Category: Health Care

July 23rd, 2017 by Staff Writer

President Donald Trump called out Senate Republicans on Saturday, once again calling on them to repeal and replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

In two social media posts made on Twitter, Trump said the Senate “must step up to the plate” and “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare.

“The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!” Trump wrote on Saturday.

The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017

Trump also criticized Democrats, who he called “obstructionists” with “no ideas or votes.”

“ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction,” Trump wrote. “It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!”

ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction. It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017

Trump’s comments come at the end of a week in which the Republicans’ latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act was effectively killed by Republican Sens. Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Mike Lee (Utah) and the Senate leadership’s back-up plan — a repeal of Obamacare without an immediate replacement plan — was shot down by several moderate Republicans.

On Wednesday, Republican senators met with Trump in a meeting in which Trump reportedly heavily criticized the senators for failing to come up with a plan. During the lunch meeting, which included 49 senators, Republicans were told they needed to swiftly develop a proposal that could pass both houses of Congress, reported Reuters on Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, the senators met to resolve their differences, but a resolution failed to materialize during the meeting, which Reuters reported did not include Senate staff.

The Washington Examiner reported on Saturday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still plans to hold a vote next week, regardless of what several senators have been saying about voting against the proposed legislation.

Posted in Donald Trump, Health Care, Mike Lee, Mitch McConnell, Obamacare, Politics, Senate Health Care Bill

July 17th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) doesn’t believe the Senate will repeal Obamacare and pass a health care replacement bill anytime soon. Paul offered the sobering update over the weekend during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

When asked if he believes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has enough votes to pass an Obamacare replacement, Paul said he doesn’t believe McConnell does.

“You know, I don’t think right now he does,” Paul said.

“The real problem we have is that we won four elections on repealing Obamacare but [the Senate GOP’s replacement bill] keeps most of Obamacare taxes, keeps most of the regulations, keeps most of the subsidies and creates something that Republicans have never been for and that’s a giant insurance bailout superfund,” Paul explained. “That’s not a Republican idea to give taxpayer money to a private industry that already makes $15 billion in profit.”

When asked by show host Chris Wallace what course of action Republicans should take should they fail to pass health care reform, Paul suggested they repeal Obamacare and its taxes, regulations and mandates then worry about passing a replacement bill later.

“What I’ve suggested to the president…if this comes to an impasse, I think if the president jumps into the fray and says ‘Look guys, you promised to repeal it, let’s just repeal what we can agree to,’” Paul explained. “And then we can continue to try to fix, replace or whatever has to happen afterwards.”

“But the one thing we should do is try to repeal as many of the taxes, as many of the regulations and as many of the mandates as we possibly can,” Paul emphasized, noting that he’s optimistic for compromise to come to Senate Republicans.

Paul explained that he can’t currently support the Senate’s health care bill because it keeps the heart of Obamacare alive, which Paul called the bill’s “fundamental flaw.”

“Mandates on insurance cause prices to rise and young, healthy people then say ‘Ill wait until I get sick [to buy insurance].’ And then the insurance pool gets sicker and sicker — it’s called adverse selection, we also call it the ‘death spiral,’” Paul said. “The Republican plan admits that it will continue.”

“The Republican plan doesn’t fix the death spiral of Obamacare, it simply subsidizes it,” Paul explained.

McConnell over the weekend announced that any vote on a health care replacement would be postponed until Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) returns to Washington. McCain is recovering at home in Arizona after undergoing surgery on Friday for a blood clot above his left eye.

.@RandPaul: “I don’t think Republicans should put their name on this [bill].” https://t.co/rE5W333VUU pic.twitter.com/OMPNg9e78k

— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 16, 2017

Posted in Fox News, GOP, Health Care, Obamacare, Politics, Rand Paul, Republicans, Senate, watch

July 3rd, 2017 by Staff Writer

A proposed amendment offered in June by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to the Senate leadership’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is gaining traction as a possible solution that could be enough to elicit the support of both Senate conservatives and moderates concerned about various provisions in the legislation.

Cruz’s amendment to the bill, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would allow health insurers across the country to have significant flexibility in offering health insurance plans so long as they offer at least one plan that complies with the Obamacare mandates now in place, according to a report by Business Insider.

Under the ACA, health insurers providing plans in the health insurance exchange must provide coverage for a number of “essential health benefits” many conservatives say unnecessarily drive up the cost of health insurance. Insurers are also required to adhere to community-health-ratings standards, which effectively force insurers to charge those being insured the same amount of money regardless of health condition. CHR requirements, coupled with the ACA’s pre-existing conditions requirement, have significantly driven up the cost of health insurance, as health insurers have looked to offset the added costs associated with covering people with expensive pre-existing conditions with rising premiums and deductibles.

Cruz’s amendment would let insurers escape these mandates for most of their policies so long as they continue to offer a plan that still adheres to them. This would allow people with pre-existing conditions to continue purchasing insurance at a reduced price (relative to what they would otherwise have to pay), but it would also free up insurers to offer much-cheaper options for those people who are relatively healthy, especially younger people, who have been forced under Obamacare to pay increasingly higher health insurance prices.

