Government Watch

Defunding Obamacare: Questions & Answers, Excuses & Responses

from Heritage – by Russ Vought –

POLICY AND TECHNICAL

“What do you mean by defunding Obamacare?”

Defunding Obamacare means attaching a legislative rider to a “must pass” bill (debt limit, annual spending bill, etc.) that 1) prohibits any funds from being spent on any activities to implement or enforce Obamacare; 2) rescinds any unspent balances that have already been appropriated for implementation; and 3) turns off the exchange subsidy and new Medicaid spending that are on auto-pilot.

 “There is no such thing as defunding Obamacare.”

That is a false statement.  Congressmen who assert this are either asserting that funding is not being spent to implement Obamacare (false) or that a defund amendment cannot technically be executed (again, false).  Defunding Obamacare can be done, and it has been attempted by the House of Representatives recently.  For instance, in 2011, after gaining the majority, the Republican House included such a defunding provision on the continuing spending resolution (HR 1) when the bill first passed the House.  The provision was later discarded in negotiations with the President and the Senate, but the effort began with promise.

“What is the urgency to defund Obamacare now?”  

On January 1, 2014, Obamacare’s new main entitlements—the Medicaid expansion and the exchange subsidies—are  scheduled to take effect.  Open enrollment for both programs begins on October 1, 2013, at the start of the new fiscal year.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal government will spend $48 billion in 2014—and nearly $1.8 trillion through 2023—on these new entitlement programs.  Also on January 1, Americans will be forced by their government to buy a product—health insurance—for the first time ever.  Individuals and families who don’t comply will be penalized by tax penalties administered through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The Obama Administration has requested over $400 million in funding and nearly 2,000 bureaucrats for the IRS to implement the individual mandate and 46 other statutory provisions in the law.  Within the Administration, the blizzard of Obamacare rules and regulations continues apace.  Regulators have now written over 20,000 pages of Obamacare-related rules and notices in the Federal Register.  Many of these regulations will increase the cost of insurance; CBO concluded Obamacare would raise individual health insurance premiums by $2,100 per year.

“Isn’t defunding Obamacare impossible because most of the funding is ‘mandatory’ (or on ‘auto-pilot’) and cannot be amended via the annual appropriations process?”

No.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the IRS, “will incur substantial administrative costs to implement the law’s private insurance reforms and its changes to the federal health care programs.”  And while Obamacare provided $1 billion in mandatory implementation funding when it was enacted, HHS projects that this is largely spent.  According to CRS, Obamacare “administrative costs will have to be funded through the annual discretionary appropriations.”  Furthermore, annual appropriations bills routinely carry funding limitations to block all sorts of activities (for example, the Hyde Amendment), as well make changes to mandatory spending.  These latter provisions are called “changes in mandatory program spending” (CHIMPS).  Even if these riders were not so common-place, the stakes of so many provisions of Obamacare scheduled to take effect would present grounds for an exception.

“Isn’t defunding impossible because there is not a specific funding stream for Obamacare?  Funding is embedded throughout the federal government and not specifically designated.”

No.  Congress is aware of all of the programs that fund Obamacare because CRS has provided such a list and the Appropriations Committees are well-versed in the funding intricacies of the law.  However, a blanket prohibition against funding all activities associated with implementing the law is all that is needed to halt implementation.  Each program does not have to be specifically defunded.

POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC

“My Congressman supports repealing Obamacare but not defund….”

It is wonderful that Congressmen support repealing Obamacare, but it’s not enough.  The House has had numerous votes to repeal Obamacare, but the chances of statutorily repealing the law decreased once President Obama won a second term.  Conservatives cannot wait another three-and-a-half years to begin dismantling Obamacare; they need to leverage current opportunities to defund Obamacare on “must-pass” spending bills.

“Since Obamacare is the President’s ‘signature achievement’ won’t he veto any effort to defund the program?  Why should conservatives make this the focus of their anti-Obamacare efforts?”

There is a critical window of opportunity to stop the flow of funding for Obamacare from now until October 1, 2013, when the new fiscal year begins.  It is during the same window that the President and Congress must pass bills to fund the government for the coming year.  It is entirely appropriate for conservative members of Congress to use this opportunity to say, “No more funding for Obamacare!” and wage a serious and determined fight.   If the Republican House girds for this fight—and wins the national argument with the urgency coming from a number of scheduled implementation dates and the law’s rising unpopularity—President Obama will be forced to compromise.

 

“If you don’t have the votes for a statutory repeal, why would you think you can get the votes to defund Obamacare?”

