A Waiver, Jay?
When new White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained last week that the administration was supporting legislation “that would speed up the innovation waiver for states with ideas of their own to pursue healthcare reform in their states,” Human Events Political Editor John Gizzi asked if this would be along the lines of the waivers states were granted to pursue welfare reform in the 1990s. “I don’t know how to compare it to that,” Carney told Gizzi, adding that the Obama-backed measure would permit states to “achieve the goals set by the Affordable Care Act through the innovative ideas that they themselves come up with.” Bill Felkner, policy director for the Ocean State Policy Research Institute, told Human Events: “[T]his will allow the states to follow their own path toward healthcare so long as that path leads to the same goal that is reached by the ‘Affordable Health Care Act” “It will allow states to set up an exchange or set up a single-payer program or anything else, as long as they end up in the same place as set out in ObamaCare.” Felkner added that the “waiver” Carney spoke of “doesn’t deal with the biggest problem states are having—namely, Medicaid—at all.”
No More Tax Dollars For U.S. Institute Of Peace
That’s what Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R.-Utah) and Anthony Weiner (D.-N.Y.) called for last week, branding the $54 million in public funding the Institute received in 2011 “a misuse of public money.” The efforts of Chaffetz and Weiner to defund the institute receive the blessings of Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, who served on its board from 2003-05. Recalling his stint, Pipes wrote that “the organization performs little worthwhile service to the taxpayer but… forwards a political agenda. Americans who wish to fund such an organization are free to do so, but it should not be a public burden.”
Will Medicaid Bankrupt States?
With the nation’s governors in Washington last week pleading for more flexibility in dealing with skyrocketing costs of Medicaid, the top Republicans on the House and Senate committees dealing with healthcare released a comprehensive report concluding that the approaching implementation of the entire 2010 healthcare reform packet will lead to a huge expansion of Medicaid that will cost the states $118.04 billion more through 2023. Noting that governors have long said they can not afford this Medicaid expansion, Senate Finance Committee ranking Republican Orrin Hatch (Utah) said “[w]ith this report, we see the true cost to states, who are already facing a collective $175 billion budget shortfall, of this unsustainable expansion.” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R.-Mich) agreed, saying that this report is evidence that “[n]early one year after the President signed the healthcare package into law, we are still finding more costly consequences.”
Competing with Unions’ Big Spending
Emboldened by the latest developments in Wisconsin regarding collective bargaining, Big Labor is expected to ratchet up its fund-raising machine that brought in more than $400 million to elect Barack Obama and other Democrats in ’08. To counter this, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have announced a collective fundraising goal of $120 million through the end of 2012. In addition, American Crossroads (a 527 group) has launched a Presidential Action Fund, which will conduct in-depth issue research, polling, micro-targeting, issue advocacy and turnout activities. AC describes the fund as “ a new initiative that will be dedicated to shaping the issue environment and driving high-impact messages and themes in 2012.”
Read Budget Fine Print
When Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew testified on the administration’s $3.7 trillion budget request earlier this month, he told the House Budget Committee: “We’ve got to put a plan forward that would get us to primary balance by the middle of the decade.” While it might appear he was discussing a balanced budget, as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York points out, primary balance is no balance at all. While a balanced budget means government spending and revenues are roughly equal, York wrote, “a budget in ‘primary balance,’ according to the Obama Administration, occurs when revenues and spending are equal—excluding all the interest the government pays on its enormous debt.” Picking up on Lew’s choice of words, Budget Committee member Mick Mulvaney (R.-S.C.) told him: “Only in Washington could you run a deficit and claim it’s balanced and somehow use the word ‘balance.’ Mr. Lew, you couldn’t do that anywhere else. They’d laugh you out of the room.”