According to public numbers, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid paid more than $125 million for treatment of thousands of our nation’s prison inmates and illegal aliens between the years 2009 and 2011, a cost that could have been prevented if proper controls were in place.
“The federal government is generally prohibited from providing Medicare services to incarcerated individuals or aliens who are unlawfully present in the country under the Social Security Act,” reported the Washington Free Beacon. ”But CMS’s screening methods were not able to detect and recoup payments that violated the Act.”
Had the controls been in place, much of the improper payments could have been prevented. Instead, government bureaucracy fails again, costing the American taxpayer millions.
According to the Free Beacon report, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid launched a nearly $80 million plan to improve their computer systems. The center claims the new system saved over $100 million in 2012 alone.
Among the wide ranging new regulations, taxes and costs associated with Obamacare, a portion of its effect hit Americans today in the form of twenty new or higher taxes. Highlighted below are some of the more devastating increases to the tax burdens of typical Americans.
Starting today, a new 2.3% tax will hit medical device manufactures. ”In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care – making everything from pacemakers to artificial hips more expensive,” wrote the Americans for Tax Reform organization.
Americans who enjoy a Flexible Spending Account to help pay for basic healthcare items will now face a new $2500 per year federal cap on expenses. No cap on FSA spending was enforced at the federal level last year, although employers typically enforced their own spending caps (~$2500 for individuals and ~$4000 for families).
Last year, Americans were allowed to deduct from their taxes medical expenses that exceeded 7.5% of their Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI. Today, that deduction threshold has been increased to 10%, requiring Americans to pay more for medical expenses before deductions can be made.
Lastly, Americans earning more than $200,000 annually (or $250,000 for married couples) will see a 3.8% increase in Medicare taxes, which will directly effect self-employed workers and small business owners in the United States.
Once again, Americans who already pay the majority of federal income taxes will shoulder the majority of the new burdens imposed on Americans for “cheaper” healthcare under the new Obamacare law.
Yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court that allows the U.S. government to essentially compel the American people to engage in commerce via a tax fundamentally changes the American concept of freedom and individual liberty. It short, it radically destroys it.
George Will said it best when he wrote, “The health care legislation’s expansion of the federal government’s purview has improved our civic health by rekindling interest in what this expansion threatens – the Framers’ design for limited government.”
To be clear, Obamacare was cleverly designed. The bill essentially forces people into obtaining health insurance in some way and penalizes those who don’t with a tax that is to be collected by the IRS. Because the concept of taxation is constitutional, this mandate then — collected by the “constitutional” IRS — is therefore permitted to stand. To the Supreme Court, so long as the mechanism to collect is constitutional, so is the dictate. To me that’s nonsense, but I’m also not a judge on the Supreme Court.
Even if you believe that the government has the right and obligation to force people into commerce (via a tax or otherwise), nobody has reasonably made the argument that Obamacare somehow reduces the size of government or limits government authority. Of course it doesn’t. I’m afraid that all the Revolutionary War did was enable us to replace a tyrannical government abroad with one right here at home. Compulsory commerce in this country? This is flat unreal.
The court did find, however, that the individual mandate of Obamacare did not pass constitutional muster using Congress’s ability to regulate interstate commerce. The Supremes found that the Commerce clause relies on commercial activity to pre-exist before it can be regulated. Obamacare “compels individuals to become active” in commerce, and therefore, does not apply under the Commerce clause. Although the court found a way to constitutionally-rationalize the individual mandate using the pretext of a “tax”, at the very least, we found that limitations still do exist within this abused portion of the Constitution.
We know from history that any time the federal government meddles in the affairs of the people, costs rise. Bureaucracy skyrockets. Confusion mounts. Health care will be no exception. Most of it doesn’t take place until 2014, so it gives the people time to make any adjustments necessary as the working population of this country bend over once again to take it up the rear in support of yet another social program.