Throw The Bums Out–All Of Them

The Republicans still don’t get it. They were voted in to repeal ObamaCare and let the free market apply to all Americans. Well, according to an article in The Conservative Review today, they haven’t figured that out yet.

The article reports:

How many times have conservatives criticized Democrats in Congress for exempting themselves from feeling the full effects of Obamacare?

Well, now Republicans in Congress have done the same thing, exempting themselves and their staff from the effects of their own proposed health insurance legislation.

The GOP’s proposed reforms to the Affordable Care Act will permit states to apply for waivers to repeal Obamacare regulations driving up the cost of premiums — regulations like the essential benefits mandates and community rating requirements. The tentative proposal is a compromise between the Freedom Caucus conservatives who want to see Obamacare fully repealed and the party moderates who want Obamacare regulations to remain in place. On the face of it, the idea is “if you can’t fix it, federalize it.”

Unless the Republican Party fully repeals ObamaCare and puts Congress under the same healthcare program as the rest of America, they will be voted out of office as soon as possible. I will work hard to do this. If they are going to do the same corrupt things and the Democrats, why should we vote for them? Who do they actually represent? Thank God for the Freedom Caucus. May they stand strong again.

The article concludes:

Republicans are trying to sell something to the American people they don’t want to buy themselves. Is it any wonder 50 percent of Americans have “little or no confidence” in the Republican plan to reform health care? Not even Republicans believe in it!

The Politics of Abortion

Hot Air posted an article today about a recent statement by Democrat National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.

The article reports:

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman’s right to choose.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”

Has anyone really thought this through? They are fighting for a woman’s right to kill her child because the child is inconvenient, not perfect, not wanted, etc. I am sure it is simple coincidence that one of the major contributors to Democratic political campaigns is Planned Parenthood, a million dollar business that performs the majority of abortions in America.

As I have previously stated, I do not support making abortions illegal–there may be times when an abortion is necessary to protect the live of the mother. However, I don’t believe that abortion should be a multi million dollar industry. Planned Parenthood specializes in abortion. They provide minimal healthcare for women in other areas. Planned Parenthood is a major contributor to Democratic political campaigns. The Democratic Party is simply protecting a major source of their funding.

It is time to re-evaluate abortion in America.

This is a picture of abortion in America in 2016 (from the Guttmacher Institute):

As you can see, the majority of abortions in America are performed on poor minority women. Our goal should be to help these women with birth control–not kill their children.

 

 

But What Are They For?

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the activities of the Center for American Progress  The Center for American Progress has an Action Fund, which they are planning to use to fund anti-Trump activities around the country during the Congressional recess. Think about that for a minute. Why are they funding anti-Trump activities? Did anyone ever fund the Tea Party?

The article reports:

The Town Hall Project, a group that has served as the central hub for raucous town hall events against Republican lawmakers, announced the partnership with CAP Action to amplify their efforts.

“So today I’m excited to announce a partnership between Town Hall Project and the Center for American Progress Action Fund,” an email from Town Hall Project said. “With CAP Action amplifying our town hall event research, we can even better ensure that that all Americans have the tools needed to channel their organic energy to ensure their voices are heard and their elected representatives held accountable.”

“Let me emphasize that this is collaboration towards a common goal,” the email continued. “Town Hall Project is 100% independent and will never waiver [sic] from our core values of grassroots research and citizen engagement. While we stay true to ourselves—and to supporters like you—we know the way we win is to build a big coalition of progressive groups: big and small, new and old, online and offline, all working together to fight back.”

The email urges readers to visit ResistanceNearMe.org, a re-launched CAP Action website run in conjunction with the Town Hall Project.

“In partnership with Town Hall Project, Resistance Near Me is a hub for progressive local #resist actions, designed for you to find any public event, rally, town hall, protest, and more, near you, as well as the information you need to contact your member of Congress,” the website states. “It’s never been more important to raise our voices to resist Trump’s harmful agenda and the elected representatives who aren’t speaking for us.”

Jimmy Dahman, the founder of Town Hall Project, claimed on CNN in February that previous, explosive town hall events were “all organic and happening at the grassroots level.”

Wow. Funded grassroots. I think that’s called astroturf!

The concluding paragraph of the article explains who is behind this effort:

The Action Network’s board of directors includes Mark Fleischman, a former vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Jeffrey Dugas, who worked for Podesta’s Center for American Progress and Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 Senate campaign; and Brian Young, who worked for John Kerry and Howard Dean.

The Town Hall Project website now acknowledges a partnership with NextGen Climate, an environmentalist super PAC founded by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer.

In the email announcing the CAP partnership, the Town Hall Project took credit for “some incredible victories” with their progressive allies. The group linked to a Yahoo article on how activists organized to defeat the Republican health care reform bill.

The Town Hall Project did not return a request for comment on its partnership with CAP Action.

Donald Trump has made an effort to help the average American by rolling back regulations, cutting some government spending already, and planning to prevent the crash of ObamaCare. He is also planning to change the tax code to make it work for everyone. Which part of these things is the Center for American Progress against? What are they for? How many paid protesters does it take before people begin to see the game being played here by the political left?

A Republican Victory In The Kansas Special Election

Fox News is reporting today that Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes has won the special election in Kansas to fill the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Why does this matter? Because it is an indication that other than in the northeast and California, Americans are happy with the leadership of President Trump.

The article reports:

The race had been closely watched nationally for signs of a backlash against Republicans or waning support from Trump voters in a reliably GOP district. Trump won 60 percent of the votes cast in the 17-county congressional district this past November.

The president himself entered the fray Monday with a recorded get-out-the-vote call on Estes’ behalf and tweeted his support on Tuesday morning.

Other nationally known Republicans pitched in over the final days of the race. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas campaigned for Estes Monday in Wichita, while Vice President Mike Pence also recorded a get-out-the-vote call. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent roughly $90,000 in last-minute TV and digital ads.

Thompson (Democratic civil rights attorney James Thompson) reckoned that the high-profile support for Estes helped push him over the top, and claimed he could have won had national Democrats rallied to him sooner. Readers of the liberal blog Daily Kos donated more than $200,000 to Thompson in the final days of the race. Thompson was also backed by Our Revolution, the group that grew out of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ 2016 presidential campaign.

