Mar 30, 2012 | By ThinkProgress War Room
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Mar 30, 2012 | By ThinkProgress War Room
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Harrisburg, PA – TODAY, in Harrisburg, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Senate candidate Steve Welch, national Committewoman Christine Toretti, state vice-chairman Joyce Haas and Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry gathered to discuss the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Small Businesses.
But the GOP presser lacked significant representation by actual small businesses.
So, in response, Know Your Care and Keystone Progress held a press call with the businesses that will actually be impacted by the Affordable Care Act.
Pennsylvania based small business owners Richie Tabachnick, Charlie Crystle and Pat Clark joined Rhett Buttle of the Small Business Majority to discuss via teleconference the ways in which the previous insurance system was unsustainable, and how they will benefit from the Affordable Care Act, as well as the consequences of repeal.
“Nationwide, we expect that the Affordable Care Act will allow small businesses to really leverage their buying power when it comes to health insurance,” said Rhett Buttle, Government Affairs Director of Small Business Majority.
The tax credit is also expected to impact their bottom line. Companies with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees averaging less than $50,000 annually in salaries can claim a tax credit of up to 35 percent on health-insurance costs.
Anyone who says the Affordable Care Act is damaging to the economy and small businesses are misrepresenting the facts. These tax breaks will help us create jobs. This law has benefited us by lowering our costs and allowing us to hire more people,” said Ritchie Tabachnick, President of Equipment and Controls Africa.
“I have taken advantage of the small business tax credits, I am excited to find out we are going to see more choice and quality under the Affordable Care Act,” said Pat Clark Managing Partner of Jackson/Clark Partners.Ultimately, the Affordable Care Act provides excellent opportunities for businesses to provide better care for their employees.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Monday marked the beginning of the Supreme Court oral arguments on the legality of the Affordable Care Act. The central question in the case now pending before the Supreme Court is whether Congress the authority to require individuals to have health insurance. Opponents of the law argue that it exceeds the legitimate authority of the national government.
However, the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act are not about the law but about political games that will take away benefits from millions of Americans and put insurance companies back in charge. These political games and misleading rhetoric have been the basis for much misinformation surrounding the landmark legislation, which have ultimately led arguments to the court.
But, at the Supreme Court, nearly 200 years of precedent establish that Congress has the power to regulate the economy. Leading experts suggest that there can be no doubt that the economic effects of the health care industry on interstate commerce are huge, comprising more than 17 percent of the entire national economy. Thus, whatever the merits of the individual mandate in terms of public policy, there seemed no serious question about its constitutionality.
Further, leading conservative judges have agreed that challenges to the health care law have no basis in either the text of the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent.
While it is unclear how the court will rule, it is obvious that repeal would have a direct impact on millions of people nationwide who have already benefited from the Affordable Care Act.
Reverend David Charles Smith, Congregations United for Neighborhood Action and
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
This week marks the beginning of the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act. But what does repeal mean for real people?
In this tri-state region, 375,000 seniors are now saving on drug costs, another 2.6 million people received free preventive-health screenings, and nearly 140,000 young adults who were brought under their parents' insurance plans because of the Affordable Care Act. Thousands of small businesses, as well, have utilized federal tax credits to help them provide their workforce with health insurance.
Across the United States, the Affordable Care Act works, and is benefiting millions.
· Works for women, children, seniors – everyone. More than 86 million Americans received preventive care such as mammograms and colonoscopies for free in 2011.
· Works for young adults: 2.5 million young adults are now insured because of the new health care law.
· Works for seniors: 3.6 million Medicare beneficiaries saved more than $2.1 billion on prescription drugs because of the new health care law.
· Works for those with pre-existing conditions. Expanded coverage for those with pre-existing conditions: Nearly 50,000 Americans who were denied coverage now have insurance through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.
· Works for small businesses: A growing number of businesses offering health care coverage are taking advantage of tax credits available under the law.
Ultimately, taking away any of the provisions of the law would mean repealing real benefits away from seniors, women, children, young adults, and people with pre-existing conditions.
Check out an audio file of the Supreme Court arguments here.
PA can avoid cuts that will hurt families, children and seniors without raising taxes
“Close the loopholes, grow the revenue pie, and make our tax system fair for all,” said Stephen Drachler, executive director of United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania and co-chair of Better Choices for Pennsylvania. “That way we can meet the needs of all our citizens and improve their lives."
Better Choices for Pennsylvania, a coalition of organizations working for a responsible state budget, organized the “grow the revenue pie” event Monday, along with the faith community, and advocates for women, school children, college students, and people with disabilities.
