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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.

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Democrats

Stop underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left

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Stop underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left

As a conservative, I can break down the left vs. right paradigm by using two edited axioms. For the left, it’s “If at first you don’t succeed, double down and make it even worse.” For the right, it’s, “If it ain’t broke, do everything to keep the left from trying to fix it.”

I’m sure my friends on the left (few, but present) would disagree. I do what I can to keep and never completely alienate my progressive friends because I need them to help me understand why they react certain ways to different people, ideas, and circumstances. For example, a cordial conversation I had with a former Bernie supporter the other day revealed to me she still likes him, but she’s much more excited about Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren. I asked her opinion of Pete Buttigieg. She knew nothing about him.

Yesterday, she told me she was all in for Buttigieg. I asked why. She said he seemed more genuine than Beto and a better campaign strategist than Pocahontas (her choice of nicknames).

That’s the state of affairs in the Democratic Party. Every candidate has their share of faithful followers, but outside of Sanders’ and possibly O’Rourke’ most faithful, the game is wide open for most Democratic voters. They move their preferences up and down, left and right just as Republicans did during the early days of the 2016 primary season. In that regard, the left and right aren’t very different. At this stage, a lot of the popularity of the candidates will be based solely on personality. People like who they like and as long as they check the right ideological boxes, the early days are nothing more than a personality contest.

This is why every candidate is picking and choosing their policies to promote as well as the policies to avoid. You can tell when a candidate believes in a more moderate approach to handle any issue when they’re not willing to say much about it. When they’re radical on an issue, they blast it out there. This is the part that scares me.

Those who were paying attention in the late months of 2014 and the early months of 2015 know something that would probably shock most voters today. There was a topic the GOP wanted to avoid altogether. Strategists said not to bring it up. Analysts said it was a losing issue. Then, Donald Trump announced his intention to run and suddenly the taboo topic was front-and-center. That’s right, before Trump entered the race and gave his famous speech about deporting Mexicans, the GOP consensus stated that immigration was a topic to be avoided through the primaries and possibly onto the general election.

It’s important to understand this because it demonstrates very clearly how election season, especially primary season, sets the stage for not only the topics that will be discussed but also the way the country will be governed based on which side wins. It concerns me greatly that the topics being discussed by the Democrats today are Medicare-for-All, Green New Deal, reparations, higher minimum wages, eliminating student debt, and socialism in general. The presence of these radical ideas in the early days of the primary season tells us these are the topics that will be driven home by the eventual winner of the Democratic nominee.

If the Democrat then wins, they’ll be expected to start implementing these ideas just as President Trump was expected to repeal Obamacare and build the wall. He ran on those ideas, so he’s expected to deliver.

Republicans might think, “Bring it on.” I hear about it when talking to GOP strategists. I see it in the bluster of keyboard pundits on Twitter. I even see it in the posts and statements by the GOP itself. Most are licking their chops at the opportunity to take on these radical progressive ideas. Unfortunately, they’re not doing it right, and by “they” I mean I’ve seen a tiny handful who are even taking it seriously.

What we’re seeing instead is the complacency that goes with underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left as well as the malleability of the center. That friend who now supports Buttigieg happens to be a nurse and happens to adore the ideas of both the Green New Deal and especially Medicare-for-All. When one of my other friends (who happens to be a more moderate leftist) asked her the standard question of how they’re going to pay for it, the new Buttigieg fan said, “The rich will pay for it.”

I started to rain on her parade with actual numbers, but stopped immediately. This wasn’t the time to debate anything, let alone the idiocy of believing only the rich would be dramatically affected by such insane increases in the budget. After all, I need to keep some progressive friends around and this particular one would never have spoken about politics with me again if I shared the truth with her. I let it go.

It’s anecdotal, but I have a very strong feeling this thinking is common and growing more prevalent every day. This wasn’t a random reasoning. This is what they’re saying among the hyper-leftists in the Democratic Party. It seems every candidate has a variation of the “hose the rich” plan. They know very clearly that the numbers are far too large for the average American to stop and think about. There are sheep on both sides of the political aisle, but the numbers are going up dramatically on the left thanks to the sudden total disregard for fiscal responsibility that is now Kosher to the new Democrats.

And the people will follow. They won’t challenge them. They won’t question them. They won’t do the math. They’ll nod their heads in unison as these candidates promise exponentially more than Bill Clinton or Barack Obama ever had the gall to promise.

The fact that these socialistic ideas absolutely, positively cannot work will be ignored by the candidates as they fly over the heads of the leftist voters. I’m not saying they’re stupid. Many are quite bright. But anyone who believes socialism has any chance of success is willfully ignorant to the facts and gullible to the progressive sales pitch.

It is incumbent on conservatives to do everything we can to educate the population. If you’re as cynical as me, you’ll probably think it’s a nearly impossible task. If you’re as worried as me, you’ll know there’s nothing else we can do but try.

What we MUST NOT do is take jabs at the ideologies and policy proposals with an assumption the voters will get the jokes. Here’s Tweet tonight from the GOP:

As Tweets go, this one is horrible. Imagine a leftist or even a centrist leaning towards Medicare-for-All reading this. Government takeover of the healthcare system, single-payer, and elimination of private health insurance – to someone who doesn’t understand the numbers, this might seem like the GOP is endorsing Buttigieg because none of the negatives they pointed out are negatives in the minds of most leftists.

But it’s worse than that. This Tweet nor anything I’ve seen from the GOP so far on Twitter or elsewhere does anything to teach Republican voters how to counter arguments in favor of Medicare-for-All. Zero. The next election is going to be won or lost based on whether the GOP can demonstrate these “new” ideas are bad. And it won’t just be the candidates and pundits who need to do this. The voters themselves need to be able to make a solid case for why any one of these ideas are horrible.

