Fake News Abounds About The Repeal/Replace ObamaCare Bill

I have stated before that I do not support the current bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare. I believe that what we need is straight repeal. Then we need to teach Congress about the free market and let them apply those principles to healthcare and health insurance.

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the current repeal-replacement bill on ObamaCare.

Here are some observations from the article:

Look at any story about the Senate health bill, and you’ll see words like those describe its supposed cuts to Medicaid. What if we told you there are no such cuts?

First, the Senate bill doesn’t change Medicaid at all for three years. That means spending on the program will continue to grow, just as it is slated to now — at an annual 5% clip — until 2021.

What does that mean in dollar terms? Under the Senate’s “shredding” reform, Medicaid’s budget in 2021 will be $85 billion bigger than it is this year, and $209 billion (or 79%) bigger than it was in 2013.

What about after that? Under the Senate plan, there’d be a three-year transition to a new way of financing Medicaid.

And then, starting in 2025 federal Medicaid spending would be capped each year, with the cap set to grow at the overall inflation rate.

If you plot annual spending out over the next 10 years, what you see is that spending is never actually cut — at least not in the sense that most people think of a spending cut. Instead, it would grow at a slightly slower rate.

Even under the more restrictive House bill, Medicaid’s budget would still climb 20% over the next decade. So growth will end up higher still under the more generous Senate version.

This is the usual game that Congress and the media play with budget issues–only in Washington could a 5% increase be considered a cut!

The article explains the problems with Medicaid:

As a result, Medicaid now consumes about 20% of state general fund spending — and it’s rising. Next year, the 32 states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare will see their costs climb by an additional $9 billion.

Meanwhile, a Government Accountability Office investigation found that improper payments accounted for more than 10% of all Medicaid spending last year.

And for all this, Medicaid grossly underpays doctors and provides lousy care to many of its enrollees. In California, for example, the Medicaid expansion resulted in a flood of patients into emergency rooms because they can’t find a doctor willing to treat them.

In short, Medicaid is in dire trouble, and the Senate and House bills offer smart, prudent — and relatively modest — fixes.

Clean up the fraud, and encourage people to actually get jobs that will help them obtain medical insurance. We need less people riding in the wagon and more people pulling the wagon.

Just Repeal–Don’t Replace

The current ObamaCare bill is rapidly collapsing. It was designed that way. The plan was that Hillary Clinton would get elected and we would move to single-payer (totally government-controlled) healthcare. The fact that Donald Trump got elected and isn’t playing the Washington establishment’s games is a problem for those that want government healthcare. That is one of the reasons they are trying so hard to demonize him and get rid of him.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday about the current state of ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Roughly 41 percent of counties in the United States could have only one insurer participating on the Affordable Care Act exchanges next year, according to a new analysis from Avalere Health.

This percentage is up from the lack of participation in 2017, when roughly one-third of counties, or 33 percent, had only one insurer participating on the exchanges.

According to their count, there will be 47 counties that will have no insurer participating on the exchange leaving about 34,000 consumers with no choice.

…”In addition to the cost of premiums, insurer decisions around whether or not to offer plans in the exchanges will impact shoppers,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president of the group. “Consumers will see fewer choices on the exchange again in 2018, with some counties at risk of having no options.”

This is not what success looks like. ObamaCare has been a failure. The best replacement would be to let the free market rule. Tax credits could be used to help lower income people afford health insurance, but the free market would make healthcare more affordable for everyone.

There are a few principles that would reform healthcare in a way that would benefit everyone–portability across state lines, tort reform, high risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions, and letting the companies with the actuary tables determine rates. The government does not have a stellar record when it comes to running things. There are very few government programs that are not wasteful, inefficient, and expensive. We don’t need another government money pit. It’s time to repeal ObamaCare. Then the debate on its replacement can begin.

Are The Republicans Trying To Lose Their Majority In Congress?

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966.)

It is my opinion that the above quote perfectly describes the ObamaCare repeal bill the Republicans are attempting to see to the American people.

Yesterday Reason Magazine posted an analysis of the proposed bill. We all remember the Republicans promising the voters that if we would give them the House, they would repeal ObamaCare. Then they promised the voters that if we gave them the Senate, they would repeal ObamaCare. Then they promised the voters that if we gave them the White House, they would repeal ObamaCare. Now they are trying to sell us a bill that does not repeal ObamaCare. The bill continues the bad policies that have caused so many insurance companies to opt out of ObamaCare. The bill continues the bad policies that have caused health insurance premiums to rise sharply and government expenditures on ObamaCare to skyrocket. This bill will ensure that a large number of Republican Congressmen running for office in 2018 will be voted out of office. The bill should be called the ‘give Congress back to the Democrats’ act.

