Today, Mick Mulvaney said something shocking. He declared if the Senate tax cut bill was getting stalled over repealing the individual mandate, then the White House would be okay with killing off that portion.

Huh?

What Republican would oppose the tax cuts specifically because they had the individual mandate repeal attached to them? Can anyone who feels this way really be called a Republican? No. As I noted on RedState:

If there are Republicans in the Senate and/or the House who are objecting to the tax cuts because of killing the individual mandate, it’s time for them to declare they’re Democrats. No Republican, not even the swampiest of the RINOs, could look anyone in the eye and claim they’re part of the GOP if they hold up cutting taxes for the sake of protecting the worst component of Obamacare. Not John McCain. Not Lisa Murkowski. Not even Susan Collins.

Let’s be perfectly clear. True Republicans should favor tax cuts. True Republicans should favor repealing the individual mandate. Neither is debatable nor are they mutually exclusive. If there are fiscal reasons for wanting to keep the mandate, then cut expenses elsewhere. Otherwise, don’t even pretend you’re a Republican if you oppose tax cuts or want to keep the individual mandate.

I’m no fan of the GOP, but I want two things they want: lower taxes and less government in my healthcare. This shouldn’t be an issue and the fact that the White House is already signalling retreat on this aspect of the cuts should be a wake up call for anyone who believes in limited government and fiscal responsibility.

Subject line: “Tomorrow is a big deal but President Trump doesn’t want you to know about it.” Well, that’s one way to stand out in my email inbox. The sender is my state’s senior U.S. Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, and the message is from her Senate account, not a campaign address.

“…November 1st, through December 15th, you have the opportunity to sign up for a new health insurance plan or change your existing plan through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Despite the many attempts by President Trump and Republican leadership to repeal Obamacare, it remains the law of the land. As you consider your healthcare options, it’s important to note that there have been many changes to available plans. Instead of just signing up for the same plan for 2018, I encourage you to shop around …”

Stop. Just stop. But no, there’s more:

“The Trump administration has been trying to keep Granite Staters in the dark about this important signup period by slashing open enrollment advertising by 90 percent, cutting the open enrollment period in half and defunding support staff that assist with signing up. So, friends, it’s up to each of us to get the word out to family members and friends that the enrollment period is about to get underway.” 

Consider yourself informed. You’re welcome.

As I have expressed at possibly tiresome length since last year’s campaign, I hold no brief for President Trump. Of all the things for me to hold against him, though, trying to keep me in the dark about the administrative details of Obamacare isn’t one of them.

There are things about Obamacare that bother me a lot more than open enrollment advertising being “slashed” by 90 percent – its effect on conscience rights, for one thing; its cost, for another.

I won’t be signing up for insurance on the “Affordable” Care Act’s exchange today, or tomorrow, or anytime before December 15. It isn’t affordable. Instead, I’ll be checking with my healthshare plan, Solidarity HealthShare, to see if there’s going to be any adjustment in my monthly fee, which I can afford.

I’m supposed to be upset about how Trump’s handling Obamacare?

My state’s senior Senator is right about this much: Obamacare is still the law of the land. It will remain so, I fear, until federal legislators like her are forced to go on their home states’ insurance exchanges to find health care coverage. I can visualize my senator getting a breezy campaign-style email assuring her “you have the opportunity to sign up!”

She might even be as enthusiastic as I am.

Ellen Kolb is a writer and pro-life activist living in New Hampshire. She blogs at ellenkolb.com and Leaven for the Loaf. 

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The just-concluded Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C. was punctuated by standing ovations. Among them: a few for the President, who spoke decisively but without pugnacity; for Bannon and Gorka, the red-meat guys; for Alveda King, bringing the crowd to its feet to join her in song.

And then there was the one for Steve Scalise.

Months after a gunman’s savage and politically-motivated attack left him near death, Congressman Scalise made his way to the Values Voter podium last Friday to the sound of appreciative cheers. He moved with the aid of crutches, the only visible sign of his injuries. Once at the podium, he spoke in the strong and steady voice of a man eager to get to work.

As House Majority Whip, he has the unenviable task of herding the GOP cats when it’s time for votes on the House floor. HIs position is probably what earned him an invitation to speak at Values Voter. He understands first things first, though. Before he spoke about policy, he spoke about gratitude.

After he was shot, while he was in the hospital, he and his family received countless prayers and good wishes, including messages from people who are not in political harmony with him. That touched him deeply. He understood that the messages were not merely routine.

