The fist bumps coming from the GOP after passing the American Health Care Act in the House were plentiful. Republicans around the country were giving each other high-fives for having finally made the first real steps towards repealing Obamacare. Here’s the problem. We haven’t seen the beginning of the repeal of Obamacare. We’ve seen the seeds of Trumpcare being planted. Perhaps the better name for it would be “Obamacarelite.”

This a repeal in name only. Congressman Justin Amash revealed the truth about the AHCA in a Facebook post yesterday (emphases are mine):

This is not the bill we promised the American people. For the past seven years, Republicans have run for Congress on a commitment to repeal Obamacare. But it is increasingly clear that a bill to repeal Obamacare will not come to the floor in this Congress or in the foreseeable future.

When Republican leaders first unveiled the American Health Care Act, a Democratic friend and colleague joked to me that the bill wasn’t a new health care proposal; it was plagiarism. He was right.

The AHCA repeals fewer than 10 percent of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act. It is an amendment to the ACA that deliberately maintains Obamacare’s framework. It reformulates but keeps tax credits to subsidize premiums. Instead of an individual mandate to purchase insurance, it mandates a premium surcharge of 30 percent for one year following a lapse of coverage. And the bill continues to preserve coverage for dependents up to age 26 and people with pre-existing conditions.

I want to emphasize that last point. The bill does not change the ACA’s federal requirements on guaranteed issue (prohibition on policy denial), essential health benefits (minimum coverage), or community rating (prohibition on pricing based on health status). In short, Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions provisions are retained.

The latest version of the AHCA does allow any state to seek a waiver from certain insurance mandates, but such waivers are limited in scope. Guaranteed issue cannot be waived. Nobody can be treated differently based on gender. And any person who has continuous coverage—no lapse for more than 62 days—cannot be charged more regardless of health status.

Consider what this means: Even in a state that waives as much as possible, a person with a pre-existing condition cannot be prevented from purchasing insurance at the same rate as a healthy person. The only requirement is that the person with the pre-existing condition get coverage—any insurer, any plan—within 62 days of losing any prior coverage.

If a person chooses not to get coverage within 62 days, then that person can be charged more (or less) based on health status for up to one year, but only (1) in lieu of the 30 percent penalty (see above), (2) if the person lives in a state that has established a program to assist individuals with pre-existing conditions, and (3) if that state has sought and obtained the relevant waiver. Here in Michigan, our Republican governor has already stated he won’t seek such a waiver, according to reports.

So why are both parties exaggerating the effects of this bill? For President Trump and congressional Republicans, the reason is obvious: They have long vowed to repeal (and replace) Obamacare, and their base expects them to get it done. For congressional Democrats, it’s an opportunity to scare and energize their base in anticipation of 2018. Neither side wants to present the AHCA for what it is—a more limited proposal to rework and reframe parts of the ACA, for better or for worse.

In March, when this bill was originally scheduled to come to the floor, it was certainly “for worse.” The previous version provided few clear advantages over the ACA, yet it haphazardly added provisions to modify essential health benefits without modifying community rating—placing the sickest and most vulnerable at greater risk.

Over the last month, several small but important changes were made to the bill. The current version abandons that fatally flawed approach to essential health benefits (though the new approach includes new flaws), incorporates an invisible risk sharing program, and permits limited state waivers. These changes may slightly bring down (or at least slow down the increase in) premiums for people who have seen rates go up. Even so, the AHCA becomes only marginally better than the ACA.

Many have questioned the process that led up to the vote on May 4. I have publicly expressed my disgust with it. The House again operated in top-down fashion rather than as a deliberative body that respects the diversity of its membership. But it’s important to acknowledge that the bulk of this bill (123 pages) was released on March 6. Only about 15 pages were added after late March. Members of Congress were given sufficient time to read and understand the entire bill.

While an earlier version of the AHCA included a CBO score, the types of changes made to the AHCA in more recent stages render an updated score highly speculative and practically meaningless. For that score to be useful, the Congressional Budget Office would have to effectively predict which states will seek waivers, which waivers they will seek, and when they will seek them. This complex analysis of the political processes and choices of every state is beyond anyone’s capability. I weighed the lack of an updated score accordingly.

