Tag Archives: Obamacare

Obamacare repeal begins. For real this time.

WASHINGTON, DC — On 4 May 2017, the U. S. House of Representatives overcame fear-mongering from opposition party members to pass the American Healthcare Act.  The American Healthcare Act is a bill that begins the process of repealing and replacing the prior Administration’s signature healthcare law.  Noteworthy within the prior Administration’s law were a large number of taxes, mandated benefits to be included in all health plans, employer mandates and the prohibition against health insurance companies pricing health plans by the health of the customer.

A brief review of the summary of the American Healthcare Act shows that this bill does repeal many of the taxes included in the prior Administration’s healthcare law, as well as  individual and employer mandates.  It looks like the bill may also open up the definition of what coverages are allowed/required in ‘qualifying health care plans.’  More freedom is seldom a bad thing.  The bill also allows health insurers to price their offered coverage according to the age and health condition of customers whilst also assisting those with ‘pre-existing conditions’ and severe health conditions in paying for their own coverage.

Further, it appears to allow States to decide whether to roll back the Medicaid expansion.  Federal Funding for the Medicaid expansion will continue to remain available to States through 2020.

The American Healthcare Act has several hurdles yet to be crossed before it can become law.  It must still be debated, amended and voted on in the U. S. Senate. It must have differences in the House and Senate versions worked out by a Joint Committee.  The final version must pass both houses of Congress.  Finally, the President must sign it into law.

This bill appears to go a long way toward removing the shackles the prior healthcare law placed on the entire U. S. economy with the taxes and mandates.  Employers will be free to give more hours to part-time employees and to expand their businesses by hiring more total employees, without the mandate to provide expensive healthcare coverage.

Without the mandates, philanthropists, public-spirited organizations and religious denominations will have to step in to ensure that noone falls through the cracks.

The bill passed the House by a margin of 217 to 213, with no members of the Democrat Party voting for it.

Opinions expressed herein are my own and in no way reflect those of Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Military Department, the U. S. Army or the U. S. DoD.  All of these organizations have their own public affairs offices and spokespersons, which do not actually include me.

 

Sources:

Summary and full text of the American Healthcare Act

Reuters

Wall Street Journal

Election Week: Principles and Faith over politics

In 1994 Republican Newt Gingrich nationalized a midterm Congressional election with the Contract for America.  Recently the White House attempted to do the same thing stating, “these policies are on the ballot.”

So, let’s take a moment and review the policies supported by the White House and their allies, the results of those policies, who has opposed them and what the results have been.  Know your issues. Know your candidates. Vote your conscience.

Let’s take a look at the policy legacy of Attorney General Holder: Fast and Furious, reading news reporters’ emails and tracing their phone records, attempting to prevent banks and credit providers from doing business with fire-arms and ammunition manufacturers and sellers, held in contempt of Congress.  Operation Fast and Furious for those who may not remember was Dept. of Justice initiative that allowed US gun stores to sell weapons to known associates of Mexican based criminal Cartels without track the weapons.  This resulted in the murder of at least one U. S. Border Patrol Agent.  How did Congress and the Committees in the House and the Senate that provide oversight over the Dept of Justice respond?  We saw some very insightful questioning in the House by Rep. Trey Gowdy from SC and a House resolution holding Attorney General Holder in contempt.  But did Speaker Boehner allow the House attempt to exercise the Power of the Purse and defund any of these initiatives?  No.  From the Establishment Republicans we get talk but no action.

Let’s look at the policy legacy of Senate leader Democrat Harry Reid.  He has proposed a Constitutional amendment that would empower the national and State governments to regulate speech in political campaigns and election seasons, effectively allowing the ruling class to stifle dissent.  Over a hundred bills, he hasn’t brought the floor of the Senate for debate.  Only once since the Ominbus spending bill of 2009 has the Senate  passed a budget and sent it to the President.  When Senate leader Reid does bring a bill to the floor, he rarely allows amendments.  Among the bills that Reid did allow to the floor were comprehensive immigration reform (a.k.a Amnesty) and gun control.  And what did our oh, so conservative Republican opposition leaders in the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas do to stop immigration reform and gun control?  Not much.  It was up to Tea Party favorites Sen. Cruz of Texas and Sen. Lee of Utah to rally the public to call their Senators and stop these measures.

Let’s consider the policy legacies of HHS Secretaries Sebelius and Burwell.  Sec Sebelius oversaw the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which as seen health plan premiums go up by an average of $2500, not down, and seen deductables double or triple. So families are spending over three to four times more out-of-pocket before their health plans pay for anything.  The ACA has forced lesbian couples to pay for men’s health treatments and gay couples to pay for maternity coverage.  Further the ACA has forced men and women and families of faith who purchase individual and family health policies that pay for coverages the religions object to.   And I haven’t even touched on the increased amounts of paperwork physicians and surgeons must now file (taking them away from patients), restrictions on the supply of medications and the numbers of patients hospitals can treat, and squeezing payments to hospitals which has resulted lay offs of hospital staff.  And all the Establishment Republicans would do is pass meaningless repeal resolutions and hold hearings about the HealthCare.gov website.  After promising to repeal the ACA during their last election campaigns, McConnel and Cornyn whipped votes against a House measure to defund the ACA a year ago.  Sec. Sebelius oversaw the implementation of these policies and Sec. Burwell has not reversed them.  The Establishment Republicans had all of the substantive issues I just named off that they could have challenged in the ACA and all they wanted to talk about was website!  And let’s not forget that HHS removed the work and job training requirements for welfare and foodstamps that has seen their rolls swell to the size of a medium European nation!

And let’s not forget the illegal immigration surge of last summer and the lack of Ebola quarantines or travel restrictions this fall.  What did the Establishment Republicans do to counter any of this?  They verbally attacked conservatives who pointed out the problems and proposed actual solutions.   They disparaged deportation of the illegal immigrant surge, and proponents of restrictions on travel visas out of the Ebola hot zone.

So, if you like your Representative or Senator, you can keep him or her.  Know your issues.  Know your candidates. Vote your conscience.

Here are some voter guides to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.  Some of these you may just want to reverse what they say!

https://www.nationalpriorities.org/analysis/2014/voters-guides-2014/

http://www.cc.org/voterguides

http://www.catholicvote.org

http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/elections/2014/voter-guide/

or go to http://www.slate.com or http://www.politico.com or http://www.family.org

Now, the real question is what can we do about all of this?  Two answers come to mind: one from Lady Margaret Thatcher, the other from my son, St Thomas the younger.  Lady Thatcher once said, “First you win the argument, then you win the election.”  St Thomas the younger pointed out the solution isn’t in politics, the solution is in faith.  We’ve got to look into our hearts, into our sacred texts, into our prayerlives and find out what the Saints and Sages have writ about principles that will apply to our situation today.  We’ve got to remember that the Creator is the source of our rights; we’ve got to keep Him front and center in our lives.  And then we’ve got spend our money with businesses that agree with our values. We’ve got to talk to our friends and get them involved.  We’ve got to start helping our neighbors, so they don’t have to go to the Government.  We’ve got to be the change we want to see in the world.

These opinions are my own.

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