If It Walks Like A Duck And Quacks Like A Duck, It’s Probably A Duck

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the proposed plan to ‘stabilize’ the insurance market in ObamaCare. The Senate’s solution is to hand over a mere $14 billion to insurance companies.

The editorial reminds us:

The proposal, developed by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, would restore the roughly $7 billion in annual “cost sharing reduction” subsidies paid to insurance companies through 2019.

This money is meant to offset the cost of providing plans with reduced deductibles and co-payments to low-income families. Insurers say that without the subsidy payments, they’d have to hike insurance premiums on everyone in the ObamaCare exchanges even more.

ObamaCare required lawmakers to authorize the CSR payments each year, but they never did so. The Obama administration simply paid them out anyway. But last week, President Trump announced that he was cutting off these illegal subsidy payments. By doing so, he gave Republicans some leverage to force more changes to ObamaCare; they could offer to restore them, temporarily, if Democrats agreed to some significant changes to ObamaCare.

The “compromise” Senate plan worked up by Alexander and Murray squanders that leverage.

There are some things we need to keep in mind here. ObamaCare was never intended to be successful–it was supposed to fail after Hillary Clinton became President so that she could replace it with socialized medicine (single-payer healthcare). When Donald Trump got elected, that plan went out the window. So what are the alternative plans to reach the same result? The lunatic fringe on the left wants to impeach President Trump. Some of these delusional people think that would mean that Hillary Clinton would be President. The logic of that escapes me, but I can guarantee that there is a lunatic fringe that is thinking that way. Barring that, what else can the Democrats do to give us socialized medicine? They can refuse to end ObamaCare. They can keep pouring money into ObamaCare to keep it going until a Democrat can be elected President. They can resist any legislative move that actually improves it. It seems as if all three are being or have been attempted.

I for one am glad to know that we will not be pouring $14 billion into insurance companies. Get the government out of the insurance business, let the free market and the actuary tables take over, and forget the nightmare of ObamaCare.

Lied To Again

I don’t know how many times Senator John McCain promised to repeal ObamaCare when he was running for office. Evidently he doesn’t remember either. So it’s time to take a different approach to repeal. Understand that the Democrats will never support a bill that de-funds Planned Parenthood, something that the Graham Cassidy bill does. Every Republican should support the bill for that reason alone.

A website called The Stream posted an open letter to Senator Rand Paul yesterday. Here are some highlights from the letter:

Dear Senator Paul,

Let me start by saying “Thank you.” On issue after issue, from individual privacy to economic freedom, from constitutional war-making to criminal justice reform, you have been a light in an often murky Senate and a muddled GOP.

…Your stand on foreign policy in the 2016 election was equally brave and principled. Here at The Stream I echoed your sensible objections to the Syria policies of GOP establishment politicians. You were right in warning against Marco Rubio’s support for arming Syrian rebels. And against Chris Christie’s proposal to threaten to shoot down Russian planes in defense of jihadists. Indeed, you helped lead the fight to stop President Obama from a reckless and destructive U.S. intervention in Syria a year before.

You have been a voice of principle, of course. In the Republican party you may have the best claim to Reagan’s mantle. His optimism, his confidence that Americans would prevail if the government simply protected their rights and left them alone … there’s too little of that spirit in the GOP today, much less in the country. In an age where the competition seems to be for the label of “victim,” you carry on like the Gipper.

Here is the purpose of the letter:

I urge you to reconsider your position. To support an imperfect bill for the sake of the greater good. The Graham-Cassidy Bill is not the repeal of Obamacare that any of us hoped for. It doesn’t dismantle the huge array of perverse incentives, subsidies, and crony-capitalist tinkering that distort American medicine. However, as National Review has noted, it does make some real progress. It does restore some liberty. In fact, the bill offers some concrete benefits not to be sneezed at. Per NRO:

It abolishes the individual and employer mandates, caps per capita spending on Medicaid, blocks federal funds from going to insurance plans that cover abortion, and lets interested states attain freedom from some of Obamacare’s regulations. Some of those states could use that freedom to create markets in which people outside of Medicare, Medicaid, and employer-based coverage would finally be enabled to buy cheap, renewable catastrophic-insurance policies.

All of those are important improvements. But I’d like to focus on one. Pro-life groups have put heavy pressure on you to reverse your stand on this bill. That’s because it’s the one plausible chance to accomplish something which you’ve tried manfully to do on several occasions: to defund Planned Parenthood.

