You can read all of Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion upholding health insurance subsidies for the 34 states with federal Obamacare exchanges here. But you can also understand it by reading this one sentence:
Roberts: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.” pic.twitter.com/4y3injI9re
It’s a simple argument: the point of Obamacare is to make health insurance markets work better and cover more people. To change the law so as to make them work worse, Roberts concluded, is to betray its clear intent.
President Obama will defend his embattled health care law in a speech today before the Catholic Health Association, declaring that it’s now a “reality” for millions of Americans.
The speech comes as the Supreme Court is poised to rule decide later this month whether consumers in the 34 states that use the federal health insurance marketplace can continue to receive subsidies to help them purchase coverage.
“Five years in, what we’re talking about is no longer just a law,” Obama is to say. “This isn’t about the Affordable Care Act. This isn’t about Obamacare. This isn’t about myths or rumors that won’t go away.”
The hatred for this president is unprecedented. Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law, he’s an attorney for heaven’s sake.
The wing-nut hysteria over the President is rather hilarious. They refuse to recognize his bona fidesand instead make him out to be the most ignorant foreign-born usurper ever to occupy the White House.
I’ve said it before: history will not look kindly on those fools who accuse the President of the most outrageous and false offenses…
“We need to get off our derrieres, march at the state capitol, march in Washington (and) make citizens arrests,” said conservative activist and retired Major Gen. Paul E. Vallely.
He said the president and his allies in Congress were “conducting treason,” “violating our Constitution and violating our laws,” and he’s demanded that Obama resign or face a vote of no confidence.
“Clearly America has lost confidence and no longer trusts those in power at a most critical time in our history,” Vallely said last week in an online radio interview. “It is true that not all who ply the halls of power fit under that broad brush, but most of them are guilty of many egregious acts and we say it is time to hold a vote of no confidence. It’s time for a ‘recall.’”
Perhaps realizing that the constitution doesn’t outline such a process, which is a common feature in parliamentary democracies, Vallely suggested that Congress pass legislation that would allow conservative activists to undo the results of the last presidential election.
“When you have a president and his team who don’t care about the Constitution, they will do anything they can to win,” he said.
Vallely ruled out impeachment, which is outlined in the Constitution, as a possible remedy.
“Harry Reid still controls the Senate, so like in Clinton’s day, forget about a finding of guilty,” he wrote. “Incidentally, if Obama was found guilty and removed from office, Joe Biden would step in, Valerie Jarrett still wields all the power, and likely we get more of the same.”
Vallely suggested that Obama’s misdeeds – which he identified as a handful of broken campaign promises, Benghazi and the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court – were so egregious that conservatives wouldn’t be breaking any laws by violating the Constitution to remove him from office.
“What else is our nation to do now that the ‘rule-of-law’ has effectively been thrown out the window by the Obama administration?” Vallely said. “How are we to trust our government anymore, now that lying and fraud are acceptable practices?”
But he stopped just short of endorsing violence to overthrow the Obama administration.
“That brings us to the other word no one wants to utter, revolution. In our opinion, this is the least palatable option,” Vallely said. “Others talk about the military taking over as we saw in Egypt; again, we do not support this route.”
“It’s fallen upon senior, retired military to take stands against the overreach and tyranny of a corrupt government,” Vallely said. “I think for people, they respect what the military has gone through. Senior military guys are very well educated, they’ve gone to the right schools, gone to combat for the most part, have had to manage enormous budgets, were involved in major financial decisions and are heavily steeped in foreign policy and national security. No other group, no CEO that has that kind of background. Obviously our politicians don’t have that background. They have legislation experience, not leadership experience.”
Vallely said action was necessary, because even next year’s midterm congressional elections can’t solve the problem posed by the continued presence of Obama in the White House.
“Obama will just continue to subvert the Constitution he took an oath to faithfully protect,” Vallely warned. “His track record shows us that no matter what the make-up of Congress is, he will twist his way around it with a pen and secure even more power reminiscent of a dictator.”
“When that does not work, he will manipulate the courts and law enforcement will be run by fiat, choosing winners and losers,” he said.
