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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
Democrats 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.
Cassidy 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.
Democratic 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.
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.
There’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
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.
Like 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.
“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.”
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) September 18, 2017
We want a #FULLRepeal Pence!
— YoungConservativeGal (@deeg25) September 18, 2017
This already unafforadable "tax" now will decimate out still able to pay for it #FULLREPEAL remains best option let private sector compete
— 🇺🇸Jensen Covfefe👠 (@S_L_J730) September 18, 2017
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.
In Lieu of what is Right – An Interview with Dr. Ken Wright
One of the most vapid and reliably anti-Constitutionalist members of Congress is known to anyone who takes to Twitter, Ted Lieu, of the California 33rd Congressional District, suddenly has a staunch conservative to square off against. I got to sit down for about an hour over the phone with Dr. Ken Wright, who was one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done this year (and after Erin Cruz, Austin Petersen, Shane Hazel, and Hunter Hill, that is saying something).
Dr. Wright is a renowned pediatric ophthalmologist who is invited to teach all over the world. For that reason (sorry doc) I thought he might have the demeanor of a college professor. Analytical without a lot of passion. I was right about the analytical part. I was dead wrong about the lack of passion. This is a man who in no way needs to run for Congress, but instead sees it as a public service that he is willing to take on to make the world better for his family and for all of ours as well. It’s probably worth noting that one of the most respected and freedom-oriented members of the Senate, Dr. Rand Paul, is also an ophthalmologist. I also have an acquaintance here in my home town who is a Constitutionalist and an ophthalmologist. There seems to be a pattern here.
I found Dr. Wright to be authentic, passionate about Constitutional freedoms, and a man who will not be bullied by anyone. He supports much of what President Trump is trying to do, however I have no trouble believing he would stand up to the President should he go off the rails. The people of the California 33rd would do well to put a man of such integrity into office, and with him get rid of one of the most staunchly anti-freedom members of the US House of Representatives, Ted Lieu.
BW: What specific experience and education make you feel makes you the most qualified to be a Congressman?
KW: With the present state of our representatives I think as long as you have a pulse you could do a better job. They’re bought. The special interest lobbyists are running the show. Any good, ethical citizen could do a better job and do what is right for the people.
**I needed to take a moment to stop laughing at this answer. It was funny because it’s true.**
I’m a pediatric ophthalmologist. I know people all over the world since I travel for teaching in my field. I was awarded a service medal from the President of Panama after Noriega was ousted due to the work I was doing there. I’m a doctor, and doctors use data and facts to make decisions. We don’t put a Band-Aid on an infection and expect it to go away. Dems in inner cities have made people dependent for more than 50 years with no way out and they end up in gangs or living on welfare. Let’s get factories into the inner-cities. Let’s get them jobs instead of food stamps and a few bucks. I want to actually solve problems instead of creating a never-ending cycle of dependency.
BW: What specific issues will be your main focus if elected?
KW: Immigration is a huge problem right now. President Trump gave Congress the job to put together a real plan for DACA and they’ve done nothing. We need a clear policy regarding immigration. To my mind we need to secure the border. Without that we have open borders. We need a wall for at least part of the southern border. It worked in Israel. Then you can think about what to do with 13 million illegals.
Whether they were invited by the government or not, many illegals came here because we wanted people to come here; we wanted them to do certain jobs like pick crops or be a housekeeper, and it would be wrong to send them all home after so many years. That said, criminals with so much as a DUI have to go. This is my problem with sanctuary cities; they allow criminal illegals to roam free and harm our citizens. This is not a Democrat or Republican problem, but rather an American problem.
The largely law abiding that we choose to let stay can get in line behind everyone else and perhaps pay some fines and do some service, but they shouldn’t be able to get to the head of the line like so many Democrats want, and they certainly shouldn’t be given blanket amnesty.
Healthcare is a big issue, mostly because the Democrats have made it that way with Obamacare. Despite what the Democrats say, there were never bodies lying in the street before Obamacare. No one is turned away from any emergency room. Everyone can get care. Not everyone needs health insurance. If you’re a 20 year old on your first job and in good health, perhaps you don’t need to spend money on health insurance, and it’s wrong for the government to force you to subsidize health insurance for others. We need to repeal McCarron-Ferguson Act which exempts insurance companies from most federal regulation including anti-trust laws. That would allow real free-market competition back.
BW: What failures do you feel have been made on the part of Ted Lieu?
**Note: I asked Dr. Wright to please try to keep this to a top 5 list… I know I could write an article just on this question**
KW: When the Syrian war was really going on he wanted to bring 200K refugees from Iraq and Syria and voted against the SAFE Act. That’s dangerous for America.
He doesn’t protect America first. He wants open borders. He’s for sanctuary cities. He votes against Kate’s Law every time it comes up. He has sponsored legislation for no-money bail, saying bail is unfair to the poor, yet judges can take that into consideration. He wants to take the discretion away from the judges.
He’s a hypocrite. On his web site the number one issue he talks about is climate change. And yet, when he was a state senator he accepted $13K from real estate developers who wanted to build a new stadium, and then he co-sponsors a bill to exempt the real estate developers from environmental regulations. He’s a career politician and has never had a real job in his life. I’ve had a real job. I’ve run a business and put people to work.
BW: What political challenges do you face and how do you plan to overcome them?
Well, District 33 is only 24% Republicans, which has discouraged the GOP and the GOP wasn’t even going to run someone in 2016. However, there’s almost 30% here with no party preference. I was able to take 37% in 2016 and I didn’t have a real organization. I have a whole organization this time and I think winning this district is doable.