The GOP needs to step up its game and attack the horrible leftist policy proposals with facts. Right now, it seems like they assume most Americans believe socialism is bad. Come election day, that may not be the case if the GOP doesn’t fix their messaging.

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Conspiracy Theory

Free speech and the anti-vaxxer movement

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Free speech and the anti-vaxxer movement

Put aside, for the briefest of moments, whatever you believe about vaccines. I’m not going to try to convince you one way or the other about vaccinating children and the alleged health risks posed by vaccines. I’m not even going to get into the debate about whether or not parents should be compelled to have their children vaccinated. I want to talk about free speech (technically, freedom of thought) and whether or not human adults can be trusted with making their own choices.

I’ve done my own research about the science in favor and against the anti-vaxxer movement. I made my decision based on this information. What my decision was isn’t relevant for this discussion. The point that needs to be first considered is the fact that there is data is out there for people to read. The videos are there for people to watch. The opinions are available for people to digest.

But that may not be the case for long. Those opposed to the anti-vaxxer movement are urging everyone from tech companies to the federal government to the United Nations to essentially outlaw any information that does not conform with the majority opinion. Much of these efforts are driven by the pharmaceutical industries themselves, but most is driven by concerned citizens who believe parents should not have a choice about their children’s healthcare as it pertains to vaccines. Their argument is a good one: When anti-vaxxers put their own children at risk, they put other people’s children at risk. This is a textbook argument about one person’s rights impeding on another person’s rights.

The counter argument is that if vaccines are so effective, then there’s no reason for those who have their children vaccinated to worry about being exposed to children who are not vaccinated. Again, it’s a good argument.

And that’s the point. There are good arguments on both sides when it comes to rights. The science is heavily weighted towards favoring vaccinations, but that doesn’t mean the science that talks of risks of vaccinations should be stifled.

As is usually the case, I am referring specifically to freedom of thought rather than freedom of speech, since technically there’s no freedom of speech issue here with private companies banning anti-vaxxer information. They are private companies, and while they inappropriately enjoy certain protections as content platforms while simultaneously invoking their privilege as content aggregators, the bottom line remains the same: thoughts are being suppressed because they’re considered dangerous by some.

This isn’t a 1st Amendment issue because as of right now, the government isn’t involved in the suppression as far as we know. That means the battle over whether or not information from anti-vaxxers should be shareable on social media, searchable on Google, and discussion-worthy on mainstream news outlets is becoming a series of oversteps on the part of the companies helping with suppression. This should concern everyone regardless of their choices and beliefs regarding vaccinations.

Those who have followed this topic over the past few months are likely aware Google and Facebook, among others, have embraced certain types of policies with varying levels of transparency behind them in an effort to make anti-vaxxer information as inaccessible as possible. Those opinions are quashed now and the crackdown hasn’t even reached its apex. Now, GoFundMe is no longer allowing fundraisers for anti-vaxxer organizations on their platform, either.

It’s extremely important to understand this point: I would rather a government say vaccinations are mandatory than for the “information czars” of social media and search engines to quash ideas that are unpopular with the majority. That’s not an opinion swayed by my personal perspectives on vaccinations; I’d feel this way whether I was a Big Pharma lawyer or Charlie Sheen. But we’re adults. We can discern information and should be allowed to do so. Some will choose wisely. Others will not. It’s not the responsibility of tech companies or governments to tell us which information is too dangerous for our petty little minds to access.

Just give us the facts and let us make up our own minds.

When government says vaccinations are mandatory, there’s recourse for those against them. When Facebook, Google, or GoFundMe think anti-vaxxer advocates are worth hiding or removing altogether from their platforms, there’s no recourse.

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Healthcare

With Kasich out of the way, Ohio poised to pass ‘Heartbeat Bill’

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With Kasich out of the way Ohio poised to pass Heartbeat Bill

It appears the third time is a charm for pro-life Republicans in Ohio who have now passed their “Heartbeat Bill” again. The difference this time is Governor Mike DeWine will sign it. His predecessor, John Kasich, vetoed it twice.

This bill will prohibit most abortions beyond the moment a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus, which is normally around six weeks from conception. Opponents to the bill, including Kasich, argued that it doesn’t give the mother enough time to even know she’s pregnant before the door is closed on her ability to have an abortion.

Opinion

There will be challenges and even if it gets signed, it will likely have a hard time being codified. As I noted when Kasich vetoed it last time, one of his arguments is that he wouldn’t sign a bill that would go through all the legal challenges and be found unconstitutional. It was a cop-out, but there’s some truth to what he said.

Nevertheless, we must continue to get these types of bills passed even if there’s a good chance they won’t make it all the way through. The fight for the rights of preborn babies isn’t one that must rely on practical victories only. We need to win on the cultural level. To do that, we need debate. To have debate, we need bills like these to his the news and make people talk. Only then will we have sufficient opportunities to make out case before the nation for the sake of the children.

Women’s rights groups are already swarming on Ohio. We’re likely to hear from Hollywood soon just as they made their fuss over Georgia. While this may seem like a bad thing, a mobilized and passionate pro-life advocacy is more than enough to counter their narrative. Lest we forget, we have both facts and emotions on our side. Arguments about women’s rights being trampled upon for the sake of killing babies is are all ludicrous.

I’m very proud of Ohio and I will pray this becomes law.

Quote

“The bill — which makes no exceptions for rape or incest — is among the most restrictive abortion measures in the country.” – Nicole Darrah

Final Thoughts

With an actual Republican governor ready to sign it, Ohio is demonstrating what can be done when RINOs leave office. The Heartbeat Bill will protect the lives of thousands of preborn babies. It’s a good day for the pro-life movement.

Will you help revive the American Conservative Movement?

 


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