The Our Revolution backing of Attorney Thompson is interesting. If you remember, Bernie Sanders ran as an outsider and definitely leaned to the left side of the political spectrum. In 2016, Bernie Sanders won the Kansas Democratic Primary with 67 percent of the votes.

The article includes some comments by voters:

All those GOP calls prompted Charlene Health, a 52-year-old homemaker and Republican in Belle Plaine, to cast a ballot for Estes.

“I wasn’t even going to vote,” she said as she left her polling site Tuesday morning. “I finally did. I realized this was important.”

Alan Branum, 64, a retired construction worker is a Wichita Democrat who voted for Estes and plans to change his party affiliation to Republican since he leans more conservative. He thinks Trump has been been doing fine so far.

“I don’t think it is fair people condemn him,” he said of the president. “He hasn’t been in long enough to make a judgment. People need to give him some time.”

Estes supported Trump last year and backs the president’s policies. He supports the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, backs funding for a wall on the border with Mexico, opposes funding for Planned Parenthood, and does not believe an independent investigation into Russian hacking of the election is needed.

Lucy Jones-Phillips, a 31-year-old insurance representative and Democrat, acknowledged she doesn’t vote in every election, but said she voted for Thompson because she wanted to ensure supporters of Gov. Sam Brownback are not in office. She was especially upset when the Republican governor recently vetoed Medicaid expansion.

There are upcoming special elections in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina, and California. California is the only special election this year for a seat formerly held by a Democrat.

The Individual States Are Laboratories To Determine The Best Policies

For whatever reason, the Republicans seem to have a problem keeping their campaign pledge to repeal ObamaCare. For some reason, they just can’t seem to bring up any one of the many bills they passed to repeal ObamaCare in the past when they knew the President would veto the bill. They are behaving like cowards. The problem is not the Freedom Caucus; the problem is the establishment Republicans who, like the Democrats, love bigger government. At any rate, the states have shown the way to repeal ObamaCare.

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial showing how various states have dealt with various aspects of ObamaCare.

The editorial explains:

In the early 1990s, several states adopted “guaranteed issue” (which banned insurers from turning anyone down for health reasons) and “community rating” (which banned insurers from charging the sick more than the healthy).

As with ObamaCare, these regulations banned insurers from denying coverage or charging people more because they were sick. Like ObamaCare, these reforms were popular with the public.

And, just like ObamaCare, they all caused their individual insurance markets to collapse, as premiums skyrocketed and insurers fled the markets.

So what happened?

Of 10 states that adopted ObamaCare-style market regulations, four repealed their “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” regulations altogether, according to a detailed analysis by Milliman in 2012.

New Hampshire, for example, adopted these protections in 1994. By 2000, only two insurance companies were writing individual policies in the state, and by 2001, only 3% of the state’s non-elderly population were enrolled in an individual insurance plan, down from 7.6% before the reforms kicked in.

The editorial goes on to explain that when the regulations were repealed in 2002 and a high-risk pool created for those with pre-existing conditions, more people bought insurance. By 2010, 8.5% of the population were buying on the individual market.

The editorial cites a similar experience in Kentucky:

Kentucky likewise abandoned these protections six years after adopting them, and after making various modifications in hopes to get the rules to work. When Kentucky first imposed guaranteed issue and community rating in 1994, there were more than 40 insurers in the state’s individual market. By 1996, only one was left.

Iowa and South Dakota also ditched their guaranteed issue and community rating reforms within nine years of enacting them. Washington weakened its guaranteed issue provision in 2000.

The editorial concludes:

These states show that repealing blanket “guaranteed issue” protections is politically possible, that it will restore the individual insurance market to health, and that there are other, better ways to take care of the sick.

The free market works every time it is tried!

The government does very few things well. Right now I can’t think of any of them. I am reminded of the Milton Friedman quote:

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand”

We need to keep that quote in mind when Congress talks about expanding government programs.

Why We Need A Clean Repeal Of ObamaCare

The Daily Caller posted an article today about the first U.S. city to feel the effects of the failure of ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Knoxville, Tenn., could be the first city in the U.S. where Obamacare completely collapses, leaving tens of thousands of people without the option to buy a subsidized insurance policy.

Humana, the city’s only remaining insurance provider on its Obamacare exchange, announced it is exiting the market in 2018. If that happens, Knoxville citizens will be in a rough spot. Unless another insurance provider fills Humana’s place, some 40,000 people in the Knoxville area will likely be left without the option to purchase an Obamacare-subsidized insurance policy, CNN reports.

Knoxville is illustrative of one of the main problems with Obamacare: It doesn’t promote market-based competition. Insurers pull out of marketplaces where it is not cost-efficient for them to provide services, and, as a result, consumers are left with fewer options at higher prices.

When the government interferes with the free market, bad things happen.

Because of the collapse of ObamaCare, people will have to buy their insurance in the private marketplace. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee have proposed a bill that would allow consumers to purchase any state-approved health insurance plans with ObamaCare subsidies. Again, the government is interfering in the free market.

The health insurance industry is not the villain here. Insurance companies use statistical tables to determine rates. They are in business to make money and should be allowed to do so (although allowances should be made for pre-existing conditions and long-term issues). There are a few steps that can be taken to bring reason back into the health insurance market–tort reform, selling insurance across state lines,  and high risk pools for pre-existing conditions.

Texas succeeded in slowing the rise of health insurance premiums by tort reform. Unfortunately a large percentage of the campaign money that goes to Congressional campaigns comes from trial lawyers. That will make it very difficult to pass tort reform on a national level. This is another reason to get the federal government out of the health insurance business.

Why The Support For Repealing ObamaCare Was Not There On Friday

Yesterday The Conservative Review posted an article about the fact that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pulled the bill to repeal ObamaCare because there were not enough votes to pass it. Well, that’s what happens when you change the rules in the middle of the game.

The article quotes a statement made by Speaker Ryan in January of 2016 after Obama vetoed the bill:

It’s no surprise that someone named Obama vetoed a bill repealing Obamacare, and we will hold a vote to override this veto. Taking this process all the way to the end under the Constitution. But here’s the thing the idea that Obamacare is the law of the land for good is a myth. This law will collapse under its own weight or it will be repealed. Because all those rules and procedures Senate Democrats have used to block us from doing this that’s all history. We have shown now that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate. So next year if we’re sending this bill to a republican president it will get signed into law. Obamacare will be gone … [emphasis added]

But the bill they sent to the Republican president (Donald Trump) was not the same bill that they had sent to President Obama.

