Policy Documents

The Leaflet: Is the Debate Over Obamacare Over?

April 3, 2014

Is the Debate Over Obamacare Over?

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama celebrated the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) sign-up deadline by claiming the law is “here to stay” and “the debate over repealing this law is over.” The numbers, however, show the debate is not over. There have been 38 delays or changes, 24 states have chosen not to expand Medicaid, and more than 4.7 million people had their health care plans canceled as a result of PPACA.
 
Senior Fellow Benjamin Domenech makes several key observations in this week’s Consumer Power Report  as to why the victory tune being sung by Obama does not signal a permanent win for PPACA. Rather, “The reason the number of people signed up for Obamacare – via the exchanges or Medicaid – matters is that it is, unexpectedly, a much smaller number than originally anticipated. This is in part due to the failure of the approach, and in part due to failure of execution. What is truly surprising is the degree to which the previously uninsured have not signed up for either program.”
 
Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal released “The Freedom and Empowerment Plan: The Prescription for Conservative Consumer-Focused Health Reform,” in which he outlines a serious albeit imperfect alternative to PPACA. He said, “Giving more control to the states, controlling and slowing the growth in health costs, protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and enhancing portability and choice are the keys to achieving real reform that will improve America’s health care system, and Americans’ health.”
 
If you are interested in keeping up to date on the latest health care issues, you can subscribe to the weekly Consumer Power Report here.

Health Care

State legislators in Virginia are considering legislation, the most prominent of which is Marketplace Virginia, that would expand the state’s Medicaid program. Like several other programs being considered in other states, Marketplace Virginia emulates Arkansas’ premium assistance model and would expand Medicaid to cover uninsured people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. It would use $1.7 billion a year in federal taxes collected in the state under Obamacare to purchase private health insurance for the newly eligible individuals. In thisResearch & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans argues Medicaid expansion is an expensive endeavor that the state may not be able to afford. Read More
 
Energy & Environment
Politicians love any crisis that allows them to hand out taxpayer money to special interests and look virtuous while they’re doing it. Climate change mitigation and energy independence are two such crises. But as subsidies for renewable energy companies continue to fail at greater taxpayer expense, Policy Analyst Taylor Smith examines prize programs and how legislators can encourage development in alternative technologies without engaging in cronyism and being more careful with taxpayer dollars. Read More
 
Budget & Tax
 
In the early days of professional sports, nearly all new sports facilities were privately financed. In recent years, by contrast, the trend in stadium financing has moved toward taxpayer subsidies for new stadium construction or renovation. According to Pacific Standard magazine, over the past 20 years 101 new sports facilities have opened in the United States (a 90 percent replacement rate), and nearly all the projects received direct public funding. In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines stadium subsidies and argues they are a poor use of taxpayer dollars. Read More
 
Telecom
 
This Somewhat Reasonable article, originally published in the Daily Caller and written by Scott Cleland, explains why it matters that the U.S. is relinquishing control of ICANN. As the Internet’s moorings detach from the U.S., the Internet ship will enter the uncharted waters of Internet realpolitik. Read More
 
Education
 
Research Fellow Joy Pullmann says it’s technically possible to increase teacher pay without raising taxes or adding to the deficit. But the research shows significant increases in non-teaching staff, lucrative pension benefits, and union-determined – instead of merit-determined – pay scales result in a distorted and unfair compensation system for teachers. Read More

From Our Free Market Friends


The nonpartisan Tax Foundation released its Annual State-Local Tax Burdens report on Wednesday showing results from the 2011 fiscal year. The main findings include an overall decrease in state-local tax burdens. Americans paid 9.8% of their collective income in state and local taxes in 2011. Depending on the state, the burden ranged from 6.9% to 12.6%. Further commentary on the report can be found on Heartland’s Somewhat Reasonable blog. Read More

The March issue of Environment & Climate News reports U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has filed a resolution of disapproval in an effort to block U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to severely restrict carbon dioxide emissions from newly constructed power plants. McConnell is one of at least 40 Republican Senators supporting the resolution.

Budget & Tax News

School Reform News