The Constitution grants the House of Representatives the ultimate “power of the purse.”  If Congress chooses not to fund Obamacare activities for the upcoming fiscal year, the Obama Administration cannot act to implement the law.  The President’s party does not control the House of Representatives, which must originate debt limit and spending bills to fund the government.  And the House Republican Majority was elected in 2010, on the basis of its platform against Obamacare.

“Won’t adding a provision to defund Obamacare to a ‘must-pass’ appropriations bill lead to a government shutdown?”

Obviously, this will set up a major political confrontation with President Obama, but it is the sort of conflict that will allow conservatives in the House of Representatives to remind the American people that the worst aspects of Obamacare are about to take hold and a defunding rider is the only thing standing in the way.

If House Republicans insist on defunding Obamacare, it is possible that the Obama Administration will shut the government down.  This would not be the end of the world, and it needs to be an option.  President Clinton shut the government down in 1995, by refusing to sign legislation to fund the government.  While most pundits in Washington DC believe that this was a catastrophic political failure for Republicans, it is a fact that the House Republicans maintained their majority in 1996, even with a popular president of another party on the ticket.  And their willingness to not accept all of Clinton’s demands was crucial towards eventually balancing the budget and reforming welfare.  The nation can no longer afford for conservatives to leave political leverage on the table.

“Shouldn’t Obamacare opponents focus instead on repealing pieces of the law where there is bipartisan support—for example, the medical device tax or the IPAB—in order to reinforce the fact that Obamacare is not set in stone and make its supporters take hard votes?”

Washington is filled with special interest groups lobbying everyday to secure a “fix” for the part of Obamacare that affects their industry.  There is no “fix” for this law and every time Congress caves to a special interest and makes the law “better” for that group, a little less momentum exists for full and final defunding or repeal.  “Fix” votes also give Obamacare supporters every opportunity to appear reasonable and willing to fix the worst excesses of the law.  The grim reality is that if the opponents of Obamacare are not willing to use every bit of political leverage at their disposal—a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, mostly made up of Congressmen from safe seats with constituents who strongly object to Obamacare—to halt implementation of the law, then it will be set in stone.  There is simply no more time, particularly as the massive exchange subsidies are made available and the Medicaid expansion takes effect.


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Caroline
8 years ago

Try looking for a new doctor, especially if you are older. My first choice doctor is now only doing second opinions. The next three doctors I chose had switched their practices to ‘concierge’ medicine with a retainers of $1,500 to $2,000 per year. Another doctor I considered, drops her patients when they turn 65, so she doesn’t have to deal with Medicare etc.

So, the good, experienced doctors are no longer available. What is left are newly licensed doctors, and foreign doctors. And while they may be good, they are not the quality of student who became doctors in the past. The best and brightest have not been going into medicine for quite a while. Becoming a doctor is a long and expensive proposition with little financial reward in this computer age, a lot of regulation and paperwork, and a great risk of being sued. On top of that, everyone they know wants free medical advice. People will pay more to keep their cars running then they are willing to spend to see a doctor.

Wake up America. There was not a health care ‘crisis’ before. Medical Insurance was not meant to provide free medical care. It was supposed to cover the costs of a ‘collision’ not the oil change, or new tires! Most people without insurance made a conscious choice not to have it either because they are young, or give priority to spending their money on other, more tangible ‘things’. Anyone, including theose with pre-existing conditions, could have gotten medical insurance through a full time job (their own, or their spouses). The real healthcare crisis is the one coming if Obamacare is not repealed!

KarenFaye
8 years ago
Reply to  Caroline

So true! Our Orthopaedic physician closed his doors last month after 29 years of practicing. He said he refused to kowtow to the government regulations which tied his hands and hurt his patients. Another clinic we attend is threatening to not accept any medicare patients after January – so we don’t know where we’ll go since we have to drive over 50 miles to that one. The only folks getting good medical care in the near future will the the CONVICTS in our prisons, the Fort Hood shooter; and Mr. & Mrs. Obama. ‘Nuff said?

Bob S
8 years ago
Reply to  Caroline

That’s true, there was not a health care crisis before. Two of the main selling points of this mess were pre-existing conditions (which I think only 117 thousand have now been signed up) and that 30 million Americans were without medical insurance. Now, it looks like there will still be 30 million without medical insurance. This crisis was created so single payer could become the solution. And that was the objective all along.

NannaOf4
8 years ago

Remind your readers to go to DontFundit.com and sign this petition!!!