When deciding whether to support a bill, I ask myself whether the bill improves upon existing law, not whether I would advocate for the policy or program if I were starting with a blank slate. In other words, the proper analysis is not whether it makes the law good but rather whether it makes the law better. In this case, I felt comfortable advancing the bill to the Senate as a marginal improvement to the ACA. The House has voted more than 30 times to amend (not just repeal) Obamacare since I’ve been in Congress, and I have supported much of that legislation, too, on the principle of incrementalism. If it advances liberty even a little (on net), then I’m a yes.

Nonetheless, the ACA will continue to drive up the cost of health insurance—while bolstering the largest insurance companies—and the modifications contained in the AHCA cannot save it. Many of the AHCA’s provisions are poorly conceived or improperly implemented. At best, it will make Obamacare less bad.

The Framers of the Constitution understood that federalism—the division of powers between the national and state governments—would maximize the happiness of Americans. As long as Washington dictates health insurance policy to the entire country, there will be massive tension and displeasure with the system. I’ve always said, and I will continue to say, we need to start over: Fully repeal Obamacare, let the people of each state choose their own approach, and work together in a nonpartisan manner.

The Congressman is correct when he says that it’s his duty to decide whether or not a bill is an improvement on existing law. However, one should also consider whether it’s possible for the law to be dramatically improved with more effort put towards bigger or smaller changes. In this case, I believe Amash would have voted against the bill if he believed there was a full repeal possible. He and the Freedom Caucus weighed the possibilities and decided that this was the best they were going to get. It was right move from a legislative perspective, but it also reinvigorates the necessity for the Federalist Party to rise.

It’s a shame that small-government-minded representatives are forced to pick between the lesser of two evils. Millions of voters can relate to this circumstance as we’re often faced with picking between Mr. Big Gov or his opponent, Mrs. Bigger Gov. As long as the two-party system holds primacy over all potential challengers, we will always be faced with this obtuse binary choice. The time for change is now.

The House just sent the American Health Care Act to the Senate. From there, it’ll face a tougher fight through Senate revisions before reaching the President’s desk. For the the first time in seven years, the prospects of repealing Obamacare are actually pretty high. Republicans around the nation are cheering. Democrats are spinning it as a call to retake Congress in 2018.

Most of my friends are Republicans, as are most of the readers on this site. I support their desire to rid the nation of the abomination of Obamacare. I also respect the need to put the GOP stamp of approval on a replacement plan. Heck, there are a couple of things in the AHCA that I don’t mind; it’s a slight improvement over the ACA.

One thing I wholeheartedly disagree with is the notion that the AHCA is a step towards smaller government. This does nothing to rein in DC. It keeps the national government firmly entrenched in an area where it absolutely, positively does not belong. By doing so, it prevents the free market from helping millions of Americans by driving down health insurance costs. It adjusts the mandate by shifting the penalty, but the mandate remains nonetheless. It gives states the option to opt out of pre-existing conditions, yet no state will actually use this option. Why? Because by giving the AHCA the GOP stamp of approval, any hope of educating people on the vast negatives associated with the pre-existing conditions clause have evaporated.

It isn’t just the AHCA. Look at the spending package that keeps the government funding President Obama’s sustained laundry list of programs. Look at pushes for huge infrastructure spending. Look at every big government program that is not facing extinction despite the GOP having full control in DC.

As a Federalist, I look at today’s GOP the same way many politically savvy conservatives view it: better than the Democrats. After the rise and fall of the Tea Party as well as a short-term spike in conservatives winning primaries over moderates, we’ve seen the status quo of the Establishment reaffirmed in 2017. The AHCA is just the latest example.

These are unpopular notions to be posting on sites that are supportive of the Republican Party, but I’m not alone in my dissent. Conservative pundits and Federalism-minded journalists around the nation are speaking out.

Ben Shapiro at Daily Wire notes:

On Thursday, House Republicans prepared to take final ownership over Obamacare, slapping a giant “T” atop the edifice of legislative manure and declaring victory. This follows Republicans embracing Barack Obama’s budget priorities in their newest budget bill, which did not fund Trump’s wall but did fund refugee resettlement, Planned Parenthood, and Obamacare. Republicans have apparently become the David Copperfield of garbage: they can take Obama’s garbage and turn it into Trump’s garbage right before your eyes!

Mark Levin has been very critical of the GOP on his show lately:

“Too many conservatives have simply accepted as effective power the minor concession of the progressives” as they “drive the political and cultural agenda,” Levin explains.

