Olens Urges Baker To Review Obamacare’s Constitutionality.

Received via email:

For Immediate Release : Cobb County/December 23, 2009 – Cobb County Commission Chair and candidate for Attorney General Sam Olens has submitted a letter to Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker requesting that he join with the Attorney Generals of South Carolina and at least six other States, to review the constitutionality of H.R. 3590, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

With the final deal assuring Senator Ben Nelson’s vote, all newly eligible Medicaid enrollees from Nebraska would be permanently treated differently than those from the other 49 States. While Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, the Nebraska Compromise provides for a permanent exemption to his State alone. Said provision appears to violate the U.S. Constitution as all states would not be uniformly treated the same with this new tax.

“It is a felony to buy votes in this country. That same prohibition must apply to our legislators. All legal options must be considered and applied to stop this outrage.

“Georgians cannot afford the many new taxes associated with this bill, let alone a special provision that lets us pay for citizens of another state, stated Olens.

63 comments

  1. benevolus says:

    “It is a felony to buy votes in this country. ”

    Wow. The ignorance of that statement in this context is tragic.

  2. RuralDem says:

    “Georgians cannot afford the many new taxes associated with this bill, let alone a special provision that lets us pay for citizens of another state,”

    Curious to know what Olens thinks about smaller states that receive more earmarks than we do. Does Olens have a problem with that, why doesn’t he make a fuss about it?

    What about any special exemptions that Georgia has? I’m sure that we have some special exemptions that other states do not have on some matters. Will Olens urge these exemptions to be removed.

    The entire fairness thing, while reasonable, becomes a joke with his last statement.

      • trainsplz says:

        As of 2005, these guys claim that Georgia gets about $1.01 of federal allocation for every $1.00 we contribute in tax revenues:

        http://www.taxfoundation.org/press/show/22659.html

        I speculate that in terms of raw demographics, the chronic disease level in rural + impoverished urban areas will shift more federal money to GA after all is said and done. But it would be nice to see the real numbers.

  3. ByteMe says:

    Nelson is already saying he wants to see the provision removed from the conference bill, since he also gets that it likely won’t survive legal scrutiny anyway.

    Won’t change the final bill even if that one provision were stricken, so his “outrage” over the bill being expressed in this manner… meh.

    Sam, we know you lurk out here every now and then. Are you just as “outraged” over the lack of available/affordable medical coverage here in Georgia for people with pre-existing conditions and what exactly are you going to call Ox on the carpet to do about it, if anything? Just askin’.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      “Nelson is already saying he wants to see the provision removed from the conference bill, since he also gets that it likely won’t survive legal scrutiny anyway.”

      Nelson of course will seek a Nebraska payoff in some other fashion. What a louse.

  4. Chris says:

    Sadly, the GOP decided in 2006 it was more important that they nominate someone who will police “smut” along I75 than someone who would be a decent AG and left that position in Democrat hands. We reap what we sow and there is no reason we should expect our current AG to lift a finger to stop one of the biggest expansions of government in our time.

  5. RuralDem says:

    Oh yea, nice job by Olens to NOT list the other states, they all have something in common, each Attorney General is a Republican and was asked by Republicans in each state to look into this.

    Sounds like nothing more than a partisan witch hunt.

    Great job.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      It’s an utterly ridiculous provision, and calling a challenge to it partisan is nothing but partisan itself.

      • BubbaRich says:

        It’s a generally poor policy, but it’s as constitutional as any earmark or local provision in any federal law. Challenging its constitutionality based on “it costs people differently in different states” is ignorance of federal law on a massive scale. Is it real ignorance by the wingnuts, or just intentional to whine a little more?

        • Game Fan says:

          Challenging anything that Obama signs on the basis of Constitutionality is nothing but a sick joke to real Constitutionalists. In fact, many people across America recognize this whole thing with Obama as nothing but a big charade. Obama has never had ANY Constitutional authority ever. Obama is nothing more than the corporatists and the globalists thumbing their noses at the Constitutionalists. Everything Obama says and does and signs is a lie and a slap in the face and a big fat fiction to anybody who keeps it real. It’s n0thing but dog manure. Enablers on both sides are the only thing that sustains it. Obama is null and void. A sad chapter in American history. So is Bush.

          • Game Fan says:

            And yet… the constitutionalists don’t run the country. Wonder why?

