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Conservatives supporting Graham-Cassidy are pretending it’s not Obamacarelite

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Graham Cassidy Obamacarelite

Graham-Cassidy is Obamacarelite. Period. It fails to address the two biggest issues with Obamacare… which happen to be the two biggest issues raised by conservative Republicans over the past seven years. First, it does NOT remove the federal government’s hands from a healthcare industry in which it does not belong. Second, it does NOT take steps to reducing premiums or health care costs for average American households.

On the first issue, some would point to the block grants, state waivers, and the removal of individual and employer mandates as examples of how this is a step towards removing the federal government from healthcare. I’ll address each of these individually, but let’s look at the obvious problem with that argument. This bill isn’t designed to be a “step.” This is it. This is what the GOP wants the healthcare system to look like indefinitely. If you have a knife in your back, pulling it out a little bit doesn’t mean you no longer have a knife in your back.

Let’s look at the three major components:

  1. Block Grants: Paul Ryan and Lindsey Graham are screaming, “yay federalism!” Here’s the problem. Block grants coming from the federal government instead of going towards Medicaid expansion doesn’t change a thing. It’s still the federal government taking our money and giving it to insurance companies. Adding the states as a middle man does nothing to change that fact. It gives the states more control on how the money is distributed, but it doesn’t reduce the distribution by a penny. On paper, they’ll come up with math that shows cost reductions for DC. Long-term, it will actually increase the expenditures as grants are reconciled from projections to reality.
  2. State Waivers: This is a misdirection. It won’t be used in a significant way by any states. Why? The block grants. It would be political suicide for any state legislature to say they’re going to accept less money from DC so they can put everything on the backs of the citizens in their state. Some states will waive some portions, but again, it will not be significant. This is just a magic flag conservatives can wave around to justify voting for the bill.
  3. Removing Mandates: Good. No problem with this. In fact, I love it. Outside of defunding Planned Parenthood, this is my favorite part of the bill.

As for the second issue – not reducing premiums – this will actually accelerate the rising costs of healthcare, premiums, and deductibles. In other words, when Republicans vowed to reduce your costs of healthcare, they weren’t serious… at least not if they pass this bill. There are many things they could do to reduce costs if they would simply repeal Obamacare and start taking free-market steps. Open up interstate competition. Incentivize HSAs. Encourage innovation and competition in the healthcare industry in general. They have the power and the mandate to make healthcare more affordable for average American households and they simply refuse to do it.

The most common argument you’ll hear is that it’s not perfect but it’s better than Obamacare. I’m okay with better as long as it’s TRULY better, but since this doesn’t address the two biggest flaws of Obamacare, it’s only incrementally better. Pouring sugar on a rotten piece of peach cobbler might make it easier to eat, but you’re still eating rotten food nonetheless. It will still make you sick. The Republicans have control of the House, Senate, and White House. They have absolutely, positively zero excuses for not putting forth a bill that actually addresses the fundamental flaws of Obamacare.

One final note: both Obamacare and Obamacarelite are stepping stones to single-payer. Obamacare’s failures are the reason that “Medicare for All” is gaining steam. Obamacarelite suffers from the same problems. It’s a very tiny band-aid that will not stop the bleeding, so when it’s demonstrated as not being able to solve the problems of Obamacare, the cries for single-payer will grow louder. If this bill passes, watch for major GOP losses in 2018 and 2020 followed by a push for single-payer in 2021.

I’ll wrap up in a moment, but first let’s look at what’s being said about it from around the web:

Perspectives

New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum | Peter Sullivan, The Hill

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/351198-new-gop-obamacare-repeal-bill-gains-momentumDemocrats argue the block grants would be too small and would lead to cuts to Medicaid and other health spending. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found the bill would on average lead to a 17 percent cut in spending compared to ObamaCare in 2026.

Lindsey Graham: Obamacare overhaul is ‘Bernie Sanders’ worst nightmare’

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/lindsey-graham-obamacare-overhaul-is-bernie-sanders-worst-nightmare/article/2634728Cassidy has said the bill is only a vote or two shy of the support it needs to pass. In July, Senate Republicans failed to pass a bill that would have narrowly repealed portions of Obamacare. All Democrats voted against it, as did GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; John McCain, R-Ariz., dealt the fatal blow to the legislation and called for public hearings to discuss ways to improve the healthcare system.

