Tag Archives: obamacare

The corrupt and power-hungry Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Link here. The CFPB was established under the Dodd-Frank law signed by Obama under a framework that one court has already ruled is unconstitutional.

[A]s is common in Washington, the vague language used to craft that law gave regulators wide latitude and the bureau emerged in the Obama administration as a powerful force in the regulatory state.

“There’s strong evidence that the CFPB was pursuing Obama administration tactics and priorities, even if it was not directly coordinating with other Obama-run agencies,” said John Berlau, a scholar with the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute. As an example of such connections, Berlau pointed to Operation Choke Point, a 2013 Justice Department initiative during which the CFPB pursued payday lenders while prosecutors focused on banks dealing with those businesses or gun retailers. “Like other Obama regulators, the CFPB attempted to make law through administrative maneuvers,” Berlau told RCI. “Yet the CFPB’s abuses of process exceeded even those of other Obama administration bureaucracies due to the bureau’s unique lack of accountability.”

That lack of accountability was one of the reasons a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the CFPB an unconstitutional entity in October 2016 – a decision that awaits an en banc ruling from the Appeals Court.

The article outlines how the CFPB has used its vague regulatory powers during the Obama administration to begin open investigations into numerous businesses, not based on any suspected crimes but as a weapon of the Obama administration against businesses it did not like.

The bad part of this story is that there appears no effort by the Trump administration to shut down this out-of-control agency. Instead, it is trying to “rein” it in. Meanwhile, this agency, which according to the law that created it, can spend money without Congressional approval, and is doing so at rates that would make billionaires like Trump blush: A New CFPB Scandal – Cost Overruns for Its New Lux Headquarters

Original cost estimates for the CFPB’s renovation were estimated at $55 million, but the bureau ran up the proposed cost to $216 million. The Federal Reserve Inspector General rejected the proposal in 2014, saying there was no “sound basis” for the figure.

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UK health system considers banning surgery for smokers and the obese

Coming to a single-payer plan near you! Great Britain’s nationalized health system has proposed banning surgeries for anyone who smokes or is overweight.

In recent years, a number of areas have introduced delays for such patients – with some told operations will be put back for months, during which time they are expected to try to lose weight or stop smoking.

But the new rules, drawn up by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire, say that obese patients “will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight” at all, unless the circumstances are exceptional. The criteria also mean smokers will only be referred for operations if they have stopped smoking for at least eight weeks, with such patients breathalysed before referral.

East and North Hertfordshire CCG and Herts Valleys said the plans aimed to encourage people “to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, wherever possible, freeing up limited NHS resources for priority treatment”. Both are in financial difficulty, and between them seeking to save £68m during this financial year. [emphasis mine]

This is what happens when you centralize control of an industry into the hands of government. Rather than compete and find ways to better serve their customers while saving money, as the competitive private market does, a centralized top-down government operation rations services so that fewer people can get them.

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A detailed look at the new Republican Obamacare revision

Link here [pdf]. This is worth a read, as it provides the best most detailed look at the Senate’s proposed bill I have seen so far.

While the bill has many good things, overall it really is no different than Obamacare. It is a bureaucratic mess, it leaves many of Obamacare’s worst rules in place (such as the requirement that everyone, male or female, pay for maternity care), and it continues the inappropriate micromanaging of Congress in this private sector industry.

It might pass, but if it does, all it will accomplish is to stain the Republicans with this monstrosity of a law, as premiums will surely continue to rise, as will medical costs. Up until now, the Republican Party has been saying it had nothing to do with Obamacare and its consequences, and for one rare time, these politicians were not lying when they said that. If this bill becomes law, however, they will no longer be able to deny their part in Obamacare, unless they lie. And the public will know they are lying when they do.

Update: Heritage Foundation releases its own analysis which says this bill will encourage the growth of government.

