Score One For Consumers

On Wednesday The Western Journal posted an article with the following heading, “Trump Signs Law To Lower Drug Prices, Ends Gag Orders Against Pharmacists.”

The article reports:

Currently, insurers and pharmacy benefit managers use the gag clauses to “forbid pharmacists from proactively telling consumers if their prescription would cost less if they paid for it out-of-pocket rather than using their insurance plan,” according to a press release from Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, the bill’s sponsor.

Trump also signed Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s Know the Lowest Price Act, which “prohibits Medicare drug plans from putting a gag clause on a pharmacy in their contracts,” according to CNN.

The Patients’ Right To Know Drug Prices Act would lead to “a slight decrease in federal revenues,” according to the Congressional Budget Office.

That decrease could be offset by another provision in the bill, reported Politico.

Collins’s bill also targets “pay-for-delay,” a tactic where a brand drug company pays a generic manufacturer to withhold a product that would compete with the brand drug for market share.

Closing this loophole could save consumers and taxpayers money, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“Who would think that using your debit card to buy your [prescription] drugs could be less expensive than using your insurance card? It’s counterintuitive. Americans have the right to know which payment method provides the most savings when purchasing their prescription drugs,” Collins tweeted Wednesday after Trump signed the bill.

If consumers pay for drugs out of their pockets because it is cheaper rather than relying on the insurance companies to pay for these drugs, eventually the insurance companies will be able to charge less for their drug policies, saving consumers money.

I can give you a personal example of this. When living in another state, I was prescribed a maintenance drug that my husband’s medical insurance covered at the time. My co-pay was $50 a month. When I moved to North Carolina, my health insurance did not cover the drug. My out-of-pocket cost was $50. Hmmm.

We need across-the-board reform in the area of medical insurance. The first thing to do might be to get the government as far away from that area of the economy as possible. There are fairly simple ways to make sure that everyone has access to healthcare (everyone has access by law to emergency rooms regardless of their ability to pay). It is time to tell the government to find something else to do.

It’s Not Over ‘Till It’s Over

Senator Susan Collins has announced that she is voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. As she began her speech to the Senate today, protesters had to be quieted down or escorted from the Gallery. The other day we saw Jeff Flake corned in an elevator by two left-activist women (story here).

And we have this picture of a ‘friendly’ conversation between Senators Diane Feinstein and Lisa Murkowski:

I have no source for this picture except that it was posted on the Q website.

Joe Manchin has announced that he will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. I am not impressed. He announced after Susan Collins announced–her vote should assure the confirmation. I wonder if he would have voted yes if he were the deciding vote.

There has been a lot of political pressure surrounding this nomination. The Gateway Pundit quoted the following from The Wall Street Journal:

Leland Keyser, who Dr. Ford has said was present at the gathering where she was allegedly assaulted in the 1980s, told investigators that Monica McLean, a retired Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and a friend of Dr. Ford’s, had urged her to clarify her statement, the people said.

[…] On Thursday, a day after sending to the White House the report on its investigation into the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, the FBI sent the White House and Senate an additional package of information that included text messages from Ms. McLean to Ms. Keyser, according to a person familiar with the matter.

That doesn’t sound as if Professor Ford and her allies were really interested in providing the truth of Professor Ford’s charges. I don’t know the rules of Senate hearings, but in a court of law that would be witness tampering. It will be interesting to see if there are any consequences to the actions of the Professor and her friend.

Meanwhile, it isn’t over yet. It probably won’t be over after Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed. If the Democrats take Congress, I have no doubt they will attempt to impeach Kavanaugh. Now that we have a nine-person Supreme Court, it is my hope that we can now deal with some of the elements of the deep state. I suspect that the deep state is a part of what this fight was about.

Why The Republican Party Is Losing Voters

The 2016 Republican Platform includes the following on Page 8:

Reducing the Federal Debt

Our national debt is a burden on our economy and families. The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current Administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations. A strong economy is one key to debt reduction, but spending restraint is a necessary component that must be vigorously pursued.

On May 10, 2018, CNS News reported:

The federal government collected a record $2,007,451,000,000 in total taxes through the first seven months of fiscal 2018 (October through April), but still ran a deficit for that period of $385,444,000,000, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

It’s the spending–not the revenue–that is the problem. So what are Republicans doing about it?

On May 8, 2018, The Washington Times posted the following:

House GOP leaders vowed Tuesday to speed President Trump’s new $15.4 billion spending cuts proposal through their chamber, brushing aside complaints from Democrats and some Republicans over the trims the White House wants to see.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday predicted the House will pass the package, which includes 38 cuts to programs and generally involves money that’s sitting unused.

So what happened when the bill reached the Senate?

The Daily Haymaker posted the story today:

Senators voted Wednesday to block President Trump’s $15.4 billion spending cuts package, with lawmakers saying it trimmed the budget too much.

