Democrat leadership (i.e. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi), the Democrat-dominated media (i.e. Chuck Todd, John Dickerson, George Stephanopoulos), Republic-rats (i.e. “moderate” Pennsylvania Representative Charlie Dent), Democratic Socialists (i.e. Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama) and a myriad of special interest groups (i.e. AARP, several hospital associations, physicians groups and nurses associations), and Democrat Party aligned special interest groups (such as MoveOn.org) would like conservatives all over America to believe that the effort to repeal Obamacare has failed and cannot succeed in the near future because of their combined opposition to the GOP's initial repeal/replace effort.
The Free Markets Team
I am pleased to observe that the following organizations are fully committed to Repeal/Replace and are opposed to any “Obamacare Light” proposal of so-called “moderate” Republicans:
- House Freedom Caucus (36 or 15% of 241 Republicans; 218 votes required to pass legislation)
- Senate Republican Steering Committee (26 or 50% of 52 Republican Senators; 51 or 60 votes required to introduce/pass legislation, depending on rules)
- Heritage Action
- Cato Institute
- Americans for Prosperity
- Tea Party Patriots
- Club for Growth
The House Freedom Caucus is lead by North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows (Chair) and Ohio Representative Jim Jordan(Vice-Chair). The Senate Republican Steering Committee is funded individually by about 26 Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) and is currently lead by Chairman, Senator Mike Lee (Utah). Senate Republican Steering
Committee's executive committee includes members Marco Rubio (Florida), Jeff Flake (Arizona), Patrick Toomey (Pennsylvania), David Vitter (Louisiana), Michael Enzi (Wyoming), Rand Paul (Kentucky), Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (Texas), Ted Cruz (Texas) and James Lankford (Oklahoma). These patriots are not afraid of sticking to their principles, even if it means losing the next election. Their ranks will be increased as progressive policies continue to be proven ineffective over time. And no amount of media ridicule will destroy them and their mission.
Consensus: Repeal and Replace Simultaneously
Moderates within the Republican party have signaled that they want to move repeal and replace together or, at a minimum, have the details of replacement locked down before voting to repeal. On this issue, they appear to agree with conservatives who have rejected the first effort of House Speaker Paul Ryan that the President (through his “enforcer” Steve Bannon) tried to shove down their throats last week. Bannon is well-suited for the role, having been charged with domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in January 1996, under a year after marrying his second wife in April 1995.
To expand access to health insurance to low-income Americans, the ACA raised Medicaid eligibility up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (currently around $16,400 for an individual, $33,600 for a family of four). That meant that individuals earning up $16,400 and families earning up to $33,600 would become eligible for Medicaid. The Supreme Court ruled, in 2012, that each individual state could choose whether to expand Medicaid in this manner or not. Many observers thought most, if not all, states would take the deal, since the feds would pay most of the costs—100 percent for the first three years, gradually falling to 90 percent by 2020. They were wrong… some 19 state legislatures and their Governors have retained their principles.
31 Governors (62% of states) have implemented Medicaid expansion, including Alaska (I), Arizona (R), Arkansas (D), California (D), Colorado (D), Connecticut (D), Delaware (D), Hawaii (D), Illinois (D), Indiana (R), Iowa (R), Kentucky (D), Louisiana (D), Maryland (D), Massachusetts (D), Michigan (R), Minnesota (D), Montana (D), Nevada (R), New Hampshire (D), New Jersey (R), New Mexico (R), New York (D), North Dakota (R), Ohio (R), Oregon (D), Pennsylvania (D), Rhode Island (I), Vermont (D), Washington (D), and West Virginia (D).
Nine of those states (18%) were headed by Republicans when they adopted the expansion, including Arizona (Jan Brewer), Indiana (Mike Pence), Iowa (Terry Branstad), Michigan (Rick Snyder), Nevada (Brian Sandoval), New Jersey (Chris Christie), New Mexico (Suzana Martinez), North Dakota (Jack Dalrymple), and Ohio (John Kasich). These Republic-rat governors undoubtedly represent a logical barrier to repeal of Obamacare and replacement with market driven legislation. Vice President Mike Pence is a notable name on the list.
Trumps “Bipartisan” Solution
President Trump has castigated conservatives in the House and Senate after they refused to be bullied into “fixing” Obamacare, a law that must be first repealed, then immediately replaced. The pragmatic way forward is to first repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and then, a short time later to implement market driven solutions to a healthcare insurance market that is currently a monopoly for a third of the counties in America, driving up premiums for all Americans, including those who have actually earned health care insurance through lower wage offers that allow employers to fund their employer-assisted plans. These market-driven solutions must come from the above identified conservative subgroups of the Republican party despite the media and Trump's suggestions that the replacement be bi-partisan. Do you really think the Democrats would be for free market solutions and publicly oppose “single-payer” government run healthcare? Has a mixture of socialism and capitalism really worked in the Nordic countries? The answers are “No” and “No”. The Nordics have a total per capita GDP (including all government programs) that is 2/3 that of their American cousins.