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In new Obamacare vote, Republican leaders offering bribes

Finding out what’s in it, part 2: The Senate Republican leadership is offering Senator Lisa Murkowsky (R-Alaska) specific rewrites favoring just Alaska in order to buy her vote on their new attempt to revise Obamacare.

The bribe includes three provisions, but this one I think is most corrupt:

Alaska (along with Hawaii) will continue to receive Obamacare’s premium tax credits while they are repealed for all other states. It appears this exemption will not affect Alaska receiving its state allotment under the new block grant in addition to the premium tax credits.

There are also some indications that this secret bill for which no text has been made public, as far as I can tell, also keeps the Obamacare requirement that insurance companies will not be allowed to deny anyone insurance no matter how sick they are. This is the provision that is essentially bankrupting the industry and forcing premiums to skyrocket. By keeping it, these Republicans reveal their overall support for Obamacare.

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“I am just in shock how no one actually cares about the policy any more.”

The quote above, from this article. is from a Republican lobbyist, and is in reference to the new so-called Obamacare replacement bill being pushed right now in the Senate, not because it will repeal Obamacare but because it will provide Senators a fake vote where they can make believe they repealed Obamacare..

The bottom line: The repeal-and-replace bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy is gaining steam because it has the appearance of gaining steam — not because of the changes it would make. “If there was an oral exam on the contents of the proposal, graded on a generous curve, only two Republicans could pass it. And one of them isn’t Lindsey Graham,” a senior GOP aide told Caitlin.

I could condemn the Republican leadership here, but the fault actually lies with the press, which is allows them to do this. The number of fake insane bills with “feel good” names in the past two decades that the press has accepted with little analysis is legion. This is only another in that long list.

If you want to find out some real details about this new fake bill, read the whole article. It provides enough information to sicken your stomach about any bill our bankrupt Congress writes.

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Obamacare collapse in Virginia

Finding out what’s in it: With the departure from Virginia of the last insurance companies because of Obamacare’s unworkable rules, in 2018 people will be unable to buy individual health insurance in more than half the state.

Should nothing change before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s Sept. 27 deadline for insurers to participate, parts of Virginia, including the Roanoke and New River valleys, will be the only places in the U.S. without at least one insurer, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Open enrollment starts Nov. 1 for policies that take effect Jan. 1.

This year, three insurance companies offered individual policies in the Roanoke and New River valleys.

But this spring, Aetna announced that it would no longer participate in the marketplace. Last month, Anthem followed suit. And Optima Health said last week that it would no longer offer individual policies in areas of Virginia where its parent, Sentara Health, did not have hospitals and providers. Although Optima covered only a small percentage of people in western Virginia, the company had been expected to fill the void after Anthem announced its departure, meaning it would have been on track to sell 100 percent of the individual policies in the region.

Of course, the blame falls on the Republicans, who had nothing to do with writing or passing Obamacare and have tried endlessly to either get it repealed or revised but have had all these actions blocked by the Democrats and a handful of fake Republicans who really are Democrats in sheep’s clothing. Sadly, it appears that most of the Republican Party has thrown in the towel and has decided it isn’t worth the effort any longer fixing Obamacare. Instead, we shall see the entire collapse of the health insurance industry.

Too bad no one predicted this collapse, except for every single reasonable conservative in the entire country.

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Aetna to withdraw from all Obamacare exchanges

Finding out what’s in it: Aetna has decided to withdraw from all Obamacare exchanges, after seeing its profits increase when it reduced its participation partly last year.

Aetna has been gradually withdrawing from the Obamacare exchanges. It had decided to pull out of the exchanges in other states because it lost $700 million between 2014 and 2016 and was projected to lose $200 million in 2017 despite having already significantly reduced its participation in the exchanges to only four states.

A disproportionate number of unhealthy customers have signed up for the exchanges, which provide tax subsidies to pay for insurance, causing unbalanced risk pools for many insurers. Aetna also has cited uncertainty over the future of the law and over whether it will receive federal payments as a contributing factor to its decision. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words illustrate the fundamental problem with the Obamacare law. It forces insurance companies to take on sick people who had failed to buy insurance before they became sick. Such an insurance model is unsustainable. Insurance works because enough people buy it before they need it, thus helping to fund those who need it. If everyone can wait until they need it then there is no pool to fund any payouts, and the insurance company goes bankrupt.

