Section 4205 of PPACA (ObamaCare) requires any pizzeria, grocery, or convenience store with more than 20 locations to post calorie information in their store on menu boards. The way the bill is written, Dominos, for example, will have to write out the caloric information for 34 million different pizza combinations (yes, they’ve done the math on that). The OMB ranked this rule as the third most costly rule enacted during FY 2010 since it will cost each store up to $4000. It looks like the FDA is set to put the rule into effect any time during the Lame Duck session.
This is the proposed FDA menu board:
And this is what the new Domino’s menu would look like:
- This regulation has nothing to do with advancing consumer health and everything to do with financially punishing small businesses, not something a country trying to get its economy moving again needs.
- If this regulation goes through as written, Domino’s, for example, would be required to provide calorie information for all of their 34 million pizza combinations (yes, they counted up all the different combinations) in every one of their 5,000 U.S. locations.
- The required signage could cost upwards of $4,700 a year, per store location. Many of these stores are small, family-owned businesses. Coughing up almost $5000 for something like this will hurt.
- Domino’s, already committed to nutritional awareness, provides its customers with a comprehensive online Cal-o-meter.
- For many pizza lovers, it’s a shared meal so the calorie count of an entire pizza is not beneficial for one person.
- The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ranked this menu labeling regulation as the third most costly rule enacted during FY 2010.
Here’s an Op-Ed from Dominos SEO Patrick Doyle:
Here’s a release from the American Pizza Community, a coalition of pizza chains that wants to overturn and replace this rule:
We must stop this Nanny State intrusion before it devastates this country!!!
Hugh Hewitt – With the president mobilizing for a barnstorming tour in support of massive tax hikes and to, in effect, overturn last week’s vote to keep the House in GOP hands and the gavel in John Boehner’s –details here on the president’s plan– the GOP is getting organized in the House and laying down markers.
The media is focused on speculation about the “big deal” and the various scandals, but a huge story is brewing that few are watching.
The deadline for the most important political and legal decisions of the near term is being made in every state: Whether or not to establish a state health insurance exchange pursuant to Obamacare. The original deadline for each governor to decide was this Friday, but HHS has graciously given the states another month to decide which poison to pick: Subservience via establishment of a puppet exchange or takeover of the state’s insurance business via a big foot federal health exchange. The rules the feds have dictated the states must follow in making their choice are here.
Yesterday, Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama announced that Alabama would not be establishing the exchange or expanding Medicaid. The latter is not surprising, as the expansion will quickly eat away at state budgets.
By The Wizard of Odd
Note to readers: I apologize in advance for treating you like an imbecile. I normally have great respect for my readers. But too many smart people have been saying stupid things since Mitt Romney lost. So here goes.
* * *
Imagine you’re an alien. You just graduated from Intergalactic University, and as part of a post-graduate fellowship, you were sent to Earth to study primitive civilizations. To narrow the focus of your graduate thesis (which still remains the best way to have your thesis published), you’ve decided to study a quinquennial of Earthen politics amongst the planet’s most advanced ape-descended primitives.
What did you find?
Galaxy ellipse cycle 5.412, Planet 2484-142801, the United States of America, (Earth year 2008 – 2012.)
In 2008, loud, permissive, boisterous, pink apes called Clintons were priming themselves to take over the nation-state America. The Clinton constituents are called Democrats. These are excitable, swarming, utterly credulous, lesser apes who seek to elevate one of their own to a position of broad, but limited powers to protect the nation-state, seize wealth from the most productive apes and redistribute that wealth to aged, derelict and deficient apes. This position is known as the Presidency, the nation-state’s highest office, elected once every 1461 Earthen days.
During 2008, the Clinton apes’ hegemony was challenged by several Democrat apes, most seriously by a Biden ape from state Delaware and an Obama ape from state Illinois. Though the Clinton apes and challenger apes made nearly identical promises to the Democrat swarm, the swarm’s favor began to shift away from the Clintons. Within six lunar cycles, the Democrats had all but abandoned the Clinton apes. The Obama and Biden apes joined forces, defeated the Clintons and won the Democrat swarms’ banner to challenge the Republican apes for the Presidency.