BW: With the current debate over gun-control, what are your thoughts?
KW: Well this isn’t an easy issue. I think we all, or at least most, agree a civilian doesn’t need to own a surface-to-air missile. At the same time, the 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting, it’s about being able to resist a tyrannical government. We need to find a balance. I think for certain weapons perhaps some form of mental evaluation might be in order. The problem is the Democrats always want to take it too far. Instead of making things simple and wanting to implement legislation that might actually save lives they are intent on disarming the population.
BW: There has been a lot of debate over President Trump’s tariffs. How do you feel about them.
KW: Great question. Would you agree that it is equally wrong for one to hire someone to commit murder as it is to commit murder yourself?
KW: Well by the same token, if it’s wrong for us to use slave labor to make our products, it’s equally wrong for us to allow China and other countries to use slave labor without any kind of penalty. The Chinese have a miles long factory where people were crammed into tiny rooms to live and work. It was so miserable that people were jumping to their deaths. Know what the Chinese government did? They put up nets outside the building so that people couldn’t even kill themselves to get away. It’s that miserable and yet we are profiting from it in the form of cheaper goods. You’ll notice that the President isn’t imposing these tariffs on Europe or Canada or other nations that play by the rule of civilized behavior.
BW: I’m personally very much against tariffs, but I have to admit that I never thought about it that way.
KW: Most people don’t.
BW: I ask this of all California candidates since your state pretty much has been the leader on this issue: What about legalization of Marijuana?
The half-life of marijuana is 3-4 days. If you smoke 2 or 3 times a week then the half life becomes about 2-3 weeks. Alcohol is metabolized much faster. I think it should be available but through a pharmacy, and not in smoking form. Physicians were encouraged to give more opioids for pain management and they found it to be profitable. This has led toward a lax attitude toward drugs. Marijuana should be available to those who need it, but we can’t be so careless with how it’s used.
BW: What do you want the people of the California 33rd to know about you?
KW: Both Republicans and Democrats need to realize that we are Americans first. Vote for someone who has the moral fiber to do what is right. Don’t vote for someone just because they might be at your end of the ideological spectrum.
You can learn more about Dr. Ken Wright by clicking here.
Kamala Harris: “Stop slaughtering babies! Abortions OK”
You may have missed it amid the wall-to-wall coverage of the Parkland shooting and the CNN Town Hall, but Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has become pro-life — she just hasn’t realized it yet.
Two days after the massacre, Senator Harris told MSNBC, “We cannot tolerate a society and live in a country with any level of pride when our babies are being slaughtered.” This just two weeks after she helped defeat a 20-week abortion ban in the Senate.
Apparently, Senator Harris, a staunch pro-abortion advocate and Planned Parenthood donation recipient, couldn’t hear the cognitive dissonance, referring to deceased teenagers as “babies,” while almost one million actual babies are literally being slaughtered every year.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the United States saw 926,200 abortions in 2014, of which Planned Parenthood claims 323,999 — about one-third. In the same year, total gun homicides (including gang and drug related, all age groups, and the tiny fraction that is mass shootings) totalled only 11,000.
926,200 to 11,000 — even 323,999 to 11,000 — is not even a close contest. Babies are being slaughtered, Kamala, but not the ones you care about.
Harris’s appeals to deceased children contributed to increasing cries for a boycott of the NRA, but pro-lifers on Twitter such as Steven Crowder and Devin Sena were quick to point out the irony of supporting a murder mill that receives over $540 million in taxpayer funding while berating a much less influential group whose purpose lies in defending basic constitutional rights and has never killed a single human being.
But let’s take Senator Harris at her word; in the aforementioned interview, she insisted, “When you see the effect of this extreme violence on a human body, and especially the body of a child, maybe it will shock some people into understanding, this cannot be a political issue. We have to be practical.”
All right then, let’s look at what happens to a baby when it’s aborted.
Below there are diagrams of abortion procedures, but no actual photographs, as even I can hardly stomach looking at that horror or putting it on my website. Here’s one in an article on partial-birth abortions, and I’m sure you can find othersfairly easily if you really want to “shock some people into understanding.”
Let’s start with partial-birth abortions, also known as “dilation and extraction,” wherein the baby (read: living human child with its own DNA) is partially delivered through the birth canal until its head gets in the way, at which stage the abortionist stabs the baby through the back of the head, vacuums out the child’s brains, causes the skull to collapse, and removes the baby-shaped tumor, deeming the operation a success.
Next up is dilation and evacuation, a slight variant of the previous process, whereby the clump-of-cells-with-a-unique-heartbeat-and-pain-receptors is arbitrarily snipped to pieces by an abortionist with a toothy clamp and the leech’s body parts are ripped from the womb one at a time until he (or most likely “she” in many cultures) has fully exited the birth canal.
You may notice that I employed varying levels of sarcasm throughout that discussion, as this is and ought to be an intensely difficult topic to discuss. It’s disturbing, horrifying, and disheartening.
But Senator Harris is right, even if in the wrong way. We cannot just stand by as babies are being slaughtered, and if takes brutally direct language and agonizing photographs to “shock some people into understanding,” then so be it.
Almost one million babies are murdered in the United States every year. If that fact is less viscerally disgusting to me than seeing a picture of a premature child, then that’s a problem I need to work on.
The Guardian: Pro-lifers 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.”
Ever 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.
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!