74 thoughts on “News/Politics 3-25-17

  1. 1. Obamacare (along with certain other elements of our healthcare system) is like heroin addiction.
    2. Repeal without Replace is like quitting Cold Turkey. I personally could support such an approach. Unfortunately, it is a political impossibility. Obamacare made millions of additional Americans dependent on government for their healthcare and rewarded their healthcare providers. Those people vote.
    3. Repeal and Replace is like quitting with Methadone. While the House plan had many, many flaws, something like the House plan was the only approach with a prayer of passage in both the House and Senate. That is why Price (Trump’s HHS Secretary) and Ryan developed and pushed the plan. The proof that they were close to the only politically feasible approach can be shown by the fact that in the end they were losing some of the most liberal House Republicans as well as some of the Freedom Caucus on the Right. If the bill had passed the House (and a similar bill passed the Senate) they would have had to move further left in the Conference Committee to obtain final Senate approval.
    4. Could a Scott Walker or another intelligent, sane Republican President have provided the Presidential leadership to push some Repeal and Replace bill through? We will never know.
    5. When Obamacare completely craters, we are heading for a single payer program that will be a cross between Medicare and Medicaid. In the campaign, Trump expressed some support for single payer along with making other vague contradictory statements. The rich will continue to be allowed to pay for high quality care.

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  2. Ricky,

    You’re a lawyer, yet you have no common sense sometimes. Mona continues to do what you do. You lump illegals and legal immigrants together. No one is complaining about legal immigrants. It’s simply an attempt to muddy the waters, while ignoring the tens of thousands of victims of illegals. I don’t care if illegals commit less crimes as a percentage of the whole. The point you keep missing is that if the illegals weren’t here, crime would be even lower. One is too many.

    Also, where are the links? She tells us where she supposedly drew her numbers from (CATO, Census), yet provides zero links to the hard data she says she has in her piece. I actually provided a link that links to the data from the Dept. of Justice. The numbers don’t lie. Here are some more from the GAO and DHS.

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11187.pdf

    “The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons in fiscal year 2010 was about
    55,000, and the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state prison
    systems and local jails was about 296,000 in fiscal year 2009 (the most recent
    data available), and the majority were from Mexico. The number of criminal
    aliens in federal prisons increased about 7 percent from about 51,000 in fiscal
    year 2005 while the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state
    prison systems and local jails increased about 35 percent from about 220,000
    in fiscal year 2003. The time period covered by these data vary because they
    reflect updates since GAO last reported on these issues in 2005. Specifically,
    in 2005, GAO reported that the percentage of criminal aliens in federal prisons
    was about 27 percent of the total inmate population from 2001 through 2004.
    Based on our random sample, GAO estimates that the criminal aliens had an
    average of 7 arrests, 65 percent were arrested at least once for an immigration
    offense, and about 50 percent were arrested at least once for a drug offense.
    Immigration, drugs, and traffic violations accounted for about 50 percent of
    arrest offenses. About 90 percent of the criminal aliens sentenced in federal
    court in fiscal year 2009 (the most recently available data) were convicted of
    immigration and drug-related offenses. About 40 percent of individuals
    convicted as a result of DOJ terrorism-related investigations were aliens.
    SCAAP criminal aliens incarcerated in selected state prison systems in
    Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas were convicted of various
    offenses in fiscal year 2008 (the most recently available data at the time of
    GAO’s analysis). The highest percentage of convictions for criminal aliens
    incarcerated in four of these states was for drug-related offenses. Homicide
    resulted in the most primary offense convictions for SCAAP criminal aliens in
    the fifth state—New York—in fiscal year 2008.
    GAO estimates that costs to incarcerate criminal aliens in federal prisons and
    SCAAP reimbursements to states and localities ranged from about $1.5 billion
    to $1.6 billion annually from fiscal years 2005 through 2009; DOJ plans to
    update its SCAAP methodology for reimbursing states and localities in 2011 to
    help ensure that it is current and relevant. DOJ developed its reimbursement
    methodology using analysis conducted by the former Immigration and
    Naturalization Service in 2000 that was based on 1997 data. Best practices in
    cost estimating and assessment of programs call for new data to be
    continuously collected so it is always relevant and current. During the course
    of its review, GAO raised questions about the relevancy of the methodology.
    Thus, DOJ developed plans to update its methodology in 2011 using SCAAP
    data from 2009 and would like to establish a 3-year update cycle to review the
    methodology in the future. Doing so could provide additional assurance that
    DOJ reimburses states and localities for such costs consistent with current
    trends. ”
    ———-

    https://www.dhs.gov/news/2014/12/19/dhs-releases-end-year-statistics

    “Key findings in FY 2014:

