Two Republican senators announced their opposition to the “Better Care Reconciliation Act,” the Senate healthcare bill to repeal and replace the “Affordable Health Care Act,” known as ObamaCare, that has resulted in fewer options and premium increases across the board, including a 116 percent increase in premiums in Arizona last year. On average, premiums have doubled.
Last night, Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted their opposition to the Senate Republicans’ proposal.
After 7 and a half years of campaigning and promising “repeal and replace” of ObamaCare, the fate of that promise is hanging in the balance despite having majorities in both houses of Congress and a Republican president who is arguably working harder than anyone to negotiate a better healthcare deal for Americans while attempting to unify moderates and conservatives.
President Donald J. Trump tweeted Monday night: “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!”
Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!
This may be the only sensible option at this point.
Senate Republicans passed a bill in December 2015 to repeal most of ObamaCare in a 52-47 vote. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), who also opposes the BCRA, and then-Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) voted “no” with the Democrats – the only two Republicans who opposed the bill that was dead on arrival when it hit former-President Barack Obama’s desk in the Oval Office.
On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted: “With only a very small majority, the Republicans in the House & Senate need more victories next year since Dems totally obstruct, no votes!”
With only a very small majority, the Republicans in the House & Senate need more victories next year since Dems totally obstruct, no votes!
I’m not sure the GOP deserves victories, though. While Democrats’ partisan, anti-Trump obstruction is impeding progress and sets a standard of unprecedented division and so-called “resistance,” Republicans have been weak in passing the legislative agenda that was voted for on November 8, 2016.
That is why “Drain the Swamp” was a message that resonated through the heartland of America with Americans frustrated over the gridlock in Washington and broken campaign promises. Americans deserve better from their government officials. The fact remains, the only “politician” who is not receiving funds and lobbying from special interests is the President.
The Chief Executive also tweeted Tuesday in favor of changing the Senate rules to pass healthcare legislation.
The Senate must go to a 51 vote majority instead of current 60 votes. Even parts of full Repeal need 60. 8 Dems control Senate. Crazy!
Using the so-called “nuclear option” will hurt Republicans, in my opinion, if and when Democrats control Congress in the future.
The nuclear option was first invoked by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in 2013 to expedite the confirmations of Obama’s judiciary nominees. In April of this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) used it to the Republicans’ advantage in confirming Constitutionalist Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Democrats are good at passing legislation and moving the country left through judiciary confirmations and laws. Republicans are divided among the moderate and conservative facets of the Party. It is incumbent upon the GOP to use the rules of the Senate, as is, to do their jobs that they were voted to perform by the citizens of the United States.
On the Senate floor Tuesday morning, McConnell said the Senate will vote on the repeal legislation from 2015. “President Obama vetoed it then. President Trump will sign it now.”
The U.S. Government should have never been in the business of healthcare. At this point, the most viable option for the GOP would be to repeal the mess of ObamaCare and alleviate middle class Americans and small business owners of the outrageous taxes and mandates.
Then, the GOP should work on small bills to fix minor problems, not one-size-fits-all legislation that moves us towards socialist, single-payer healthcare, supported by Democrats, that would undoubtedly result in longer wait times than veterans experience at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Inaction is not an option. Congress needs to step up. Congress needs to do their job – and they need to do it now. pic.twitter.com/d8nBFIMsp7
The free market, not politicians driven by special interests, should dictate healthcare costs through competition, health savings accounts and individual and family choices.
Featured Image: President Donald Trump, flanked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentiucky, left, and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, speaks during a meeting with House and Senate leadership on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at The White House in Washington, D.C. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Most people have seen the headlines that the Congressional Budget Office is predicting 22 million more uninsured by 2026 if the Senate health bill passes into law in its current form.
The CBO also reports that the bill would lower premiums and cut $321 billion from the federal budget deficit. The CBO had projected that the American Health Care Act, passed by the House, would cut the deficit by $119 billion.
The report also says the Senate GOP ObamaCare repeal and replace plan will increase Medicaid spending by $71 billion over the next 10 years. ObamaCare calls for a $231 billion spending hike.
This is the free market and a smaller, less intervening government at work. People who don’t want health insurance, will not be forced to pay for healthcare (at their own peril) under the “Better Care” plan because the individual and employer ObamaCare mandates are removed.