The plan is being viewed by many as a potential win for virtually all wings of the Republican Party. Moderates might be willing to agree to the BCRA because they know sicker, costlier patients will still have access to Obamacare provisions. Conservatives could be comforted by the flexibility given to insurers in the bill, which should help make health insurance plans significantly cheaper for millions of Americans.

However, there is one gigantic catch to this seemingly win-win proposal: If insurers have to continue subsidizing patients with substantial health problems who haven’t been paying into the system and healthier consumers are given access to a wide array of cheaper health care options, who is going to cover the insurance companies’ added costs under such a model? According to Cruz, taxpayers.

Cruz explained to a writer at Vox.com, “If those with seriously [sic] illnesses are going to be subsidized, and there is widespread agreement in Congress that they are going to be subsidized, I think far better for that to happen from direct tax revenue rather than forcing a bunch of other people to pay much higher premiums.”

Cruz’s plan to subsidize health insurance companies’ losses with federal tax dollars is quite a step back from the conservative senator’s usual stance on the role of government, leading many conservatives to criticize the plan as an assurance of greater federal involvement in health care for years to come.

Conservative website HotAir.com said of Cruz’s plan, “Man, we’re a long way from the tea party’s salad days. … The point of Cruz’s amendment is to give people more options in coverage. But the right wing of the GOP embracing greater federal subsidies for the very sick does feel like a significant step ideologically towards single-payer eventually. Relatedly, if the feds are going to be picking up (much of) the tab for people with preexisting conditions, those ObamaCare taxes suddenly become much harder to get rid of.”

Left-wing critics of the proposed amendment to the bill — many of whom want to save Obamacare or expand it — say it won’t help America’s sickest patients, who will end up becoming the only group interested in purchasing the Obamacare-compliant insurance plans, forcing prices up for them while healthier people are able to purchase cheaper plans.

Lost in the debate is that under every version of the Senate’s bill, states would have the power to pay for additional programs of their own, including programs that could provide extensive subsidies to people with pre-existing conditions, an important reality that seldom gets discussed in Washington discussions about reforming health care.

Posted in Affordable Care Act, AHCA, American Healthcare Act, Health Care, Politics, Republican, Ted Cruz

July 2nd, 2017 by Staff Writer

As Senate Republicans continue to push their plan to replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, a new hurdle has emerged as one of the primary objections to the plan, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act: alleged “cuts” to Medicaid spending.

While conservative Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have said they are unwilling to back the plan in its current form because it keeps too much of Obamacare in place, moderate Republicans like Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) have said they can’t support the proposal because the projected cuts to Medicaid would be too damaging for millions of Americans that rely on the program.

“That is going to cause a lot of harm, and that’s one of my biggest concerns about the bill,” Collins told CNN.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the proposed Medicaid rollback “crushing.”

“The crushing Medicaid cuts will have an especially brutal impact on rural America, shuttering rural hospitals and an important source of good-paying jobs,” Pelosi said.

Critics from both parties point to a new score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that states the Senate’s bill would cut Medicaid spending by $772 billion over a decade compared to what spending is projected to be under current law as proof of the detrimental nature of the Republicans’ bill.

A closer look at the bill, however, reveals the Republicans’ “cuts” are not, in fact, cuts at all, but rather an attempt to slow Medicaid’s out-of-control growth.

The same CBO report often used to condemn the Republican bill also states Medicaid spending under their plan would increase from $393 billion in 2017 to $464 billion in 2026, an increase of 18 percent, as Fox News noted in a recent report.

Perhaps most disingenuous of all is the suggestion that reduced federal spending on state Medicaid programs is inherently immoral and will lead to impossible-to-fix state budgetary problems.

Under the provisions in the Senate’s bill, states would receive funding either on a per-person basis or as a block grant. States would determine how best to use that money and would prioritize the funds where they are needed most. Under the current system, the federal government pays for a large share of every Medicaid enrollee’s costs. Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is particularly costly; the federal government pays for 90 percent of newly eligible enrollees under the ACA, effectively encouraging states to add as many people as they can to the Medicaid rolls. The Republican plan would incentivize states to create programs that discourage the use of social services and limit abuse, moving millions of people to self-sufficiency.

Nothing in the Republicans’ plan would prevent states from making cuts to other state programs or raising additional tax revenues to cover adding more people to their Medicaid programs. Many Democrats have alleged such a scheme is unworkable because states can’t afford to raise taxes, but relative to federal tax rates, state taxes are very low and the federal government is $20 trillion in debt, with much of that debt coming from programs such as Medicaid.

Conservative senators and analysts have said it’s easy for Democrats and moderate Republicans to point to CBO’s projections, which are almost never correct, and accuse Senate Republicans of ruthlessly slashing Medicaid funding, but the truth is the federal budget is growing at unsustainable levels because of programs like Medicaid and states can and should be responsible for their own social programs, allowing local communities of people to decide what government programs need to be prioritized.

For many conservatives, the BCRA doesn’t go nearly far enough in rolling back Medicaid and many other ACA policies.

