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Healthcare

With Obamacare expansion winning votes, did the GOP miss their opportunity to repeal it?

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For seven years, we heard that all the Republican Party needed in order to repeal Obamacare and end the economic nightmare it represents was to get them the House, Senate, and White House. In 2010, they got the House. In 2014, they got the Senate. Last year, the last piece of the Obamacare-repeal puzzle was put into place with President Trump’s victory.

The results: nothing.

The White House has taken strides in limiting Obamacare’s reach, but to make a real difference they’ll need Capitol Hill to do its job. They’ve had that opportunity throughout the first year of the Trump administration and have failed spectacularly. Now, things are turning for the worse as they always tend to do when you give the political winds enough time to shift.

Obamacare is making a comeback in the eyes of voters. This was demonstrated in microcosm Tuesday night:

There Was Another Winner Tuesday — Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/there-was-another-winner-tuesday-obamacare-n819031Democrats are hopeful their victories are a harbinger of further gains as they look to capitalize on the law’s rising popularity in polls — and repeal legislation’s deep unpopularity — with more ballot initiatives, legislative efforts and campaign messages.

In Maine, voters passed a ballot initiative that would expand Medicaid to an estimated 70,000 residents by a 59-41 margin, doing an end run around Republican Governor Paul LePage, who has vetoed five bills to do so.

A year ago today, just following election day, public disapproval for Obamacare was clear. 48.7% opposed while only 40.3% approved. As of the end of last month, the poll numbers have reversed according to Real Clear Politics, as 51% approved and 39% opposed.

Public Approval of Health Care Law

What happened? Why is the law, after seven years of dismal polling, suddenly so popular? Could it be that the GOP only knows how to sell their ideas when they know they have no chance of getting them passed? After all, this is the party that boldly passed a full repeal in 2015 and slammed it on the President’s desk knowing that he would certainly veto it. Their boldness faded quickly once President Trump won. Suddenly, the House was only able to pass a feeble “tweak and rebrand” of the law instead of the repeal and replace they promised. They still did better than the Senate who was incapable of passing anything despite four valid attempts.

Two things have caused this…

Insanely bad messaging

When the facts are on your side, you stick to the facts. The GOP declined to use this very basic logic and decided they needed to get fancy with their repeal and replacement efforts. They abandoned the fiscal conservatism they often espouse during campaign season by not acknowledging the tax-payer burden. Then, they dismissed the federalism they occasionally attempt to embrace by only pretending to give power back to the states and individuals regarding health care. Their variation of “repeal and replace” did nothing to remove the federal government from the healthcare equation. In fact, they tried to pass off false federalism through block grants in the Senate’s last attempt.

With all the power they needed, suddenly their messaging turned to crap. They hammered Obamacare when they knew they couldn’t repeal it but once that became an option, they started using fancy terminology and confusing concepts to make excuses why they couldn’t deliver on what they promised. At the core of this bad messaging is one fatal flaw…

An unwillingness to educate Americans

What Barack Obama and his cronies did to pass Obamacare was devious, conniving, and wrong. However, they did do one thing right. They attempted to educate Americans. They hit the road talking about the benefits of passing Obamacare. The President himself talked many times about how “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and other misleading platitudes. They got the messaging right even if the message itself was wrong.

Instead of taking a page out of Obama’s playbook, the GOP decided that once they had the ability to take the high road, they would instead descend into secrecy. Instead of championing their cause, they worked on it in the background. Instead of education Americans, they kept us is the dark as much as possible.

When they finally revealed each of their failed plans, they did so at the last minute to minimize critiquing of their efforts. This was a horrendous mistake. It’s a strategy you should never use in transparent governance, but even if you’re willing to stoop that low you should only do so if you’re absolutely certain you have all the votes you need. This strategy is designed to minimize the risks of representatives having their minds changed by constituents and lobbyists.

When you’re still in the process of changing minds in order to win enough votes, you take it to the public. You sell your ideas. You put pressure on anyone on the fence by getting their constituents engaged. Keeping everyone in the dark as they did set them up for failure from the start.

Is it too late?

