Morning Action: @SenTedCruz is Still Standing for Americans
SEN. CRUZ. Sen. Cruz began speaking on the Senate floor at 2:41 PM Tuesday to help ensure Obamacare is defunded. He is still standing:
Cruz is not a policy wonk or a health care expert. He probably can’t explain how the exchanges face huge logistical hurdles, how the regulations lead to provider consolidation, or how the whole package will raise health care costs and limit access.
Instead, Cruz explained that Obamacare is unpopular – that Americans don’t want the law to go into effect – but that Congress doesn’t care. A Washington Post/ABC poll last week found 52 percent opposed the law, while only 42 percent supported it. Obamacare has never had majority support in the Post/ABC poll going back to 2009.
We posted a live blog with some of Sen. Cruz’s key statements and various Twitter reactions.
LAYOFFS. An Illinois health system is laying off 125 workers due to Obamacare.
OBAMA. President Barack Obama’s approval rating continues to decline, according to a recent poll:
In a Bloomberg poll released late Tuesday, 49 percent viewed Obama unfavorably compared with 47 percent who viewed him favorably, the first time he has seen a net unfavorability in Bloomberg’s polling during his presidency.
Only 38 percent approved of Obama’s handling of the economy, and 39 percent approved of his handling of health care, his signature domestic issue.
HIGHER PREMIUMS. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Obamacare will increase average individual-market insurance premiums by 99 percent for men and 62 percent for women:
For months now, we’ve been waiting to hear how much Obamacare will drive up the cost of health insurance for people who purchase coverage on their own. Last night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finally began to provide some data on how Americans will fare on Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchanges. HHS’ press release is full of happy talk about how premiums will be “lower than originally expected.” But the reality is starkly different.
Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men.
SPENDING. Democrats are threatening a government shutdown if they don’t get more spending:
Democrats in the House are demanding more discretionary spending and have openly stated that they would prefer a government shutdown over not getting higher spending.
Their main target: getting rid of sequestration—which pushes discretionary spending down to $967 billion in 2014. Instead, House Democrats want to spend well over a trillion dollars—$1.058 trillion, to be exact—on discretionary programs next fiscal year.
For taxpayers, this would mean an additional $91 billion in deficit spending along with a cancellation of some of the savings put in place to offset a $1.2 trillion increase in the debt limit from 2011. Adieu, Budget Control Act.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) says House Democrats are apparently ready “almost across the board” to oppose any bill containing sequestration-level spending—even if it means a federal shutdown. Representative Jim Moran (D–VA) emphasized that “a government shutdown is better than reverting to long-term sequester-level funding.”