The letter concludes:

It’s crucial to keep the close attachment that evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics have had to American ideals of liberty. We don’t want the growth of a statist, nationalist party in America along the lines of France’s National Front. That’s not our GOP.

With your principled stand on life, your balanced stance on immigration, you could help anchor the party. You might well come to lead it. But if you get blamed for the failure to defund Planned Parenthood, and undo at least some of Obamacare’s damage. … I fear that will never happen.

So please, Senator Paul. The causes of life and liberty are here in perfect alignment. So is political prudence. And your own lofty ambitions, which I support. Please change your vote.

It is obvious that we cannot count on Senator McCain. Can we count of Senator Rand Paul to help end the nightmare of ObamaCare? This may be our last chance to get rid of this horrible law. I suggest that if we cannot end ObamaCare that President Trump immediately sign an executive order putting Congress under ObamaCare. If Congress if going to force the American people to live with a bad law, they should have to live with it also.

 

There Are Two Things In Play Here

Special interests are important in Washington; lobbyists and lobbyists’ money have a lot of power. However, educated voters also have a lot of power. We are about to see a clash between special interests (lobbyists, big business, the political establishment, etc.) and educated voters. The clash is going to take place before September 30 and will involve the repeal of ObamaCare.

ObamaCare is a nightmare for many Americans–their insurance premiums and their deductibles have risen drastically over the past six years, and some middle-class Americans are forced to choose between paying their mortgage or paying their health insurance bill. ObamaCare has failed, and the Republicans in Congress have thus far broken their promise to repeal it. Democrats are offering single-payer healthcare which will break the bank, but at least the are offering something. Voters have given Congress an approval rating of about 15 percent.  Next year is an election year for all of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. Congressmen (and Congresswomen) have a choice–who do they represent? Some Republicans may be getting the message that voters are important.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today with the following headline:

Mitch McConnell asks CBO to score Obamacare overhaul

That is the sound of a Congressman who is beginning to feel the impact of the grassroots of the Republican party. Someone in Washington is beginning to understand that the Republican party will go the way of the dinosaur if they do not start listening to their base. Lobbyists may have money, but there are a lot of angry voters out there.

The article reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked the Congressional Budget Office to quickly score an Obamacare overhaul bill introduced this week, his office confirmed Friday.

The bill would take revenues from Obamacare and distribute them as block grants to states so they could write their own healthcare plans. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., introduced the bill along with Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

This is not a perfect bill, but it may have conservative support because it moves money out of Washington and back to the states.

The article states:

Supporters hope the bill can be passed through the reconciliation, would need just 50 votes to advance and pass in the Senate, assuming a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Pence. Reconciliation is a budget measure that allows passage with a simple majority rather than the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster. The Senate faces a Sept. 30 deadline to use reconciliation, according to the Senate parliamentarian.

There are three choices–leave ObamaCare in place, single-payer healthcare or this bill. This bill is not perfect, but it is the best choice of the three. If the Republicans do nothing, they will lose badly in the mid-term elections.

It is ironic that many Republican Congressmen are spending more time opposing President Trump than they did opposing President Obama.

What Is True vs. What Is Reported

Media bias is old news, but every now and then it can be really interesting. The following story illustrates why President Trump needs to hold on to his Twitter account.

This morning the Associated Press reported:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top House and Senate Democrats said Wednesday they had reached agreement with President Donald Trump to protect thousands of younger immigrants from deportation and fund some border security enhancements — not including Trump’s long-sought border wall.

The agreement, the latest instance of Trump ditching his own party to make common cause with the opposition, was announced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi following a White House dinner that Republican lawmakers weren’t invited to attend. It would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids who had benefited from former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which provided temporary work permits and shielded recipients from deportation.

Fox News reported today:

President Trump on Thursday denied reports that he struck a “deal” overnight with top Democrats to protect so-called “Dreamers,” while insisting “massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.”

Trump’s Twitter post was in response to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announcing after a dinner meeting at the White House that they had “agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.”

They also said “we would review border security measures that didn’t include building a wall.”

The president clarified Thursday morning that he intends for the wall to be built — and while he wants to helps Dreamers, there’s no deal yet. 

The political consequences for President Trump if he does not build a wall would be enormous.