The CBO was also wrong when it predicted 22 million people would be on the ObamaCare exchanges by 2016; only 10 million Americans were enrolled. People would rather pay the penalty than be forced to pay for health insurance they couldn’t afford with rising costs each year.
The CBO projected that the ACA Medicaid expansion would be much smaller and less expensive than it has turned out to be.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the top three mandatory spending items, accounting for over $1.87 trillion combined, which is roughly 48 percent of the United States federal budget. With a national debt of over $19.9 trillion, these government programs are not sustainable.
Good, do we want people dependent on Medicaid? It's not sustainable as it is a top 3 budget item in an over $19.9 trillion national debt https://t.co/yXRFLrkwwn
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid must be reformed and its growth slowed (like the Senate healthcare plan does) or the entitlement programs will not exist for future generations.
No Cuts to Medicaid:
What Republicans and President Donald Trump must do a better job of is communication and messaging about its healthcare bill. They need to be transparent and honest about its plans and discuss the reasons why they believe in certain policies that are fiscally responsible while the President touts “heart.” Otherwise, Americans, unlike this reporter, who don’t read the bill will have a grasp on the GOP’s intentions to improve the failing healthcare system in the U.S. with skyrocketing costs and poor coverage throughout the nation. (This is why socialism doesn’t work.)
Democrats like self-proclaimed Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, “Thousands of our fellow Americans every single year will die.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “Many more people, millions, hundreds of thousands of people will die if this bill passes.”
And, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) piled on with erroneous numbers, saying, “One to 2,000 people will die if you cut 750,000 people from Medicaid. So that means you’re killing one to 2,000 — killing them.”
The left’s scare tactics continue with vile and outrageous rhetoric that could be seen as a call to action following the politically-motivated terrorist attack against Republican lawmakers at the Congressional baseball field that seriously injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), but the Democrat bullet points are not based on fact.
Former White House Press Secretary for President George W. Bush’s first term Ari Fleischer explained Medicaid policy in the Senate GOP bill best in a series of Tweets on Sunday:
My 1st job on the Hill was in '83. The Fed gvt spent $19 billion on Medicaid that year. When I was at the WH in '01, we spent $129 billion.
Medicaid has vastly increased as a percentage of government spending. In 1986, Medicaid accounted for 2.5 percent of all government spending. At the end of 2016, Medicaid accounted for 9.6 percent of the budget with a deficit of over $19 trillion.
There are also people receiving medicaid who shouldn’t and there is plenty of waste, fraud and abuse of big government bureaucracy. Moving in the right direction in my eyes. Of course, it’s not perfect, but it’s much better than ObamaCare.
Featured Image of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) answering media questions courtesy of the Associated Press.
The law repairs the Department of Veterans Affairs government agency that provides health care and other services to millions of U.S. veterans. The bill was prompted by a scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center where some veterans died waiting for care while on secret wait lists and some were prescribed the wrong medications.
A VA accountability measure passed the House in 2014 but it met its fate in the Senate while former-President Barack Obama threatened to veto the bill if it went to his desk, siding with the unions that represent VA employees.
Pete Hegseth, a U.S. Army veteran and co-host of Fox News Channel’s top-rated morning show “Fox & Friends,” collaborated on the VA accountability bill over several years to ensure veterans receive the care they deserve without lengthy weight times and poor health care caused by government bureaucracy.
What’s In the Law:
The legislation would cut the 30-day advance notice to 10 days. It advances the appeals process that employees use to appeal any disciplinary action against them. It also reduces the evidentiary standards required to terminate an employee and it allows the VA secretary to recoup bonuses and relocation expenses in certain situations.
“Under the current disciplinary process, it takes an average 51 days to remove an employee, largely due to a 30-day notice period,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin.
It also allows the VA secretary to directly appoint directors to lead VA hospitals and integrated service networks, instead of going through lengthy hiring processes. There are approximately 350,000 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
True to the law’s name, it will give protection to employees who disclose poor practices and criminal activity at VA hospitals.
On March 30, Fox News reported on retaliation at the Missouri VA in which Dr. Dale Klein was punished for speaking out about long wait times at the VA hospital. Dr. Klein, a highly rated pain management specialist at the Southeast Missouri John J. Pershing VA, is being paid $250,000 a year to sit in his office and do nothing. The government prevented him from seeing veteran patients in need after serving our country because the doctor revealed sinful practices at the Missouri VA.