Andrea Ruth at RedState supports the bill, but only because not passing it would make the GOP look worse than it already does:

Voters first gave them the House immediately following the passage of Obamacare. Republicans subsequently show-voted on repealing Obamacare more than 50 times in the following six years when they knew such a bill would never be enacted while a Democrat was in the White House.

Noah Millman at The American Conservative isn’t supportive at all:

By their own repeated admission, the GOP leadership has no actual policy goal of any kind. They promised something. They have to deliver something — even if that something is wildly unpopular, satisfies nobody, and bears almost no relation to what they originally promised.

I believe in my heart that many Republican voters still believe in the type of small-government Federalism that Ronald Reagan espoused. It’s not their fault that a majority of Republican representatives view “smaller government” as a catchphrase in their campaign sales pitch instead of a goal. However, don’t try to convince me that they’ll come around eventually. Accept that they’re the big-government Democratlite Party so we can work together to really rein in DC.

One of the biggest misconceptions about states’ rights is that their purpose is to protect the states from overreach by the federal government. On the surface, this is correct, but we have to dig just a little deeper to understand why they’re so important to every American.

The states do not need direct protection. It’s rare for DC to target an individual state governing body or the foundation of a state’s existence, though one can argue it has happened from time to time. The reality is that states’ rights are so clearly protected in the Constitution to empower the states to protect the people from oppression. The founders feared an overly powerful federal government could systematically attack the rights that the Constitution defends if they weren’t held to account by the states through the checks and balances the Constitution allots them. What we’ve seen since the 19th century and what has accelerated since FDR is the founders’ fears coming true.

From education to the environment, from health care to the use of natural resources, Washington DC has stepped into arenas where it has absolutely no business entering. The real victims are not simply the embodiment of the states themselves but rather the people within the states who are being made to feel they have no recourse. As states bend and often break to the will of the federal government, Constitutional protections for the people are being trampled.

Some states have fought back. Most have accepted their fate, forgotten the 10th Amendment, and sat stagnant as DC continues to dictate what they can and cannot do. Lest we forget, the federal government was granted many enumerated powers that give them plenty of clout; I’m not one who thinks DC should be powerless. I simply want them to stick with the powers they were given.

A look at the enumerated powers and the various amendments that added to them presents us with a federal government that should be much less powerful than it is today. The reason the 10th Amendment allows the states and individuals to govern themselves in all regards outside of the enumerated powers is because the founders believed safeguards were necessary to prevent limited representation in important matters. The states, local governments, and especially individuals are more aware of how to handle their situations than the federal government. In other words, they can solve problems for themselves much more easily than DC could ever imagine doing. Education, for example, requires no input from DC. None. It’s time to get rid of the Department of Education for good.

As much as I’d like to hope one of the two major parties will break from the overreaching trends they’ve both demonstrated over the decades, I’m not waiting around. The Democrats are calling for Federalism to combat President Trump just as the Republicans called for Federalism to fight President Obama, but both have failed to bring about the degree of change necessary to make a real impact. Part of this is because they tend to call for Federalism when they’re in a position of weakness. It’s for this reason that we’ve formed the Federalist Party. Regardless of which major party champions Federalism at any given moment, it’s our party’s belief that they’re just bluffing. Their actions when they’re in control indicate they have no intention of returning the country to the balance of powers the founders intended.

This article is being written on a conservative blog and I consider it a blessing to have access to this forum. I do not speak for this site, but as a conservative who feels that both parties are veering to the left, it’s imperative that I talk about states’ rights to appeal to conservatives and liberals alike. Otherwise, I’d be lying to myself and this audience if I were to say that I’m confident the two-party system will ever yield a true champion for the Constitution. There are those within the major parties who love the Constitution, but they are dwindling in numbers. A time is coming when they’ll need to make a choice. I’m confident many will choose the Federalist Party as their home.

The key to Federalism is balance. When the original Federalists were fighting for ratification of the Constitution, their opposition wanted the states to be too powerful. It was up to Federalists to bring the balance of powers necessary to have a vibrant constitutional republic. Today, we fight for this balance from the opposite direction. DC is too powerful. Just as Presidents Nixon and Reagan before us, their concepts of “new Federalism” require us to fight to limit the federal government’s power to reestablish a balance with the states. This is the only way individual Americans can be secure from overreach by either their state or federal government.