“[The BCRA] cuts taxes,” Lee wrote in an opinion article on June 23. “It bails out insurance companies. It props up Obamacare through the next election. It lays out plans to slow Medicaid spending beginning in 2025, but that probably won’t happen. And it leaves in place the ham-fisted federal regulations that have driven up family health insurance premiums by 140 percent since Obamacare was implemented.”

“To win my vote, the Republican health care bill must create a little space for states and individuals to sidestep Washington’s arrogant incompetence, and see if they can do better,” Lee added.

“Recent history suggests they couldn’t possibly do worse,” Lee said.

Paul says he’s concerned the bill could make the current health care situation even worse.

“When you mandate what you have to cover, you increase the price, you price out the young healthy people,” Paul said to CNN on Tuesday, “and the only people left in the insurance market get sicker and sicker. It’s what they call adverse selection.”

“My problem with the Senate bill as it currently exists is that we don’t fix that,” Paul said. “We keep 10 of 12 of the Obamacare regulations, we still keep the idea that you can buy it after you get sick, so I’m concerned that the death spiral of Obamacare may well even get worse with the Republican version.”

Posted in ACA, Affordable Care Act, AHCA, Health Care, Medicaid, Obamacare, Politics

June 29th, 2017 by Staff Writer

President Donald Trump told reporters asking about the Republican health care bill that he had a big “surprise” in store for them. He made the short comments as he was hosting the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs at the Oval Office Wednesday.

“Does anybody want to see the Oval Office?” he asked the group of professional baseball players, who laughed and answered affirmatively. “We’ll leave them behind,” he said, referring to the press.

Trump: “Health care is working along very well … big surprise … I think you’re gonna have a great, great surprise. It’s gonna be great.” pic.twitter.com/JLXrEdv4FC

— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 28, 2017

“And just to do a little official business,” Trump said, addressing the media, “health care is working along very well.”

“We’re gonna have a big surprise with a great health care package,” he told them, “now they’re happy.”

“We’re gonna have a great, great surprise,” he said, walking away as the reporters asked about his revelation.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that he had reached a break through idea with the president of splitting up the bill in order to help it pass Congress. A health care bill drafted by Republicans passed the House of Representatives narrowly, but the Senate decided to draw up their own from scratch.

The bills have been derided on both sides, from conservative Republicans who say it’s merely “Obamacare lite” and doesn’t do enough to repeal Obamacare, to liberal Democrats who say it will literally kill thousands of Americans.

Bette Midler went so far as to equate it to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad gassing his own citizens, while Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said that the House version of the bill would bring “death, pain and suffering.”

Senate Republican leaders are weathering a storm of calls from other members of the party.
Critics in the GOP voiced their concerns with the American Health Care Act, calling for major changes to the legislation.
The second-major healthcare reform bill seeks to replace the Affordable Care Act.
With a vote delayed in the Senate, the breaking news from Washington is a sign of another setback, as the GOP is now divided on their own repeal of Obama Care.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently announced that a procedural vote on the measure will be postponed until after the Fourth of July recess.
However, the call was made after it became clear that Senate Republicans could not muster 50-votes needed for passage.

Posted in American Health Care ACt, Donald Trump, Health Care, Obamacare, Obamacare repeal, Politics, President Donald Trump, Repeal and Replace, Trump

June 25th, 2017 by Staff Writer

On Thursday, Senate Republicans released their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Mostly crafted behind closed doors, there’s much in the massive bill that health care experts and members of Congress need to learn about the legislation, but even if it is assumed the majority of the bill will be an improvement on Obamacare, which has unquestionably failed to deliver quality health insurance at reasonable prices, a few key provisions in the Senate bill could prove disastrous for families, health insurance companies, and, eventually, even the Republican Party.

Since the Affordable Care Act was rammed through Congress in 2010, Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have been promising to replace the law with legislation that would halt or reverse skyrocketing health insurance premiums and deductibles. BCRA proponents claim it will accomplish this goal by cutting taxes, reducing regulations, and providing states with the ability to obtain waivers to opt out of costly mandates, among other provisions.

While it’s likely these reforms would on their own help to fix some of the defects of the current system, they don’t solve Obamacare’s fatal flaws: the preexisting conditions clause and community-rating requirements. In fact, one important change in the Senate’s bill would likely make those significant problems much worse.

Like in the House’s American Health Care Act, the Senate bill would not allow states to pass laws allowing health insurance companies to deny coverage to anyone who applies, including uninsured applicants with costly preexisting conditions. Unlike the House bill, the BCRA also forces states to mandate health insurance companies charge the same prices to people applying for coverage, regardless of health status, a concept called community rating. The House bill permitted states to apply for waivers that would have allowed insurance companies to charge more under certain conditions.

Requiring health insurance companies to accept all people, regardless of their health status, and mandating that they charge the same amount of money for identical coverage disincentivizes healthy consumers, especially young people, from buying health insurance, because under such a scheme, healthy people have very little reason to purchase insurance until they actually need it. These provisions, which were first ushered in under Obamacare, effectively turned “insurance” into nothing more than a health insurance giveaway for many irresponsible consumers, and insured families and individuals ended up footing the bill by paying increasingly higher premiums and deductibles.