As is happening with Obamacare.

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John McCain, Liar

In commenting about the failure yesterday by Senate Republicans to pass a trimmed down version of an Obamcare repeal by a vote of 49-51, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has this to say:

There are going be a great many Americans who tonight feel a sense of betrayal. …If you stand up and campaign and say we are going to repeal Obamacare and you vote for Obamacare, those are not consistent. And the American people are entirely justified in saying any politician who told me that and voted the other way didn’t tell me the truth. They lied to me.

He then added:

“No party can remain in power by lying to the American people.”

Cruz is right, but only partly. The entire Republican Party did not lie to its voters. Instead, a small contingent of fake Republicans lied, led by John McCain, king liar and the most likely person to stab a friend in the back I have ever seen.
» Read more

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Repeal of Obamacare fails in Senate

Not surprisingly, a clean not-quite-full repeal of Obamacare failed today in the Senate, 45 to 54.

As expected, every Democrat voted to endorse their failed law. They were aided by seven fake Republicans who should all be challenged in primaries. These were Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, John McCain of Arizona, and Rob Portman of Ohio.

A lot of pundits are going to claim that this failure to repeal is a betrayal of the Republican Party. I actually don’t see it as that. Had Mitch McConnell not allowed this vote I might have agreed, but he did allow it, thus forcing those from both parties who support Obamacare to go on record. We now know who those people are.

The real problem is that too many people in the U.S. no longer believe in freedom, instead want a government hand out, and have thus elected legislators (from both parties) who are only too happy to give it to them in exchange for power and wealth. If we are going to get rid of this bad law, as well as many other bad leftwing government policies, we need to vote these specific people out of office.

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Republican health tweak of Obamacare dead, Senate to vote for straight repeal

This is a victory: The Republican leadership in the Senate, lacking the votes to pass their own version of Obamacare, have decided to instead go for full repeal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bowed to pressure tonight from conservatives — and President Trump — to bring up a straight repeal of most of the Affordable Care Act as the next step now that the Senate health care bill appears to be dead. It will be based on the repeal bill Congress passed in 2015, which then-President Barack Obama vetoed.

His statement: “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful. So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up … a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable health care.”

McConnell’s hand was forced when two conservative senators, Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) announced earlier today that they would not vote for the bill.

This is what they should have done from the beginning. Granted, it is likely to fail because of Democratic opposition, but then it will be clear going into the next election who is standing in the way of fixing the problem. Had they passed any version of their turkey of a bill, the health insurance business would have continued to fail, but they would no longer have had clean hands. It would have become their problem, and it would have cost them votes in 2018.

Now, things will be clean, and we will get to see who really is on our side, from both parties. Expect several Republican senators especially to suddenly “evolve” and decide that they can’t go along with the very repeal they’ve voted for repeatedly in the past, because it might “hurt people.”

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Senate introduces its version of Trumpcare

Failure theater: The Senate today introduced its version of an Obamacare replacement, and proved once again that the Republican leadership in Congress has no interest in repealing Obamacare and the parts of that law that make it economically unsustainable.

The most popular provisions of Obamacare are kept in place in the bill, including language allowing children to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan until age 26 and preserving coverage for people with pre-existing illnesses.

The bill does repeal some of Obamacare, but without freeing the insurance company from the requirement to accept anyone, whether they are sick or not, makes it impossible for the entire health insurance business to make any profit. It also does not appear that this bill frees insurance companies to offer any kind of insurance they wish, including the popular and less expensive catastrophic insurance plans that Obamacare banned.

The problem here is that the Republican leadership is timid. They fear the squealing of pigs, and thus attempt to come up with plans that will please those pigs. The result? A mish-mosh that no one likes and that solves nothing.