The article concludes:

This week, Speaker Ryan should abandon his RINOcare bill and bring the 2015 reconciliation bill to the floor of the House for a vote.

It’s time to stop the bait and switch.

Donald Trump is the elected President of the United States. One of the reasons he was elected was that the voters were tired of the kind of behavior illustrated by Speaker Ryan. The problem Friday was the broken promise of Speaker Ryan–it was not the Freedom Caucus who expected Speaker Ryan to keep his word.

Why ObamaCare Was Not Repealed

I used to be a Democrat. Then I used to be a Republican. Now I am an unaffiliated voter because there is not a conservative party that believes in smaller government. The Republicans used to believe in smaller government, but they have forgotten who they are. Yesterday was a glaring example of that fact. The Conservative Review posted an article yesterday about the failure of the House of Representatives to vote on the repeal (and replacement) of ObamaCare. The headline of the article is, “How DARE House Freedom Caucus hold GOP accountable to its promises!?” For me, that pretty much sums up what happened.

The article reminds us:

In 2016, the GOP-controlled Congress passed a clean repeal bill through the reconciliation process. It was sent to Barack Obama who vetoed it, as CNN reported at the time. In 2017, Rand Paul (R-Ky) has offered a bill that does many of the same things, as the 2016 legislation.

CNN reported:

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon passed legislation that would repeal ObamaCare, and after more than 60 votes to roll back all or part of the law, the bill (to) dismantle it will finally get to the President’s desk.

But it won’t stay there long; President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any Republican bill that guts his signature health care law, a five-year-and-counting effort.

The vote was 240-181, largely along party lines.

The article goes on to explain that members of the House Freedom Caucus wanted the 2016 bill to be voted on in this session of Congress. It is very annoying to those of us who have followed this story closely (rather than listen to what the media is telling us) that the Freedom Caucus is being blamed for the failure of this bill. This is simply not true. As usual, the establishment GOP has dissed its voters.

The article concludes:

It’s pretty easy to see who one should truly be disgusted at. It’s not Mark Meadows (R-NC), and the other members of the Freedom Caucus. It is Paul Ryan and his leadership team, who refuse to offer the bill they already passed in 2016 as the model they would use if they had a president who would sign it.

Ryan now has a president who would sign the 2016 legislation that easily passed in a campaign year as the blueprint for repeal. He refused to bring it to a vote, lest it show that the GOP campaign promises mean nothing. The Freedom Caucus is absolutely right to insist that the House and Senate do so.

President Trump is a very smart man, but I believe that he does not yet fully understand the backstabbing that is an everyday part of Washington. I believe Paul Ryan purposely stabbed President Trump in the back. Paul Ryan has become part of the Republican establishment that is fighting to maintain the status quo. The Republican establishment would like to see President Trump fail as much as the Democrats would. As ObamaCare collapses, which it will, the establishment Republicans will be the ones who will bring us nationalized healthcare. That is truly sad. It can be prevented, but it needs to be done quickly and decisively. It may be time to change the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

Changing the Wrapping Doesn’t Change The Package

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the changes made to the ObamaCare replacement bill.

The article quotes Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton:

“Despite the proposed amendments, I still cannot support the House health-care bill, nor would it pass the Senate. The amendments improve the Medicaid reforms in the original bill, but do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making insurance unaffordable for too many Arkansans. The House should continue its work on this bill. It’s more important to finally get health-care reform right than to get it fast.”

The article at Power Line states the following:

If, under a Republican plan, premiums/deductibles continue to rise, people will believe that Obamacare’s replacement made things worse. They will blame Republicans and the GOP will pay a heavy price.

No Republican should support replacement legislation unless he or she is confident it will result in better outcomes with regard to premiums/deductibles. If Democrats won’t support legislation that’s likely to produce that result, Republicans should either push such legislation through without Democratic support (overruling the Senate parliamentarian) if necessary or let such legislation be voted down.

Republicans have no obligation to pass replacement legislation they don’t like in order to patch up Obamacare. The Democrats created the current mess. If they won’t cooperate with the GOP in fixing it properly, Republicans shouldn’t take the political hit that would come with pretending to fix it on their own.

I left the Republican Party because I felt that they had forgotten their commitment to smaller government and had become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The current ObamaCare replacement bill is a perfect example of that. Republicans were told that if we gave them the House, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House and the Senate, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, ObamaCare would be gone. If this bill passes, it won’t be gone. We will simply have ObamaCare Light, a bad bill that the Republicans would be totally responsible for–just as the Democrats were totally responsible for ObamaCare. That is not a step forward–it is a step backward! Please, Republicans, do not pass this bill. Simply repeal ObamaCare. Then you can fight over its replacement. Don’t break faith with the voters.

 

ObamaCare Is Not Doing Well

Politico posted an article today about sign-ups for ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Sign-ups for Obamacare coverage declined for the first time in the 2017 season and fell below the Obama administration‘s estimates for the three-month enrollment window, according to figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

A total of 12.2 million people enrolled in Obamacare plans nationwide between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31 — a drop-off from the 12.7 million sign-ups at the close of the last open-enrollment season. The Trump administration soon after taking office scaled back enrollment outreach during the critical final week of sign-ups.

The article reminds us that roughly four out of five people who sign up for ObamaCare receive tax credits to offset their monthly premiums. Even at that, people are not rushing to sign up.

The article concludes:

The Trump administration reversed plans to scrap phone calls and other forms of outreach to encourage sign-ups in the finals days of the enrollment period after the move sparked outcry from the law’s supporters and health insurers. Officials said they were unable to pull back some HealthCare.gov radio and TV advertising that had been purchased by the Obama administration. HHS was able to cancel about $4 million to $5 million in ads.

The enrollment report comes amid a spate of troubling news about health law insurance markets. Last month, Humana announced it would become the first major insurer to pull out of the market completely next year. Molina, which had an unexpected loss, said it would assess ongoing participation at a later date. Other insurers are sounding alarms.

