Thursday, June 22, 2017

AHCA

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Karma will eventually catch up with health insurance pigs.

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report, average premium for the silver plan of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will rise by 19 percent if the government fails to fund the program’s cost-sharing subsidies.

The Affordable Care Act used cost-sharing subsidies as a means to curtail the cost of out-of-pocket expenses for low-income households by reimbursing insurance providers.

Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce, the two House committees investigating the source of the funding for the subsidies, said they were unconstitutional. They found that the Obama administration had been funding the program without permanent adoption from the Congress. They also filed a lawsuit challenging the payments.

“With a legal appeal pending, the federal government and Congress are in a position to choose whether to continue reimbursing insurers for their cost,” Kaiser said.

The report states that if the government fails to fund the program through cost-sharing subsidies, premiums will rise significantly; from 9 percent in North Dakota to 27 percent in Mississippi.

“The analysis—based on cost-sharing subsidy payments and benchmark premiums in federal marketplace states in 2016, the most recent data available—finds that the estimated premium increase for silver plans would be higher (21%) in states that did not expand Medicaid under the ACA than in states that expanded Medicaid (15%),” the report notes.

“Cost-sharing subsidies are generally higher in states that have not expanded Medicaid because they have a larger share of enrollees with incomes from 100% to 150% of the poverty level, who get the biggest cost-sharing reductions.”

There are currently around 7.1 million Americans who receive these types of payments, accounting for almost 58 percent of the people who chose an Obamacare plan in 2017.

Additionally, it has been noted that these potential premium hikes would come after the Obama administration’s announcement in 2016 that premiums would increase by approximately 22 percent in 2017, after several insurers faced heavy losses.

President Donald Trump and several other Congressional Republicans have also repeatedly warned that Obamacare will ultimately collapse due to its own shortcomings, if it isn’t repealed soon enough.
With that said, health insurance providers continue to experience soaring profits. In February, one of the largest insurance providers, Aetna, doubled it’s quarterly cash dividends and announced a $3.3 billion share buyback. The company generated $2.3 billion in net income in 2016.

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At least some of them don't forget who they are.

Of all the muscles in the human body, none are perhaps more toned and strengthened than those in the index finger of moderate Republicans in Congress; particularly following the defeat of their high profile, “too-important-too-fail” health care legislation. There certainly was no shortage of finger wagging and pointing this week, following Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to pull the GOP’s controversial “replacement” of ObamaCare due to lack of support within the ranks.

Supporters of the American Health Care Act, including the White House which demanded its passage “or else,” blamed everybody — from the House Freedom Caucus to the Cato Institute to Democrats — for its failure; except, of course, the moderates who cobbled together the faux repeal in the first place.

However, another – and far more accurate – way to look at defeating the AHCA by Republicans would be to say, “It’s about time!”

In national politics, on key issues especially, you rarely if ever, get more than one chance to pass something meaningful. If you allow the moderates/Establishment to convince you that you cannot let “the perfect to be enemy to the good” (a phrase I grew to loathe during my time in Congress after hearing it so many times from leadership), seldom does another opportunity come around; much less one to actually “get it right.”

Ever since George H. W. Bush pressed House Republicans to join in breaking his infamous “read my lips” no-tax-increase pledge, these have been the same empty promises force-fed to conservatives by moderates in Congress to goad them into supporting dreadful bills. And, almost always, conservatives are left holding the bag.

So, when it came time to line-up support on the AHCA, despite its manifest shortcomings as genuine reform, finally enough was enough for conservatives. Was this not the precise opportunity to “get it right” that was promised to them for years when it came to replacing ObamaCare with the conservative, free market reforms Republicans have claimed for decades are the key to fixing healthcare in America? Members of the House Freedom Caucus, Cato Institute, Freedom Works, Club for Growth and others were asking nothing more than for the GOP to uphold its end of the bargain, and not squander the opportunity with another permanent “temporary fix.”

