In 2015, President Obama had a bill placed on his desk that fully repealed Obamacare. There was no replacement. Had he signed it, we’d be well on our way to the completely privatized health care system the nation deserves. He didn’t, of course, and the vast majority of GOP politicians pointed fingers and blamed the President for the failures that were developing in the legislation that was supposed to be his legacy.
In 2017, President Trump has not and likely will not see the same bill. In fact, he won’t see anything even close to it. Why? Because now that the GOP has complete control, they can’t bluff anymore. They are in a position to somehow not admit that they never wanted to fully repeal Obamacare in the first place. The result so far is the AHCA from the House and some variation the Senate can muster.
Whatever finally reaches President Trump’s desk will not be a repeal. It won’t even be a “repeal and replace” as they’ve been calling it since taking power. It will be a “tweak and rebrand” effort that leaves the damaging core of Obamacare fully intact, redirects how the mandates are delivered, redistributes penalties for citizens who do not comply, and throws in some easy-to-consume “conservative meat” like defunding Planned Parenthood to try to keep as many right-wing critics as possible at bay.
In the end, we will take one humongous government-run health care system and replace it with another humongous government-run health care system.
To those who believe that it’s not technically “government-run” because some autonomy is afforded to health insurance companies, health care providers, and even states, let’s be clear: if a program lays out guidelines for providers and consumers as both ACA and AHCA do, then it’s a government-run program.
Why would the GOP break their promise?
There are times when a party and the politicians representing them will do their best to “sell” an idea to the American people. They will go on news shows, perhaps speak at town halls, and even invest in television commercials to present their case to Americans in an effort to get them to help pressure the opposition into support. We’ve seen this since the birth of our nation. In fact, the reason for the Federalist Papers was to convince people that ratifying the United States Constitution was in the best interests of the nation and its citizens.
In recent years, we’ve seen it with welfare reform, Gang of 8, and even with Obamacare itself. In all of these cases, the group supporting pieces of legislation made their pitch to Americans because they believed they could convince enough people their ideas represented the right course for the nation. More importantly, they wanted to use the victory as a launching pad to expand their political standing and ensure future victories. This technique of selling an idea and then riding the wave of victory once it’s sold is only effective if you believe in what you’re selling.
It’s quite conspicuous that the GOP has not taken this approach with the AHCA. On the contrary, they want as little attention paid to the machinations of the bill as possible. It’s not that they don’t believe it’s a better solution than Obamacare. They simply don’t want more people pointing out that it’s not very different. They’d like to get it passed and signed quickly so they can then start focusing on midterm elections.
This is an important point. Their fear of losing in the midterms is the second biggest reason they’re unwilling to simply repeal Obamacare with either no replacement at all or one that pushes for privatization over time. They know there will be repercussions if they repeal Obamacare; if one person dies as a result of losing health care, Republican strategists believe the Democrats will have a chance of taking the House and the Senate in 2018.
It’s not necessarily true, of course. Both parties still embrace the old concept that Americans are too simple-minded to be shown the truth. They think that we’re only interested in what affects us directly and any attempt by the government to act responsibly will result in major losses. They can’t accept that Americans have more access to information than ever before. They play the news cycle and pull the heart strings. If they were correct, there’s no way Ted Cruz should have won Iowa after declaring that he wanted to end ethanol subsidies. There’s no way Bernie Sanders should have won Oklahoma after being on the wrong side of many liberal issues near and dear to Sooners.
People may be misinformed by mainstream media and fake news outlets, but we’re not stupid. If they lay out the facts and put together a compelling case, the GOP could repeal Obamacare. All they’d have to do is inform the people about why things will be much better in the not-too-long-term. Unfortunately, they’ve calculated that the benefits of repealing Obamacare would not be realized before the 2018 election and they’re unwilling to take the risk.
Instead, they’re hoping to insert Trumpcare and hope for the best. It’s a disgusting strategy for two reasons. First, it’s a lie. Presenting it as a repeal and replace is false as I mentioned above. Second, it won’t work. They will be blamed for health care failures regardless of whether it comes from the AHCA or from a full repeal. Taking this “safe” approach is still a losing effort.
The other reason
As I previously mentioned, the second biggest reason they don’t want to repeal Obamacare is fear of losing in the midterms. The biggest reason is because they like what government-run health care gives them. It’s not across the board; there are a handful of Senators and a small group of Congressman who truly want government out of the system. However, they are a tiny minority compared to the bulk of GOP lawmakers who see ACA and AHCA as a boon for big government and big budgets.
The more money that’s in the federal government’s pot, the easier it is to redistribute it based upon political considerations. More money muddles our economic system. As strange as it may sound, many in the federal government thrive in chaos. The more there is to draw the attention of the people, the easier it is for them to operate corruptly in other areas. This may seem like some conspiracy theory, but it’s not. This is really how the government operates in DC.