ObamaCare needs to go away. The Republicans need to pass the bill they have passed before in order to end it. The gamesmanship that is going on now in the Republican Party is totally unacceptable.

Three Phases Of HealthCare Reform Might Not Work

Townhall posted an article this morning about the Republican plan to reform ObamaCare. The current plan being discussed does not replace ObamaCare–it merely tweeks it a bit and changes the name.

The article quotes Senator Tom Cotton:

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of many skeptical Republicans, told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that the three-phase process is a myth. What we see right now is what we get.

“Hugh, there is no three-phase process,” Cotton said. “There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. This is why. Step one is a bill that can pass with 51 votes in the Senate. That’s what we’re working on right now. Step two, as yet unwritten regulations by Tom Price, which is going to be subject to court challenge, and therefore, perhaps the whims of the most liberal judge in America. But step three, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn’t need three steps. We would just be doing that right now on this legislation altogether. That’s why it’s so important that we get this legislation right, because there is no step three. And step two is not completely under our control.”

Somehow, when the Republicans were repealing ObamaCare knowing that whatever they did would not make it past President Obama, they were willing to repeal ObamaCare. Now, when their votes actually matter, they seem to be afraid to make a move. Republicans need to realize that even if they do nothing and ObamaCare collapses under its own weight, Republicans will be blamed. That is the nature of the media. ObamaCare was passed by reconciliation, it can be repealed through reconciliation. It is time to get it done.

A Law We Can Understand And Support

Yesterday CSC Media Group, a conservative website, posted an article about S.222, a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Rand Paul. The bill, called the ObamaCare Replacement Act, would repeal and replace ObamaCare. Currently the bill has been referred to the Committee on Finance. The bill is four pages long. The summary of the bill is not yet posted at Thomas.gov, but you can go to Thomas.gov and put in S.222 and read the entire bill. You can also follow the link to the website above and read the bill.

The following is the CSC Summary of the bill given in the article:

Legalizes Inexpensive Insurance Plans:

  • Ensures that Americans can purchase the health insurance coverage that best fits their needs.
  • Eliminates Obamacare’s essential health benefits requirement, along with other restrictive coverage and plan requirements, to once again make low-cost insurance options available to American consumers.

Protects Individuals with Pre-Existing Conditions:

  • Provides a two-year open-enrollment period under which individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions protections. Prior to Obamacare, HIPAA guaranteed that those in the group market could obtain continuous health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.

Helps More People Save To Buy Health Insurance and Cover Medical Costs:

  • Incentivizes savings by authorizing a tax credit (up to $5,000 per taxpayer) for individuals and families that contribute to HSAs.
  • Removes the annual cap on HSAs so individuals can make unlimited contributions.
  • Allows HSA funds to be used to purchase insurance, cover premiums, and more easily afford a broader range of health-related expenses, including prescription and OTC drugs, dietary supplements, nutrition and physical exercise expenses, and direct primary care, among others. 

Guarantees Fair Tax Treatment of Health Insurance:

  • Equalizes the tax treatment of the purchase of health insurance for individuals and employers by allowing individuals to deduct the cost of their health insurance from their income and payroll taxes.
  • Frees more Americans to purchase and maintain insurance apart from their work status.
  • Does not interfere with employer-provided coverage for Americans who prefer those plans.

Helps Individuals Join Together to Purchase Insurance:

  • Expands Association Health Plans (AHPs) to allow small business owners and individuals to band together across state lines through their membership in a trade or professional association to purchase health coverage for their families and employees at a lower cost.
  • Also allows individuals to pool together through any organization to purchase insurance.
  • Widens access to the group market and spreads out the risk, enhancing the ability of individuals and small businesses to decrease costs, increase administrative efficiencies, and further protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Allows the Purchase of Insurance Across State Lines:

  • Creates an interstate market that allows insurers who are licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state.

Increases State Medicaid Flexibility:

  • Enables states to fully exercise current flexibilities afforded to them through Medicaid waivers for creating innovative state plan designs.

Empowers Physicians:

  • Allows non-economically aligned physicians to negotiate for higher quality health care for their patients.
  • Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a physician a tax deduction equal to the amount such physician would otherwise charge for charity medical care or uncompensated care due to bad debt, limited to 10% of a physician’s gross income for the taxable year.

Rand Paul is a doctor who practiced medicine for more than ten years before becoming a Senator. I believe he understands the problems involved in health insurance better than most senators. Among other things, his plan allows doctors to treat patients who cannot pay and take a limited tax deduction for providing the services. I think that is a wonderful idea.

This is a healthcare plan I can support.

It Can Be Fixed, But It’s Not Right Yet

Yesterday The Heritage Foundation posted their evaluation of the bill to replace ObamaCare. Admittedly, The Heritage Foundation is a politically conservative group, so their solution to ObamaCare would be aimed at shrinking government, not just moving the chairs around.

The article lists some of the problems with the bill:

Basically, the bill focuses on protecting those who gained subsidized coverage through the law’s exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion, while failing to correct Obamacare’s misguided insurance regulations that drove up premiums for Americans buying coverage without government subsidies.

That is both a policy problem and a political problem.

The article goes on to explain that the people who need relief from ObamaCare are the people whose premiums and deductibles rose dramatically. That is the group the does not get relief in the new bill. The new bill leaves costly regulations in place and attempts to offset those costs with subsidies. That is what most Americans want to get rid of.

The article explains:

In that regard, the draft bill’s new “Patient and State Stability Fund” is particularly problematic. That program would provide grants to states of up to a total of $100 billion over the nine years 2018-2026.

There are a several significant problems with this new program.

First, it substitutes new funding for old Obamacare funding without adequately addressing the misguided Obamacare insurance market rules and subsidy design that made the exchanges a magnet for high cost patients.

Those mistakes in Obamacare created an insupportable burden on the individual insurance market by concentrating expensive patients in only that small portion of the total market.

Second, like Obamacare, it doesn’t actually reduce premiums, but rather masks with subsidies the effects of Obamacare provisions that drove up premiums in the first place.

Third, it creates a new entitlement for states. Furthermore, without a resulting reduction in unsubsidized premium levels, future Congresses will likely face pressure from states and constituents to extend and expand the program.