            Constitutionalists recognize that politicians don’t really “run” anything although they make the mental midgets in TV land feel warm and fuzzy. This is a basic philosophical issue. So even if EVERY POLITICIAN was a Constitutionalist they wouln’t “run” the Countrty. They wouldn’t want to and they’d recognize that this would be impossible. Did you say that you graduated from Tech?

          • ByteMe says:

            So you’re saying you don’t wonder why the constitutionalists will never have any power in this country.

          • Game Fan says:

            Most actually ARE Constitutionalists to varying degrees. Some part-time others full time. Constitutionalists and Constitutional arguments are always there. It’s always part of the mix. Part of the reality.

          • BubbaRich says:

            Actual enforcement of federal law by the executive, and even more actual legal precedent from the federal courts, determines what the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment really means. Not, unfortunately for you, wingnut radio hosts or teabaggers.

    • GOPGeorgia says:

      It could sound like a partisan with hunt. Or it could sound like a partisan defense from a piece of partisan garbage shoved down our throats, 60 to 39, along party lines.

      If it’s such a great bill for America, why did 13 US Senators ask for exemptions for their states?

      And as you vote negative marks on my comment for asking hard questions, can any of you name another federal program in which business owners are forced to participate in, and if they don’t, they are fined? (Other than paying taxes.) Can you wrap your head around the fact that the federal government is forcing all companies to provide a benefit to employees, other than wages, and this has NEVER been done before?

      Look at it logically, and will I borrow a FB comment from a PP commenter to make my point: “Let’s see, if I’m a business owner I can either continue to pay $8,000+ per year per employee for insurance OR, I can pay a $750 fine per employee to the federal government per year and let the taxpayers pick up the employee insurance and I keep the $7,250. Boy, that’s a tough one. And this is going to LOWER healthcare costs????”

      • ByteMe says:

        Those 13 states asked for exemptions from some conditions because they already offer more to their citizens than this bill provides.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            You stated that the reason was that those states offer more and that’s why they opted out. I’m not going to do your research to prove your point. You can prove it or accept that those states would be exempted from portions of a bad bill.

          • ByteMe says:

            You made the assertion that states wanted out, but didn’t go far enough to find out why, just making an ASSumption that fit your retarded world-view. So why would I bother to prove anything to you, since your initial ASSumption must be right in your world?

          • ByteMe says:

            So is NE (not NB) one of those states that’s EXEMPT as you claimed? No? You jumped from why did 13 US Senators ask for exemptions for their states? to side-deals that might be unconstitutional. You realize you’re just making yourself look more foolish than usual, right?

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            Byte,

            You still haven’t proved YOUR LIE that these states have already offer more to their citizens than this bill provides.

            As for sweetheart deals, I got this in an e-mail today. I am not stating it’s accurate, but if it is, it’s interesting.

            “Nebraska will receive 100% FMAP for newly eligibles indefinitely, making it the only state where the federal government will pay for all new enrollees. CBO estimated the cost to the federal government (additional funds to Nebraska) would be $100 million, which may look small compared to the other deals negotiated, yet over the long-term will cost far more, since funding continues indefinitely.

            Vermont will receive a 2.2% FMAP increase for 6 years for their entire program, thus receiving an additional $600 million over ten years.

            Massachusetts will receive a 0.5% FMAP increase for three years for the entire program, thus receiving an additional $500 million over ten years.

            Despite $120 billion in Medicare Advantage cuts, the Manager’s Amendment found a way for Florida residents, as well as some individuals in Pennsylvania and New York, and potentially Oregon, to be grandfathered out of receiving the cuts.

            Dorgan and Conrad’s “protections for frontier states” provision would, starting in 2011, establish a 1.0 hospital wage index and geographic practice expense floors for hospitals and physicians located in states where at least 50% of the counties in the state are “frontier”. Not surprisingly, states that qualify and benefit from this increase in Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors are Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

            Of the many problems with these “sweetheart” deals, is the door it leaves wide open for more federal involvement and financing of state-based entitlement programs. Sen. Harkin said it best when he stated
            “In 2017, as you know, when we have to start phasing back from 100%, and going down to 98%, they are going to say, ’Wait, there is one state that stays at 100?’ And every governor in the country is going to say, ‘Why doesn’t our state stay there?’…When you look at it, I thought well, God, good, it is going to be the impetus for all the states to stay at 100%. So he [Nelson] might have done all of us a favor.”

