Morning Action: Defund Obamacare Town Hall Tour Off to a Great Start
DEFUND OBAMACARE TOUR. @CanesIlliniGal got some excellent pictures of the Heritage Action Defund Obamacare Town Hall in Fayetteville Monday night where 350 people were in attendance. We’re off to a great start and folks across America are going to have their voices heard.
FEDERAL SPENDING. The Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia, Alison Acosta Fraser, and Emily Goff produced a special report, Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2013: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points, in which they demonstrate why federal spending still needs to be substantially reduced if lawmakers want to seriously reduce our nation’s debt:
In 2013, federal spending approached $3.5 trillion and the deficit dropped to “only” $642 billion. Some are using this small improvement in the nation’s fiscal situation to avoid further budget tightening. But as the figures and graphics in this report show, this is the wrong conclusion to draw. Following four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the national debt will still reach nearly $17 trillion and exceed 100 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of the year. Publicly held debt (the debt borrowed in credit markets, excluding Social Security’s trust fund, for example), is alarmingly high at three-quarters of GDP. Without further spending cuts, it is on track to rise to a level last seen after World War II.
Deficits fell in 2013 because President Obama and Congress raised taxes on all Americans, the economy saw slight improvement which helped to bring in more revenue, and spending cuts from sequestration and spending caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011 took effect.
The nation should not take this short-term and modest deficit improvement as a signal to grow complacent about reining in exploding spending. Though deficits will decline for a few more years, existing spending cuts and tax increases will not prevent them from rising soon, and within a decade exceeding $1 trillion once again. Driving this is federal spending which, despite sequestration cuts, will grow 69 percent by 2023.
OBAMA’S WAR ON COAL. Union leaders are growing in opposition to President Obama’s war on coal:
Union leaders are joining the growing chorus of opposition to the “war on coal” being waged by President Obama through the Environmental Protection Agency.
Raymond Ventrone, who represents more than 2,000 members of the Boilermakers Union in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, voiced his opposition to the EPA’s latest coal regulations in a letter to the editor in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The boilermakers union is hardly a friend to conservatives. The union sponsored an ad in 2010 attacking the GOP for everything from the financial crisis to Hurricane Katrina. But after the 2010 midterm elections, the union’s lock-step support of Obama began to crumble. Boilermakers, along with utility and mining unions, wrote a letter to the EPA in March 2011 warning of “significant job losses across the country.”
Obama’s war on coal has been a politically sensitive issue for him because it pits his administration and environmentalists against another of his core constituencies: labor unions. Stuart Stevenswrote for the Daily Beast that those “coal-country families are largely union members or union-friendly, and they historically have been more Democratic than Republican.”
Ventrone wrote that the boilermakers have been vilified by opponents of coal and have even been called “murderers.” He wrote that the war on coal is a “war against our jobs.”
YOUNG PEOPLE. The Department of Health and Human Services paired up with a health advocacy group, Young Invincibles, to hand out cash prizes for promotional videos for Obamacare:
The Obama administration is co-sponsoring a video contest aimed at convincing young people to sign up for health insurance, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Monday.
The contest offers thousands of dollars in cash prizes to the winners, along with a “Stay Healthy Kit” to the first 100 participants. The kit contains a first aid kit, sun-protection kit, t-shirt, and water bottle.
HHS partnered with Young Invincibles, a health care advocacy group, to run the contest. It is unclear who is funding the contest. The prize kit is “Brought to you by CMS Marketplace & Young Invincibles,” according to the website. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency in charge of the insurance exchanges.
Neither Young Invincibles nor HHS returned inquiries about the source of funding for the contest.
But why would young people want to participate? It’s likely they’ll only do so if they’ve been convinced that Obamacare is good for them. It’s not:
Two aspects of the law actually increase the cost of health insurance for young people, said Ed Haislmaier, a health policy expert at the Heritage Foundation.
First, insurance companies can only charge older people three times what they would charge younger people for the same plan. This rule compresses the typical spread of prices, causing the price of insurance for younger and healthier individuals to rise in order to subsidize the artificially low price for older people, Haislmaier said.
Second, all insurance plans have certain requirements for what they must cover and how they are structured, further driving up costs for younger people, he noted.