Those pursuing three authoritarian agenda items once considered unthinkable emanating from an administration which has become openly hostile to what once were our basic freedoms can already hang “Mission (Partially) Accomplished” banners on their walls.
First, there are the ongoing revelations about the government’s accumulation of digital mountains of personal information on citizens’ daily lives.
If there’s a positive result from this, it would be that many Americans have become a bit more careful about their data trail. But the good news ends there. Our emails, Facebook posts, text messages and other communications are subject to easy scrutiny by government minders and anyone else to whom those apparatchiks might feel like conveying information. The chilling effect on everyday speech, expression and interactions is a statist’s dream come true. Just wait until they integrate the Obamacare and Common Core data.
Places getting especially chilly include the human resource departments and HR consulting firms serving employers with between 50-100 “employees,” which includes “full-time equivalents“ as defined by the Affordable Care Act. One of the more recent of the 27 mostly illegal or unconstitutional changes made by presidential or regulatory fiat to the Affordable Care directly affects them.
That change, which even the Associated Press briefly acknowledged was done for purely political reasons before eliminating that statement from subsequent revisions, exempts firms with 50-99 FTEs from the employer mandate — the requirement to offer health insurance coverage to all workers who average 30 or more hours per week or pay a $2,000 penalty for each, after an exemption for the first 30 — for yet another year.
But there’s a monumental catch. To squelch criticism of Obama’s alleged singular achievement, employers ”will be forced to certify to the federal government — under penalty of perjury — that jobs they cut between now and 2016 are not due to Obamacare” to preserve that one-year reprieve. Thus, an administration hell-bent on keeping state-controlled health care in place, even if it completely wrecks what once was the greatest healthcare system in the world, has already succeeded in silencing key people in the trenches who might otherwise tell the nation what a disaster it has been and will continue to be.
The pervasive changes to the law Congress originally passed, as well as the new regime of coercion, signify that there really isn’t an “Affordable Care Act” anymore. There is only what must henceforth and for all time be called “Obamacare,” a mushy legal and regulatory maze which in many aspects barely resembles what Nancy Pelosi infamously said we could only read after passage before we could know what was in it. Unless someone has the legal standing, deep pockets, and exceptional bravery to successfully challenge them, healthcare law in America is whatever Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius say it is.