A return to the checks and balances that were designed to protect the people and defend the Constitution is growing more necessary every day. We’ve seen strides in the right direction in DC, but these strides are quickly erased by further overreach, increased budgets, and expanded federal powers. It’s time for Constitution-loving Federalists to rise up and show DC they cannot continue down this road.

Here’s a pop quiz for all you students at every level. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in school today or if you’re simply a student of life (as we all should be until we die). Since Jimmy Carter brought us the Department of Education, what has been the positive impact it’s had on our students, teachers, parents, or communities?

It’s somewhat of a trick question because no matter what positive impact you recall hearing about or seeing on Wikipedia, there are more negatives that have come out of every action the department has taken and every decree they’ve made. I won’t bore you with statistics or point to individual instances of complete failure to improve the quality or efficiency of education in America. Either you see the clear dysfunction in our schools today or you don’t. Nothing I say will change your mind.

If ever a department begged to be eliminated for the sake of Federalism, this is it. Nothing screams localization like education. Nothing demands standards be set by states, the communities within them, and parents themselves as much as schooling. To say the federal government is capable of properly overseeing education is as asinine as thinking they can properly manage health care.

They can’t. They’ve proven this very clearly, yet we’re still in the middle of a 38-year-old failed experiment.

This isn’t just about eliminating Common Core or pushing for more charter schools. It’s not about deciding how to allocate budgets based upon which school districts can meet meaningless standards the best. We’re at a point that the only correct answer to this very easy question is to begin the transition to get DC out of schools altogether.

There is too much money in play to pull the rug out from under them which is why a transition is necessary. It doesn’t have to be a long one. If they start now, they could have a plan in place before the next election followed by elimination of the department before the 2020 Presidential elections. As horrid as it is to have to think about this in terms of election cycles, that’s the only way to get DC politicians to act.

Will education be harmed for a time as a result? It’s hard to say. On one hand, there’s certain to be obtuse state legislatures and/or governors who fail to prepare for the burden that should have belonged to them all along. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine that it could get much worse. Many if not most school districts and state departments have become so focused on staying within the boundaries set by DC that they may struggle at first. This may seem unfair to the students directly affected, but just as the states and cities need to step up, so too do the districts and individual schools. Many won’t like it, but enough education professionals will take responsibility and make it work. Those who do not don’t belong in such important roles in the first place.

America has been shifting away from a mindset of personal responsibility since the 1960s. There was a brief intermission when things were looking up in the 1980s, but that quickly faded after Ronald Reagan left the White House. This is why when looking at the big picture, dissolving the Department of Education is a microcosm of what must be done to much of the federal government as a whole. It’s the most obvious example of overreach, unnecessary bureaucracy, and wasted taxpayer dollars. As such, eliminating it would be an excellent guide for future acts of deconstruction that are also needed in DC. If we don’t immediately begin chopping away at the bloat, the big-government monstrosity will continue to grow.

Applying Reagan’s concepts of Federalism to slice the fat in DC may seem radical today just as it seemed radical when Reagan was in office. He had few government-limiting allies within the GOP which is why he couldn’t cut nearly as much as he would have liked. Today, it’s much worse as both major parties seem to be racing to see who can grow DC power the fastest. It’s time to start dismantling the administration state one agency, program, committee, and department at a time. The Department of Education is a prime candidate to face the guillotine first.

Briefly…

There seem to be a lot of Democrats complaining that the leader of the DNC announced there’s no room for pro-lifers in his party. Most Democrats are pro-choice, but even many of abortionists are saying that the issue is too polarizing for the party to take such a strict stance that alienates a small portion of their party. Obviously, pro-life Democrats are furious.

Why should they be? The party has made no secret of their stance on abortion in the recent past. Coming out and declaring that members of the party need to be pro-choice is not only expected but welcomed, at least by those who want to be politically honest. Being a pro-life Democrat is essentially saying, “I believe in most of what my party believes but I accept they will never do a thing I want them to when it comes to abortion.”

