This week in Congress and Budget and ObamaCare update

The House of Representatives is not in session this week. However, the Senate will be in session considering nominations, including former Congresswoman Heather Wilson's nomination for Secretary of the Air Force and Scott Gottlieb's nomination to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. The Senate will also consider some Congressional Review Act bills overturning federal regulations.

Last week, the Senate passed the 1.7 trillion spending bill by a vote on 79-18 (roll-call vote here.) Of course, the House passed it's so-called ObamaCare "repeal" bill (which actually retains most of ObamaCare). Here is the roll-call vote.

Here is Congressman Thomas Massie's statement explaining why he voted against the bill, from his Facebook page:

As recently as a year ago, Republicans argued that mandates were unconstitutional, bailouts were immoral, and subsidies would bankrupt our country. Today, however, the House voted for a healthcare bill that makes these objectionable measures permanent.

The former Democrat Speaker of the House was rightfully derided for imploring Members to vote for a healthcare bill to “find out what was in it.” Yet today, we voted on a healthcare bill for which the text was available only a few hours before the vote. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office had no time to even provide Congress with a preliminary estimate of the full cost of this bill.

By repealing a small number of Obamacare mandates, while leaving others in place, this bill runs the risk of destroying what remains of the individual health insurance market. The option in this bill that allows States to apply for waivers from some Obamacare mandates is well-intentioned. However, it falls far short of our promise to repeal Obamacare. There also remains the risk that State legislatures, like our federal legislature, are unable to withstand the political pressure from lobbyists who defend Obamacare, and the pressure from those who receive Obamacare’s welfare handouts.

This bill should have included measures that allow Americans to take charge of their own healthcare and get the government out of the way. These measures include allowing the deduction of health insurance costs from income taxes, giving everyone the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, and allowing individuals to band together through any organization to purchase insurance.

In weighing my vote, I heeded the wise advice that “one should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” If this bill becomes law, it could result in worse outcomes, fewer options, and higher prices for Kentuckians who seek health care. In summary, I voted against this bill not because it’s imperfect, but because it’s not good.

ObamaCare repeal retention had just passed the House when the Senate announced they were not voting on it. Instead, there is a 12-member "task force" of Senators working to draft an ObamaCare repeal and replace plan.

Senator Rand Paul is not part of the task force, even though he is a doctor and has put forth a true free-market alternative to Obamacare.

Shortly after the House passed its bill, there was a lot of handwringing from the usual sources about how the bill would damage Americans by restoring a free-market in health care. Of course, this is ridiculous for two reasons.

One, this bill in no way returns us to a free-market -- it doesn't even repeal ObamaCare (and most of the GOP's defenses of the bill have been to point out how their plan retains ObamaCare's core mandates).

Two, America did not have a free-market health care system before ObamaCare. In fact, the problems that justified ObamaCare were the result of prior government interventions.

For more on how government caused our health care problems, and how liberty (as opposed to the GOP's ObamaCare 2.0 plan) will solve them, see Chris Rossini at The Ron Paul Liberty Report and Ryan McMaken at Mises.org

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