Tag: Obamacare repeal

Where is Obamacare Repeal Going?

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There seems to be a temporary lull, as far as I have been hearing, regarding the progress of the American Health Care Act. This is mainly because a whole host of scandals are swirling around Washington, D.C. regarding a Russian connection to the Trump campaign, the firing of FBI Director Jim Comey, and one about whether President Donald Trump gave away some classified information to Russian officials during a meeting.

I think Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is right in saying that less drama from the White House would help the Senate to concentrate on matters that affect the everyday lives of American people.

One of those issues would be health care in the United States and how to repair this very broken system that has become far too dependent on insurance coverage and government intervention. Although the talk in the media for the last week and a half has discussed the scandal du jour ad nauseam, it looks like there is a little bit of work regarding the nation’s health care policies going on in the background. Once again, it seems like some kind of “deadline” looms that is making Senate Republicans think that they may have to do something before June 21.

Why?

According to an article in the online publication Axios (1), this is the date by which insurers have to make a final decision regarding whether or not they will sell insuranceĀ  for 2018 on the federal Obamacare exchanges. I am not sure if the states with their own exchanges have alternate deadlines.

So, if the Senate can ignore the White House drama and plug away at the American Health Care Act that is now before it, they have a tough choice to make because they are faced with either passing a short-term stabilization bill of some kind to make sure that there actually insurers on most of the exchanges or try to work on the larger package of health care reform in a way that it could be passed and signed into law in time for that deadline. With all the deep division between the two major parties, as well as between different positions within the Republican party, I am not placing any bets on passing a larger package of sensible free market reforms that could be signed into law by the president in time for the June 21 decision crunch.

So what’s the Senate to do?

According to the Axios article, the Senate has the following options to consider:

  • Go ahead and fund the subsidies so the few remaining exchange insurers would know what they are dealing with in 2018 and would remain on the exchanges, at least for the coming year. (Hopefully such an action would only be considered temporary to provide a “bridge,” so to speak, as the Senate gives more in-depth consideration concerning the best way to repeal and replace Obamacare.)
  • Pass a bill by Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker that would allow people to use premium subsidies to buy health care insurance not offered on the exchanges, which looks like it would only be available in areas where there are no insurance companies on the exchanges. (Once again, I hope this would only be a band-aid solution while the Senate mulls over the best way forward for a free market in health care.)
  • They could always just take their time to put out a bill, regardless of insurance decision deadlines, that allows a free market in health care that can really make health care and insurance affordable for the average person. (There is a great risk of widespread chaos in this scenario, but then maybe it is time for many people to have the government pacifier yanked out of their mouths; they may cry a lot for a while, but then those who know better could direct the ones being broken of their dependency into health care options that are so much better than what we have now.)
  • There may also be another option because Axios also reported that Senator Claire McCaskill has indicated she is planning to introduce a bill as well, but has not revealed anything about it.

Maybe I was at least partially wrong in one of my earlier blogs, when I said Congress needs to take their time to get health care reform right. On the other hand, the Senate cannot slap something together that can get passed and claim they have done the job for the American people. When that happens, I fear that people will just get used to the “new normal” and expect to always be able to buy insurance whenever and wherever they want with a subsidy from the government, which could be just as destructive as Obamacare.

The Senate prospects also look difficult because Republicans only have a narrow majority, so there will be very intense division in trying to repeal a law that Democrats doggedly defend.

For my part, I am going to try my best to communicate with my Utah senators, as well as other key senators, to impress upon them the necessity of getting health care reform right, and familiarizing them with some free market innovations they may not know about that can drive down health care costs without the involvement of insurance.

Source:

  1. https://www.axios.com/senate-grapples-with-looming-health-care-deadline-2411779537.html

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It’s Here! The First Draft of the American Health Care Act

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Well, the Republicans in Congress finally rolled out legal language (and I do mean legal language) outlining their plan for repealing and replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Now there were outlines of a plan for a long time, and people could get a glimpse of what a replacement plan might entail in everyday English, but this plan is now codified into barely decipherable legalese so only lawyers can tell us exactly what in means. Believe me on that count because I have started to read it.

On the plus side, any citizen can actually download a copy of the proposed bill, which is known as the American Health Care Act. Fortunately, we are not going to revisit the Rep. Nancy Pelosi line, “We have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” Therefore, any citizen who can read and gets a kick out of legalese headaches, can “find out what’s in it.” If someone does not like what is in it, he or she can contact their elected representatives at the federal level to register their comments.

Basic Principles

First, the basics in real English. I found what is being called a fact sheet from the office of Rep. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives. This fact sheet outlines the fundamental principles of the American Health Care Act. Here they are as presented in this fact sheet with a little bit of editorializing from me.

  • The new bill keeps the promise made by Republicans and President Donald Trump to repeal and replace Obamacare.
  • This bill provides for a stable transition from the Unaffordable Care Act as the country (hopefully) transitions to health care policies that encourage individual choice and less government interference in personal health care decisions.
  • Finally, this bill aims to lower health care costs, allow more choices, and provide individuals with more control over their health care. (I really hope this one happens!)

So What’s Next?