Dems demand full CBO analysis of Obamacare repeal plan | Heather Caygle, Politico

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/18/obamacare-repeal-lindsey-graham-bill-cassidy-cbo-242841Democratic congressional leaders are demanding a full budget analysis of the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare, a move that threatens to stall the legislation ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline.

Ron Johnson schedules hearing on health care block grants – Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/18/johnson-schedules-hearing-health-care-block-grants/Mr. Johnson, chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and his cosponsors say the bill known as “Graham-Cassidy” is Congress’s best chance to devolve power from Washington to governors by replacing the 2010 Affordable Care Act with block grants to the states.

How Graham-Cassidy redistributes federal money – Axios

https://www.axios.com/how-graham-cassidy-redistributes-federal-money-2486664997.htmlThere’s a lot of skepticism in Washington over whether the latest Affordable Care Act repeal bill, proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, can pass. One of the many reasons is that a lot of Republican senators’ states — particularly those that expanded Medicaid — would lose a lot of money.

What Single-Payer Looks Like: Smokers and Obese Banned from Surgery at British Govt Hospital Thanks to Budget

http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/09/what-single-payer-looks-like-smokers-and-obese-banned-from-surgery-at-british-govt-hospital-thanks-to-budget/In Sanders’ fantasy world, single-payer system is the only cure for what ails the American healthcare system. Most of his Democratic Senate colleagues agree. They were wrong about Obamacare and what it would fix and they’re wrong single-payer.

Splintered: Single-Payer Litmus Test Has Cut The Democratic Party In Two – Matt Vespa

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/09/18/splintered-singlepayer-litmus-test-has-cut-democrats-right-down-the-middle-n2381168Like it or not, the Democratic Party is not a national one. It’s been decimated during and after the Obama era, with 1,000 fewer Democrats in office than there were in 2008-09. The GOP control Congress, the White House, 69/99 state legislatures, and two-thirds of the governorships. The Republicans are at the apex of their power.

Rand Paul is unlikely to support the Graham-Cassidy measure – Washington Times

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/18/rand-paul-is-unlikely-to-support-the-graham-cassid/“No consevative [sic] should vote for a rebranded trillion dollar spending program just because it adds some block grants,” Mr. Paul tweeted adding, “Keeping 90% of Obamacare is not ok and it’s not what we ran on. Conservatives should say no.”

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Final Thoughts

This is not the fulfillment of the promises the GOP made for the last seven years. This is a false repeal and replace model that’s nothing more than “tweak and rebrand.” Spread the word that this isn’t the bill it’s being sold as by Republicans. They’re counting on the vast majority of Americans not paying attention.

Christian, husband, father. EIC, NOQ Report. Co-Founder, the Federalist Party. Just a normal guy who will no longer sit around while the country heads in the wrong direction.

Culture and Religion

The Guardian: Pro-lifers are “pro-death”

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Prolifers are pro-death

Today, on the 45th anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade, The Guardian published an article entitled, “Let’s call pro-lifers what they are: pro-death.”

The article states that the pro-life movement has, by adopting its very name, caused “the battle over reproductive rights” to take on “an apocalyptic tone.” This rhetoric, the article states, “turns every clash between the two sides [pro-life vs. pro-abortion] into a prelude to Armageddon, the final showdown between life and death, good and evil.”

It is only by using debunked and “mythological claim that abortion is a risk factor for breast cancer, lifelong depression and suicide,” the article claims, pro-lifers claim that they are protecting the lives of both the unborn and the mothers. The article does not acknowledge “academic studies dating back to the 1950s show that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer,” as were noted last year in the highly respected journal First Things, nor does the Guardian article acknowledge what psychologists have termed Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS).

“We should take back the mantle of life.”

Using a 2015 article from NPR, the Guardian claims that “the US now bears the ghastly distinction of having the highest maternal mortality rate of all the world’s wealthy democracies.” The Guardian article maligns the maternal mortality rate in the United States, linking the mortality rate with laws imposing abortion restrictions.

Contrary to the article’s claim that maternal mortality rate is directly related to restrictions on abortions, however, the CIA World Factbook shows multiple countries which, having more restrictions on abortion than the US, have lower maternal mortality rates. These countries include Norway, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Austria, and Germany, to name just a few.