The Republican apes are a peculiar breed. Their candidates don’t promise redistribution of ape wealth. Instead, they promise ape freedom, insisting that individual apes – with natural intellect and acquired skill – acting in their own interest will create the best result for apes in general. (In a quinquennial of observation, this is the closest the apes came to advanced thought. Further study of Democrat presidents does show a strong trend away from freedom and toward state control. But a study of Republican governance shows the same trend. In fact, the trend toward statism is sometimes stronger among the Republican apes. Amidst the breadth of observed ape political behavior, this mote of clear thinking could be viewed as inadvertant and coincidental.) Also, the Republican apes don’t swarm like the Democrats. They establish their loyalties to candidate apes early and gradually abandon them as they run out of money. Once this happens, some Republicans will choose another ape. Others (the Ron Paul apes, most significantly) will abandon their interest in the race entirely.
The Republican apes chose McCain, a veteran of one of the great ape wars, to face the Democrats. (As evidence will prove, the Republicans trust and revere an ape newspaper called “The New York Times.” Republicans eventually nominate whomever this paper suggests is the most electable.) And the McCain ape lost without putting up much of a fight. The Obama/Biden team won by nine million ape votes.
Explanatory note: To grasp what follows, the isolation and remoteness of Earth must be understood. The planet is still classified as Unvisited. Earth’s most advanced society is at Baseline 4 in Phase I of Duptharq’s esteemed “Benchmarks of Early Civilization.” Nearly all of the planet’s leaders seek to solve micro problems with macro solutions. Only one Earthen species has the capacity for fourth dimensional thought, and that species invented radio communication just 3.278 IGT days ago. Earth is hundreds of lightyears away from the nearest Realm member-planet. They’ve just discovered winged flight. There is no common language. Their best physicians are still fighting disease with blades and handtools. Localist factions threaten each other with nuclear fission. They’re largely illiterate, arrogant, aggressive, status-obsessed, myopic, superstitious nativists with a penchant for controlling others. To encapsulate Earth’s primitive condition in one sentence: Many of their intellectuals are athiests.
After ascending to the Presidency during a fiscal crisis, the Obama ape focused nearly all of his energy on passing a law that would give government sweeping new controls over ape health. Millions protested in cities across the nation-state. The proposed law was immensely unpopular among both Democrat and Republican apes. Nevertheless, a unilateral Democrat vote made “Obamacare” the law of the land. Less than a year later, the Democrat apes bore the consequences for their unilateralism.
The 2010 elections were a massive denunciation the Obama and Democrat agenda. It was larger than the 2008 wave that swept Obama into power. Republicans filled legislative houses throughout the United States of America with candidates who promised to repeal the “Obamacare” law. It was the most massive defeat for the Democrat apes in three generations.
But the Republican apes couldn’t repeal Obamacare on their own. They needed a Republican president to fulfill their promises. They would have to wait two years for their shot at the Presidency.
Much of what happened in 2012 is beyond comprehension. The Republican apes nominated for President an ape named Romney. This Romney ape had previously endorsed and implemented Obamacare when he governed state Massachusetts. Moreover, Obamacare was modeled after Romney’s program. Then, of course, the Republicans lost.
Once again. In 2010, the Republican apes promised to repeal Obamacare. They won. They won in a landslide, were elected in historic numbers. In 2012, the Republican nominated an ape who couldn’t campaign against Obamacare because he had endorsed and implemented Obamacare. And they lost.
But as confounding as nominating the Romney ape was, what happened after he lost to Obama is perhaps the most inexplicable and mystifying ape phenomena ever recorded, even among a species that once sacrificed virgins to induce a bountiful harvest.
After the Romney lost on election day, the Republican apes expressed surprise. No one couldn explain why Romney lost. In post-election analysis, the apes spoke about Romney’s campaign tactics. They spoke about the Democrats superior system of getting voters to the polls. They focused on changing demography and the various shades of ape skin color. On a nationally broadcast news outlet, a Noonan ape told a Gigot ape that the Republican apes needed to rethink their “tone.” Some even speculated that the Republican apes might never win again.
It was like 2010 never happened.