            Changes for Sen. Ben Nelson (Nebraska):
            Nelson secured more than just 100% federal funding for Nebraska’s Medicaid expansion, the list of “sweeteners” (also called the “Cornhusker kickback” by Senate Republicans) includes: An exemption from the insurance tax for Nebraska non-profit insurers, with language written in a way that only applies to Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company and Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans (BCBS) of Nebraska (and Michigan). According to news reports, Nelson’s office states that BCBS “would pay between $15 million and $20 million less in fees under the Senate bill than it would have without a change.”

            An exemption from taxes for Medicare supplemental (“Medigap”) insurance providers. Specifically, Mutual of Omaha, will not have to pay taxes on Medigap insurance, while reports also indicate that this tax break will be extended to other companies. Some changes requested by Nelson would benefit people across the country, such as the inflation adjustment to the $2,500 cap on tax-exempt contributions to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and exemptions for nearly 55 physician-owned hospitals that have a provider agreement to participate in Medicare by August 1, 2010 (pushed back from February 1, 2010).

            Changes for Sen. Levin (Michigan):
            According to reports, Like Nelson, Levin sought an exemption from the $6 billion annual fee for non-profits, as non-profit insurers make up 76% of industry profits, but drew opposition from liberals. Ultimately, Levin got an exemption from the insurance tax for Michigan non-profit insurers, with language written in a way that applies to Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans (BCBS) of Michigan (and Nebraska).

            Furthermore, the amendment changes the extension of section 508 hospital provisions so that hospitals in Michigan (as well as Connecticut) have the option to benefit under them if it means higher payments.

            Changes for Sen. Landrieu (Louisiana):
            Landrieu was one of the first Senators to secure a sweetheart deal, aptly nicknamed the “Louisiana Purchase”; she traded her support for bringing the bill to the floor for a $300 million increase in Medicaid funding for Louisiana. The underlying bill was cryptically written to increase federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster” during the past 7 years that have been declared a “major disaster area” — and is meant to replenish the decrease in federal money resulting from an “abnormally inflated” per capita income in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. This was due to an influx of insurance dollars, federal grants and increased labor wages.

            Changes for Sen. Sanders (Vermont):
            In addition the Vermont FMAP increase, the amendment includes a provision pushed by Sanders to provide an additional $10 billion in funding for community health centers and the National Health Services Corps which he argues would provide primary care to 25 million more people.

            Changes for Sen. Bill Nelson (Florida)
            As noted above, Nelson was able to secure a deal to keep Medicare Advantage plans enrollees in Florida grandfathered in. Notably, when McCain tried to offer an amendment to allow all enrollees to be grandfathered in, 57 Democrats voted against it.

            Changes for (Hawaii):
            The Manager’s Amendment singles out Hawaii as the only state to receive a Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) extension.

            Changes for Sen. Lieberman (Connecticut):
            It amends the extension of section 508 hospital provisions so that hospitals in Connecticut (as well as Michigan) have the option to benefit under them if it means higher payments.

            Changes for Sen. Dodd (Connecticut):
            It was a mystery until just revealed that Chris Dodd’s state will benefit from a cryptically awarded $100 million for a “Health Care Facility” at a public research university that contains a state’s sole public academic medical and dental school—criteria designed to apply to the University of Connecticut.

            Changes for Sen. Baucus (Montana):
            Baucus secured a pilot program in the amendment to “provide innovative approaches to furnishing comprehensive, coordinated, and cost-effective care” to certain qualified individuals. A qualified individual “is an environmental exposure affected individual…who resides in or around the geographic area subject to an emergency declaration made as of June 17, 2009.” And who might these select few individuals be? Well, according to EPA, “On June 17, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a Public Health Emergency (PHE) finding at the Libby Asbestos Superfund site in northwest Montana.” This provision would help residents of Libby by allowing them to sign up for Medicare benefits.

            It is likely that this list of buy-offs is not exhaustive.”

          • ByteMe says:

            And you haven’t proved your ASSumption that the states that opted out did so because they hated all government-run health care.

            The rest of your stuff? Didn’t bother reading your cut-and-paste. Who really cares?

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            “And you haven’t proved your ASSumption that the states that opted out did so because they hated all government-run health care.”

            I never said that. I asked “If it’s such a great bill for America, why did 13 US Senators ask for exemptions for their states?” You ASSumed. You are the one who came up with a reason that they did so: “because they already offer more to their citizens than this bill provides.”

            You ASSumed that. I’ve called upon you to prove you LIE, and you can’t. I implied something smelled in Denmark (and other places.) You wanted me to tell you why the Senators wanted exemptions, I gave you a truck load of payoffs that displayed some exemptions.