Yes, passing genuine repeal of ObamaCare and replacing it with a free market based alternative would have been more difficult and time-consuming than what was proposed by Ryan and his team. It would have taken additional weeks, if not months, to draft, debate, and convince both their colleagues in the Congress and the public that government does not have a magic wand, and should instead give the private sector broader latitude to come up with solutions for efficiency and effectiveness. Yet, this is a fundamental duty of Republicans in Congress – to get it right – rather than taking short cuts, that while perhaps making things a little better is far from the true path needed to make things much better.

In this respect, conservatives were saying “No” because they wanted to stand up for what is right, rather than saying “Yes” just because House moderates wanted reelection material, or because an optics-obsessed White House could check off another campaign promise, regardless of what the end-product looked like. They were finally demonstrating what conservative voters have long wanted from Republicans in Congress – a willingness to stay true to the principles of the Party and the Constitution, even if it means going against Party leaders.

Standing up for these principles is not being anti-Republican, or not “living in the real world” as White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon suggests; it is simply refusing to be yet another rubber-stamp Congress similar to that which gave us No Child Left Behind, the USA PATRIOT Act, and the massively expensive prescription drug bill – just because a Republican president wanted such legislation passed.

In doing what they did last week, the conservatives sent a message to the Establishment that principles do actually mean something; and that at least a significant number of Republican members will stand firm in that regard.

The lack of “loyalty” by the Freedom Caucus that the President decried immediately following Ryan’s pulling the vote last Friday was in fact a welcome exhibition of “loyalty” to true Republican principles, and to the Constitution-based responsibility of the House of Representatives that is independent of the presidency even if the occupant of that office happens to be of the same political Party as the majority.

Hopefully, congressional leaders and the White House will come to understand this, and see it as an opportunity to begin actually reining in government rather than expanding it. One can at least hope.

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Freedom!!

As result of disagreements regarding the House Freedom Caucus’ role in the failure of President Donald Trump’s healthcare plan, Republican Representative Ted Poe, on Sunday, March 26, resigned from the conservative group.

Texas GOP Rep. Ted Poe’s resignation comes after the right-wing caucus vehemently opposed the Republican healthcare proposal, for which he wanted to vote.

“I have resigned from the House Freedom Caucus,” Poe said in a statement. He suggested that his decision to leave the caucus would allow him to serve his constituents better.

“In order to deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward. Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective Member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead,” he added.

A tweet by reporter Chad Pergram later confirmed that Poe had told Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows about his departure from the group. While the Freedom Caucus is not known to keep an official list of its members, Poe was reportedly a recent addition.

The Freedom Caucus believes that the Republican proposal did not actually repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, in its true essence. Poe had different views and was in favor of the legislation.

The caucus argued that the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) did not go far enough to fulfill the Republicans’ promise of fully repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Despite late attempts from both, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the bill failed to gain any support from the caucus; Meadows believes the bill simply does not do enough.

The Freedom Caucus consists of the House of Representatives’ most conservative members, which played a critical role in dealing the Trump administration a major political setback on Friday; when Republican House leaders had to pull off the healthcare legislation, one of Trump’s major campaign promises.

Trump showed his displeasure towards the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives in a tweet on Sunday morning, saying their actions resulted in “Democrats smiling in D.C.”

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Have we jumped the tracks or is their still hope to MAGA?

To the surprise of many of his own supporters, President Donald Trump came out as the biggest advocate for the American Health Care Act (RyanCare) and was also its biggest defender.

Trump, who campaigned on a promise to “Repeal and Replace” ObamaCare, settled on a plan that didn’t replace any of the regulatory framework of ObamaCare and still carried a $1.42 TRILLION price tag, while guaranteeing that insurance premiums would increase by another 20%.

The move by Trump has many at least scratching their heads, while others are fuming with anger.

While libertarian leaning members of the Freedom Caucus refuse to support the bill as it creates new entitlements and does not repeal ObamaCare, even moderates are refusing to support the bill.

Republican moderate Congressman Charlie Dent refuses to support the bill because it will drive up the cost of health insurance, making it unaffordable to many.