The authors proceed to list various circumstances that may lead to the death of the mother. For example:

“Take the not-at-all-hypothetical case of a woman who wants an abortion because of a pre-existing health condition, like diabetes, that could lead to problems with pregnancy…”

The article concludes with the following exhortation.

“And surely the time has come to raise the charge that the “pro-life” movement is, in effect, pro-death.”

Reference

Let’s call the pro-lifers what they are: pro-death

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/22/abortion-lets-call-the-pro-lifers-what-they-are-pro-deathEver since the anti-abortion movement claimed the “pro-life” label in the 1970s, the battle over reproductive rights has taken an apocalyptic tone. If the anti-abortion side is pro-life, then the other side – the millions of women who rally every January to keep abortion legal and safe – must be composed of the gaunt, gray-winged handmaidens of death.

This polarizing rhetoric turns every clash between the two sides into a prelude to Armageddon, the final showdown between life and death, good and evil. When charged with caring only for life in its fetal form, the anti-abortion side hoists its mythological claim that abortion is a risk factor for breast cancer, lifelong depression and suicide. Thus they can say that they do not only save fetal lives, but the lives of the women who carry these fetuses.

My Take

If I had to sum up a pro-lifer’s response to this article in one word, it would be celebration.

The pro-life movement is the only movement dominated, run, and lead by women; the only movement dedicated solely to saving lives and caring for women. The “pro-lifers” have earned their name with righteous labor and a glorious mission.

This is a battle “between life and death, good and evil.”

The fact the pro-abortion advocates are now attempting to re-frame “pro-lifers” as being “pro-death” shows the world precisely how effective the pro-life movement has been.

Make no mistake: this effort towards re-branding is nothing other than a sign of weakness.

This, I believe, is worth celebrating!

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Healthcare

Fake medical news

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Fake medical news

CNN won four – count ’em – four Fake News Awards. It’s unfortunate that Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s commentary on the President’s so-called heart disease wasn’t available when the awards were being selected. Then they would have won five. And on the way, they created a new category of Fake News: Fake Medical News.

Let’s get one thing clear here. This isn’t the distance diagnosis of Trump’s “mental illness” that Dr. Bandy Lee, a formerly licensed psychiatrist made. That sort of diagnosis requires that evidence be manufactured. No, this is the process of taking existing evidence and twisting it into something that it isn’t. Of course, that’s standard fare for the Left, so we really shouldn’t be surprised.

Trump Health

The first is the trend of the President’s Agatston Coronary Calcium Score. This is the data. And it’s factually correct. So far, no problem. But right below the data is a false statement.
This graphic, which CNN put up twice during their interview segment with Dr. Gupta has several clear statements. We can’t go Democrat and twist them, so we have to take them at face value. After all, that’s exactly what CNN wants us to do.

“A score of 100+ = High Risk of Heart Attack or Heart Disease Within 3-5 Years”

During the interview, Dr. Gupta admitted that this score is about average for 71 year old men in the US. If the caption was true, then the average 71 year old man in the US is at “high risk” for a heart attack in the next three to five years, and that’s, to quote Rush Limbaugh, “Barbra Streisand!” Yes, they have the “get out of jail free” line “or Heart Disease,” but it doesn’t change the way CNN used the data. They wanted us to believe that the President is on death’s door due to heart disease.

Yes, Dr Gupta flatly declared “The President HAS heart disease.” Had he actually spent time reviewing how cardiac tests are properly used, he wouldn’t have been able to say that. So after consultation with the former Chief of Cardiology at a major metropolitan medical center, we can now properly understand this data.

President Trump is 71 years old. You expect calcium in his coronary arteries at this age. But we don’t know where that calcium is, and that makes a difference. If it’s all in one spot that means something very different from a little here and a little there. Further, CNN flatly lied in their graphic. The proper outlook should have been “moderate risk,” not “high risk.” And with just the Agatston score, you can’t determine the presence or absence of heart disease. It’s only a screening test, and even if your score is over 2,000 – Trump’s is only 133 –  there’s still a 13% chance that you don’t have any coronary disease.

