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Tag Archives: Obamacare

Republicans Give Up on Repealing Obamacare

I thought repealing Obamacare was the reason that people put them in office in the 2010 wave election?

Well, so much for that. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not going to run the flag up the pole again this year, and any effort to finish off Obamacare will have to wait until there are more Republicans in the Senate, according to Politico.

Republicans have damaged Obamacare by eliminating the requirement that everyone have insurance, something they achieved as part of the tax cut plan passed late last year. But the government continues to fund the program, and McConnell is apparently refusing to move legislation that would transfer funding to the states and eliminate some of Obamacare’s requirements, allowing the states to design their own programs.

McConnell is hardly a Tea Party-type advocate for getting rid of this law. I don’t think he has the stomach for another fight. And President Trump also failed to put enough effort into attempts to repeal the law last year. I don’t think he was particularly interested in the repeal fight or knowledgeable about it – unlike the tax cut law, for which he provided the leadership needed to get it passed.

McConnell and Collins Have a Deal to Try to Save Obamacare

Congressional Republicans deployed a brilliant strategy to gut Obamacare by camouflaging within the tax cut bill language ending the insurance purchase mandate. Had they tried to run that as a “standalone” measure, it no doubt would have been defeated, as was their initial effort earlier this year to wreck Obamacare.

The requirement that everyone purchase insurance helps Obamacare survive by guaranteeing income to insurers that they lose by being forced to cover everyone – including the sickest people – and give them the same basic coverage no matter their needs. By requiring younger, healthier people who would forgo insurance to pay for it, insurers get the cash they need to pay the bills of the least healthy. Without this requirement, insurers would take a big hit and have no reason to participate in the health care “exchanges” providing insurance to individuals.

But in order to get the vote of moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine for the tax cut, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to move legislation that would have taxpayers restore “cost sharing” payments to insurance companies, which would help them deal with the expected decision of many healthy young adults to stop buying insurance. This would, of course, undermine the whole purpose of eliminating the mandate.

Fortunately, it appears that House Republicans are going to reject the idea, which the Senate wants to include in a separate spending package. Conservatives likely will not agree to again grab defeat from the jaws of victory on Obamacare. Barack Obama’s signature achievement – other than doubling the debt, vastly weakening our national security, and growing the economy at the lowest rate of any post-World War II president – likely is on its way out, while Collins will be left with a face-saving deal she can blame the House for not agreeing to.

Trump to Rein In Obamacare Birth Control Coverage Mandate

President Trump is set to allow employers who object to providing birth control coverage for their employees to opt out of the Obamacare mandate requiring them to do so.

From the New York Times:

The new rules, which could be issued as soon as Friday, fulfill a campaign promise by President Trump and are sure to touch off a round of lawsuits on the issue.

More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive coverage mandate, according to a study commissioned by the Obama administration. Under the new regulations, hundreds of thousands of women could lose birth control benefits they now receive at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.

One new rule offers an exemption to any employer or insurer that objects to covering contraceptive services “based on its sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Another regulation offers a new exemption to employers that have “moral convictions” against covering contraceptives.

Birth control is not, generally speaking, a health care issue. The baby process becomes a health issue for the woman and the child once a woman becomes pregnant, not before. Prior to that, it’s an issue related to morals and temperament. And please, no Orwellian language about how birth control is “preventative medicine” addressing a “condition” women seek to avoid.

There are other ways to prevent pregnancy short of birth control. One of the ways was first discovered in the year 10,467 BC when a caveman first noticed that babies did not just pop out of women randomly, but that the event had something to do with prior activity that was going on in the master caveroom. These cavemen and women noticed that, if they laid their heads down on the rock and went to sleep every night without doing anything else, no babies appeared.

Today, in our modern world, we continue to possess this critical knowledge, though we often choose not to act on it, particularly before marriage. And if we want to engage in that admittedly pleasurable activity related to the creation of children and seek not to incur the consequences that nature intended, then that’s our problem, nobody else’s.

That is, there is absolutely no reason why anyone should pay for other people to have sex, either as their employer or as a dues-paying member of a health plan. Crazy ‘ole Trump is taking a first step toward doing something completely rational and correcting the insanity of the leftists and elitists who run our lives.