On Tuesday The Hill posted an article about support for the wall among Americans.

These are a few highlights from the article:

Last February, Pew reported similar findings: 62 percent of Americans oppose building a wall. Only 35 percent support it.

But are we telling the whole story?

First, it’s worth looking at what Pew asked: “All in all, would you favor or oppose building a wall along the entire border with Mexico?” To me, it’s a confusing question. After all, there already is a wall or fencing along approximately 700 miles of the southern border. It might make more sense to ask, “Would you favor or oppose building a wall along the remaining, unwalled portion of the border with Mexico?”

…While we’re in the weeds, assuming there’s value to asking a poll question about something that nobody is proposing, there’s additional nuance to consider. Pew ended up with a Democrat-heavy sample: 38 percent Republican/Republican leaning and 52 percent Democrat/Democrat leaning. The 14 percentage point difference means Pew interviewed 38 percent more Democrat thinkers than Republican thinkers. I can’t find any estimate that says the actual U.S. population is politically lopsided along those lines.

That is how you skew a poll.

The article at The Hill concludes:

There are two things we could do to provide more meaningful reporting. First, when addressing polls on political topics, we should disclose the breakdown of Democrats and Republicans upfront. To state the obvious: findings from a sample that’s made up of 98 percent Republicans will be entirely different than findings from a sample of 98 percent Democrats. How can meaning be put behind results on any political topic without the partisan makeup of the sample being considered?

Second, our reporting could include opposing findings and trends, if they exist. For example, in the most recent Pew poll, “three-quarters (74 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaners supported a border wall” and that support had grown substantially in recent months. Conservative Republican support for a wall was up nine points since Trump was elected President (from 71 percent to 80 percent).

Support also grew among moderate and liberal Republicans (from 51 percent to 60 percent). An accurate headline could just as well have been: “Poll shows growing Republican support for a wall under a Trump presidency.”

All things considered, I came up with my own headline that’s more transparent than many of the ones I saw: “In polls with Democrat-heavy sampling, there’s overwhelming opposition to building a wall along the ‘entire’ border; a concept that nobody is, in fact, proposing.”

The article at The Hill was written by Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson), an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of the New York Times bestsellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program “Full Measure.” If you are not familiar with her story, please search for her on the Internet and read her history. She definitely knows what she is talking about.

Reading The Tea Leaves

Some pundits and some Republicans are beginning to realize that President Trump was elected by Americans who want to see his agenda (repeal ObamaCare, tax reform, smaller government, end Iranian nuclear treaty, shrink government, build the wall, etc) move forward. Blocking that agenda is not a smart move. Many of us are tired of empty promises and lame excuses. There are a few people now concerned that if the Republican Congress does not deliver on their promises, there will no longer be a Republican Congress. Democrats are salivating, and Republicans who have never had to live up to their false promises are beginning to wonder if they will have a job after 2018.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article quoting Representative Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, on what Republicans need to do when Congress reconvenes.

The article reports:

“We’re going to have to juggle [the debt ceiling, Obamacare repeal, spending bill, and tax reform] and if we don’t I can tell that really the next 12 days, and that’s all we have — 12 legislative days in September — will decide whether we’re going to remain in power as a Republican majority or not,” Meadows said in the interview with Breitbart Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle on the program. “Are we serious about getting the president’s agenda done? The next 12 days will do that. You mentioned a couple of those items — the debt ceiling; obviously repeal and replace Obamacare.”

…“The vehicle that we have for that actually will soon expire,” Meadows said. “So if we don’t use that reconciliation instruction in the next 30 to 45 days we will have lost the opportunity to get it done with just 51 votes in the Senate. As I look at it is critical that we are ‘all hands on deck.’ But more importantly that we have a plan. I think the frustration that I have is that I see the critical deadlines that are coming up and yet I see a lot of talk but no action. I just talked to a friend. A guy by the name of Clay Tally, who really represents the typical Trump voter. He was saying, ‘You know what, I’m tired of the talk, let’s get some things done and why not support the president and make sure that we get it done.’”

The article concludes:

Meadows concluded by noting these 12 legislative days in September will literally determine the future of the Republican Party. 

“You may call it the bloody September — I call the Dirty Dozen because we’ve got 12 legislative days left. Hopefully we can rise to the occasion and get these things accomplished,” Meadows said. “They need to make sure that their member of Congress, their senators understand they are tired of talk. Just like my friend Clay Tally told me, they are tired of the rhetoric, they want results and they want us to get behind the president’s agenda, make sure that we support him and get it done. and if we don’t they need to let them know that there will be consequences.”