    The Border Patrol made 486,651 apprehensions nationwide, nearly all of which were along the southwest border; 468,407 of those apprehensions were of individuals from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
    98 percent of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) FY 2014 removals and returns met one or more of ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.
    85 percent of all interior ICE removals and returns involved individuals who had been previously convicted of a crime; this number is up significantly from FY 2011 when it was just 67 percent.
    The number of Mexican nationals that ICE removed or returned decreased, while the number of Guatemalan, Honduran, and El Salvadorian removals or returns increased.
    State and local law enforcement declined to honor 10,182 ICE detainers, which required ICE to expend additional resources to develop and execute operations to attempt to locate and arrest at-large criminal aliens.”
    ——————-

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/09/16/crime-wave-elusive-data-shows-frightening-toll-illegal-immigrant-criminals.html
    ——————–

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/07/illegal_aliens_murder_at_a_much_higher_rate_than_us_citizens_do.html
    ——————–

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  3. Ricky, repeal without replace actually isn’t like quitting cold turkey . . . it’s like dumping a lot of people off insurance. Many, many insurers have gone out of business, and in many states few options are left. You don’t just dump a man with cancer, or a pregnant woman, off insurance every time a new president and a new Congress come to town.

    Three years ago in my household the four of us had three different primary insurers, because the marketplace was so convoluted. Two of those went out of business, and our older daughter briefly went onto an Obamacare plan (several hundred dollars a month for a 22-year-old woman) because she had a pre-existing condition that had not yet been fully resolved, but her own insurance was going out of business. So then her sister and I were moved to a different plan together (the girls had been together on one, with me on a different one and my husband on yet a different). Our household would be in trouble if not for the Christian “sharing” plan we moved to, but our daughter with the pre-existing condition couldn’t move onto it. She has since had the issue fixed, and married and moved onto her husband’s plan through his job. But just dumping Obamacare isn’t going to bring back the insurers that we lost, especially with a political climate that says a new president will probably do something entirely different again in a few years.

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  4. In other words, Ricky, it isn’t fair to compare people who have no choice but to go onto a government-backed (expensive) plan to addicts, nor to say it’s OK with you if people get dumped off their insurance after being forced onto it in the first place.

    I don’t think Obamacare solved any problems, overall. It made prices go way up and forced a lot of doctors out of business, with many more spending too much time on paperwork. But it changed the marketplace enough that it can’t simply be dumped.

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  5. I don’t see why a law has to be 2000 pages long nor why it should take three phases.
    Why doesn’t someone submit individual laws to:”
    Defund Planned Parenthood. That’s all it does.
    Allow insurance companies to work across state lines. That’s all it does.
    Protect uninsured people in certain circumstances, etc.

    If they want to see how government healthcare is run, they should look at the VA hospitals.
    That should tell s smart person something.

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  6. Cheryl, Obamacare wasn’t meant to solve problems, it was meant to bring healthcare under government control. That’s why the tax on uninsured. “Get with our program or pay the price.”

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  7. I’m guessing Ricky would be open to some form of grandfathering people off Obamacare.

    Ricky, I think Rs had more choice beyond your #3. But whatever the case, this fiasco is a major failure. It’s mind-blowing. After 8 years. Massive train wreck of historical proportions.

    I can’t see how it’s possible we can ever get to free market, which would solve the vast majority of health care problems for the greatest number. Apparently, barely a handful of Rs recognize what a free market actually is, in any context. Rs and Ds–they’re all government addicts. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I doubt the government control part of healthcare will ever go away, we’ve already come too far down that road — government doesn’t ever get smaller once it expands. It only tends to expand even more..

    Messy, the whole matter of health care. Our work plans went way up on out of pocket expenses this year, I actually have one eye drop prescription that cost me $800 for a 3-month supply.

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  9. Another co-worker, who is diabetic and on numerous medications, said she’ll have to drop one of those prescriptions as the cost is simply now prohibitive

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  10. As Cheryl said, the entire system has now been so radically altered that finding a way forward will be very difficult. We’re probably pretty much stuck with what we have, for now.

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  11. A while ago, someone said that we should do away with the part of Obamacare that requires insuring people with pre-existing conditions.

    The problem with that is that many people have chronic health issues, or are battling something that may eventually be cured, & then are laid-off or need to find a new job for some other reason, meaning they then have to find new insurance. That is one of the drawbacks to having insurance through our employers, although it does usually make it less expensive than paying for it all ourselves.

