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ACA Repeal Bill Doesn’t Really Repeal the Law

in Liberator Online, News You Can Use by Jackson Jones Comments are off

ACA Repeal Bill Doesn’t Really Repeal the Law

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After months of promises to the party’s base supporters, congressional Republican leaders are readying a bill that would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), using the same procedural tool used to pass it into law.

ACAIt’s called “reconciliation,” and it allows a majority party to bypass the threat of a filibuster in the Senate, which requires 60 votes to break. Well, there’s actually more to it. A January 2010 explainer from NPR notes that reconciliation comes from “a provision of the 1974 Congressional Budget Act” and “is designed to force committees to make changes in mandatory – or entitlement – spending and revenues, such as Medicare.

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It was conceived by lawmakers as a way to bring down the deficit by easing the path for budget and tax deals.”

Without getting into the details and controversy surrounding reconciliation, which has been used to pass several bills, including the ACA and the bipartisan Welfare Reform Act of 1996, Republicans hope to use it to repeal the 2010 healthcare law. But they’re finding opposition from conservatives. Why? Because it targets provisions that have a budgetary impact, as is the case with reconciliation.

It’s true that the reconciliation bill – the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act – will eliminate many harmful provisions of the ACA, including the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and the medical device tax. But regulations requiring that health plans carry certain benefits that are driving up the cost of coverage, for example, will remain in place.

Still, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-GA, insists the bill is the right move. “Under this year’s balanced budget agreement, Congress has the opportunity to use a powerful but limited legislative process to advance a bill to the president’s desk that will target ACA – a law that is doing real harm to individuals, families, physicians, workers and job creators – and help pave the way for patient-centered health care reform,” Price said in a statement.

“The bill repeals punitive taxes and mandates, an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats empowered to effectively deny care to seniors, undue demands on employers and employees, and an ACA slush fund. The bill also imposes a one-year moratorium on taxpayer dollars being used to pay abortion providers that are prohibited under the legislation while increasing resources to community health centers,” he added.

Heritage Action, one of the conservative groups opposed to ACA, has come out against the bill to repeal the law because of its limited impact. “[T]here’s frustration with the path that leadership’s taking,” a spokesman for the group told The Hill on Tuesday.

Absent the reconciliation process, Senate Republicans, who hold 54 seats in the chamber, wouldn’t be able to move it to the president’s desk. Of course, regardless of whether a bill to repeal the ACA passes Congress, the White House has threatened a veto, which almost certainly won’t be overridden because neither chamber has a veto-proof majority.

Passage of ACA repeal using reconciliation would be a statement. It would mark the first time Republicans have successfully moved legislation on the matter through Congress. But without control of the White House, it simply won’t be feasible until at least January 2017.

MintPress: Young Libertarians and Progressives Redefining American Politics

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 19, No. 5 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“Libertarians, Progressives Poised to Redefine American Politics” is the title of a Feb. 25, 2014 article by Frederick Reese at MintPress News, a new independent online journalism site.

“With an historically high 42 percent of Americans identifying themselves as independents as of January, the United States is becoming a nation increasingly not served by either the Republican or Democrat label,” Reese writes. “According to a December 2013 Gallup poll, 72 percent of all Americans believed that Big Government is a bigger threat to the United States than Big Business (21 percent) or Big Labor (5 percent).

“While this may be burn-out from years of government malpractice — an increase in unmanned drone usage, the largest government surveillance apparatus; several scandals involving the Executive Branch; a government shutdown in an attempt to repeal the patient Protection & Affordable Care Act followed by more than 40 repeal attempts — the general feeling is that the young vote has been moving away from the ‘Big Government’ parties.”

This portends huge change in the near future for American politics, the article predicts. Reese noted that young progressives and libertarians share many concerns on civil liberties and foreign policy issues — and those concerns are not being addressed by the two-party Establishment.

“As Millennials may represent the most Progressive or Libertarian generation ever, and as Millennials are expected to constitute 75 percent of the workforce by 2020, one might be tempted to say that the fate of the ‘Big Two’ parties lies in the embrace of their small-government cousins,” says Reese.

The article quotes Carla Howell, political director of the National Libertarian Party, on this coming sea-change:

“As the views of Americans, and especially young voters, converge with the Libertarian platform, we are attracting more votes than the party has ever seen,” Howell told MintNews. “Over 15,000,000 votes were cast for Libertarians in 2012. The Robert Sarvis for governor campaign in Virginia last year garnered 6.5 percent of the vote, the highest vote total for a candidate who was neither a Democrat nor a Republican in a southern state in over 40 years. His vote among those aged 18-29 stood at 15 percent.

“Both Democrats and Republicans have expanded Big Government to the limit that they could get away with for years, especially in the last 14 years during both the Bush and Obama administrations,” Howell continued. “Bailouts, FEMA, needless wars, Obamacare, the Drug Prohibition and NSA spying — all of which have failed their stated mission. They failed to create jobs, failed to stop the escalation of health care costs, violate personal liberties and put people and our country more — not less — at risk. Young voters have witnessed these abysmal failures and see that government is not the place to turn to solve human problems.”

(Hat tip to Libertarian Party blog)