Obamacare Repeal Dead as Collins Votes No: Strip Her Chairmanship

A third Republican this afternoon announced that she opposes the latest effort by Sens. Graham and Cassidy to partially repeal Obamacare, putting an end to the effort as Republicans now lack the 50 votes needed to pass the measure.

Republicans were elected to repeal Obamacare and their power stems from people who trusted them when they said they would do this. This is another blow to the Republican Party, which is beginning to many conservatives to seem as irrelevant as the Democrats are virulent.

The three Republicans opposing this measure have a right to their opinions, but they don’t have a right to their power, which stems from Republican voters who put the GOP in the majority and therefore in charge of committees. With that in mind, Collins should be forced to give up her chairmanship of the Aging Committee, John McCain should be removed as chair of the Armed Service panel, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska should get the boot as chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee.

From Collins’ statement:

I have three major concerns with both the proposal that we were discussing last week and the newest version that was put together this weekend:

First, both proposals make sweeping changes and cuts in the Medicaid program. Expert projections show that more than $1 trillion would be taken out of the Medicaid program between the years 2020 and 2036. This would have a devastating impact to a program that has been on the books for 50 years and provides health care to our most vulnerable citizens, including disabled children and low-income seniors.

Medicaid is going broke. It is not sustainable at current spending levels. And it’s not clear that people have better health outcomes who are on Medicaid.

Second, both bills open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Some states could allow higher premiums for individuals with pre-existing conditions, potentially making their insurance unaffordable. States could also limit specific categories of benefits for Affordable Care Act policies, such as eliminating coverage for mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Forcing people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional – despite the Supreme Court ruling – and making the young purchase it amounts to a massive subsidy paid by them for their elders. They’re already paying for seniors’ Social Security and Medicare. But not everyone with every pre-existing condition can just wait until they get sick to purchase health insurance. There have to be some penalties for not accounting for risks, instead simply making other people pay for it.

Third, physicians, patient advocates, insurers, and hospitals agree that both versions of this legislation would lead to higher premiums and reduced coverage for tens of millions of Americans.

Who cares what they think? And premiums are already going up under Obamacare.

The CBO’s analysis on the earlier version of the bill, incomplete though it is due to time constraints, confirms that this bill will have a substantially negative impact on the number of people covered by insurance.

Many of these people will not have health insurance because they choose not to. Others won’t be much worse off, if at all, than they are under Medicaid.

AND IN THE LONG RUN WITH UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE THE QUALITY OF CARE DECLINES AND PEOPLE DIE.

Maybe you, maybe me.

McCain Opposes Obamacare Repeal

Sen. John McCain Friday became the second Republican to oppose the latest Senate effort to repeal Obamacare, joining the other Senate Master of Self-Indulgence, Rand Paul, in opposition. Just one more Republican opponent and the bill is sunk.

From McCain’s statement:

As I have repeatedly stressed, health care reform legislation ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate. Committees of jurisdiction should mark up legislation with input from all committee members, and send their bill to the floor for debate and amendment. That is the only way we might achieve bipartisan consensus on lasting reform, without which a policy that affects one-fifth of our economy and every single American family will be subject to reversal with every change of administration and congressional majority.

We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009. If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs when the political winds shift, as they regularly do.

And blah blah blah blah blah. Note the contradiction in the last sentence. Democrats, very likely thanks to McCain, will not have had short-lived success.

There is no way that McCain would normally be a “no” vote on this. Here is the statement he should have given:

I’m a mad as hell that Donald Trump said mean things about my capture and imprisonment by the North Vietnamese, and now I have my revenge.

That’s what’s going on here, believe me. Because of one person’s grudge, Obamacare likely will stay. It’s a sad end to Sen. McCain’s honorable and heroic record of service.

McCain should be mad. He also should do what’s right for the country.

Just Like We Thought: Next Step, Single Payer

More than half of the Democrats most likely to run for president in 2020 support fully socialized medicine, and I guarantee you, none of the others will make it through the primaries without backing single payer.

From the Washington Post:

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) became the fourth co-sponsor of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for all” health-care bill Monday. In doing so, he joined Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).