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  12. Ricky – Last night you wrote, “It is possible to have rational political discussions about Trump with the remaining rational conservatives. It is possible to have such discussions with educated liberals. It is really not possible to have such discussions with Trumpkins who now have their own set of alternate facts . . .”

    I would add that it is also not possible to have rational political discussions with some who are virulently anti-Trump. (I would consider myself moderately anti-Trump.)

    To those who are virulently anti-Trump, every little thing is evidence of how horrible & despicable he must be. Some are referring to his weekends away as vacations, saying that he has taken several vacations since becoming president. (I may not agree with him taking all these weekends away, but they are not vacations.)

    Another example: While in the “healing garden” of a children’s hospital that Melania Trump was visiting, she made some banal remarks about the healing power of nature, how it can enhance the healing process. Pretty much something that any political figure would say in that situation. The virulent anti-Trumpers twisted her words into meaning that all we need is nature to heal us, & they blasted her for being “anti-science”.

    I tried to point out to one Facebook friend that blowing up every little thing Trump does into a big deal will backfire, because then the truly egregious things will get watered down or ignored, lost amidst all the other complaining. But she insists that she needs to sound the alarm for every little thing.

    So, it seems that the problem lies on either side of the Trump divide, at least with those who refuse to see anything past their own ideologies.

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  13. So here’s the deal: If the US will continue to attract highly productive immigrants, this will make up for the declining productivity of the native born Americans and our GDP should continue to grow. In such a case our single payer system will be more like Medicare than Medicaid and only the top 2% to 5% of earners will want to purchase private insurance for elite private care.

    If we go with Debra’s idea to stop all immigration, real GDP in the US will drop. That will force the near bankrupt US government to go with a single payer plan that looks more like Medicaid. Then the decline in the quality of US healthcare combined with our growing obesity problem could lead to an actual drop in life expectancy in the US.

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  14. One other note: We have an actual shortage of Mexicans in the D/FW area. I have noticed that many of our businesses are understaffed and employers have told me we just don’t have enough Mexicans to go around though some are working two jobs. Please tell your Mexicans to come to Texas.

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  15. Chas — You’re right, why not one issue at a time. The answer is Shock Therapy. More than a decade ago, Naomi Klein wrote a book called Shock Therapy: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. She detailed the techniques used by leaders of the neocon right to reassert free market capitalism against the social democratic state. Essentially you had to create a crisis and then pass a massive series of “reforms” that people usually won’t allow but felt overwhelmed by a crisis. Conservatives now use the same technique to push for massive change — pretend there’s a crisis and demand massive change. Overwhelm the people with crisis, change, and news and they won’t have a chance to protest. And the larger the legislation the better — you can slip in stuff people usually won’t allow. Under Conservative PM Harper, the Cdn gov’t passed federal budgets containing hundred changes that weren’t financial in nature. And since it was a budget bill, all Conservatives had no choice to vote for it. As a Canadian watching the Trump admin in action, its deja all over again except Harper was competent.

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  16. SolarP, Look at the other comments above. Our fellow commenters here are the “conservatives” in our nation. Ryan had no hope of passing real healthcare reform. As you said, our citizens are addicted to Obamacare after only 7 years. At this point the best we can do is work to keep productive immigrants coming in so there will be more people to help pull that ever increasing throng who are riding in the wagon.

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  17. The ACA didn’t bring health care under gov’t program, it was meant to extend health insurance to more people.Not much different to the managed competition of auto insurance. Single payer would bring health care under gov’t control. And if insurance companies can’t provide affordable health care to all people, single payer will be the obvious solution.

    Prescriptions can be cheaper if 1) the gov’t would use its bulk buying power to lower the price but under Bush Jr they actually passed a law against it 2) import the exact same drugs from Canada where gov’ts do negotiate with pharma. This has nothing to do with insurance rather its corporatism corrupting gov’t.

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  18. Ricky, Your characterization of my immigration position @12:39 is inaccurate. And your characterization of the outcome is also faulty, but to each his own delusions.

    On the other hand, if you are serious about needing more Mexicans, there are plenty to be found. I hear Mexico is awash with them. Of course you’ll need to relocate to that country, but at least you’ll have an abundance of the cheap labor you so enjoy.

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  19. As someone who gets prescriptions through the US government as a “perk” of my husband’s military retirement, my medications are considerably cheaper.than we get through my husband’s health care policy. It’s actually horrifying how little we pay for meds that are ridiculously expensive.

    I also agree it’s simply not fair to not allow people with preexisting conditions access to reasonably priced medical CARE (note CARE, not insurance). It’s not a person’s fault if they have diabetes or come from a family with other health issues that are uncontrollable without drugs.