Update: The Senate’s own freedom caucus speaks: Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul reject Senate bill, as written.

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Republican Trumpcare bill might require another vote

Failure theater: The House Republican leadership has not yet officially sent their Obamacare revision bill to the Senate because they have discovered they may have to vote on it again.

According to several aides and other procedural experts, if Republicans send the bill to the Senate now and the CBO later concludes it doesn’t save at least $2 billion, it would doom the bill and Republicans would have to start their repeal effort all over with a new budget resolution. Congressional rules would likely prevent Republicans from fixing the bill after it’s in the Senate, the aides said…

If Republican leaders hold onto the bill until the CBO report is released, then Ryan and his team could still redo it if necessary. That would require at least one more House vote of some sort…

The Republican leadership is a joke. If required to toss a rock into the ocean while standing at the end of a 500 foot long pier they’d still miss, and hit themselves in the face in the process.

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Aetna leaves last two Obamacare exchanges

Finding out what’s in it: Aetna has pulled out of its last two Obamacare exchanges, in Delaware and Nebraska.

Aetna projected more than $200 million in losses from its exchange plan businesses this year following a loss of $700 million for 2014 through 2016. The insurer attributed the losses to “marketplace structural issues, that have led to co-op failures and carrier exits, and subsequent risk pool deterioration.” Aetna said it had 964,000 individual commercial plan members as of the end of 2016, but that number dropped to 255,000 at the end of March.

Essentially, Obamacare is destroying the health insurance industry, because no insurance company can afford to offer insurance when anyone can simply wait until they are sick — “a pre-existing condition” in the politically stupid parlance of the time — before buying insurance. This also means that the Republican plan, in whatever form it will be take when it finally reaches Trump’s desk, will do nothing to save the industry either, since it appears that the Republicans are terrified of being called mean and will thus keep the requirement that insurance companies sell insurance to anyone, whether they are sick or not.

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Senate to ignore House Obamacare replacement, write its own bill

Failure theater: Senate Republicans today said in interviews that they plan to ignore the House Obamacare replacement bill, passed earlier today, and write their own bill from scratch.

A Senate proposal is now being developed by a 12-member working group. It will attempt to incorporate elements of the House bill, senators said, but will not take up the House bill as a starting point and change it through the amendment process. “The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

“We are going to draft a Senate bill,” added Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “That is what I’ve been told.”

I have no faith in what we will get in the end, mainly because it is apparent these guys are not starting from the premise of eliminated the law and its unworkable regulations. Instead, they are proposing, as the House did, to install their own unworkable regulations.

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Republican Trumpcare passes House

The Republican-controlled House today passed a replacement healthcare bill that would not repeal Obamacare but merely tinker with it around the edges.

Anyone who thinks this is an Obamacare repeal is fooling themselves. A repeal would be very simple. The details of this new bill are so complicated that I have not been able to figure them out, even after reading numerous articles, both pro and con, about them. In other words, should this bill get past the Senate it will do little good, and will only allow the collapse of the health insurance industry to continue.

Getting this past the Senate is another story. It looks like the plan here was to pass it in the House, so these creeps could lie and claim they passed an Obamacare repeal, and then have the Senate kill it for them.

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“Limited in attention span, all about big talk and identity politics, but uninterested in substance.”

Link here. Read it all. The disgusting refusal of the Republican leadership to lead, to do what they have promised for seven years and repeal Obamacare, demonstrates their fundamental corruption. Another quote:

In this case, the hardliners were playing a productive role by pointing out the real policy consequences of the piecemeal approach being pursued by the House leadership. Though we’ll never know for sure how the numbers might have looked if a vote had taken place, it’s clear that many centrist members of the Republican caucus were also prepared to vote this bill down. House conservatives, if they could be blamed for anything, it’s for having the audacity to urge leadership to actually honor seven years of pledges to voters to repeal Obamacare. If anybody was moving the goal posts, it wasn’t Freedom Caucusers, it was those who were trying to sell a bill that kept much of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in place as a free market repeal and replace plan.