Sojourner Truth
8 years ago

I am always encouraged by the clear-eyed views of people who read these AMAC articles. It gives me hope that there are still Americans who are honorable, Godly, and can smell corruption long before the foul odor drifts across the thresholds of their communities.

mike kiely
8 years ago

the president and first lady have been living in tall cotton on us time to end it////////////

Terri Bradley
8 years ago

Question……..why is it that they are able to keep adding to the bill without Congressional approval? Maybe I don’t completely understand government protocol, so if anyone can explain it…..jump in here, They started out with around 1000 pages or maybe 1100, and they are now up to 20,000? And no one really knows what’s in it until different parts are enacted, WHAT A MESS.

mike failla
8 years ago
Reply to  Terri Bradley

Look what happened with social security. Look what happened with border “security”, Government is only successful in one thing and that is limiting your freedom.

No hospital will turn away a person in need. Our health care system was needing some tweaking but it was not broken, It did not need this monstrous radical organ transplant that no one can afford. It was designed to line someones pocket, with your money! Are some portions good? Yes they are but they are offset by things that are very bad for us all. Do your homework. Yes it helps you Mercedes, but it hurts 100 others. Can you in good conscience accept that?

A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than 100 men with guns………….Sicilian proverb

PaulE
8 years ago
Reply to  Terri Bradley

The 2,000+ page law allowed for HHS to define virtually every regulation related to Obamacare. To date, HHS has cranked out over 17,000 pages of regulations targeted at doctors, hospital, insurance companies and medical device makers. None of these regulations needs Congressional approval, because Congress wrote Obamacare that way. The Secretary of HHS can do pretty much do what she wants, whenever she wants with regard to Obamacare rules and regulations.

Do you understand how Obamacare works now Terri?

BobA
8 years ago

The passage of this bill was a sad time in our great country. The opportunity to do something that would be good for everyone was overridden by a massive piece of shove it down our throats agenda to make the president look good. Not one person who voted for it could possible have read it through, remember, “we have to pass it to see what’s in it”. Well, now that they see, they admit that it’s a train wreck.

mERCEDES bURTLE
8 years ago

I am not one of the greedy selfish people on the right. Life iprecious to all. We are all Gods children. Obamacare, as you call it is a blessing for millions of people that cannot go to the Doctor because they cannot afford it. No christian that believes in the Lord would object to Affordable healthcare for all. I am on medicare and love that all will have Healthcare .

BobA
8 years ago

You should do more research. The people this massive thing was supposed to help are the one’s who will be hurt the most.

Terri Bradley
8 years ago

There are some parts of this bill that are really good, and conservatives and Republicans alike agree with it. They can be found on the first few pages of this bill. The remainder of the 20,000 pages (that by the way, started out at what 1,000?) is a TRAINWRECK. Medicare will be limited, and I mean REALLY LIMITED. There are people in Washington that will “regulate” the kind of healthcare seniors will receive. Yep, the good ol’ “death panels” everyone was talking about when the bill was first signed into law, are for REAL. 95% of this bill is not really about health care…………it’s about GOVERNMENT CONTROL. Doctors are now beginning not only to not accept Medicare patients, but there are a ton of Drs. actually leaving their practice because of all the regulations they will have to follow or be FINED by the government.

To tell you the truth, 95% of this bill is EVIL. If we could keep the first couple of pages and throw out the rest, well, maybe it would be an improvement, but, personally, I think they should just scrap it and start all over again.

Joseph Seres
8 years ago

Mercedes — Have you ever seen people dying because they were denied healthcare? With this healthcare nightmare, government will control 1/5 of the economy; payments to doctors will be less, causing fewer talented individuals going into medicine; as with current government programs, there will be increased fraud. What you are saying is noble; frankly, we’re close to it already.

mj larsen
8 years ago

do you realize that this bill that “you love” has taken 700,000 million dollars out of medicare!! Do you also realize that the bill that” you love” will destroy the part of medicare that you love the most. That is the guarantee issue part of medicare. What I mean by that is medicare will (for the most part)pay for whatever your doctor deems necessary for your care. The IPABB board will certainly put an end to that with their rationing. As far as the Christian thing of giving everyone healthcare, I feel it is my Christian duty to STOP OBAMACARE thus saving the life of every senior citizen and disabled person!!!!!!