I wouldn’t go so far as to say a “pro-life Democrat” is an oxymoron, but there are clear contradictions. Rather than denouncing, I applaud the DNC for stating the truth about themselves, their ideology, and what they expect from members. All parties should do the same. My membership with the Federalist Party comes fully attached to a pro-life stance. The vast majority in the GOP are either pro-life or, if they happen to be pro-choice, accept that they’re not going to get their way on that issue. The Libertarian Party, Green Party, and Constitution Party have all made their stances known.

This issue is far too important to leave room for interpretation within a party. I have no love for Tom Perez or the Democrats he represents, but again I think it’s best for them to be honest to their own membership. The Democrats are the pro-choice major party. To pretend otherwise is silly.

I don’t make it a practice to comment on potential legislation before reading it. Speculation takes too much bias and rumors into account which tends to sway the reader (and author) in directions before the truth is even known. I’m making this exception because if reports that Vice President Mike Pence has negotiated a deal with the Freedom Caucus turn out to be true, it could be the best move made by the administration on health care since taking office.

Then again, it might be a big nothingburger.

The good news: limited waivers for the states. This means states have opportunities to bypass certain provisions of the AHCA that would allow them to help drive down premiums.

The bad news: essential health benefits carry over from Obamacare. This will limit the decrease (and even perpetuate increases) in premiums for the vast majority of Americans.

We’ll see how it pans out, but here’s the thing. I know many if not most Republicans are in favor of repealing and replacing Obamacare with the AHCA. It would boost morale and take away certain chunks of the oppressive economic burden that Obamacare has placed on us. However, the details are terrifying to anyone who believes in limiting government and defending the freedoms we hold dear. The original AHCA was a repackaged version of nationalized medicine that would push us further down the road towards financial oblivion and what we’ve seen of the proposed changes don’t change that. It would potentially slow down skyrocketing insurance costs, but it wouldn’t reverse them. In essence, it’s not a solution to Obamacare but a way to spread out the ill effects. We will still be paying way more than we were just a few years ago. We will still be ballooning the national debt and making little impact on our outrageously unbalanced budget.

Full repeal is the right way to go. That’s not to say that we need to return to the pre-Obamacare era. Changes need to be made, but those changes should come based upon reactions and analysis once it’s repealed rather than trying to plug all of the potential holes ahead of time. If we repeal Obamacare and allow the free market to guide the government on changes to be made, the end result will be much better. We can already plan for some of the changes such as opening up competition across state lines. We can work with charities, communities, and local governments to fill the gaps and prevent people from falling through the cracks. By repealing Obamacare fully in stages over the next 1-3 years and then watching how consumers, health insurance companies, and markets react, we can make intelligent decisions rather than speculative ones.

Of note is that the Freedom Caucus is supporting the amendments to the bill. We’ll see what that really looks like. Getting government out of health care is the only truly conservative/federalist way of fixing it. If they’re willing to negotiate, I would hope it’s because they believe in the plan and not because they’re feeling pressure from donors and the White House.

Only time will tell and speculation at this point is premature, but it will be interesting to see just how revamped Ryancare 2.0 really is. The bright spot I’ve seen in initial reports is that leftist publications like WaPo and HuffPo seem to hate the idea, so that’s good.

I know someone who is environmentally conscious, minority-empowering, and socially aware who also happens to be extremely conservative. Her “bleeding heart” has been tempered by reality. She knows there are problems that need to be addressed but she’s not so naive to believe the gut response for action is the right way to address most situations. I know all of these things because she married me a quarter century ago. I also know she’s not an anomaly.

My wife had been a lifelong Republican up until recently when she realized that the GOP is the slightly-less-big-government alternative to the Democratic Party. We both gave the Tea Party a shot and helped get as many conservatives elected as possible in recent years, but the Tea Party’s influence is waning with the Establishment solidifying its power over the party that once belonged to Coolidge and Reagan. That’s why we became Federalists.

For conservatism and/or classical liberalism to break through the stranglehold the Establishment’s Democratic-Republicans have over DC, we’ll need to embrace a more intellectual tone and understanding of several issues that are normally associated with liberals. We need more small-government-loving, freedom-defending conservatives in office and we need them there quickly, but conservatives can’t do it alone. It’s time to start recruiting people who are conservatives at heart but who believe their only option to promote the issues important to them is through the Democratic Party.

