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.

 

Some Observations On The Election In Georgia Yesterday

Former Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill is credited with saying, “All politics is local.” I think that fact is partially responsible for the victory of Republican Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff in Tuesday’s special election in Georgia.

This was the most expensive U.S. House of Representatives race in American history. For those people screaming that we need to get the money out of politics, here are some numbers from an article posted at Hot Air today. As of the end of May, Republican Karen Handel had spent $3.2M. Democrat Jon Ossoff had spent $22.5M. Obviously this election was not for sale.

To add irony and a touch of chutzpah to this:

Candidate Ossoff stated in interview:

MARTIN: How do you feel about the money that’s been spent on this campaign? The Atlanta Journal Constitution published a calculation that said you and your opponent have spent or reserved over $40 million for TV and radio ads. Does that disturb you? What does it say about our political culture?

OSSOFF: The role of money in politics is a major problem and particularly the role of unchecked anonymous money. There have been super PACs in Washington who have been putting up tens of millions of dollars of attack ads in air for months now. When you have that kind of an environment, it’s necessary to raise the resources to fight back. I’m proud of the fact that my campaign has raised that money in small-dollar contributions, on average less than $50.

MARTIN: Although, it was your party that started the big spending. The Atlanta Journal Constitution also found your campaign and groups supporting it spent about $2 million more in ad spending than Handel during the runoff.

OSSOFF: Well, the overwhelming majority of money spent supporting my opponent has come from super PACs in Washington. And the overwhelming amount of money that’s been spent supporting my candidacy has come from small-dollar donors. But there’s no question that money in politics is a major problem, which is one of the reasons that we need campaign finance reform so that candidates and campaigns will spend more time talking to voters and discussing the issues and less time raising money.

Really?

On Friday, The Daily Caller reported:

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has set a new national record for out-of-state fundraising in his bid for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

Only about 3.5 percent of Ossoff’s $15 million reported fundraising total came from within Georgia, according the Atlanta Journal Constitution. More than 14 percent came from California and New York.

Here are some of my observations on the election. The mainstream media again had it wrong–they predicted a much closer race or a victory for Jon Ossoff. The money in the election was not the determining factor–the voters looked at the candidates and made their choice according to what they knew. The media has totally lost contact with the voters–they have no idea what the pulse of America is.

The picture below sums up last night:

They just don’t look happy!

A Good Idea Whose Time Has Come

On Friday, CNS News posted a story about one area of President Trump’s proposed budget–the area of food stamps.

Here are some numbers from The Gateway Pundit in 2015:

Under Obama the poverty rate has stood at greater than 15% for three consecutive years (2010-12), the first time that has happened since the mid-1960’s.  A record number of people have been on Medicaid (72 million or 1 out of 4 Americans) and Medicare (more than 47 million Americans) during Obama’s presidency.  When Obama entered office in 2009, 31.9 million individuals received food stamp benefits. As of January 2015, 46 million people received food stamps for a 44% increase in food stamp usage since Obama took over and record numbers.  Food stamp users had topped 46 million for 38 straight months as of January 2015.  (People don’t reach out for food stamps when good paying jobs are plentiful.) Due in part to the increase in food stamps, Welfare spending  (not counting social security) reached nearly $1 trillion in 2013.

Obviously change is needed. The article at CNS News details some of the suggested changes:

In reality, the president’s proposed policy is based on two principles: requiring able-bodied adult recipients to work or prepare for work in exchange for benefits, and restoring minimal fiscal responsibility to state governments for the welfare programs they operate.

The president’s budget reasserts the basic concept that welfare should not be a one-way handout. Welfare should, instead, be based on reciprocal obligations between recipients and taxpayers.

Government should definitely support those who need assistance, but should expect recipients to engage in constructive activity in exchange for that assistance.

Work Requirements

Under the Trump reform, recipients who cannot immediately find a job would be expected to engage in “work activation,” including supervised job searching, training, and community service.

