Friday, March 31, 2017

Op-ed: ObamaCare Repeal...the Big Picture Explained

ObamaCare Repeal...the Big Picture Explained
By: Diane Sori and Craig Andresen / Right Side Patriots

Remember “you have to pass the bill, to find out what’s in the bill.” That was the liberal standard before any Republicans could be given a glimpse of ObamaCare, and exactly why not a single Republican in either the House or in the Senate voted in favor of it.

It was also the very reason why some liberals…because they had already seen what was in ObamaCare…had to be ‘bribed’ by the Obama administration to vote in favor of it…a bit of history that has been all but forgotten in the ObamaCare saga.

Once all 2,777 pages of the bill were passed without a single Republican vote in 2010, ObamaCare became the law and was then bolstered down the road by Chief Justice John Roberts, who was willing to alter the language of the ACA bill to make it the law of the land. But the real question was what were the objectives of ObamaCare? Was it to cover each and every American and provide affordable health care, or was it something else entirely?

To understand the objectives one first must come to terms with the ultimate goal of Obama’s health care legislation, and that goal was a single payer, 100% taxpayer funded health care system which is more widely known as socialized medicine, but to get there, two primary objectives first had to be met.

Number one…render individual, private health insurance obsolete…destroy it by driving carriers out of the market, and then out of business. This would be accomplished in several ways with number one being by forcing the industry to adopt standards of coverage vastly different and vastly unsustainable without government taxpayer subsidies. Once the health insurance industry was forced by government mandate to alter their approach to coverage, and placed under the thumb of the government, one by one they would be forced from the market because they would either not be capable of meeting the increasingly stiff mandates, or because they simply would no longer be able to afford to continue as a viable business entity.

Number two…allow ObamaCare itself to implode…let it wither and die as ObamaCare marketplaces collapse and as carriers of health insurance shutter their doors, and in the process drive up the costs of premiums, deductibles, and prescriptions well beyond what anyone could afford. As more and more people would drop out of the system, or be forced out by the shuttering of carrier after carrier, the pool of insured would grow evermore shallow, forcing costs up higher and higher until, no longer viable, it would simply collapse, leaving Americans desperate for any form of coverage and seeking a health care savior in the form of the United States government.

If the ultimate goal was single payer socialized medicine, and it most certainly was, there could be no better way to force the American people to beg for it than to subsidize both the insurance industry and the insurance consumers by increasing taxes while providing fewer and fewer options until just one single option was left…the single payer option.

ObamaCare began with 26 marketplaces in 2014, and today only seven remain because insurance carrier after insurance carrier have pulled out…actually being forced out by design…and now in five states…Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming…there will only be one lone insurance company offering plans through the ObamaCare health insurance exchange in 2017. Aetna is out, UnitedHealth is out, and by 2018, Humana, the nation’s largest health insurance company, will have left ObamaCare.

Make no mistake, ObamaCare is currently on life-support and liberals, as per their ultimate goal, have seen to it that there would be a ‘do not resuscitate’ order hanging over the whole sordid mess.
There was also one other very important component build into ObamaCare by the liberals who have been craving a socialist health care system since the days of HillaryCare…the fact that once mandated to alter their coverage plans and become beholding to the government rather than to private individuals should the rug be pulled out from beneath it all…as in a total repeal by those directly opposed to any sort of socialized medicine…the rug would effectively be pulled from beneath the American people at the same time.

There is no on and off switch to health insurance. If a simple and total repeal were to be executed now, with so few insurers available, and their former plans mandated now out of existence, the effect would be devastating… leaving untold millions without health insurance and with no place to turn other than the ultimate liberal goal of a full-on socialized system. And don’t take our word for it, Cory Uccelo, a senior fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries recently wrote, “Insurers are in a situation right now where they’re trying to determine whether or not they’re going to participate in 2018. And part of that depends on whether, in the long run, it makes sense for them to participate in the market. And that long run depends on what’s going to happen, not just in 2018, but in the years after 2018.”

The American Academy of Actuaries has issued a dire warning in that “a repeal of the ACA without replacing it would be dangerous to the long-term health of the insurance market.”

While a full and immediate repeal of ObamCare is exactly what the Freedom Caucus, and many Conservatives want…a ‘wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am’ approach, they need to understand that such an approach, such instant gratification, carries with it the law of unintended consequences…no health insurance for almost everybody and no place to turn.

The insurance industry, or what is left of it, needs to know that there is a significant plan in place regarding a transition away from what they have been mandated into by ObamaCare, and back into a non-governmental approach before they upset their apple cart again. And if such a plan is not in place, a plan they cannot feel positive enough about, many, if not most all, will simply quit selling individual health insurance plans altogether. Leaving even the one redeeming feature of ObamaCare in place…the coverage of pre-existing conditions…while defunding all the rest and doing away with the mandate…as a full repeal would do…not only would leave vast numbers of Americans with no insurance, it would render the coverage of those pre-existing conditions in grave danger because young, healthy people would have no incentive to purchase health insurance at all.