Here are three issues normally considered to be liberal beacons that conservatives can and should commandeer:

Save the environment… locally

There was some excitement among conservatives when new EPA chief Scott Pruitt started espousing Federalism in the government’s approach to the environment. In reality, he didn’t go quite far enough since he was promoting cooperative Federalism. What we really need is dual Federalism at the EPA where the state and local governments focus on their own areas while the EPA itself fades into nothingness; they should be cut to the point of only handling interstate challenges where the actions of one state have an impact on another. These cases are few and far between.

Those who believe that saving the environment is important almost always lean towards the Democratic Party. What these people don’t realize is that the environmental plans pushed forth by the Democratic Party are generally ineffective and invariably wasteful of time, money, and resources. The conservative/Federalist methodology to clean up the planet should focus on the local environment. Instead of spending billions on decrees from Paris, environmentalists should be mobilizing their local communities to promote recycling programs, clean-up initiatives of local water supplies, and energy awareness campaigns. Instead of laying down rules from DC, the states should be making decisions about what’s best for their own land, air, and bodies of water. After all, they know their own environment better than any Washington bureaucrat.

When environmentalists are shown the benefits  working within their own areas of influence rather than allowing the federal government to dictate, many of them will come to the conclusion they’re not wasteful Democrats. They’re small-government Federalists.

Empower minorities… with equality

Let’s face it. Affirmative Action is a broken notion. It may have been necessary at one point, but today the best way to empower minorities is to make sure they have equal footing. Every American citizen should be just that: an American citizen. Race should play no part in whether someone should be given government assistance for education, priority for employment mandated by DC, or special treatment through government programs.

Many in the Republican Party, in an effort to attract more minorities, are embracing ideas that support or resemble the tenets of Affirmative Action. When then-candidate Trump went after Justice Antonin Scalia for telling the truth about Affirmative Action’s effects on minorities, we saw the playbook that the future administration and his party would be using. They worry that if they don’t keep entitlements and programs that benefit minorities in place, they’ll lose elections.

As a minority, I know I’m not alone in not wanting a “helping hand” from the government because of my race. I don’t need it and to insinuate that I do is an insult. There’s a difference between fighting discrimination and elevating people based upon their race: one protects minorities while the other hampers them (even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time). Neither discrimination nor Affirmative Action have a place in this country anymore. Instead, we need to allow all races the equal footing they deserve to find success the American way.

The strategy the GOP is using to push left in regards to minorities is a losing play in the long term. Democrats will rebound with minorities in the coming elections because they’ll go even further to the left by giving primacy to minorities. The proper conservative message isn’t to say, “here’s more for you and your race.” It should be, “here’s equal footing, now go make it happen.” There will always be those who want any advantage they can get and chances are they’ll always be Democrats no matter how far left the GOP goes. What we’ve seen is that the message of true equality resonates much better with a good portion of minorities who would never be Republicans but who aren’t interested in what the Democrats are selling them.

Support social programs… through private organizations

When the topic of “social programs” is brought up, it’s common for people to divide along party lines. Democrats generally want more social programs while Republicans generally want fewer. To the Democrats, they’re essential. To the Republicans, they’re a waste. In a way, they’re both right. In another way, they’re both very wrong.

While there are some social programs that are absolutely not necessary, some are truly essential for the well-being of many Americans as the Democrats contend. On the other hand, they’re also a burden on taxpayers; many should be eliminated as the Republicans contend. The reality is that the vast majority of them should be transitioned to the public sector.

Republican politicians will argue that they’ve been saying that for some time and they’re correct. The problem is that they’ve done absolutely nothing to push this concept forward since the mid-1980s. Yes, they say it. No, they don’t do it. They don’t even try. It’s just part of their campaign spiel.

Fiscal and social conservative citizens and even a very small handful of lawmakers realize that privatizing most of these programs will have three effects: the burden will shift from taxpayers to fundraising (forced funding versus voluntary funding), community-based initiatives with centralized oversight and assistance (dual federalism in action in the private sector) will reduce corruption, and the overall effectiveness of the programs will generally improve. There will be some failures. There will be some corruption. Both will be reduced compared to what we’re seeing from DC-run social programs today.

There are more conservatives in America who don’t realize they’re conservative because they’ve fallen for the false narratives of both major parties. The Democrats keep saying “if you believe in this, you’re a liberal,” while the Republicans generally agree. If we expand upon the message that small-government Federalism is a better fit for addressing many issues associated with liberalism, we’ll find that more people realize they were conservatives all along.