On election day, Obamacare was unpopular as ever. The whole country wanted it repealed – still do, in fact. But Romney’s nomination took Obamacare off the table. Repeal was not and could not be a Romney campaign centerpiece. Mitt’s occasional promise of waivers came off as weak sauce. When they nominated Romney, Republicans ceded their winning argument. They had four aces, and they folded.
How could people miss that? Why didn’t pundits understand? Was it a media conspiracy? Mass hysteria? Collective hypnosis? Or just apes being apes?
* * *
WSJ – Many of our friends who saw genius in the crease of Barack Obama’s trousers four years ago lament that he might be cruising to re-election had he only focused first on the economy and postponed his liberal social priorities. This may be true, but it also misjudges the man and his Presidency.
Mr. Obama has governed from the left not because he miscalculated his priorities but because these are his priorities. His first term is best understood as a race to put himself in the pantheon of the great progressive Presidents—Wilson, FDR, LBJ—who expanded the state’s control over the private economy and over the wants and needs of the American middle class.
The price of this governing choice includes a weak recovery, achievements like ObamaCare that are unpopular, the loss of the House in 2010, and a polarized electorate. Unable to run on his record, he has conducted a low-down re-election campaign based on destroying his opponent’s character. If the polls are right, even if he wins re-election, he will do so as the first President since Wilson to win with a smaller margin than he did the first time.
Tonight’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan is supposed to cover both domestic and foreign policy. The Heritage Foundation’s policy experts have submitted 10 questions they would like to see asked in the debate.
Watch with us tonight—we will be streaming the debate live at 9 p.m. ET on our Debate 2012 page, with an experts’ live blog.
1. Obamacare takes $716 billion out of Medicare to fund Obamacare. This includes $156 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage. Currently, 27 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, which is a private alternative to traditional Medicare. The Medicare Chief Actuary projects that by 2017, Obamacare’s severe cuts will decrease enrollment in Medicare Advantage by 50 percent and result in less generous benefit packages for those who do remain in the program. What changes would you make, if any, to ensure that these seniors are able to keep their current Medicare Advantage plan?
2. Patient choice is working well within Medicare and other government health programs. In addition to the private plans in Medicare Advantage, there are 1,100 plans in the Medicare drug program and hundreds of plans in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. None of these plans use “vouchers”; they receive a direct government contribution toward the cost of the plans. Would you expand patient choice in Medicare? Why or why not?
3. Most people under the age of 40 will pay more in Social Security taxes than they will receive in benefits, and Medicare adds to federal deficits faster than any other government spending program. How would you focus entitlement reform on reducing spending?
4. Under Obamacare, the Health and Human Services (HHS) preventive services mandate requires nearly all employers to cover abortion drugs and contraception regardless of religious or moral objection, effectively exempting only formal houses of worship. Should Americans be able to live out their faith commitments outside the four walls of their church—in the public square and in the way they run their businesses or non-profits?
5. It has been almost four years since the federal government took control of General Motors. Vice President Biden has said the bailout of the firm was a success. Was this a success? Why or why not? And when should the federal government sell the shares it still owns?
1. The United States has a long tradition of respect for freedom of speech and expression, which is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. After the recent conflagrations in Egypt, Libya, and in other Middle Eastern countries, the Obama Administration first blamed a YouTube video that it deemed offensive—even though now it has come out that our ambassador was killed in a terrorist attack, not by people protesting this video. How will you react to any future exercise of free speech on American soil that causes controversy, here or abroad?
2. The campaigns have focused heavily on the economic challenge posed by China. What will you do to address the political and security challenge that a rising China presents for the U.S. and its allies in the Pacific?
3. Both Russia and China have claimed that the U.S. missile defense system is destabilizing. What is your position on the role of the missile defense system in the overall U.S. defense posture; should the missile defense system be installed or abandoned, and why?
4. Canada is eliminating tariffs on products that are used as inputs by the country’s manufacturers. Should the United States adopt a similar tariff-elimination policy to boost the competitiveness of U.S. companies?
5. Members of Congress and the Administration have acknowledged that the cuts to national security under sequestration will have dire, potentially irreversible effects. For Vice President Biden: How does the Administration plan to deal with these cuts if they go into effect? For Congressman Ryan: How would your Administration handle this challenge differently from the current one?