“You knew that this was an attack on the values of our country….I cannot thank you enough for those prayers and that love.” This from a man who spent three and a half months in a hospital.

He was candid in his speech about the tough times past and to come, as he and his family face long-term challenges arising from his injuries. His candor made his enthusiastic demeanor all the more meaningful. “We have a great and mighty God,” he declared, “and I am a living example of the miracles he can produce.”

Then, and only then, he addressed specific policy initiatives. He said, “I came back with an even sharper focus” on family, friends and America.

He Considers the Pain-Capable Act a victory. That’s the measure to restrict abortions after 20 weeks, the point in pregnancy when science indicates that unborn children can feel pain. Passage of the measure was a near thing. “As Majority Whip, I had to put that coalition together. But we did.” Now, the bill is in the Senate, its prospects uncertain in view of the particular batch of Republicans now serving. “Tell your Senators to pass it,” Scales urged. The President “wants to sign this bill into law.”

The bill includes cutting federal funding to the nations’s largest abortion provider. That gives me pause, as voter who questioned (and still questions) the depth of the President’s roots on the life issues. Scalise has no doubts. “He wants to sign this.”

He’s determined to support the President’s tax reform proposals. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone give a snappier summary and smile while doing it: reduce personal rates; reduce business rates to encourage families to bring jobs back to this country; repeal the death tax, double the child tax credit (now there’s a pro-life initiative).

He did not dwell on the unhappy fate thus far of efforts to repeal Obamacare, beyond saying “let’s not give up fights. President Trump wants these on his desk.”

All this was said in a tone that most other speakers at Values Voters didn’t approach. He was passionate and determined without breathing fire. He didn’t sound as though we were all under siege; in fact he radiated hope, both political and personal.

HIs final words to the crowd, coming after all he has experienced these past months, rang with truth that brought the audience to its feet yet again: “It’s great to be alive.”

Ellen is a New Hampshire writer and pro-life activist. Read more by and about her at ellenkolb.com.

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Local ElectionsA quick reminder to all of those in the MSM, on the left, piling on Trump on twitter etc and declaring victory like this fool:

Thanks to you, the NFL and the media every Democrat running in a red state, especially those vulnerable Democrat senators, now gets to answer this question during election 2018.

“Do you support or oppose professional sports players kneeling for the national anthem in protest?”

I’m sure Manchin & McCaskill et/all and all the dem class of 2018 are dying to answer that question.

If they answer “support” in the primary it will doom them in the general

If they answer “oppose” it will certainly draw a primary challenge from the left that will either be too far left to win or force them to position even farther left to ensure primary voters still show.

Either way Trump wins.

Thanks NFL & Dems, because of you Trump will have to extra GOP votes to repeal Obamacare after 2018 and can tell McCain Collins et/al to pound sand.


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This tweet via Instapundit is the understatement of the century:

The sudden about face of the GOP on this is yet another betrayal of their base that has the potential to blow everything wide open and put every single GOP member who votes on a collision course with tea party activists who will be running away from him as fast as their legs can carry them.

However there is a simple but I have a simple solution to this problem.

Simply attach the Obamacare repeal law to any DACA bill.

Suddenly instead of DACA becoming a massive betrayal of the GOP voter, it becomes the means to finally keep their promise to the American people.

Personally I’d attach defunding Planned Parenthood as well but while it’s a big issue for me I’m not greedy I’ll settle for the Obamacare repeal. I’d even allow a line to keep the coverage for children up to age 25 to make things easier for people transitioning off of it.

If I was the freedom caucus or Ted Cruz or any other strong conservative I would make including the Obamacare repeal a sine non qua of even letting such a bill reach the floor. Hell If I’m Trump I’d make the passage of the failed Obamacare repeal bill the minimum price for even considering signing any DACA law.

It’s very clear the GOP won’t keep their promises to their voters without an incentive, let’s give them one.


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Don Surber notes a stark contrast in how government healthcare values different lives by contrasting Charlie Card and John McCain.

While Congress voted to give Charlie Gard a meaningless U.S. residency, they just voted to keep a system that will segue into the National Health Service, which is the British government’s way of deciding who lives and who dies.

To recap, the taxpayers just moved heaven on Earth to fund minor eye surgery/brain surgery/cranial transplant for John McCain, then spared no expense to fly him back to Washington so that Obamacare can live until it devolves into the National Health Service.