That is exactly backwards from what is needed.

The new healthcare bill also fails to reign in Medicaid.

The article reports:

Under the Medicaid expansion, the federal government reimbursed states 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults, with federal support eventually declining to 90 percent.

Yet, states continue to receive significantly less federal assistance (50 percent to 75 percent, depending on the state) for covering the more vulnerable populations (such as poor children and the disabled) that the program was intended for. That policy was both inequitable and unaffordable.

The draft bill does not correct that inequity, but rather reduces the enhanced match rate from 95 percent to 80 percent. The better approach would be to allow states to immediately cap expansion population enrollment, while also setting federal reimbursement for any new expansion enrollees at normal state match rates.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. There are three things that need to happen with health insurance in America–the policy needs to be attached to the person–not their employer, policies need to be portable across state lines, and people with pre-existing conditions need to have a way to be insurance. Other than that, the government needs to get out of the healthcare business and let the free market rule. It will be bumpy for a short while, but if we don’t do it now, things will only get worse.

Repeal It Or Go The Way Of The Whigs

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the repeal of ObamaCare. The editorial made some very important points. First of all, the writer reminded us that the demonstrations opposing the repeal of ObamaCare were planned by the Democrats shortly after the election. There are some people who want to keep ObamaCare, but despite what you see on the news, they are a minority.

The editorial reminds us:

Imagine that Democrats announced a health care reform plan that would force millions to cancel health plans and leave the doctors they like, drastically reduce choice and competition in the individual market, cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket, blow billions of taxpayer dollars creating faulty “exchanges” and failing co-ops, leave millions of middle-class families stuck with higher deductibles and higher premiums, cause massive industry losses, slow the economy, cost jobs, and increase the deficit.

Those are the results ObamaCare’s critics predicted and, without exaggeration, what it has produced. Does anyone honestly believe ObamaCare would have ever made it to Obama’s desk if its backers had been honest with the public?

Yes, the uninsured rate has come down, but as IBD noted, the “20 million gained insurance thanks to ObamaCare” claim is a wild exaggeration, and the gains that did occur are entirely due to the expansion of Medicaid — a terrible and financially troubled program — and other government insurance programs, not ObamaCare’s individual market “reforms.”

ObamaCare will implode on its own in a year or so, but the chaos it will leave will take years to undo. It makes much more sense to repeal it before it collapses.

There is another aspect of this mentioned in the editorial–the trust of the voters. First Republicans said, “Give us the House, and we will repeal ObamaCare.” Voters did that, and ObamaCare was not repealed. Then Republicans said, “Give us the House and the Senate, and we will repeal ObamaCare. Voters did that, and ObamaCare was not repealed. Then Republicans said, “Give us the Presidency, and we will repeal ObamaCare.” Well…

During the Obama Administration, Congress took numerous votes to repeal ObamaCare. It was a safe vote–Congressmen knew that President Obama would veto anything that actually got through the Senate, and nothing would happen. Now that a vote to repeal ObamaCare would actually mean something, Congress is stalling.

I have not given up on the repeal of ObamaCare. However, I have pretty much given up on the Republican party. If they choose not to repeal ObamaCare, how are they any different from the Democrats? How can their platform say that they support smaller government and their actions say something else? In plain English, it is time for the Republicans in Congress to put up or shut up.

The Consequences Of ObamaCare

We all know the obvious consequences of ObamaCare–higher premiums, people losing their insurance policies, people having health insurance but not being able to find doctors that accept their plans, etc. Well, there were also some other consequences.

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article that illustrates one consequence of ObamaCare that is sometimes not mentioned. The article mentions that Senator Harry Reid kept the Senate in session during the ObamaCare debate so that Democratic Senators would not hear the voters’ opposition to ObamaCare. The Democrats claimed that the Tea Party was astroturf. Was it?

The article includes the following chart:

Recently we have seen protesters at townhall meetings of Congressmen who want to repeal ObamaCare. These are protesters organized according to the Democrat’s Alinsky playbook. They can protest all they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that more Americans have been hurt rather than helped by ObamaCare. Those Senators who do not support the repeal of ObamaCare need to keep this in mind.

 

One Disaster Under ObamaCare

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about Pamela Weldin, a Nebraska woman who has lost her health insurance four times under ObamaCare.

The article reports:

A former dental hygienist, Weldin has all the hallmarks of a consumer intended to benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

She has been denied coverage in the past because of a pre-existing condition related to her career as a dental hygienist.

Additionally, Weldin qualifies for a tax credit, which she has received every year since 2014.

As a result, her premiums are low when compared to consumers who don’t qualify for financial assistance: In early 2015, Weldin purchased a plan through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska that cost her $232 each month.

This year, premiums for her silver-level plan with Medica are $161 per month after her tax credit.

But though Weldin has benefited from aspects of the law, she hasn’t been immune to the changes in the health insurance market that have occurred in last few years.

“I’m a person who has been denied because of pre-existing conditions,” Weldin, a Pampered Chef director, said. “I’m on Obamacare and have lost my insurance four times in three years. I understand the challenges, but it’s not sustainable.”

It gets worse:

It wasn’t until after she paid her first month’s premium, however, that Weldin learned from the insurance company that any doctor located more than 100 miles from her rural Nebraska home wasn’t in her network.

If she wanted to see her doctor in Colorado—considered out-of-network now—Weldin had to meet a $20,000 out-of-network deductible before Aetna would start covering her medical expenses.

That information, she said, wasn’t listed on HealthCare.gov when she was shopping for plans.

“$20,000 for a deductible? Are you kidding me?” Weldin said. “How is that affordable?”

If the Republican Party ever wants me to support one of their candidates again, they need to make sure ObamaCare is gone permanently by June. Otherwise they might as well be Democrats.

Why It Is So Difficult To Drain The Swamp

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. It was passed with only Democratic votes in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. In September 2009, The Tea Party organized a march on Washington and protests in other cities. The protestors were opposing the proposals for ObamaCare, increased federal spending, bigger government, and higher taxes. In 2010, the Republicans were elected to a majority in the House of Representatives and in 2014, the Republicans were elected to a small majority in the Senate. So why, after the elected Republicans promised smaller government, lower taxes, and less spending, did the government continue to grow? At the heart of the matter is the difference between process and policy. There is also the element of showmanship—the Republicans voted to repeal ObamaCare on a regular basis knowing that even if they had the votes to repeal it, they did not have the votes to override a Presidential veto that would surely occur.