Brushing aside administration promises that the cuts were chiefly to money that was never going to be spent, the Senate voted 50-48 to keep the bill bottled up. Two Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine and Richard Burr of North Carolina — joined Democrats to defeat the package.[…]

So if the Republicans won’t even cut spending on money that wasn’t even spent, why in the world should I vote for them? Didn’t they read their own platform? How long could you run up your credit card before creditors would start clamoring for their money? Is the government any different?

 

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.

Moving The Goalposts When It’s Convenient

One problem with the current negotiations in Washington regarding the government shutdown is that both sides keep moving the goalposts. President Obama says he’s not talking to anyone unless they surrender first, and the Republicans don’t seem to know exactly what they want.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the current state of affairs. He noted that Senator Susan Collins has made a suggestion that meets the needs of what both sides originally said they wanted.

The article reports:

Collins’ proposal would have extended government funding for six months and boosted the debt ceiling through the end of January. By way of a fig leaf for Republicans, it also would have delayed a medical device tax in the health care law for two years and instituted an income verification requirement for qualifying for Obamacare subsidies.

Democrats rejected the plan not because of the Obamacare fig leaf, but because they want more money for the government. Collins’ proposal would have retained the spending levels established by the sequester, though it would have provided the government with much-needed flexibility in spending this money.

Evidently the debate has morphed from differences in ObamaCare to the ever-present debate on government spending.

As long as either side believes that the shutdown is working for them politically, it will not be solved. Right now the Democrats believe it is working for them. As long as they believe that, the government will remain closed.

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The Cost Of Political Correctness

Fox News posted a story today about a report investigating the Fort Hood shooting in 2009. The report was conducted over the course of two years by former FBI Director William Webster.

The report deals with how information on Major Nidal Hasan was handled by the FBI.

The article reports:

Five months after the San Diego Field Office for the Joint Terrorism Task Force sent a lead to the Washington D.C. office with concerns about Hasan, the report said, headquarters conducted their review, only to determine Hasan was not “involved in terrorist activities.” 

After the San Diego office complained, neither office took any additional action. 

The article later reports:

The report also quoted a San Diego official who claimed he suggested to headquarters in June 2009 that it would be appropriate to interview Hasan. 

The Washington officer told him, according to a paraphrase in the report, that: “This is not (San Diego), it’s D.C. and (the Washington office) doesn’t go out and interview every Muslim guy who visits extremist websites.” 

The San Diego official also said he was told the subject was “politically sensitive.” 

Thirteen American soldiers who were on their own base in America are dead and thirty-two were wounded–all because a subject was politcally sensitive??!! This cannot be allowed to continue.

There are some people in Congress who understood instantly what led to the Fort Hood shootings:

Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, the chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate homeland security committee, said the report “reinforces” conclusions they had already reached about the “inadequacy” of the FBI probe. 

But they added: “We are concerned that the report fails to address the specific cause for the Fort Hood attack, which is violent Islamist extremism. And we are skeptical that FBI analysts are now well-integrated into the FBI’s operations, as the report states.” 

On December 8, 2011, the Daily Caller posted the following:

Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation’s Armed Forces at home.

Fort Hood was not workplace violence. People engaged in simple workplace violence do not stand up and yell, “Allahu Akbar” before they attack. We need to admit that there are people within our government preventing us from clearly seeing and dealing with the problem of Islamic extremism. Most Muslims in America are peace-loving, freedom-loving, non-violent people who are glad to be here. But we need to remember that there are some Muslims who have come to America to aid in the establishment of the world-wide caliphate. Until our government is willing to recognize the problem is Islamist extremism, they will not be able to successfully deal with it. 
 

 

Received In My E-mail Tonight

November 16, 2011

LIEBERMAN, COLLINS TO HOLD HEARING
 ON INSIDER TRADING LAWS AND CONGRESS

60 Minutes Story Sparks Examination

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced Wednesday they would hold a hearing to examine how insider trading laws apply to Congress.

 The hearing, requested by Committee Member Scott Brown, R-Mass., and sparked by a 60 Minutes report, is intended to clarify the laws and rules that govern members of Congress who may profit personally from non-public information they learn in the course of their work.

“Insider trading by members of Congress – if it occurs — is a serious breach of the public trust,” said Lieberman. “No one in Congress should be enriching themselves based on information to which the general public has no access. Our hearing will set the record straight about how existing laws and ethics rules apply to Congress and whether they are sufficient to prevent unethical market trading.”

 Collins said: “Elected office is a place for public service, not personal gain. We have a duty to examine and address practices that can create the appearance of wrongdoing or undermine the public’s confidence in decisions made by Congress.

“I appreciate Senator Scott Brown’s leadership on this important issue. We need to assure the American people that the decisions we make are decisions of integrity, in which their interests are put first.”

 Senator Brown has introduced legislation intended to prevent members of Congress from profiting on information to which only they are privy. That bill has been referred to HSGAC. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., will introduce similar legislation soon. House members have introduced similar bills.
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