Stars and Stripes published a story on June 21 about U.S. Army Veteran Mike Verardo who lost a leg and an arm in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2010. After receiving treatment at military hospitals, which included over 100 surgeries, he returned home in 2013, but “waited 57 days for his prosthetic to be repaired, with no backup, and even longer for a neurological appointment.”
Sergeant Verardo and his wife, Sarah, were present for Friday’s signing at The White House and was introduced by Secretary Shulkin. Verardo shared his emotional story at the East Room podium and thanked President Trump for his leadership in listening and acting on veterans’ needs. Verardo criticized the Obama Administration for turning a blind eye to soldiers who returned to the U.S.
President Trump gave Mr. Verardo the pen he used to sign the bill into law.
The Verardos sat in Mr. Trump’s VIP box with the Trump family during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July. The New York Times featured Verardo in a story about vets who supported Trump for president.
In 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a study that covered suicides from 1999 to 2010, which showed that roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes. Some sources suggest that this rate may be undercounting suicides.
In 2014, an average of 20 veterans died from suicide each day. 6 of the 20 were users of VA services, according to Veterans Affairs. Vets accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults in 2014, while veterans constituted 8.5 percent of the U.S. population. In 2010, Veterans accounted for 22 percent of all deaths from suicide and 9.7 percent of the population.
There is continued evidence of high burden of suicide among middle-aged and older adult veterans. In 2014, approximately 65 percent of all vets who died from suicide were aged 50 years or older. There’s also a correlation between age of veterans and homelessness that is on the rise.
President Trump Keeps His Promise:
As a candidate, Mr. Trump promised to fire VA employees “who let our veterans down.” Secretary Shulkin has touted the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act bill.
“So to every veteran who is here with us today, I just want to say two very simple words: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are the warriors and heroes who have won our freedom and we will never forget what you have done for all of us, ever.” – President Donald J. Trump, The White House, June 23, 2017
The bill cleared the House last week by a vote of 368-55, and passed the Senate unanimously by a voice vote.
In April, President Trump signed bipartisan legislation, eliminating an expiration measure enacted by the 2014 Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act. It ensures that veterans do not have to travel long distances to receive care at VA hospitals, and it expands the private-sector health program for vets. It also authorizes the sharing of certain medical records across the governmental and private sector health care systems. Mr. Trump promised that those who serve our country would be able to receive health care at any U.S. hospital – private or public – at the government’s expense and by signing this executive order, President Trump kept that campaign promise.
In June, President Trump approved a measure giving priority for federal grants to those federal and state law enforcement agencies that hire and train veterans.
According to CNN exit polls, veterans voted at a 2-1 ratio for Mr. Trump over Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton. In Ohio, North Carolina and Florida, battleground states rich with military history, several counties voted for Trump at higher numbers than GOP candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney had over former-President Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Featured Image: U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the bill after signing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, on June 23, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images)
Senate Republicans have released their healthcare bill, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.” The GOP planned a vote on Thursday, but they have delayed it until after the Independence Day holiday, because it lacks the votes needed to pass.
Shortly following the news President Donald Trump invited all Senate Republicans to The White House to discuss healthcare legislation and begin negotiation of policy provisions in the bill.
Just came from WH. @realDonaldTrump is open to making bill better. Is Senate leadership?
The Senate plan repeals all ObamaCare taxes in the “most expeditious manner possible,” preserves pre-existing conditions and implements enhanced health savings accounts. It removes the individual and employer mandate. Both the House-passed bill and the Senate proposal would maintain the ability for young people to remain on their parents’ insurances until age 26.
Like the House-passed bill, the Senate maintains that states will have the power to determine coverage of so-called essential benefits based on residents’ needs. The MacArthur Amendment to the House American Health Care Act seeks to allow states to waive certain ObamaCare requirements to “achieve state goals of lower premiums, stable insurance markets, increased enrollment and improved choice of insurance plans.” The Senate dropped the House provision in the AHCA to allow insurers in waiver states to charge more for those with pre-existing conditions.
The Senate bill also focuses on stabilizing the insurance markets that have been in disarray under ObamaCare by spending $15 billion in 2018 and less spending in subsequent years to wean off the Affordable Health Care Act.
