a provision past the Democrats that they probably wish they’d caught:

The debt ceiling agreement could jeopardize millions of dollars, and perhaps billions, in initiatives from President Barack Obama’s health care reform law if the super committee can’t come up with required spending cuts.

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ObamaCare Forcing Insurers To Cover Birth Control

And didn’t some people say that ObamaCare was going to impose these kinds of regulations on what used to be at least a semi-free market?

Health insurance plans must cover birth control as preventive care for women, with no copays, the Obama administration said Monday in a decision with far-reaching implications for health care as well as social mores.

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Federal Appeals Court Seems Not To Like ObamaCare Mandate

If their questions are any guide, these judges seem downright skeptical of this Congressional power-grab:

But during almost three hours of oral arguments, the judges asked pointed questions about the so-called individual mandate, which the federal government says is needed to expand coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans. With other challenges to the law before other federal appeals courts, lawyers expect that its fate will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who was tapped by President George H.W. Bush, struck early by asking the government’s attorney “if we uphold the individual mandate in this case, are there any limits on Congressional power?” Circuit Judges Frank Hull and Stanley Marcus, who were both appointed by President Bill Clinton, echoed his concerns later in the hearing.

[...]

Hull also seemed skeptical at the government’s claim that the mandate was crucial to covering the 50 million or so uninsured Americans. She said the rolls of the uninsured could be pared significantly with other parts of the package, including expanded Medicare discounts for some seniors and a change that makes it easier for those with pre-existing medical conditions to get coverage. Dubina nodded as she spoke.

If the mandate goes, the rest of ObamaCare will probably crumble, because the mandate is the thing that holds it all together.

Of course, this is probably headed to SCOTUS anyway, regardless of how this court rules, but a defeat here could make it a lot harder for the pro-ObamaCare forces to win in the end.

Whatever Happened To “If You Like Your Coverage, You Can Keep It”?

During the debate over ObamaCare, many people–including those of us on this here blog–said that employers would drop coverage in favor of the government plan. These concerns were poo-poohed by the pro-socialized-medicine lefties.

Turns out we were right and they were wrong:

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Once provisions of the Affordable Care Act start to kick in during 2014, at least three of every 10 employers will probably stop offering health coverage, a survey released Monday shows.

While only 7% of employees will be forced to switch to subsidized-exchange programs, at least 30% of companies say they will “definitely or probably” stop offering employer-sponsored coverage, according to the study published in McKinsey Quarterly.

I’m sure the lefty pencil-pushers had some formula that made them think that it wouldn’t happen… but then, lefty formulas are frequently wrong–like the one that said the stimulus would keep unemployment under 8%.

H/T: Weasel Zippers

The Future Under ObamaCare: Waiting Lines For Mass. Doctors Getting Worse

David Axelrod once stated quite categorically that MassCare (sometimes called RomneyCare) was “a template” for ObamaCare, and Mitt Romney himself defended the individual mandate as recently as last month, so is this any surprise?

BOSTON — If you thought the wait time to see a doctor was getting longer, you’re right. The latest survey from the Massachusetts Medical Society shows that finding an appointment in six of seven specialties is either harder this year or no better than last.

If you’re a new patient and want to see a family physician, about half of all practices aren’t taking anyone new. If you have a public insurance plan, such as Medicare and Medicaid, then you may have some additional trouble receiving care.

The report has serious implications for health care costs in the state, the doctors group said, because patients unable to see a primary care physician are likely to seek more expensive emergency room treatment.

“Massachusetts has made great strides in securing insurance coverage for its citizens,” said the MMA’s president, Dr. Alice Coombs, referring to the state’s landmark 2006 universal health insurance law. “But insurance coverage doesn’t equal access to care.”

Let me highlight that last statement from Dr. Coombs:

“But insurance coverage doesn’t equal access to care.”

And even for those who already have a doctor, there are longer waits:

Even for patients fortunate enough to have a primary care doctor, waits for appointments continued to be lengthy. The average wait for an appointment with an internist was 48 days, which was five days shorter than last year, but the average wait for family medicine was 36 days, a week longer than in the 2010 survey.

Patients were also waiting longer to see specialists. The average wait for gastroenterologists, obstetricians/gynecologists, orthopedic surgeons and cardiologists were all higher than a year ago, the report said.

This is pretty much what all the conservative commentators said would happen under government-run healthcare, and it’s what we can expect if ObamaCare isn’t repealed.

Given Romney’s defense of the individual mandate, though, can we really expect him to sign a repeal bill if he becomes President?

I don’t wanna take that chance. I will not be supporting Mitt in the primaries, due primarily to RomneyCare.

Medicare Illegally Paid For Viagra

Your tax dollars at work:

The U.S. Medicare program improperly spent more than $3 million in 2007 and 2008 to buy Pfizer Inc. (PFE)’s Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for senior citizens, government investigators said.

The purchases violated a 2005 ban on covering the drugs under the U.S. health program for the elderly and disabled. Medicare administrators blamed the spending on a software error and said they would try to recover payments to private insurers who administer the program’s drug plans.

Medicare “should not have covered these drugs,” George Reeb, acting deputy inspector general for audit services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, wrote in a report released today. He recommended that Medicare work with the Food and Drug Administration to maintain a list of prohibited drugs. Medicare administrators, in a response to the report, rejected the suggestion as unnecessary.

Medicare paid a total of $3.1 million for erectile dysfunction drugs in the period examined, more than $3 million of which was for Viagra, which had 2010 sales of $1.9 billion based on data compiled by Bloomberg. Other drugs purchased included Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY)’s Cialis, the report said.

The purchases were a fraction of Medicare’s drug spending in 2007 and 2008, which totaled $133 billion, according to the report

And Medicare is run by the same government bureaucrats who think they can run the rest of the health care sector cheaper than private companies can.

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