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Posts Tagged ‘ObamaCare’
I just got off a conference call with the Texas Public Policy Foundation on the House GOP ObamaCare replacement discussed yesterday. Here are some brief notes from the call:
Dr. Deane Waldman:
I asked a followup question of Chris Jacobs about the preventative and contraception mandate. He said it’s left entirely in place. While that mandate can be eliminated administratively by HHS Secretary Tom Price, Democrats could reinstitute it by the same method in the future.
Chip Roy: This bill fundamentally embraces all that is wrong with ObamaCare.
House Republicans have finally produced the long-awaited ObamaCare replacement bill.
Chris Jacobs of the Texas Public Policy Foundation took a look at the plan and was distinctly unimpressed:
The bill falls far short of making good on the promise to fully repeal Obamacare and fails to fundamentally change federal control over supply and demand of healthcare. This plan fails to repeal most of the costly mandates and insurance regulations driving up premiums and deductibles. This plan replaces Obamacare’s subsidy scheme with a new costly federal entitlement in the form of a refundable tax credit. This plan leaves significant portions of the flawed and costly Medicaid expansion intact by delaying the freeze on Medicaid enrollment, maintaining the expansion of the program to the able bodied, and providing a pathway for non-expansion states to accept enhanced federal dollars.
Congress should be focused on policy solutions that respect states, patients, doctors, and families by lowering costs, increasing quality of care, and providing greater choice and competition in healthcare while empowering states. This plan does not live up to those benchmarks and continues many of the flawed solutions first promulgated under Obamacare.
This doesn’t sound good:
Some conservatives may note the significant changes in the program when compared to the leaked discussion draft — let alone the program’s initial variation, proposed by House Republicans in their alternative to Obamacare in 2009. These changes have turned the program’s focus increasingly towards “stabilizing markets,” and subsidizing health insurers to incentivize continued participation in insurance markets. Some conservatives therefore may be concerned that this program amounts to a $100 billion bailout fund for insurers — one that could infringe upon state sovereignty.
This sounds pretty heinous as well:
Continuous Coverage: Requires insurers, beginning after the 2018 open enrollment period (i.e., open enrollment for 2019, or special enrollment periods during the 2018 plan year), to increase premiums for individuals without continuous health insurance coverage. The premium could increase by 30 percent for individuals who have a coverage gap of more than 63 days during the previous 12 months. Insurers could maintain the 30 percent premium increase for a 12 month period. Requires individuals to show proof of continuous coverage, and requires insurers to provide said proof in the form of certificates. Some conservatives may be concerned that this provision maintains the federal intrusion over insurance markets exacerbated by Obamacare, rather than devolving insurance regulation back to the states.
There are good things in the bill: It zeroes out penalties from the insurance mandate, repeals a host of ObamaCare taxes, and defunds Planned Parenthood. But it leaves in place the structure of federal interference in health insurance. That’s a huge disappointment, considering that pretty much every House Republican ran for election on a platform of full repeal of ObamaCare.
They can do better.
(Note: I’m also not seeing language that makes good on President Trump’s joint address promise to allow health insurance sales across state lines. I’m waiting to hear back Jacobs to see if I missed that.)
Edited to add: Just after I published this I got a reply:
— Chris Jacobs (@chrisjacobsHC) March 7, 2017
Well, this is a bad economic indicator for the Houston area:
Financially ailing MD Anderson Cancer Center will announce today it will cut its workforce by 5 percent through layoffs and retirements.
Dan Fontaine, Anderson’s chief financial officer, confirmed Thursday morning a little less than 1,000 of the staff of 2o,000 [sic] will be leaving the world-renowned cancer hospital. Some of those people are expected to volunteer to retire, he said.
Dr. Ronald DePinho, president of the cancer center, Fontaine and other officials set a press conference today to announce the workforce reduction.
Anderson officials said before Christmas they were considering staff cutbacks as the Houston cancer hospital tries to shore up its finances. During the September-through-November quarter, Anderson posted $110 million in operating losses.