In 2 months, Lord willing, our fourth child will be born. He won’t be like the previous three. He has a rare heart configuration that essentially has his aorta and pulmonary artery switched up. There’s also a hole in the wall that separates the ventricles of his heart. His is a situation for which many parents would choose abortion.

They wouldn’t necessarily be perceived by society as cruel for doing so. It’s not like they would be doing it for the frivolous reasons that so many potential parents invoke in modern America. They would be doing it to prevent the child as well as their current families from having to suffer through expensive health conditions, multiple operations, and a life restrained by circumstance. There’s something noble about sparing someone from living a hard life, right?

No. There’s nothing noble nor humane about taking a human life at any stage of development. If given the choice in retrospect, would you rather go through the new challenges of a deformed heart that hampered you, the operations that constantly put you at risk, and the burden that comes to you and your family? Or, would you rather have never been born at all?

You or I can make this hypothetical choice because we’ve already been given the opportunity to live, to learn, and to grow in this world. I would challenge any God-fearing American’s honesty if they would have chosen a life cut short over a life of hardship.

Unfortunately, many couples or individuals in our situation would believe they were doing the humane thing by preventing those challenges from encompassing another’s life. They would likely be made to feel justified by their doctors who all-too-often condone or even encourage abortions when faced with the prospects presented to us.

Our doctor is different. She’s extremely caring and hopeful. She has never pushed us in the direction of abortion though she’s acknowledged that the option was on the table. Once we made it clear that the option wasn’t on our table, she never brought it up again. Today, I’ll be going in with my wife for our monthly checkup before the next phase of ongoing testing and monitoring begins. We’ll soon know some of our options on procedures to repair the heart or redirect blood flow. These are decisions that we’ve never had to make, but by the Grace of God we’re not discouraged. This is His child. We are here to bring him forth and to help him grow.

When abortions are done for frivolous reason, the lines are clearly drawn with very little doubt on either side of the aisle. When they’re done for reasons such as rape or incest, the line can be blurred a bit for some in the pro-life movement. In situations like ours, the lines are barely visible. Pro-life parents may feel justified to abort for the sake of their families and to prevent the pain and struggle that their child is certain to experience. To those of you in similar situations, please understand that everyone regardless of situation or condition has the right to live their lives. This isn’t a question of politics. It’s a cultural battle to define the God-given right of life itself even when that life is going to be hard.

One of the strategies Speaker Paul Ryan used in attempting to sell the American Health Care Act was to include defunding Planned Parenthood as part of the deal. It was a good attempt to sugarcoat “Obamacarelite” with some conservative honey for positive press and leverage against right-wing opposition to the bill, but it obviously didn’t work. While the dust is settling from their repeal and replace debacle, now is the time to introduce a new standalone bill to get rid of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding once and for all.

It makes strategic sense for both Congress and the White House to make this happen quickly. Fingers are already pointing in every direction. They need a high-profile win and this is just the thing to do it. Defunding Planned Parenthood will reassure conservatives that the Trump and/or Ryan agenda was not derailed by their AHCA loss.

The next big battle they plan on tackling is likely tax reform. That’s going to take time. Defunding Planned Parenthood will not. Drafting it and pushing it through committees would take no time at all. They could have it on President Trump’s desk in April. They can initiate their next moves on tax reform once Planned Parenthood is defunded.

I’m not going to go into a long diatribe of why Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded from a pro-life perspective. Either you’re in favor of it or not and nothing I can say can sway you. However, if you’re in favor of defunding, then you should be in favor of doing it quickly. At over half a billion dollars a year, it’s not a drop in the proverbial bucket. The longer we wait, the more money gets used to kill unborn Americans. This should have been done already, but I can understand the perceived need to attach it to the AHCA for sales and promotional purposes even if I absolutely disagree with the action itself. Ryan’s strategy allowed more babies to be killed. This should have been a Day 1 issue.

As a Federalist, I’m not giving them this advice for political reasons. The AHCA debacles has helped interest in the new party to spike, so I’m not trying to help the GOP clean up their political mess. However, we’re talking about human lives. I’ll happily push politics aside if it means one more child being saved.