He called on Americans to rise up and call their members of Congress and make their voices heard throughout the process.

“You know the voice of the people is a very, very powerful tool,” Meadows said. “I’ve found that any time you go against the people’s voice you’re going up against a tsunami that will have unbelievable power and implications. So they need to be sure that they make their voices be heard early in September — that we go ahead and start working that first week back.”

If the Republicans choose to remain in power, they need to start listening to the voters. Otherwise they will be voted out of office. Most Americans recognize the need to ‘drain the swamp’ that is Washington, D.C. The Republicans have the choice as to whether or not they want to be the part of the swamp that is drained. We know that the majority of Democrats do not want the swamp drained–if they did, they would be doing something other than obstructing the President at every turn. It is time for the voters to unelect all Congressmen and Congresswomen who are standing for the status quo.

The Next Step After Failure To Repeal ObamaCare

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about the consequences of the Republicans’ failure to repeal ObamaCare.

The article states:

Many Democrats and their ideological allies are using the congressional recess to crow about the GOP‘s defeat — and dream about replacing Obamacare with a bonafide single-payer system.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has promised to introduce a single-payer bill next month. “I have no illusions that . . . suddenly we’re going to see a Medicare-for-all, single-payer passed,” he said last week. “Why is the United States the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people?”

Several folks within the senator’s sizeable political following have hinted that support for single-payer will be a “litmus test” that will determine whether they will get behind Democratic candidates — or primary them.

So what does single-payer healthcare mean? The Medicare for All plan that Senator Sanders introduced during his presidential run would cost $2.5 trillion — nearly double what the Sanders campaign claimed. Another study by the Urban Institute found that the plan would increase spending by $32 trillion over the next decade.

The article further reports:

Last November, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 69, a ballot initiative that would have created a single-payer system in the state, by an 80-20 margin. An independent analysis revealed that the plan would have run a deficit of $253 million in its first year — and $7.8 billion by 2028.

Bernie Sanders’s own state of Vermont experienced similar sticker shock. The plan under consideration in the Green Mountain State would have cost $4.3 billion — nearly 90% of the entire state budget.

To cover that tab, payroll taxes would have surged 11.5%; income taxes would have increased 9%. Consequently, in 2014, Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin shelved the plan, deeming it “unwise and untenable.”

The article reminds us that the way to make single-payer more economical is to ration care. That is not an improvement to the healthcare Americans received before President Obama ruined it for the majority of Americans.

The article concludes:

The median Canadian, for example, waits nearly five months to get treatment from a specialist after receiving a referral from his general practitioner. That is more than twice the wait of 25 years ago.

The United Kingdom’s single-payer system offers more of the same. At the end of June, 4 million people were waiting for care. That is the highest figure in a decade.

Is this really the path the United States wants to go down? According to a June Pew survey, only 33% of Americans think single-payer health insurance is a good idea. But that number is up 12 percentage points since 2014.

It should come back down, once Americans realize that single-payer means paying a lot more for a lot less health care.

It is long past time for the Republicans to repeal ObamaCare.

 

The Danger Within

The biggest danger to America right now is not from outside the country–it is from within. The danger comes from a well-established, well-funded, totally entrenched group of people in Washington who are afraid that President Trump will upset their apple cart and take away their goodies. What they don’t realize is the the success of President Trump is very closely related to the success of America–if President Trump is driven from office, it is quite possible that our representative republic will dissolve into chaos. At that point, no political party wins and everyone loses.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the efforts to undermine and eventually oust President Trump by a coalition of Marxists, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.

The article reports:

Rich Higgins, until recently director of strategic planning at the NSC, revealed the program in a seven-page memorandum produced in May that warns of a concerted information warfare campaign by the Marxist left, Islamists, and political leaders and government officials opposed to the populist president.

“The Trump administration is suffering under withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then delegitimize and ultimately remove the president,” Higgins states.

“This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle,” he said.

Higgins, an Army veteran and former Pentagon official who specialized in irregular warfare and who was dismissed last month for writing the memo, said the attacks should not be confused with normal partisan political attacks or adversarial media attention.

The former aide criticized the White House for failing to counter the activities and said the political warfare attacks threaten the Trump presidency.