So how does the process impact the policy? The following notes are taken from a Heritage Action Sentinel Brief explaining how Washington actually works.

The GOP Pledge to America included the following:

“We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time”

Well, that promise was quickly broken.

The Heritage Action Brief explains:

Congressmen may claim that they had no other choice but to vote on the package once Leadership made the decision. That is not true; it was not a fait accompli. As is custom, right before the House voted on the CR (Continuing Resolution), Leadership holds a procedural rule vote to consider every bill and set the terms of the debate. Any member who did not like the process whereby the subsequent provisions were to be considered has the opportunity to vote against the rule. This would prevent Leadership from packaging in unfavorable legislation, like the Ex-Im reauthorization or a myriad of other bad legislation.

Hiding Policy in Process. For more than a decade, GOP Leadership, when in control of the House, has promulgated the view that procedural “rule” votes are routine, party line votes that should be approved without a second thought. This has given them a relatively free license to bring bills to the floor not supported by conservatives, and they rely on Democrats for the necessary votes to pass them. The concept of “logrolling” bad bills into a crucial funding measure or, worse, a matter of foreign policy, is a compelling reason (one of many) for challenging a procedural rule. Not to mention, the American people voted this type of legislating out of office in 2010 when House Republicans adopted the Pledge of America, which precluded the packaging of unpopular legislation together.

Remember this the next time your Representative tells you they have no choice but to vote for more bad policy. Usually they only need to vote NO on the rule to change the process and allow better policy.

The longest serving congressman in history, former Michigan Representative John Dingell once said, “I’ll let you write the substance…you let me write the procedure, and I’ll [beat] you every time.” In other words, process is policy, and Congressmen who vote on auto-pilot on process fail to represent their constituents on a vast number of votes.

This is the swamp that needs to be drained. The best thing President Trump could do would be to give the conservatives in Congress the courage to stand up against the process status quo. It is time to make Congress more transparent and more responsive to the voters. We saw in this past election that the voters will speak up. It is time that our representatives started listening.

The Facts You Need To Fight The Current Spin

Yesterday Investors.com posted a story about what the repeal of ObamaCare will actually mean. The story separates the lies we are being told from the actual truth.

These are the five main points from the story:

  1.  Repealing ObamaCare will not add 20 million to the number of people without health insurance.
  2.  Repealing ObamaCare will not increase the deficit–leaving it in place with significantly increase the deficit in coming years.
  3.  Repealing ObamaCare will not mean that people with pre-existing conditions cannot get health insurance–the replacement plans being considered will have a place a way to cover pre-existing conditions.
  4. Repealing ObamaCare will not increase health costs. The article points out that the rate of increase in premiums for employer-provided insurance had also slowed before ObamaCare took effect. The shift in the employer market toward Health Savings Account plans — which Democrats hate — is largely responsible for that.
  5.  The claim that the voters do not want ObamaCare repealed is also false. The passage of ObamaCare strictly along Democratic Party lines lead to the loss of the House of Representatives by the Democrats in 2010, the loss of the Senate by the Democrats in 2014, and the loss of the Presidency by the Democrats in 2016.

Please follow the link above to read the details of the above points. We need healthcare to be allowed to function under a free-market system with as little interference from the government as possible. That will provide the most cost-efficient and most available healthcare for everyone.

As The Discussion About ObamaCare Continues…

The discussions on the repeal of ObamaCare are beginning. This is going to be interesting. The House and Senate have voted numerous times to repeal ObamaCare, but have never had to worry about the President agreeing with their efforts–so the votes really didn’t mean anything. Now the game is real.

Yahoo News is reporting today on the events surrounding the newly-elected Congress. President Obama met with the Democrats and Mike Pence met with the Republicans. President Obama wants to save ObamaCare as his legacy. Congress supports ObamaCare at its own risk.

You can find countless articles that detail the premium hikes and increased deductible for the average American, so I am going to skip those numbers. However, I want to remind anyone reading this about some of the history of how we got ObamaCare.

ObamaCare was passed in the Senate on the morning of December 24th, 2009. All the Democrats voted for it; all the Republicans voted against it. ObamaCare was signed into law on March 23, 2010. There was an election that year. The Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats lost seats in the Senate. During the debate on ObamaCare, the Tea Party was formed. The political consequences of the law were all negative for the Democratic Party. (There was a serious loss of power by the Democratic Party at  the federal, state, and local level continued during the eight years of the Obama Administration).

ObamaCare was finally passed through reconciliation. That is the reason that it can be repealed through that process. Hopefully it will be. The government needs to get its nose out of healthcare and give the free market a chance to work. The private sector can find a way to attach healthcare to the person rather than the employer so that preexisting conditions will not be an issue. There are three things that are needed to make healthcare work in America–portability across state lines, tax breaks for low-income families to encourage them to get health insurance, and health savings accounts. I am sure there are other worthwhile suggestions, but those are my three.

Meanwhile, Democrats oppose the repeal of ObamaCare at their own risk!

Is Medicare Going Bankrupt?

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about the financial condition of Medicare. It seems that Medicare is really doing rather well.

The article cites some interesting statistics:

As the new Congress convenes, budget cutters are eyeing Medicare, citing forecasts the program for seniors is running out of money. But federal bean counters have erroneously predicted Medicare’s bankruptcy for decades. One reason: They don’t consider medical breakthroughs.

Another problem is medical ethicists like Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who insist the elderly are a burden and that resources would be better spent on the young.

The facts prove otherwise. New medical findings give plenty of reason for optimism about the cost of caring for the elderly. According to data published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Medicare spending on end-of-life care is dropping rapidly, down from 19 percent to 13 percent of the Medicare budget since 2000. Living to a ripe old age shouldn’t be treated like it’s a problem. It’s a bargain. Someone who lives to 97 consumes only about half as much end-of-life care as someone who dies at 68.