    I’ve done nothing to come close to having diabetes and done plenty to avoid it for 30 years, but if a woman has gestational diabetes in a pregnancy she is at a 90% chance of coming down with diabetes at some point in her life. I had no way of knowing–since diabetes is NOT in my family anywhere–that I would come down with it. Should I not have had children to have reduced my risk?

    But then you wouldn’t have all those hard working adults paying into the tax system. Which do you want for the cost of token amounts for me right now?

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  20. Debra, You and AJ are always whining about Mexicans. You must have a few. Send them down here. If you like, you can keep the Mexicans long enough for them to train all those Democrats and Trumpkins they have displaced. My wife says we will send you back our blue-haired people as well as our tattooed people.

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  21. Most all developed countries have some kind of national health care. There was an elderly lady in the dog park last week. She was Swiss, and had relocated to Chattanooga with her husband 12 years ago. He recently died, but she was staying here to be a companion to her 2 widowed, elderly friends who were sick. She said everyone in Switzerland got the same good healthcare that her friends have here. And she was disappointed that the US didn’t have better healthcare for its citizens and residents in general.

    We need to do better. I still don’t know why they won’t start with the VA.

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  22. Ricky I’m not sending you anyone. I’m telling you where you can go to find what you keep asking for. Feel free to take the wifey too. ;–)

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  23. I always wonder why Mexico never makes the cut in the list of places people want to retire to with their millions of American made dollars. If it were safe, I would think it would be a popular retirement destination for Globalists from all over. Maybe it is, but I have never heard of it being so.

    PS I never ‘like’ my own comments, but I see my mouse is off its leash and has wandered over the screen. :–)

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  24. Now this is an interesting take on the failed healthcare bill. And it really doesn’t surprise me, because I think from some statements the President made early on, there always was a realistic sense that it might not succeed on the first try. I hope he is right.

    ……While Ryan pointed to the bloc of conservatives as a reason why the conference failed to come to a consensus, Trump reiterated his support for the group.

    “They’re friends of mine,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “I’m disappointed because we could’ve had it. I’m a little surprised, I could tell you. We really had it. It was pretty much there within grasp, but I’ll tell you what’s going to come out of it is a better bill.”

    Trump noted that the health care bill didn’t have support from any Democrats and said that “Obamacare is exploding.”

    But the president said he hopes now Republicans and Democrats can come together and craft a bipartisan health care reform bill that passes both chambers of Congress.

    “I honestly believe the Democrats will come to us and say, ‘Let’s get together and get a great health care bill or plan that’s really great for the people in this country,’” Trump said, “and I think that’s going to happen.”

    https://stream.org/trump-calls-freedom-caucus-friends/

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  25. Debra, There are huge communities of Yankee retirees in Mexico. The joke of course is that the residents of South Texas may have been somewhat less than truthful when describing the location of the border to the Northern migrants.

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  26. Ricky, re Mexico, Well I did wonder…particularly as it was not on your list of potentials. Switzerland and Chile made the cut, but why not Mexico. It seems a natural to me, unless one is looking for something more exotic..

    When I was very young it was my goal to be Mexican. I had seen Mexico on TV and was fascinated by everyone riding a horse. My Dad had Spanish language records which he kept on a high bookshelf. One day I climbed up and retrieved them. For a couple of weeks I quietly played those records behind closed doors, carefully repeating phrases and matching accents. I was secretive so no one would know what I was up to until I was ready to make a run for the border. But eventually, Dad did notice, and my travel plans were nixed. I was severely disappointed. But it’s just as well. When I learned that all Mexicans did not have a horse, or pony or donkey or even a little burro, I soon lost all interest in relocating. For what would be the point in relocating to any place that was hot and dry and did not involve me having a pony.

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  27. Debra, I love Mexicans. I dislike their government. It is even more socialist than ours. The Northern Mexican states are more inclined to free enterprise and are doing well. The southern states – not so much.

    From everything I have read, Chile has it all: Spanish culture, topography and climate like California, and more economic freedom than here.

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  28. China is stepping up to the plate. It is going to be the Asian Century, and China is ready to take advantage of American weakness and unpredictability. As many of you have said, Obama was weak. We don’t know that much about Trump’s foreign policy. However, even without an increase in US protectionism, China’s influence was going to grow. If Trump really tries to change trade deals, China could be leading the world on economic issues very shortly.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bloomberg.com/amp/politics/articles/2017-03-25/china-vice-premier-sees-unstoppable-momentum-of-globalization

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  29. Debra, if you accidentally “like” your own post (as I have done myself at times), simply click it again and you’ll look less vain. 🙂 It removes the “like” if you click “like” again.

