Morning Action: Obamacare, Higher Premiums and More Government Control
OBAMACARE. Stories about higher health insurance premiums under Obamacare are always coming up, but here is yet another:
For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers’ monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.
FARM BILL. On Wednesday House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) discussed the potential passage of a farm bill this year:
Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, toured the Bakken on Wednesday to see North Dakota’s energy production firsthand, but he also talked one-on-one with Cando farmer Gene Nicholas about the state’s other leading industry.
Nicholas, a retired state legislator, said he came away from the discussion with confidence that a farm bill “that we can live with” will be passed this year.
During the press conference, Cantor said Speaker of the House John Boehner will appoint members of a conference committee on the farm bill in September, after passing a bill dealing with food stamps.
We have noted from the beginning of the debate over the farm bill that mere separation of farm programs from food stamps is insufficient. Both aspects must undergo serious conservative reforms before they would be acceptable. Moreover, a conference between the House and Senate on the farm bill would certainly produce a bad bill, because the Senate-passed farm bill contains egregious flaws and excessive spending.
ATT. The Heritage Foundation explains that the U.S. should not sign the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), though that may happen as soon as Thursday:
For many reasons, this would be an unwise decision. The Administration is to be commended for at least waiting until the translations are complete before signing onto the treaty—it is a basic precaution, after all, to know what it is you are signing before you put your name on it. As a matter of practice, the U.S. is unlikely to sign until late September, when the General Assembly starts its new session. Signing then would extract the maximum favorable publicity from the assembled nations in New York.
It’s not, though, likely to mollify concerns in the U.S. In recent months, 130 Members of the House backed a letter led by Representative Mike Kelly (R–PA) opposing U.S. signature of the ATT, and the Senate and House have adopted various measures to ban funding for implementing the ATT. A bipartisan Concurrent Resolution led by Senator Jerry Moran (R–KS) and Representative Kelly has 35 cosponsors in the Senate and 148 in the House.
SYRIA. Heritage Foundation experts advise against doing missile strikes in Syria to react to their use of chemical weapons on their own people. There are other actions that would better serve the interests of the United States:
We should not be doing missile strikes, as many reports have indicated could be a possibility.
Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups have been the principal beneficiaries of Obama’s passive, “hands-off” approach to the worsening Syria crisis. The Obama Administration urgently needs to develop a strategy not only to counter Assad’s use of chemical weapons but prevent those weapons from falling into the hands of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, or other Islamist terrorist groups that have flocked to Syria.
Rather than attempting to intervene directly in the conflict, the U.S. should be working with other countries in the region to hasten the end of the Assad regime and deal with the refugee crisis and terrorist strongholds.