The article at Reason Magazine explains:

In other words, it is exactly what critics predicted: a bill that, at least in the near term, retains weakened versions of nearly all of Obamacare’s core features while fixing few if any of the problems that Republicans say they want to fix. It is Obamacare lite—the health law that Republicans claim to oppose, but less of it. It represents a total failure of Republican policy imagination.

To understand the Senate plan, it helps to recall Obamacare’s underlying framework. The centerpiece of the law was a reform of the individual market, intended to give those who do not get coverage through work or a federal program access to subsidized, regulated coverage. The law created a new federal subsidy, based on income, for lower- and middle-income households to purchase health insurance. It set up federal rules requiring insurers to sell to all comers while limiting their ability to charge based on health history. It mandated that all individuals obtain health coverage or pay a tax penalty. And it erected a system of government-run health insurance exchanges on which consumers could purchase subsidized, regulated individual market coverage.

Those exchanges have never been fully stable as either business or policy propositions. Premiums have marched steadily upwards; last year, the price of a typical plan rose by 22 percent, and early reports show large spikes coming this year as well. The non-profit health insurance organizations that Obamacare funded have mostly shut down. Large, for-profit health insurers, meanwhile, have lost money and either scaled back their participation or dropped out entirely.

Republicans have repeatedly criticized these marketplaces for being expensive and unstable. As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who spearheaded the drafting of this bill, likes to say, “Obamacare is collapsing around us.”

Yet even more than the House plan, the Senate plan retains the essential structure of Obamacare’s individual market reforms. It would likely result in fewer people being covered, and it would not stop the destabilization of the market.

There is a correct way for Congress to deal with healthcare reform–get the government out of it, and let the free market prevail. That would mean a true repeal of ObamaCare. Unfortunately we have reached a point where neither political party truly shares the interests of the American people. The first step in the process of fixing healthcare in America should be the full repeal of ObamaCare. It was a bad bill. The second step in this process should be to make sure that Congress is covered under whatever healthcare plan they pass. That might result in a better product. The third step would be to look at the tort reform that was successful in Texas and see if it could be applied on a national level. The fourth step would be to make health insurance something that could be purchased across state lines. These four simple steps would stop the damage currently being done by ObamaCare. There are other things that could be done–tax credits that help people pay health insurance premiums, health savings accounts, etc., but these could be added later. Right now we just need full repeal.

If the current ObamaCare Lite bill proposed is not significantly altered, it should not be passed. However, what is actually happening here is that the Democrats are moving ahead with their plan for total government healthcare (single payer), which is what will magically appear when ObamaCare collapses. It is time for the Republicans to repeal ObamaCare fully. Then they can worry about how to replace it. Right now, they are simply working hard to remove themselves from office.

 

When Budget Cuts Are Actually Budget Increases

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about President Trump‘s budget proposal.

The article included the following graph:

As you can see, the federal budget does increase. However, it increases at a lower rate than it would if baseline budgeting were used. Baseline budgeting is a tactic used by people who want to grow the government to convince the rest of us that the sky is falling. It is very simple–if you got a 3% budget increase last year and you get a 2% increase this year, your budget has been cut (even though it grew by 2%).

The article further reports:

Trump’s proposed spending cuts for entitlement programs have been described as “massive,” “sweeping,” and on the surface, the $1.7 trillion spending cuts Trump proposes look massive.

But these reports always leave out one key fact. Spending on entitlement programs isn’t being cut. At least not in the traditional sense of spending less next year than you spend this year. Trump’s budget doesn’t touch Social Security or Medicare, and only slows the growth of the remaining “safety net” programs.

In fact, the projected 10-year spending for all entitlement programs under Trump’s budget would be trimmed by less than 8%. (See the accompanying chart.)

Some analysts say Trump’s budget would end up cutting $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years, because his proposed $610 billion in savings from reforming the program would come on top of the $800 billion proposed cuts contained in the House ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill. (The budget doesn’t spell this out, but does contain a mysterious “allowance for ObamaCare repeal and replace” line item, with annual savings that match up to spending reductions in the House repeal bill.)

If true, that looks like a huge chunk, even from a program slated to spend $5.3 trillion. But keep in mind that states also contribute almost an equal share to Medicaid. In fact, when you combine federal and state spending, Medicaid is forecast to shell out more than $8 trillion over the next decade.

The article concludes:

Is Trump’s budget perfect? Hardly. We’d prefer that he tackle Social Security and Medicare reform in addition to Medicaid. The ObamaCare repeal savings are likely exaggerated. His $200 billion in infrastructure spending will only whet the appetite of lawmakers.

But on balance, this budget is far more realistic, and more responsible, than anything that ever came out of the Obama White House.