I am not sure there is a way to counter these activities other than by the use of the President’s Twitter account and the basic economic success of the President’s programs. Actually, I think the opponents of the President fear his economic success more than they fear anything else. The idea that someone outside the ‘club’ can be successful is frightening to any member of the Washington establishment.

What is currently going on in Washington is the equivalent of the ‘cool’ kids in high school holding tight control over who sits at their lunch table. A kid they do not consider cool has become popular and has chosen not to join them at their table. Every smear campaign possible that might put the cool kids back in control will be attempted. That is where we are.

Avoiding A Healthcare System That Doesn’t Work

It has been understood by those of us who look behind the curtain that ObamaCare was simply a step toward a single-payer healthcare system. ObamaCare was designed to collapse under its own weight (as it is doing) so that the Democratic Party and President Hillary Clinton could be heroes by replacing it with a wonderful single-payer system. Some Democrats (despite losing the White House and being a minority in both the House and the Senate) are suggesting that it is now time to move to a single-payer system. So how has single-payer worked in other places it has been instituted?

Canada has single-payer healthcare, and The Daily Caller recently posted an article about Canadian healthcare.

Some highlights from the article:

“Free” Canadian healthcare is not free, according to a report released Tuesday by noted conservative Canadian think-tank, The Fraser Institute.

The report illuminates that a “typical Canadian family of four will pay $12,057 for health care in 2017—an increase of nearly 70 percent over the last 20 years.”

Canada operates under a medicare system that is understood as single-payer. Not only does the federal government use money from its general revenue to finance this taxpayer-funded health care system, individual provinces also contribute by raising money through special levies that are deducted when Canadians pay their income tax.

The article continues:

The think-tank compiled information from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information to base its claim that the “average Canadian family with two parents and two children with a household income of $127,814 will pay $12,057 for public health-care insurance this year.”

Barua told The Daily Caller that Canada is in a health care crisis. “Services are being rationed. In our last report on wait times in Canda, we discovered that the average wait time from referral to treatment was 20 weeks. That was the longest wait time in the history of our survey,” he said

The senior economist emphasized that the study was designed to show Canadian families what kind of value they’re getting for their health care dollar. They will have reason to look at things differently if they read this study,” Barua (Bacchus Barua, senior economist with the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Health Policy Studies) told The Daily Caller.

The free market works every time it is tried. Socialism, not so much.

Why Congress Failed To Repeal ObamaCare

For seven years, Republicans promised to repeal ObamaCare if voters gave them the House, the Senate, and the White House. Last week they failed to repeal ObamaCare. What were some of the things that kept them from keeping their promise.

Yesterday CBN News posted an article about some of the things about the relationship between Congress and ObamaCare that were not widely reported.

The article reports some of that history:

In 2009, when lawmakers were debating Obamacare, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, put forth an amendment calling for congressional employees to subject themselves to insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The amendment was unanimously adopted.

“The whole point of this provision was to make them feel the pain if it didn’t work,” Kerpen (Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment) said in an interview Wednesday with CBN’s Pat Robertson.

One flaw in the final Senate bill was that the amendment did not include employer contributions. Consequently, when Obamacare passed, it terminated coverage that members and their staff previously had through the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, which subsidized about 75 percent of their health care plans.

…Senate Democrats met with President Barack Obama in 2013 to address this problem. After the meeting, Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to issue a rule qualifying both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate as small businesses, which is a label legally only given to businesses with less than 50 employees.

Kerpen says one person filed “blatantly false documents,” which were obtained by Judicial Watch, in order to sign up 12,000 people in an exchange that should only apply to companies with 50 employees or fewer.

…When President Trump threatens to end the bailouts for members of Congress for Obamacare, he is threatening to direct the OPM to reverse Obama’s regulation allowing employer contributions to exchange plans.

If this rule is reversed, members and their staff would lose their government-funded subsidies and be subjected to paying the premiums people without employer coverage have to pay that make too much money to qualify for subsidies.

“This is mandatory work they’ve got to get done for the American people,” Kerpen said.

This is the tweet from President Trump:

I hope that the President follows through on that threat–Congress is supposed to live under the laws they pass! Insurance Companies should not be compensated for the campaign donations they make!