Dr. Emanuel has some unique ideas about aging, which are stated in the article:

Why would we emulate Zeke Emanuel, age 59, who swears that at 75, he will forego all medical care and let death come quickly? “Our older years are not of high quality,” he insists. He’ll skip them. In The Atlantic magazine, he dismissed compression of morbidity as “quintessentially American” wishful thinking, and mocked seniors for trying to “cheat death.”

Keep in mind that Dr. Emanuel was one of the people behind ObamaCare who espoused the idea of limiting medical care for older Americans. That is one of the reasons it was so surprising that the AARP supported Medicare. They betrayed their own members.

The article concludes:

Too often, Congress treats Medicare as a piggy bank — raiding it when money is needed elsewhere. In 2010, Democrats in Congress paid for over half of ObamaCare’s spending by cutting Medicare. This year, Republican lawmakers eager to control federal health spending should avoid that error and instead focus on fixing Medicaid, the money pit program for the poor, where spending per capita is growing twice as fast as for Medicare. (I added the italics to this quote.)

Medicaid spending now tops $8,000 per recipient. That’s thousands more than is spent on people in private plans. And for all that money, studies show Medicaid isn’t improving patients’ health.

By contrast, Medicare is a success story. It has transformed aging, enabling older Americans to lead longer, more independent lives than our grandparents did. The average man turning 65 today will live five years longer than in 1970. Not just more years. Quality years. What a gift.

Medicare is partially paid for by payroll deductions from both the employee and the employer totaling about 2.9 percent, so Medicare is at least partially paid for. Medicaid is a gaping hole in our pockets that does not guarantee quality care to anyone. Healthcare in America is a problem that ObamaCare has made worse. Hopefully Congress and President Trump can come up with something that provides care for everyone who needs it, but also allows free market competition to keep the costs down for everyone.

How The Repeal Of ObamaCare Will Impact Your Taxes

ObamaCare has not been good for everyone. There are a few people that it has helped, but it has increased the cost of medical insurance and healthcare for the majority of Americans. Some Americans are now paying more for health insurance than they pay for their mortgage and car payment combined. If they don’t pay for health insurance, they are fined and take the risk of major medical expenses. So what happens if ObamaCare is repealed?

The American Spectator posted an article today about the impact of repealing ObamaCare.

The article states:

Now that the last significant obstacle to Obamacare repeal is finally packing his bags and preparing to vacate the White House, the defenders of the law are desperately casting about for some talking point that will convince the public that the risibly titled “Affordable Care Act” should be left in place. Having failed to get anywhere with doomsday studies claiming that repeal will render tens of millions uninsured, they have reverted to an old lefty refrain. The Republicans, they tell us, are in a rush to get rid of Obamacare because they want to give tax cuts to the rich.

We’ve heard that song before.

The article explains the actual facts:

In fact, as Howard Gleckman reluctantly admits at the TPC blog, “Overall, dumping all the ACA taxes would cut taxes by an average of $180 per household in 2017 — a 0.3 increase in after-tax incomes.” So, how have the social justice warriors in the media concluded that Obamacare repeal is a tax cut for the rich? The answer lies in the way they have chosen to define the word “rich.” All of this journalistic dudgeon is about the repeal of one tax on investment income aimed at Americans with annual incomes exceeding $200,000 (individuals) and $250,000 (couples).

…A far less obscure “tax” is that which you must pay if you fail to comply with Obamacare’s individual mandate. Obamacare’s apologists thought Chief Justice John Roberts was doing them a favor when he “fundamentally transformed” this fine into a tax in 2012, but that surreal ruling is now coming back to haunt them. In addition to the schadenfreude Obamacare opponents will enjoy when that tax is cut, the TPC study clearly shows that those in the lowest income brackets will benefit the most from the extirpation of this most hated provision of the unpopular law.

This is not what we are being told by the Democrats and their media co-conspirators. Using typically Orwellian logic, they tell us that repealing Obamacare’s subsidies will somehow increase taxes on the poor. In reality, these cuts will merely stop forcing hardworking Americans to pay for coverage they themselves cannot afford because of the “Affordable Care Act.” Meanwhile, these Obamacare dead-enders also insist that any revenue policy that fails to punish successful Americans amounts to “tax cuts to the rich.” This is why their side keeps losing elections.

There are a few things to note here. Does it strike you as odd that those claiming that the Republicans support ‘tax cuts for the rich’ are Democrats whose net worth is generally measured in millions? Is it just a coincidence that their wealth and income are structured so that they avoid the taxes that both the ‘rich’ and the poor pay? I would also like to note that the definition of ‘rich’ is very flexible in the minds of those screaming ‘tax cuts for the rich.’ Because much of tax revenue comes from the Middle Class, many middle-class people in areas where the cost of living is unusually high often find themselves classified as ‘rich.’ When the income tax was initially introduced in 1913, the top bracket was 7 percent (applied to incomes over $500,000–when adjusted for inflation, that number is actually $12 million). The lower bracket was a 1 percent tax. For an example of how the government views income taxes, I suggest you read “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond. The mouse’s perspective mirrors the government’s perspective on taxing Americans.

At any rate, repeal of ObamaCare would be a blessing for all of us. A healthcare system based on free-market principles would be better able to meet the needs of the both the ‘rich’ and the poor. Some of the things that would work in a replacement for ObamaCare might be healthcare that goes with the person–not the employer, tax breaks for the cost of individual healthcare would be a good idea, portability across state lines would increase competition and lower prices, risk pools for preexisting conditions might also help. There are many things that could be done to improve healthcare in America. ObamaCare was not one of them, and going to a single-payer, government system would not be helpful either. It is time for the business people that Donald Trump has nominated to his cabinet and the people in Congress who understand economics to put together a healthcare plan for America that will benefit all of us.

An Idea To Replace ObamaCare

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about a plan to reform ObamaCare suggested by James Capretta and Scott Gotlieb of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The article lists four suggestions to make healthcare affordable and practical for Americans:

1. Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans.

2. Accommodate people with pre-existing health conditions.

3. Allow broad access to health-savings accounts.

4. Deregulate the market for medical services.

These reforms would bring healthcare closer to a free-market system. The suggestions would also take away the provisions in ObamaCare that require people to pay for healthcare coverage they do not need (most couples over the age of 50 don’t need maternity coverage).  The Little Sisters of the Poor should not be required to pay for birth control coverage–they are Catholic nuns. Under ObamaCare they were sued by the federal government to provide coverage for things that went against their Christian beliefs. The idea that the government can tell people what coverage they have to have needs to go away quickly.