Technically, no. However, the GOP finds itself in political limbo leading into a midterm election. If they pass something now that isn’t very popular, they’ll lose. If they pass nothing, they’ll lose. If they can somehow hit a home run, they can come out of the midterm elections intact.

The problem they’re faced with is trying to hit a home run when public sentiment is shifting in favor of keeping Obamacare. Heck, more Americans every day are buying into the false concept that we need to expand it.

In July, there was a 2.5% gap between favoring and disapproving Obamacare. That happens to be around the time when they should have been able to pass a repeal. Instead, they floundered. Now that the gap is in double digits and popularity of Obamacare is rising, they may be dead in the water. They lost the opportunity to blame the Democrats for Obamacare’s failures because they’ve done enough to hurt it. Mainstream media will blame any future Obamacare failures on the GOP’s unwillingness to nurture it. They’ll paint Obama and the Democrats as heroes for giving the GOP something to work with while simultaneously hanging every failure on President Trump and the Republicans.

The best thing the GOP can do is to take the high road, repeal Obamacare, and thoroughly explain to America why it’s the best course of action. They won’t do this. They almost certainly won’t repeal Obamacare in a meaningful way, if at all. If they pass anything, it will be something that allows them to take full ownership of the government’s overreach into the health insurance industry. Whatever losses they face in the midterms are 100% their fault.

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.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ed

    November 9, 2017 at 2:52 am

    I think a LOT of people (politicians especially, but also pundits and media types) are misreading these poll numbers.

    I think that Medicaid expansion and Obamacare itself are no more popular than they were when they were first passed. I think that the polling and all the political jabber about the repeal efforts (including the “new” polling, etc) is all in the context of what the Republicans are doing to REPLACE Obamacare instead of repealing it.

    That REPLACEMENT threatens to find new ways into taxpayer pockets to extend the life of Obamacare. Given the choice of the Republican plans to find new funding for Obamacare which will extend it’s death spiral for a few more elections and leaving Obamacare in place to die a very natural and quickening death, I choose to keep Obamacare. Does that mean I’ve suddenly developed a liking for the law ? NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. It simply means that the Republican alternative is so much worse that I’d rather keep Obamacare and it’s current death-spiral trajectory than have the Republicans (or Democrats) find new things to tax in order to extend or increase Obamacare’s lifespan.

    As to Medicaid expansion, that is failing in SO many states and (now that the Federal funding for the initial medicaid expansions has expired, all we need is for the Federal Government to keep their hands off (and not extend those federal tax subsidies to the states), and the states that expand Medicaid will bankrupt themselves as Obamacare (and Mdicaid) collapse under the weight of the excessive subsidy payments.

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Federalists

The Obamacare Debacle: Why we need a second political party

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Sometimes you simply hope that your predictions will be wrong and that events will miraculously turn out differently; unfortunately, this is not one of those times. Most people with a modicum of common sense anticipated that the Republicans would now take the blame for the troubles of Obamacare, and that has come to pass.  The aphorism ‘You broke it, you bought it’ comes to mind, and while somewhat unfair to the situation, perception is reality in the world of politics.

Tear it down and start over.

While not endeavoring to reign blows upon a deceased equine, this is why the Republican party needed to keep its promise on Obamacare. It’s also the reason why it’s time to sweep away the old and begin anew with a brand new second major political party. That phrase was deliberately used because it has become quite evident that the Republican and Democratic parties have started to merge in far too many ways.

The Obamacare debacle is a prime illustration of this unfortunate merging. O’Sullivan’s First Law explains this to a fair degree since the denizens of a certain party will – over time – want to keep the bureaucratic levers of power with the false idea that they can have it run more efficiently. Besides the simple expedient of term limits, a new party could start anew with a mandate to avoid this political trap.

An illustration from the world of engineering seems more than appropriate in this instance. There are times when a machine or structure has become so riddled with worn out or failed components that it is far better to simply scrap or tear it down and build something from scratch. The aphorism is to start with a clean sheet of paper such that the old assumptions and constructs are swept away in favor of something entirely new and innovative. “We’ve always done it this way” is replaced with questioning skepticism with regard to what works, and what doesn’t.