Officials said in the advisory MD Anderson’s long-term financial health remains strong. Last month, officials said the operating budget is an important indicator of the cancer hospital’s ability to be self-sufficient, but it doesn’t take into account other revenue streams like state funding, charitable gifts and investement [sic] income. At that time, officials said Anderson has $2.8 billion in cash on reserve.
Other factors also are at play, Fontaine said, including patients’ higher insurance deductibles and a shrinking number of insurers willing to pay for MD Anderson’s expensive cancer treatments.
Belt-tightening measures already are paying off, he said, noting that the $9 million operating loss in November was far smaller than the $102 million in losses recorded in September and October. Those losses followed seven months of operating losses to end fiscal 2016.
MD Anderson is one of the premier cancer centers in the world, and my father received treatment there during his terminal illness. I wonder if the relentless cost-cutting required by ObamaCare was a contributing factor, as MD Anderson has been dropped by all ObamaCare plans.
Also, the folks at the Houston Chronicle should have their proofreaders do a better once-over for breaking stories. Those two typos I’ve noted [sic] for should have been caught…
You’ve read examples of this piece before, but Deroy Murdock offers up a particularly tasty example of the genre:
As Obama concludes his reign of error, his party is smaller, weaker, and more rickety than it has been since at least the 1940s. Behold the tremendous power that Democrats have frittered away — from January 2009 through the aftermath of Election Day 2016 — thanks to Obama and his ideas:
Democrats surrendered the White House to political neophyte Donald J. Trump.
U.S. Senate seats slipped from 55 to 46, down 16 percent.
U.S. House seats slid from 256 to 194, down 24 percent.
Democrats ran the U.S. Senate and House in 2009. Next year, they will control neither.
Governorships fell from 28 to 16, down 43 percent.
State legislatures (both chambers) plunged from 27 to 14, down 48 percent.
Trifectas (states with Democratic governors and both legislative chambers) cratered from 17 to 6, down 65 percent.
Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, eight U.S. presidents have served at least two terms or bowed to their vice-presidents due to death or resignation. Among them, Obama ranks eighth in total state legislative seats that his party preserved during his tenure. Obama has supervised the net loss of 959 such Democratic positions, down 23.5 percent, according to Ballotpedia, which generated most of the data cited here. This far outpaces the 843 net seats that Republicans yielded under President Dwight David Eisenhower.
By this measure, Ronald Reagan is No. 1. While he was president, Republicans gained six statehouse seats.
In terms of boosting his party’s state-level strength, Obama is the worst president since World War II. Reagan is the best.
For even more shocking proof of Obama’s political toxicity across his entire tenure, compare the Democrats’ eight-year net loss of 959 statehouse seats (one post higher than in the graph above, thanks to a subsequently called race) with the Republicans’ net gain of 934 seats. Democrats can chant the soothing lie that this wholesale, multi-level rejection of their party stems from “structural racism,” the legacy of Jim Crow, the immortal tentacles of slavery, or whatever other analgesic excuse they can scrounge up. The same nation that they claim cannot outgrow its bigotry somehow elected and then reelected Obama, quite comfortably. Hillary Clinton is many things, but she is not black. “Racism” does not explain her defeat.
This deep-rooted repudiation is not of Obama himself, but of Obamaism, today’s Democratic gospel.
At home, Obamaism features economic stagnation, morbidly obese and equally dysfunctional government, racial and identity fetishism, and rampant political correctness. Overseas: Shame at American preeminence fuels flaccid “leadership from behind.”
All told, 1,043 federal and state-level Democrats lost or were denied power under Obama, largely because Americans grew disgusted by such outrages as a non-stimulating $831 billion “stimulus,” eight consecutive years of economic growth below 3 percent, an 88 percent increase in the national debt, the revocation of America’s triple-A bond rating, and Obamacare’s epic flop ($2.3 trillion to finance widespread insurance-policy cancellations, 20 bankruptcies among 24 state co-ops, early retirements for experienced but exasperated doctors, and much more). Also nauseating: federal nano-management of everything from dishwashers to third-grade lunches to a national school-shower policy.
Read the whole thing.