Dent told Politico, “After careful deliberation, I cannot support the bill and will oppose it.”

Among Trump’s grassroots supporters, another reality is starting to sink in: Trump is not a conservative.

Those who are attracted to Trump during the election made an assumption that the then candidate supported a pro-liberty agenda and would shrink the size and power of government.

The assumption was based on Trump’s disdain for the establishment and aggressive, protectionist views on immigration.

However, if supporters look back at his messaging, Trump very rarely used the words “small government,” never opposed the rampant spying on Americans (until it happened to him), and even praised socialized medicine.

When asked about “Universal health care” then candidate Trump responded, “I am going to take care of everybody, I don’t care if it costs me votes or not . . . the government’s gonna pay for it.”

For those who paid attention to the details during the campaign, Trump’s support of RyanCare should come as no surprise as it is yet another step close to socialized medicine.

A minority of supporterss want blind allegiance to the President in order to maintain his power, credibility, and ability to win future elections.

Here’s an example of that thinking from online commenter “wren”:

Everyone needs to let him do his job. You may not like it, but in 2 years we could lose the majority and that’s it folks because Dem’s don’t break party lines. So when your congressmen vote remember this. They are either voting for Obamacare or against Obamacare. This bill is either better than Obamacare or it is worse than Obamacare. Your congressmen will be showing you what they prefer soon and I think a bunch of them will need replacing.

So basically, toe the party line regardless of consequences? Isn’t that how we got into this mess to begin with.

Others remain in a state of denial and believe Trump’s support of RyanCare is an elaborate plot to undermine and out Paul Ryan as speaker.

Those who are supporting Trump due to party loyalty, or loyalty to his brand, would be wise to go back and read the words of General George Washington that he wrote as part of his Farewell Address in 1796:

Let me now take a more comprehensive view, & warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party, generally.

. . .

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the Administration of the Government and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty.

. . .

But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate & assuage it. A fire not to be quenched; it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest instead of warming it should consume.

Has Trump lost credibility over RyanCare? Vote in our poll.

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Support isn't blind.

Typically when a strong “personality candidate” like Donald Trump or Barack Obama rises to the top, a sheep-like mentality quickly emerges to support every move of the politician.

During President Obama’s eight years in office, some called his supporters “ObamaZombies.”

George Bush’s blind backers were called “BushBots.”

With Bill Clinton, they were just called “dipshits.”

Whether under Obama, Bush or Clinton, their supporters who blindly went along with every move were a powerful, vocal force.

But within the first months of Donald Trump’s administration, something radically different is happening among the President’s most loyal supporters.

They are holding him accountable for his campaign promises.

Rather than jumping on board with RyanCare as President Trump has requested, pro-liberty voters are saying, “absolutely not, get it right and repeal!”

In addition to nearly every conservative group opposing the bill, from Heritage Action to the libertarian groups Cato Institute and Liberty Guard, diehard Trump supporters are telling the President to get it right.

When President Trump tweeted this morning, “Big day for healthcare. Working hard!” the response was overwhelming . . . against the President . . . by his own people.

Here’s just a sampling:

Even typically quiet members of Congress like Dave Brat (who led a revolt against the establishment by beating Eric Cantor) said, “We want Trump to be hugely successful, so we don’t want to handle a bill that’s going to fail in a few years.”

The Republican Congressman called RyanCare a “perverse economic system.”

To the credit of the grassroots movement that elected Donald Trump, they’re not going to toe the line just because they were told to do so.

Just as Trump was an unconventional candidate that won the election based on faith in his ability to deliver . . . his support base is also unconventional in that they are showing something rarely seen in politics . . . collective intelligence.

While Ryan, Trump and even Fox News are calling the American Health Care Act the “Repeal and Replace Bill,” nearly all of Trump’s supports can easily see through that lie and know it’s nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on ObamaCare.

Make no mistake, Trump’s supporters are not turning on the President, quite the opposite, they are serving as guiding force to get him on track when he swerves off course.

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