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  30. Thanks Cheryl! Yes it feels very vain to “like” yourself. The substance of my comments provide all the vanity that I’m prepared to cop to at any given time. :–)

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  31. Ricky at 12:58: Who on earth is “addicted” to Obamacare? Granted I live in the conservative state of Indiana, so my experience may not be the norm, but I’ve never even met anyone who likes it!

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  32. So Cheryl, no one “likes it” until they consider the consequences of its repeal as you did at 8:06. SolarP is right above. What he calls “grandfathering”, I would call “phasing out” to let folks have time to adjust.

    But in the end I would wipe our Obamacare, turn Medicare into a Voucher program, and make Medicaid nothing but unrestricted block grants to the states. I would also eliminate all federal regulation of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and health insurance and abolish the FDA.

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  33. Oh never mind. Not to worry, folks. I see that things will all be well…after the explosion. For those who survive it, that is. :–)

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

    ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Ricky, if we come across a scene where a five-story building has been hit by a tornado and has collapsed, and I say you can’t just take a bulldozer and level the whole scene without checking to see who might be inside it, does that mean I’m pro-tornado?

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  35. BTW, Ricky, if you are including me in your people who “like” Obamacare or are “addicted” to it, it would illustrate that you haven’t read my posts very well. Without Obamacare, the insurance company that insured my daughters would not have gone out of business, leaving one daughter uninsured and, because of her pre-existing condition, forced to sign up for a much more expensive plan if she was to stay insured. Getting rid of Obamacare simply leaves even more people uninsured, with the people who are insured paying the same high premiums people now pay under Obamacare. The system might straighten itself out after a bit, or it might not. Companies aren’t going to suddenly start accepting people with pre-existing conditions out of the goodness of their hearts, so what you’d do is dump all the people who most need insurance out of the system in one fell swoop.

    I hate Obamacare. But I think that when your building has been leveled by a tornado, the best chance at finding survivors is looking at the rubble brick by brick and determining the safest process, not knocking the whole thing down and walking away.

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  36. Fight breaks out at Pro-Trump Hollywood MAGA rally; 2 arrested

    HOLLYWOOD >> Two men were arrested Saturday during a march in support of President Donald Trump, after a passerby grabbed a supporter’s hat and a fistfight broke out.

    The scuffle began about an hour into the march in Hollywood, where about 100 Trump supporters had descended, holding signs such as “Trump: Make America Great Again,” “Help Make California Shine Again” and “Keep Us Safe.”

    The Los Angeles Make America Great Again rally, considered the largest of the marches, started at noon near the Metro Hollywood/Vine subway stop. …

    …. As marchers chanted “He’s our president,” a crowd of followers shouted out anti-Trump expletives.

    The fistfight broke out along the sidewalk when a man grabbed a Trump supporter’s hat.

    • Video: Trump supporters rally in Hollywood

    It wasn’t the only scuffle at a Southern California rally.

    In Orange County, at another pro-Trump rally, fights broke out and police moved on a march that drew hundreds of people to Bolsa Chica State Beach, including protesters. …

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/general-news/20170325/fight-breaks-out-at-pro-trump-hollywood-maga-rally-2-arrested

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Cheryl, If we took the steps I suggested @5:21, many insurance companies would jump back into the health insurance market across the country. Hospital groups would offer new plans. Doctor groups would offer healthcare plans. Foreign insurance companies would enter the market. All sorts of new drugs (now available only in foreign countries) would be available to Americans. New cheaper treatment plans would emerge. Patients would begin to be treated like actual consumers who have actual choices. Conservative states would take their Medicaid block grants and turn their Medicaid programs into voucher programs, leading to more competition.

    The most important step isn’t even Obamacare repeal. The Voucherization of Medicare (and similar treatment of Medicaid in conservative states) would lead to huge increases in efficiency and cost control and lead many companies back into the health insurance business.

    How do I know this? Businesses like money. The plan I described would be like the Oklahoma land rush of healthcare. All providers and insurance companies would have the right to earn a piece of the single largest part of the world’s largest economy. The economy would boom. Reduced employer paid healthcare costs would make American businesses more competitive around the world. Even Democrats and Trumpkins would find it hard not to find good jobs, though they would still whine because the boom in the economy would increase the demand for more immigrants.

    To correct your tornado analogy, the plan I described above would not bulldoze the rubble. It would unleash every company with the skills to rescue people from the rubble to go in and hunt for victims and let them charge for their services.

    Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and other conservative economists understood these type of issues. However, this is not the direction modern America wants to go. Modern Americans do not want dynamic growth, change and economic freedom. They want to believe the outrageous lies that Obama and Trump told them. They want to believe that Obama or Trump can/could solve all their problems. They are addicted to Obamacare and they are addicted to dependence on the government – even when their cult leaders and the government fail to deliver.

