We all get them, those horrible Christmas gifts which we question what the giver was thinking. Because of the spirit of the season, we smile and thank the giver for the lovely gift. Most of the time, a bad gift is harmless, and can be re-gifted or put in a closet. But On Christmas Eve of 2009, Senator Mary Landrieu gave Louisiana a gift which cannot be re-gifted nor put in the closet. What was this horrible gift: the deciding “Yea” vote for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Landrieu’s gift was signed in to law March 23, 2010, but it is taking years to truly unwrap this gift, because of the political ramifications of the totally enacted law. As implementation of Obama care is going into effect, the people of Louisiana are facing the reality set forth by its senior senator.
The first major effect of Obamacare will begin on January 1, 2014, when every man, woman, and child, will be mandated -under law- to possess some form of healthcare insurance, or face a fine imposed through the IRS in the form of a tax. The mandate for health insurance will cause insurances to increase; whereas, an individual making $48,000 a year, 401 percent above the poverty level, will see a 150 percent increase on his or her rates. Those making 138 to 400 percent more than the $11,490 poverty level will still face a rate increase, but the increase can be offset by government subsidies.
The second major effect of Obamacare, the mandate to employers with over fifty full-time employees to provide health insurance, will begin in 2015 -pushed back from the original January 1, 2014, date due to the midterm congressional elections. Like individual rate increases, employers will also face an increase to which they maybe forced to cut employee hours, or even workforce, in order to afford the increases. This employer mandate will lead to thousands of Louisiana’s workers facing a reduction in income or the loss of their jobs.
This is the grim reality of Obamacare, unless you are Mary Landrieu or a member of her staff, because on August 7, 2013, the Office of Personnel Management ruled to continue to give federal contributions to all members of the U.S. House and Senate, and their staff. This means, as the people of Louisiana suffer with Landrieu’s vote, Landrieu gets a pass on the legislation she -indeed- voted to implement.
There is also another group which will not be subjected to the horrors of Obamacare, and that group is the unions. Unions around the country have been given Obamacare waivers, by the Department of Health and Human Services, in part to thank them for supporting Democrats. And as a good Democrat, who votes party over people, Landrieu reaps the benefit of her party-line voting through campaign donations.
Most unions forgo the usual means of directly donating to a candidate, instead they donate through cooperative political action committees (PAC’s). Through Federal Election Commission data of 2011-2012, which became available on March 25, 2013, Landrieu had recieved $40,000 from union PAC’s. This breaks down to $17,500 from Building Trade Unions PAC, $6,000 from Industrial Unions PAC, $13,500 Transportation Unions PAC, and Public Sector Unions PAC, and all members of each of these PAC’s have recieved waivers from Obamacare, in some form.
There will be one big winner with Obamacare, companies which own hospitals. With the increasing number of people with health insurance, those who once sought care in outpatient clinics to offset costs, will utilize hospitals for there care. As a result, hospitals will see greater profits once Obamacare is implemented. To thank Landrieu for her vote, two large hospital operators have donated to her campaign. The first being Lifepoint Hospitals, which operates 54 hospitals, which donated $10,000, and the second Vanguard Health Systems, which operates 26 hospitals, also donated $10,000 -between the 85 hospitals, only five operate in Louisiana.
Obamacare is Mary Landrieu’s gift to Louisiana, a gift of increasing health insurance costs and the potential loss of income and/or jobs. All the while, Landrieu is recieving campaign gifts from the beneficiaries of Obamacare. It is time for the people of Louisiana to ask themselves if this is the kind of gift they want their senator to give them.