In their attempt to limit the number of people who might abuse these policies, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats created the wildly unpopular individual mandate, which forced consumers to purchase qualified health insurance plans or else pay a government-imposed fine, which is now $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher.

In addition to avoiding huge cost increases caused by people waiting to get sick before buying insurance, the penalty was also thought to be an important part of encouraging young healthy people, who don’t use many benefits, to buy into the health insurance market, helping to offset the high costs associated with consumers buying insurance with preexisting conditions. However, the plan didn’t work nearly as well as the ACA’s proponents said it would. Premiums and deductibles were so high that many healthy people chose to pay the penalty to save money or invested in cheaper alternatives, such as health care sharing ministries.

The BCRA could prove to be disastrous because not only does it continue the preexisting conditions and community ratings requirements, it also eliminates the individual mandate, one of the few Obamacare provisions incentivizing healthy people to buy health insurance.

Absent additional legislative changes providing solutions to these problems, it’s likely the Better Care Reconciliation Act will make health insurance even more expensive than it is now, throwing gasoline on the Obamacare fire and providing an escape hatch to Democrats eager to flee Obamacare’s immense shadow.

Posted in AHCA, Commentary, Donald Trump, Health Care, Mitch McConnell, Politics

June 25th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) heavily criticized Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate minority leader, for their dramatic attacks on the Republican Senate leadership’s health care bill.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the Republican leadership’s plan to replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. The bill, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would scale back numerous Obamacare mandates, regulations and taxes, but would keep much of the basic framework in place.

Within 30 minutes of the 142-page bill being released, Schumer, who had accused Republicans of keeping the bill a secret as recently as the day before its release, hammered the legislation, calling it “meaner” than the legislation passed in the House of Representatives in May, the American Health Care Act.

“This #Trumpcare bill strips away protections from the ppl [sic] who need them most in order to give a tax break to those who need it least,” Schumer wrote on Twitter almost immediately after the bill was released.

“Frankly, every senior in America should read the fine print of this #Trumpcare bill; it looks like American seniors could be paying WAY more,” Schumer added, along with several other critical posts.

Schumer also said the bill is “meaner” than the AHCA and “heartless.”

This morning the @SenateGOP released their #HealthcareBill – it proves #Trumpcare won’t put Americans’ health first. pic.twitter.com/riN6m0igss

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 22, 2017

Not to be outdone by her fellow Democrats, Clinton said on Friday the Republicans are now the “death party.”

“Forget death panels,” Clinton wrote on Twitter. “If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.”

Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party. https://t.co/jCStfOaBjy

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 23, 2017

On Saturday, Huckabee appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” where he criticized Clinton, Schumer and other Democrats for attacking the health care bill.

Huckabee said Clinton’s rhetoric makes the parties “look silly” and shows “they don’t have an argument.”

“And when rhetoric goes to that level, I think it makes the parties look silly,” Huckabee said. “It sort of reveals they don’t have an argument, they can’t discuss the merits of a piece of legislation or a proposal, so they’re reduced to the most childish form of political rhetoric, which is to say, ‘You’re a bad person. You’re going to kill somebody.’ It’s so over the top; it’s just absurd.”

Huckabee said Schumer’s response was “carefully crafted” and that it was “amazing” he released such a negative statement so quickly after the bill’s release.

“I think the guy is clairvoyant,” Huckabee quipped.

“The curtain needs to come down on this theater, because the play is getting tiresome,” Huckabee added.

Watch the latest video at <a href=”//video.foxnews.com”>video.foxnews.com</a>

Posted in AHCA, Chuck Schumer, Health Care, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, Mitch McConnell, Obamacare repeal, Politics

June 24th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton snubbed the call for a bipartisan de-escalation of heated rhetoric and instead tweeted a message calling Republicans the “death party” Friday.

Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party. https://t.co/jCStfOaBjy

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 23, 2017

The tweet read, “Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.”

It appeared to reference the controversy over “death panels” that conservatives feared would be instituted in the Obamacare legislation passed by Democrats. While the media and the left called it hysteria on the part of Republicans, Clinton seems eager to employ even worse rhetoric against the health care bill just released by Senate Republicans.

Her tweet linked to a study by left-wing think tank claiming that their analysis of the CBO scoring of the Republican bill indicated that between 18,100 and 27,700 deaths would result from decreases in health care coverage in 2026.

The study also claimed the Republican bill would result in 217,000 deaths over a decade.

Clinton’s “death party” tweet was met with ire on social media, including that from conservatives who thought it was inappropriate to tweet such an incendiary message after the Scalise shooting.