A better way
A blog post is not the right venue to lay out a comprehensive and detailed plan, but it’s a great place to give a 30,000-foot view of how things should be. Put simply, we need to privatize health care once again.
There are those who will point to challenges that existed before Obamacare. These challenges will return if Obamacare is repealed, but they won’t return in the same form. Things have changed. Now that we’ve experienced rising premiums that yield higher deductibles while delivering worse results, we have empirical data behind which we can rebuild the privatized market.
The sticking point for many Americans who might fear a full repeal is care for those with pre-existing conditions. As Michael Nolan noted on DailyWire:
One argument against privatized health care (and for Universal Health Care) is that insurance companies will continue to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions. What the argument fails to take into account is that 90 percent of health care policies cover pre-existing conditions, as shown by health care expert Avik Roy. The free market has created a system by which those with employer-based coverage don’t need screening because the insurance is purchased in bulk by the employer. For those with employment-based coverage (currently roughly 50 percent of those with insurance), pre-existing condition exclusions can only be triggered if the client has had health insurance for less than 12 months. This encourages and rewards those who buy long-term medical coverage (which promotes good life choices and planning) as opposed to those that only purchase insurance when they get ill.
The other big advantage of having seen Obamacare is that we now have a better idea of what needs to be changed in order to make privatized health care work from economic, accessibility, and innovation perspectives. Daniel Horowitz came up with a cheat sheet at Conservative Review that gives us a great starting point to attack this beast. One of my favorites is his take on competition across state lines:
If insurance is enough of an interstate commerce issue to regulate people into oblivion at a federal level, then the federal government should be able to invoke the Commerce Clause to tear down the barriers to purchasing insurance across state lines. Indeed the Supreme Court has said as much [United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Association, 1944]. This will foster massive competition, make insurance portable, and together with individualizing insurance through equal tax treatment and expanded HSAs, will save many individuals who get sick later in life after moving to different states from the problem of pre-existing conditions.
Not only will this reform create a more competitive national market, but it will induce states with a costly regulatory burden to get with the program and relax their regulations to compete with the more pro-consumer states. It will also create momentum for states to ease regulations on tele-medicine from out-of-state providers.
If we systematically repeal Obamacare, we can have privatized health care once again. A replacement plan that tries to predict what will happen is foolish. Instead, we should repeal, then monitor and analyze the market. Over time, we’ll find the holes that need to be plugged. States, charities, and other organizations can fill most of these holes. Whatever is left, if anything, can fall to the federal government. This way, DC becomes the final safety net instead of being the first line of defense. That’s the way it should be in health care and a plethora of other areas.
The Republican Party showed its true stripes and proved David Leach right all along
Over the recent years, the Republican Party told us that they needed control of the House. We gave them the House. Then they said we can’t do enough, we need the Senate. We gave them the Senate. Then they said we can’t do enough, we need the White House. We gave them the White House, even if it’s not the guy they really want. But now I turn on the cable news shows and they now say they just have a thin majority.
Can’t the Republican Party make some kind of stand for little “r” republicanism? Can’t it make a stand for conservatism? Can’t it make a statement for liberty and freedom? Can’t it make a statement for private property rights? Now it needs a greater majority that is basically mission impossible, especially in the Senate.
The Republicans overwhelmingly have decided to pass the omnibus bill which was put together by mostly progressive thinking lobbyists. Granted military spending will be increased but so will the Democrats beloved welfare programs which they have used to buy votes and gain more and more power. It will also fund Planned Parenthood which in spite of shining a light on shady dealings of fetal parts, getting abortions for underage girls under the table, or not really investing in pap smears or mammograms as it will continue to keep its bread and butter of pre-born baby murder going strong. I really believe that many politicians in both parties benefit from abortion due to the fact they seek constant sexual flings with just about any women who work under them as these young ladies try to move ahead in their careers.
The Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer (his pet projects will be funded) are so happy with this bill cause they know it’s only going to benefit Washington and the Democrat Party.
For all the faults Rand Paul has, including his support of Mitch McConnell’s last election campaign, I have to give him credit for speaking out against this current omnibus spending bill. It seems that if the Democrats want to spend more of the taxpayers’ money it is wrong. If the Republicans want to spend more money, than its OK…but it should not be OK.
Sadly conservatives who have not read Pastor Cary Gordon’s book A Storm A Message A Bottle http://cornerstoneworld.org/a_storm_a_message_a_bottle or watched his series of animated videos Five Steps to Political Epiphany. http://stepstopoliticalepiphany.com/ They will protest the election by sitting out the election, instead of using their write-in blank or third-party options since Duverger’s law forbids this. Meanwhile, President Trump might go down in history as the bigger spender than Barack Obama.