In other words, a narrow focus says repeal and nothing less, but stepping back to see the big picture unmasks the true, insipid nature of what liberals said had to be passed before anyone could see what was in it.

And so while many are still furious that ObamaCare was not repealed in full as President Trump had promised while campaigning, the fact is that it simply could not be as it involves the word ‘reconciliation’ but not how most think.

How so…with most folks still believing that ObamaCare was passed via budget reconciliation…which is simply a concurrent resolution passed by both the House and the Senate but is not presented to the president and does not have the force of law even though it ‘sets out’ the congressional budget…they now think ObamaCare could easily be repealed the same way,. But the fact is that it cannot for unbeknownst to most ObamaCare was not passed via reconciliation, because as per the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation cannot be subject to a filibuster. And with reconciliation also being limited to budget changes is why this procedure was not used to pass ObamaCare as the bill had non-budgetary regulations in it as well.

And another reason why reconciliation cannot be used to repeal ObamaCare in one fell swoop is because ObamaCare is actually a bill in two different parts.

Two parts…as in the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’ (ACA) and the ‘Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act’ amendment. One was an actual reconciliation bill and one was not. The ACA part of ObamaCare was passed via a normal bill that Republicans did not have the numbers to filibuster. And with House Democrats thinking they could negotiate changes in a House/Senate conference before passing a final bill, they knew that any bill that differed from the Senate bill would have to again pass the Senate over another Republican filibuster, so most House Democrats agreed to pass the Senate bill on condition that it be amended by a subsequent bill…as in the ‘Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act’…which they knew could pass via reconciliation.

Two bills rolled up into one giant monstrosity known as ObamaCare…two bills melded together inseparable by reconciliation or in being repealed in one fell swoop…and Obama knew it as he planned it that way.

Now for a few other key facts as to why we are in the situation we find ourselves in today…remember that ObamaCare was passed simply because at the time of the 111th Congress, Democrats had the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass it without a filibuster. And how so…because Democrat Al Franken unseated sitting Republican Senator Norm Coleman, and because in April 2009 turncoat Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. Now remember that on December 23, 2009, the Senate voted to end debate on the bill, and that the very next day, which was Christmas Eve and with some Senators having already gone home for the holidays, the Senate passed the bill in a strict party line vote with every Republican voting ‘no.’

Numbers…it is all about numbers…always has been…always will be…and with Democrats having the needed Senate numbers back then the bill then went to the House.

However, in January, after the death of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, the Democrats lost their filibuster proof majority when in a special election to fill Kennedy’s seat, Republican Scott Brown won over his Democrat opponent. And when that was coupled with the fact that the House and Senate had ‘supposedly’ settled most of their differences before the bill went to the Senate, which then lead to the Senate bill being passed with no changes. And no changes meant no filibuster would be allowed before the final vote and with the House now able to pass a second bill via the reconciliation process. And in doing it this way the reconciliation bill…albeit being restricted to tax, spending, and debt limit legislation by Senate rules…made it filibuster proof.

And on March 21, 2010 ObamaCare was passed by the House without any amendments attached to it because they could not filibuster anything, and then on March 23rd Obama’s infamous pen signed ObamaCare into law.

Now some will ask how in 2015 did the ‘supposed’ repeal bill HR 3762 get passed the Democrats without a filibuster if it had to be held to the rules regarding reconciliations and then make it all the way to Obama’s desk, where he vetoed it of course. Simply, it did so in how it was worded…as in “To provide for reconciliation pursuant to section 2002 of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2016,” and much to the chagrin of many nowhere did it ask for a repeal of ObamaCare. Beginning with the words that the “Affordable Care Act” is “amended” proves that Republicans back then knew it could not be repealed by either reconciliation or really by any means.

However, a duplicate but amended bill of the 2015 bill still exists and was introduced by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (R) on March 8th. but is sitting inactive in committee in Congress instead of being voted on. But according to some, like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, even that bill, again as it is currently worded, does not go far enough, and he believes that any new bill should include “excellent ideas” like “allow[ing] consumers to purchase insurance across state lines,” ensuring the ability to buy “low-cost catastrophic insurance on a nationwide market,” the use of health savings accounts, and to make said insurance “portable”…meaning you can take it with you if you move or switch jobs. And Senator Cruz believes this would have the effect of increasing competition and lowering costs…which it would…something this Right Side Patriot…Diane Sori…has been saying for years…in fact all the way back to when ObamaCare was first proposed…even before the very first call for repeal happened just one day after ObamaCare became the law of the land.

You can read Senator Cruz’s proposal here:

What I have said since day one was keep the government out of health care in full as the ‘actuals’ of health care…meaning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness found…should be between a patient and their physician alone and should not under any conditions involve decisions by D.C. bureaucrats. But I also said that while there will always be bureaucracy involved to some degree as to what and how coverage is adjudicated, a simple 4-step plan is all that is needed…and it is needed only for those who want health insurance for health insurance must always remain an individual choice never a mandate.