Needless to say, I have been hearing a lot of bellyaching about this plan by people from every political stripe – yes, Republican and Democrat. The most important issue though is whether this plan has a chance to succeed in lowering costs and providing more choices in health care while protecting the most vulnerable in our society.

I have just begun to read the repeal and replacement bill, which seems to have a strong predilection for punctuation directives. But I am getting through it. Wow, I should have tried to read it when I was having trouble falling asleep last night!

In future posts, I am going to try to describe my impression of the bill for you, and whether I think there is a chance that it may accomplish the goals that Rep. Ryan expects it to.

If you are interested in being notified of future posts and other offers, please subscribe to my email list (the form is located to the top right side of this post), and be sure to contact me and let me know your thoughts about all of this. I’d love to read about what you are thinking.

Photo courtesy of canstockphoto.com.


It’s A Brand New Day

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I watched the inauguration of President Donald Trump this morning as I worked at my laptop. I am always in awe of the moment of inauguration when the leadership of our country changes hands. President of the United States – what a huge responsibility for anyone to take on!

To be quite honest, I did not vote for Trump, nor did I vote for Hillary Clinton. I am afraid my vote was a protest vote because, in Utah, we had the opportunity to vote for conservative Evan McMullin if we were not crazy about either major party candidate. However, if I thought Utah was in real danger of going over to Clinton, I probably would have voted for Trump just to be on the safe side.

Why was I that opposed to voting for Clinton? There are many reasons, but not the least of them is that she would have continued and probably doubled down on Obamacare. There would have been even more government regulation of health care, hence even less freedom.

She was talking about increasing subsidies for health care plans, which only increases the government involvement in our personal business, not to mention an even more bloated national debt. I fear that she really does not understand the health care market and the fact that government has been the driver for more expensive health care, especially hospitals.

The crony capitalism that goes on between tax-exempt health systems, legislators and bureaucrats is one of those drivers. Large health care systems have the wherewithal to lobby and gain influence with our lawmakers. This is especially exemplified in an article I received from a new Facebook friend, Dr. Kathleen Brown who is a dermatologist in Oregon. The way these tax-exempt hospital systems are raking up bucks while providing fewer community benefits is disgraceful. I’ll let you read the article. Here’s the link.

http://www.wweek.com/news/2016/04/13/the-five-things-hospitals-dont-want-you-to-know-about-obamacare/

It looks like many lawmakers in Oregon are getting frustrated with that situation. I think the tax-exempt status of cash-heavy “health care” systems is a non-partisan issue for two reasons.

  • The way they come by all that surplus/profit (or whatever you want to call it) is by ridiculously overcharging insurance payers for patient services, but even the amount of reimbursement that is negotiated down leaves a profit margin for the hospital.
  • Additionally, the fact that these tax-exempt “health care” systems are amassing so much money, much of it not being sunk into charity care, while they are not paying taxes is robbery of taxpaying citizens.

Because of government involvement in health care, the system has become way too complex and cumbersome, which leads to expensive health care.

I will be discussing in future blog posts the negative effects our bloated government has had on the delivery and payment of health care as well as some important definitions in the world of health care that I don’t believe the average person understands because of how these terms are convoluted in the mainstream media.

I wish everyone a great weekend as we (hopefully) really do look to a brand new day in health care.


Socialist left says: “The Sky Is Falling!”

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To hear all the catastrophic laments of the left as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office as the 45th president of the United States, one would think Chicken Little’s prediction that “The sky is falling” was really about to happen.

Why are the Democrats, Socialists and those who follow them in such a tizzy? Besides the MANY issues that they have with Trump, one of the most valued promises I believe he made to the American people as he ran for president was that he would repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (fondly, or not so fondly, known as Obamacare).

During the past election cycle, Obamacare continued its death spiral, which seems to haveĀ  gone on steroids for the year 2017.

Here are a few of the conditions that are contributing to the unpopularity of Obamacare, except in the leftist circles that seem to prefer staying aboard the Titanic as it sinks.

  • Out of the 23 non-profit insurance co-ops that launched with the roll-out of Obamacare, only six remain standing. One of the most recent co-op failures is Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey with a whopping $46 million in debt, according to a September article by Fox News.
  • Insurers are claiming big losses and even leaving some state exchanges. The companies that are still operating in the state and federal exchanges are raising their premiums for 2017.
  • The average expected premium hike is approximately 8 percent. However, in some areas, according to Forbes Magazine, the average individual market will experience a premium increase of 24 percent.

This is just a thumbnail sketch of the miseries brought on to the average middle class American by Obamacare. I follow many people and groups on Twitter that talk about how worthless Obamacare is to them with its high premiums and deductibles.

However, this is what I hear from the Democrats and those who follow them- they say that if Obamacare is repealed, MILLIONS of people will go without health care. This just is not true. Although I have some rather anti-establishment views regarding any “replacement” of Obamacare that I will outline in future posts, the Republicans have made it clear that they have NO plans to pull the rug out from anybody, and they are discussing how to deal with challenges such as how to make sure that insurance for medical needs is available to everybody, including those with pre-existing conditions.

I have so much to say about this issue because it has been near and dear to my heart ever since the ACA was voted in, so stay tuned for more posts on this subject.