As we continue our open enrollment campaign, we experienced a welcome surge in enrollment as millions of Americans seek access to affordable health care coverage through new Health Insurance Marketplaces nationwide. More than 1.1 million people enrolled in a qualified health plan via the Federally-facilitated Marketplace from October 1 to December 24, with more than 975,000 of those enrolling this month alone. Our HealthCare.gov enrollment nearly doubled in the days before the January 1 coverage deadline compared to the first few weeks of the month. December enrollment so far is over 7 times that of October and November. In part, this was because we met our marks on improving HealthCare.gov: the site supported 83,000 concurrent users on December 23rd alone.
The entire Republican strategy has been to discourage people from enrolling in the ACA Judging by these numbers, they have completely failed. Republicans are basing their entire 2014 and 2016 strategies on running against Obamacare. Their plan is backfiring, and they are setting themselves up for an epic backlash.
Millions of Americans have now signed up for access to affordable healthcare. Republicans, especially Republican Senate candidates, are going to be in a position of having to tell voters in 2014 that their plan is to take away their healthcare. This is why as more people enroll, it won’t be surprising if more Democrats follow the lead of Sen. Mary Landrieu and embrace the ACA as a part of their campaign.
The Republican tactic of campaigning only on opposition to the ACA was running on fumes in 2012. It was a narrowminded and shortsighted strategy that was born out of the fact that the GOP has done zilch for the American people and has no accomplishments to run on. Obamacare was all they had, and now that is vanishing too.
The success of the ACA will have a profound impact on elections around the country. In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell is defying the success of the exchange in his own state by refusing to talk about anything but repealing Obamacare. McConnell is already tied with Democratic challenger Alison Grimes, and his Obamacare or bust strategy may very well cost him his Senate seat this November.
President Obama trusted his instincts. The president has never wavered. He knows that people want access to affordable healthcare and he is being proven correct every day. Millions of people are signing up, and the Republican Party is being reduced to rubble as the final beam that was propping up their teetering house cracks under the weight of the ACA’s success.
1. Will Republicans win back control of the Senate?Most political forecasters give Democrats a minuscule chance of taking back the House of Representatives, so most attention will be on the six seats Republicans need to have the majority in the upper chamber.
The seven most vulnerable seats all belong to Democrats right now: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
2. Will Congress pass immigration reform? A bill has passed the Senate but House leaders refuse to bring it up. Considering the inability of this Congress to pass almost anything, it’s hard to give much hope to immigration reform — particularly in an election year.
However, two things could force the issue. First, national Republicans know they must improve the party’s standing with Hispanic voters and immigration reform is a key issue for this increasingly important voting bloc. Second, Speaker John Boehner has given signs he may move pieces of the Senate bill independently.
3. Will there be another fiscal showdown? Despite a bipartisan budget deal earlier this month, another major battle could be coming in the New Year over the debt ceiling. The federal government is expected to exhaust its borrowing authority by the end of February.
Though many Republicans want to use the event as leverage over the Obama administration to cut spending or tie it to legislation the White House opposes, the politics are brutal for the GOP. The self-inflicted wounds of the government shutdown on the Republican party are still raw and could act to prevent a major battle.
4. Will ObamaCare be a big issue for the midterm elections? Republicans will do everything in their power to tie the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act to Democrats like they did in the 2010 midterms. It helped them retake control of the House.
But the White House is throwing every resource at their disposal to get the law implemented and move beyond the problems that crippled the health care exchange website. If millions of people are getting health insurance they otherwise could not afford by summer, it could end up being a non-issue or even a positive for Democrats.
5. Who knows? Politics is amazingly unpredictable except one thing is almost certain: There is usually a big political story we cannot predict.
These Charts Show Just How Good Congress Was At Being Terrible In 2013
Congress did very, very little in 2013 — setting all-time records for both most unproductive and most unpopular Congress ever. Both the House and Senate have passed dozens of bills that the other chamber ignored, leaving only 65 bills to make their way to the White House and be enacted into law. This count is the latest as of Monday, Dec. 23, and includes the most recent eight bills signed into law by President Obama on Friday, Dec. 20.
House Speaker John Boehner had this to say about what’s been accomplished: “The House has continued to listen to the American people and to focus on their concerns. Now, whether it’s the economy, whether it’s jobs, whether it’s protecting the American people from ‘Obamacare,’ we’ve done our work.”
The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will allow individuals whose health care policies were canceled under the Affordable Care Act’s new rules to qualify for a hardship exemption, meaning they are not required to purchase a plan under the new law.
In a letter to six Democratic senators who had requested the change, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that those who had their plans canceled under the law are now eligible for “catastrophic,” or bare-bones plans. As The Hill notes, those plans were previously intended for individuals under age 30 and others who qualify for a hardship exemption.