Beneath contempt. But absolutely mainstream in Democratic politics today. https://t.co/T7gd5JxMS1

— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 23, 2017

2020 Hillary Clinton: “Forget death party. If Republicans win in November, they will sacrifice your children to Satan in the Oval Office.” https://t.co/fHZsQrxOMv

— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) June 23, 2017

Says the woman who had Gaddafi killed and threw his country into chaos (Libya). Now they have open air slave markets thanks to you. https://t.co/sBtX28d4M3

— Lee Junn (@Lee_KGB_Junn) June 23, 2017

That’s weird considering someone from your party literally just tried to murder a bunch of Republicans a week ago… https://t.co/JjbARhLOta

— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) June 23, 2017

Yes PLEASE keep saying that Republicans want everyone to die. That’s really sane rhetoric that I’m sure everyone takes really seriously. https://t.co/9CV8vEL1QY

— Nick McIntyre (@Nick_McIntyre) June 23, 2017

Says the woman who won a Lifetime Achievement Award from an organization that dismembers babies https://t.co/J0uvfsRR6Z

— Daniel Darling (@dandarling) June 23, 2017

OFFICIAL DEATH PARTY THREAD
What are you bringing to the death party?

I’m bringing a map to Wisconsin and a case of Coors Original https://t.co/EfKMyYg2gS

— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) June 23, 2017

Everybody who is not me is literally coming to murder youhttps://t.co/QMuUAMjN3X

— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) June 23, 2017

“Death party” — one week after GOP targeted for assassination, from a party that supports abortion on demand. Media will shrug. https://t.co/XjgQbMJBML

— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) June 23, 2017

Out: It’s time to tone down the rhetoric in Washington. (from last week)

In: The GOP is literally going to kill everyone you’ve ever known! https://t.co/fPF1Zo9XUk

— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) June 23, 2017

The tweet comes just a day after fellow Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts was similarly brutalized on social media over her tone-deaf tweet.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) is still recovering from the nearly lethal shooting. His condition has improved to fair, and he was able to leave the intensive care unit Thursday.

NBC News and Fox News are reporting that Rep. Steve Scalise has been moved out of the intensive care unit as he continues to recover from a gunshot wound.

Posted in American Health Care Bill, Health Care, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Social Media, Twitter, twitter backlash, Twitter reaction

March 27th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Following the embarrassment of pulling the Republican plan to replace Obamacare on Friday just minutes before a full House vote, President Donald Trump vowed via a broadcast message from the Oval Office to let Obamacare “explode” and make Democrats own it.

“So what would be really good with no Democrat support — if the Democrats, when it explodes, which it will soon — if they got together with us and got a real health care bill, I’d be totally open to it. And I think that’s going to happen,” Trump said. “I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own Obamacare. They own it — one hundred percent own it. And this is not a Republican health care. This is not anything but a Democrat health care. And they have Obamacare for a little while longer, until it ceases to exist, which it will at some point in the near future.”

And just remember: This is not our bill. This is their bill. When they all become civilized and get together and try and work out a great health care bill for the people of this country, we’re open to it,” Trump explained. “We’re totally open to it. I want to thank the Republican Party. I want to thank Paul Ryan. He worked very, very hard. I will tell you that. He worked very, very hard.”

Those comments earned the praise of conservative radio host Mark Levin.

On his show Friday, Levin said Trump’s comments were “outstanding” and praised the president for showing “enormous humility.”

“I thought the president’s comments today were actually outstanding.” Levin said. “And he showed enormous humility.”

“In essence, he said that events will reach a point where this will have to be resolved, and when it reaches that point, ‘I’m here,’” Levin explained. “It is the way that Dwight Eisenhower managed. When things reach a certain point, ‘They’ll be knocking on my door and we can figure things out.’”

During his show on Friday, Levin also slammed White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and GOP leadership for trying to push a bad bill.

And on Facebook Friday, Levin blasted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for a failure of leadership.

Listen below:

Posted in Donald Trump, Health Care, Listen, Mark Levin, Media

March 26th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) explained on Fox News Saturday that the attitude of GOP leadership and the White House following their failure to replace Obamacare on Friday is unacceptable.

Detailing how Obamacare has hurt the majority of Americans, especially the elderly, on “Fox and Friends Weekend,” Gohmert said that it appears the GOP leadership’s current strategy is “we’re gonna hurt our elderly folks a little more, but don’t worry.”

Gohmert, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said the GOP Obamacare replacement — which was widely criticised for being a watered down version of Obamacare — was “based on a lie.”

According to Gohmert, this was the lie: “We can’t do what you guys want to do because the parliamentarian won’t allow us to do it. Now, we can’t check with the parliamentarian until we pass the bill in the House, send it to the Senate, and then the parliamentarian can rule.”

“The parliamentarian never rules! That’s a lie!” Gohmert exclaimed.

Gohmert said that the House Freedom Caucus was told that language repealing Obamacare regulations such as the “essential health benefits” could not be included in the House bill because it would endanger the Senate’s ability to pass it with a 51-vote simple majority. He explained that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said that Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough could rule to strip the bill of those measures before a Senate vote and that’s why they couldn’t be included in the bill.

“But they never checked with the parliamentarian,” Gohmert said. “[Sen.] Mike Lee checked and it was all fine.”

When asked by Fox host Brian Kilmeade if he has lost confidence in Ryan as the GOP leader, Gohmert said he wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know. We have to learn from this disastrous mistake that was based on something that … they told the president repeatedly something that was not true,” Gohmert said.

“This was a bad bill because we read it, we knew what was in it, too many people did not,” he concluded.