This idea of a quid pro quo between welfare recipients and society has nearly universal support among the public.

Nearly 90 percent of the public agree that “able-bodied adults that receive cash, food, housing, and medical assistance should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving those government benefits.”

It is time for those sitting in the economic wagon being pulled by working people to get out of the wagon and help pull.

The article reminds us that when Maine placed a work requirement on food stamp recipients, the number of people collecting food stamps dropped sharply. I believe Americans are basically generous people who want to help the less fortunate, but I also believe that Americans do not like being taken advantage of.

The article reports what happened in Maine:

In December 2014, Maine imposed a work requirement on this category of recipients. Under the policy, no recipient had his benefits simply cut. Instead, recipients were required to undertake state-provided training or to work in community service six hours per week.

Nearly all affected recipients chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service. As a result, the Maine caseload of able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months.

We need to learn from Maine’s experience.

After A While It Just Gets Silly

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial reminding us of how many times we have watched the Democrats and the media attempt to bring down a President. It worked once. The Democrats and media liked the experience so much that they have been trying to duplicate it ever since.

The editorial reminds us:

On May 1, 1981, thousands of protesters marched in Washington to denounce President Reagan‘s economic and social policies. The event was billed as ”Days of Resistance to Roll Back Reaganism.” (Sound familiar?) At the event, at least two speakers called for impeaching Reagan.

”Our purpose is to turn this country around,” one said. ”Getting rid of Reagan is the first step.”

In early 1983, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said Reagan should be impeached “for incompetence.” Later that year, he called for impeaching Reagan over his military action in Grenada.

Jesse Jackson wanted Reagan impeached in 1984 for mining Nicaragua’s harbors. Texas Rep. Henry Gonzalez and six other Democrats introduced a resolution to impeach Reagan in 1987 over the Iran-Contra affair.

Gonzalez pushed to have President George H.W. Bush impeached in 1991 because of the Gulf War.

Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Robert Wexler introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush in 2004 that centered on the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, global warming and the 2004 elections.

Conyers filed a resolution in 2005 calling for Bush’s impeachment, and was still publicly advocating it by 2007. And Kucinich kept pushing for impeachment into Bush’s last months in office.

Most of these efforts were aided and abetted by the media. It is truly a shame that our Fourth Estate has chosen to become a Fifth Column.

The article continues:

Heck, Rep. Maxine Waters — who is currently making a big stink about impeaching Trump — first called for his impeachment before Trump was inaugurated. Rep. Alan Grayson was talking up Trump’s impeachment before he’d even secured the Republican nomination.

What is newsworthy, however, is the fact that some Democrats outside the Beltway — as well as some inside the Beltway — are urging their colleagues to get a grip.

In an interview with Politico that aired online this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel warned that the party’s monomaniacal focus on the president wasn’t doing anything to make Democrats more appealing to voters who cast ballots for Trump last November.

“We don’t talk about and fight for the middle class like we are,” he said. “We believe we’re for them, but they don’t — if they don’t hear we’re for them, then we got a problem.”

Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere said Emanuel “thinks everyone in Washington is too focused on the crazy around Trump to see what’s actually going on — and what’s not.”

Meanwhile, the American voters are not buying into this garbage. They are looking at the economic improvement, the reduction in regulations, and efforts to help the middle class made by the Trump Administration.

It is really wild when the sane Democrat on the subject of impeachment is Dennis Kucinich, not known for always being the most rational voice in the room. This is his comment:

“This is about the political process of the United States of America being under attack by intelligence agencies and individuals in those agencies,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday.

“You have politicization of agencies that is resulting in leaks from anonymous, unknown people and the intention is to take down a president,” he said. “Now, this is very dangerous to America. It’s a threat to our republic. It constitutes a clear and present danger to our way of life.”

The American people voted. In three years they will get to vote again. If the Democrats continue to behave like spoiled two-year-olds, they can expect to continue to lose elections. That’s fine with me.