“I agree with you that these consumers should qualify for this temporary hardship exemption and I can assure you that the exemption will be available to them,”Sebelius wrote in the letter. “As a result, in addition to their existing options these individuals will also be able to buy a catastrophic plan to smooth their transition to coverage through the Marketplace.”
The letter was sent to Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Angus King (Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.).
“This is a common-sense clarification of the law. For the limited number of consumers whose plans have been cancelled and are seeking coverage, this is one more option,” Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said of the exemption.
The announcement comes just four days ahead of the December 23 deadline by which individuals must select a plan to ensure no lapse in coverage.
Earlier Thursday, the administration projected fewer than 500,000 individuals whose plans had been canceled would enter 2014 without coverage.
The officials at the briefing said that it was impossible to know the exact number impacted. But, they argued, the group was smaller than what has been reported because many of these individuals were being auto-enrolled into new plans.All told, the officials projected that fewer than 500,000 people would enter the New Year having had their insurance policy cancelled and not purchased a new plan.
The goal is to reduce that number as much as possible. And to encourage sign-ups after the New Year, the White House is planning a more aggressive public relations campaign. The docket includes cabinet-level visits to targeted districts, more community outreach through administration allies (churches, races and farmer markets were listed as venues where the ACA would be pitched) and paid media.
When books are written on Barack Obama’s presidency, it’s unlikely that his fifth year will be celebrated as the pinnacle of his tenure. On the contrary, it’s a year White House officials almost certainly consider a disappointment.
But I’m not sure it’s been quite as disastrous as advertised.
For much of the Beltway, that the year was an abject disaster is a foregone conclusion. “Little seems to have gone right for the White House in 2013,” Politiconoted this morning in a piece asking which administration had the worst fifth year. Obama had the “worst year in Washington,” the Washington Postconcluded last week. 2013 “has been a pretty terrible year” for the president, BuzzFeedargued.
This has been “Obama’s year from hell,” The New Republicsaid. When Beltway pundits aren’t comparing Obama’s 2013 to George W. Bush’s 5th year, they’re comparing it Richard Nixon’s 5th year.
Even the most enthusiastic Obama supporter would probably balk at heralding 2013 as a success, but the premise of these analyses seems a little excessive. Consider:
* Twice congressional Republicans threatened debt-ceiling default; twice Obama stood his ground; and twice the GOP backed down before Congress did real harm. The presidential leadership helped establish a new precedent that will benefit Obama, his successors, and the country.
* Congressional Republicans shut down the government to extract White House concessions. Obama and congressional Democrats stood firm and the GOP backed down.
* The Obama administration forged an international agreement to rid Syria of chemical weapons, struck a historic nuclear deal with Iran, and brought Israelis and Palestinians to the table together for the first peace talks in years.
* The economy has steadily improved, and 2013 is on pace to be the best year for U.S. job creation since 2005 and the second best since 1999.
* The “scandals” the media hyped relentlessly in the spring proved to be largely meaningless, and while the president’s poll numbers have dropped, his standing is roughly at the same point as two years ago.
Obviously, the Affordable Care Act’s open-enrollment period got off to a dreadful start, though there’s ample evidence that the system is the midst of a dramatic turnaround. Besides, two months of website troubles do not a year make.
And while Obama’s detractors will also note that no major legislation was signed into law this year, that just makes 2013 identical to 2011 and 2012 – when Americans elected a divided government featuring radicalized Republicans unwilling to compromise, the fate of good bills with popular support was sealed, but that’s hardly the White House’s fault.
Songs will never be sung in honor of Obama’s fifth year, but the “year from hell” talk seems disproportionate given the circumstances. There have been disappointments, but 2013 just hasn’t been that bad.
Obama’s dismal poll numbers are prompting dire predictions about what’s in store for the rest of his presidency
ne year removed from a comfortable reelection, President Obama is now mired in the lowest point, at least in terms of public opinion, of his presidency.
Battered by a litany of bad headlines, the president’s approval rating has steadily fallen throughout the year, bottoming out in recent weeks in the low 40s. In a Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday, 43 percent of Americans said they approved of Obama’s job performance, while 55 percent disapproved.
Given that trend, Obama’s sputtering presidency is drawing comparisons to those of other recent presidents with dismal second terms. In particular, Obama’s presidency has been likened to that of George W. Bush, since the two presidents’ second term approval ratings charted strikingly similar paths.