Dr. Gupta could have discovered this information with a simple internet search. It’s all out there. So Gupta’s statement that “Trump has cardiac disease” is coming from either an idiot or a liar… You pick.

At age 71, there’s no reason to even look at a calcium score. All the calcium score tells you is that you need a functional test. What’s that? A stress test! And you may want to add an echocardiogram. But at age 71, those would be routine, so there’s no point in looking at a calcium score. At age 65 I had both, just like the President, and we didn’t bother with an Agatston score. And just like the President, mine are NORMAL. What does this mean?

A normal stress test in a 71 year old male means that the President has a very low risk of any sort of cardiac event for at least the next two years. But Gupta got all excited about risk factor modification. Let’s get real. If his lifestyle has worked for Donald Trump for 71 years and he’s at low risk, what does he really need to change? There’s very little chance that he will ever develop coronary disease.

What things are they recommending? Diet and exercise. Give me a break. Yes, the President could lose a few pounds. That would improve his golf game and make him look better when he’s standing next to Melania. But the calorie restriction high carb diet they’ll prescribe will make things worse, not better. There’s a better way, and Dr. Jason Fung and Nina Teicholz have proved it.[i] Exercise is good for some things, but it won’t help his weight. And the only thing wrong with Donald Trump’s cheeseburgers is the bun. He should get rid of it.

One other part of the problem is that they are pushing statins on him. Statins can lower cholesterol, but it turns out that doing that can easily affect your thinking, since cholesterol is a YUUGE part of the cell membranes in the brain. We also should recall that all those studies that appear to say that lowering cholesterol is good for you seem to ignore all the bad things that the drugs do. In short, if the President just gave up carbs, he’d lose weight and wouldn’t have any need for statins.

So what’s really going on here? We have a neurosurgeon who works for a network that wants to destroy the President giving a message that matches the Left’s party line. He couldn’t be bothered to do his homework and discover that the President’s doctor is right. Trump’s heart is in great shape. And while we’re at it, let’s look at that other thing – the echocardiogram.

Echocardiography lets us get a view of how the heart muscle and valves work. Trump’s echo was – drum roll please – normal. That means that his heart valves are fine. But there’s something more important here. If you have blocked arteries in your heart, areas of heart muscle won’t get enough blood flow and won’t contract properly. They’re called “segmental wall motion abnormalities,” and you’ll see them on the echo. If you don’t have those, you don’t have blocked arteries. That’s called “normal.”

But we’re not done. The Left is grasping at straws. A number of docs are arguing in print that high cholesterol will kill him. As I said before, it’s time to re-read all those old studies. And for the rest of us, read “The Big Fat Surprise.” The actual data simply does not support those claims. A researcher named Ancel Keys simply lied about a host of studies and managed to get his views established as the gospel truth. Only now we are starting to learn why Eskimos and the Masai were able to live for millennia on very high fat diets with zero heart disease, zero cancer, zero high blood pressure, zero obesity, or any of our other modern health problems.

But Dr. Gupta is not the only liar on the Left. Trump takes finasteride to prevent hair loss. Numerous commentators are dropping hints that its documented side effects of sexual dysfunction and depression may be in play. They have no data, but are happy to drop hints about a possible “sudden onset of mental illness.”[ii]

Let’s wrap this up. Donald Trump is in excellent health. Frankly, the only diet change he should make is to dump the buns from his cheeseburgers. And he should dump the statins with them. As Dr. Malcolm Kendrick notes, “Statins might alter what is written on your death certificate, but they are extremely unlikely to change the date.”[iii] We might even suggest that he drop the Finasteride and switch to Rogaine.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta should go back to neurosurgery, a field where he is respected. But don’t count on that happening. CNN likes his way of presenting lies about Trump’s health. So all we can really do is to laugh at them on inauguration day in 2024 when President Trump watches Mike Pence take the Oath of Office.


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Culture and Religion

Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?

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The Real Mitt Romney

Utah is abuzz with rumors and anxiety over the possibility of a Senate run from former governor of Massachusetts and Holladay, Utah’s own (according to his recent Twitter edit), Mitt Romney. Romney has yet to declare candidacy, but according to a poll on Thursday from radio host Rod Arquette, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee’s favorability among Utahns approximates 60%.