Watch the debate with Heritage tonight starting at 9 p.m. ET—you can watch it live, streaming on our Debate 2012 page. On the page, you can also follow our experts’ live blog of their reactions and chime in on Twitter.
ObamaCare ‘Threatens Thousands Of American Jobs’
Democrat Former Senator Who Voted For ObamaCare Exposes Real World Consequences
Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN): ‘Threatens Thousands Of American Jobs’
“A 2.3% tax on medical-device sales, not profits, was imposed… there will be little or no increase in sales volume to offset the added cost of $30 billion—according to the Congressional Budget Office—to the industry. This tax comes straight out of a company’s bottom line.” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
- “The hit will be severe. For a typical company, a 2.3% tax on revenues equals a 15% tax on profits. When combined with a 35% corporate tax and state corporate taxes, the tax rate for the medical-device industry will exceed 50% in most jurisdictions. Many marginally profitable businesses will then hemorrhage red ink, since they’ll have to pay the excise tax whether they are making money or not.” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
“…tax on medical devices that threatens thousands of American jobs…” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
- “This month, Welch Allyn—a maker of stethoscopes and blood-pressure cuffs—announced that it will lay off 10% of its global workforce over the next three years, but all of the jobs being cut are in the U.S.” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
- “In my state of Indiana alone, Cook Medical has canceled plans to build one new U.S. facility annually in each of the next several years, and Zimmer plans to lay off 450 workers, while Hill-Rom expects to lay off 200. Stryker, based in Michigan, anticipates having to lay off 1,000 workers.” (“Evan Bayh: ObamaCare’s Tax Raid On Medical Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/12)
Sen. Bayh Voted For ObamaCare Twice
Sen. Bayh voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (H.R. 3590, Roll Call Vote #396, Passed 60-39: R 0-39; D 58-0; I 2-0, Bayh Voted Yea, 11/24/09)
- Sen. Bayh voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. (H.R. 4872, Roll Call Vote #105, Passed 56-43: R 0-40; D 54-3; I 2-0, Bayh Voted Yea, 3/25/10)
(Reno, NV) – Shelley Berkley claims she is for small businesses, but her small business agenda is nothing more than more bank bailouts.
Fact: The so-called “Small Business Jobs Act” was just another bank bailout.
Fact: Former Nevada Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus said “it’s very seldom that I would vote on the same side with Dean Heller but in this case I was worried about it being a bank bailout.” (Nevada Newsmakers, April 17, 2012)
Fact: Nevada continues to lead the nation in unemployment for nearly three years.
Fact: Billions of taxpayers’ dollars were mismanaged through the Small Business Lending Fund, which was created by this legislation.
According the Wall Street Journal:
“More than half of $4 billion in federal funds disbursed this year to spur small-business lending by community banks was used to repay bailout funds that the banks received under the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The Small Business Lending Fund was meant to raise capital at smaller banks, which tend to lend more heavily to small businesses, in the hopes of jump-starting growth and employment. But instead of directly lending to small businesses, many of the banks used the money to rid themselves of higher-cost TARP debt and tougher restrictions.
“It was basically a bailout for 100-plus banks,” said Giovanni Coratolo, vice president of small-business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “From a point of view of a small business owner, it was very ineffective in getting funds out to small business.” (“Tale of Two Loan Programs,” Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2011)
Berkley has repeatedly voted to raise taxes on job creators even within the last few months.
- On July 27, 2012, Shelley Berkley voted against H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012, which would extend tax relief for job creators earning over $250,000 and could cost Nevada 6,000 jobs and more than 900,000 nationwide. (H.R. 8, House Roll Call Vote #545)
- On April 17, 2012 Congresswoman Berkley voted against the Small Business Tax Cut Act. The bill would give a 20% tax cut that will help 22 million hard-working small businesses retain and create more jobs. The legislation would ultimately provide $46 billion in tax relief to small businesses and could affect as many as 45,000 small businesses in Nevada with between 1-500 employees.
Before an audience of business leaders in Nevada, candidate Berkley claimed she “wants to eliminate the estate tax, a popular Republican position.” (Cristina Silva, Rep. Berkley champions small businesses in Vegas, Associated Press, 4/11/12)
But in fact the seven-term Congresswoman voted against the estate multiple times, including once when then-Congressman Heller proposed the motion.