 

The Fourth Estate Has Forgotten Its Purpose

The purpose of journalism in a representative republic is to keep the voters informed on the issues so that they can make intelligent choices at the voting booth. The idea is that the voters will elect people who represent them and who make wise decisions. In theory that is a really great idea. In practice, it currently does not work.

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about some of the recent reporting by the mainstream media on ObamaCare. Now that the repeal of ObamaCare has failed in Congress, evidently the media feels comfortable reporting the truth about how bad ObamaCare is.

The article reports:

Up until last week, the Times had been reassuring its readers that ObamaCare was doing just fine. In an April story, for example, it said that “growing evidence suggests that the markets are far from collapse. Several recent analyses argue that this year’s increase was a market correction, and that a smoother market would follow in the years ahead.”

It added that “many insurers had been struggling to make money but now seem closer to breaking even.”

Another Times article from a few months back quoted Gary Claxton, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, saying that “things are getting better.”

In fact, we were told that the only reason the ObamaCare markets were struggling now was because Republican repeal threats were creating “uncertainty.”

Now the Times is telling readers that “even people who rely on its coverage agree that it still has big problems.”

Reuters, meanwhile, published a story the day after the Senate repeal votes failed, reporting that “hundreds of U.S. counties are at risk of losing access to private health coverage in 2018 as insurers consider pulling out of those markets in the coming months.” This information has been widely available for months, but was apparently of no interest to Reuters before the repeal effort collapsed.

Much of the mainstream media is now reporting that ObamaCare is unsustainable and will collapse under its own weight. So where were those stories when the votes were taken? There is a lot going on here. The Democrats want ObamaCare to fail so that they can institute single-payer, totally government-controlled healthcare. If you think that is a good idea, take a look at how it has worked at the Veterans Administration. Also consider the fact that the British healthcare system has considered denying people needed care because they were overweight or smokers or drinkers. Do you really want the government telling you how to live your life?

The Republicans (specifically John McCain and Lisa Murkowski) betrayed the voters when, after seven years of promising to repeal ObamaCare, they voted not to repeal. It is time to put the Washington elites under the same health insurance as the average American. The media does not realize what single-payer will do to them, but the Washington elite knows they can avoid the hazards of single-payer by exempting themselves (as they have in the past). If the current Congress will not create a healthcare system that covers themselves as well as the rest of the country, it is time to elect a new Congress. ObamaCare does not need to be modified–it needs to be destroyed. It was a bad idea from the beginning.

 

A Rational Solution To Health Insurance

Townhall posted an article today that contains the perfect solution to fixing health insurance in America.

The article breaks the solution into two distinct Executive Orders:

Executive Order #1: President Trump should issue an immediate Executive Order forcing every member of Congress to use the same healthcare plan as the rest of us. Let Senator McCain come off his high horse and live under the rules of Obamacare. Make every member of Congress live by same rules as the rest of us.

Executive Order #2. My gut instinct is usually on the money. I feel it in my bones. The Senators who voted against the repeal are corrupted, bribed, on the take. Senators and Congressmen are making an unimaginable fortune off of Obamacare. That’s why they are against the repeal. They don’t want to end the gravy train.

…President Trump should issue an immediate Executive Order demanding disclosure of all financial interests and ownership in healthcare related companies or stock by every member of Congress- including all family members and offshore accounts. Failure to disclose will result in a long prison term.

I think that about covers it! I have nothing to add.

The Need For New Leadership And Different Republicans In Congress

Last night the Senate voted on a bill to repeal certain aspects of ObamaCare. The Senate failed to repeal ObamaCare. The Gateway Pundit reported the story. Three Republicans voted against the bill to repeal ObamaCare–Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona. The first thing that needs to happen here is that all members of Congress and their staffs need to no longer be exempted from ObamaCare. Let’s make these legislators live under the laws they are forcing the voters to live under. The second thing that needs to happen is that the Republicans in Congress need different leadership. The third thing that needs to happen is that the three Republicans that voted against the partial repeal need to have primary challengers when they run for re-election.

According to the article, the bill to end ObamaCare that was voted on late last night included:

  • It would repeal the individual mandate, which is the requirement that most Americans buy insurance or pay a penalty. The provision was intended to help control costs by encouraging younger, healthier people to enter the market. Republicans have said it forced people to buy plans they did not want.
  • The bill would roll back the employer mandate, a similar provision that says large employers have to provide insurance for their workers.
  • The plan would expand a program that allows states to waive certain provisions under Obamacare.
  • It would suspend the medical device tax.
  • The proposal would increase contribution limits for tax-free health savings accounts.
  • It would defund women’s health provider Planned Parenthood for one year.