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  38. So someone has to get the blame for the healthcare loss. Of course it won’t be the one who squandered all White House credibility with embarassing “crowd size” lies and stupid “tapp” fabrications. No, it won’t be the one who was so busy with Twitter fights with Nordstrom, Snoop Dogg and Mark Cuban that he didn’t have the time to learn the basic contents of the Obamacare replacement bill and was completely unable to discuss possible tweaks to the bill with Congressmen who came to visit him.

    Nevertheless, I have no sympathy for Priebus, Price or Kushner. They knew what they were getting into. For poor Kushner, it is a life sentence.

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  39. The Freedom Caucus (the most conservative members of the House) thought they were fighting to make the Obamacare reform bill more conservative. However, when you are dealing with the leader of a cult, everything is personal. To Trump, you are with HIM or you are against HIM. Trump wanted to force a vote on Friday so he could campaign against the Freedom Caucus members who opposed the bill. Trump holds grudges.

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  40. I actually believe it is a good thing that the health care bill failed. There didn’t need to be such a rush to “repeal immediately,” and I think there are a lot of things that need to be fixed with the ACA. They should concentrate on those things. The failure to steamroll the bad bill may actually force people to start working together. It is better to slow down and get it right than the “you’ll have to pass it to read it” approach. I don’t see it as a big of a failure as it is being portrayed – it’s more an opportunity to re-focus on other really important issues, like jobs and the economy.

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  41. Tychicus, I would agree with you that there was no need to deal with Obamacare first.

    Let me deal with the secrecy issue. Three times there have been major attempts to cut healthcare costs:
    1. Hillarycare in the 1990s. (Yes. That was in part a cost-cutting effort aimed at keeping US businesses competitive.)
    2. Obamacare (Yes. That bill had cost cutting measures that would have reduced $ to providers. Many of those provisions have since been repealed.)
    3. The Trump/Ryan bill that just failed.

    In every case, there were strange major attempts to keep details of the plan secret. Why was that? The truth is that once details of any cost cutting measure get out, the coalition of doctors, Hospitals, Big Pharma, and citizens who get free or highly subsidized healthcare (led by the AARP) quickly mobilize their members to kill the plan.

    You can deal with healthcare whenever you want. A huge group of Americans are still going to be addicted to having others pay, in whole or in part, for their care. In addition, providers will remain addicted to receiving compensation based on total expenditures which greatly exceed healthcare spending in any other country on earth.

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  42. People are addicted to Obamacare by way of Medicaid expansion, and not necessarily through any fault of their own.

    “Insuring” people with pre-existing conditions isn’t really insurance, is it. It’s not viable in any context–private insurance or single-payer.

    Profit in health care and medicine is a *good thing* with *positive effects.* Ridiculous to think govt controlling the medical market could ultimately be consumer-driven and oriented.

    Government-run prescription programs will drive up costs of health care. You don’t need the leverage or bulk buying power of the state to keep costs low–that’s what supply and demand does. The state only fouls up pricing.

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  43. I’ve seen a number of good, brief summaries of Trump’s failure on the AHCA. This one is an example. Click and read a few short tweets…

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  44. Solar, problem is, you can’t dump people out of their insurance and then say, “But he has a pre-exisiting condition! He’s out of luck!” and refuse to insure them. Also, people with pre-existing conditions are often forced to stay where their insurance is, whether it’s a job, or a state, or whatever, limiting the mobility that Ricky prizes so highly, and also putting them in trouble if they lose their job or have to leave the state. Sometimes “pre-existing condition” is defined too broadly; something that may or may not prove to be trouble down the road becomes pre-existing. With the ability to know more and more genetically even in the womb, will companies refuse outright to insure someone who is seen to carry the gene that killed several people in his family of heart attacks in their forties? Will a woman with the genetics for breast cancer be told that she has to have a double mastectomy or, if she refuses, if she develops breast cancer the treatment won’t be covered? Will a person who is 50 pounds overweight be told they have to lose at least 20 pounds or lose all coverage?

    On some level, we all have pre-existing conditions or at least genetic weaknesses. Those who offer life insurance know they are offering it to people who will die someday; those who offer health insurance know that probably their patients will get sick. It seems to me that the best plans offer high deductibles, $5,000 or so, and then don’t waste time and money on paperwork for lesser amounts. But doctors and hospitals are free to write off some of the costs for those pre-deductible expenses.