What do those four senators have in common? Well, they just happen to constitute four of the eight most likely 2020 Democratic presidential nominees, according to the handy list I put out Friday. And another senator in my top 8, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), last month came out in favor of the idea of “Medicare for all” — though not this specific bill (yet).

This is about as far from a coincidence as you can get. And it suggests the dam is breaking when it comes to the Democratic Party embracing government-funded health care, also known as single-payer.

Now, here’s the punchline. When Obamacare happened, conservatives declared that it was little more than a prelude to single payer, which was coming next. Some even said that this was the Democrats’ plan all along, and were immediately called conspiracy theorists or paranoid.

Well, I’m certain at least some of the more savvy Democrats understood that once you get government’s foot in the door of any issue, you can never get it out. Obamacare is not working. People are now used to government subsidies. So why not end all this foreplay and get down to business, goes the thinking.

It’s a tested and perennially successful strategy. Get Americans used to free stuff, and soon they’ll be asking for more free stuff, or at least open to it. It’s human nature to gravitate toward what’s easier and more comfortable. And liberals can leave it to conservatives to complain about who will pay for it, what it does to the character of a country to be getting so much free stuff, and to ask whether hard working Americans are going to suffer and die because limited resources are distributed to all.

And never mind that people on Medicaid don’t seem to have much better outcomes than those without insurance, who often end up getting treated by beneficent doctors and hospitals who understand they will do some work and never get paid for it. We are a compassionate society. Soon we will simply be an even more regulated society, with much worse health care for all.

Aetna Withdraws From Obamacare Exchanges

Don’t worry, nothing to see here, move along now.

From the Washington Examiner:

Health insurer Aetna announced Thursday that it would completely withdraw from the Obamacare exchanges in 2018, after seeing its profits soar from reducing its participation this year.

The company said during an earnings call that it was withdrawing from the exchange in Nevada, the last state it had considered staying in. Aetna was leaving the possibility open because it was applying for a Medicaid managed care contract, and the state gives extra consideration to insurers that participate in both programs.

During its second-quarter earnings call on Thursday, however, Aetna said it was not moving forward with the recently awarded contract and would be leaving the exchange as well . . .

A disproportionate number of unhealthy customers have signed up for the exchanges, which provide tax subsidies to pay for insurance, causing unbalanced risk pools for many insurers.

John McCain is About John McCain

I honestly hate to write a negative piece about John McCain, because I can’t help but like him. I’ve known him a bit from my coverage of Capitol Hill, and he’s great to be around, he’s a gentleman, he’s honest, and of course, he’s a hero. And now, he’s dying.

He has always been a “maverick” and a “rebel.” I think it’s his personality. But ultimately, there is a self-indulgence to the man that puts himself before what’s right for the country.

I think some of it, maybe a lot of it, stems from his involvement in the Keating Five scandal back in the 1980s. He was cleared of charges, but something so precious to him, his honor, was tarnished. And so, I think, making sure people understand how honorable he is has become part of his life’s mission.

His vote against the Obamacare “repeal” bill last night, which sunk the measure, and his betrayal of the will of so many Republican voters, was not about the content of the bill. It was about process. The process wasn’t great, it’s true – Republicans were ramming repeal through just like the Democrats had rammed through passage – but most people not so rigid about their “honor” and so forth could just let it go and decide that Republicans have been promising to do this for seven years, it’s best for the country, and let’s move forward.

There are, indeed, times to stand on principle. This principle was not big enough for it given the enormity of the stakes.

But not John McCain. He had to show he adheres to higher standards than the rest of the Senate. And maybe there’s a bit of “screw you” to his GOP colleagues, latent liberal sentiments, a middle finger to Donald Trump – who said something about liking people who don’t get captured – and a desire for one last dramatic John McCain moment. “Wait for the show,” he told a reporter earlier in the day when asked how he’d vote.

But now I’m way over-psychoanalyzing.

But I know John McCain this morning feels good about himself. And the American people will suffer for it.

Huckabee Sanders Warns of National Health Care

The White House finally seems to be getting some good messaging going in support of Obamacare repeal. With Democrats scaring everybody that repealing the law is going to kill people, Republicans haven’t sufficiently scared people right back. Trump Monday declared, accurately, that “Obamacare is death.” As it degrades the health care system, people will die.… Continue Reading