President-elect Trump has promised to end ObamaCare. We have heard that promise before from Republicans–give us the House and we will repeal ObamaCare; give us the Senate and we will repeal ObamaCare; give us the White House and we will repeal ObamaCare. Well, President-elect Trump, I suspect you have less than two years to make good on your promise. The anger of the American voters did not disappear when you were elected–that anger is simply waiting to see if you will keep your promises. It is a pretty safe bet that if ObamaCare is still with us in two years, the Republicans will lose the House and the Senate. At that point the Republican Party will go the way of the whigs.

What Do You Want Washington To Do With ObamaCare?

Drastic premium increases are coming this year in ObamaCare. Scott Johnson at Power Line posted a story today about those increases. The article included this picture of a sign on a Minnesota VW:

healthinsurancepremiumsThe article points out:

Obamacare premium rate hikes have hit big time in Minnesota, which has gone all in on Obamacare courtesy of Governor Mark Dayton. Governor Dayton professes himself shocked that the Affordable Care Act is “no longer affordable.” Thanks, guy. Gee, who could have seen it coming?

Dayton is trying to create some distance between Democrats standing for election to the legislature and the unfolding catastrophe of Obamacare. He must think we’re really, really stupid and, like President Obama, he’s got the electoral success to prove it.

The answer to the healthcare insurance problem is a free market system that operates with minimum interference from the government. Government regulation tends to skew the market, making health insurance more expensive by impacting competition, and creating a situation where companies will withdraw from the market. That is part of the problem with ObamaCare. There needs to be enough regulation to ensure that everyone can get insurance, but not enough to skew the market. Insurance companies use actuary tables to calculate rates. When the government got involved in health insurance, they had no knowledge of how these tables worked. Therefore, they managed to ruin a health insurance system that was working for most Americans. The Democrats who voted for ObamaCare (there were no Republican votes for ObamaCare) have managed to ruin healthcare for a majority of Americans. If you want full government healthcare, vote Democrat, but before you do that you might want to look at the wait times for medical care in the United Kingdom, which has government healthcare. If you want healthcare to be a private enterprise that actually works, vote Republican. It is that simple.

 

This Isn’t Really A Surprise

How many promises that were made so that ObamaCare would pass Congress have been broken? Do you remember that not one Republican voted for ObamaCare and that the certification of the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts was delayed long enough so that he would not be seated in time to vote against ObamaCare? Do you remember Nancy Pelosi saying, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy?” Was it a fog of controversy or a fog of deception? Right now it looks as if it might have been a fog of deception. Remember, “If you like your plan, you can keep it?” Remember, “If you like your doctor, you can keep him?” How is that working for you?

CBS New York posted a story yesterday about the upcoming rise in ObamaCare premiums.

The story reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services revealed Monday that premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, and that about 1 in 5 consumers will have plans only from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles.

However, in Arizona, unsubsidized premiums for a hypothetical 27-year-old buying a benchmark “second-lowest cost silver plan” will jump by 116 percent, from $196 to $422, according to the administration report.

The Obama Administration claims that along with these increases in premiums there will be increases in the subsidies paid to Americans buying health insurance. Who pays the subsidies? The subsidies are paid for by taxpaying Americans (most of whom are not eligible for the subsidies). This plan essentially uses the cover of health insurance to redistribute wealth. It takes money away from the working middle class and gives it to the underclasses, insuring future votes from the underclass who don’t want the free ride to end.

ObamaCare was designed to fail. The eventual goal is government healthcare–where the government controls who receives treatment and what treatment they receive. It it important to note that many Canadians come to America for surgery to avoid their own government healthcare. That should tell us all we need to know about the quality of government healthcare.

A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for government healthcare. It is also a vote for higher taxes on people who work for a living. It is also a vote for limits on free speech and limits on gun ownership. That is the world she represents.

 

Using Taxpayer Money To Prop Up Health Insurance Providers

Hot Air posted a story today with the following headline, “GAO report: HHS owes taxpayers billions in Obamacare reinsurance money.”

The article gives a synopsis of the story:

In 2014, the industry-funded reinsurance program was supposed to provide $10 billion to insurers and $2 billion to the federal Treasury. But when total collections from insurers amounted to only $9.7 billion, the Department of Health and Human Services opted to funnel all of the money toward insurers. The agency paid insurers $7.9 billion in claims for 2014, the first year of exchange coverage, and held over the remaining $1.7 billion for future payments.

Republicans asked the GAO to weigh in on whether or not HHS had the authority to interpret section 1341 of Obamacare in such a way that it could withhold payments to the Treasury. The GAO report concludes HHS clearly does not have the authority to do so:

ObamaCare has been a disaster from the beginning and will probably totally collapse under the next President. The problem then becomes how to rebuild the damage to American healthcare that ObamaCare has done. If Hillary is elected, we will go to total government healthcare. If Trump is elected, the hope is that he will lean toward a system that favors the free market.

The article concludes:

Just to put this in perspective, there have been weeks of stories about the scandal of phony accounts at Wells Fargo bank. That’s a legitimate scandal in which bank employees created millions of unauthorized new accounts (and credit cards) in order to secure bonuses for themselves. However, the total amount set aside for refunds in that case was $5 million dollars. That’s apparently how much customers were ripped off by the shady practices at Wells Fargo. For this legitimate scandal, Wells Fargo is paying over $150 million in fines and has already fired over 5,000 employees.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration withheld $3 billion dollars belonging to taxpayers and essentially redirected it to private companies. It has not paid back the money. It has not been punished for taking it without authorization. No one at HHS has been fired. And Elizabeth Warren is not demanding HHS Secretary Burwell resign.

Will there be any accountability for HHS and the Obama administration for what amounts to the intentional misdirection of billions of taxpayer dollars to the president’s pet project? Will the media devote 1/4 of the attention to this that it has to the Wells Fargo story? We shall see but my advice is don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

I realize that this is not an exciting story, but it is an important story. Not only did HHS exceed its power, it essentially stole money from the taxpayers. This sort of behavior by government agencies needs to be dealt with severely.