And then there’s this. Make sure you read it all.

Update: And read this as well: “While Democrats lie in pursuit of their goals and aspirations, Republicans lie in pursuit of the other side’s ideals.”

I am reminded of the political situation in the late 1960s. The baby boom generation wanted a leftist Congress passing leftist laws. They had the momentum and the culture behind them. Congress was reluctant to go that way. It took more than a decade, until Jimmy Carter’s administration, before a really leftist Congress was in place and able to pass that agenda.

We are in the same boat now. The left is losing ground steadily. The conservatives are on the rise, and want their agenda passed. The problem is that Congress is behind the times and refusing to face this new cultural reality. Whether it ever will remains a question, however, since it is unclear to me whether the right has the same determination and no retreat approach held by the left in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Republican Obamacare bill does not have votes

It appears that the Obamacare bill put forth by the Republican leadership in the House does not have the votes for passage. There are also reports that Ryan will pull the bill rather than have it go down to defeat.

You want a bill that all Republicans can (and have) supported, along with the people that voted for them? Re-introduce this bill.

(a) PPACA.—Effective on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148) is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.

(b) Health care-Related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.—Effective on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–152) are repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such title or subtitle, respectively, are restored or revived as if such title and subtitle had not been enacted.

That’s the entire legal text of the bill. It is very simple, and gets us back to where we were in 2010, which might not have been a perfect place, but is a good place to start if you want to consider reform. Tinkering with the crap law that Obama and the Democrats gave us is stupid, and will accomplish nothing.

And if the Democrats filibuster this bill? Let them. Campaigning for Obamacare has clearly not been a good thing for them (see 2010, 2014, and 2016), and in the 2018 elections the Democrats are very vulnerable, with many running in strongly Republican states.

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Vote on Republican Obamacare bill canceled

The Republican leadership has canceled today’s planned vote on their Obamacare replacement bill, having failed to get the support of that bill from conservatives.

The link is to mainstream news outlet ABC, which typically reports this bill as an effort “to repeal and replace ‘Obamacare.'” This is not a repeal bill. To call it that is to lie about what it is. All it does is tinker a bit with Obamacare, at its outer edges, while cementing the law in place by making the Republican Party now partly responsible for it.

Kudos to the House Freedom Caucus and its conservative members for demanding a full repeal and not backing down. They are right. Pass a full repeal, let the Democrats in the Senate fillabuster its passage. The 2018 elections are now getting closer, and too many of those Democratic senators are vulnerable. Let them campaign on that filibuster. It will do them as much good as it did in 2010, 2014, and 2016.

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Republican healthcare bill faces defeat in House

It appears the Republican leadership lacks the votes in the House needed to pass its Obamacare replacement bill.

It appears that the Freedom Caucus in the House is generally holding firm, with more than 21 members agreeing that this is a bad bill, just as bad as Obamacare. Why vote for it, and make yourself a partner in this bad business? Consider for example this quote:

Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa), one of the few Freedom Caucus members who has a close relationship with GOP leadership, said Trump’s remarks in conference — and the building pressure — just “steels my resolve.”

“The way it stands right now, no,” he would not vote for the bill, Blum told POLITICO. “Not because of the Freedom Caucus, but because I’m a free-marketer and I’m a businessman. … And the present bill doesn’t give us a free market. I want health insurance premiums to come down. … This bill doesn’t give us a free market.”

The Republican leadership was able to successfully pass numerous full repeals of Obamacare when Obama was president and could veto them. Now that we have Trump, a president who will sign a repeal, they suddenly seem incapable of finding where they put those repeal bills. Very shameful.

Repeal the thing. Cleanly. This is what the American people want. They will thank you for it.

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Rand Paul introduces his Obamacare replacement

Competing crap: Senator Rand Paul, who opposes the Obamacare replacement introduced by the Republican leadership, introduced his own bill today to replace Obamacare.