Existing components that have proven to be of service can be utilized in the new construct but only if they meet certain criteria, not simply because they are carried along with everything else of the old. By the same token, members of the old party can become a vital part of the new but only if they are up to the task.

The final word on the Republican party.

It is more than likely that the people responsible for that bureaucratic mess will use it to good political advantage against those who opposed it in the first place. We should be getting rid of governmental interference in the free market, but instead will see a complete control with national socialist healthcare [i.e., the ‘single payer’ deception].

There is no other choice than to limit the damage now with a new party that will stay true to conservative principles. The results of the alternative are too horrible to contemplate.

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Democrats

Chuck Schumer threatens Obamacare fix over GOP tax bill repealing individual mandate

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Chuck Schumer threatens Obamacare fix over GOP tax bill repealing individual mandate

Chuck Schumer went after the GOP’s proposed tax plan today, saying the bill the Democrats currently support to bail out Obamacare, Alexander-Murray, will not get their support if Obamacare’s individual mandate is repealed.

“Any Republican senator who thinks they can pass the individual mandate and then turn around and get Alexander-Murray passed is dead wrong.”

The Senate Minority Leader has supported the plan to save the Affordable Care Act, but is now holding it hostage to try to preserve the individual mandate that forces millions of Americans to pay for health insurance they don’t want.

Further Reading

Chuck Schumer: Democrats won’t back Alexander-Murray if Obamacare individual mandate is repealed

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/chuck-schumer-democrats-wont-back-alexander-murray-if-obamacare-individual-mandate-is-repealed/article/2640780Republicans on Tuesday added repeal of the individual mandate, which requires Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine, to their tax overhaul bill. Senate GOP leaders also said that if it were to pass, they would also be willing to take up a bipartisan bill known as Alexander-Murray, which includes payments to insurers and flexibility for states. The proposal was meant to win over centrist Republicans, who worry about some of the projections from the Congressional Budget Office showing that 13 million more people would be uninsured in a decade if the individual mandate were to be repealed.

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Healthcare

It’s a health issue: The left opens up a new front in the war on liberty

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Its a health issue The left opens up a new front in the war on liberty

The desire for control has differentiated Left from Right, now the Left is using health concerns to further this effort

The desire for control on the part of the Left is the main difference between the two sides of the political divide. As a general rule, Left continually advocates increased government control with everything from taxation to climate change. One of the Left’s newest methods is to use health issues with nary a concern over those pesky notions of liberty and freedom.

The Left began using this with the 2nd amendment, with everyone’s health and safety taking precedent over that restraint on the government. And now they are expanding the assault, moving into the areas of free-speech

The Leftist case for restricting liberty due to health concerns

Back in June the LA Times published an Op-ed basing the need for restricting free-speech on health issues:

The case for restricting hate speech

http://beta.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-nielsen-free-speech-hate-20170621-story.htmlIn fact, empirical data suggest that frequent verbal harassment can lead to various negative consequences. Racist hate speech has been linked to cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and requires complex coping strategies. Exposure to racial slurs also diminishes academic performance. Women subjected to sexualized speech may develop a phenomenon of “self-objectification,” which is associated with eating disorders.

And most recently the New York Times published an opinion piece titled: We’re Sick of Racism, Literally In that opinion piece, the author asserts that one doesn’t even experience racism ‘in person’ to have an adverse impact on their health:

Worse, we know that racism doesn’t have to be experienced in person to affect our health — taking it in the form of news coverage is likely to have similar effects.

The piece concludes with this:

We shouldn’t need the specter of disease to denounce hatred in all its forms. Racism, bigotry, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia, should have no place in our society. But the illness associated with discrimination adds injury to insult and magnifies the suffering of these times.

The Takeaway

One can easily see where this is going to lead. Soon enough it will be more important to remove the restraints of the 1st and 2nd amendments on the government due to health concerns – no matter the consequences to liberty – because who can argue against better health for everyone?

The problem is that history has shown that increasing Leftist control has always lead to far worse consequences than detailed in these opinion pieces.

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