Watch Gohmert’s comments below:

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Posted in Fox News, Health Care, Louie Gohmert, Media, Obamacare, watch

March 25th, 2017 by Staff Writer

House Budget Chair Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said Friday evening that she is “disappointed” the Republicans’ health care plan was not able to even make it to a vote.

House Republicans withdrew the contentious American Health Care Act Friday after failing to secure enough votes to pass it.

“I’m disappointed that we were not able to move forward with today’s vote as the American Health Care Act was a good first step to repealing Obamacare and creating a patient-covered health care system,” Black said in a statement Friday provided to TheBlaze.

The Tennessee lawmaker and former nurse told TheBlaze just last week that she viewed part of her “responsibility” as Budget chair to ensure other House Republicans understood just what the health care legislation entailed.

The AHCA was adamantly opposed by members of the House Freedom Caucus which argued that the bill did not go far enough with provision its members said are important to conservatives.

“It’s critical that Republicans come together on this issue to find real solutions because Obamacare is doing serious damage to the people of my district,” Black said Friday. “I remain committed to repealing Obamacare and pushing for solutions that lower costs, increase access and put patients back in charge of their health care.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also addressed the major setback Friday afternoon in a press conference, in which he said he was still “really proud” of the bill which Republicans put forth.

“We came really close today, but we came up short,” Ryan said.

In a phone call with the Washington Post’s Robert Costa Friday, President Donald Trump handed down heavy blame on House Democrats for the AHCA’s failure – despite opposition from conservative lawmakers as well.

Trump contended that Democrats will eventually want to work with him to change the Affordable Care Act — dubbed Obamacare.

“As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal,” Trump told the Washington Post. “And they will come to us; we won’t have to come to them.”

“I’ll fix it as it explodes,” Trump added. “They’re going to come to ask for help. They’re going to have to. Here’s the good news: Health care is now totally the property of the Democrats.”

Posted in American Health Care ACt, Business, Diane Black, Donald Trump, Health Care, Paul Ryan

March 23rd, 2017 by Staff Writer

The GOP’s battle with the Obamacare repeal act has been an up and down struggle between not just Democrats, but itself.

However, many doctors have taken to operating outside of the bounds of control from both the government, and insurance companies. It’s called “direct primary care,” and it allows doctors to establish clinics that run solely on the loyalty of their patients.

The way these clinics work is that a doctor – or group of doctors – will create a clinic that focuses on primary care, and charges its customers a monthly fee that covers all of the basic medical necessities. This allows doctors to charge far less for not just tests and checkups, but medications as well. The best part? No insurance is required. A $50 monthly fee is all it takes.

This is good for those who do not want to pay the exorbitant amounts for co-pays or insurance. Many, especially those without greater medical needs, may turn to direct primary care as a more cost-effective way to deal with basic care such as blood work, check-ups, or prescriptions, without the red tape involved with insurance plans.

According to Business Insider, doctors are saying that getting these clinics started isn’t cheap, and they’re not making as much as they normally would in regular hospitals, however the effect of having a more direct relationship with their patients – and their wallet – gives the doctors more time to focus on them.

Going into direct primary care often means ditching the reliability of a salary. Because the practice relies on membership fees, the more patients who sign on, the more money that can be made. Practices cap their number of patients at anywhere from 300 to 1,000.

And it’s not exactly cheap to get started. Dr. Vance Lassey, who runs Holton Direct Care in Holton, Kansas, took out a loan to start his practice and spent time renovating a 750-square-foot space he rented from a friend at an industrial park. He picked up a lot of old equipment from a nearby nonprofit hospital and surplus stores. For his in-house pharmacy, Lassey took mismatched cabinets and refinished them so they matched.

Keeping his costs low helped Lassey break even within four months of opening his practice. Still, he’s not earning as much as he used to when he worked at a hospital and had only five to 10 minutes with a patient — a lot less time than he gets to spend with his patients now.

“I am making a profit, I have more free time, and I can practice properly,” he said. “It’s worth it to me.”

 

As the practice gains steam, politicians have been looking into it. As it stands, the consensus seems to be getting positive reactions on all sides of the aisle.

Libertarians see direct primary care as a free-market solution to healthcare, and legislation at the state level has gained support from Democrats and Republicans alike. And direct primary care is on the radar of Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who while he was a member of Congress introduced a plan that would allow HSA funds to pay for direct primary care.

It should be noted that this kind of practice should be confused with actual insurance. Any major accidents or medical needs that would be outside the ability of the clinic would still require the attention of a regular hospital with the use of your insurance plan. However, these clinics allow those with insurance to get around large copays.

As it stands, the practice of direct primary care is still evolving in both the clinics, and in Washington, but in the muck and mire of healthcare politics, the free market is managing to find a way to break new ground in the field with these doctors who are willing to take a chance with this capitalist approach.

Posted in Direct Primary Care, Health, Health Care, Health insurance, Obamacare

March 20th, 2017 by Staff Writer

California Sen. Kamala Harris (D) took to her Twitter account Saturday to share her view that health care is not a “privilege” but rather a “right.”

“Here’s what I believe: health care is a right, not a privilege. RT if you agree,” she tweeted.