Using Watergate As A Template

The Watergate Scandal began a period of Democratic control of Washington that essentially lasted until the 1990’s. Ronald Reagan won the Presidency, but the Democrats controlled Congress. The Watergate Scandal played a role in the Democrats obtaining and keeping that power. It was their high watermark of political influence. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that they would like to repeat their success. Unfortunately for the Republican party, this time they have a few turncoat Republicans helping them.

This is a quote from an article I posted in March:

The actions of the Democrats during Watergate provide a preview of what is happening now. Watergate was a high watermark in the politics of personal destruction. In his book, Inside the Real Watergate Conspiracy, the author, Geoff Shepard, states:

“It seems clear that without Cox’s intervention, the federal prosecutors would have issued indictments at least by August 1973, and the public’s desire to know that the government was seriously pursuing the Watergate case would have been fully satisfied. Indeed, on May 24, 1973, the U.S. attorney publicly stated that comprehensive indictments were imminent; and the prosecutorial memo submitted to Cox on his arrival stated that the case was all but closed.”

As Americans, we need to make sure that this sort of manipulation of the news does not happen again. Today we have an alternative media that we did not have then. Hopefully that will make a difference. At any rate, we need to be aware of what is being attempted.

As Democrats and some Republicans applaud the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel there are some things we need to remember. First of all–no investigation has turned up any evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign to impact the 2016 election. Second of all–the longer these accusations can be dragged out, the more people will accept them as fact. Third of all–if the Democrats can turn the heat up high enough with fake stories, they may be able at least to vote on impeachment. The don’t have the votes to impeach President Trump, but impeachment hearings might win them some votes among some Americans (or it could seriously cost them votes as the impeachment of Bill Clinton cost the Republicans votes).

What we have watched this week is political theater. Unfortunately it is political theater played without any sense of truth or fairness. It is a glaring example of the fact that the swamp in Washington needs to be drained–and Donald Trump is not the problem. The media has created chaos with anonymous sources and unseen memos. The chaos is not from the Trump Administration, it is from a media that is trying very hard to reverse the votes of the American people.

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.

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.

Tax Cuts For The Rich?

The Democrats objection to President Trump’s tax plan is that it is ‘tax cuts for the rich.’ That is always their objection to any sort of tax break for Americans. Never mind that the rich pay most of the taxes, Democrats do not want to give them a break.

The graph below is from the Pew Research Center last year. It shows who is paying taxes in America:

Obviously it does not make a lot of sense  to cut taxes for people making less than $50,000 a year–they don’t pay a lot of income taxes to begin with.

Yesterday Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, posted an article at Investor’s Business Daily about the Democrats’ cry of ‘tax cuts for the rich.’

Here are some highlights from the article:

One of the key arguments of those who oppose what they call “tax cuts for the rich” is that the Reagan administration tax cuts led to huge federal government deficits, contrary to “supply side economics” which said that lower tax rates would lead to higher tax revenues.

This reduces the whole issue to a question about facts — and the hard facts are available in many places, including a local public library or on the internet.

The hardest of these hard facts is that the revenues collected from federal income taxes during every year of the Reagan administration were higher than the revenues collected from federal income taxes during any year of any previous administration.

How can that be? Because tax rates and tax revenues are two different things. Tax rates and tax revenues can move in either the same direction or in opposite directions, depending on how the economy responds.

The article explains:

Before we turn to the question of “the rich,” let’s first understand the implications of higher income tax revenues after income tax rates were cut during the Reagan administration.

That should have put an end to the talk about how lower tax rates reduce government revenues and therefore tax cuts need to be “paid for” or else there will be rising deficits. There were in fact rising deficits in the 1980s, but that was due to spending that outran even the rising tax revenues.

Congress does the spending, and there is no amount of money that Congress cannot outspend.

As for “the rich,” higher-income taxpayers paid more — repeat, more tax revenues into the federal treasury under the lower tax rates than they had under the previous higher tax rates.

