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  • Morning Bell: The Slow Dismantling of Obamacare

    Things aren’t going so well for Obamacare.

    Even Democrats in Congress aren’t huge fans any more. It seems after passing the law and finding out what’s in it, the allure has faded—so much so that Congress actually repealed part of Obamacare in the fiscal cliff deal last week.

    That’s right—part of Obamacare has been completely undone. It was the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, essentially a new entitlement program for long-term care. But this new government program for people who end up needing assisted living or other long-term services was poorly designed and bound to fail,  as Heritage’s Alyene Senger explains.

    “CLASS was a bad deal for both taxpayers (who would likely have had to bail out the program) and beneficiaries (who would be better served by choosing among private options),” Senger wrote.

    The program was so poorly designed that one of its own administrators warned Congress in 2011 that the program could collapse.

    This is just one example of how poorly thought out Obamacare was—but this example so captured Congress’s attention that it spurred action. Another part of Obamacare that just took effect, the medical device tax, started making some Senators uneasy before it was scheduled to begin.

    A group of 18 Senators, including such outspoken Democrats as Al Franken (MN), John Kerry (MA), Charles Schumer (NY), and Debbie Stabenow (MI), asked Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to delay the tax, which falls on every item used in medical treatments, from stents to syringes, IV tubes, and prosthetics.

    As Heritage senior policy analyst Curtis Dubay noted, this tax will mean more than just higher prices:

    Depending on how these businesses pass the tax on, it could result in higher prices for their customers (e.g. patients), lower returns to their shareholders, or fewer jobs for their workers. As we explained earlier, evidence is mounting that it is their workers that will bear the brunt of the tax.

    More taxes, higher prices, and lost jobs—no wonder the Senators wanted to delay it! If only they had considered those effects before many of them voted for Obamacare in the first place.

    The medical device tax is only one of five of the new taxes that start in 2013 and one of the 18 tax hikes spread throughout Obamacare. Many of these tax hikes, like the medical device tax, will hit hard-working Americans.

    Even Democratic governors are unsure about this law. Many governors are weighing the costs of setting up a state health exchange and expanding their already troubled Medicaid programs. The nation’s governors, like the U.S. Congress, are figuring out that Obamacare is an unworkable monstrosity.

    Quick Hits:

    • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Hurricane Katrina was “nothing in comparison to what happened to the people in New York and New Jersey” from Hurricane Sandy. Katrina killed 1,833 people compared to 120 deaths from Sandy.
    • “President Barack Obama on Monday will nominate Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency,” reports the Associated Press.
    • Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday that President Obama should disregard Congress and deem the debt limit unconstitutional.
    • What is the story of income inequality—and economic mobility? Can you improve your standard of living? Heritage’s Stuart Butler, director of the Center for Policy Innovation, answers.
    • In this new video, watch Heritage’s president-elect, Senator Jim DeMint, talk about growing up in Greenville, S.C., as the son of a single mom.
    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

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