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Eileen J. O'Connor

Eileen J. O’Connor practices law in Washington, DC, and was Assistant Attorney General of the United States from 2001 to 2007.
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Americans Begin to Meet the Unaffordable Care Act

Monday, October 14th, 2013 - by Eileen J. O'Connor

When Chief Justice Roberts ran logic, reason, law, and his formerly high reputation for integrity through a cross-cut confetti shredder last June to save Obamacare by finding its individual mandate to be a tax rather than a penalty, I railed against it. His reasoning relied on, among other things, his clearly erroneous assertion that if Congress decided to impose a tax on people for failing to install energy efficient windows, no one would question its authority to do so. That statement was wrong, and the conclusion he drew from it was wrong.

But he was right that Obamacare imposes additional taxes, in the sense that an increased cost resulting from additional government burdens is a tax. Economists point out that cost increases caused by government regulation might as well be taxes. The government doesn’t get the money, but the effect on the person paying the additional costs is the same as if it did.

Obamacare requires people to pay more for insurance than they did before, because now their insurance must cover conditions they will never encounter. The policy of a young unmarried man must cover maternity and natal costs. As must the policy of an elderly man, and of a woman long past childbearing. The policy of a person who abstains from cigarettes, alcohol and drugs must cover substance abuse treatment. These are just a few examples.

The fact is that the laughably named “Affordable Care Act” imposes on those least able to afford it the burden of covering the costs of health care he or she will never need. It’s a spread-the-pain-around behemoth that deprives people – not just the consumers of health care, but the providers of it as well, along with insurers of it – of choices and control. The government has made the choices and has seized control.

Before Obamacare, an insurance company could take your actual circumstances into account in determining your premiums, including the fact that you avoid unhealthy activities, and you as the policyholder benefited from the lower premiums resulting from your good fortune and your behavior. No longer. Investors’ Business Daily warned of this in great detail before the bill became law. Both Houses of Congress and the White House controlled by Democrats, it was foisted upon us anyway without a single Republican vote.

A recent television commercial for automobile insurance shows a man and his son motoring down a street, and people one by one latching onto their car like leeches. His windshield completely obscured, the driver stops his car and asks a knowledgeable looking woman who appears at his window what’s going on. She explains that the leeches are “rate suckers.” “Their bad driving makes car insurance more expensive for the rest of us.” But, she goes on, the sponsor of the commercial takes the driver’s good driving record into account in determining premiums, saving the driver money by not requiring him to subsidize the risky behavior of others. The rate suckers fall off the car, and the man and boy happily motor on, unencumbered.

Obamacare turns each of us into the car with human leeches all over it. Much to their apparent surprise, people around the country have been finding this out if they are among those able to log onto an “exchange” and find a policy. Before, they only had to pay what the insurance company charged for the coverage they needed. Now they must pay for the coverage the government requires.

It is true that many people have health conditions not of their own making, and their costs of medical care will be higher on account of it. But it’s difficult to imagine a worse way to deal with that sad fact than Obamacare.






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What We Have Lost – The Cavalry Is Not On Its Way

Friday, January 18th, 2013 - by Eileen J. O'Connor

The murders in Libya on September 11, 2011, of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and consulate official Sean Smith, and the deaths of former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty who came to their rescue, were horrifying, tragic, and heartbreaking.

Compounding the tragedy is our national shame in having taken no action in the 4 months since to respond to the attack.  Never before in the history of our country has such an attack on Americans on American soil – as a consulate is – been so completely unavenged.  So neglected.  So ignored.  So so-what.

Sure, on September 12, Obama declared he would “bring the killers to justice.”  Depends on what you mean by “justice,” I suppose.  In my view, justice would mean pulverizing the perpetrators.  Their ceasing to exist in the promptest possible way would be justice.  Did that happen?  No.  To the best of my knowledge, the barbarians who orchestrated and carried out this cowardly attack are still walking the streets and breathing free.  And probably feeling pretty smug and getting hero-worshipped at what they accomplished.

Let us remember that when Obama said he would “bring the killers to justice,” he still had nearly 2 months to go in his campaign for a second term.    Actually admitting that he understood their point of view and had no intention of taking any action against them might not have been a good thing to say while running for re-election for President of the United States.

Obama’s actions since then, and the USA’s actions under his leadership since then, speak volumes.

Today’s news is full of the taking of American and other hostages by Islamists in Algeria.  They can do so freely, without fear of reprisal.

There was a time when American citizenship, an American passport, meant that wherever you were in the world, the U.S. would come your rescue, if need be, in the form of big strong men who could and would do what it took to win your release.

America still has big strong men ready, willing, and able to come to the rescue.  Evidence: Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.  But, tragically, they are under the direction of a small, weak man unwilling to lift a finger to defend America or Americans.

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