Here’s what I believe: health care is a right, not a privilege. RT if you agree.

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) March 18, 2017

The tweet comes as the nation continues to debate which direction the health care system in America should go. Republicans recently introduced a bill to replace Obamacare. They have pledged to replace Obamacare with a market-based solution.

Democrats, on the other hand, continue to push for a health care system similar to the socialist systems found in Europe. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) regularly pushed for a single-payer, Medicare-like system.

Still, though, health care is not a legal right in America, like it is in many other first world countries. That’s mostly because simply declaring it a right doesn’t solve the problem of who would pay for everyone to have the care — since health care, after all, costs money.

Harris’ constituents were quick to inform her of that fact on Twitter:

@KamalaHarris @SarahThyre are you going to pay for it? I will send you the bill to my right

— Amy Tarkanian (@MrsT106) March 19, 2017

Guns are in the Bill of Rights, but they aren’t one. The right to have others pay for your health care is not, but is a right? @KamalaHarris

— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) March 19, 2017

@KamalaHarris I mean, you also think infrastructure spending is a right so….

— Brandon Whitehill (@bwhitehill27) March 18, 2017

@KamalaHarris @drobinsonjd What kind of health care? How much? Define the “right.” And a right as against whom? States? Feds?

— acaseth (@acasethchandler) March 18, 2017

Health care is between an individual and her doctor. You have no right to take my money go pay for your “right”.@KamalaHarris

— PBS=Pravda Guerrilla (@FoundersSeceded) March 19, 2017

@KamalaHarris Everyone has “the right” to purchase health care. You don’t have the “privilege” of forcing me to pay for YOURS.

— CK (@grannygethealth) March 19, 2017

@KamalaHarris Any constitutional basis for your belief about the right of health care?

— Arqahn (@Arqahn) March 18, 2017

@KamalaHarris @christineyhsd I believe housing is a right, & large bank accounts. How can I get ppl to support my belief? Where’s it end?

— Brent Monday (@Global_Occupant) March 18, 2017

@KamalaHarris @MDaware Please explain who should pay for this right. Or must I provide it for free?

— Pam Bensen, MD (@icd10MD) March 19, 2017

TheBlaze’s Matt Walsh had just one question for Harris: If health care is a “right,” doesn’t it apply to unborn babies, too?

Are the unborn included in this or nah? https://t.co/V1K8Sbprf5

— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 19, 2017

Posted in Health Care, Kamala Harris, Obamacare, Politics, Twitter

January 19th, 2017 by Staff Writer

Vice President-elect Mike Pence reassured Americans that they should not feel any trepidation about their insurance as President-elect Donald Trump leads Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare in accordance to his campaign promises.

Pence: Obamacare users should have ‘no anxiety’ about losing insurance. “We’re committed to an orderly transition.” https://t.co/YigARz5QeN pic.twitter.com/Ucvbr8VBUi

— ABC News (@ABC) January 19, 2017

In the interview with ABC News, Pence told Martha Raddatz that repealing Obamacare would not be hastily done so as to keep as many Americans insured as possible.

Any American who has insurance today, through an ‘Obamacare’ exchange or through the Obama plan itself, should have no anxiety about losing their insurance. We’re committed to an orderly transition, to a new and better health insurance set of reforms that are going to work for every American, just like the president-elect said.

Pence’s assurance bears a striking resemblance to soon-to-be former President Obama’s repeated promise to Americans that “if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance” on the way to passing Obamacare.

Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare has experienced some stumbling blocks and glitches as some Republicans have spoken out against the plan without a replacement for those who might lose insurance because of their actions. The President-elect made the blanket claim Monday that he would provide healthcare insurance for “everybody” in the replacement plan.

Despite some Republicans’ objections, the GOP leadership is moving forward to kill the legislation, with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ken.) at the forefront with his own replacement plan. Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Democrats are vowing to do everything they can to keep Obama’s landmark legislation in power.

Posted in Donald Trump, Health Care, Mike Pence, Obamacare, Obamacare repeal, Politics, President-elect trump, Trump, Trump Transition

October 25th, 2016 by Staff Writer

Obamacare premiums are expected to rise — again.

Following a 7.2 percent uptick in 2016, premiums for the Affordable Care Act are expected to soar by an average of 22 percent in 2017, according to information released Monday by President Barack Obama’s administration.

News of the increase comes after several insurers began raising their prices and reducing their presence on healthcare.gov exchanges in an effort to make up for losses incurred by taking on unhealthy patients.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally-run online market, the Department of Health and Human Services reported. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less. Fox example, in Arizona, premiums for the benchmark plan will increase by 116 percent next year, from $196 to $422.

Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will only have plans from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles.

“Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period,” said Larry Levitt, who tracks the health care law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

For many, though, there is at least some solace. According to the White House, roughly 85 percent of Obamacare enrollees will qualify for federal subsidies, which can bring premiums to less than 10 percent of their income. Of course, taking such subsidies will require consumers be willing to switch to cheaper plans with spottier coverage.

Obama administration officials claim 77 percent of consumers will be able to find a plan that costs less than $100 per month after subsidies.