This bill was an extremely stripped-down version of repeal. It is a reflection on the swamp in Washington and those Republicans who are part of it that the Republicans promised to repeal ObamaCare for seven years. The promise was,  “Give us the House, and we will repeal ObamaCare. Give us the Senate, and we will repeal ObamaCare. Give us the White House, and we will repeal ObamaCare.” I guess the real solution is, “Give us a Republican Congress with integrity and a spine, and we will repeal ObamaCare. It is truly a shame that Senator McCain chose to reappear in Congress only to submarine the wishes of the American public.

“Don’t Throw Me Into The Briar Patch”

Joel Chandler Harris was an American author who wrote the Uncle Remus stories. Some of these stories later became an animated film by Walt Disney called “Song of the South.” One of the characters in these stories was Br’er (“brother”) Rabbit, who when captured by Bre’r Fox pleads, “Don’t throw me into the briar patch.” Of course, Br’er Rabbit has grown up in the briar patch, is quite at home there, and sees the briar patch as an escape route. So why in the world is a political blog talking about Br’er Rabbit and the briar patch? Because I believe the story of Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox totally explains the current healthcare debate.

Let’s look at the healthcare debacle strictly through a political lens. The best outcome for the Republicans (with a Republican President) is the complete failure of ObamaCare–rising costs, escalating premiums, denial of healthcare to senior citizens and young people, etc. Theoretically, President Trump has tried to avoid this. Had this failure occurred under a Democratic President, the solution would have been single-payer socialistic medicine. Under a Republican President, a free-market solution may be possible, but only after the total failure of ObamaCare. As premiums rise and health insurance and healthcare become more difficult to obtain, voters may get angry enough to remove from office those who had blocked the repeal of ObamaCare. I suspect that much of the Tea Party is already there. Because the Republicans could not repeal ObamaCare, it is still the Democrat’s policy. That may be exactly where the Republicans wanted it.

So where are we now in the healthcare debate?

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that there is no possibility of repealing and replacing ObamaCare and there is no possibility of repealing ObamaCare over the next two years.

The article reports news from two sources:

From Bloomberg News:

GOP Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski said Tuesday they’ll oppose a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. McConnell said late Monday the Senate would vote on a repeal with a two-year delay to give Congress time to agree on a replacement, but he could afford to lose no more than two Republican votes to advance the measure.

Repealing the law now and then hoping for a replacement “would create great anxiety for individuals who rely on the ACA,” Collins of Maine told reporters in Washington. “I believe it would cause the insurance markets to go into turmoil.” She said she would oppose bringing a repeal bill up for debate.

Capito of West Virginia said she would refuse to take up a repeal plan without an adequate replacement. “I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” she said in a statement.

Murkowski of Alaska also said she wouldn’t vote to take up a repeal-alone measure.

From the Washington Examiner:

House Republicans on Tuesday were seething with anger over the Senate GOP’s late Monday decision to pull the plug on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Lawmakers leaving the House GOP’s weekly conference meeting said feelings of exasperation and anger have set in, now that the Senate has dropped plans to vote on an Obamacare replacement bill this month.

“There is a lot of frustration, borderline anger I guess, at what really has to be described as some level of incompetence to be able to get together and get something done,” Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who heads the conservative Republican Study Committee, told the Washington Examiner.

I am not sure the Democrats are celebrating the fact that the Republicans could not repeal ObamaCare–now the Democrats are stuck with a healthcare plan that is rapidly crashing.

 

Watching The Senate Democrats Drag Their Feet

It is amazing to me that anything ever gets done in Washington. The Democrats in the Senate, led by Senator Schumer, have done everything they can to block the appointments and agenda of President Trump. Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article on that subject that included the following chart:

The article reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that after completing work on a health care bill to replace Obamacare, the Senate will turn to a defense spending bill and “the backlog of critical nominations that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats.”

“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” McConnell, R-Ky., said.

During a press briefing Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted McConnell’s announcement and accused Senate Democrats of “looking to set a record for pointless and dangerous obstruction.”

Citing the Obama administration, Sanders added:

While more than 90 percent of the previous administration’s nominations were confirmed by a voice vote, Democrats in the Senate have allowed only approximately 10 percent of President Trump’s nominees to be voted on in that way.