Instead of using defunding Planned Parenthood as a negotiating chip, Congress needs to bite the bullet and make it happen right now. It’s quick, easy, and would draw the attention of mainstream media. Considering the obliteration the GOP is currently receiving this news cycle, it behooves them to turn the narrative towards saving the unborn rather than internal bickering.

As I write this, the House is pushing for a floor vote on the American Health Care Act. It “hangs in the balance” as some mainstream media news outlets are saying, but that doesn’t really paint the picture properly. In reality, it hangs over the GOP’s head in two major ways.

If it passes, things get really interesting in the Senate. There, the GOP cannot afford more than a couple of internal detractors and in the current form, there are more than enough. We haven’t seen the final version, but unless major changes were made, it’s very possible it could pass the House and get shot down in the Senate.

If it doesn’t pass the House, the spotlight is on the Freedom Caucus. President Trump has allegedly threatened Congressman Mark Meadows and others with losing their seats in 2018 if they don’t vote for it. Just as in the Senate, it would take major revisions for most Freedom Caucus members to reverse their publicly stated stance that they will vote against it.

This bill in its current known form is not what conservative/Federalist voters have asked for, nor is it what they were promised. I’ve gone on record as calling it Obamacarelite, RINOcare, Ryancare, and Swampcare. Based upon the latest push by the President, I’m calling it Trumpcare. He didn’t write it, but he’s pushing for it hard. President Obama didn’t write the Affordable Care Act, but he pushed for it just as hard as Trump is pushing for the AHCA.

Here’s the thing. People weren’t dying on the streets before Obamacare. I’m not so naive as to think we can or even should go back to the previous system. In fact, I think the previous system was already too burdened by government regulations. As conservatives who believe in the free market economy, we recognize that the best way to make health care truly affordable for the masses is to get government out of the picture. They need to open it up to competition across state lines.

Some will point out that tens of millions of Americans will “lose” their health care if we don’t pass something. They’d be technically right. However, a large bulk of those “losing” their health care coverage will do so willingly, as should be their right. There are conservatives who point out that it’s not fair for people to not carry health insurance and rely on taxpayers to pay big for their emergency care when they need it, but that’s singular and very shortsighted. The cost to taxpayers to cover uninsured emergency procedures is infinitesimally small compared to the cost we pay for ACA or the cost we would pay if AHCA passes.

What about pre-existing conditions? I have some experience with that, though I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll tell you this: government should be the last line of defense only. With both ACA and AHCA, they are inserting themselves into the front lines for health care. The community, charities, family, friends, and organizations designed specifically for such things will help those who cannot get their health needs met due to not being able to get covered. In a world with GoFundMe, it’s very unlikely that anyone who needs something won’t be able to get it. For those who do, that’s when the government as the bottom safety net can come in and save the day. This level of engagement should be very rare. If there’s minimal involvement by government to simply keep people from falling all the way through the cracks once they’ve failed to receive enough help through all the other options, that’s still a fraction of the cost to taxpayers.

The net result of full repeal would be to allow the consumer-driven market to push competition and make insurance companies beholden to the people. It amuses me when people say, “But repeal will only make the health insurance executives richer!” As Trump would say… “Wrong!” They love having millions of Americans who would never willingly purchase health insurance being forced to buy it by their government overlords.

Get government out of health insurance and premiums will go down for a vast majority of Americans. Allow the free market economy and the crowdfunding power of 2017 (plus charities, family, and community) to help those who need it the most. Government’s only role should be as the absolute last resort. Just repeal it.

Update: Instalanche thanks Steve and well done JD. For those new here JD is one of our Magnificent Seven writers. So if you like what you see from our full time twice a week writers like JD Rucker (Thursday Afternoons and Sunday Evenings) Fausta Rodriguez Wertz (Wednesday and Friday Afternoons) Baldilocks (Tuesday and Saturday Evenings) Our Weekly Writers like Zilla of the Resistance (Friday Evenings) RH (NG36B) Saturday Afternoon , John (Marathon Pundit) Ruberry (Sunday afternoons) Pat Austin (Monday Afternoons) and Christopher Harper (Tuesday Afternoons) Our part Time Writers Jerry Wilson (Most Thursdays), Michigan Mick (Twice a month on Mondays), Pastor Kelly (occasional Fridays), and our monthly/substitute writes Ellen Kolb, Tech Knight and Jon Fournier (Wednesday evenings) then please consider subscribing to help me pay them.


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