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Morning Examiner: Obamacare’s pathetic third anniversary

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

This Saturday, March 23rd, will mark the third anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Hailed by The New York Times as the biggest income redistribution program of the last 30 years, virtually nothing has gone right for plan since it became law.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cancelled the law’s government-run long-term care insurance program, the CLASS Act, after she admitted it was financially unsustainable and Congress has since formally repealed it. Enrollment in Obamacare’s high-risk pools for individuals with pre-existing conditions has been so low that that program has also been cancelled. And the application process for obtaining small business tax credits is so burdensome that, according to the IRS, only 7 percent of the 4.4 million businesses the program was designed to help, have claimed the credit.

Worse, virtually every small business owner willing to go on the record says Obamacare is largely to blame for what has become the weakest economic recovery since World War Two. “There is tremendous confusion and fear among many of my competitors and other business owners in my network, particularly about what you have to cover and how you have to report,” Hugh Joyce, owner of James River Air Conditioning in Richmond, told The Washington Post. “In speaking to them, I am convinced that the primary reason we aren’t seeing a robust economic recovery is the uncertainty and costs associated with this health-care law.”

Businesses can not be blamed for not knowing how Obamacare will affect their bottom line. As The Post also reports, “Nearly three years after the health-care law was passed, federal regulators have only recently begun to define its terms.”

And then there are the 26 state health care exchanges that HHS is obligated by law to have up and running by October of this year. Nobody is expecting them to meet that deadline. Meanwhile, insurance premiums are climbing by double-digits nationwide.

According to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, only 37 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Obamacare. As Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment continues to rack up more failures, that number will only go down.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Rand Paul and the false link between border security and immigration reform
Philip Klein: Iraq War made Obamacare possible
Byron York: Forget about immigration reform anytime soon
Michael Barone: More on the Obamacare IT nightmare
Tim Carney: The mistake of Iraq and the education of the Right

In Other News
McClatchy Newspapers, Congress moves to keep sequester spending cuts – while easing impact on public: Just weeks after Washington nearly went to war over automatic spending cuts, the Senate scripted a peaceful ending to the clash Wednesday as it backed the reductions while giving government managers flexibility to minimize the impacts on the public by finding the savings elsewhere in their budgets.
Gallup
, Americans Remain Pessimistic About Finding Quality Jobs: Americans continue to assess the market for quality jobs in the U.S. negatively, with 74% saying now is a “bad time” to find one, essentially unchanged from February.
The New York Times, Chemicals Would Be ‘Game Changer’ in Syria, Obama Says: Showing solidarity with Israel’s growing concern about chemical weapons in neighboring Syria, President Obama stated bluntly on Wednesday that if an investigation he had ordered found proof that the Syrian military had used such weapons it would be a “game changer” in American involvement in the civil war there.
The Los Angeles Times, Voters sour on high-speed rail: Though California voters approved nearly $10 billion in state bonds to pay for the first phase of the project, a new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found that they remain divided over the proposal, which is scheduled to begin construction later this year. Just 43%of likely voters surveyed now say they favor the project, while 54% said they are opposed.
Roll Call, Lobbying Without a Trace: Nearly half of the lobbyists who were registered with Congress in 2011 and then went “inactive” in 2012 remained with the same employer, and many continued to influence public policy, according to a study released Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal, Stagnant Japan Rolls Dice on New Era of Easy Money: Japan’s new central bank governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, begins work Thursday on a feat no one before has managed: reversing nearly two decades of falling prices to lift wages and profits in the world’s third largest economy.
The Washington Post, Health-care law uncertainty weighs down small firms: Nearly three years after the health-care law was passed, federal regulators have only recently begun to define its terms. Major pieces of the overhaul, such as state-run exchanges that will serve as marketplaces for qualified health insurance plans, have yet to take shape, and several rules remain unwritten. Consequently, the picture remains anything but clear for small-business owners, some of whom have been warned that their premiums may spike and that their current coverage may fall short.

Lefty Playbook
Kevin Drum makes his best argument against a Grand Bargain.
Greg Sargent asks Democrats to stop threatening filibuster reform until they really mean it
Brian Beutler admits Democrats made a tactical error on sequestration.

Righty Playbook
Joel Kotkin on the Limits of the Creative Class
James Pethokoukis notes that not many Hispanics are libertarians.
Reihan Salam on the Uneven Impact of Single Parenting on Women and Men

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