Today, House Republicans took action on an issue they’ve threatened for some time: A lawsuit against what they say are the President’s illegal actions regarding the Affordable Care Act.
The suit accuses the Obama administration of unlawfully postponing a requirement that larger employers offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay penalties. (Larger companies are defined as those with 50 or more employees.)
In July 2013, the administration deferred that requirement until 2015. Seven months later, the administration announced a further delay, until 2016, for employers with 50 to 99 employees.
The suit also challenges what it says is President Obama’s unlawful giveaway of roughly $175 billion to insurance companies under the law. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the administration will pay that amount to the companies over the next 10 years, though the funds have not been appropriated by Congress. The lawsuit argues that it is an unlawful transfer of funds.
Political motivations of these actions aside, they do bring some important questions. Notably for our purposes, they highlight the fact that the administration is carrying out a de facto bailout while few are watching.
With billions at stake, we should demand real accountability, not unilateral handouts of our money.
Some bad news on a little-known but extremely important issue: Medicare’s Doc Fix.
The Congressional Budget Office … said legislation (H.R. 4015, S. 2000) to repeal and replace the Medicare physician payment system would cost $144 billion from 2015 to 2024, a jump from the $138 billion 10-year estimate that the CBO made in February when the identical bills were introduced . . .
In its latest document on the so-called doc fix, the CBO also estimated that freezing physician payment at the current rate through 2024 would cost $118.9 billion, while offering doctors an extra 0.5 percent hike for each of those years would jack up the price to $140.2 billion.
The Doc Fix, for readers unfamiliar, is essentially a way by which Congress has gotten around budget-controlling rules passed in the 1990s. These rules would tie provider reimbursement to economic health, but since the cost of healthcare rises faster than GDP, Congress has consistently passed bills to get around the rule.
Most people might not have heard of it, but it’s costing billions. It’s time for real solutions, not stopgap measures that cost us billions.
In case you missed it, you can now view Jonathan Bydlak’s full-length speech at the 2014 Liberty Political Action Conference.
Speaking alongside speakers including Rep. Mark Sanford, Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Raul Labrador, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, and many others, Jonathan discussed the importance of holding all politicians — good and bad — to their word.
Check out the full speech here!
A potentially bad sign for spending on the controversial and troubled F-35:
WASHINGTON — Every year, the Pentagon and its corporate partners hash out contracts for individual low-rate initial production (LRIP) lots of the F-35 joint strike fighter. If the man running the program has his say, those days are numbered.
With the negotiations over LRIP 8 at a conclusion, Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the head of the F-35 joint program office, is planning on negotiating LRIP 9 and 10 together. And come LRIP 11, he wants a whole new model of procurement in place.
“By next summer we will put out a request for proposal on LRIP 11 jets,” Bogdan told reporters Thursday. “That RFP will ask Lockheed to do a block buy for our partners. At least, that is my intention.”
A number of partner nations have already committed to large procurements of the fifth-generation stealthy jet, so bundling their orders together is just logical, Bogdan said.
But while a block buy could benefit international partners, the US would not be able to participate in such a buy due to acquisition rules barring a multi-year procurement until the jet enters full-rate production.
In other words, the United States would be paying more per F-35 model than a country such as, for argument’s sake, South Korea, which has pledged to procure 40 F-35A fighters through foreign military sales.
It’s all come down to today.
This year’s election cycle was the first one in which our group has existed. And it was one of the toughest we’ve ever seen when it comes to fiscal issues.
Many establishment candidates chose to ignore fiscal issues entirely, while even Republicans started running attack ads on opponents for supporting spending reform.
Because the deficit went down, temporarily, too many people simply forgot about cutting spending.
Despite these tough odds, though, 130 candidates signed their commitment to the simple principles of Reject the Debt. While making such predictions is always difficult, based on our most conservative estimates, we’ll at least double our elected pledge signers by the time voting is over.
Many people think of today as the end, the winding down of hard-fought battles.
In fact, the opposite is true. After today, the really hard work begins.
Especially if we head into the new cycle with self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives in charge, we have to redouble our efforts to make sure spending doesn’t skyrocket while no one is watching. We know from very recent history that Republicans and Democrats alike are prone to support irresponsible spending when they aren’t held accountable.
The time for relying on promises alone is long gone. It’s time to make sure these promises are kept.
Stay tuned. Today is only the beginning.