That happened not only during the Reagan administration, but also during the Coolidge administration and the Kennedy administration before Reagan, and under the G.W. Bush administration after Reagan. All these administrations cut tax rates and received higher tax revenues than before.

The article concludes:

As a source more congenial to some, a front-page story in The New York Times on July 9, 2006 — during the Bush 43 administration — reported, “An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year.” Expectations, of course, are in the eye of the beholder.

The problem is not the revenue–it’s the spending. Unfortunately, Congress has not yet heard the cries of the American people to stop overspending. It may take another election to cause them to listen.

One Answer To The Problem Of Illegal Immigration

This video created by The Heritage Foundation was posted on YouTube yesterday:

Every Congressman needs to watch this. The safety of Americans depends on it.

This is a screenshot of one part of the video:

That is the kind of impact a border wall has.

Why have the Republicans in Congress refused to fund the wall? Because many of them accept large campaign donations from businesses that increase their profits by hiring illegal workers. This keeps the operating cost of the business lower, and also has the effect of keeping the wages of the average American worker lower. Every voter needs to know that. Why have Democrats in Congress refused to fund the wall? The Democrats plan to make all of the workers that come here illegally Democratic voters. This could be done with amnesty for illegals or simply by having the illegals obtain driver’s licenses and using them to register to vote (that is illegal, but there is proof that it has happened). Neither the Democratic Party or the Republican Party have the interests of America in mind when they oppose the funding and building of a border wall. There are some Congressmen and Congresswomen who support the wall. They need to be re-elected. The Congressmen and Congresswomen who oppose the wall need to be voted out of office–they are looking out for their campaign donations and future votes–they are not looking out for the interests of Americans.

 

The Government Envisioned by Carroll Quigley Has Come To Pass

We are here:

“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.)

The dream of Carroll Quigley has come true. We have reached the point where it does no good to simply ‘throw the rascals out.’ We tried that in 2016, and nothing has changed. On Sunday night, Republicans and Democrats in Congress put together a spending bill that would fund the government through September. It is truly a bad bill that does not respect the wishes of the voters in the 2016 election.

Fox News reported today:

The proposed legislation has no funding for Trump’s oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but does set aside $1.5 billion for border security measures such as additional detention beds. It does give Trump a $12.5 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military, a figure which could rise to $15 billion should Trump present Congress with a plan for fighting the Islamic State terror group. The proposed $15 billion amounts to half of Trump’s original $30 billion request.

…The House and Senate have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to approve the bill, which would avert a government shutdown. If passed, the catchall spending bill would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump’s short tenure in the White House. The measure is assured of winning bipartisan support in votes this week, but it’s unclear how much support the measure will receive from GOP conservatives and how warmly it will be received by the White House.

Democratic votes will be needed to pass the measure even though Republicans control both the White House and Congress. The minority party has been actively involved in the talks, which appear headed to produce a lowest common denominator measure that won’t look too much different than the deal that could have been struck on Obama’s watch last year.

Breitbart posted an article today quoting Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the vice chairman of the House Freedom Caucus:

Jordan argued the entire point of doing a short-term spending bill last year was to get the government through until the next administration took office. Then, he explained Republicans in a GOP-controlled federal government would have the opportunity to fight for their priorities.

“Why did we last fall do a short-term spending bill if we weren’t going to actually fight for the things we told the voters we were going to fight for?” he said. “So we’d have been, I mean if this is the deal we’re going to get it seems to me we should have just did the bill for the whole year. But we specifically held the vote for; we did a short-term spending bill for this time so that when Republicans controlled the government, we could actually do the things we campaigned on. This bill doesn’t seem to do that. Plus it maintains Chris this idea that for every new dollar you spend in defense money you’ve got to give the Democrats more money in non-defense. That’s again not what we campaigned on. So I’m disappointed. We’ll see how it plays out this week. But I think you’re going to see conservatives have some real concerns with this legislation.

We might want to remember that the first rule of Saul Alinsky‘s Rules for Radicals is:

“Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.