            You are too busy to read the research you asked me to do. I don’t expect you to read it. Others will and in the process, they will decide that you are full of ASSumptions and can’t defend your LIE.

            You are incapable of manning up and admitting you were wrong. You have the ASSumption, not me.

        • Dickens says:

          Byte and GAGOP, I’m not positive about this but I understand leadership put a gun to Landrieu’s head by changing the funding formula to count Rita/Katrina dollars in the measurement of federal income. If that is true, I can’t say I blame her for taking the deal. After all, she has Louisiana constituents. And if it’s true that is the case, why did leadership not do that for FL and SC and TX and the big dollars they received for hurricane clean up? Of course that’s a rhetorical question, as those votes were never in play.

          • ByteMe says:

            You are correct. Some political ho’s are smarter than others. And Katrina did create more need for Medicaid in LA but a smaller tax base on which to base the formula.

        • ByteMe says:

          As I hinted earlier: Hawaii has a significant state-administered health care system and didn’t need the federal version and that was reported widely, but of course, not on any source you likely read.

          As for the rest of your postings, there are also federally funded “death panels” in there specifically targeting volunteers for the Republican Party. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

      • BubbaRich says:

        Have you heard of OSHA?

        And yes, this will lower healthcare costs, by honestly charging the people who are paying for it, rather than use all of the backhanded ways of charging for it, like $50 Tylenol.

        • GOPGeorgia says:

          So the pill won’t cost $50, but how much will the insurance coverage cost and how long will I have to wait to see a doctor?

          Good call on OSHA. I hadn’t thought of that one.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            However, the federal government isn’t forcing businesses to buy OSHA insurance and fining them if they don’t buy it.

  6. Harry says:

    Nelson is already saying he wants to see the provision removed from the conference bill, since he also gets that it likely won’t survive legal scrutiny anyway? That little trick is the height of Democrat hypocrisy. His 60th vote makes no difference to the final passage.

      • Ken in Eastman says:

        Harry,

        Pelosi and Reid get to handpick the conferees for the reconciliation committee. I’m thinking the chances of any pro-life and/or conservative people being there are about the same as Beatles reunion.

      • BubbaRich says:

        You nuts have been lying about this in an amazing way. Are you lying for yourself, or are you just copying another liar? There is no abortion in this bill, full or partial bore. What the wingnuts are trying to do is make sure that nobody who gets any federal aid for their insurance policy can kill their zygote. You kill more humanity when you use mouthwash. Will they outlaw mouthwash in this bill? I’m sure you can get SOME conservative Dem to do that.

        • Ken in Eastman says:

          BR,

          If the bill doesn’t specifically exclude that “medical procedure” then it’s covered just like an appendectomy. Perhaps you can wrap your brain around that – or maybe not, it would be quite a stretch.

          And if it’s already excluded, then why all the fuss from the Progressives about explicitly excluding it?

          • BubbaRich says:

            That specific procedure is already specifically excluded. Wingnuts are trying to outlaw it in a much more substantial way, by refusing to let any insurance policy that is supported by any federal aid in any way to cover abortion at all in any way. I haven’t heard anybody complaining about anything but that, but you may hang out with other progressives than I do.

            No word if they want to do anything that is known to actually reduce abortions, such as comprehensive sex education. That probably doesn’t make poor people suffer enough, which must be their goal.

  7. Dave says:

    Unfortunately politicians have been buying votes for years. It ain’t illegal but a might unseemly when it’s not your side of the isle benefiting from it. Lyndon Johnson remarked years ago as his Great Society was implemented that with the increase in entitlements/welfare that those who benefited the most from the giveaways “would vote Democrat for the next 200 years.” It’s mostly about control and maintaining political power. And it’s not a bad idea to check the constitutionality of being forced to buy into a government forced program. The tax makers are being gutted and raped by the tax takers. What happens when there are no more of the producers around? Frightening…

  8. Game Fan says:

    Hey Bubber
    A little advice there feller. Calling people “wingnuts” in practically every comment isn’t trendy any more. Maybe if you quit living in the past…

    • Life and Liberty says:

      How about posting about HB 877 as a solution to DC tyrrany?
      (starve the beast and it’ll die)
      could we make that the new trend?

  9. Progressive Dem says:

    It’s a little difficult to challenge a bill – a law yes, but this is (Choose from list below) __________.
    Premature grandstanding
    Pure Political Pander
    Empty posturing
    Hollow sound bite.

Comments are closed.