First, a cap on how high premiums can go is a must as many were happy with their insurance plans but rightfully very unhappy with the ever escalating yearly premium increases. A second must is the allowing of policies to be both bought and to cross state lines…as in portability…for that in and of itself allows for competition and lowering cost, and should be coupled with the discontinuing of premiums being taxed. Next, pre-existing conditions must always be covered with but a few exceptions no matter which company becomes the new insurer. And lastly, something even Senator Cruz did not address…our veterans must be allowed to receive treatment from the hospital and doctor of their not the government’s choosing.

A simple 4-step plan…with tweaks and amending allowed of course. And one amendment I’d like to add is that no benefits or coverage whatsoever be given to illegals as they are criminals in the very way they came here…as in breaking our immigration laws. But even with that one addition the fact remains that sometimes simplicity is all that is needed to fix what seems to be insurmountable odds.

But still the blame game remains for the Republicans new health care bill failing, but we feel that while some are trying to place blame on Chief of Staff Reince Priebus…who was in charge of coordinating an initial health care plan together with Speaker Paul Ryan…who himself is being forced to shoulder most of the blame even though he tried his best to work with what he had especially since he knew that ObamaCare could not be repealed per se…nor should blame be placed on Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

So who is to blame if not these men…we feel blame falls squarely on the shoulders of uber far right Freedom Caucus who set out as obstructionists and who succeeded in being just that. Instead of assuming a much needed compromising attitude than it (rightfully) had under the Obama administration, Freedom Caucus saw Republicans as the enemy even while they too knew that ObamaCare could not be repealed in one simple step.

And how did they do that…Freedom Caucus made so many demands that forced the bill so far to the right that neither moderate Conservatives nor mainstream Republicans could fully support it. In fact, Texas Rep. Tim Poe (R) was so disgusted with them that he quit Freedom Caucus saying they and they alone are to blame for the failure of the American Health Care Act. Saying that no matter what changes were made to placate them…and know there were many…Freedom Caucus would come back wanting more even after telling President Trump they were done. Nice huh…

But know that the Freedom Caucus’ tactics are echoed by caucuses on both sides of the aisle, simply because caucuses have their own agenda. And with a caucus if you do not agree with their way of how they want something done; if you do not agree with the timing of when they want that something done; and especially if you do not agree with what should be in the bill they want passed; they will try to block any given bill even if it’s for the betterment of ‘We the People.’ Legislators need to be able to vote on their own…to do the job they were elected to do… they do not need to be swayed or told how to vote by caucuses.

And now Freedom Caucus is rumored to be lining up to tell President Trump how they want tax reform done…they need to butt out or just like with the American Health Care Act, they will be the cause of much needed tax reform failing as well.

Remember too, that along with being an abysmal way to provide health insurance coverage ObamaCare is also woven into our tax code, as it is the single largest tax increase in American history. A simple, knee-jerk repeal of ObamaCare leaves the parasite in the tax code and until ObamaCare is dealt with, as it must be…in steps…there can be no meaningful tax reform.

Gordon Gray, a former Senate budget staffer and now the Director of Fiscal Policy at the center-right American Action Forum, makes this dire prediction…with the three-part ObamaCare repeal plan not going through, “lawmakers would have to offset them (ObamaCare tax code repeals) primarily with other tax increases or general revenue raisers, not with spending cuts as they could if the measures were included in ObamaCare repeal,” and that, economists promise, will have a bad ripple effect on the rest of President Trump’s economic growth plans for years to come, as well as add at least an additional one trillion dollars to the deficit over the next ten years. Add to that, this dire situation…if President Trump cannot get enough of his own party to buy into a lesser tax reform package with fewer spending cuts than promised, because of the failure of the ObamaCare repeal plan, the Freedom Caucus will have managed to saddle America with both Obama’s socialist health care system and his stagnant economy for the foreseeable future.

Nobody wants ObamaCare gone more than we do, but those folks solely focused on the narrow vision of repeal now and nothing less will be acceptable, simply are not seeing the big picture. That sort of instant gratification will lead directly to the law of unintended consequences and whatever is left in its wake will be an even bigger disaster than ObamaCare itself.

Because of the way ObamaCare was enacted patience is now the key in allowing the free market of the insurance industry to realign in a manner that will both benefit the consumer and the economy as a whole.

But, if you like your ObamaCare, you can keep your ObamaCare…and all that goes with it including the taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood by just standing there and screaming ‘repeal now, repeal now,’ until you are as blue in the face as the liberals who are licking their collective chops over the impending collapse that will leave far too many Americans crying for the government to save them.

It is akin to driving 100 miles per hour down a road towards a bridge that has been collapsing for years, while demanding that the bridge be removed at once without putting anything in its place once it is gone. What are you going to do when you get to where the bridge used to be?

Remember…it is not the long fall, at 100 miles per hour, that will kill you…it is the sudden stop at the bottom that will get you every time.

Copyright © 2017 Diane Sori and Craig Andresen / Right Side Patriots

Today, Friday March 31st from 7 to 9pm EST on American Political Radio, RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS Craig Andresen and Diane Sori will discuss and important news of the week.

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