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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. 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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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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