Little Charlie’s parents desires could not Trump the wishes of the Bureaucracy not even one final request:

CHARLIE GARD’S parents say they have been denied their wish to be allowed to take him home to die.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, who said Great Ormond Street Hospital had turned down the request, also claimed they were being rushed into saying goodbye to their gravely ill baby.

They say the life-support machine sustaining the ten-month-old will be switched off today — after doctors said earlier this week there was no hurry.

Oh there was hurry, every day Charlie lived was a day people say NHS’ and it’s proposed US cousin Obamacare for what it is.

It’s a far cry from the days when Catholic Religious Orders founded everywhere (Why do you think so many are called St. This or St. That?) As it is the from the actual reason why governments got into the healthcare business in the first place:

Infectious disease was the raison d’etre for the field of public health. While winning that battle did present some sacrifice of personal liberty — not just vaccinations, but also bureaucrats deciding how your food had to be cooked and your water piped in and your waste disposed of and your abode ventilated — the immense collective gains in health and lifespan were well worth it. Taken together these public health measures were responsible for more improvement in human health than anything else human beings have ever done. No, I’m not talking about the vast government insurance schemes now found in every rich country, nor even antibiotics, just homely old measures like vaccines and water treatment.

But that brings us back to the sad case of Charlie Gard, because the definition of public health has changed quite a lot since its inception.

It funny because we haven’t heard any democrats making fun of Sarah Palin for her “Death Panels” remarks since the Charlie Card case became public, but then again we haven’t, as Instapundit noted heard much from Democrats about the case at all

“The silence from US Democrats on Charlie Gard will never stop being chilling,” Erielle Davidson of the Hoover Institute tweeted yesterday. “Reason Dems weren’t asked about Charlie Gard is because every single journalist out there knows how bad their answer is,” Stephen Miller adds.

Here is the bottom line.  Does anyone doubt for one moment that if Charlie Card had been the son of an MP or a member of the British Government or nobility that he would have been in the US for experimental treatment months ago?  Contrariwise would John McCain have gotten the VIP treatment he did if he was the grandfather of the Cards and not a six term senator whose votes determine where billions of dollars are spent?


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

Who here trusts the GOP?” Not a single hand went up, but people over and over promised me that if the GOP spent like the democrats they would be back to throw them out too. No wonder the GOP is scared of the tea party.

What I asked at the Tea Party Sept 25th 2010

At CPAC 2017 I interviewed a lot of people about what they wanted to see and there were two things that were desired overall that I highlighted in my final post

The only thing that matters in the long run is this: Is Donald Trump going to deliver on these big issues (Obamacare and the Wall) that he highlighted during the campaign?

If this administration can’t answer yes, he is in danger of losing these folks and risks a primary, but if Donald Trump, in the end keeps his eyes on this prize, then these grass room activists are going to be with him when he needs them no matter what anyone in the media says.

As long as President Trump understand this fact, he’s going to do fine, and I have the distinct feeling that he does.

And so what did the GOP senate with a chance to pass the repeal of Obamacare do?

Broken Promise: GOP-Run Senate Votes Down Clean Repeal Of ObamaCare, 45/54

Allahpundit has it pegged:

The demise of the 7-year promise to repeal Obamacare is just the latest twist of the knife that Republicans have delivered to advocates of limited government. It’s a reminder that for all the shouting, the United States only really has one party: the party of big government. Democrats expand government when they’re in power, and Republicans cry foul when they’re in the opposition. But when Republicans gain power, they either expand government in their own way (as President Bush did with the Medicare prescription drug bill and No Child Left Behind federal education power grab) or merely preserve Democrats’ gains until Democrats can regain enough power to expand government some more.

It looks very much like the Tea Party was quite correct to distrust these dishonest and dishonorable leeches.

I think the time has come to start to start putting Mike Rogers’ of Granite Grok plan into effect:

The time to take over the GOP (state by state) or set up a real third party (let’s call it the conservative party, like NY state), is NOW, after a historic election that demonstrated the ineptness of the “Wizards of Smart”.

The time NOT to talk about and vote for a third part candidate, or stay home and pout about rules that work against you is DURING an historic election, when one of the evils is immeasurably worse than the guy you can’t quite warm to.

If we successfully set up a conservative party, and win some seats, we can choose to align with Republicans or even endorse their candidate as a tactical matter on a vote by vote basis.