And as a statement of Trump’s governing principles — which is really all the presidents’ budgets ever amount to — Trump’s focus on spending restraint, entitlement reform, work incentives and on removing government impediments to growth is spot on.

In the world of Washington politics, power is measured by how much money you control. Bureaucrats love to spend our money. They will not give up that power easily. There will be a lot of people running around in the coming days yelling “the sky is falling.” They are misinformed. I wish this budget could pass Congress in its present form, but that is highly unlikely. However, I hope that the principles behind the budget will somehow survive and we will see a recognition of the fact that we are currently spending ourselves into destruction. The Washington establishment will not go down easily, but they seriously need to go down.

Fighting The Spin

You have heard the statements. People will die if ObamaCare is repealed. Those deaths will be on Republicans hands. Neither one of these statements is true, but I am willing to bet you have heard them reported as news.

On Friday Townhall posted an article about the ObamaCare replacement bill that passed the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

…But based on rhetoric from elected Democrats and the Left generally, one might assume that Obamacare was called the “Pre-existing Conditions Coverage Act” (side-stepping the whole “choice and affordability” fairy tale they peddled), and that the Republican bill obliterates those protections. The proposed law would be a “death warrant” for sick women and children, they shriek, casting Obamacare opponents as the moral equivalent of accessories to murder. This is demagogic, hyperbolic, inaccurate nonsense. To review the actual facts, even under an exceedingly unlikely scenario in which the Senate passed the House bill without making a single alteration, people with pre-existing conditions are offered several layers of protection:

There are a few layers of protection to make sure no one is left uncovered. The article explains:

Layer One: Insurers are required to sell plans to all comers, including those with pre-existing conditions. This is known as “guaranteed issue,” and it’s mandated in the AHCA. No exceptions, no waivers. I spoke with an informed conservative news consumer earlier who was stunned to learn that this was the case, having been subjected to 24 hours of unhinged rhetoric from the Left.

Layer Two: Anyone with a pre-existing condition and who lives in a state that does not seek an optional waiver from the AHCA’s (and Obamacare’s) “community rating” regulation cannot be charged more than other people for a new plan when they seek to purchase one — which, as established above, insurers are also required to sell them.

Layer Three: Anyone who is insured and remains continuously insured cannot be dropped from their plan due to a pre-existing condition, and cannot be charged more after developing one. So if you’ve been covered, then you change jobs or want to switch plans, carriers must sell you the plan of your choice at the same price point as everyone else. Regardless of your health status. This is true of people in non-waiver and waiver states alike.

Layer Four: If you are uninsured and have a pre-existing condition and live in a state that pursued (and obtained after jumping through hoops) a “community rating” waiver, your state is required to give you access to a “high risk pool” fund to help you pay for higher premiums. The AHCA earmarks nearly $130 billion for these sorts of patient stability funds over ten years.

The article goes on to explain that the healthcare bill passed in the House of Representatives is not perfect. However, ObamaCare is collapsing rapidly, and something does need to be done. Hopefully some positive revisions will be made in the Senate. Meanwhile, something needed to be done.

Please follow the link above toTownhall to read the entire article. Much of what the mainstream media is reporting about the healthcare bill that passed the House of Representatives is false. It’s important to know the truth.

A Breath Of Fresh Air In The House Of Representatives

This article is for all of the people who have sometimes looked at the U.S. House of Representatives and thought, “Who in the world do they represent?” Well, I may have found someone who does not physically represent my district, but she sure represents me.

Martha McSally is a Congressional Representative from the Second Congressional District of Arizona. After the repeal and replace ObamaCare bill passed the House of Representatives, Ms. McSally introduced H.R. 2192. H.R. 2192 has already been voted on and passed by the House of Representatives. The bill passed the House unanimously. So what is H.R. 2192?

According to Thomas.gov:

115th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 2192

AN ACT

To amend the Public Health Service Act to eliminate the non-application of certain State waiver provisions to Members of Congress and congressional staff.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Elimination of non-application of certain State waiver provisions to Members of Congress and congressional staff.

If the American Health Care Act is enacted, effective as if included in the enactment of such Act, section 2701(b)(5)(A)(ii) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg(b)(5)(A)(ii)), as added by subsection (a) of section 136 of the American Health Care Act (relating to permitting States to waive certain ACA requirements to encourage fair health insurance premiums), is amended by striking “1312(d)(3)(D),”.

Passed the House of Representatives May 4, 2017.

What this bill does is to say that if the repeal and replace ObamaCare bill is passed, Congress and Congressional staff members would not be exempt from the law (as they have been under ObamaCare). The law would apply to both American citizens and the politicians who wrote the law. What a wonderful idea. This lady is my new favorite member of the House of Representatives! Let’s see if the bill gets past the Senate.