We can’t any longer tolerate any more excuses. Regardless if the Democratic left is in the majority or the minority they seem to have the power in the elected branches of government. They have the power in other areas of government no matter what. We can learn one thing from Bible Believing Christians when they start a new denomination when breaking away from a bigger one. They break away because the establishment in the old denomination they are breaking away from does not repent of their apostasy (while claiming new truths). They try and they try, but like the American Gladiator event Pyramid they just knock you down to the bottom time and again. The only thing you can do is to let them go their way and let the denomination implode as they try to prevent themselves from being corrupted. It proves Jesus that you can’t put new wine into old sheepskins. We must do the same thing and try to build a new political party that can replace the Republican Party. The Grand Old Party is not what it used to be.
Mr. President, you made a choice and that choice was to sign the bill and take what you can get. Conservatives like myself, Steve Deace and Mark Levin, would call this a betrayal of conservatism. Either you are naive and/or a fool about politics, or a true charlatan, or something in between. All I can say to you is only “proved” that Benjamin Wilhelm and David Leach correct, and it will show in this midterm election. You screwed the pooch just as the Republican Party elite has done many times before, and the Democrats wildest dreams are coming true. Your likely impeachment, single-party rule, making America a new Soviet Union or some kind of socialist experiment, and the Democrats desire to become Demi-Gods.
Your own words you said on TV so many times are coming back right at you like a boomerang…”You’re Fired.”
The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail
Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”
Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.
In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.
What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.
With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.
The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.
At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.
This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.
This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.
If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.
I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.
Trump tariffs another in-name-only moment for the in-name-only president
As a man who likes the title but not the responsibilities of the office, Donald Trump has proven himself to be America’s President In-Name-Only. From the primaries to today the New York Liberal with an “R” after his name has demonstrated a lack of any core convictions as he makes policy decisions based on the need to feed his narcissistic personality.
One of the consequences of Trump’s lack of character is the frequency in which he’s forced to take action based on the rhetoric he continues to feed his dwindling base. Even though most of the promises he makes are nothing more than the politically convenient ramblings of a man who has no intention of keeping them—he bragged in a TV interview that he could change into whatever he needs to be—Trump’s never-ending need for the praise and adulation of his followers has forced him to at least give the appearance that he will keep his word.
This has given birth to a host of in-name-only legislative efforts by Mr. Trump. Some of his biggest hits on the in-name-only charts deal with two of his major campaign promises: rescinding DACA and withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Accord.
When Trump issued his executive order rescinding DACA, he immediately teamed up with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to create an amnesty program for DREAMers. At the same time, he made a promise to reinstate DACA after six months if necessary.
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
In addition to statements from the White House that he never intended to rescind DACA, Trump has advocated amnesty for nearly two-million illegals (a number that was originally around 800,000). By the way, the deadline has come and gone, and DACA still exists.
When Trump announced in June that the US was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, he immediately committed to re-entering it under better terms. In addition to statements from members of the White House team that Trump would work on getting the US back in, Trump stated in a January TV interview with Piers Morgan that the US is ready to re-enter the Paris deal.
“The president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue.” – Rex Tillerson on CBS’s Face the Nation
“He left the door open to re-entering at some later time if there can be a better deal for the United States.” H.R. McMaster on ABC’s This Week
Our position on the Paris agreement has not changed. @POTUS has been clear, US withdrawing unless we get pro-America terms.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) September 16, 2017
Following Trump’s recent trade-war announcement that he was adding across-the-board tariffs to steel and aluminum imports, he proudly crowed that he was keeping a campaign promise on trade. Yet, when faced with an avalanche of blowback for the obviously anti-free-market policy, Trump turned this into another in-name-only moment.
On the day of the announcement, Trump immediately granted exclusions to the tariffs for Mexico and Canada—two of America’s biggest providers of imported steel—despite repeated statements from the White House indicating otherwise.
“We have made clear these will be across-the-board tariffs with no exclusions. The problem with exclusions is that they are a slippery slope. Once you start, where do you stop?” — White House, March 2 (Wall Street Journal)
“There will be no country exclusions.” — Pete Navarro, President Trump’s radical trade adviser, March 4 (CNN’s State of the Union)
“I have no reason to think he is going to change.” — Wilbur Ross, President Trump’s protectionist commerce secretary, March 4 (NBC’s Meet the Press)
As a believer in free trade, I’m ecstatic that Trump at least partially broke his promise, but it serves as the latest evidence that Trump is nothing more than an in-name-only president willing to take make-believe actions to make it appear he’s keeping his make-believe promises.
Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.