Legislation offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered healthcare reform would save taxpayers nearly $2.34 trillion over the next 10 years, according to an independent analysis by a former Congressional Budget Office director.
The Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 2300, would provide Americans with tax incentives for maintaining health insurance coverage, improve access to health savings accounts (HSAs), reform Medicare and Medicaid, and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. It would also guarantee coverage for roughly 1% of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as director of the CBO from 2003 to 2005, and Stephen Parente estimated that these reforms will reduce health insurance premiums almost across the board and reduce the budget deficit by nearly $2.34 trillion in the 10-year budget window from 2014 to 2023.
“H.R. 2300 would lead to smaller premium increases on average when compared to current law. The largest reductions would occur in narrow network and high PPO insurance products,” wrote Holtz-Eakin and Parente at the American Action Forum.
“The number of insured individuals would increase by 29 percent in 2016, a smaller net increase than current law by 3 percentage points. Over ten years, H.R. 2300 would yield a net savings of $2,337 billion,” they added.
The Obama Administration is taking the study of behavioral economics and government paternalism to a new level by setting up a task force to come up with ways to determine how best to influence or nudge Americans to make decisions of which it approves, via Richard Williams at Politico Magazine:
Despite voting heavily for him in 2008 and 2012, Millennials — voters between the ages of 18 and 29 — have increasingly become disenfranchised with President Obama. This began early in the summer with the coverage of the NSA’s domestic surveillance and has worsened thanks to the disastrous Obamacare rollout.
But slide, it seems, is much worse than most standard surveys have shown. Ron Fournier of the National Journal broke down the results of a recent Harvard University poll which found that not only do Millennials disapprove of President Obama, but 52% would vote to recall him (emphasis added):
Obama’s approval rating among young Americans is just 41 percent, down 11 points from a year ago, and now tracking with all adults. While 55 percent said they voted for Obama in 2012, only 46 percent said they would do so again.
When asked if they could choose to recall various elected officials, 45 percent of all Millennials said they would oust their member of Congress, 52 percent replied “all members of Congress,” and 47 percent said they would recall Obama. The recall-Obama figure was even higher among the youngest Millennials, ages 18-24, at 52 percent.
While there is no provision for a public recall of U.S. presidents, the poll question revealed just how far Obama has fallen in the eyes of young Americans.
Uhhhh. President Obama, call your office because…wow.
From time to time, gun rights advocates find themselves in a discussion of the Second Amendment with someone who claims to be a military veteran that supports gun control. Most of the time, it’s easy to dismiss these people as pretenders or whatever, though military service doesn’t make one automatically pro-gun.
That’s the case with Lt. Col. Robert Bateman in a piece over at Esquire:
People, it is time to talk about guns.
My entire adult life has been dedicated to the deliberate management of violence. There are no two ways around that fact. My job, at the end of the day, is about killing. I orchestrate violence.
I am not proud of that fact. Indeed, I am often torn-up by the realization that not only is this my job, but that I am really good at my job. But my profession is about directed violence on behalf of the nation. What is happening inside our country is random and disgusting, and living here in England I am at a complete loss as to how to explain this at all. In 2011 the number of gun deaths in the United States was 10.3 per 100,000 citizens. In 2010 that statistic in the UK was 0.25. And do not even try to tell me that the British are not as inclined to violence or that their culture is so different from ours that this difference makes sense. I can say nothing when my British officers ask me about these things, because it is the law.
Bateman makes his desire for gun control amply clear throughout the rest of the piece, yet he manages to make Army officers as a whole look like complete and total idiots. After all, he can’t understand basic sentence structure:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is trying to defend President Barack Obama’s infamous, broken promise that Americans could keep their health plans under Obamacare. But his defense is, well, confused and dishonest, to say the least.
“Remember what the President said — ‘if you like your insurance, you can keep it’ — there is nobody in America that has the same insurance that they had when he said this. We’ve had three different years, policies are only for one year,” said Reid in an appearance on Las Vegas-based KSNV.
“I still go back and say what I said earlier. What [President Obama] said was true. If you want to keep the insurance you have you can keep it, the problem is we did not put into effect that way,” he noted later. “There’s a lot of administrative things kicked in, and there’ve been three changes in anyone’s policy since then. It’s not the same policy.”
Here’s the thing, Reid is both right and wrong, but together, what he’s saying doesn’t add up to anything that can be considered as a coherent, honest response to the five million canceled health plans caused by Obamacare regulations.