    One of the ways that Obamacare went wrong was by offering free birth control. Basically, they were offering a non-medical optional product to anyone who wants it, paid for by people who don’t need it or who are even morally opposed to it. Give us high deductibles, let charities cover those deductibles for people who can’t afford even $5,000, and let it be clearer who is overcharging for medical services. But have everyone who visits the doctor pay at least something for the privilege.

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  45. Cheryl, The last sentence of your 2:24 post articulates the key principle of the Singapore healthcare system, the most efficient in the world.

    SolarP, Thanks for the Leon Wolf link. The series of tweets was devastating particularly when we consider that Obama was not that effective as a politician, particularly compared to a Reagan or and LBJ.

    I think Republicans now know they are going to get no effective leadership from the White House. McConnell needs to try to bring Cruz and Paul into the tent with the other Senate Republicans and work with Ryan on tax and budget issues. They can give Trump credit for anything that passes, but they should count on nothing but distractions from him. They should also ignore his liberal infrastructure and family leave proposals. If McConnell can’t do that, he should resign as Majority Leader. Ryan should discipline the moron Nunes and let each Republican Congressmen know that his/her job is not to be an apologist for Trump’s latest idiotic Tweet. If he can’t do that, he should resign as Speaker.

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  46. I agree with Tychicus (8:59 a.m.) in that this all seemed much too rushed. You don’t fix a huge issue like health care that quickly. We already did that once and it didn’t turn out too well. 🙂

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  47. Cheryl, hard cases make bad policy. If an insurer wants to be in the business, you can’t (as in, shouldn’t be able to) dictate to them what services they provide, beyond basic fraud enforcement. If you want to do that, you end up with just as many sticky questions you raise, only from some different angle. There’s no approach to health care–or any commodity–immune to any number of difficult questions to address. In a free market, different insurers describe at what points policyholders may be dropped. Shoppers consider those terms when choosing an insurer. Insurance isn’t the only way to provide health care, but among the other options, government stinks at it.

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  48. We live in a country, not a business. If Americans care enough about each other and the rudiments of modern civilization (such as physical infrastructure and self-defense, education and healthcare), these things will be seen as public services rather than primarily money making opportunities. In public service, people DO make money, but profit is not the driver of provision.

    Countries such as Singapore, Chile, Switzerland, and Canada provide healthcare to all of its residents. So we have seen that it can successfully be done in different ways. But for us, I think it will require more national cohesion and internal charity toward each other than we have yet exhibited.

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  49. Singapore’s system is complex, but there are two big improvements over the US system:

    1. The government only pays for 25% of healthcare – much, much less than in the US.

    2. As noted above, individuals always pay for a portion of every doctor’s visit, operation, drug, etc. This is the real key to keeping costs low. It also promotes healthy living.

    https://www.aei.org/publication/the-singapore-model/

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  50. Debra, You said:

    Countries such as Singapore, Chile, Switzerland, and Canada provide healthcare to all of its residents. So we have seen that it can successfully be done in different ways. But for us, I think it will require more national cohesion and internal charity toward each other than we have yet exhibited.

    Right now, that group of Americans that I call taxpayers and you call “globalists” are paying over 12% of the entire GDP of the US to pay for the healthcare of citizens who get free or subsidized care. That is more than any other nation on earth pays for healthcare for all of its citizens. After that, the taxpayers/globalists still have to pay for healthcare for themselves and their families. How much charity do you want for healthcare? 20%? 30%? Remember that the taxpayers/globalists still have to pay or partially pay for the retirement, food, housing and tattoos of those being subsidized.

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  51. It’s hard to make a success of healthcare for the country (or any public project) when internal agitators with one foot out the door continuously curse the country’s efforts as a Ponzi scheme and welfare giveaway.

    It takes people willing to work across the aisle as well. We are not a nation of just conservatives or liberals. We’re a mixed bag ethnically and politically, and whatever solution we come up with needs to work regardless of who is elected to the white house or to congress.

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  52. It’s not necessary to assume profit motive precludes sincere concern for the health of citizens, or that it is at odds with widespread availability of good healthcare at all. Profit motive *drives* good health care. Think it through.

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  53. Cheer up, Debra! You’ve won! Last week’s failure of the Ryan plan means Obamacare will stand. As virtually everyone agrees, that means we are headed to a single player plan that will look like a cross between Medicare and Medicaid. You will get your socialized medicine. The taxpayers/globalists will be forced to be even more “charitable”. Just remember, we are an endangered species. You would do well to allow productive folks from other countries to continue to come in and learn to be “charitable” as well.

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  54. Creating the just atmosphere for people to live in relative safety and obtain basic goods and services required for life are reasonable expectations of governments. Public works, such as roads, aqueducts and irrigation systems, have been the job of governments for thousands of years.