Part of the problem here is that the Democrats have convinced the Republicans that if the Democrats shut down the government, the Republicans will somehow be blamed for the shutdown. Because of the mainstream media’s support of the Democrats, that is the way it will be spun, but many Americans are looking past the spin.

This budget bill is a major mistake for Congressional Republicans. They need to look at the votes lost by the Democratic Party in elections over the past decade and understand that if the Republican Party continues in the direction they seem to be currently going, they will also lose voters. If the Republicans ignore the results of the 2016 election and the popularity of Donald Trump because he stood for change, there will be a successful third party within a decade.

 

What Did He Actually Do?

The media has not given President Trump fair treatment. That is not a surprise–he is a Republican and is fighting the status quo. He might even make it necessary to change which cocktail parties they attend. Right now the media narrative is that President Trump is a disaster for the country and has accomplished nothing. Let’s take a look at what has actually taken place during President Trump’s short time in office.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article yesterday listing the accomplishments of the Trump Administration.

The article mentions the immediate impact President Trump’s election has had on the economy:

The US Stock Markets are at record highs and millions of Americans are benefitting in their retirement savings accounts. 

The article includes a number of specifics on the DOW, including:

The US Stock Market gained $2 trillion in wealth since Trump was elected!
The S&P 500 broke $20 Trillion for the first time in its history.

Since the majority of working Americans have 401k or other retirement accounts, this positively impacts most working Americans. It doesn’t help welfare recipients or people working part time or for minimum wage, but those people will be helped as the economy improves and they are able to get better jobs. This would also be a really good time for people who want to be successful to improve their marketable skills so that they will be ready to find a better job in an improved economy.

Other accomplishments listed in the article include:

President Trump decreased the US Debt in his first 100 days by $100 Billion.  (President Obama increased the US debt in his first 100 days by more than $560 Billion.)

The US Manufacturing Index soared to a 33 year high in this period which were the best numbers since 1983 under President Reagan.

President Trump added 298,000 jobs in his first month alone (after President Obama said jobs were not coming back!).

Housing sales are red-hot.  In 2011, houses for sale were on the market an average 84 days. This year, it’s just 45 days.

Illegal immigration is down 67% since President Trump’s Inauguration.

NATO announced Allied spending is up $10 Billion because of President Trump.

After being nominated by President Trump, Constitutionalist Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed and sworn in as  Supreme Court Justice in early April.

Please follow the link above to the article. There have been many accomplishments that have simply been overlooked by the mainstream media.

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!

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.

Somehow Most Of The Media Has Avoided The History On This

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the confirmation process of Judge Gorsuch. The bottom line of the article is that it will take real talent for for Republican party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in this instance. The article reminds us that until the administration of the 43rd President of the United States, Supreme Court Justices were sworn in by a simple majority.

The article reports the following quote from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on both FOX News Sunday and Meet the Press yesterday:

“I can tell you that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends. How many of them are willing to oppose cloture, on a partisan basis, to kill a Supreme Court nominee? Never happened before in history, in the whole history of the country. In fact, filibustering judges at all is a rather recent phenomen[on] started by your next guest, Senator Schumer, after George Bush 43 got elected president. We didn’t used to do this. Clarence Thomas was confirmed 52-48, the most controversial Supreme Court nominee in history. And not a single Senator said he has to get 60 votes.”

Senator Harry Reid brought back the traditional concept of an up or down vote to confirm lower court judges. It will not be a big step to go back to the historical precedent of confirming Supreme Court judges the same way. The question is, “Do the Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to do what they need to do to put Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court?” This is nothing more than a political game of chicken. If the Democrats force the issue, the filibustering of Supreme Court judges will end. Because the Democrats are generally the party that uses this tactic, it will be their loss. There may be other vacancies on the Supreme Court in the next three years, and the Democrats will have given up a tool to oppose those nominations. If the Democrats allow this nomination to go through, they will simply replace a conservative judge with a conservative judge. They will also keep their powder dry for the next fight which may involve replacing a more liberal judge. It’s their choice.

