ObamaCare Bailouts Blocked In Omnibus Bill, Cadillac Tax Delayed

Protestors hold placards challenging 'Obamacare' outside of the US Supreme Court on March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. The US Supreme Court heard a second challenge to US President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The US Supreme Court faces a momentous case Wednesday on the sweeping health insurance reform law …
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The revolting $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill Republicans dumped on their astonished voters has one – possibly only one – bright spot: the bailout corridors for ObamaCare remain blocked.

If Democrats were able to soak taxpayers to keep Obama’s health care disaster floating, they’d do it in a hot second.

“Let’s be clear here, the omnibus bill blows past the spending caps put in place by Congress in 2011 and will lead to more debt for Americans. It’s simply irresponsible to spend beyond our means as the national debt soars closer to $19 trillion,” said FreedomWorks about the GOP leadership’s spend-a-palooza.

The silver lining in the bill is that it kept the language preventing the Obama administration from using taxpayer funds to bail out insurers that are losing money because of ObamaCare. Still, the only way to fully relieve Americans of the burden of ObamaCare is to repeal it, and we hope the House will act on the reconciliation bill that has already passed the Senate when they return in January.

The importance of this ban on using the so-called “risk corridors” to prop up ObamaCare cannot be overstated. “Why should American taxpayers be bailing out insurance companies, many of whom cooperated with, conspired with alongside the Obama administration to get Obamacare passed?” asked Senator Marco Rubio, who put the ban in place, asked during a Breitbart News interview in November. “And now they want to come with their lobbyists and basically force the American taxpayer to put money into a fund that bails them out for having lost money on the Obamacare exchanges.”

Marc A. Thiessen at the Washington Post credits Rubio’s measure with “quietly killing ObamaCare,” a “poison pill” that held bailouts down to only 13 percent of what Obama’s cronies in the insurance industry wanted. Thiessen figures the lack of bailout money played a role in causing over half of the ObamaCare co-ops to fold up, and cites various other news sources describing Rubio’s measure as the most effective blow struck against ObamaCare.

Note to all mainstream-media reporters: it is sheer journalistic malpractice to report on Rubio’s measure without explaining that the only reason it’s killing ObamaCare is that ObamaCare was an utter fraud from Day One. Obama never said taxpayers were going to fork over billions of dollars to keep insurance companies in business, on top of the exorbitant premiums they’re paying for virtually useless plans with absurd out-of-pocket expenses.  On the contrary, he said his scheme would be budget-neutral, would save the average American over $2,000 per year, and would be such an attractive option that it was essentially voluntary – you know, “if you like your  plan, you can keep your plan, no one will take it away from you, period.”

The American people should never, under any circumstances, allow ObamaCare’s failure to be hidden inside the bubbling soup of general taxation and out-of-control spending… which the omnibus bill is a splendid example of.

On the down side, Republicans did foolishly allow the “Cadillac Tax” to be delayed for two years, along with similar delays in the medical device tax and Health Insurance Tax. Forbes describes the latter as “an ObamaCare tax that increases the cost of health insurance for struggling workers and families,” crediting the delay with saving consumers between $514 and $719 per year in premiums.

Delaying these taxes was foolish – not a single Republican should be lifting a finger to keep ObamaCare alive. Full repeal should be the one and only “deal” put on the table, until Democrats take it. Meanwhile, the American people should be reminded every day that they’re only paying higher premiums because the Democrat Party swindled them.

Delaying the Cadillac Tax was a particularly bad move for Republicans, because it eases the ObamaCare pain on a vital Democrat constituency, Big Labor. The Hill describes labor unions as one of the big “winners” in the omnibus bill… entirely because the Cadillac Tax was delayed. Unions will, of course, fail to reward the GOP in any significant way for giving them a carve-out from the failed health care scheme they supported.

Politico mentions that Republicans are calling the delay of these three taxes “a major victory against ObamaCare,” and we should “expect to hear them continuing to argue that they had bipartisan support for suspending major financing for the health law, and that this could be a building block to taking down other parts of the law.”

That sounds like something most Republicans would say, because it demonstrates perfect ignorance of the way politics actually works. The longer ObamaCare is left alive, the deeper it will burrow itself into the fabric of politics and the economy, becoming indestructible no matter how obvious its failure grows.

Delaying its taxes will only help Democrats slip through another election without suffering the voter blowback they deserve – it would have been quite amusing to hear them campaign by railing against Republicans for refusing to lift the idiotic taxes Democrats insisted on imposing, largely because they needed to scam the Congressional Budget Office into seeing the Affordable Care Act as more-or-less budget neutral.

Instead, the Democrats get two more years of rhetoric, instead of the fiscal pain that could rally vast popular support for repeal. As long as ObamaCare’s losers are kept sedated, intimidated out of complaining with left-wing accusations of “selfishness,” and ignored by the media, it will be unnecessarily difficult to marshal the political energy needed for real change. Republicans apparently learned nothing from watching Democrats exaggerate the problems of pre-ObamaCare health insurance to scrape up enough support for their dead-of-night passage of the partially unwritten Affordable Care Act.