Eric Eaton
8 years ago

Well Mercedes, your mindset is apparently socialist and liberal. I can’t help but think that you’re basing your position on emotions rather than reason. The “greedy” people on the right give far more to charitable causes than anyone else – certainly more than the “not greedy people on the left”, who’s “charitable” contributions consist mostly of supporting radical political groups who work to subvert the Christian values that I assume you cherish.
As a Christian, I understand that it is the Church who is responsible for charity and for helping those in need, not the government. (I also resent your implicit suggestion that no Christian would object to this awful legislation, even though you wrote, “…object to Affordable health care”.)
However, in the preamble to the Constitution, we do find the words “..promote the general welfare..”. So I can agree that the government has a role – after all, decent health care is vital to the general welfare of the people. So the government must serve as a “referee” to keep things fair, but not this monstrosity!
People in this nation need to take at least some responsibility for their health and education – the situation in this country is madness! If health insurance is going to pay for every cut, scrape, sniffle, mild fever, discomfort, dietician, exercise therapist, bruise, hang-nail, the myriad preventable ailments of the morbidly obese, etc. then we’ll never get to an affordable result. I pay out of my own pocket for any and all health care for my family simply because the insurance rates I would pay are absurd – out of the question. I think I should be able to buy an insurance policy that covers only a catastrophe for a lower cost than my mortgage! But there isn’t one available.
Imagine if I had a “grocery policy”, that allowed me to go into Walmart and load up as many carts as I could push with whatever I wanted to put in them, and pay a $40.00 copay at the register. I can tell you for a fact, that the company issuing such a policy would be bound to charge me more than I would normally spend out of my own pocket, or face bankruptcy in short order. Or else, they would have to severely restrict my choices – it’s just a fact of doing business.

KarenFaye
8 years ago

You are a nut. God help you if you get really ill Mercedes, because you’ll find out that the healthcare you “Love” won’t be there for you. The folks that don’t have healthcare will ALWAYS BE TAKEN CARE OF- JUST AS THEY ARE NOW — BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER. They’re smart enough to go to the ER’s for treatment with not a care in the world as to who will pay for it. My daughter works in an ER and I know what I’m saying. You are a fool- and don’t call your self a conservative for that reason. Obama’s plan is FOR OBAMACARE TO FAIL so that the Government will have one more arm on everyone – besides the food stamps, EBT cards, student loans, mortgages, welfare, and SSI. Soon we’ll be on alternate days for flushing our toilets and running our electricity.

PaulE
8 years ago
Reply to  KarenFaye

Very well said KarenFaye. Only thing I would argue with is Mercedes is not a nut. She is just an example of your typical Obama supporter. She is relying on pure emotion, rather than any actual facts that would invalidate her argument. To try and educate her would be a waste of time, because she no doubt thinks everything is a “right”. Typical “useful idiot”, that will one day get to experience the reality of what Obamacare means to the elderly.

Cheryl Kwasigroch
8 years ago

I retired from nursing this past Dec. for numerous reasons. I began working in the clinic for an opthamologist & otolaryngologist back in the late 60’s so I am well aware of the changes & cycles medicine has gone through over the years after becoming an RN. I know how bad it is now with so limited help with lifting & caring for patients that are over 300 lbs & on vents because I cared for them before I retired while working agency. It is not getting better. Ovomitcare will destroy everything GOOD that medicine has accomplished over these past years.

EHR’s & EMR’s( computer systems) are MORE TIME CONSUMING than writing notes for doctors & nurses. Computer systems go down & they crash regularly. They are also able to be hacked as proven in SC with the taxpayers information on their system. How easy would it be for someone to go into a hospital system & change their meds or allergies? I had a psych pt show me how he changed his name tag arm band barcode. -he did the same on his meds since they too were barcoded. The more I learned the higher my blood pressure became.

Ovomitcare will make us all weep. Just go to your vet & ask for an itemized bill & you’ll now see a charge for needle disposal ($1.00) used for their required rabies. It used to be apart of the service, now you have Ocare rules/regulations at its best.

DEFUND & RESCIND THIS BILL NOW! We can do much better than this.

Priscilla
8 years ago

Sick people who have no insurance because they are poor will always go to the ER for medical treatment. As a nation we can create a national insurance for these people only. Leave my health insurance alone. Do not rape the middle class. IRS is running this……. great. This means we will all be poor soon.

mj larsen
8 years ago
Reply to  Priscilla

I could not agree with you more!!!!!

cathy dill
8 years ago

This will destroy our medical system. Doctors and nurses deserve a fair payment for their services. They are already cutting funding on total hip replacement for people over 70 starting January 1. This could be YOU* or your Parents.