- In 1999, Berkley voted against a tax cut package that would reduce estate and gift taxes until they were completely eliminated in 2009.
- In 2001, 2002 and 2003, Berkley voted to replace a bill that would repeal the estate tax by 2010 with different legislation bill that would keep the estate tax, but raise the exemption threshold.
- In 2007, Berkley voted against a motion to permanently repeal the estate tax.
- In 2009, Berkley voted against repealing the estate tax two times, once when then-Congressman Dean Heller proposed the motion.
- In 2012, Berkley voted against a budget that would eliminate the estate tax.
Shelley Berkley supported ObamaCare, the massive government healthcare takeover known for destroying jobs and small businesses:
- ObamaCare costs 800,000 jobs at a time when Nevada leads the nation in unemployment. (Jeffrey H. Anderson, “CBO Director Says ObamaCare Would Reduce Employment by 800,000 Workers,” The Weekly Standard, 2/10/2011)
- ObamaCare is forcing one in eight small businesses to either terminate their plan or notify employees it is going to be eliminated. (“Some Small Businesses Say Health Insurers Are Dropping Their Coverage, Kaiser Health News, July 25, 2011)
- ObamaCare discourages job creation by raising the price of hiring: “If you increase the price of labor, companies will buy less of it. Requiring employers to buy health insurance for some workers makes them more expensive, at least in the short run. Particularly vulnerable are low-skilled workers…” (Robert Samuelson, “The folly of Obamacare,” Washington Post, August 4, 2012)
Shelley Berkley has repeatedly voted federal regulations that are stunting job growth in Nevada and across the country.
- On June 19, 2012, Berkley voted against the Grazing Improvement Act, which means she chose to protect federal regulations over Nevada’s family businesses. The Grazing Improvement Act would give grazers greater certainty about their permit renewal. Without this bill, permit holders are forced to rely on year-to-year appropriations bill.
- Berkley voted against the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078), which would put a stop to the government’s ever-increasing burden on businesses and the economy.
- A recent Gallup poll showed that 46 percent of small business owners are not hiring because they are worried about new government regulations. As many as 48 percent say they are worried about the potential costs of health care. (“Health Costs, Gov’t Regulations Curb Small Business Hiring,” Gallup, February 15, 2012)
And Congresswoman Berkley has voted against 20 bipartisan jobs bills:
1) Berkley opposed the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R 872).
Bill reduces overlapping and unnecessary regulation on pesticides and reduces costs to both farmers and small business owners.
2) Berkley opposed the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910).
Legislation prohibits the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and prevents a needless increase in energy prices for American households and businesses.
3) Berkley failed to vote on a Resolution of Disapproval Regarding FCC’s Regulation (H.J. Res. 37). Legislation prevents the federal government from regulating the Internet and broadband providers.
4) Berkley opposed the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R 1230). Bill reduced energy prices and creates jobs by promoting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia coast.
5) Berkley voted against the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229). Bill promotes job creation and reduces energy prices by reinstating oil drilling permits in the Gulf Coast.
6) Berkley voted against the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R 1231).
Legislation promotes lower energy costs and job creation by allowing drilling in at least 50 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf areas known to contain the most oil and gas.
7) Berkley opposed the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R 2021).
Bill promotes job growth and reduces energy costs by expediting the process of obtaining an offshore drilling permit.
8) Berkley voted against the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act (H.R 2018), which prevents federal government from interfering with a state’s water quality program once that state has already met existing federal standards.
9) Berkley opposed the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011 (H.R. 1315). Legislation promotes consumer protection and allows the Financial Stability Oversight Council to vote to set aside any harmful federal regulation.
10) Berkley voted against the North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938)
Legislation creates jobs and ensures energy security by ending the needless delay of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
11) Berkley opposed the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act (H.R. 2587). Legislation would guarantee private companies the ability to develop their businesses in the state that offers the best opportunities for growth, job creation and stability.