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  55. So we probably would have built a couple of more roads and bridges but we have been spending $2,000,000,000,000.00 (that is correct; $2 trillion) in taxes (from the federal, state and local governments) every single year to pay for free or subsidized healthcare for our fellow citizens. Blame our charitable natures.

    I really don’t think the tree-huggers would let us build aqueducts any more.

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  56. Workers (my word for taxpayers) have been paying too dearly for our dysfunctional healthcare system, and that is one reason we want to increase the number of jobs, as well as reform the system. Randian globalists are skeptical of charity in any form, and usually couch their economic pillaging in terms of false heroic images, often tragically persecuted by the great unwashed masses.

    There are aqueducts still being maintained in some places. The Ocoee River in the Cherokee National Forest has some, which were supposedly in use when I was a child, and they may still be.

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  57. Which provision of the Constitution authorizes government funded healthcare? More importantly (in my view), how does Scripture indicate healthcare is the job of government? I’m open to the evidence.

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  58. “Workers!” I like that term! They aren’t making us pay taxes because we are sitting around playing video games or visiting the tattoo parlors.

    You are correct about the disfunction. In every country, there are taxpayers/workers/globalists who are paying for the healthcare of others. However, only in the US do those subsidies cost so much. But as I explained to Tychicus @9:23, there is a coalition that will always block any reform.

    As for more jobs, we’ve been over that as well. Statistics show that most new jobs are created my new small businesses, and we know that educated, skilled immigrants create most of the fastest growing new businesses.

    Debra, You should be a Hillary Democrat. She wanted to expand socialized medicine and all other social programs. However, she understood that she needed new suckers (new productive immigrants) to pay for her “charitable” endeavors.

    Trump and Sanders promised everyone golden eggs while also promising to kill the most productive golden egg laying geese (free trade and new skilled immigrants).

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  59. although, as a co-worker remarked about health care (or some other issue, can’t remember which), “don’t worry, the next president will put it all back” ….

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/03/trump-to-deep-six-clean-power-plan.php
    _________________________

    President Donald Trump in the coming days will sign a new executive order that unravels his predecessor’s sweeping plan to curb global warming, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Sunday.

    EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the executive order to be signed Tuesday will undo the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The 2015 rule has been on hold since last year while a federal appeals court considers a challenge by coal-friendly Republican-led states and more than 100 companies.
    _________________________

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  60. Ricky @10:15 “Debra, You should be a Hillary Democrat.”
    Ha. I’ve thought the exact same thing of you. In fact, many globalists in the Republican party either rooted for her like Bush did (secretly or openly) or voted for her outright. Most all of them were severely disappointed when she lost. The Clintons rival the Bushes in globalistic ambition and represent two sides of the same coin. A strictly global coin.

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  61. Ricky @7:28 You should do MUCH more investigating before you jump ship. Switzerland’s healthcare insurance is universal, non-profit, AND government subsidized: “Insurers are required to offer this basic insurance to everyone, regardless of age or medical condition. They are not allowed to make a profit off this basic insurance, but can on supplemental plans.[3]

    The insured person pays the insurance premium for the basic plan up to 8% of their personal income. If a premium is higher than this, the government gives the insured person a cash subsidy to pay for any additional premium.[3]”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Switzerland

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  62. Solarpancake @ 10:30, I have asked myself the same questions of constitutionality and scriptural support.

    I suspect that a good many of our laws (maybe even most) are unconstitutional from a legalistic point of view. I also doubt that there is a scriptural or constitutional justification for corporations as we know them. We have created supra-human, complex legal structures with ever-changing ownerships, and endued them with human rights while diffusing their human responsibilities. Their power has become so overwhelming that large governments are a necessity to bring them under law and force accountability.

    As for public goods and works such as public education, we know that these were seen to be in the public arena pre-constitutionally. Massachusetts had compulsory, tax-payer funded public education as early as the mid 1600s. The original settlers in the North of the country were very religious, and therefore viewed community and public goods as an obligatory and natural outgrowth of their faith. Those in the South were more plantation/slave/commerce oriented, and so, did not value public education, community or public goods nearly as much. Many of the same attitudes persist today, though it is changing.

    It is not unreasonable to think that as technology increases, and the reality of public life changes, the arena of public goods and works might be expanded to include healthcare. That is not a constitutional or scriptural mandate for universal healthcare. However, it is a legitimate way of understanding the historical impetus towards it.

    As a country, I’m not sure we’re quite ready for it yet. It requires more national unity and charity than our national conversation has exhibited thus far.

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