I’ve looked at the summary [pdf] of his bill, and it contains most of the same problems contained in the Republican leadership’s proposal. Neither repeals Obamacare really, since both keep the ability of everyone to wait until they are sick before they buy health insurance, thereby guaranteeing that every health insurance company will go bankrupt.

We need Congress to repeal Obamacare, clean and simple. The tinkering by Congress in this business has only caused problems. The more tinkering they do, the more problems they will cause. They need to get out, now.

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A Ted Cruz telecon

Last night I did a long radio appearance with Robert Pratt in Texas. While I was on the air with him he received a notice from Senator Ted Cruz’s office, announcing a press telecon today on the just-passed NASA authorization bill. Pratt asked me if I would be willing to attend that telecon as his press correspondence. I agreed.

The telecon has just ended. Cruz’s statements about that NASA authorization were very uncommitted and vague, though he clearly wants to encourage private space. He also was careful not to say bad things about SLS/Orion, since it sends a lot of money to Texas.

I asked him about the lack of any mention of Earth science research in the authorization bill. He noted that during the Obama administration NASA’S climate research had become politicized, and it is his hope that this will now end, that NASA will continue to do this research but that “it will no longer be used for political purposes.” Like his comments about SLS/Orion, this was a careful answer that avoided setting off a firestorm of controversy.

Cruz did say two things of note however during the press teleconference.

  • Cruz and family is having dinner with Trump tonight
  • Cruz has reservations about the Republican proposal on Obamacare

It appears that Cruz is putting aside the ugly events of the campaign in order to try to exert influence on Trump now. It also appears that he intends to discuss the bad Obamacare replacement bill with Trump, pushing for changes to it.

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Republican leadership endorses Obamacare

Yesterday the Republican leadership in Congress unveiled their proposed replacement for Obamacare.

This is not a repeal. It proudly keeps many of the Obamacare provisions that have made health insurance unprofitable, which is why Obamacare and the entire health insurance industry is going bankrupt. First, the Republican proposal keeps the Obamacare requirement that forces insurance companies to accept applicants with pre-existing conditions at no extra charge. Insurance cannot work under this condition. Second, the plan forces insurance companies to cover the children of customers until they are 26.

Several articles today outline the stupidity of this new plan:

From the first article above:

The first thing to understand about the GOP healthcare bill is that it is not merely Obamacare-lite or a bad “replacement” bill. It doesn’t repeal the core of Obamacare in the first place. In fact, the few parts that it repeals or tweaks within a few years will actually intensify the death spiral of Obamacare when mixed with the core regulatory structure, exacerbated by the subsidies that they do keep. And this time, the GOP will own it politically. All of it.

As I say, this is downright stupid. By trying to “fix” this horrible law, all the Republican leadership accomplishes is to poison themselves with it, something Republicans have so far been able to avoid.

The Republicans shouldn’t be passing a different version of Obamacare, they should be trying to repeal it entirely. If the Democrats continue to obstruct, they will then have to face the voters in 2018 in an election that does not favor them to begin with.

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Republican leaders propose Obamacare revisions

Cowards: The House Republican leadership today put forth a series of proposals for revisingnot repealing — Obamacare.

A packet distributed to lawmakers at the meeting and obtained by The Hill says the GOP bill will include tax credits, an expansion of health savings accounts, money for high risk pools to care for the sick and a major restructuring of Medicaid to cap federal payments.

No dollar figures for any of the Republican proposals have been presented yet. Lawmakers said that is because the Congressional Budget Office is still analyzing the plan.

Nowhere do these proposals deal with repealing Obamacare’s ban on low-cost catastrophic health insurance plans. In fact, these proposal do little to repeal any of Obamacare’s worst regulations, which make the entire concept of health insurance unsustainable. Instead, these proposals nibble at the edges of the law, and will only serve to make things worse. For example, the proposals will repeal all the taxes that pay for Obamacare’s costs, will eliminate the mandates that force people to buy insurance, but will do nothing to relieve insurance companies from the law’s requirements, such as forcing them to accept every applicant, no matter how sick. Such a crazy arrangement will guarantee that no one will buy health insurance until they need it, making it entirely unprofitable.