The Senate bill would shrink Medicaid slower than the House passed, phasing out the Medicaid expansion by January 1, 2024. The House proposed immediately prohibiting new states from receiving an enhanced federal share for expanding Medicaid and, for states that have already adopted Medicaid expansion, would phase out the federal share by 2020. Under the Senate bill, Medicaid block grants to states to grow more slowly after 2025 than under House bill.
Tax credits exist under both plans. The Senate proposes to base tax credits on age and income whereas the House bill bases tax credits on age only.
Planned Parenthood would be defunded – a big win for conservatives.
The first page of the bill has been published online for the American people. It is expected that the full text will be published after senators are briefed on the details.
The next step will be committee meetings and hearings and a negotiation between the two chambers of Congress that could see some amendments to woo some Democrats and conservative members of the Republican Party.
There are some wonky policy rules that allow for a simple majority in the Senate to pass the bill because it will be done through the budget reconciliation process. However, it has been difficult for Republicans to come to a consensus on a healthcare plan.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) is the fifth and latest Republican to oppose the Senate bill. Heller is the only GOP senator up for re-election in 2018 who represents a state Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) have also come out against the “Better Care” plan in its current form.
Without a Democrat vote, Republicans can only afford to lose 2 votes in the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence can break a tie.
Sen. Paul, a physician, has been outspoken about his disagreements with a moderate health care repeal and replace plan. The former Republican presidential candidate calls it “ObamaCare Lite,” claiming it will not substantially lower healthcare costs for middle class Americans.
On Fox News last Thursday, Sen. Paul said the GOP is may be providing “more subsidies than ObamaCare.”
Democrats are unwilling to work with the GOP to repeal former-President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation.
The House passed an amended version of the AHCA on May 4 with a 217-213 vote. President Trump said last Wednesday night at a “Make America Great Again Rally” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that he told the GOP to add “heart” to the bill.
President Trump was engaged in deliberations that led up to the passage of the AHCA, making phone calls to legislators and negotiating between moderate and conservative Republicans. Mr. Trump hosted a celebratory event for House Republicans at the White House Rose Garden just following the AHCA’s passage.
The Chief Executive is involved directly with Senate Republicans to get a bill passed by next week. That’s a fast turnaround in the higher chamber of Congress.
Estimated premium hikes for 2018 were announced Wednesday – the deadline for insurance companies to decide on participation in ObamaCare. After 2017 increases in premiums and deductibles across the country, including skyrocketing costs of 116 percent in Arizona, premiums will jump double-digits next year. Maryland will see premiums rise 52 percent. Virginia and New York residents will see 2018 ObamaCare premiums growing over 40 percent (multiple insurance company double-digit percentage increases in New York). Other states are proposing over 30 percent increases in individual ObamaCare premiums.
With little to no competition in the healthcare marketplace, 41 percent of counties in the U.S. will have just one insurer option on the marketplace. Some small states only have one or no insurance options.
Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders would not address the specific items in the new Senate bill as it stands, telling reporters at Thursday’s press briefing, “I think [President Trump] wants to bring the stakeholders to the table, have those conversations and we’ll get back to you as we go through that process, but I think right now we’re in a negotiation process.”
President Trump hopes to sign a repeal and replace healthcare bill into law before Congress goes on August recess and then move on to the first major tax reform in 31 years featuring tax cuts for individuals and corporations to stimulate economic growth.
Featured Image: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell courtesy of the Associated Press.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) is in critical condition after being shot in the hip while practicing baseball early Wednesday morning in Alexandria, VA for the next day’s Congressional charity game that is played annually at Nationals Park in the nation’s capital.
MedStar Washington Hospital Center tweeted about Scalise’s updated condition at 2:29 PM ET. Initial reports were that the Louisiana representative was stable.
Rep. Scalise was critically injured and remains in critical condition. The other patient is in good condition.
“This is a result, I believe, of political rhetorical terrorism. That has to stop,” Rep. Davis said.
“We have to have unity in this country. We are the United States of America. We are great,” Davis said. “We have to bind together as Americans, not as Republicans and Democrats.”
Rep. Ron DeSantis, (R-FL), told Fox News as he walked to his car, a man asked him if it was Republicans or Democrats on the baseball field. About 3 minutes later, at about 7:15 AM, the shooting began, DeSantis said. The shooting reportedly lasted about 10 minutes with Congressmen and Congresswomen and staffers taking cover in the first base dugout.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) told Fox News he “felt like I was in Iraq, but without my weapon.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) described, in excruciating detail, his perspective of the harrowing experience on “The Fox News Specialists,” after calling into “Fox & Friends” as the situation unfolded.