Terri Bradley
8 years ago
Reply to  cathy dill

I think you hit the nail on the head……..I think that was the general idea………..DESTROY OUR CURRENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

Terri Bradley
8 years ago
Reply to  cathy dill

It’s called “Rationing”……….they will eventually decide who lives and who dies.

Gary Northam
8 years ago

Defund Obamacare and close down our boarders and the rest will fall into place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Terri Bradley
8 years ago
Reply to  Gary Northam

And ABOLISH THE IRS!

Robert Martin
8 years ago

It’s time to seriously think about defunding Obamacare. Do you want the Democrats to run over us every election? That’s what would happen if we don’t defund this insidious act. As americans we had no say in this healthcare reform. It was all done behing closed doors with democrats only. This bill would drastically change the premiums we all pay for healthcare with all its hidden taxes.

Terri Bradley
8 years ago
Reply to  Robert Martin

You are correct…………..DEFUND IT. The President will then shut down the entire government and blame it on the Republicans, but hey………the bill in and of itself will destroy us anyway, so if we are going down, we need to go down fighting.

Coe Case
8 years ago

There needs to be a special committee to determine HOW to get rid of whatever possible and CANCEL the implementation of Obamacare. Defunding is great, but that is not CANCELLING the eventual implementton. A provision to assure that all US citizens get health care is desirable, but the idiotic requirements of OBAMACARE are still on the books. Replacement is needed, and only DEFUNDING has been proposed, not replacement.

Terri Bradley
8 years ago
Reply to  Coe Case

Didn’t they say that they have written several different replacements just to be denied by the Senate? That I think is the problem with replacement…….the Senate will not accept anything else let alone getting the President to sign it.

Terri Bradley
8 years ago
Reply to  Terri Bradley

And I might add, the Media will not give Republicans the time of day. Only Fox News tells their side of the story.

PaulE
8 years ago

According to a Republican Senator this afternoon on Hannity, 70 percent of Obamacare funding is classified as mandatory spending. The only way, according to this Senator, to defund that portion is through the regular Congressional budgetary process. Since we haven’t had a regular federal budget since Obama took office and the Democrat Senate continues to refuse to enter into regular federal budgetary negotiations with the House, that percentage can’t be defunded via a continuing resolution. Which means that we can, at best, defund the 30 percent that falls under the control of a CR per this Senator. So we can’t stop Obamacare in it entirety, but we can slow down the implementation at bit.That appears to be the reality behind all the defunding talk, so we have to have realistic expectation of what we can accomplish right now.

This means that, once again, elections do have consequences. The last chance to stop Obamacare dead in its tracks was last November 6th. By failing to re-take the Senate and allowing Obama to be re-elected (those of you who either sat home or decided you couldn’t settle for the lesser of two evils one more time), the country pretty much ensured that Obamacare would move forward. The destruction of the world’s best health care system is the consequence, along with several other major shifts to the American economy and way of life, of those election results.

Terri Bradley
8 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

What is of EXTREME IMPORTANCE is that we vote conservative in 2014. We need to take the House AND THE SENATE. AND NO ONE CAN STAY HOME AND DECIDE TO OPT OUT. They will be signing the country’s death warrant if they do. Not saying that the Republicans are the answer either, but they will at least be able to maybe slow things down a tad. Harry Reid has got to go!

PaulE
8 years ago
Reply to  Terri Bradley

Agreed!

Chuck Schlussler
8 years ago

This stupid bill needs to be defunded now and later abolished. We know that it will be impossible to delete the bill once it is funded.

Jeff Kavosick
8 years ago

Defund Obamacare or be defeated at the ballot box and don’t try to vote yourselves and exemption if you can’t find the back bone to defund this tax on the people.

john king
8 years ago

I AGREE.

Judy Lewis
8 years ago

This is our last chance to get this done. It is nothing more than a huge mess for everyone and more costly, not only money wise-but health wise also. Defund this monstrosity NOW.

gus
8 years ago

I’m contacting my representative to urge him to defund Obamacare. This may be the final opportunity to prevent this monstrous encumbrance.

Deborah Nash
8 years ago

Americans should NOT be forced to do something they don’t want.Obama is forcing things on us that is wrong.All I’ve seen him do is spend millions of tax payers money on his vacations & parties,he’s NOT a president concerned about America,his concern is himself & his family oh &Muslims,since he is a Muslim!!!!!!!!!!

Elaine
8 years ago
Reply to  Deborah Nash

I agree with you. He is not a true American,and his wife was never proud of this country.They just love living off taxpayers dollars.We neen a true American who is proud of this country and wants to keep it for all Americans.

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