Yet while Obama’s woes are quite serious, the hyperventilating comparisons overstate the degree to which he is in jeopardy of going the way of his predecessor.
To be sure, Obama is hardly in a good place for a second-term president with an ambitious agenda. He’s been dogged all year by mini-scandals and a do-nothing Congress, culminating with the government shutdown and, more pertinently, ObamaCare’s disastrous rollout. In November, a majority of Americans for the first time didn’t find Obama honest or trustworthy, a supposed death knell, some said, for Obama’s presidency.
“Once a president suffers a blow such as Obama is now suffering with his health-care law, it is difficult to recover,” wrote the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, adding that it was “starting to look as if it may be game over.”
Yet one month removed from that prognostication, there are signs Obama could be about to turn his presidency around.
On an important front, Obama has already regained the public trust. According to the last Post/ABC survey, majorities once again think Obama is honest and that he understands the problems of regular people. And though Obama’s approval rating is still horrendous, it appears to have at least plateaued.
Focusing solely on the raw polling numbers though, sans context, Obama’s presidency does stack up unfavorably to that of past presidents. As Business Insider noted, Obama’s approval rating is the lowest for a president at this point in his tenure since Richard Nixon and his Watergate-fueled 29 percent.
But that’s a horribly misleading comparison.
Of the six presidents in between Nixon and Obama, three never served a second term and so don’t fit into the comparison. And though George W. Bush had a marginally better approval rating in thePost’s final 2005 poll, his numbers overall were right in line with where Obama’s are now. (Obama has a marginal edge at present per Gallup, for instance.)
So, to rephrase the Nixon comparison with those qualifiers in mind: Obama’s approval rating is tied or better than that of all but two of the past five two-term presidents through this point in their presidencies. Not so dire (and clicky) now, is it?
Moreover, these reductive comparisons tend to strip out necessary context.
Bush’s poll numbers post-Katrina only soured as the Iraq War worsened and Americans turned, in huge numbers, against it. Obama’s biggest blow this year, by contrast, was the terrible debut of his health care law.
A continuous stream of bad headlines about ObamaCare could certainly further erode the president’s standing over the coming months and years. On the other hand, ObamaCare is finally on the mend. Enrollments are, though still below expectations, surging. And polls have shown the public beginning to come around on the health care law. A recent CBS/New York Timessurvey, for instance, found that opposition to ObamaCare had dropped a net 19 points since mid-November.
If the health care law continues to improve — or if any number of other things go right for Obama — the doldrums of late 2013 could quickly become a thing of the past. It’s worth noting that Obama’s approval rating fell to near-record lows in 2011, only to surge back into positive territory one year later.
There is a tendency in political prognosticating to miss the forest for the trees. Obama is in historically bad shape now (trees), but his circumstances are vastly different from those of his predecessors, and there are signs he could soon turn things around (forest).
Obama does, after all, have three years left in the White House to chart his own course.
Many recent articles have trumpeted the “bipartisan breakthrough” that led to a federal budget deal. Don’t believe any of them. Partisan warfare is very much alive.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a key broker of the budget deal, signaled that a standoff over the debt ceiling is coming soon.
Said Ryan: “We, as a caucus, along with our Senate counterparts, are going to meet and discuss what it is we want to get out of the debt limit. We don’t want ‘nothing’ out of the debt limit. We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”
The comments show how broken our legislative system has become. Just days ago, Ryan agreed to a budget deal that increases the federal debt — and hailed it in a series of interviews — but now he won’t agree to raise the debt ceiling mandated by the very same budget deal.
In the last fiscal standoff in October, the Obama administration held firm and refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling. Expect the same reaction this time.
Of course, the real reason there was a budget deal is that Republicans felt it was politically advantageous. With the White House on the defensive for nearly two months over the ObamaCare implementation, Republicans don’t want to do anything to distract from their woes.
Newt Gingrich said it best: “I think this is mediocre policy and brilliant politics. It doesn’t get them what they want on policy terms, but it strips away the danger that people will notice anything but ObamaCare. And the longer the country watches ObamaCare, the more likely the Democrats are to lose the Senate.”
He’s right. The budget deal probably is good politics — at least in the very short term.
So as both sides move the country to the edge of the fiscal brink early next year, remember it’s all about politics. But will the politics still be good for either side?