Just as a point to remember–for those who are still screaming because Merrick Garland never got a hearing, remember that the Biden rule was called into effect during the last two years of the Bush Administration. The Republicans simply made the Democrats follow the rule that Joe Biden had stated! They simply enforced the same rule for both political parties.

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.

I’m Not Sure What The Underlying Strategy Is On This

John Hinderaker at Power Line is reporting this morning that the Democrats plan to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

The article reports:

It seems odd, too, that Schumer didn’t even wait until the hearing on Gursuch’s nomination has been concluded to announce the Democrats’ filibuster. This would appear to support the view that the decision is political and has little to do with the merits of Gorsuch’s nomination.

I don’t know how to explain Schumer’s announcement, except as evidence that 1) Senate Democrats perceive that they need to cater to the party’s hysterical base, and 2) they are convinced that the filibuster, as to Supreme Court nominees, is dead in any event.

This is an awkward decision–Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate on July 20, 2006. In September 2016. He was respected by members of both parties. He has done nothing in his career since his 2006 confirmation that warrants any changed votes. It is unfortunate that the choosing of a Supreme Court Justice is now a political exercise rather than a judgement on qualifications. I would like to point out that the Republicans gave Democratic presidents most of their nominees (with the exception of following the Biden Rule, which the Democrats have now chosen to ignore). An elected President should be able to put his nominees on the Supreme Court. In this case, because President Trump released a list of potential nominees during the election campaign, the people who voted for him obviously approved on the list. The filibuster may please the base of the Democratic Party, but I suspect it will make moderate Democrats (if there are any left) very unhappy.

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.

Americans Are Actually Unified On Some Things

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an editorial written by David Schoenbrod, a Trustee Professor of Law at New York Law School. The editorial is titled, “Washington’s War Against The People.” Professor Schoenbrod makes a few very good points in his editorial. He reminds us that the percentage of Americans who trust Washington to “do the right thing” “just about always” or “most of the time” was 76 percent in 1964. In 2015, that percentage had fallen to 19 percent. So what happened? Those in power in Washington learned a few tricks to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and to increase their own power and wealth. Meanwhile, they began to ignore the wishes and well being of the American people.

The editorial lists some of the ways that those in Washington promise good things while avoiding the blame for bad things:

  1. The Money Trick lets them get credit for tax cuts and spending increases, but shift the blame for the inevitable tax increases and spending cuts to their successors in office when the deficits and debt will become unsustainable.
  2. The Debt Guarantee Trick lets them get support from the too-big-to-fail financial giants whose profits they increase by guaranteeing their debts at little or no cost, but shift the blame for the inevitable bailouts to their successors in office when the speculation encouraged by the cheap debt guarantees will trigger another fiscal crisis and economic crash.
  3. The Federal Mandate Trick lets them get credit for the benefits they require the state and local government to deliver, but shift the blame for the burdens required to deliver those benefits to state and local officials.
  4. The Regulation Trick lets them get credit for granting rights to regulatory protection, but shift the blame for the burdens required to vindicate those rights and the failures to deliver the protection promised to federal agencies.
  5. The War Trick lets members of Congress get credit for having a statute that requires them to take responsibility for going to war, while colluding with the president to evade responsibility for wars that might later prove controversial.  So members of Congress can march in the parade if the war proves popular, but otherwise put the entire blame on the president.
The editorial points out that many Americans believe that Washington insiders have misled or tricked them. That explains why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, both outsiders, received more votes in 2016 than anyone expected.

The current battle is between Washington insiders and the American people. Both Republicans and Democrats have forgotten who they represent. Some elected officials still try to represent the voters, but they are few and far between. The problem is across party lines. The only solution is well-educated voters (which will be a challenge because the mainstream media supports the Washington insiders). However, if it is possible to drain the swamp, I suspect it will have to happen in the next two years. I believe that is the size of the window Donald Trump will be given to accomplish anything.