 

Is ObamaCare Dying?

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today to repeal and replace ObamaCare.The bill, named the American Health Care Act, passed by a vote of 217-213. It is not a perfect bill, but it is a first step in stopping the collapse of ObamaCare and the descent into a government-controlled single-payer system. When President Obama gave us ObamaCare, the Democrats knew it would fail–the law ignored the statistics of the actuarial tables that keep the insurance agencies in business. There was no way it could succeed. The goal was to create an entitlement that would collapse and then institute a single-payer government plan. If Hillary Clinton had been elected, that would have happened. Instead, we have a President Trump who believes in free markets.

The Daily Signal posted an article about the passage of the bill today.

The article details some of the amendments to the bill:

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur’s amendment would give the secretary of health and human services the authority to grant a waiver to states that wanted an exemption from costly Obamacare rating rules and benefit mandates.

In order to secure a waiver from these federal insurance rules, the amendment specifies that states must establish a high-risk pool for persons with pre-existing conditions, a program to stabilize the those premiums, or participate in a new federal risk-sharing program designed to secure continuing coverage and market stability.

As drafted, the waiver from these federal regulations would be virtually automatic. In short, the states would make the key regulatory decisions over benefits and rating rules.

A second amendment, offered by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) adds $8 billion over 2018-2023 to the bill’s $130 billion Patient and State Stability Fund (making the total around $138 billion).

It specifies that those additional funds are to be used by states that have received a waiver from federal insurance rules (under the MacArthur Amendment) to assist individuals with increased healthcare costs.

A Good Foundation

The House’s action should be understood as part of a continuing process of national health reform.

As amended, the House bill rightly focuses on costly health insurance rules, makes historic changes in Medicaid—transforming Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement to a budgeted program—and repeals the national health law’s mandate penalties and its slew of taxes.

In fact, the House bill provides for one of the largest tax reductions on record.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a beginning. Twenty Republicans voted against the healthcare bill. All the Democrats voted against the bill. It would be nice if Congress stopped playing politics and worrying about campaign donations and elections and simply tried to do what was best for America.

I Will Be Surprised If ObamaCare Is Repealed

Republicans have the votes to repeal ObamaCare. They have proven that the other sixteen times they voted to repeal ObamaCare. It was safe to vote for repeal before President Trump was sworn in because they knew there would be a veto coming from the White House. Now that there won’t be a veto, they have lost the courage of their convictions (as if they actually have convictions).

ObamaCare is another entitlement program. Getting rid of an entitlement program is almost impossible. The people who are benefiting from the program don’t want to give it up (even though the people paying for it want to get rid of it as soon as possible).  That is why many Republicans want to keep ObamaCare.

Betsy McCaughey, who has actually read the original ObamaCare bill and followed the issue of ObamaCare closely, posted an article at Investor’s Business Daily today.

The article reports:

The House vote on the GOP‘s ObamaCare repeal bill vote is down to the wire, with dozens of Republicans waffling as “undecideds.” What’s the hold-up? Ninety-six percent of people who have to buy their own insurance stand to benefit from this bill, which will likely drive down premiums by double digits.

The remaining 4% — those with pre-existing conditions — will be protected by a federal fund to subsidize their insurance costs. They won’t get priced out of the market, because the fund will pay the lion’s share of their premiums.

But some Republicans are running scared. Although the bill solves two problems — lowering premiums and protecting people with pre-existing conditions — these fence sitters are worried about something else — getting re-elected.

As a member of the New York delegation put it, the issue is “optics.” They’re cowed by the media’s false reports that the GOP is abandoning people with pre-existing conditions.

It is a fact of life that in America we have a political class that would rather get re-elected than do what is best for America. That is one of the main reasons Donald Trump was elected President. Voters hoped he would change that.

The article explains how some individual states have handled healthcare reform:

New York, New Jersey and several other states ruined their individual insurance markets two decades ago by imposing community pricing, which drove out healthy buyers. Lawmakers in those states would be smart to wise up, get a waiver and offer low prices to most buyers. But don’t count on it, at least not in New York.

But several states — Alaska, Minnesota, Idaho and Oklahoma among them — have already acted, without waiting for Congress. They used state funds to help cover the sickest people, and relieve pressure on healthy premium payers. Alaska averted a 40 percent premium hike that way last year.

To summarize: The funding is adequate and the approach works. Spineless politicians whining about “optics” should look in the mirror. What’s they’re really missing is backbone.

The first repeal of ObamaCare bill was a bad bill, and its defeat was a good thing. The courageous (and correct) thing for Congress to do would be to reintroduce one of its past repeal bills and simply let the chips fall where they may. However, as that would take courage, it is highly unlikely.

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.