February 10 2012

CPAC Live Blog: ObamaCare, ObamaCare, ObamaCare

Hadley Heath

ObamaCare has certainly given conservatives a lot to talk about.  At CPAC today, two panels tackled some of the law's greatest flaws.

At 9 am, during a panel including Christie Herrera from ALEC, Grace-Marie Turner from Galen Institute, Chuck Donovan from Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund, and IWF's Chairman Heather Higgins, a few of ObamaCare's worst provisions kept coming up: the individual mandate, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the Medicaid expansion, and statewide exchanges.

The individual mandate is by far the most unpopular part of the law.  In fact, according to Kaiser, 67 percent of people have an unfavorable view of it.  But Heritage's Nina Owcharenko, moderating the panel, brought up the very important point that if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, the are still serious problems with the rest of the law and Congress should repeal it fully.

The IPAB and the Medicaid expansion - both of which are facing serious legal challenges as well - are not real reforms for Medicare and Medicaid.  Ironically, IPAB dangerously goes after Medicare's costs without regard for how people will be affected, while the Medicaid expansion senselessly adds millions of new enrollees to a bad program... without regard to the costs!  

The statewide exchanges, while not the most talked about part of the law, are particularly troublesome.  The word "exchange" is misleading because these entities will essentially exist to deliver subsidies through large hyper-regulated insurance companies, and will make it difficult if not impossible for small and independent insurers to do business.

A later panel, featuring Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association, Grace-Marie Turner, and author John Goodman, focused on many of the same topics.  

ObamaCare seemed to be the hot topic of the day, as all three presidential candidates who spoke today (Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich) emphasized the need to repeal it and move forward on health policy in the right direction.

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