12) Berkley voted “no” on the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts (TRAIN) Act (H.R. 2401). Legislation mandates an evaluation of the economic impacts of EPA regulations and delay the final dates for both the maximum achievable control technology (Utility MACT) standards and the cross-state air pollution rule (CSAPR) until the full impact has been studied. Both regulations would cost consumers and businesses $184 billion from 2011-2030 and would skyrocket electrical prices.
13) Berkley voted against the EPA Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2250). Bill alleviates the excessive regulatory burden placed on employers by the EPA’s Boiler MACT rules, potentially costing companies $14 billion and 224,000 American jobs, and replacing them with sensible, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs.
14) Berkley voted against the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273). Legislation provides consistent, safe management of coal combustion residuals in a way that protects jobs and encourages recycling and beneficial use.
15) Berkley opposed the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R. 3010). Legislation would require agencies to assess costs and benefits of new regulations on small businesses.
16) Berkley voted against the Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act of 2011. Legislation closes loopholes used by federal agencies that allow them to impose costly, job-crushing regulations.
17) Berkley voted to kill the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 3094). Bill would make sure President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could not impose sweeping new regulations that threaten American jobs.
18) Berkley opposed the Regulatory Flexibility Act (H.R. 527). Legislation would require federal agencies to analyze fully the impact a new regulation would have on small businesses, before the agency adopts the regulation.
19) Berkley voted against the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 3010). The bill would update and reform the rulemaking process by setting mandatory rulemaking principles.
20) Berkley voted against the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011 (H.R. 10), which would increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process. The REINS Act would result in more carefully drafted and detailed legislation, an improved regulatory process, and a legislative branch that is truly accountable to the American people for the laws imposed upon them.
21) Berkley voted against the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 1633). Legislation would keep the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, implementing, or enforcing any regulation revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard applicable to coarse particulate matter under the Clean Air Act for at least one year from the date of enactment.
Entering the final stretch of the presidential contest, Americans are facing a monumental choice. The American people will decide the direction of government and its role in their lives for the coming years.
The debate in Tampa this week raised a number of issues, including preserving the American dream of working hard to achieve success. The Heritage Foundation has extensive research and policy prescriptions on each of these issues:
Energy: America needs to end energy subsidies and restore a free market in the energy sector. We can and should develop our domestic energy sources in an environmentally responsible way. Go to Energy & Environment
School choice: America’s education focus should be our students. The best way to serve the needs of a diverse population is to give families the freedom to choose a school—public, private, charter, or home school—that best fits their children’s needs. See where your state stands
Free trade: America needs jobs, and promoting free trade is an excellent way to create high-quality jobs in America. We should have a free flow of goods, services, and investments between democratic nations. Catch up on the U.S. free trade record
The federal budget: Tackling the federal budget is a complex task, but it must be done. Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan details ideas for reforming major entitlement programs, permanently balancing the budget, and reducing the national debt. See the Heritage plan
Tax reform: America’s families and businesses need tax relief. A tax cut here and there isn’t enough; we need fundamental tax reform. A tax system that is simple and fair would spur economic growth and protect those at the bottom of the income ladder. How it could be done
Repealing Obamacare: Obamacare doesn’t stop with government intrusion into your relationship with your doctor. It also raises taxes, adds to the U.S. deficit, and attacks religious and personal freedoms. Top 5 Reasons to Repeal Obamacare
Reforming Medicare: Medicare reform is not an option—it is a necessity. To keep the program working for those it is designed to help, we should give seniors more control over their health care decisions and guarantee better access to quality care. The way forward for Medicare
Next week, the debate will continue in Charlotte, and more policy issues may enter the mix.
There’s no way to predict how the election will turn out. But as Heritage’s Matt Spalding has written, “it will be a turning point in American history: Either our leaders will guide the country even further along the road to ‘progressivism’ or they will begin a long, slow turn back toward the principles of the American Founding.”
“The federal government has acquired an all but unquestioned dominance over virtually every area of American life,” Spalding says. “It acts without constitutional limits and is restricted only by expediency, political will, and (less and less) budget constraints.”
The Heritage Foundation recently published Changing America’s Course, which gives our political leaders recommendations on how to stay within the limits of the Constitution.
To put America on a path toward preserving and growing freedom, Spalding says, “The first step is to reduce the size and scope of government and unleash the engines of economic productivity and the institutions of cultural renewal.”