The whole mess is simply too complicated. The time has come to do what Alexander the Great did: rather than try to untie the Gordian knot, he simply took a sword and cut it. Congress should do the same to Obamacare. Only then will the health insurance industry have a chance of recovery.

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Freedom Caucus to push for swift Obamacare repeal

In a direct clash with the Republican leadership that increasingly wants to slow down a repeal of Obamacare, the conservative House tea party group dubbed the Freedom Caucus announced today that they will push for an immediate repeal of the law.

The House Republican leadership is made up of a bunch of cowards. They fear the polls. They fear the press. They fear the astroturf demonstrations paid for by the left. They fear everything. And they believe in nothing, because if they did believe in freedom and restricting the power of government they would move quickly to repeal Obamacare and let the chips of freedom fall where they may.

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Obamacare numbers continue to tank

We are still finding out what’s in it: Enrollment numbers in Obamacare for 2017 turn out to be far worse than any prediction, resulting in more insurance companies considering an exit.

[T]he nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted last year that 15 million Americans would enroll in Obamacare plans through the various marketplaces in 2017 (down from an initial expectation of approximately 21 million when the law first passed. The Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services lowered their 2017 expectations to 13.8 million. But the federal exchange totals are hundreds of thousands of consumers off-pace from last year, which was already sufficiently lackluster as to trigger an exodus of several major insurers. …Charles Gaba, a pro-Obamacare tracker of ACA signups, …estimated that to stay on track with the HHS projections, the federal exchange would need to tally roughly 10.6 million enrollees. The actual number was just 9.2 million.

The whole shebang is collapsing, regardless of what the Republicans in Congress do. Read the article, however, because it also provides some interesting analysis of what Congress is considering.

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House approves Senate budget resolution repealing Obamacare

The House today approved the Senate budget resolution repealing Obamacare’s tax and spending provisions.

The House voted 227-198 Friday to approve the resolution a day after the Senate voted 51-48 to clear it. Nine conservative House Republicans voted against the measure: Justin Amash of Michigan, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Walter Jones of North Carolina, John Katko of New York, Raul Labrador of Idaho, Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Tom McClintock of California.

The resolution, which is nonbinding, sets budgetary and spending levels for Obamacare. It will act as a vehicle for Republicans to craft legislation that would gut Obamacare via the reconciliation process.

What the article does not note is that the Democrats voted 100% against the bill, once again demonstrating their steadfast marriage to this disastrous law. The Republicans who voted against the bill did so because they are sincerely worried about its budgetary impact. The Democrats who voted against it did so because they have become close-minded on the issue, and will defend this law no matter how many voters they offend.

When the next election comes we should remember this and remove more of these fools from office, if only to finally get the Democratic Party to wake up and abandon this bad policy.

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Obamacare: The Republican strategy of partial repeal vs full repeal

This National Review editorial today describes very succinctly the strategy being used by the Republican leadership in its effort to repeal Obamacare.

Senate Republicans want to pass a bill that repeals the taxes and spending in Obamacare, but not its regulations. That’s because they think that they can use a legislative process to avoid Democratic filibusters only if they leave the regulations alone. They think that this partial repeal of Obamacare will set the stage for later legislation that repeals the rest of the law and creates a replacement.

The heart of the problem for a full Obamacare repeal is that in the Senate you can pass budgetary items with only 51 votes while regulatory changes require 60. The Democrats plan to filibuster any regulatory changes, thus preventing their repeal.

The editorial opposes this strategy and instead calls for removing the federal government completely from health insurance regulation, the situation that existed prior to the passage of Obamacare. While I totally agree with this stance, I also recognize that the intransigence of the Democrats in the Senate makes it difficult. The only way it could work is if the Republicans could convince 8 Democratic senators to break away from their party and support full repeal. While a large number of Democratic senators are faced with difficult elections in 2018, I don’t think the Republicans could get 8 to agree.

