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  • Another Good Swing At Defunding Obamacare—But Not A Hit

    Once again the U.S. House plans to take another whack Tuesday at defunding Obamacare—although the Senate and White House are poised to protect the funding.

    The bill scheduled for a vote, HR 1213, would repeal the automatic funding that Obamacare provides for federally-dictated insurance exchanges, the mechanisms to sell the re-fashioned and federally-approved insurance policies.  And while the bill does not repeal the requirement that each state either establish such an exchange or have the feds do it for them, billions of taxpayer dollars could be saved if the House bill had a chance to become law.

    The Congressional Budget Office estimates savings of $14.6-billion over ten years, but the amount is inexact because Obamacare placed no limit on how much would be spent.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services was given a blank check for that purpose.  It’s just one part of the overall $105-billion slush fund in automatic spending under Obamacare.

    The merit of defunding Obamacare bit by bit is that it removes some of the damage by denying funding for it and thereby saving billions of tax dollars.  Defunding differs from the pitfalls that would come from repealing only portions of Obamacare, because piecemeal repeal would relieve pressure for the full repeal that’s needed.  Denial of funds removes only some of the immediate harm; full repeal of Obamacare is needed to prevent the overall harm it causes to America.

    Like other targeted defundings of Obamacare, HR 1213 is a stand-alone piece of legislation, meaning it is not packaged with any other measure to provide political leverage.  Only if it were combined with other measures desired by the Senate or by President Obama could such defunding have a chance to become law.  Without such leverage the bill is an important expression of intent, but won’t actually defund or repeal any part of Obamacare.

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee intends for HR 1213 to correct a key part of the unlimited spending power that Obamacare gives to bureaucrats.  As the committee describes the portion it tries to repeal:

    Section 1311(a) of PPACA provides the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) a direct appropriation of such sums as necessary for grants to states to establish exchanges and facilitate the purchase of qualified health plans. The size of the direct appropriation is solely determined by the Secretary. The Secretary can determine the amount of spending and spend the funds without further Congressional action. The proposed legislation would strike the unlimited direct appropriation and rescind any unobligated funds.

    “The Congressional Research Service’s (CRS) American Law Division confirmed these facts in a February 7, 2011 memo, stating that, ‘‘the total amount of money the Secretary may expend for grants to the states under this section is indefinite.’’ CRS further stated that, ‘‘This section thus comprises both an authorization and an appropriation of federal funds and as such, it does not require any further congressional action to constitute an effective appropriation

    “Grants under this language can be used to ‘‘facilitate enrollment’’ into exchange plans. However, this term is undefined in the statute and could allow the funds to go towards any activity the Secretary determines could ‘‘facilitate’’ enrollment. The vague definition of ‘‘facilitate’’ is especially troubling in light of the unlimited appropriation provided to the Secretary.””

    HR 1213 is a commendable effort to correct some of Obamacare’s abuses even if its prospects of becoming law are nil.  It’s another good swing; but it’s not a hit.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Another Good Swing At Defunding Obamacare—But Not A Hit

    1. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      How can ObamaCare be overturned when so many old line Republican cronies

      in Congress are just as determined to keep supporting government give-away programs for votes. Until we have a third political party to choose, things will never change. We must establish a true conservative party for those that believe

      in America. Dems and Repbs are so corrupted, voting for either, really make no difference. Ask the question, "why is both political parties and the national media so dead set against a third party?".

    2. Dinah Garrison Fairb says:

      I am dumbfounded! Yet another part of government spending that not only does not require Congressional consideration, but, of all things, has a limitless spending edge. I really trusted my son, but I would never have sent him off to college with a credit card with these arrangements. I would have been a fool and he would have learned some VERY bad lessons. I was ready to say, "Why on earth did anyone vote for such a thing?" then I remembered. You have to vote for it to find out what's in it! Boy, wasn't that the truth?

    3. Jeff, Clearwater, Fl says:

      I understand the need for repeal of this horrible healthcare reform bill. So I guess that I can't figure out why, if they are not going to be able to pass even this small portion, that they don't just aim to repeal the whole thing. That being said I hope this passes and the defunding can begin.

    4. Alice, E. Palatka, F says:

      I have been praying for this to be defunded…

    5. Renny, Maryland says:

      I will probabley never understand this in my lifetime, but how can someone bypass the constitution on these things and get away with it. How can a law be declaired unconstitutional and everyone still "plans" to impliment it. I am having a lot of difficulty with this logic!!!! I think it is a lack of "Hootspha!!!!" If you know what I mean!!

    6. Mike, San Antonio, T says:

      Reading the section above it would appear to me that the direct appropriation of funds directly violates Article 1, section 9 of the Constitution which says that no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations by law. Why is no one challenging this? Unfortunately the answer lies in the failure of our courts over the last century to uphold the Constitution.

    7. Spearshaker, Glendal says:

      It's the tax-payer's money and we don't want to spend it on items that have not been fully debated upon. We need to (if that's possible) keep the spenders in line and answering to the people whose tax money is being used. If It is true that anyone can spend our money on a whim, as it seems to be the case, then I for one would like my turn to decide where my money is being spent–or I at least want to know which congress person is voting for spending my money, and for what!

      Isn't it true, according to the Constitution, that all spending is to start in the House of Representatives and NOT at the desk in the oval office?

    8. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      I agree that peicemeal defunding and repeal of minor parts, such as the form 1099 requirement, will only make the remaining law more palatable. I wonder if those were included as a distraction and a reason for proponents to say they are making concessions.

      Let me propose that the GOP tie repealing Obamacare and advancing to the states a balanced budget amendment (BBA) to raising the debt ceiling. I only advocate that idea if they get some major concessions and long-term benefits to our fiscal policy. If he says no repeal, no deal. If he says no BBA, no deal. If he wants more than a $1T, no deal.

    9. Dan Swanson, Lansing says:

      The USA is going to collapse, and much of this will solve itself. The question is what kind of country do we create in the aftermath.

    10. michael j mudrak car says:

      The health care fraud package is only comparable to an english muffen with all

      the nooks and cranies the whole thing is pure deceit.Is this bill so air tight that it

      cant be stricken out. How about putting a referendum on a ballot and let the voters


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