His intentions remain a mystery, but should he toss his hat into the ring, Utahns would face a far more compelling question: which Mitt Romney will we see?

That could depend entirely on his audience.

Utah is a strange place politically. The more I participate in local politics, the more I realize that most Utahns care little, if at all, about policy. Their main concern is personality — and I can prove it.

According to Conservative Review’s Liberty Scorecard, Utah’s federal representation boasts the largest spread within the same party: a 71% gap between Senator Mike Lee’s 100% rating and Senator Orrin Hatch’s dismal 29%. As for Utah’s remaining representatives, Chris Stewart comes in 2nd place with a 70% score, followed by Mia Love with 62% and Rob Bishop with 60%. Recently elected Representative John Curtis is too fresh to merit a rating, but his predecessor, Jason Chaffetz, amassed a score of 78%.

In other words, the same electorate is voting overwhelmingly for candidates with wildly differing philosophies. But the common thread is easy to find: niceness.

Utah may be a traditionally red state, but it’s also a caring state. And when the two come into apparent conflict, Utahn’s typically opt for the latter.

Mitt Romney’s image of clean-cut benevolence is deeply ingrained in the Beehive State’s collective psyche, which is why he can garner a comfortable majority in favorability without hinting at any policy whatsoever — besides his obvious disdain for President Trump.

In fact, Romney’s renewed prominence in Utah most notably stems from his 2016 speech at the University of Utah, during which he rightly condemned then-candidate Trump’s character and personal history. Trump’s lifelong moral despotism and his abrasive conduct on the campaign trail were deep causes of concern for stalwart Utahns, who accordingly panned Trump in the primary (13.82%) and reluctantly nudged him to victory in the general election (45.5%).

Now, a week following Trump’s “bleep-hole” comments about Haiti and African countries in favor of places like Norway and South Korea — comments Mia Love has already condemned — Mitt Romney is again perfectly poised to emerge as Trump’s foil.

But unfortunately, his chances in Utah have little to do with policy.

Now that we know our audience, we’re brought back to the initial question: which Mitt Romney will we see? Whether you like Romney as a person but dislike him as a politician, vice versa, both, or neither, his long-standing reputation as a flip-flopper is unarguably well deserved. From abortion and Reagan to guns and taxes, Romney’s history of political metamorphosis is scrutinously documented.

Not coincidentally, his progressive standpoints persisted throughout his governorship and Senate candidacy in left-leaning Massachusetts, while his conservative reformation occurred just in time for his presidential bids.

Of course, it’s possible that Romney was sincere in his numerous changes of heart — one thing people are entitled to is the evolution of their personal beliefs. But as this is politics, one should be very cautious in attributing motive, one way or another.

The problem is that while Romney painted himself as a Democrat Lite for Massachusetts and a red-blooded conservative for the RNC, there’s no telling what persona he might adopt for a Senate race in Utah beyond that of the “nice guy,” and in politics, words like “nice,” “caring,” and “compassionate” often mean social programs.

Ideological shifts aside, Romney is at best a pragmatist, not a constitutionalist, having proven his disregard for natural rights on matters of health care and abortion — Romneycare was as much a violation of rights on a state level as Obamacare is federally, and his “pro-life” position that states should have “the authority to decide whether they want to have abortion or not, state by state” exhibits ignorance of the sole purpose of the federal government: securing our unalienable rights, even in matters of state nullification.

Romney also experienced backlash from conservatives in August 2017 when he publicly defended Antifa, a domestic terrorist organization, following the horrifying neo-Nazi display in Charlottesville.

In short, Mitt Romney is not good for Utah, nor is he good for liberty. At best, he would establish an elevated moral compass in terms of personal lifestyle, but that’s no excuse to squander freedom.

Romney would most likely amount to no more than another Jeff Flake — a well-meaning, moderate, Mormon Senator, a good man with strong values, who blatantly misunderstands the role of government and the cause of individual liberty.

This has nothing to do with objective opposition to Donald Trump. I applauded Romney’s speech at the University of Utah, and I’ve had plenty to say about Trump’s shortcomings over the past two years.

But the cult of personality is just as dangerous in one direction as another, and if Romney has plans to run for office in Utah, he’s found the perfect base to latch onto a “nice guy,” whatever he stands (or falls) for.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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