Hodgkinson’s Facebook profile’s background photo is a portrait of Sanders and the profile picture states, “Democratic Socialism explained in 3 words: ‘We The People.'”
In one Facebook post, Hodgkinson called Trump a “traitor” and wrote “It’s time to destroy Trump & Co.”
Hodgkinson, who was once arrested for battery, subscribed to a Facebook group called “Terminate the Republican Party,” writing incendiary, vitriolic posts about Republicans.
Partisan Death Threats
Multiple members of Congress say they have received threatening emails and calls on Wednesday including an email to Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) that stated “one down, 216 to go” – a clear reference to the Republican members of Congress who were targeted Wednesday morning.
“Did you NOT expect this?” continued the email sent to the office of Rep. Tenney. “When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before.”
Rep. Tenney’s office reported the email to Capitol Police.
Congressmen and Congresswomen from both sides of the political aisle have said they have received death threats.
Politically-Charged Drivel in the Wake of this Incident is Wrong
Longtime Clinton aide and Democratic strategist Virginia Governor Terry McAullife exploited the assassination attempt to push his gun control agenda.
“There are too many guns on the street. We lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence. I’ve long talked about this; background checks, shutting down gun-show loopholes. That’s not for today’s discussion, but it’s not just about politicians, we worry about this every day for all of our citizens,” said McAullife.
Some liberals have been taking to Twitter in the aftermath calling for stricter gun laws. Illionois, where the shooter is from, has the strictest gun laws in the country and its City of Chicago is home to the most gang-related violence in the U.S.
Virginia: No background checks No licensing No registration No permit req’d for concealed carry of long guns Open carry long guns & handguns
Within moments of the shooting, unhinged liberal activists who claim to be tolerant celebrated the attack on Twitter with some labeling Rep. Scalise as a racist member of the Ku Klux Klan and inappropriately using the opportunity to attack the GOP’s healthcare plan.
So Rep. Steve Scalise, who once spoke at a white supremacist event sponsored by David Duke (google it) was SHOT today in Alexandria.
Other left-wing extremists described the shooting as an act of “karma” because of Rep. Scalise’s support for the National Rifle Association, saying, “The GOP deserves everything it has coming their way.”
I would feel bad for Scalise if he wasn’t a white supremacist. Karma is a bitch and the GOP deserves everything it has coming their way.
— PualBearersGhost (@Carichampionsoc) June 14, 2017
Another individual described the event as “karma for the gun loving right.”
HA @SteveScalise shot with an automatic weapon possibly an AK. STILL want everyone to have a gun? Karma for the gun loving right.
Griffin, who teaches Media Arts and Animation at the Art Institute of Washington, just outside of the nation’s capital, lambasted Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare on May, posting on Facebook his suggestion to shoot Republican House members.
Last month a professor called for the public assassination of the GOP house
Griffin used inflammatory language in another post referring to the GOP.
“Republicans are a f***ing joke and their voting block runs the gamit [sic] from monstrous to ignorant,” Griffin wrote.
Griffin apologized after her posts were reported in online media publications.
Our society should not accept the promotion of violence against anyone, including people with whom we strongly disagree.
Let’s be clear and blunt: This is the shooter’s fault, not the gun’s fault. He sought out GOP Congress members and Capitol Police, according to eyewitnesses.
Two Capitol Police officers, Krystal Griner and David Bailey – the first responders – were Scalise’s security detail; if the House Majority Whip was not present, this situation could have been a massacre in an open baseball field. The armed security detail saved lives.
The FBI is investigating the incident to determine if it was an act of terror and the defined motives of the shooter.
Let’s stand together as a nation on this Flag Day and seek better political discourse following this horrific incident. No political disagreement is worth anyone’s life. That is why vicious, incendiary “jokes” about assassinating President Trump, “blowing up the White House” (Madonna), threats against people for their political beliefs, Republicans being shunned and silenced on college campuses, and similar hostilities that have ramped-up after the election are heinous and should be investigated by the Secret Service and Homeland Security so it doesn’t inspire people to execute such acts.
“We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” remarked President Trump.
God Bless Rep. Scalise and his family, all the victims, our law enforcement officers who save lives every day and the United States of America.