We’re coming up on the August recess of President Trump’s first term, by which point the Senate [had] confirmed 69 percent of President Obama’s nominations; less than a month out from that same point, the Senate has confirmed only approximately 23 percent of President Trump’s nominees. These numbers show the Democrats’ true colors.

I am not a big fan of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but he is right about this. Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.

The Shell Game Being Played In Washington With Taxpayer Dollars

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about the agricultural spending portion of the federal budget. Part of the problem in curbing agricultural spending is the fact that the food stamp program is included in the agricultural budget. Thus when cuts can be made to the food stamp program because of an improving economy, agricultural subsidies can be increased without appearing to spend more money. The first step in solving this problem would be to separate the food stamp program from the agricultural program. This would provide more honest numbers showing the cost of these programs. However, there are also some other problem areas.

The article reports:

  • The safety net for agricultural producers (commodity/disaster assistance and crop insurance) is projected to cost $1 billion more than originally projected over the course of the five years of the farm bill.
  • The two massive new commodity programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, are projected to cost about $13 billion more than was originally projected ($31 billion compared to $18 billion over the first five years of the programs).
  • The 2014 farm bill, when it passed, was projected to cost an astonishing $352 billion more than the 2008 farm bill ($956 billion compared to $604 billion). Almost all of this was due to a massive increase in food stamp costs.

The article further reports:

In 2001, spending on the food stamp program was roughly $19 billion. These costs doubled to $39 billion in 2008 and, by 2013, doubled again to reach a peak of almost $83 billion.

Although food stamp costs have come down a little since 2013 (they cost $73 billion in 2016), food stamp spending was still close to double what it was in 2008.

The latest projections show the four largest titles of the farm bill (about 99 percent of the farm bill costs) will save more than what was originally projected for the five-year farm bill, but almost all of that is connected to food stamps ($27.3 billion of the $30.8 billion in savings).

These food stamp savings have generally been attributed to a better economy, not the 2014 farm bill.

Now that there has been a minor reduction in the still-massive amount of food stamp spending (it is still near record highs), some legislators want to use those “savings” to provide cover for keeping or even expanding farm handouts.

The American taxpayer can no longer afford to be an insurance provider to farmers. This is another place where the government needs to get out of the way and let the free market take over. It is time for Washington to balance the needs of the taxpayers against the runaway spending of Congress. We are dangerously close to the point where there are so many people riding in the wagon that those not in the wagon do not have the strength to pull it.

 

Remember The Promise

“If you give us the House, we will repeal ObamaCare. If you give us the Senate, we will repeal ObamaCare. If you give us the White House, we will repeal ObamaCare.” How about you actually keep your promise and vote to REPEAL ObamaCare. Then you can work to replace it! Otherwise, let’s just throw the whole group out, get a new group, and keep doing that until ObamaCare is repealed.

Yesterday The Federalist Papers posted an article that may be an indication that I am not the only voter who feels that way.

The article states:

It was at a ritzy gathering in a Rocky Mountain resort over the weekend that major GOP donors aligned with the Koch brothers made their concerns known.

Texas GOP donor Doug Deason said he and ten other big Dallas donors are withholding any contributions to the Republican Party until they can actually get something accomplished.

Until then, his “Dallas piggy bank” is closed for business, LifeZette reports. Specifically, Deason wants to see movement on replacing Obamacare and significant health care reform.

“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Deason said, according to the Associated Press. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done. Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”

Deason said he has already said no to two prominent House members – both aligned with the so-called “Freedom Caucus.” Reps. Mark Meadows, from North Carolina and Ohio’s Jim Jordan asked him to hold a fundraiser and he turned them down.

“I said, ‘No, I’m not going to because we’re closing the checkbook until you get some things done,’” Deason said, adding that he even pressured two dozen other Texas-based donors to refuse to partner with them on the fundraiser.

This may be the only way to get things accomplished–cut off the donation money from the big donors. The danger in that is that those of us who are conservatives may not always be on the same page as the big donors.

I have reached the conclusion that ObamaCare may be here to stay. If that is in fact the case, the Democrats are no longer the only ones to blame. The lack of spine in the Republican Party and the desire to thwart Trump by the Washington establishment will also be responsible for the end of private healthcare in America.

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.

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.