We are thus faced with the unfortunate and bad situation that the Republicans will repeal only part of the law, which will further damage the health care industry. While they hope this damage will strengthen their effort to get the law entirely repealed, I fear that it will instead be used by the Democrats to attack the Republicans and the idea of the repeal itself.

It seems to me that it would be better to offer a full repeal, forcing a Democratic filibuster, and then use that filibuster as a campaign weapon to defeat more Democrats in 2018.

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Republicans introduce first measure for repealing Obamacare

A measure introduced in both houses of Congress today begins the process of repealing Obamacare.

Senate Republicans Tuesday took the first step toward repealing Obamacare, with Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi introducing a measure that would lay the groundwork for specific legislation to be proposed later that would repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic program. Enzi’s bill seeks to pave the way for the later bill to pass Congress without fear of a filibuster by Senate Democrats.

The measure, called a budget resolution, directs top congressional committees to cast votes to assemble the repeal legislation by Jan. 27. House Republicans also introduced Enzi’s resolution in the lower chamber.

At this moment we still do not know exactly what the Republicans plan to repeal, and what they intend to keep. What we do know is that in order to pass this repeal in a manner that prevents a filibuster they will not be able to repeal the law entirely. We also do not yet know how quickly they intend the repeal to take effect. There has been much talk of a delay, but that is not yet confirmed.

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94% of all new jobs under Obama part time

Finding out what’s in it: Since the imposition of Obamacare a new study now shows that 94% of all new jobs have been part time work.

In their study [Harvard and Princeton economists Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger] show that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of Americans workers engaged in what they refer to as “alternative work” soared during the Obama era, from 10.7% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2015. Alternative, or “gig” work is defined as “temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract company workers, independent contractors or freelancers”, and is generally unsteady, without a fixed paycheck and with virtually no benefits. The two economists also found that each of the common types of alternative work increased from 2005 to 2015—with the largest changes in the number of independent contractors and workers provided by contract firms, such as janitors that work full-time at a particular office, but are paid by a janitorial services firm.

Krueger, who until 2013 was also the top White House economist serving as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama, was “surprised” by the finding. Quoted by quartz, he said “We find that 94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category,” said Krueger. “And over 60% was due to the [the rise] of independent contractors, freelancers and contract company workers.” In other words, nearly all of the 10 million jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were not traditional nine-to-five employment.

While the finding is good news for some, such as graphic designers and lawyers who hate going to an office, for whom new technology and Obamacare has made it more appealing to become an independent contractor. But for those seeking a steady administrative assistant office job, the market is grim. It also explains why despite an apparent recovery in the labor market, wage growth has been non-existent, due to the lack of career advancement and salary increase options for this vast cohort which was hired over the past decade. [emphasis in original]

The lack of long term steady full time work with full benefits has especially hit the young badly. They are increasingly being forced to work multiple jobs to pay the bills, all of which lack any kind of benefits.

Obviously, they must keep voting for those Democrats who brought this paradise to them. Obviously!

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Republicans consider delaying Obamacare repeal

Failure theater: The Republican leadership is considering a whole range of delays in their so-called effort to repeal Obamacare.

Republicans are debating how long to delay implementing the repeal. Aides involved in the deliberations said some parts of the law may be ended quickly, such as its regulations affecting insurer health plans and businesses. Other pieces may be maintained for up to three or four years, such as insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion. Some parts of the law may never be repealed, such as the provision letting people under age 26 remain on a parent’s plan.

House conservatives want a two-year fuse for the repeal. Republican leaders prefer at least three years, and there has been discussion of putting it off until after the 2020 elections, staffers said.

When are these idiots finally going to realize that the voters who put them in office are not Democratic liberals, and specifically want Obamacare repealed, now?

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