I think the first step is to run pro-repeal candidates as primary opponents to sitting GOP senators and congressmen and if they are defeated or rejected by the GOP then the very moment that the 2018 midterms are done to start setting up those conservative parties.

Until the GOP sees consequences for this betrayal it will not change.

One irony, it will be the GOP party but not Donald Trump who will suffer for this betrayal, and deservedly so.


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

Uncertainties are never good for the insurance industry. The current debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act and the new American Health Care Act is creating uncertainties that may soon jeopardize the whole healthcare industry. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is committed to a return to the Obamacare exchange next year, but the same can’t be said for other insurers.

This state of limbo is causing more problems than anticipated. In fact, health care uncertainties are starting to hurt millions of Americans, even before the new AHCA is signed.

Obamacare in Trouble.

The Affordable Care Act is clearly in trouble. The series of uncertainties that have been covering ACA now leave many counties with no health plans to sell in 2018. Insurance companies are pulling out of these counties, citing the uncertainty around the Republicans’ health care bill and the future of healthcare law in general as the reasons for the move.

Republicans’ efforts to drive Obamacare into collapse is becoming increasingly successful. Unfortunately, it is also causing millions of Americans to lose access to affordable health insurance in just a few months. This is a situation no one can afford to face, especially without a new health care bill to replace the ACA.

The latest statistics by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reveal 47 counties with zero health insurance plan to sell. While Blue Cross and Blue Shield Illinois is committed to making a return next year, companies like Anthem and Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City are exiting their respective markets. Anthem is leaving Ohio with one fewer option, while Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City has pulled out already.

The Political Incentives

It is easy to see why Republicans don’t want to fix the problems with ACA. Republicans and the Health and Human Services Department of this administration are using the failing health insurance market as an excuse to repeal Obamacare. The approach is a smart one, at least from a political standpoint.

Without a clear replacement for Obamacare, however, this will only lead to more problems. The 23 million Americans that will lose health care under the House version of AHCA may even lose their healthcare before the new healthcare bill passes the Senate.

A Push for More Certainty

What the Trump administration and Congress need to do is create a climate of certainty. The health law and policy department of Hofstra Law recently compiled studies that suggest plugging the ACA while formulating a better, stronger AHCA are the things to do to reverse the damages being done today. Students who are studying for their health law degree are using the current healthcare debate as the perfect case study.

It is also unfortunate to note that such an ideal situation may never be implemented. As mentioned before, the political incentive of a failing Obamacare is too good for the Republicans to miss. We can only wait and see as Republicans try to formulate a better AHCA and get it passed as quickly as possible, regardless of the consequences that come with the new healthcare bill.

Following a good showing on his first overseas trip, President Trump returned to the states and called for something that has some on the right scratching their heads. He’s wanting more dollars put towards health care.

One of the things that got the AHCA passed in the House was the decrease in spending on health care. The conservative Freedom Caucus pushed for several additions before voting for it, including the ability for states to opt-out of some of the more liberal points such as pre-existing conditions. However, the reason some gave for finally backing the bill is that it reduces overall spending on health care. What is the President asking for now?

Regardless of whether this was just a Tweet that can be disregarded as rhetoric in 140-characters-or-less or if its a sign that he really wants more money put into health care, the overarching theme is the same. Many in the GOP (and pretty much every Democrat), including the President, are missing the fundamental point that health care can only truly be fixed if the federal government systematically removes itself from the equation.

Obamacare isn’t failing because of subtle details or nuances. It’s failing because the concept behind government-mandated health care is fatally flawed. The differences between the ACA and the AHCA are so small that their cores are essentially the same. Both insert DC into an area where it simply doesn’t belong. By doing so, either will fail whether it has the letter (R) or (D) on its stamp of approval.

We don’t need more money plugged into health care. We need the massive amounts of money that are already pumped into health care focused by a consumer-driven free market. Businesses operate based upon the demands of three forces: government, consumers, and market conditions. Today, government has primacy in the equation by forcing the other two factors to be secondary. Consumers have very little impact in the equation because of mandates in both Obamacare and the current Trumpcare replacement being worked on in the Senate. As for market conditions, they are artificial because of government intervention. They will continue to be artificial if Obamacare is repealed and replaced with a variation of the AHCA.