Americans for Prosperity, a conservative activist group, has unveiled a new video taken aim at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over a promise she made in 2009 that Americans could keep their health plans under Obamacare, similar to the promise made by President Obama on some three-dozen occasions.
The video plays off an awkward segment last month on Meet the Press in which Pelosi, who served as Speaker of the House when the law was passed, was asked the about her 2010 promise amid reports of millions of health insurance cancellations caused by Obamacare. The blank-faced California Democrat resorted to talking points, but the host, David Gregory didn’t let up.
Here’s the video from Americans for Prosperity, which also emphasizes Pelosi’s comment that “Democrats stand tall” in support of Obamacare. That’ll be something to keep in mind as voters approach the mid-term election:
In a speech on Tuesday, part of his perpetual campaign, President Obama reached out to Millennials, who have grown weary of him, in hopes that they will enroll in a government-approved health plans on the Obamacare exchanges. But he also, strangely, urged bartenders to host happy hours to promote Obamacare:
During today’s White House Youth Summit, President Obama called on young people to do whatever they can to promote his signature health care law — including plying their customers with cheap booze.
“If you are a bartender, have a happy hour,” Obama said as the crowd laughed. “And also probably get health insurance because a lot of people don’t have it.”
“[The] bottom line is that I’m going to need you, the country needs you,” Obama said, reminding them that their friends and peers might not know the benefits of Obamacare.
An “Obamacare Beer Hall Putsch,” if you will, may sound like a good idea to promote the law, but President Obama must not have worked in the service industry. Many, maybe even most, restaurant owners and managers discourage servers from discussing any sort of political issues with guests because of the possibility of an incident that could hurt them in the community.
From the “Not-So-Breaking News” file comes a report from The New York Times noting that health plans available through the state and federal Obamacare exchanges have offset insurance premiums with higher annual deductibles, hiding the true cost of health coverage and leaving many Americans who purchase insurance on the exchanges with greater out-of-pocket costs:
For policies offered in the federal exchange, as in many states, the annual deductible often tops $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple.
Insurers devised the new policies on the assumption that consumers would pick a plan based mainly on price, as reflected in the premium. But insurance plans with lower premiums generally have higher deductibles.
In El Paso, Tex., for example, for a husband and wife both age 35, one of the cheapest plans on the federal exchange, offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has a premium less than $300 a month, but the annual deductible is more than $12,000. For a 45-year-old couple seeking insurance on the federal exchange in Saginaw, Mich., a policy with a premium of $515 a month has a deductible of $10,000.
By contrast, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible in employer-sponsored health plans is $1,135.
“Deductibles for many plans in the insurance exchanges are pretty high,” said Stan Dorn, a health policy expert at the Urban Institute. “These plans are more generous than what’s prevalent in the current individual insurance market, but significantly less generous than most employer-sponsored insurance.”
At virtually every turn over the last three-plus years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has protected Obamacare from Republican attempts to repeal, delay or defund the law. But despite his stubborn support this poorly conceived law, which has become politically toxic to vulnerable Senate Democrats, Reid has exempted some of his staffers from Obamacare:
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare’s architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law’s new exchanges.
In September, Reid told reporters, “Let’s stop these really juvenile political games — the one dealing with health care for senators and House members and our staff. We are going to be part of exchanges, that’s what the law says and we’ll be part of that.”
That’s true. Reid and his personal staff will buy insurance through the exchange.
But it’s also true that the law lets lawmakers decide if their committee and leadership staffers hold on to their federal employee insurance plans, an option Reid has exercised.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson emphasized, “We are just following the law.”
TL;DR: Mitch McConnell feels threatened by principled conservatives and feels that they’re ruining the “Republican brand” by challenging him and other establishment Republicans. But really, the “Republican brand” is in shambles, and it’s time to re-define that brand to return to small-government principles.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t a happy camper these days. He’s locked in both a contentious primary and general election fight, losing rule battles against his Democratic counterpart, and has to contend with some members of his own party who are constantly willing to stand on principle, rather than the party line.
The rise of the Tea Party movement and conservative organizations have created havoc for McConnell and Republican leadership in the chamber, who enjoyed mostly distant rumblings from the political right in the past. But over the last few months, there has been a tiff between the Kentucky Republican and the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) that has now boiled over into the public.