Volunteer pie deliverers stopped by each lawmaker’s office to drop off a pie and a handout that contrasts existing tax loopholes with funding cuts that could be restored by closing the loophole. In each case, additional revenue could help fund vital services without raising taxes.
The handout shows, for example, that funding could be restored for education, colleges, General Assistance, and other health and human services by closing the Delaware loophole, delaying the planned phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax, and closing other tax loopholes.
View the full table here.
After delivering the pies to lawmakers, several citizens gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to share their stories. One of them was Jake Fleming of Philadelphia, who said the small General Assistance benefit he received a few years ago saved his life. Fleming was homeless and sick in 2008. After 30 years of addiction, he decided it was time to get help.
“I’ve been clean and sober for four years now,” he said. “I’m employed, I’m paying taxes, I’m supporting myself, I’m supporting my 14-year-old daughter.”
Fleming said the Governor’s budget, which eliminates the General Assistance program, would be devastating for communities across the state.
“Homelessness will skyrocket,” he said. “People seeking treatment in recovery houses and treatment programs will have nowhere to go.”
Joseph Martin of Cumberland County found himself homeless last year. Thankfully, a friend gave him shelter while he got back on his feet, but even today his housing costs are close to half his income.
“The citizens of the commonwealth need affordable housing available in their communities,” Martin said. “Without a safe and affordable place to live, recovery is hard to find.” More people will end up being hospitalized or incarcerated at higher costs, he added.
Schuylkill Haven School District Superintendent Loraine Felker outlined the dramatic impact that state budget cuts for schools have had on her rural Schuylkill County district.
“If the state doesn’t change its support for education right now, within three, if we’re lucky four, years, we will be totally bankrupt,” she said.
“Education is our future, our students are our future. If we want to have a thriving state 20 years form now, we need to do right by our children now. And that means we have to educate them well.”
Dr. Steve Hicks, President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, raised concerns about budget cuts putting affordable college out of reach for more and more Pennsylvanians.
Peg Dierkers, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and co-chair of Better Choices for Pennsylvania, summed up the coalition’s message: “We are here today asking our governor and our state legislature to increase the size of the funding pie. After five years of cuts, families can no longer afford education, get supports they need to go to work every day, to take care of their elderly parents.”
Drachler added that it was important that Pennsylvania meet its moral obligation to the hungry and homeless, to people who are sick or disabled, to children and seniors by closing loopholes and funding the services that struggling families need.
Better Choices for Pennsylvania is a coalition working for a responsible state budget. The coalition is built on the principle that before making deep service cuts that hurt Pennsylvania families and the economy, policymakers should close tax loopholes and end special interest tax breaks. Learn more at http://betterchoicesforpa.com.
As Republicans who have co-sponsored or supported legislation requiring all Americans to purchase individual health insurance in 1993, 1994, 2007, and as recently as 2009, RMC believes that the mandate is based on the fundamental American principle of personal responsibility, rooted in conservative jurisprudence surrounding the Constitution’s Commerce and Necessary and Proper clauses.
In the words of Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Republicans “don’t think the free market ever envisioned an idea that people would be able to do something and make other people pay for it.” “People are either going to buy insurance or they’re going to pay for their own care. They’re not going to say, ‘I got care and you Mr. Tax Payer or You Mr. Premium Payer are going to pay for me.”
‘Republicans For Mandating Coverage’ believes that this is an “American principle” — a principle of “personal responsibility” — that can be constitutionally enforced by the federal government.
Since nearly all Americans are already part of the health care marketplace and health care affects 17 percent of the economy, Congress is authorized to regulate health care behavior under the Commerce Clause. As conservative Judge Laurence Silberman put it: “At the time the Constitution was fashioned, to ‘regulate’ meant, as it does now, ‘[t]o adjust by rule or method,’ as well as ‘[t]o direct.’ To ‘direct,’ in turn, included ‘[t]o prescribe certain measure[s]; to mark out a certain course,’ and ‘[t]o order; to command.’ In other words, to ‘regulate’ can mean to require action, and nothing in the definition appears to limit that power only to those already active in relation to an interstate market.”
The Supreme Court can also find justification for the mandate in the Necessary and Proper Clause. In Gonzales v. Raich, the Supreme Court decided not to strike down a provision of law when that provision is an “essential part of a larger regulation of economic activity.” Justice Antonin Scalia explained in a concurring opinion that “where Congress has the authority to enact a regulation of interstate commerce, it possesses every power needed to make that regulation effective.”
Whole article at Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/03/26/451406/rmc/