Nearly everyone on Capitol Hill fears a full repeal for the same basic reason. They know that if it’s done right, it will work in the long term. The Democrats don’t want that because it exposes the long-con they’ve been working in DC for decades, the concept that more government is better. The Republicans don’t want that because they fear it won’t work quickly enough for them to retain power in the midterm elections. The AHCA isn’t designed to fix health care. It’s designed to pretend to fix it while mitigating fallout until election day.

As I stated in a different post:

If we systematically repeal Obamacare, we can have privatized health care once again. A replacement plan that tries to predict what will happen is foolish. Instead, we should repeal, then monitor and analyze the market. Over time, we’ll find the holes that need to be plugged. States, charities, and other organizations can fill most of these holes. Whatever is left, if anything, can fall to the federal government. This way, DC becomes the final safety net instead of being the first line of defense. That’s the way it should be in health care and a plethora of other areas.

The last thing this nation needs is more dollars redirected into health care. Those of us watching our premiums rise despite higher deductibles and worse coverage (which is a vast majority) know that there’s already “more dollars” in health care. It needs to be allocated properly through competition and the push for innovation. We can’t have the best health care in the world as the President hopes unless DC is willing to remove itself from the equation. Until then, the math will continue to fail miserably.

My local Sunday paper had an above-the-fold headline the other day: “Obamacare rate could see big spike in NH next year.” This refers only to my state, where an unidentified government official leaked to the press a document projecting an average Obamacare-exchange premium rate increase of 44%.

The headline could easily have said “another spike.” Obamacare-linked price hikes are old news. Still, I’m glad this wound up on the front page. That indicates that at least one assignment editor doesn’t take big increases for granted.

The story said that the document was stamped Confidential and Draft Only and Not for Distribution. I wish I knew who leaked it so I could deliver my personal thanks. I don’t like being surprised during enrollment season. The principal factor in the projected increase, according to the news report (I haven’t read the actual document), is Medicaid expansion. Without that, the projected increase is closer to 17%.

I don’t want my neighbors covered by Medicaid expansion to get sicker or forgo mental health care or substance abuse treatment. What irks me is that anyone in government or media could be surprised or distressed that expansion actually leads to cost increases and distortions in how health care is provided.

I hope no one’s surprised when the resulting premium increases for my non-Medicaid neighbors leads to changes in their behavior, such as dropping insurance altogether.

Last year’s price spike finally pushed me over the edge and out of the market. In the government’s view, I am uninsured, having opted for a healthshare program that Obamacare benignly tolerates. My husband has retained a conventional policy, and we’re keeping records to see how our costs compare over time.

Ideal? No. My costs are pretty much under my control, right up to the time I’m badly injured or develop a serious medical condition. I would then be at the mercy of my fellow sharers and of the bean-counters in my healthcare providers’ offices. Further, I am waiting uneasily for the Obamacare fans to amend the law so that healthshare programs are no longer penalty-free. Frankly, I think that kind of amendment is likely to come much sooner than any Republican health-insurance reform.

Medicaid is permanently expanded. I believe that. So will there be any health insurance “fixes” this year that would head off a 44% average increase in premiums on my state’s exchange next year? I don’t see how, no matter who’s in the White House. I’m pessimistic about the financial aspect of government health insurance because I’ve seen over the past five years that elected officials can’t even get the little things right.

By “little,” I don’t mean unimportant. I’m thinking of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. That’s the government policy that treats being a woman as a pre-existing condition by calling women’s contraceptives “preventive” care. Business owners who offer health insurance to employees, and who have moral objections to coerced involvement in their employees’ birth control decisions, have had to go to court to escape the mandate.

President Trump’s recent religious-liberty order was tightly limited and it did not undo the mandate. The Little Sisters of the Poor will benefit from his order, because he’s taken a personal interest in their case. Dozens of other mandate challengers are still making their way through the courts, with only these words from the President’s order to comfort them along the way: [cabinet departments] “shall consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate.”

In five years, regardless of the party in power, Congress has failed to repeal the mandate. A Republican president has managed only to tell his people to “consider issuing amended regulations.” The Supreme Court has had the chance to throw out the mandate as a religious liberty violation, and it has not done so.

I can’t trust them to fix even one small but critical aspect of health care policy. I sure can’t trust them to fix the whole thing. Bring on the spikes.

Ellen Kolb blogs about New Hampshire life-issue policy at Leaven for the Loaf and looks farther afield in ellenkolb.com