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Thursday, May 04, 2017

LYNN BERGMAN: RELAX ON HEALTHCARE CONSERVATIVES - PARTs I & II

JIM’S TRUCKS

 

 

The Socialists

 

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
  • FreedomWorks
  • 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.

 

 

Medicaid Expansion

 

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.

 

How to Proceed

House and Senate Republicans must get together behind closed doors and put all replacement elements on the table. They must then discard each and every element that does not meet Republican principles of purely private markets with free and open competition for health insurance. Those discarded elements that are deemed necessary to assist those who are unemployed and those with pre-existing conditions can separately and truthfully be introduced by a Democrat/Republic-rat coalition as entitlement programs, not health insurance programs, and considered along with and in competition with other budget items. And any Republic-rat that adds to such “entitlements” must be defeated by primary opponents in the future. Society is the appropriate source of help for those in need, not government.

 

The Challenge to Insure a Future for Our Grandchildren

 

The option of “fixing” Obamacare is a national obsession that must be cured by a national program of education as to the difference between “society” and “government”. Such national program (call it the Thomas Paine Initiative) must emphasize the fact that a failed economy that always eventually arises out of socialism cannot provide any assistance to anyone… and that any existing or new “entitlement” must include serious incentives for Americans to quit smoking like a chimney, eating like a pig, drinking like a fish, and practicing other self-destructive behavior. That effort must begin in the schools, replacing the current emphasis on government tax revenues as the solution to all problems. To be effective, the option of education vouchers for private schools must be offered in place of public schools that exist obviously for the benefit of school administrators, the convenient on-the-job retirement program for teachers' union organizers.

 

Real Health Insurance “Intervention”

 

An actual working American family of four may get paid $75,000 a year and receive $6,000 worth of untaxed health insurance while paying $3,000 a year out of their own pocket as their share of the same health insurance. The tax benefit would be about 25% of $6,000 or $1,500, so they pay one third of the cost of their health insurance ($3,000) and receive half that amount ($1,500) as a hidden tax credit.

 

An equivalent “intervention” program for an unemployed family of four would involve the payment of $1,500 a year toward catastrophic health insurance purchased in the free marketplace. The $1500 would result in a relatively high deductible policy (yes, they are available for around $125/month or less) that would protect the family from a catastrophic health event, yet encourage them to become employed.

 

For those with pre-existing conditions, a high risk pool would be set up to pay for costs above the $1,500 per year disbursement for catastrophic health insurance. This taxpayer funded program would be monitored to determine the percent of pre-existing conditions that were “unpreventable” and the percent that were “to be expected from lifestyle choices”. The “to be expected from lifestyle choices” portion would be paid for out of excise taxes on cigarettes, liquor, high fructose corn syrup, marijuana, and other commodities proven to contribute to disease.

 

A federal “minimum standard” of state-passed tort reform must be required for states to be included in any new insurance intervention plan.

 

These are the kind of “paranormal” ideas that should be discussed in depth before making the next attempt to repeal Obamacare. A so-called “fix” to the ACA would insure a march toward “single payer” socialized medicine that England has been trying to “fix” for about 60 years… we deserve freedom instead. Until the next attempt in the House, let Obamacare further implode so Americans understand how ignorant the left is.

 

What may we expect from the Left?


The (Lyndon) Johnson Amendment of 1954 bars tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Although it has never been enforced, it hangs over clergy that do not wish their house of worship to be audited by the IRS. Trump, to his credit, has indicated he favors elimination of the Johnson Amendment. Leftists would balk at such a repeal because they see organized religion as a threat rather than a blessing. Read Marx if you don't understand.

 

Leftists may well propose that the “unpreventable” portion of pre-existing conditions be paid for out of a tax on the gross receipts of organized religion, in return for the free exercise of political opinion from pulpits across America, including candidate endorsement. This is what leftists do, erase a right, then offer it back for ransom. Make no mistake, the left's biggest goal is to exacerbate public confusion over the roles of “society” and “government”. Taxing organized religion would be a huge step toward permanent confusion of the voters.

 

Giving 10% of personal income to organized religion is an age old concept. Theft of even a single percent of that gift by government would be a huge step toward socialism, the equality that is poverty itself.


 

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