It is possible to change America’s course.
The rhetorical Medicare wars have heated up this week, after President Obama declared in his Saturday radio address that his proposed reforms “won’t touch your guaranteed Medicare benefits. Not by a single dime.”
This is incorrect. Obamacare cuts $716 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and uses these “savings” from Medicare to fund other entitlement expansions mandated by Obamacare. Medicare becomes a cash cow for Obamacare, and the Medicare “savings” from payment cuts are not put back into making Medicare solvent. Such massive payment cuts do impact Medicare benefits, as well as seniors’ access to those benefits.
Heritage’s Alyene Senger explains how this hurts America’s seniors:
The impact of these cuts will be detrimental to seniors’ access to care. The Medicare trustees 2012 report concludes that these lower Medicare payment rates will cause an estimated 15 percent of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss by 2019, 25 percent to operate at a loss in 2030, and 40 percent by 2050. Operating at a loss means these facilities are likely to cut back their services to Medicare patients or close their doors, making it more difficult for seniors to access these services.
The President also said on Saturday, “As President, my goal has been to strengthen these programs now, and preserve them for future generations.” But Obamacare imposes new taxes on present and future generations—including a new Medicare “payroll tax” that doesn’t even go toward Medicare. Senger details:
The payroll tax funds Medicare Part A, the trust fund that is projected to become insolvent as soon as 2024. Obamacare increases the tax from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent, which is projected to cost taxpayers $318 billion from 2013 to 2022. However, for the very first time, Obamacare does not use the tax revenue from the increased Medicare payroll tax to pay for Medicare; the money is used to fund other parts of Obamacare, much like the $716 billion in cuts are.
The same set of dollars “saved” from Obamacare’s massive across-the-board Medicare payment cuts cannot be used to enhance Medicare solvency, reduce the federal deficit, and fund Obamacare’s entitlement expansions all at the same time. This is only a fraction of the dishonesty and budgeting shell games surrounding Medicare.
The Heritage Foundation advocates reforming Medicare into a premium support plan. What does that mean? Seniors would be given a choice between the fee-for-service Medicare of today or private plans. “Premium support” simply means that the government funding that goes toward their traditional Medicare plan now would be transferred directly to the plan of a senior’s choice, just as it is today in the Medicare drug program that already serves most senior citizens.
Not only would this change stimulate intense competition to control costs among private health plans, as well as the traditional Medicare program, but it would widen the scope of seniors’ options and give them greater control over their own health care.
Two important things to note:
Under all of the major premium-support proposals unveiled on Capitol Hill, traditional Medicare would remain. Seniors would have the right to stay in traditional Medicare or pick a better plan if they wished to do so. To quote President Obama, “If you like your plan, you can keep it”—truly.
Shifting to premium support would not take away seniors’ benefits. All major versions of premium support guarantee beneficiaries at least the Medicare benefits or the level of benefits they get today. In addition, they would have access to new plans with even higher levels of coverage at competitive prices tomorrow.
Some liberal opponents of Medicare reform pretend that reforms would suddenly bring private insurers into the mix. In fact, private health plans have been part of Medicare since the 1970s. The New York Times did a good job of explaining that private insurers are working very well within Medicare today—and they are playing a role in expanding benefit options while controlling costs. On August 25, the Times’s Robert Pear reported:
Even as President Obama accuses Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan of trying to privatize and “voucherize” Medicare, his administration crows about the success of private health plans in delivering prescription drug benefits and other services to Medicare beneficiaries.
More than a quarter of the 50 million beneficiaries receive coverage through private Medicare Advantage plans, mostly health maintenance organizations, and Medicare’s drug benefits are delivered exclusively by private insurers, subsidized by the government.
Obama administration officials, lawmakers from both parties and beneficiaries have generally been satisfied with the private plans.
Medicare must be reformed. President Obama has a very different vision of what “reform” means. Join Heritage in debunking Medicare reform myths as this debate continues.
In 2008, Candidate Obama attacked John McCain for proposing cuts to Medicare. As president, Barack Obama cut Medicare by $716 billion to pay for Obamacare. Take it from Candidate Obama, “It ain’t right.”