“Relatively few people will feel the premium increases, but everyone will hear about them,” Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, told CNN. “That will have an effect on the perception of the program.”

Dwindling choice is another problem factor.

The total number of HealthCare.gov insurers will drop from 232 this year to 167 in 2017, a loss of 28 percent. (Insurers are counted multiple times if they offer coverage in more than one state. So Aetna, for example, would count once in each state that it participated in.)

Switching insurers may not be simple for patients with chronic conditions.

While many carriers are offering a choice of plan designs, most use a single prescription formulary and physician network across all their products, Caroline Pearson, senior vice president of Avalere Health, explained. “So, enrollees may need to change doctors or drugs when they switch insurers,” she said.

Approximately 10.4 million people were enrolled in Obamacare plans as of June 30, the administration announced, and it is expecting to see the that number increase to 11.4 million in 2017.

The number of uninsured Americans has decreased to 8.6 percent, a record low.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Posted in Barack Obama, Health Care, Obamacare, Politics

March 13th, 2016 by Staff Writer

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton took aim at rival Bernie Sanders’ record on healthcare reform during a campaign rally in St. Louis on Saturday. However, it doesn’t appear the former secretary of state had her facts straight.

Clinton claimed that Sanders, who has made healthcare reform a key tenet of his presidential campaign, has not always supported the issue. Clinton said she has “a little chuckle to myself” when she thinks about today’s focus on healthcare policy.

“I don’t know,” Clinton said. “Where was he when I was trying to get healthcare in ’93 and ’94?”

That comment quickly backfired when the answer made its way to Twitter. Ironically, Sanders was standing right behind Clinton when she delivered a 1994 press conference on the issue of healthcare reform.

“Literally, standing right behind her,” Sanders spokesman Mike Casca tweeted along with a photo from the presser showing Sanders standing directly behind the then-first lady as she spoke about the White House’s proposed plan to overhaul healthcare.

literally standing right behind her. https://t.co/B2cvs4UNth https://t.co/oVA6WccMmZ pic.twitter.com/QeKLnBG337

— mike casca (@cascamike) March 12, 2016

But the Clinton campaign didn’t let Casca go without a fight. A spokeswoman for the front-runner’s campaign issued a response, saying, “Exactly, he was standing behind her.”

“She was out in front,” Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri added.

Shooting back at Palmieri, Casca then shared a 1993 image of Sanders and Clinton with a written message from the former first lady: “Thanks for your commitment to real healthcare access for all Americans.”

“Secretary Clinton and Bernie are sitting next to each other in this photo,” Casca tweeted. “What does it all mean, [Palmieri]?!”

secretary clinton and bernie are sitting next to each other in this photo. what does it all mean, @jmpalmieri?! pic.twitter.com/XUQpF1uEjk

— mike casca (@cascamike) March 12, 2016

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Posted in Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2016, Health Care, Hillary Clinton, Politics

January 18th, 2016 by Staff Writer

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Vowing to achieve universal health care, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders released a sweeping proposal hours before Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate to create a new single-payer health care system in the United States paid for by a variety of higher taxes.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the First in the South Dinner at the Charleston Mariott Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the First in the South Dinner at the Charleston Mariott Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan was poised to play a starring role in the final Democratic debate before the leadoff Iowa caucuses and came as rival Hillary Clinton has ramped up her critique of Sanders’ health care plans.

Clinton has pressed Sanders for details on whether middle-class families would face a higher tax burden under his plan, which she has warned would undermine President Barack Obama’s signature health care overhaul.

Her campaign did not immediately comment on his proposal, which was released a little more than two hours before the debate.

Sanders’ campaign said his system would provide health care coverage to all Americans, eliminate co-pays and deductibles and bring health care spending under control.

“Universal health care is an idea that has been supported in the United States by Democratic presidents going back to Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman,” Sanders said in a statement. “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.”

His campaign said the plan would cost $1.38 trillion a year, but would save $6 trillion over the next decade compared to the current health care system, citing an analysis by Gerald Friedman, an economist at University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

But much of the cost would be paid for through a 6.2 percent payroll tax paid by employers and a 2.2 percent “health care premium” on workers. It also relies on taxing capital gains and dividends on families earning more than $250,000 a year, eliminate deductions for wealthy Americans and raising the estate tax.

The plan would also raise income taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 a year, including a top tax rate of 52 percent for those earning $10 million annually or more.

While Sanders’ proposal is similar to the single-payer health care plan that he has introduced nearly a dozen times since joining Congress in 1991, it is a reversal of his campaign rhetoric.

In December, he promised to raise taxes on the middle class only to pay for a plan to provide paid family leave. His other programs, like tuition-free college and health care, would be paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy.

“I think it is appropriate to ask the wealthy and large corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes,” he said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

Some liberal activists said Sanders’ plan, like other federal programs such as Social Security, would deliver a better value for low and middle income taxpayers.

“If you had a universal health care plan people wouldn’t have to pay premiums. They would gain far more than they would shell out in taxes,” said Roger Hickey, a co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. “Social Security wouldn’t have existed if FDR had said, ‘I’m not going to raise anyone’s taxes.’”

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Posted in Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2016, Health Care, Politics

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